Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Country Matters by The Hodge April 18

A local pub, the Royal Oak, in its majesty.
Country Matters
By The Hodge

“Whoe’er has travell’d life’s dull round,
Where’er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome at an inn.”

William Shenstone 1714-1763 Written on a Window of an Inn

Last October my theme for this humble page was the sad gradual loss of that institution of the countryside and the village especially, the country pub. Statistics suggest that one hostelry a day disappears in Great Britain and someone with a cleverer mathematical mind than my own should be able to calculate on that basis when the very last one will close forever. I just hope that I am long gone before then.

But having listed some of the local inns that have gone, I am here today to report on encouraging and hopeful news – a few have bucked the trend and reopened and we in this locale I hope will do our duty and flock to their doors to give them our support.

Firstly, Kemble’s only pub, The Tavern, is now reopen and doing great food according to reports I hear. A community the size of Kemble deserves a hub where locals can gather to drink, socialise and eat and I very much hope that The Tavern will now have a long and successful future. Incidentally, as a promotion, they are currently offering a 50% discount on food orders on Mondays, an offer that’s hard to ignore.

Then in South Cerney where there are two such establishments, its oldest and third, The Royal Oak, has reopened after about six months when locals feared it would be gone forever. But instead of a new landlord parachuted in from some distant part by the brewery, a unique modern experience for this village is a co-operative arrangement whereby eight villagers have got together, pooled their talents and hard-earned cash as a collective. These enthusiastic locals have some experience both in the world of licensed premises and food sourcing and catering so it is not entirely a blind dream. Together they have stripped the interior of the pub and they reopened the bar a couple of weeks ago and the kitchen a week later. The extensive dining room is being refurbished next and will soon burst forth with a quality menu with both British favourites and an international influence to cater for almost all tastes. As might be expected when gardens on television get makeovers on a regular basis, there are plans to really make the outside area user friendly for both drinkers and diners in the summer months – in other words the complete package.

But being locals themselves, the new landlords and landladies are keen to maintain the village pub feel and the aged locals coming in for a pint and a packet of crisps will be made as welcome as the tourist parties attracted to the Cotswold Water Park and looking for the genuine experience of a Gloucestershire pie and pint. And talking of welcome, dogs have a space reserved in front of the log fire as long as they are accompanied by well-behaved humans.

Such co-operative ventures are to be welcomed and reflect successful initiatives in other parts of the country to keep alive village pubs and shops as the hub of the community. All we need now is news that the village Post Office will be taken over and re-opened there and the Royal Oak will indeed be the complete package. It is a brave move by these individuals and I very much hope they succeed and perhaps inspire others in the Cotswolds to get together and keep their village pub alive – and thriving!

Country Matters by The Hodge March 2018

Country Matters
By The Hodge
“Never eat more than you can lift
Miss Piggy
Clip your hedges!
Following on from last month’s little piece on the privations being experienced by those people back home in Britain in 1918 when rationing was introduced, I was intrigued to find this little snippet of news. It concerns an MP – Mr William John McGeagh MacCaw – the representative in parliament for the constituency of West Down in Northern Ireland.

He was taken to court under the 1917 Food Hoarding Order, a law brought in to try and ameliorate the effects of food shortages before rationing began. When I first read this, I assumed it was going to be a minor infringement and that they were making an example of a public figure but I was wrong.

Mr MacCaw MP was fined £400 – a huge sum – and the hoard of food was confiscated. What was found at his home in Godstone, Surrey by inspectors of the Local Food Control Committee and another from the Ministry of Food was as follows:

Flour – 435lbs
Tapioca – 641/2lbs
Biscuits – 1001/2lbs
Oatmeal – 59lbs
Sugar – 102lbs
Semolina – 531/2lbs
Tea – 53lbs
Golden Syrup – 34lbs
An old poster exulting rationing.

Rice – 1341/2lbs
Honey – 211/2lbs

But there was more! They then searched his London flat and found additional hoardings of:

Tea – 12lbs
Tapioca – 321/2lbs
Flour – 473/4lbs
Rice – 106lbs
Oatmeal – 571/2lbs
Sugar – 281/4lbs

Mrs MacCaw was also charged but the charges were dropped due to ill health. Unfortunately, the news report fails to give details of any arguments used in his defence such as Mr MacCaw was hoping perhaps to corner the market to supply the House of Commons catering department or that he had a very large family. I have not personally had tapioca or semolina since I left school and have not in a single day missed either but tastes were different then.

Amazingly, the court found him not guilty for hoarding golden syrup but the other charges were upheld and as well as the fine, Mr MacCaw had to pay 35 guineas (£36.75) costs.

I don’t know about you but I find such snippets of social history fascinating.

* * * * *

Easter will soon be upon us as it is early this year. By then spring should fully have sprung and we will be enjoying the sights and sounds of blossom, the flowering bulbs and birdsong, (designed mainly to establish territory and tell competitors to sling their hook!). Please try and ensure that you cut any untidy hedges before nesting starts in the next couple of weeks. If you don’t manage it, then learn to live with a straggly hedge until August at least to help protect the songbirds. Farmers are prevented by law from hedge cutting during these months, the only exception being if road safety is threatened.

Thursday, 22 March 2018


The Secret Garden, the first professional production by The Barn Theatre, was performed on Monday evening to an enthusiastic audience of press and VIPs.

Dickon's Band: Some amazing music was provided by this
multi-talented cast, and the singing was excellent. 

It was an absolute delight.

Based on the children’s book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this innovative musical adaptation, directed by Dominic Shaw, brought together possibly the most talented assemblage of actors ever to perform on a Cirencester stage.

Where Lucy Simon’s original score required a twenty-five piece orchestra, Dominic instead exploited the musical abilities of the cast, with instruments ranging from guitar and piano to accordion and cajon drum box, to rework it, producing an upbeat folk-rock vibe which kept the show moving apace. This contrasted perfectly with the haunting melodies of the ghost of Lily Craven, played by Jaimie Pruden, making her UK stage debut.

Martha (Jennie O'Leary) tries to tease Mary
out of her sulks

Mary Lennox, was wonderfully acted by Daniella Piper with the required pouts, obstinacy and single-mindedness of a 10 year old.  Within this dark tale of despair and rejuvenation, where both the haunted characters and the eponymous garden is brought back to life and purpose by the determination of this child, there were some welcome interludes of comedy and sheer joy. 

The interaction between Archie’s housekeeper, Martha – played well by Jenny O’Leary, and the stubborn Mary, was very entertaining, as was Mary’s relationship with Dickon, Martha’s maverick but kindly brother, played with rock-star presence by Alex James-Ellison.

Overcoming the restrictions posed by the limited space, the cast used puppets to represent both the dearly departed and the sickly child Colin, although at times this became confusing, as Colin’s puppeteer, Celeste de Veazey, was actually acting the part of Colin too. If you didn’t know the story the plot was a little difficult to follow, so it would be well worth reading a synopsis beforehand.

Mary Lennox and Colin Craven with 'puppet Colin' - cleverly manipulated by Celeste de Vearey, 

But these are minor points, as the acting and musical virtuosity of the cast created a magical and captivating experience which fully deserved the standing ovation it received from the packed audience. 

Review by Jan and Carlo Vuolo, Cirencester Scene.

The show, at Cirencester’s first professional theatre, runs from 21st March until 15th April and should not be missed. Tickets are from £14.

For full details and to book, go to www.barntheatre.org.uk

More great music with Steffan Rizzi (Ensemble), Jamie Pruden (Lily Craven)
and Jamie Ross (Ensemble) in background.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Brazillian Jiu Jitsu at South Cerney 24th and 25th March

Brazillian Jiu Jitsu will be starting regularly in South Cerney, only a five minute ride from the Cirencester town centre. Sat 24th and Sun 25th will see free taster sessions for all comers.

Affiliated to Gracie Swindon's black belt Lucus Luz, Connor Heaven will be teaching classes at Fentons Community Centre. With classes in the week and at the weekend, it's easy for anyone to pursue this exciting hobby.

For anyone not in the know, BJJ is a grappling art from South America. Requiring very little equipment it is easy to take part in, but very hard to master! Therefore the greatest expense will always be the time put into training.

Far better than a computer game, but just as addictive, BJJ will no doubt suit anyone wishing to discover more about themselves. For more details check the flier!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Rekindle Feb 18 Article: Children in Need

CHILDREN IN NEED by Virginia Stourton, Rekindle

I was interested to read that Parents are now seeking Coaches for their children as young as four. Considering that the mainstream coaching industry is now worth £1.5 billion worldwide there is a good chance that parents making use of the system themselves can see advantages that will assist their children.

Children as well as adults are under a great deal of pressure to perform to a high standard. Falling short of ideals today would appear to cause more trauma than previously perceived.

Never mind get over it are no longer robust enough to see one through.

Yes, it is annoying when your little angel goes upstairs and slams the bedroom door leaving a devotedly cooked meal on the table.

Ok you have not been there, so you won’t know that the knee jerk reaction is to run upstairs and plead for them to come down.

Worse, if you are a bit fraught you find yourself apologising and saying of course it was ok for the mobile to be used while eating as you had not thought it might be an emergency. Bah! If this parenting, then roll on the coach for four-year olds.

So, you ask how is it done? It begins with detailed conversations with the parents. This is best not done with a drink in your hand.

Then time spent getting to know the child at home. That’s why the nondisclosure of drink could be important.

Playing games before moving on to key activities which include magic breathing. A slow deep breath that brings a child back into the moment. (no mention of where they were when out of the moment- never mind)

Each child gets a small soft toy called a breathing buddie which can rest on their stomachs enabling them to see them rise and fall.

Anger emotions are also played through puppets. The results seem good for which there is not room to describe here.

My own parenting, I now see was shamefully lacking. I was not beyond sitting outside the slammed bedroom door with a saucepan of delicious melted chocolate- just enough for me.

On complaining about an outrageous telephone bill (no mobiles then) the teenage culprit threatened to leave home. My answer: so am I

I guess it’s me who needs the breathing buddie now.

Love is the best remedy and if coaching four-year olds is a way of showing this who am I to knock it.
For more info about Rekindle contact virginia@rekindleacademy.co.uk or call 07799 066464 / 01285 720833

The Body Workshop Cirencester-Change the way your mind and body feel!

Are you fed up of your body feeling a certain way? If so why not look at changing the way you take care of your mind and body by exploring a new exercise approach.

Over the last 10 years research has been building regarding neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections.  With every repetition of a thought or emotion, we reinforce a neural pathway - and with each new thought, we begin to create a new way of being. These small changes, frequently enough repeated, lead to changes in how our brains work.

How does this link into Pilates? Well Joesph Pilates’ work focused on connecting the mind and body, while doing his exercises in order to change how his mind and body felt.

We Offer…...
MatGroup exercise class done on a mat (max 12 per class) 
Reformer - using a spring resistance machine, that you can lie, sit and stand on (max 6 per class)
Studio - individually tailored programmes using all of the Pilates equipment (max 4 per class). Suitable for those who maybe rehabilitating from injury.
Seated - for those less mobile and cant get up and down from the floor easily.

We also offer weekly Franklin Method Workouts which use the same idea that thoughts and images can change and improve how you move and feel. This conditioning class will raise your heart rate, tone your whole body and make you feel great. Only available in Cirencester at The Body Workshop Studios.

For more information call/email us 01285 655446/ admin@thebodyworkshop.net or visit www.thebodyworkshop.net.

Phoenix Gardeners get Ready for Spring

Phoenix Gardeners getting ready for spring
Phoenix Gardeners are already thinking about the spring and how nice Cirencester will look this summer.  

Over 2000 plug plants are on order, ready to be planted up in March to go out into the town’s tubs and hanging baskets.  Meg Blumsom, co-ordinator said “Each year we have a different colour scheme and aim for a relaxed rather than municipal planting style”.
Money to pay for the flowers is mostly raised by the group of volunteers themselves.  This year they will hold a coffee morning on March 7th in Bingham Gallery, and a plant sale in the market place in May.  Some tubs are sponsored by local groups or businesses that are keen to see the town look a nice place, and it is hoped that more of these will come forward.
But the group also needs volunteers to help keep the 50 tubs looking their best.  Volunteers are asked to give about half an hour a week over the summer to mind one or two tubs by watering, dead-heading etc and can be carried out at times to suit your needs.
If you prefer a regular commitment, then a small group meets fortnightly on a Wednesday to maintain the main flower bed in the Abbey Grounds. 
If you are interested in volunteering, or helping in any other way then please get in touch.

phoenixgardeners@gmail.com or telephone 01285 657696

Pet Talk with Corinium Vets Feb 18: How to Get Pets in Cars!

Pets in Cars!
Tips to help a pet get used to the car

Give your dog treats in the car without actually driving anywhere. Keep the rides very short and positive. Take your puppy on short car rides as early as possible.
Get your dog used to windshield wipers. Use pheromone treatments, Adaptil collar or Adaptil Spray in the car, 30 minutes before the journey. You could try ginger tablets for dogs for car sickness. Phone your veterinary surgeon to discuss using more potent motion sickness medicine if this fails.

Cats should get used to the carrier before travelling. Never put it away, so it doesn’t only appear when there is a vet visit. Place absorbable bedding material (a large towel or an incontinence pad) in the carrier to avoid them having to sit in their mess if they have an accident. Familiar smells make your cat less stressed. Encourage your cat to sleep or be feed in the carrier. This allows the cat to pass it’s smell onto the carrier and bedding material. You can rub a cloth around the cat’s face to pick up the smell and place this in the carrier. Spray the carrier and the car with Feliway pheromone spray, 30 minutes before travelling. Cover the carrier with a towel or blanket.
The Highway Code states that drivers need to ensure that dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so that they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop too quickly. You should use of a dog seat belt harness, pet carrier, crate, or guard as ways of restraining your pet while driving. Drivers who don’t restrain dogs and cats while on the move are not just breaking the law, they could also be invalidating their car insurance.

Please feel free to contact our team at Corinium Veterinary Surgery if you need more tips and advice.

Local Aviation Scholarships at Cotswold Airport

Are you or someone you know eligible?
Cotswold Airport Aviation Scholarships 2018 – Dates Released!
The hugely popular ‘Cotswold Airport Aviation Scholarship’, which launched back in 2007, will be open for 2018 applications from Monday 22nd January, with a closing date on Friday 30th March. Twenty successful applicants will be invited to the interview stage of the application process on Saturday 21st April. Following the interviews, the 10 final scholars will be selected for the programme, which runs from Monday 6th to Friday 17th August (weekdays only).
The unique industry scholarship programme has changed the lives of many young people over its ten year history, seeing scholars embarking on fantastic careers in the world of aviation, from engineering to commercial flying (press case studies available). The programme was founded by Cotswold Airport owner, Ronan Harvey, an ex-RAF engineer, aviation expert and successful entrepreneur, who wanted to open up the braod and exciting world of aviation career opportunities to young people from the local area.
The scholarship programme has been significantly enhanced, with the generous addition of a sponsorship package from Gulf Aviation. 2018 marks the second consecutive year that Gulf Aviation has supported this initiative, enabling the organisers to include additional aviation industry site visits such as Bristol International Airport; an increased number of loggable fling hours; and drone tuition with on-site UAV Academy.
2018 marks the eleventh year of the Cotswold Airport Aviation Scholarship and has resonance and importance given 2018 also marks the 100th year of the founding of the RAF and the centenary of the end of WWI. In celebration of these two historic anniversaries, the best performer of next year’s scholarship will be fully trained for their PPL (Private Pilot’s Licence) at Cotswold Airport, funded by the scholarship programme.

Students from Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Bristol and Berkshire can apply. Applicants must be 14 to 18 years of age on the 6th August 2018. Applications can be submitted online at www.cotswoldairport.com

Stroud Choral Presents Bach St John Passion


A warm welcome awaits you at Stroud Choral Society’s Spring Concert at the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Cirencester on Saturday 10th March at 7.00pm

After performing in other venues recently such as Tewkesbury Abbey and Bath Abbey this will be our first concert in Cirencester. We are very excited about this and are looking forward with great anticipation to coming back to perform in the Cotswolds especially at such a wonderful venue. We are one of the oldest choral societies in the country and were founded in the first part of the nineteenth century following the opening of the Stroud Subscription Rooms in 1834. We currently have around 140 members of all ages.

The St John Passion was written during Bach's first year as director of church music in Leipzig and was first performed on April 7, 1724. The structure of the work falls in two halves narrating the Passion of Christ as told in the Gospel of John. Ariosos and arias reflect on the action, and chorales use hymn tunes and texts that would have been familiar to a contemporary congregation. Compared with the St Matthew Passion, the St John Passion has been described as more extravagant, with an expressive immediacy, at times more unbridled and less "finished". Our performance falls just before Easter which of course is the perfect time for such an emotional and moving piece.

The Society, along with the excellent Canzona Period Ensemble and four professional soloists, will be conducted by Huw Williams who is also Director of Music at Bath Abbey.

Tickets are £15 (under 16’s free) and are available from Cirencester Visitor Centre on 01285 654180, via the box office at www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk 01453 760900, from Choir members or on the door.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Corinium Radio Feb 18

New Corinium Radio Presenter Seeks Old CDs

Kate Jones our new volunteer presenter
A new volunteer with Cirencester’s Corinium Radio is offering to help listeners with their housework. Kate Jones, the local community radio station’s latest presenter, has come up with a way of cutting the dusting.

She’s launched an appeal for supporters of the station to donate old CDs which she can use in her new music and lifestyle show.
And, of course, they’ll also help boost the library of Corinium Radio, which still relies quite heavily on the CD format.
Said Kate, “With people often choosing to have a clear-out after Christmas, I thought this might be a good time to ask if they felt they could donate some of their old CDs.

“All discs will be greatly appreciated by the station, whether the music is modern or not and regardless of the style.”

At the time of writing, Kate was gearing up to launch her new programme ‘Podcast Live With Kate’ and was looking to include a wide range of both contemporary and older music tracks.
Said station spokesman Tony Coleman, “We’d better come clean and make it clear that Kate won’t actually be coming round to listeners’ homes to help with the chores.

“She just felt that if people were kind enough to donate CDs they weren’t using anymore they would have fewer things to dust.”
Donated CDs can be posted through the door or left at the reception of Bingham House in Cirencester where CR has its base.

For more about the appeal or if you think you could help run the station contact Corinium Radio chair Carole Boydell on 07776 144033.

Fieldfare Cafe Thistledown

Ready to serve.
Fieldfare Café is a new development at Thistledown Farm. We are open throughout the winter Wednesday to Sunday from 9am to 4:30pm. Lunch is served 12pm – 2:30pm Wednesday to Friday and 12pm – 3pm Saturday & Sunday. Brunch is served 9:30am – 11:30am Friday to Sunday. 
For most of the year we’re open Wednesday – Sunday, and throughout the summer holidays we’re open every day, offering gourmet coffee, fine teas and a wide range of cold drinks as well as a selection of homemade cakes and patisseries. Food from our clay oven and barbecue is served Wednesday – Sunday. Pizzas are served 5pm – 8pm Fri & Sat from April to October. We stay open late at the weekend for wood-fired sourdough pizza nights – for most of our camping season this is both Friday and Saturday night. Booking is essential for all services as we serve a limited number of dishes – 01453 860420.
We’re fully licensed (no BYO) and stock local beers, ciders, wines and even local gin! We also serve wines and prosecco from further afield!
An example dish from Fieldfare Cafe.
Please see our menu on the website for the week’s dishes. All of our food is cooked using a clay oven which we made ourselves, or our ceramic barbecue. Much of the food is influenced by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, with lots of herbs and spices used to create fresh and flavourful dishes. The menu is limited, and it’s our intention to only offer a small range of fresh foods. Nearly all of the meat we use is both free range and local (although occasionally we may have to source from elsewhere). We also use our own lamb and our polytunnel supplies some of the vegetables, salads and herbs.
We have seating indoors and outside, including tables under a clear roof so you can sit out even when it’s raining. Fieldfare is set in acres of beautiful Cotswold valley and café visitors are free to explore the upper field around the café (lower fields are strictly for campers). Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leads at all times.
Fieldfare Cafe is at Tinkley Lane, Nympsfield, GL10 3UH

Appearing as a Witness in Family Court Cases

Tips for Parents (and others) appearing as witnesses in Family Cases.

By Steven Barratt Family Law Solicitor from Alison Fielden & Co Tel 01285 653261

What about your evidence? Coaching a witness (rehearsing questions and answers) is not permitted. But there is nothing wrong with explaining to a witness how things work, and how best to get your message across.

What happens

The witness (you) goes to the witness box (it might be a box you stand or sit in or it might be a table). You swear an oath (religious promise) or you affirm (same thing but no God). You are promising to tell the truth - make sure you do.

Don’t refer to notes unless the judge has agreed that you can.

You will be asked to confirm that any statements you have prepared are true. You’ll be taken to each page in the court bundle to check and identify the documents. Make sure you have re-read them before you give evidence. If you spot any errors, let your lawyer know in advance and say you want to correct something at this point.

You will probably be asked some questions to update the court of anything important that has happened since your last statement, any change in your position or to expand on anything missed out of your statements (if the judge agrees). This is called “Examination in chief”.

The other lawyers will now be able to ask you questions in turn. This is called cross examination. At the end your lawyer will have a brief chance to ask you a few more questions dealing with anything unexpected that has cropped up. This is called re-examination. Often your lawyer will not ask anything, so don’t worry if this doesn’t happen.

The judge may ask questions throughout, at the end (and they may then ask the lawyers if they have extra questions as a result) or not at all.

Giving your evidence

Answer all the questions.

If you don’t understand the question, say so.

If you forgot the question, say so.

If you don’t know the answer say you don’t know the answer.

Answer the question you are asked straightforwardly, honestly and simply.

Don’t answer the question you wish you had been asked, answer the one you have been asked.

Don’t disagree just because they are the lawyer for the “other side”. Don’t get cross.

Keep calm. Talk slowly. Take a breath. The judge has to take a note so you need to go slow enough for them to write / type.

Don’t ask questions in reply. The lawyer will just say “I’m not here to answer questions" and that’s just annoying for everyone. Their job is to ask questions. Your job at the moment is to answer them if you can.

Stick to what you did, said or saw – sometimes people are so busy trying to show they didn’t do something (like punching their ex for example) by making clever points about the weaknesses in the evidence against them (she didn’t report it, nobody saw it) that they forget to actually say what happened – “that’s not true” or “that didn’t happen” or “this is what happened” is far more helpful to a judge than “if that happened she would have reported it / shown someone a bruise”.

Watch the judge. Directing your answer to the judge will be less stressful than looking at the social worker or your ex or the lawyer asking you horrid questions. It will also help you make sure they are keeping up, will help the judge assess your evidence, and will help you assess their reaction.

If you need a break because you are upset or you need a wee or you feel sick – say so

If you need help with finding a page say so.

If you have problems reading, hearing or understanding certain words say so.

If you are intimidated by the behaviour of someone in court (for example an ex is staring at you) – say so.

Try not to swear – but if you are explaining what you or someone else said on a particular occasion that’s fine.

Tell it like it is. Don’t sugar coat. Be frank and honest.

One last thing : Sometimes there will be a break in your evidence. You will be warned by your lawyer and / or the judge that you must not speak to anyone about your evidence in this break. It’s better that you don’t spend time over any lunch break with someone else so that no one can accuse you of discussing your evidence with them.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Country Matters Feb by The Hodge 18

Country Matters by The Hodge

“On average we all consume very much fewer calories than we did when rationing was in place. Thus it's not an increase in calorie consumption that is causing the rise in obesity. It just simply isn't. Indeed, if we all returned to that wartime diet we'd all gain substantial amounts of weight.”
The Adam Smith Institute 2015

The year 2018 marks the centenary of the end of World War I – The Great War - and as we approach the end of the year there will be a huge amount of activity in terms of commemorating the peace and the many thousands of brave men who died in what was a truly horrific conflict. My own grandfather was killed on 30th September 1917. His citation records that he died a hero but so did almost all the others.

But my little piece this month is not about the horrors of trench warfare but more about what was happening back at home to those whom the servicemen left behind. We are used to hearing about the privations during the Second World War as my parent’s generation experienced it first-hand. Rationing was widespread and harsh from the early days of 1940 but was it the same in 1914?

The short answer is no, it wasn’t. Firstly, the machinery of warfare was more primitive in the First World War. Aeroplanes were biplanes or triplanes, not very fast and without the massive bomb carrying capacity of a Wellington or Lancaster for instance. Submarines were basic too and it wasn’t until towards the end of WW1 that the Germans tried to starve Britain into submission by sinking merchant ships carrying supplies.

So whilst in the Second World War rationing began within a year with swingeing privations, there was little interference in the food market in WW1 until 1917, and then only in a limited fashion. In 1940, the rations that an adult could obtain for a week were as follows: butter - 50g/2oz; sugar – 225g/8oz; cheese – 50g/2oz; bacon or ham – 100g/4oz; meat – 1s/2d worth (roughly 6p); eggs – 1; margarine – 100g/4oz; tea – 50g/2oz; milk – 1.8l/3 pints (sometimes dropping to 1.2l/2 pints). There were also monthly rations on jam – 225g/1/2lb; dried eggs – 1 x packet; sweets – 350g/12oz. Imagine, for a moment, your weekly supermarket shop, being so restricted. You certainly would not need a trolley.

By contrast, interference in the food market did not commence until 1916 when it became illegal to consume more than two lunchtime courses or three for dinner/supper in any one establishment. However, those determined to eat their fill could circumvent this by eating their requisite courses in one venue then decamping to another for a further splurge. Fines were also introduced for anyone found feeding pigeons or stray animals.

One hundred years ago this month, voluntary rationing was introduced, (no, I have no idea how that worked either), and then as U-boat attacks increased, rationing on a more serious basis was begun in July 1918 on butter, margarine, lard, meat and sugar. But our forebears were already getting used to the idea of shortages as food was simply running out before then. In January 1918 there was a meat shortage which meant that many London butchers had no stock at all. Government intervened and secured limited mutton supplies which were reserved for the poorer areas so at least some in the East End got some form of Sunday lunch whilst those in more prosperous areas did without.

The government also interfered – something they’re good at – in the pricing structure for farmers so that under the 1918 restrictions, their income from beef animals fell by 25% overnight and they then made a loss on every one sold. A great incentive to work hard to feed the country!

Whatever you are eating this coming month, a century on, I’m sure it will be a lot better than anyone was enjoying back then or in the Second World War. Let’s drink a toast to peace!

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Corinium Radio Business as Usual Jan 18

The 2017 Christmas Party!
Business as Usual (BaS)
Corinium Radio January 2018
The big news for January was the launch of the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2018 held at the Corinium Museum. We were treated to a comedy duo comprised of President Les Stephens and Vice President David Fowles presenting an entertaining Question & Answer session about the Awards, for the benefit of would-be entrants or sponsors. David will give more details about this later in this programme.
Mark Tawn of Davey Law gave a very compelling argument in favour of sponsoring the Business Awards categories, which was so inspiring that almost all the categories had found sponsors by the end of the evening!
Amanda Hart of the Corinium Museum spoke to us of the benefits of entering the competition, and how winning could prove a huge boost to a company or organisation. She should know – last year the Corinium Museum won not one, but TWO Awards!
The entry forms are now up on our website cirencesterchamber.org.uk, ready to download and fill out. Use this as an opportunity to look at your business, see what’s working and what isn’t. Please make sure you get the entries in to us in good time, before the end of March.
After the business of the evening was done, the attendees moved back into the atrium where a large spread had been provided by New Brewery Arts, and plenty of bubbly and fruit juices were available to wash it down. The Chamber makes a point of supporting local businesses wherever possible when promoting its events.
Please get involved. It’s a real boost to your business to get an award!
Design tenders are opening for the proposed Waterloo Car Park decking, though at this moment we don’t know when it will reach the Consultation stage. In anticipation of this work, alternative car parking is being sought for use while construction is underway, given that we will lose a further 200 spaces at that point. 
The latest news is that Cirencester Rugby Club has just confirmed they will provide 150 spaces for Monday-Friday use, which will probably be allocated as long stay parking. A very good start!
In the meantime the popular ‘Free after Three’ parking continues in the Brewery and Forum car parks.  It is guaranteed till the end of March, but is hoped to continue as it’s proving a great asset for the retailers.
Another well established business has closed down - Jack’s cafe in Black Jack Street. So many cafes, usually part of chains such as Caffe Nero and Coffee#1, have opened in Cirencester over the last ten years that they have proved a threat to independent shops like these. Even more eateries will come with the proposed cinema complex, which now seems inevitable, since Wildmoor demolished the old Jungle shop in December, as a token gesture to prevent their planning permission from expiring. We still have no clear idea of when this might happen, and are currently left with an unattractive abandoned building site to greet the town’s visitors when they park in the Brewery.
The regenerated Market Place is continuing to thrive, and is a very attractive asset to the town, bringing in visitors, and shoppers. However, few of  the market traders themselves are local businesses, so it is still to be ascertained if  the shoppers spend locally too.
There is still a major problem with traffic flow. A large majority feel that having tested the alternative in Castle Street, and found it unsuccessful; the council should be open to changing the flow so it goes out of the town as before. The Review Our Market Place (ROMP) pressure group continues to push for this.
The new Chesterton Development has been approved despite great controversy and opposition to the huge numbers proposed. ‘Say no to 2350’ has been the cry of the Save Our Cirencester group which has campaigned tirelessly since it was put forward. They feel 1200-1500 houses would be a more sustainable number.
After a cracking start, with a huge celebration in the church with a huge turnout of 500 businesses and community supporters, the Bathurst Friendship initiative has stalled a little. Hopefully, only temporarily. There is definitely the need for a central coordinator to answer all the queries and give guidance.
A lot of businesses and also the Chamber of Commerce will be supporting the World War 1 celebrations this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.
Our Mayor, Councillor Nigel Robbins, is leading this project and increasing awareness amongst both businesses and community alike.

If you have an item of local business news you think may be of interest to us, please email them to me, Jan Sparrow, at biz.scene@coriniumradio.co.uk    

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Signing a New Contract? Advice from Citizens Advice Cotswold District

How many of us have ‘signed on the dotted line’ or consented to the Terms and Conditions without really knowing what we have agreed to? Contracts can carry a great deal of risk for consumers, especially as they are often formed at a distance (i.e. when ordering a product online). This method of contract denies you - the consumer - an opportunity to ask the supplier questions or have the ‘Terms and Conditions’ fully explained to you.
Many companies offer attractive sign-up deals, including generous discounts or a free gift; however this can disguise the true nature of the contract. For example, you might find that you have now consented to pay a monthly subscription fee to their website or signed up to a lengthy contract without understanding the cancellation terms. It is therefore very important to read the ‘Terms and Conditions’, and if you do not understand, do not sign-up. A client recently had major difficulties with a company over its terms and conditions and she stated that the “situation made me extremely stressed”.
Face-to-face consumer contracts also carry risks. Being present gives the supplier the advantage of persistence, and owing to politeness, it can often be difficult to say no. Therefore, if you feel that you are being pressured and you do not fully understand, ask for more time. Take their details, seek help if necessary, and contact them again if you still wish to proceed.

You can get further advice from Citizens Advice Cotswold District which is open Monday-Thursday, 10am-3pm for drop-in sessions, and 10am-4pm for phone calls. To contact Citizens Advice Cotswold District, call: 0808 800 0511. Alternatively, visit our website for information or to find your local office: http://www.citizensadvice-stroudandcotswold.org.uk/stroud-cab-online-advice.php     The Citizens Advice Consumer Service is also available to give advice on: 03454 04 05 06 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm). 

Winter Warmers-Work Place Temperature with Alison Fieden & Co Jan 18

With the winter season back again it’s time for employers to make sure that the workplace is winter-ready and for employees to make sure they know their rights.
Whilst most employers endeavour to make sure that the workplace is a reasonable temperature and that access to hot drinks and heaters are usual practice, what exactly does the law say about what the temperature should be? Well, here we have answered the most common questions about winter in the workplace.

1.    What is the minimum temperature allowed in the workplace?

The answer to this question greatly depends upon what work is carried out and in what type of workplace the job is carried in, but the starting point is what the law actually states. The rules are contained in the Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations (WHSWR). They do not however give a specified minimum temperature (and maximum temperature for that matter), but simply says that the temperature should be “reasonable” and they suggest a minimum temperature of 16C or 13C if the job is a manual one.

Of course, because the law only suggests this minimum temperature, an employer does not have to meet it, however they should carry out a full risk assessment to be able to determine what a reasonable minimum for the individual circumstances is, for example what is reasonable for an office worker will be very different than what is reasonable to a builder working outdoors on site.

2.    I work in an office and the heating is broken, can I go home?

Your employer is entitled to attempt to use another safe method of heating the workplace prior to allowing staff to leave. Any heat supply used must not cause fumes, vapours or gas to be emitted if they are likely to cause harm or injury. Employers should take temperature readings to assess the situation and the reading should be taken at working height, next to workstations and away from windows. If your employer is unable to heat the workplace to a reasonable temperature then you are allowed to leave without losing pay.

3.    I work outside, what minimum temperature applies to me?

If the work you carry out involves rigorous physical effort, the minimum temperature suggested by the WHSWR is 13 Celsius. Again, your employer must assess the situation and make a reasonable decision based on the circumstances.

In addition to the above your employer should provide you with heaters where appropriate, adequate protective clothing for cold environments and sufficient breaks and access to warm drinks/warm food. Your employer could also consider job rotation if some employees are in a warmer environment.

4.    I work in a kitchen and regularly work next to a cold store. What protection do I have?
Again your employer should consider job rotation, or regular breaks in order that you can regularly get warm. If you regularly enter a cold store you should be provided with adequate protective clothing and gloves.

5.    I am an employer, what should I be doing
In addition to the above points, all employers should regularly review their current policies to control any potential risks. Employers should always remember that in addition to policies regarding employees as a whole, they should also take into account policies for employees who require additional requirements such as pregnant employees or those with medical conditions which may be affected by significant/extreme temperature fluctuations.

Your policies and procedures should be adequate to be able to monitor the temperature changes, the needs of staff and to swiftly deal with a change in the circumstances of the workplace due to temperature issues. Always record your assessments of the workplace, any changes, what implementations you have made and any employees with specific needs. Remember, if your employees have to go home because you cannot increase the temperature to a reasonable level, you must pay them.