Tuesday, 9 January 2018

LINC: Anyone Can be Affected by Leukaemia

Marie who spent months as LINC patient.
LINC Supports You in Your Illness. By Dr Gill Rouse

The Leukaemia and Intensive Chemotherapy Fund is a local charity that gives total support to leukaemia, lymphoma and other cancer patients who are treated within Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The treatment of leukaemia differs from that of other cancers in that it involves a long stay in hospital receiving intensive chemotherapy, followed by either a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. Overall, the patient could be in hospital anything up to 6 months.

During that time, the patient is likely to be in one of the 8 ensuite isolation units – a very small area which will be home for the next few months.

LINC starts its care by providing welcome toiletry packs – leukaemia patients often come into hospital without prior warning so we provide simple things like toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, tissues until they have sorted themselves out.

We have also been instrumental in providing a broadband facility, televisions, sky TV, DVD players, individual fridges , reclining chairs – anything that helps to make the long stay in hospital more bearable.

The charity also provides financial care – being ill is always expensive especially if you are self-employed. Whilst the patient may be in hospital, life goes on and there are bills to be paid. LINC has helped with housing rents, mortgages, child care, travel expenses, dog walking and on one occasion, new pyjamas. Two LINC funded clinical psychologists give emotional support to patients, families and staff.

Marie (pictured top left) spent many months as a LINC patient in isolation receiving intensive chemotherapy before her successful stem cell transplant. As a nurse herself, Marie had to become a patient overnight following her diagnosis but remained a positive inspiration throughout her treatment.

Anyone can be affected by leukaemia-we need your support to continue the care we can give to local blood cancer patients and their families. For more information or to make a donation please visit www.lincfund.org

Country Matters by The Hodge Jan 18

Country Matters

By The Hodge

“The pig, if I am not mistaken,
Supplies us sausage, ham and bacon,
Let others say his heart is big--
I call it stupid of the pig.”

Ogden Nash, ‘The Pig’ 1935

With all the representations of the birth of Christ in churches and schools up and down the country, you will see all the main characters; Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus in a crib, the three wise man and the shepherds. As it all takes place in a manger, then there will be cattle, sheep and goats too and maybe even a donkey. But what of the other major farm animal, indeed the world’s most important one?

I refer, of course, to the pig, the hog, the swine, old grunter. But why should I consider him to be the most important one? Well, quite simply because in the world today more protein derived from pigs is eaten than any other meat. Pigs account for 36.3% of all meat consumed. Chicken is a close second (35.2%) but both are streets ahead of other types such as beef or lamb. This is truly remarkable bearing in mind that many countries with majority religions that forbid the eating of the porker are excluded whereas, to the best of my knowledge, nobody forbids the eating of chickens and they are consumed in every country. And that is where we came in; why there are no pink pigs nuzzling around the crib or rooting in the straw in front of the wise men. Political correctness.

Even though it is a recent phenomenon, political correctness has dictated over many decades that pigs shouldn’t appear in a recreation of the Nativity scene in Bethlehem since Judaism proscribes against the eating of the flesh of the swine, so they just wouldn’t be there, would they? Well, actually, they would. Archaeological excavations in Tell Halif indicate that both wild and tame hogs were commonly consumed in this area of the Near East even though they were prohibited under the terms in the Old Testament still taken as actual by certain religions.

But why should meat from the pig be forbidden? There are many theories, too many to detail here but in times of primitive medicine pigs were blamed for spreading diseases such as leprosy and trichinosis. The real cause though is likely to be a combination of various factors. Firstly, the pig is unsuited to a nomadic existence and many tribes at the time of the Old Testament were not settled farmers but peoples who roamed with their sheep and goats and cattle, looking for water and fresh grazing. They would despise any settled farmers – perhaps epitomised by those keeping pigs – because their land would be prohibited to the travellers.

The Near East was always arid and pigs demand more water than other farm stock although they do not require good grazing in the way that their cohorts do. Whilst the water issue was a real disadvantage, it was more than compensated for by their ability to give birth throughout the year, with multiple offspring at each occasion, and grow faster than other farm stock. But the book of Leviticus called the pig ‘unclean’ and forbade its consumption, (as it does also for rabbits and shellfish).

So the pig was not popular but nor was he banned entirely so that the manger in Bethlehem could quite easily have been home to a few pigs enjoying the company of all the visitors. Now, if your little Johnnie or Jenny was upset that they had been cast as a pig in their nativity play, please don’t rail against their teacher but celebrate the fact that the most important provider of meat to mankind has overcome so many PC obstacles to be given his rightful spot among the other creatures in that holy scene.

Again, a happy New Year to one and all.

Country Matters by The Hodge, Dec 17

Country Matters Dec 17 by The Hodge
“What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?”

Bertholt Brecht (1898-1956)

No doubt we’ll all be going daft buying in food for the Christmas feast… turkey/goose/rib of beef/nut roast and then all the trimmings; the Brussels, the parsnips, the stuffing, the chipolatas and then the puds and the crackers and the booze But don’t forget in all this retail exhaustion, the cheese!

I glanced at a survey recently asking who would rather give up cheese or chocolate and the answers were pretty equal but I thought it was a daft question. My only comment would be that if you’re setting a mouse trap, mice actually seem to prefer chocolate, so keep all the cheese for yourself! Cheese in its many forms and guises can be robust or subtle, creamy or rocky, smelly or sublime. Did you know that there are more varieties of cheese produced now in the UK than in France? Amazing! Yet with all these artisan cheeses, we still tend to stick to the tried and tested Cheddar and if you think that the gorge in Somerset must be pretty impressive to produce all this, be aware that there is no protection on the name ‘Cheddar’ and something in the region of 150,000 tons of it is imported every year so eating Cheddar is unlikely to be helping our beleaguered dairy farmers.

Of course, the staple at Christmas is Stilton cheese, the blue-veined variety from around Leicestershire, Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire which does have European protected status. This seems a little odd as it originated around Peterborough in Cambridgeshire but we mustn’t try to fathom the European bureaucrat’s mind-set. Sacrilege it might be but to my taste it’s a little too creamy and I prefer my blue cheese to have a bit more bite so I won’t be competing with you for the last one in the shop – that’ll be someone else.

But Christmas is a great excuse to try a few different cheeses and expand your repertoire. So be bold and go out and try something different and build up a cheese board that will surprise and delight your family and guests.

Cheese making goes back thousands of years but how on earth did someone sit down and decide it would be a good thing to curdle milk with rennet, (the lining of a cow’s stomach), and then let it mature for weeks or months or years. The most likely scenario is that somehow it all happened by accident and the end result was so good that early man decided to replicate the process.

One explanation may be that before rennet, they used woodlice to curdle the milk instead and it may be that our forebears observed the effect of some woodlice falling in a vat of milk and causing it to curdle. An early name for the woodlouse was ‘cheeslip’, acknowledging his important work in the dairy.

And if on Boxing Day or beyond you tire of all the feasting and yearn for a simple cheese on toast, make sure you have plenty of Wensleydale handy. The British Cheese Board did exhaustive work on the subject with scientists and food testers and declared that Wensleydale made the best cheese on toast. Who runs the British Cheese Board? I don’t know but it sounds as if it might be Wallace and Grommit but whoever, you now know their recommendation.

And if you’re still debating what the subject of your main course is going to be, spare a grateful thought that you hail from the Cotswolds and not from the Outer Hebrides. There they wouldn’t give a walnut or a tangerine for your turkey or your goose. There they demand instead a ‘guga’, or baby gannet. Caught on the cliffs in early summer, they are stored outside until Christmas in salt. Around 2,000 are eaten this way every year. The skin, the best part apparently, oozes a sticky, black oil and the flesh is said to taste like a cross between a duck and mackerel. The islanders don’t like anything fancy to detract from their prized ‘guga’ so eat it accompanied only by boiled potatoes.

If I’ve whetted your appetite, go away and bother your preferred supermarket.

Whatever you feast upon, have a very happy Christmas and prosperous and healthy New Year!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Deck the Halls: Christmas Concert Sun Dec 17th at Bingham Hall

Some of the people who make MJ-UK great!
It’s beginning to look like Christmas and opera Singer Maria Jagusz is busily preparing the students of MJ-UK Music And Arts for their annual concert. MJ-UK is made up of outstanding young local singers. Former students who are now enjoying professional careers join the younger singers to perform in shows and concerts both locally and nationwide. Over the past ten years they have raised thousands of pounds to help local charities.

MJ-UK together with musical directors Barry Potts and Chris Jagusz are thrilled to be joined by Cirencester Male Voice Choir and special guests from the world of Musical Theatre and Opera .The evening is bound to get audiences in the mood for Christmas in a concert full of uplifting music, festive fun, carol sing-alongs and songs that will have you dancing in the aisles.

The concert is proud to be supporting the charity Cotswold Breast Cancer Now. 

Tickets are £10 and £5 and are available from Cirencester Visitor Information Centre at the Corinium Museum, Park Street, Cirencester 01285 654180, and on the door.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Dining in Style in Teatro

Piano in the bar.
Carlo Vuolo reviews Teatro, the new restaurant at Ingleside.
Cirencester’s newest dining venue, Teatro, opened its doors fully on Saturday 21st October, following a ‘soft’ opening on Friday 6th October, with a 25% discount on the menu, the bar and restaurant had received many positive reviews from customers.

Teatro Bar and Restaurant is part of Ingleside House in Beeches Road, and has replaced the popular music venue The Vaults, which has now moved to The Golden Farm Inn. The rooms have been decorated to an exceptionally high standard and each of the four separate dining areas has its own style, from the bright and colourful Flamingo Room to the cosy and intimate Booth. The bar area is open and light, with a range of seating options. There is a lovely courtyard area outside which will surely prove very popular on summer evenings.

Jan and I had a table booked on the opening night for 7.30 but as the place was fairly quiet at that time we decided to sample a couple of the twenty-four different gins on offer in the bar. Ollie, Ollie and Callum, the three bartenders, were most helpful and, having recently endured a marathon tasting session themselves, as part of their induction, were able to recommend suitable pre-dinner libations. My Dauntless gin with elderflower cordial, fresh raspberries, a sprig of rosemary and Fevertree tonic (Cinchona tree bark contains quinine, used as a remedy for malaria – geddit?) was very refreshing and a perfect aperitif whilst Jan’s Cotswold gin tonic and a bayleaf certainly hit the spot.

We enjoyed some nibbles as we perused the menu. Lamb koftas with mint yoghurt for me (slightly too salty on their own but perfect with the yoghurt) and fried haloumi with mixed herbs for Jan, very tasty. For starters I chose the soup of the day, curried sweet potato, which was thick and smooth but perhaps not as spicy as I expected, whilst Jan’s wild mushroom arancini were delicious.

The ten main course options were fairly standard, fish, chicken lamb and beef all featured with a couple of vegetarian/vegan options, but the range of fresh ingredients and subtle twists made choosing quite testing. I was tempted by the wagyu beefburger but opted for the braised wagyu short rib ragu with hand rolled herb tagliatelle. The beef was lean and tender, the sauce rich and tagliatelle perfectly al dente. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. Jan’s artichoke tart with sautéed new potatoes and baby vegetables was good but rather a small portion and perhaps not something to choose if just having a main course, but as part of a two or three course meal would not leave one feeling overfull.

We selected a beautifully smooth Neropasso red from the Veneto region of Italy to accompany our first two courses but consulted the resident ‘gin expert’, Maitre d’ LisaMarie, to recommend something to go with our deserts. My excellent white chocolate
Chefs at work.
panna cotta was paired with Williams Chase grapefruit gin and Jan’s apple, fig and almond tarte tatin was perfectly complimented by Ophir gin with red chillies, both with Fevertree tonic, and both combinations pronounced wonderful.

My only criticisms of what was a lovely evening are 1) when you placed your knife or fork on the odd bowl-shaped plates they slid down into the food, and 2) the music from the bar was too loud from the dining area speakers, although separate volume controls in each room are due to be fitted shortly.

The music from the bar! Resident pianist, Steven Reid-Williams, who has toured with Boyzone and The Undertones as well as his own band, performs on most Friday and Saturday evenings. Outstanding both technically and vocally, it would be worth spending an evening in the bar enjoying his music even if not dining. I would pay good money to watch him in a different context.

Overall Teatro promises to be a ‘go to’ venue for lovers of fine dining, a relaxed atmosphere and an essentially classy ambience. Clearly no corners have been cut to create Cirencester’s latest and perhaps finest bar and restaurant. (Other dining experiences are available). At present Teatro is open in the evening from Thursday to Saturday, and Sunday lunchtimes. There are plans to extend this gradually, and to offer themed evenings with cuisines from around the world. For those going to see a production at the Barn Theatre, a pre-performance meal, from 5.30, would make a complete West End experience in Cirencester.

Corinium Museum Exhibitions & Events

The Corinium Museums facade.
& Events

November 2017

Found Fired and Fabulous
Mixed Craft exhibition
2 November – 26 November

Found objects, fired glass and ceramics become unique, colourful and delicate creations in a fabulous exhibition by five local artists. Marion Mitchell translates watercolour into fantastic ceramic sculptures and bowls. Amanda Moriarty's utilises dynamic colour to create unique kiln-fired glass. Tara Davidson’s new ‘Poetry in Porcelain’ and rusty gold-edged bowls are inspired by her life and firing processes. Hannah Mathison's reclaimed metal and wood sculptures transport you to a world of inspiration and creativity. Gourd and Horse presents a range of functional handcrafted stoneware including yarn bowls, orchid pots and tableware. 
Perfect gifts for Christmas.

Admission free
All work for sale

Landscapes and Seascapes
Mini Exhibition by Derek Taylor
2 November – 2 December
A collection of artwork featuring watercolour and acrylic paintings. From ships on vivid blue seas to tranquil countryside and woodland scenes. Derek Taylor is an artist from Malmesbury whose love of colour has inspired his varied and interesting work.

Included in admission
Art work for sale

Revealing a New Collection
Afternoon Talk with James Harris
Thursday 9 November, 2.30-4pm

Come and see the big reveal and learn about a metal-detected collection from the Cotswold Water Parks which spans from the Bronze Age to post-Medieval. What stories can nearly 400 objects tell us about one site? See the real objects. This one is not to be missed!

Cost: £6.75 per adult, £5.75 for season ticket holders
Booking recommended

Their Finest
Corinium Cinema
Thursday 9 November, 7pm

A British film crew attempts to boost morale during World War II by making a propaganda film about the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk. Starring Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin.

Cost: £6.25 per adult, £5.25 concessions
Run time: 1 hr. 54 min.  (12A)
Booking recommended

The Corinium Sessions
Special Event
Friday 10 November, 8-10pm

A musical fundraising event for the ‘Stone Age to Corinium’ project.

Following the Success of our first sessions join us once again for a magical night of Music amongst the Mosaics. A chance to enjoy the very best of local original talent and Cirencester’s rich heritage, whilst raising funds towards the Stone Age to Corinium project.

We welcome the incredible Elles Bailey - 'One to Watch for 2017'.  Local duo ‘A New Leaf,’ ‘Counter Measures’ whose vocal stylings breathe life into songs new and old, alongside the amazing singer songwriter Emily-Jane Sheppard. Refreshments available. Under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult. Doors open 7:45pm.

Cost: £10 per adult, £9 for Season ticket holders
Booking recommended

Calligraphy - Roman Capitals
Adult Workshop with Adele Dark
Thursday 16 November, 10-1pm

Look at the original Roman Capital lettering carved into stone in the Corinium Museum collections. With artist Adele Dark, learn about the form and design of Roman Capital letters as used in calligraphy. Practicing this ancient art, you will design a panel about you including your name.

Adele Dark, Artist and Calligrapher, is a fully qualified teacher who has worked with museums, art centres and schools both in Jersey and the UK. Adele is member of the Society of Scribes and a printmaking graduate. Visit adeledark.squarespace.com

Cost: £25 per adult, £22 for season ticket holders
Booking essential

The Year 1217
Afternoon Talk with Tim Porter
Thursday 16 November, 2-4pm

800 years ago England was in the throes of a massive insurrection and a foreign invasion. That it survived intact and retained its ruling dynasty, was down to one 70 year old man – William Marshall the Regent. This talk will tell the story of an amazing, epic year of war, intrigue and larger-than-life characters.

Cost: £6.75 per adult, £5.75 for season ticket holders
Booking recommended

Evening Lecture with Dominic Sandbrook
Thursday 23 November, 7-8.30pm

Join author and TV presenter Dominic Sandbrook for an evening lecture in the Corinium Museum. Dominic Sandbrook is the author of many books, most recently The Great British Dream Factory: The Strange History of Our National Imagination, published by Penguin Books. He is the presenter
Dominic Sandbrook
of a number of highly successful BBC television series, on subjects as diverse as the joys of the Volkswagen and the history of science fiction.  He writes reviews and articles principally for the Sunday Times and Daily Mail. Dominic will be happy to sign books after his talk.

In partnership with Waterstones and Penguin Books

Cost: £6.75 per adult, £5.75 for season ticket holders
Booking recommended

Rural Cinema - The Promise
Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 November - 2.15pm

Cost: £5.20 per adult, £4.40 concession
Booking recommended

Animal Magnetism
Exhibition by Anita Saunders
30 November – 7 January

Anita Saunders is a figurative artist, printmaker and illustrator taking inspiration from the stunning rural setting of the Cotswolds in the UK. Growing up surrounded by the natural beauty of the Cotswolds; the people, animals and plants of her childhood delighted and fascinated her.

This exhibition shares Anita’s love and admiration for the natural world, expressed through a variety of media: paintings, textiles and print making. Beautiful artworks and furnishings for the country home. Perfect gifts for Christmas.

Free admission
All art works for sale

Anglo-Saxon Gloucestershire
Evening Lecture with Carolyn Heighway
Thursday 30 November, 7-8.30pm
Carolyn Heighway will discuss Gloucestershire from the end of Roman rule to the coming of the Normans. It is a long period, over 600 years, and only thinly documented through at least the first half of that time. Drawing on archaeological evidence alongside the written word, Carolyn will build up a picture of Anglo-Saxon life in the county. 

Carolyn Heighway is an archaeological consultant with special expertise in the archaeology of Gloucester and the Anglo-Saxon period. She is a director, with her husband Richard Bryant, of Past Historic.

Cost: £6.75 per adult, £5.75 for season ticket holders
Booking recommended

Contact details:
Corinium Museum, Park Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2BX
T: 01285 655611 E: coriniummuseum@slm-ltd.co.uk 

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

M.A.P.S Tyre Maintenance Tips

Motoring with M.A.P.S. by Jonathan Wills
Tyre Wear and Topping Up Tips

A happy tyre.
As the darkening autumn nights advance upon us and we say goodbye to the long days of - a pretty wet at times - summer, it is time to think about the additional dangers that the forthcoming winter brings upon the motorist. Not only extra hours of darkness, but leaves and debris blown onto the roads, blinding low sunsets and a later morning sunrise glinting off wet roads. Plus the frost, fog, ice etc, and of course, other road users not paying attention or simply making human errors.

As wondrous as the modern motor car is with its bi-xenon lights, Iphone connectivity, park assist and the rest, one thing that has not changed at all is that all cars are connected to planet earth via four bits of rubber with each contact area not much bigger than the palm of your hand. A problem with modern motor cars is they are normally shod with very wide, low profile tyres which are great for sharp handling. But it does mean the inner edge of the tyre, even when on full steering lock is seldom seen.

Time for a change.
A stark reminder of how different both edges of the same tyre can be was brought home to me as I was working on a car recently. The first image shows the tyre when fitted to the vehicle looking worn but not particularly dangerous. The second image shows the tyre off the car, and it is clearly illegal and very dangerous. It is always prudent to check your tyres regularly for road worthiness, check tread depth, damage to sidewalls bulges cuts and pressures regularly as run flat tyres can look fine when they are not.

It is also worth checking vehicle fluid levels more regularly especially washer fluid as you use it more this time of year on muddy Cotswold roads and you can be fined if found to have a empty washer bottle! If unsure any garage should oblige and help.  It’s surprising what a professional pair of eyes can spot!