Convoy Community

Round & About

Berkshire

Convoy Community is dedicated to taking loneliness out of job hunting and can help with the fully funded spaces available on their The Road to Work programme.

With 30 spaces open in Thames Valley (Berkshire) Convoy Communities, they are particularly looking to reach out and support people who are feeling isolated, suffering with their mental health, or struggling with their job hunt. Whether you’ve been unemployed for a little while, have recently been made redundant, or you’re trying to break into the workforce for the first time, they’re here to help.
Convoy says: “We know that the market is tough at the moment. It can be challenging to find a new job at the best of times, but during a global pandemic? Not having to go this journey alone can make a big difference.”

Enter Convoy Community

Convoy takes loneliness out of the job search and harnesses the power of communities to support each other. By helping maintain motivation, momentum, and mental health, the Convoy Community helps turn seekers into finders.

The Convoy Model

Built and developed from lived experience, there are a few components to the Convoy Model that create the space for accountability, hope and reassurance, and inspiration and motivation. It’s the combination of them together that makes the magic.

The daily stand-up – creating accountability

This is the magic ingredient in Convoy. A daily 5-minute meeting that creates the space for accountability, which is key to maintaining momentum and motivation. Members are grouped into accountability groups of three; meeting every weekday, they take 1-2 minutes each to share how their job search is going, answering two questions:

• What did you do yesterday to support your job search?
• What will you do today to help your job search?

Weekly review – boosting hope and providing reassurance

Once a week, Convoy members meet virtually for 40-60 mins to review the week. Job coaches lead these sessions and create space for hope and reassurance to flourish.

Because everyone is sharing their wins and losses, they realise they’re not alone in getting rejected for roles, sharing the “It’s not just me!” feeling. Plus, they get reassurance from hearing others ’wins’ and experience that “It could be me!” feeling.

Weekly guest speakers – providing inspiration, education, and motivation

Once a week, all members of Convoy are invited to a Guest Speaker session on various topics. We’ve had discussions on blockchain, breaking through what holds us back and psychometric testing. We may also discuss practical skills, like making your LinkedIn profile stand out, or creating better cover letters.

In addition, these sessions are also an opportunity to connect with the broader Convoy Community and build on their networks. Research has shown that 80% of roles aren’t filled by direct applications but through networks and connections.

Why was the Convoy Community created?

Convoy’s founder, Christopher Ross, created the Convoy Community out of his own job-hunting experience. After being made redundant from his role at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Christopher found the search for a job isolating. He found the outplacement support helpful, but felt more was needed to bring balance and structure to the job of searching for his next job.

So, drawing on elements from Agile ways of working and project management techniques, he created the support for job seekers he felt he was missing. From here, the Convoy Community has grown, and over the last 18 months, has connected with over 350 people, supporting them with their job hunt, creation of their own businesses or settling into a new role.

How to connect and secure your space

Whether you need support, or someone you know does, Convoy is a community of people travelling in the same direction. Whatever stage you are in your career, Convoy can support you in your job hunt goals, connecting you with a like-minded community all going through the same challenges as you.

If you’d like to know more about Convoy Community, please check out the website convoycommunity.com. And to register your interest in a place, please complete the form: convoycommunity.com/trtweoi
If you have any questions, you can drop us an email here: [email protected]

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Your Will, your way

Round & About

Berkshire

David Robinson, Director of Templar Estate Planning discusses the importance of everyone having an up to date and valid Will. If you do not have a Will or changes have happened in your life, please read on!

Thinking about your Will and how you want your property and assets shared out after you die is something that no one really wants to do… but you know you should. I speak with people every week about this, and one thing is clear – there is always a great sense of relief once your Will and other Estate Planning has been completed.

It has been estimated that two thirds of people in the UK do not have a Will or any other form of estate planning in place, with the average person thinking:

• I’ll sort it later, there is plenty of time.

• What is the need? Everything I have will go to my spouse

• No need, my family will be able to agree on how to divide it all up

• Or.. I’m just not sure how to go about getting it all sorted.

Are you like this?

If you are, I would greatly encourage you to get your affairs in order now. Don’t let your family or loved ones down by dying without a Will. Here at Templar Estate Planning we specialise in providing a bespoke service whilst making the process as easy possible for our clients.

What happens If you don’t have a Will place?

In short it will mean that your loved ones, the people you want to benefit, may have a very big job to sort your affairs at a very difficult time in their life.

Without a Will you will be declared as “Intestate” – this means that your estate will be shared out to your family under certain rules – that may not be in the manner that you would like. This is particularly relevant if you are not married because under intestacy rules, your partner may not get anything.

If you are declared intestate there is a real potential that the courts will need to get involved in order to process the distribution of your estate; this can be costly, take a lot of time and even possibly cause issues within the family at a vulnerable time for them. All of which can be avoided with a Will.

Without a Will, parents of younger children are often surprised to find that should the worst happen, Guardianship of children can be contentious and decided by the Courts – someone who you may not want, could be asked to look after you children. With a Will, you can clearly state who should be the Guardians.

It probably seems obvious to say this, but with a Will you can clearly state who you want to leave your assets to. This is not just any money you might have, but also your personal and loved possessions. Importantly it also means that you can say who should not benefit.

You might have a particular cause or charity that you support and want to leave a legacy towards after you have gone. With a Will you can clearly state who this is, how much they should receive and the reasons behind your gift.

With a Will you can also lower the risk of potential family disputes. We have all heard stories where families have sadly fallen out with each other over a relative’s estate. A clearly written Will with commentary can remove any contention and leave your beneficiaries understanding and respecting your bequests.

Types of Will

We often get asked about simple Wills compared to a more sophisticated ones using Trusts. My view on a simple Will is that, although they are better than nothing, depending on your personal circumstances they can leave you exposed to avoidable threats and lose your family money. When you are planning to get your first Will or checking to see if yours still meets your requirements, think about:

• If you have a larger estate – these days that could mean even just owning your house – you could be exposed to unnecessary Inheritance Tax.

• Care home fees could result in your family home being lost to future generations.

• You may want to ensure that your children’s inheritance is protected if you spouse or partner get married again after you have gone.

• Whether your beneficiaries, for whatever reason, may not be able to manage their inheritance without help. This could be because they are in debt or threatened by creditors, or even not have the mental capacity to cope, through to you not 100% trusting their partners.

These and other threats to your estate can be mitigated by an experienced Will writer and estate planner, utilising more sophisticated Wills with Trusts.

With this type of robust planning, you will leave your estate in good hands and will minimise the work and upset for your beneficiaries.

I urge you to not delay in this vital planning. There are many options to get a Will these days and who you go to will depend on your own circumstances and what you feel comfortable with. The most important thing is to ensure that you have a valid and robust Will and if needed, further estate planning in place, to match your specific needs.

Here at Templar Estate Planning we are happy to, and without charge, take the time to discuss with you, and to ensure that all your needs are covered and importantly that you understand the whole process before you commit to our services.

Contact us today to book your free and absolutely no obligation consultation, we look forward to meeting you.

Call: 0118 948 4381
Email:
Visit our site: www.templarestateplanning.co.uk

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning allows you to put together a clear plan that details exactly your wishes regarding how you would like your estate to be managed and distributed on your death, or managed during your life should you become incapacitated.

What is an estate?

We all have an estate. Granted some may be bigger and more complicated than others, but we all have one. That is why you should be thinking now what should happen to your estate when you die or should you become incapacitated in your lifetime.

Your estate is made up of everything you own: your home and perhaps other property or land you might have, your car, your savings, investments, bank accounts, your business, and your personal possessions right through from jewellery to your golf clubs!

The basic planning you should think about:

Your Will

Number one on the list is your Will. There are many reasons to have a Will, the main is to avoid being declared intestate and therefore having your estate distributed by intestacy rules that may be in a manner that is not to your wishes. This is particularly important for unmarried couples.

Trusts

Trusts are effectively a protective wrapper around your estate or parts of it, which provide the extra protection that your requirements might demand. There are many uses for Trusts, including but not limited to; ensuring that a partner can stay in your family home after your death, protecting younger or vulnerable beneficiaries’ inheritance, or ensuring that your loved ones do not pay unnecessary tax after you have died.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more trusted people to make decisions on your behalf in your lifetime should you lose mental capacity to do so. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions.

Transparency

Transparency and clarity of your wishes. On the whole, Wills and other estate planning is very much about the “what” and the “how”, but not about the “why” of your wishes. We can work to provide clarity on the reasons for your decisions and gifting through our Will Clarity and Statement of Execution documents to leave no room for misinterpretation or possible claims against your Estate.

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St Bartholomew’s: ‘Outstanding’ in all areas

Round & About

Berkshire

High praise for Sixth Form as it prepares to welcome more students to join

At this time, many Year 11 students will be looking forward to Sixth Form and to the greater subject choice, independence and challenge this affords. St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury, has long attracted students from a wide area due to its well-established reputation for successful outcomes.

This application year, however, there will be particular excitement in the air for those joining the Sixth Form following the announcement that it was rated outstanding by Ofsted as part of an overall outstanding judgement for the school.

Ofsted inspectors praised ‘the rich variety of post 16 subjects on offer’ commenting that ‘Sixth Form students show real determination in their learning through focused study’ and are ‘well-prepared to continue their education on to university or to enter the world of work’.

Head of Sixth Form, Mr Cleary, said: “We are delighted with this result. Our Sixth Form prides itself on delivering outstanding academic and pastoral support. We take very seriously our responsibility to prepare students for their future, whether this is in higher education, apprenticeships or employment. I was particularly pleased that Ofsted picked up on the importance we place on our careers programme and the opportunities that students have to take on leadership roles.”

Staff and students joined in celebration in the school’s striking central Hub as it was judged to be outstanding in every category: Quality of education; Behaviour and attitudes; Personal development; Leadership and management and Sixth Form. St Bart’s is understood to be only the second non-selective secondary school in the country to receive an outstanding Ofsted Section 5 inspection in all categories this academic year.

On the Ofsted report, Headteacher Ms Mortimore says: “This is a result that reflects the very many strengths of our school, and one of which our school community and local area can be truly proud. At St Bart’s we always aspire to achieve the best in everything we do, and it is fantastic to gain recognition of this.”

Visit www.stbarts.co.uk for more information on Sixth Form applications.

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Star Q&A: Gok Wan

Round & About

Berkshire

Television star Gok Wan, 47, talks to us ahead of his dazzling star turn as the Man In The Mirror in Snow White at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre from 4th December to 2nd January

Hi Gok! How did you get involved in pantomime? “I’ve dreamt of being on stage forever. I first began to think about panto some years back. I was fascinated… Then one evening, maybe 2012 or 2013, I was with Lionel Blair and the very naughty Louie Spence. They said I really should give it a try. I spoke with my agent and Channel Four got involved. I first met Snow White then. There have been other pantos since then but it’s really great to be back with Snow White.”

Q. What’s your character The Man In The Mirror like to play? “Man In The Mirror sounds like a piece of furniture! I’m not and it isn’t! The script is amazing. I finished re-reading it again this morning – the tradition has again been tweaked for the 2020s and I’m excited. The mirror has messages. The mirror motivates. The mirror is magic.”

Q. And your costume… do you have a professional opinion about it? “Do I have an opinion? Oh yes I do! I like it. I was encouraged from the start to contribute input, although the designer anticipated so much that my suggestions could be called incidental. There’s a vital aspect, though, and one I insist on. An aspect that’s seen and unseen – the fit! My costume has to fit and over the Christmas period that could mean adjustments… It’s gotta be done.”

Q. Do you have any pre-show dressing room rituals? “Haha! Not only in the dressing room! Yes, I’m superstitious and my rituals – as you call them – go on throughout the performance; I don’t leave them to lurk alone in the dressing room. What can I tell you? Ahh, there’s ‘first on stage.’ Of course there is going to be stage crew but I like to be the first cast member on stage before a performance. What else? This year in Snow White I am required to fly and when I’m up high, without fail, I whisper a hello to my Mum. I love the flying bit. Love it, love it!”

Q. What is the secret to a great pantomime? “Three ‘secrets’: the first is definitely the audience; the second is likely to be the audience and the third, in my experience, is probably the audience. I like to open the show, to greet and welcome everyone and I can predict within 20 seconds
just what sort of evening it will be. People
have probably had tensions at work, frustrations with traffic, delays or hold-ups – it’s important to me that everyone feels wanted.”

Q. We’re enjoying your new TV show Bling… “I believe you can get a lot from the series. Jewellery can mean so much more than ‘an accessory’ – so often there is special significance attached to a piece. The series sparkles with stories, memories and emotion, as well as amazing technical skills and explanations. It is fascinating. I learned a lot.”

Q. Do you know this part of the world well? “Not really. My home’s London so I’ll commute. I like town and city life. The hustle, the bustle, the noise, the rush, the dirt, energy, sweat, the crowds. I am a absolutely a city boy! I was brought up and lived over a restaurant so it’s what I’m used to.”

To book, call 0333 009 6690 or visit atgtickets.com

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Menopause and hair loss

Liz Nicholls

Berkshire

Menopause and hair loss – what’s the link? Experiencing hair loss at any age can be upsetting. It may not be talked about as much as hot flushes and night sweats, but hair loss is extremely common during menopause and often occurs as a result of plummeting oestrogen levels and an increase in testosterone.

Every person naturally loses between 50 and 100 hairs a day, which hardly seems possible but this is considered normal shedding. Any more than this and you may notice areas of baldness on your scalp, clumps of hair coming out when you wash or brush your hair, or thinning of hair around the front and sides of your scalp.

Although you wouldn’t necessarily think of hair loss as a being a symptom of menopause, the hormonal havoc that menopause can wreak, can have all sorts of unexpected effects on the body.

The hormones oestrogen and testosterone have the most important influence on hair growth. During the menopause, levels of oestrogen decrease. This hormone is important for promoting hair growth. While oestrogen levels drop, testosterone levels increase disproportionately. This causes the hair that does grow to be thinner than before, and can also cause facial hair.

Diet

Dietary and lifestyle changes can help to some extent. Protein and iron rich foods are good for strengthening your hair. Vitamin C is also beneficial, not least for helping you to absorb iron into your bloodstream.

Stress

Try to keep stress to a minimum. This will also help you sleep well at night, reducing another factor which might cause you to lose your hair. Exercise will help to reduce stress, improve sleep and circulation of blood to the scalp to help you keep your hair on.

Be nice!

Be nice to your hair. Use gentle shampoo when you wash it and try to avoid tugging and tangling it. Dying it regularly can cause hair to become unhealthy and more likely to fall out. A scalp massage can stimulate extra blood flow to the scalp, which may prevent further hair loss.

If hair loss is the result of hormonal changes caused by the menopause, a soy based supplement such as A.Vogel’s Menopause Support supplement may help. It tackles all stages of the menopause, and contains soy isoflavones which naturally mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body. The inclusion of magnesium helps to support the nervous system in times of need; it also contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

For further information on menopause, visit Anita and her team at Nature’s Corner, 73 Northbrook St, Newbury.

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Long-term help with your short-term rental

Round & About

Berkshire

The Short Term Rental Company offers a complete hands-free hosting experience for owners.

The Short Term Rental Company is a specialist property management company. We maximize cash flow using short-term rentals for higher returns.

Our goal is to not only bring amazing homes to our guests but to provide a seamless and profitable, hands-free hosting experience for our owners.

We provide a fully-managed service, which means 100% hands off for you. We handle all the marketing and day-to day operations. This includes housekeeping, guest communications, calendar and revenue management. We can also handle your property’s maintenance so there are no complaints from guests!

Our guests have changed and we are ready to welcome them

Post-Covid the opportunity for flexible living is attractive to professionals. They have embraced the opportunity to live and work from anywhere with a strong wi-fi signal.

The priority for business travellers is now the level of cleanliness and the short-term rental sector is well positioned to meet this demand.

We are re-discovering the excitement of going on holiday for both mini-breaks and longer stays. And short-term accommodation is perfect for this.

There are a range of short-term properties to choose from. These rentals are an opportunity for both a holiday and for those who are wary of travelling abroad.

There are so many reasons people choose short-term rentals and this high demand is why you need to get started in the Short Term rental sector.

Try our FREE no-obligation consultation and make an informed decision on whether short-term rentals are right for you. For more information or to get in touch click here www.thestr.co

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Local photography competition

Liz Nicholls

Berkshire

Berkeley Invites Community to Take Part in Photo Competition Celebrating Nature:

Award-winning local housebuilder Berkeley Homes has launched a photography and drawing competition open to all residents local to the Woodhurst Park development in Warfield for a chance to win a Polaroid instant camera.

The competition aims to celebrate landscapes and nature as the season changes, encouraging families to explore local nature trails and capture what they see.

The winners of the competition will win an Instax or Polaroid instant camera, which will be handed over at a prize ceremony at the Woodhurst Park Sales and Marketing Suite, where the best pictures will be on display for the public to see. Two runners up of each of the three age categories (11 years and under, 12 to 17 years and 18 years and over) will receive a £25 Amazon voucher.

Entries will remain open until Tuesday 16th November and should be submitted to . Entries can also be submitted in person to the sales and marketing suite at Woodhurst Park, or on Instagram with the hashtag #StepIntoWHP and by tagging @berkeley_group.

Submissions will be judged by local photographer Karen Bennett and the Berkeley Homes Sales and Marketing Director.

Please note competition terms and conditions below:

  1. The competition is only open to residents of the United Kingdom.
  2. There is no entry fee or purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  3. All entrants under 18 must have permission of a responsible adult over 18.
  4. Only one entry will be accepted per person.
  5. Closing date is the 16th November 2021, after this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for reasons out of our control.
  7. Berkeley Homes reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice, but any changes to the competition/offer will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
  8. Berkeley Homes is not responsible for inaccurate prize/offer details supplied to entrants by any third party.
  9. The prize is as stated no cash or other alternatives will be offered. Prizes are subject to availability and Berkeley Homes reserves the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
  10. Prizes are not transferable and cannot be resold.
  11. Competition winners will be selected by Berkeley Homes from all entries received.
  12. All entrants must be willing to provide full name, contact details and address and to have these details passed to the suppliers of the prizes.
  13. Any competition winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, including on the Berkeley Homes website and social media. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
  14. Entry into the competition gives Berkeley Homes permission to use submitted entries in any future promotional materials, on their website and on social media.
  15. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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Star Q&A: Samantha Womack

Round & About

Berkshire

Actress, singer, model & director Samantha Womack tells us about festive feelings as she stars as the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre as part of its UK tour

Q. Hello! We’re celebrating Christmas shows. Did you go to many of these as a youngster? “I loved all shows as a child. My grandmother was a choreographer and often had friends in shows. She was a great friend of the theatre manager at the Palladium and so I remember going to see Michael Crawford in Barnum countless times which was an incredible performance.”

Q. What is it about this production of the CS Lewis play that will really make Christmas sparkle? And why should we all book a seat? “This production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is directed by Michael Fentiman whose work I’m a massive fan of. With this production he brings a similar vibrancy and originality that he created with his award-winning Amelie. It is a magicial, spellbinding show with Narnia being revealed in earthy pagan magic and musicians on stage whose physical talent is breathtaking.”

Q. Any favourite hang-outs or places to visit while you’re in town? “Aylesbury is an area I’ve performed in over the years, in South Pacific, Guys & Dolls… so I have many fond memories of here. I always bring my dogs with me as there are so many beautiful walks around Thames Valley.”

Q. What’s your go-to snack or food or drink you could never live without? “I try to eat healthy food as I eat a lot. Avocados and kimchi is my current craving and homegrown veg. Having said that, Lidl does dangerously good ice cream…”

Q. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had & choice for a last supper? “The best meal I’ve ever had? Tricky! Anything my grandmother cooked. She did a mean Welsh rarebit and roast tatties.”

Q. Who would be your six dream dinner party guests, alive or dead, real or fictional? “My six dream dinner guests would be Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, Nick Drake, Edith Piaf, Sidney Poitier and Kathryn Hepburn.”

Q. What’s your first memory of music? And your favourite song or album? “My first memory of music was my Dad playing Cat Stevens on acoustic guitar. I miss that sound.”

Q. Do you love Christmas, and what especially are you looking forward to this year? “Christmas is special to me. My father Noel was born on Christmas Eve so that feels bittersweet but I always have a house full of people and music over the Christmas break.”

Q. What other highlights are on your horizon? “I have just bought a retreat business with my partner in Valencia in the mountains and so we will be working on that next year.”

Q. If you could be a real white witch for a moment and make one wish for the world, what would it be? “My wish for the world would be environmental awareness so we stop any more species and plants from being wiped out. And it sounds corny but… to be kind and love one another.”

For tickets please visit atgtickets.co.uk

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Join Twyford Together Charity run

Karen Neville

Berkshire

Photo: Barnes Fitness’ sports photographer, Chris Drew.

The Twyford Together Charity 5k and Fun Run is one of the village’s best-loved, annual events. It’s a chance to get active for a good cause, run with family and neighbours and perhaps be crowned ‘Fastest Street’… the ultimate accolade!

Put your trainers on this Sunday (10th) at The Piggott School and get running in one of four races, split according to school year groups (pre-school toddle (100m), reception and years 1 & 2 (1km), years 3 & 4 (1km), years 5 & 6 (2km) as well as a chip-timed, multi-terrain, 5K for those aged 11+ (see course map below).

You still have a few days to enter as online entry closes at midday on Saturday, 9th October. Register in advance by filling out the form on Barnes Fitness’ website. Early-bird entry helps us to avoid congestion at registration and to start each race on time. On the day entry is subject to race limits and costs an additional £2.50 for the 5K and £2 for all other races (cash only).

In 2019, the fastest street competition was introduced to the Twyford Together Charity 5K and Fun Run. Chip timing allows organisers to collect race times for individual streets in the 5K race. The street with the fastest cumulative time for three runners wins! So, get training with your neighbours if you want to beat the 2019 winners, Springfield Park! New for 2021 is the option of receiving a medal or ‘dedicating a tree‘. On the entry form, we’ll ask you if you want to plant a tree or receive a medal. After the fun run, you’ll be sent a certificate with a photo, the species and GPS location of your tree. You can even go and visit your tree if you want to! Prizes will go to fastest male and female in the 5K win one month membership to Castle Royle, the next 10 runners over the line earn seven day membership, the ‘Fastest Street’ in the 5K receives a voucher for a Wine Tour & Tasting at Stanlake Park (for three), top three fastest streets get vouchers towards a celebratory meal at either La Fontana, Buratta’s or Haweli (winner gets first pick!) and fastest boy and girl aged 11-15 and 16-18 in the 5K take home Up and Running, Reading vouchers. Plus, there are Decathlon vouchers for the fastest boy and girl in the school year group races as well as ‘Have a Go Heroes‘ (in the 5K, 2K, 1K and toddler dash). It’s the taking part that counts!

In addition to the spectacle of the race, you can enjoy Tash who will be there with Martha the Van aka The Refill Hub so bring some containers to stock up at this wonderful mobile refill shop, My Journey Wokingham will have their awesome smoothie making bike, Polehampton PTA is running a second-hand book shop and Camp Mohawk is bringing a pop-up toy stall. They’ll also be face painting, pumpkin racing and Halloween craft as well as a selection of homemade cakes from Happy Hours and refreshments from The Rural Pie Co. Plus, you can try out your footie skills with Twyford Comets and get in shape with Castle Royle. There is limited parking on site. For those who cycle, there are free bike checks with My Journey Wokingham’s Dr. Bike. And while you’re having all this fun, know you are helping Twyford Charities Together. The group was formed in 2011 to give local charities, often lacking their own fundraising team, a helping hand.

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Star Q&A: Timmy Mallett

Liz Nicholls

Berkshire

Broadcaster, artist & dad Timmy Mallett, who turns 66 this month, tells Liz Nicholls about family, football, art and his new book Utterly Brilliant – My Life’s Journey

Q. Hello Timmy. It’s wonderful to speak to you & I’ve really enjoyed your book, in fact I cried reading it! Are you pleased with it? “That’s very kind of you, I’m pleased it resonates. I’m proud of it, yes. You don’t know when you write a book how it’s going to go down. I wanted to combine the story of an adventure, a big personal challenge, with memoirs of Wacaday and my radio days and career and things I’ve done over the years, and my love of history and art. How do you do that? And I remember my editor saying: ‘you start at the beginning and crack on and see how it goes’. Haha!”

Q. I loved your drawings at the start of each chapter. “Part of that is to stop and look at where you’ve stopped. I say it in the book: work on the assumption you’re only going to do this once, you’re not going to come back and do it again with more time. It’s not every day can you devote masses of time to drawing so give it all you can in the moment. Sitting down and drawing or sketching or painting is a way of thinking about at the place you’re at and absorbing it. And that’s the nice thing about taking the bike, because you have to think about what you’re going to take. In a car you chuck everything in, but on the bike, you have to be quite precise. It seemed to work.”

Q. Your late brother Martin sounds so inspirational. Do you still talk to him, as you do in the book, and feel he’s still with you? “Thank you. Yes I do, it happens every day, Liz. Every day I have those little conversations with him. He pops up in what we’re doing. I remember when I was planning the adventure I was thinking about Martin and how he reached his potential. It takes the pressure off, in some ways. You haven’t got to be the best or the fastest… you’ve just got to be the best you can be. And Martin, with his language and learning difficulties, showed me how to do that, just by being absorbed and interested in everything he was doing. As brothers sometimes it was a little bit annoying that it wasn’t at the same speed, but he was always in the moment, he lived his life in the moment and his time scale was different. We often judge things as ‘life will be good when… lockdown’s over or when I get the new job, when I move house, when I go on holiday, get the new outfit…’ Well, what’s wrong with now? Now’s the moment. Everything’s got a time limit hasn’t it? We think everything’s going to carry on forever, like this lovely warm hot sunny day. Tomorrow we will need a jumper on!”

Q. What do you love about living here? “I moved into this house 30 years ago this Christmas and my son Billy, who’s grown up here, and was born here, is a gardener in the neighbourhood; he speaks with a Berkshire burr. The thing I love about it is the people; it’s great for families. It’s a lovely place to live. I’m passionate about my cycling and there’s some great cycle routes, either out southwards to Windsor or north into the Chilterns. I’ve got good friends here, I play five-a-side football, tennis. There’s good pubs and restaurants. I ring the bells at Holy Trinity church; I like the involvement. The fact I’ve put down roots, haha! This is the longest I’ve lived anywhere and it’s got something special about it. Then seeing the way Billy has taken to being a gardener. He knows the Latin names, the nicknames and the proper names of every plant in the garden as well as every football team in the country. I like the fact that when I’m out and about people say ‘hello Timmy!’”

Q. And Oxford United? “I love Oxford I’ve been a passionate fan of them since the 1990s when I worked at Radio Oxford when they soared. I watched how when the football went well, the town did well, there was a bounce in the air and people were inspired. I have two teams now – I have Oxford and also Maidenhead Utd who have the oldest football ground in the world. With both my teams, I like the ambition at the start of the season. Pre-season in these friendlies, new players are coming in you’re thinking ‘are they any good? Are they going to be better than the last lot? Are they going to set us alight and entertain us?’ Then, 45 minutes in, they’re 3-0 down and you’re like ‘arrrgh where are my hopes and dreams?!’ It’s about enjoying the ride. I don’t judge the season by whether they get promoted. No: it might be a great season if they stay up! If they stay in the midst of it all with great games or a great run. All those things are to be celebrated and you’re seeing players giving their best and trying their hardest. All these ups & downs are to be celebrated.”

Q. What are your favourite songs? “Anything by the Beatles. I often have Band On The Run by Paul McCartney & Wings playing loudly in the house, and The Stranger by Billy Joel. Lovely haunting melodies in there. And The Bluebells’ Young At Heart. Pop music is your personal diary isn’t it?”

Q. What’s your first memory of music? “My mum playing the piano. Pop music was always really important, too. Listening to Alan Freeman on Pick Of The Charts each week. The charts mattered – whether they went up or down. How they did in the league. We used to love that. When I was at boarding school my brother used to send me lists of the charts and what he thought they should be. We had a little pop group, me and my brothers. Paul couldn’t remember the words, Martin couldn’t say the words so I made them up. We were called the Kettleholders. Singing and pretending to be pop stars!”

Q. Which artists inspire you? “I really like the impressionists – I like Dutch 17th century artists like Vermeer and modern artists like David Hockney who rejoices in painting the seasons.”

Q. Do you have any favourite local galleries? “Nova in Marlow, Lemongrove in Henley and Whitewall galleries have all supported my art. I like going to visit some of the weird and wonderful museums we have in the Thames Valley – the chair museum in Wycombe! Wow! Bizarre! Reading Museum in the old town hall which has a copy of the Bayeux Tapestry. I like the Ashmolean museum in Oxford. I like the Bodgers exhibit in the Turvill Church, in the vestry. The Bodgers lived and worked making chair spindles in the 19th century. I like the Heritage Centre in Maidenhead. And if you want to see more of my art look at Mallettspallette.co.uk

Q. Who would be your dream party guests? “Eleanor of Aquitaine, an impressive woman in a man’s world. Tom Hanks, particularly because I love his character’s line in Castaway; ‘all we have to do is keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise & you never know what the tide will bring in’. I’d have Gareth Southgate. Also, I’ve been watching The Kominsky Method on Netflix and Michael Douglas seems like good value. And my mate Michaela Strachan who makes me laugh.”

Q. Do you get any weird fan mail or attention? “Fan mail is interesting because I get it just as regularly now as in the Wacaday days. It doesn’t surprise me when a message comes via social media or actual letters. Everyone has their memory of Wacaday, like you Liz, when you said you and your sister used to watch it. I was in the British Museum and someone shouted ‘Tony! You’re Tony Robinson, wow!’ I reminded him of Baldrick, obviously. Some people want a pinky-punky mallet, so I brought out a 30th anniversary edition which people can buy.”

Q.  If you had a magic wand, as well as your mallet, what would you wish for the world? “I feel as though climate change is fixable, all we have to do is put our minds to it. I’ve done this in a small way in my own house. If I could have a domestic wind turbine on the roof, I would do. I’d find a way to make where I live work harder. I reckon it’s doable in the bigger picture. I’m optimistic.”

Q. You’ve done so much in your varied career! Anything in the pipeline? “These are the golden years to make the most of what you’ve got and make it happen. One of the things I was surprised about, researching the Camino, was how much connection there was with the Thames Valley. Santiago de Compostela is where you go to see the tomb of St James the Apostle, where all of him is buried except for his left hand, which is in Marlow, at St Peter’s. Then when I was planning my trip, I contacted my MP who said I want to hear more about this, so the PM came to my house to hear about the camino. Then there’s the Bishop of Oxford who didn’t know about any of it. All these little connections putting people together. Your story is part of the thousands of ‘Camino’ journeys that happen every year. There’s probably another adventure to do on my bike. And there’s another big idea which I’m trying to persuade Mrs Mallett about, so I don’t feel it’s fair to tell you first, Liz, until she’s on board! At the moment she’s like; ‘you’re going to do what?!’  I want to do more cycling and painting – that suits me. Meeting people, hearing their stories, sharing some tales would be a good thing to do. Always take that inspiration of brother Martin, with the smile on his face and a warm embrace.”

Please visit Timmymallett.co.uk & mallettspallette.co.uk

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