Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em!

Round & About

Featured

Hilarious mishaps and DIY disasters are bringing the house down, quite literally, as Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em returns to Richmond Theatre starring Joe Pasquale!

Based on the 1970s classic TV comedy by Ray Allen and directed by the award-winning Guy Unsworth, Some Mothers Do Ave Em is the ultimate feel-good night out, washed down with lashings of nostalgia and Mother’s prune wine.

After receiving 21 five star reviews in 2018, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is back on tour starring Joe Pasquale (New Faces, Im a Celebrity, Spamalot, The Producers) as the lovable accident-prone Frank Spencer.

Susie Blake (Coronation Street, The Victoria Wood Show, Blithe Spirit) stars as his disapproving Mother-in-Law and Sarah Earnshaw as his long-suffering wife Betty.

Betty has exciting news for Frank, but he’s preoccupied by possible newfound fame as a magician. With guests arriving for dinner and crossed wires all round, priceless misunderstandings are on the menu. Quite Frank-ly, it’s a hit!

Some Mothers Do Ave Em is at Richmond Theatre from Tue 31 May Sat 4 June.

Tickets available from atgtickets.com/Richmond

Tell us your local news here

Journey into the Magical Forest

Round & About

Featured

LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort is opening its newest attraction this Saturday, 30th April – step inside and explore

Take an enchanting new walk-through The LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort’s newest attraction as The Magical Forest opens this weekend.

The immersive experience which marks a new realm in the story of its multi-million pound land, LEGO® MYTHICA: World of Mythical Creatures, is set to capture children’s hearts and imaginations when it opens this weekend.

Model Maker Will Saunders (28) puts the finishing touches to some of the mythical LEGO creatures that populate The Magical Forest, the new immersive walkthrough experience launching at the LEGOLAND ® Windsor Resort this Saturday. Will laid the final bricks to a snappy plant model and the vibrant baby Lava Dragon. All the LEGO ® Models were built using over 80,000 LEGO bricks

The finishing touches have been applied and the swirling vortex of dazzling lights offers a glimpse into how guests will start their adventure in this parallel universe, where LEGO creatures come to life using awesome Augmented Reality (AR) with surprises in store around every corner.

Fan-favourite, Bits & Bobs and the friendly baby Alicorn, will surprise guests as at the enchanted waterfall before they head deep in the heart of The Magical Forest. Guests can also expect to unearth secret LEGO habitats hidden beneath the undergrowth and foliage, but just beware for the giant Venus Fly Trap which can be a little snappy – especially when they first meet intrepid young explorers.

The adventure hots up as first look imagery reveals how the habitat shifts from an enchanted forest to a landscape of lava where guests will come eye to eye with a group of Crystal Claw Crabs and a super-sized LEGO dragon egg, before braving the grand finale by entering the magnificent Lava Dragon’s cave, who is stirring inside.

Activated exclusively via the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort app, families will set off on an intrepid adventure where an AR overlay takes users on a journey narrated by Bobs as he’s magically brought to life and transforms from LEGO to his real-life form in The Realm. Bobs guides guests along The Magical Forest pathway as you meet other creatures from the realm, including; Crystal Claw Crabs, Baby Lava Dragons, Venus Fly Trap and the incredible Lava Dragon herself.

Families will get to help Bobs find his missing wing, breathe fire like a Baby Lava Dragon, and play with the Crystal Claw Crabs; before witnessing and getting to capture a photo of the amazing mother Lava Dragon in full flight. With each creature, you discover you’ll also add a special virtual card to your digital collection with facts and stats about them.

To celebrate the launch of The Magical Forest there are also two exclusive AR Pop Badges featuring the Crystal Claw Crabs and baby Lava Dragons to collect.

LEGO MYTHICA: World of Mythical Creatures also features the UK’s first ever flying theatre ride, Flight of The Sky Lion, which takes guests on a mind-blowing 4D film adventure on board a flying gondola where they soar, swoop and dive with guardian Maximus on an amazing adventure through the epic world.

The land which is full of epic adventures waiting to be discovered also includes the Fire and Ice Freefall drop tower ride and the exhilarating water ride, Hydra’s Challenge.

To book visit www.legoland.co.uk

Festival fun for all

Liz Nicholls

Featured

Festivals are back on! Yes, after two fretful years of disrupted fun & frolics, there’s a summer sizzler of festivals ready to rock your world, whatever you’re into… writes Liz Nicholls

Close your eyes and imagine you’re in your happy place… Maybe you and your tots are wafting amid rainbow bubbles, singing along to Justin Fletcher, deluxe doughnut in hand? Are you waiting for the bass to drop beneath the strobe lights as the stage is set for Pete Tong or Orbital? Supping a craft ale getting crafty on your village green? Getting grimy at Reading..? We all have different ideas of a good time.

Whatever your jam, there’s a festival for you.

The excitement among musicians, as well as everyone involved in the festival scene, is palpable

Ronan Keating, who stars at this year’s Cornbury, tells us: “It’s just great to be back on stage with my band again. After the last couple of years I think everyone feels a huge sigh of relief that we can all get back together again to do something we truly love. I was due to perform at Cornbury in 2020 but understandably everything had to be moved. It’s a great line-up with Bryan Adams, James Blunt and then me on the Sunday. I was lucky to be able to release two albums during the pandemic, Twenty Twenty and Songs From Home.

“It will be great to be back on stage and play some of the new tracks along with all the hits from my solo years as well as a few of the great Boyzone hits that everyone loves. I’m still loving being live on Magic Radio every week day morning, along with Harriet Scott, and you’ll still be able to see me each week on the sofa co-hosting The  One Show. I feel very lucky to be in people’s homes across the UK each day on TV and radio but finally  being back on stage is the thing that’s making this year so special.”

Kaleidoscope – credit Lloyd Winters

So, here’s a round-up of the big & small gems which are all set to dazzle between now & the end of summer…

The Investec International Music Festival celebrates composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ 150th birthday and strong local connections with world-class concerts, walks and talks across the Surrey Hills, 5th-14th May. Featuring Sitkovetsky Trio at Charterhouse in Godalming, Modigliani Quartet & cellist Gary Hoffman with Wu Qian at Cobham’s Menuhin Hall, and clarinettist Michael Collins with an all-star chamber ensemble at RHS Garden Wisley. Please visit iimf.co.uk

Cookham Festival in Bucks is a celebration of the arts by the village for the village, 6th to 22nd May. You can enjoy music, spoken word, workshops, kids’ fun, sculpture & more; visit cookhamfestival.co.uk

Are You Listening? Alfie Templeman, Pip Blom, Pixey & dozens more will rock Reading in aid of Mencap on 7th May; areyoulistening.org.uk. And there are classical delights aplenty at Newbury Spring Festival, 7th-21st May; newburyspringfestival.org.uk

Join beloved local legend Tom Kerridge & his foodie friends for Pub In The Park Marlow, 12th-15th May, for Rag’n’Bone Man, Sister Sledge, Sophie Ellis-Bextor & lots more talent; pubintheparkuk.com. And if you love the 1980s, Let’s Rock the Moor in Cookham on 21st May offers Wet Wet Wet, Squeeze, The Selecter, Jason Donovan, Sonique & more; letsrockthemoor.com

Family & planet-friendly WOOD returns to Ipsden near Wallingford, 20th-22nd May; woodfestival.com

Amesbury Arts Festival has two performances open to the public: Scouting for Girls, Indie-pop, 25th May, 7.30pm, and live stand-up comedy from Iain Stirling on 26th May, 7.30pm. Both be held in the school’s magnificent grounds in Hindhead. But tickets via EventBrite, visit amesburyschool.co.uk/artsfestival2022

Celebrate Britain’s rich musical heritage

The 15th English Music Festival at Dorchester Abbey, 27th-29th May, stars Coleridge-Taylor’s Violin Concerto, Holst’s The Cloud Messenger, Vaughan Williams’s Willow Wood sung by Roderick Williams; a song showcase by Havergal Brian; and A Garland for the Queen, commissioned specially for the Jubilee. englishmusicfestival.org.uk

“Probably the finest free music and beer festival in the world…” Rokefest will rock The Home Sweet Home in the glorious Oxfordshire countryside, 27th-29th May, starring Bottle Kids, The Skandal, the MFU & more, all for great causes; rokefest.com

Among the many festivals DJ Yoda, AKA Duncan Beiny, will perform at this year is the fabulous Great Estate in Cornwall, 2nd-5th June which also stars Manic Street Preachers, Electric Six, The Sugarhill Gang and more; greatestatefestival.co.uk. The turntablist is looking forward to this summer…. “Oh god I’m champing at the bit!” he says. “If anything I feel a bit nervous about it.  I’m even seriously getting myself in physical shape for it with diet and exercise. The pandemic ruled travel out for ages which was grim for me; I’m looking forward to getting to New York, Austria, Portugal, Ireland. Kaleidoscope festival at Ally Pally is near where I grew up so I’ll see a lot of old friends, that will be really special for me. Musically there’s Mostly Jazz in Birmingham [8th-10th July; mostlyjazz.co.uk]. Standon Calling [Hertfordshire, 21st-24th July; standon-calling.com] is always good, Y Not? is always good… [Derbyshire, 29th-31st July; ynotfestival.com]. It’s going to be week-in, week-out party times. As a DJ I’m constantly checking out new artists. My favourite rappers at the moment are Roc Marciano and Your Old Droog and I really rate the singer Grace Lightman. I love seeing other acts at festivals so this quest lives in my head very much, I can’t wait!”

Jubilee joy awaits at Shynefest at Merrist Wood College in Worplesdon, on 3rd & 4th June. The Lightning Seeds top the live music bill & you’ll find bucketloads of family-friendly fun such as escape room games & animal encounters, food, plus there are camping & glamping options; shynefest.uk

Enjoy a folk, doo-wop & jive weekend at the Fleur De Lys in East Hagbourne near Didcot, 3rd-5th June; thefleurdelyspub.co.uk

And Wychwood Festival will rock Cheltenham racecourse, 3rd-5th June, with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Levellers, Boney M, comedy, a kids’ lit fest, headphone disco & idyllic camping beneath the Prestbury Hills; wychwoodfestival.com

Hampton Court Palace Festival offers legends including Elbow, George Benson, Jack Savoretti, Ministry of Sound classical mash-ups, The Human League, Crowded House, Michael Ball & Alfie Boe, 8th-16th June. With Fortnum & Mason picnics & bouji hospitality packages, this is a classy affair… hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com for all you need to know.

Richard Dawkins (on defying gravity), Delia Smith, Jarvis Cocker, David Miliband, William Dalrymple & David Olusoga are some of the mind-expanding stars at KITE, a new festival of ideas & music in Kirtlington, near Oxford, 10th-12th June, with Grace Jones, no less, topping the music bill! kitefestival.co.uk

All hail the return of The Isle of Wight Festival!

The iconic shindig just over the Solent stars Lewis Capaldi, Madness, Nile & Chic, Kasabian, Pete Tong, Muse & more, 16th-19th June. isleofwightfestival.com

Blenheim Palace is the superb backdrop for the Nocturne Live performances from the likes of David Gray, Lionel Richie, Simply Red, Simple Minds & UB40 starring Ali Astro, 16th-19th June; nocturnelive.com

Beacon Festival returns to raise funds and spirits in Watlington on 17th & 18th June, with a Queen tribute, Noble Jack, Kioko, Fontana, SkaSouls UK, Chic to Chic and lots more across four stages. Over the last decade the eco-friendly festival with a free shuttle bus & camping has raised more than £25,500 for local charities; beaconfestival.net

We can’t not mention Glastonbury in a festivals special… If you’re lucky enough to have bagged a golden ticket, at the end of June, you can enjoy Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, Diana Ross and legions more… If not, watch from the sofa!

Fancy a little opera? After wowing thousands since 2018, Scherzo Ensemble return to Longhope Opera in Newton Valence, near Alton, 2nd & Sunday, 3rd July, to perform L’elisir d’Amore by Donizetti. longhopesummeropera.com

A$AP Rocky & Tyler, the Creator star at Wireless Crystal Palace, 1st to 3rd July and Cardi B & Nicki Minaj at Finsbury Park (8th-10th July); wirelessfestival.co.uk. And BST Hyde Park is the glorious setting, 24th June to 10th July, for Pearl Jam, Robert Plant, Pixies, Stereophonics, Rolling Stones & more, bst-hydepark.com

Haslemere Fringe Festival, 1st-3rd July, has music, comedy, dance and more, 1st to 3rd July. Sleeper, Sophie Ellis-Bextor & The Feeling will star, along with so many more stars, at this community highlight with heart; haslemerefringe.co.uk

A trip to Devon is always a mood-booster

Powderham Castle near Exeter is the suitably stunning setting, on Sunday, 3rd July, for A Perfect Day. The line-up will include our former cover star & crush David Gray performing his White Ladder 20th anniversary Show, James Morrison, Tom Odell, Gabrielle, The Shires & Wildwood Kin; aperfectdayfestival.com

Morcheeba, Sugar Hill Gang, Badly Drawn Boy, DJ Format & many more will dazzle at Readipop in Caversham, 8th-10th July. Established in 1998, party while helping vulnerable young people and older folk, as well as aspiring artists; readipop.co.uk

Hugh Phillimore has confirmed that it’s officially the final Cornbury (sniff) at The Great Tew Park, 8th-10th July. And it’s a fittingly great line-up starring Bryan Adams, James Blunt, the aforementioned Ronan Keating, The Darkness, The Magic Numbers & many more; cornburyfestival.com

And if you’ve got a ticket to sold-out “Godfather of the small festival scene,” Truck in Steventon enjoy Sam Fender, Blossoms, Kelis, Black Honey & more; see truckfestival.com for resales.

Pete Tong, Craig David, Katherine Jenkins, Jack Savoretti & Tom Jones are among the legends at the smart riverside Henley Festival 6th-10th July; henley-festival.co.uk. Get your glad rags on!

Henley Festival

Our very witty cover star James Blunt will star, alongside Cameo, the Specials, Human League & more at the stunning Rochester Castle Concerts in Kent 6th-9th July; rochestercastleconcerts.com

Reef, The Hoosiers, the Leylines & Dodgy will star at Fi.Fest in Maidenhead on 9th July; fifest.co.uk. And arrive thristy for Twyford Beer Festival, which is alweays fun, and raises money for male cancer charity Orchid, 10th & 11th July; twyfordbeerfest.co.uk

On 16th July head to Newbury to enjoy Weatherby’s Super Sprint Day & Party in the Paddock with the one and only Craig David; newburyracecourse.co.uk

Set within the stunning Henham Park in Suffolk, let your curiosity guide you at Latitude, 21st to 24th July. This East Anglian wonderland offers great music, dance, comedy, poetry, theatre, literature, family fun and wellness such as wild swimming and paddleboarding. This year’s line-up includes Foals, Groove Armada, Fontaines DC & many more; latitudefestival.com

Pennfest near Beaconsfield is one of our favourites here at Round & About Towers The funfest on 22nd & 23rd July has another banging line-up to rev up the Bucks countryside, including Clean Bandit, Sugar Hill Gang, Rudimental, Grandmaster Flash, Shola Ama, The Hoosiers & more; pennfest.net.

Enter our competition to win Pennfest tickets!

Kaleidoscope lands at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, 23rd July, with Orbital, Happy Mondays, Dom Joly, a circus, theatre & more… And Patty Smith will star, alongside Nadine Shah, at Higher Ground, also at Ally Pally on 24th July; higherground.london

Beloved Berkshire beauty Marvellous will offer mighty more tribute acts & fun, 23rd & 24th July in Hurst; marvellousfestivals.com.

WOMAD letters – credit Brenna Duncan

WOMAD, the World of Music, Arts and Dance Music festival, returns to delight Charlton Park near Marlborough, 28th-31st July. Kae Tempest, A Certain Ratio, The Dhol Foundation, Greentea Peng & Nitin Sawhney will star; womad.co.uk

Curated by Josie & Rob Da Bank, Camp Bestival at Dorset’s Lulworth Castle. This year’s line-up includes Rag ‘n’Bone Man, Rudimental, Earth, WInd & Fire, Example, a DJ set from Faithless, Mr Tumble, spas, workshop, and lots of family fun, 28th-31st July; dorset.campbestival.net

Cornbury Park is the wondrous setting for the thrilling Wilderness Festival, 4th-7th August. Wellbeing, theatre, thought-provoking workshops and more will keep you stimulated, and Underworld, Years & Years and Roisin Murphy are some of the gems on the musical line-up; wildernessfestival.com

The brilliantly bonkers Boomtown Fair team are building the Main City for a revitalised living theatre festival on the theme of The Gathering, 10th-14th August in Hampshire’s Matterley Estate, boomtownfair.co.uk

Enjoy wings, wheels and steam with your bands with Retrofestival in Newbury, 12th-14th August; retrofestival.co.uk

Billy Ocean, Cast, Del Amitri, Stereo MCs & The Christians will star at Weyfest, the boutique festival held in Tilford near Farnham since 2007. This year’s family-friendly highlight 19th-21st August will rock The Rural Life Museum, with dancing Daleks, Laserquest, “posh loos” & great food; weyfest.co.uk

Stowaway Festival

Another Bucks beauty, Stowaway near Buckingham will star Orbital, a DJ set from Quantic, Norman Jay, Erol Alkan, The Staves, Roni Size & more, 19th-21st August; stowawayfestival.co.uk.

Enter our competition to win Stowaway tickets!

And Rewind South in Henley 19th-21st August will star Holly Johnson, Kim Wilde, The Human League and Pat Sharp; south.rewindfestival.com

Reading (& Leeds) is back to rock the August bank holiday. Arctic Monkeys, Dave, Rage Against The Machine, Megan Thee Stallion, Joy Crookes, Run the Jewels, Griff, Pale Waves & Wolf Alice star; readingfestival.com/tickets

Still rocking near Thame after 58 fun-filled years, Towersey Festival brings you comedy, music & fun, 26th-29th August; towerseyfestival.com

Love cars, love music? Then you’ll love cinch presents CarFest, the family music & motoring festival founded by Chris Evans in 2011, that raises fun levels and funds for children’s charities. Catch Paloma Faith, Rag’n’Bone Man, Kaiser Chiefs, Steps & so many more at Laverstoke Park, 26th-28th August, carfest.org

Finally, 2nd-4th September, community favourite Bunkfest in Wallingford will serve up its beloved brew of music, dance & beer; bunkfest.co.uk

Tell us your local news here

May recipes: Green queens

Round & About

Featured

We’re celebrating the green goodness with two brunch recipes to herald Alresford Watercress Festival

Kedgeree with Watercress

Ingredients:

• 100ml Whole Milk
• 2 smoked haddock fillets
• ½ tbsp olive oil
• ½ Onion, chopped
• Small piece ginger, grated
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• ½ tsp turmeric
• ½ tsp curry powder
• 100g basmati rice
• 2 eggs
• 80 watercress, chopped finely

Prep: 10 minutes | Cooking:  30 minutes | Serves: Two people

The origins of ‘Brunch’ are unclear. Some food historians think the meal has its roots in England’s hunt breakfasts – lavish multi-course meals that featured such treats as chicken livers, eggs, meats, bacon, fresh fruit, and sweets.

Others believe Sunday brunch derives from Victorian times when staff were given the Sabbath off and they left their lords and masters with enough food to graze on throughout the day while, yet others look to 1930s New York and the abundance of dining spots for the origins of classic brunch dishes from eggs Benedict to bagels and lox.

So, indulge that weekend feeling! Chow down on this fantastic brunch recipe at your leisure and revel in easy, comforting food.

Method

Heat the milk and around 50ml of water in a large pan on a low heat. Add the fish, skin-side down, and poach for around 5 mins. Remove carefully and flake it – set aside and reserve the liquid for later.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion before adding garlic, ginger, turmeric and curry powder. When the onion is soft, add the rice and let it soak up the flavours in the pan.

Make the reserved poaching liquid up to around 150-200ml with water before adding it to the pan. Simmer for around 10 minutes.

Boil the eggs for around 6 minutes – this should give you a gooey yolk (boil for longer if you prefer.)

Once the rice is cooked, stir through the haddock and watercress. Quarter the cooked eggs and place on top to serve.

Mushroom & Watercress French Toast

Ingredients:

• 2 Slices thick crusty bread
• 1 egg
• 100g mushrooms, halved
• 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
• 80g Watercress, chopped
• 50g grated Swiss cheese
• Butter

Prep: 10 minutes | Making: 10 minutes | Serves: One person

This is another fabulous tasty quick brunch recipe, perfect for a lazy Sunday morning or indeed a snack whenever you fancy.

Method

In a bowl, beat the egg and add a little salt & pepper. Dip the bread in, covering both sides.

Heat some butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the eggy bread for a couple of minutes, flip it and sprinkle the grated cheese on the side that is cooked so it melts.

Meanwhile, heat a knob butter in a pan over a medium heat (add garlic if using), cook the mushrooms. Add the watercress as the mushrooms start to brown and cook for no longer than a minute, so that the watercress has just wilted.

Serve the mushrooms and watercress on top of the cooked bread with lots of black pepper.

Enjoy our recipes? Show us your creations on social media with the tag #RArecipes

See our other recipes

Star Q&A: Toyah Willcox

Liz Nicholls

Featured

Musician Toyah Willcox, who turns 64 this month, shares her excitement for a summer of festivals, including Let’s Rock where she is set to star…

Hello! Given the past two years, do you think 2022 could be the most joyous ever? “2022 will be joyous – the artists have missed the audience and the audience have missed the artists. It’s going to be one big party. Let’s Rock is very special because not only are there back-to-back acts all day who are brilliant and iconic, but also the atmosphere is so friendly and family-orientated. You can look out over an audience and sometimes see three generations of the same family. They are a joyous community with one thing in common – they all love the 1980s! I love performing with the Let’s Rock band (sensationally good musicians). We also get to see the friends we’ve been performing with for decades… for 40 years.”

Q. Are there any other performers you’re looking forward to seeing? “I always end up on the same plane and same hotel as Chesney Hawkes, all over the world… Somehow fate brings us together and we have a scream. Chesney lives in the States, I live in the UK, but we walk into the same room in the oddest places and say ‘What are you doing here?!”’

Q. Which musician, living or dead, would you most like to see perform? “Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Tim Buckley, Robert Plant (with me) and Talk Talk.”

Q. What is your strongest memory of appearing on Top Of The Pops? “Top Of The Pops was an event, every time. It’s a show I used to watch with my family and to be on it was an honour. On my first appearance there was a mini disaster when my costume didn’t arrive and I had to wear a dress I bought as a back-up. Ironically, I think it made me more approachable to the Top Of The Pops audience – less confrontational, image-wise.”

Q. Have you kept any souvenirs from the 1980s? “I have warehouses full of every on-stage costume/every acting costume I’ve ever worn, as well as every photoshoot. They are my life, a life I am immensely proud of.”

Q. What other plans do you have for 2022? “I have three sold-out tours this year, including Toyah & Lene Lovich’s Electric Ladies UK tour in June, followed by the Toyah Anthem Tour in autumn to celebrate of the re-release of my 1981 platinum album Anthem. I will also be making two albums – a reimagining of my 2019 album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, whilst the second album will be recorded in September and is the follow-up to my 2021 no.1. album, Posh Pop. In the last two years I’ve had four Top 10 albums – Posh Pop out-sold Queen, Metallica and Justin Timberlake in its first week.”

Tickets & more at letsrockthemoor.com

Tell us your local news here

New Guildford Festival – ShyneFest

Round & About

Featured

Family-friendly, live music festival with kids activities, entertainment, camping, glamping, silent disco, bars, food stalls, escape rooms, animal encounters and loads more!

Join ShyneFest on the 3rd – 4th June at their new venue, Merrist Wood, for a weekend of live music from Lightning Seeds, Jesus Jones, The Farleys and loads more, including top tribute band Guns2Roses!

Upgrade to boutique glamping tents for proper luxurious camping, have a kickabout, play giant chess, enjoy some rides, eat delicious food and have a cocktail or a pint from one of their bars.

This will be their 5th year and it is going to be the biggest and best yet!

See the lineup

Follow ShyneFest on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Tell us your local news here

Lifelong learning and mental fitness

Round & About

Featured

You don’t have to run a four-minute mile…

…to follow in the footsteps of Roger Bannister.

On a windy day in May 1954, a 25-year-old medical student broke track and field’s most famous barrier – the four-minute mile. Roger Bannister won fame at Oxford’s Iffley Road track, with a time of 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.

Bannister, who’d been born into a working-class family, showed promise in education as well as running. After retiring from athletics, he enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a neurologist. He made the Queen’s Honours list twice for his contributions to sport. Then, in his 70s, he returned to his studies – by taking short courses at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education.

Bannister knew that mental fitness carries many of the same benefits as physical fitness, including improved health, mental resilience and longevity. As a research neurologist, he would have understood brain plasticity – how a stimulated brain forms new synaptic connections at any age. Many studies (including one published in The Lancet in July 2017) cites educational attainment and lifelong learning as among the most important factors in preventing one-third of future dementia cases.

Among the topics Bannister explored as an adult learner were the philosophies of Hegel and Wittgenstein, the politics of Asia and America, the making of modern Europe, the history of the Cold War, and the archaeology of Roman Britain.

He went on to complete a longer course too – an Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing. Bannister joked with his poetry tutor that writing a villanelle was harder to achieve than breaking the four-minute mile.

For most of us, breaking a record in track and field is off the table – but lifelong learning is always well within reach. You can follow Sir Roger Bannister’s example at Oxford, choosing from more than 1000 short courses and longer programmes, taught both in Oxford and online.

Learn more: www.conted.ox.ac.uk

Tell us your local news here

April recipes: Feed your family

Round & About

Featured

Say bye-bye to boring dinners with exciting recipes from Chefs In Schools, by Nicole Pisani & Joanna Weinberg

Nerissa’s butternut squash cake

Ingredients:

• 125g/4½oz unsalted butter
• 125g/4½oz golden caster sugar
• Two free range eggs
• 200g/7oz cooked butternut squash
• 250g/9oz self-raising flour
• One teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Edible flowers, to decorate

For the icing

• 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 100g/3½oz soft light brown sugar
• 85g/3oz maple syrup
• 220g/7¾oz cream cheese

Prep: 15 minutes | Cooking:  45 minutes | Serves: 8 people

“This recipe is one we share with every school we work with,” writes Nerissa Buckley, school chef trainer.

“It was developed out of necessity but became a hit. I was at a school one day and we needed a cake ASAP for lunch. We like to get as much fruit or vegetables to our cakes as we can and I was hunting around for some to put in, when I remembered we were baking butternut squash whole in the oven for the next day. It was a lightbulb moment… and what a yummy result.”

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a 20-cm/8-inch cake tin with reusable baking paper. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat again until pale and creamy.

Add the cooked squash, flour and spices and gently fold in to combine. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until lightly golden on top and a knife or skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Make the icing while the cake is cooling: beat the butter, sugar and maple syrup (an electric beater makes this easier) until light and airy, then add the cream cheese, a quarter at a time.

Continue to beat for about two minutes until smooth and thick.

When the cake is completely cool, smear all over the top and sides. Decorate with edible flowers.

Ingredients:

• 400g/14oz hummus
• 24 baby vegetables for “planting” e.g. radishes,  carrots (with leaves if possible), baby cucumber and  tenderstem broccoli, trimmed and peeled, with tops on, or cut into small spears
• Flatbread, to serve

For the ‘black soil’

• 75g/2¾oz stale, good-quality bread
• Olive oil
• 75g/2¾oz black olives, pitted
• 50g/1¾oz pumpkin seeds
• One teaspoon cumin seeds
• Generous pinch of chilli flakes

Prep: 5 hours (drying time) | Making: 10 minutes | Serves: 4-6 to nibble on

EDIBLE GARDEN

“he first time Oli and I made the Edible Garden, a Nopi classic, for Gayhurst School was just an epic moment for me – educational, beautiful, joyful, with the kids all eating vegetables. It was everything in one moment and I remember thinking that we were on to something here.” Nicole Pisani.

For this recipe you’ll need two small loaf tins or other vessels deep enough to “plant” the veg into – tumblers or squat mugs also work.

Method

First make the “black soil”: preheat the oven to 100°C fan/120°C/250°F/gas mark ½. Toss the stale bread in a little olive oil and arrange with the black olives on a baking try and pop into the oven (turned off) to dry out for four or five hours. Place a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the seeds and chilli flakes until fragrant. Transfer to a blender with the dried olives and bread and blitz together.

Tip the mixture back onto the baking tray and rub the soil together to feel if it is dry enough. If not, return to the low oven for an hour or until dry.

Divide the hummus between the loaf tins. Scatter over the black soil and plant in the veg. Serve with flatbread.

Enjoy our recipes? Show us your creations on social media with the tag #RArecipes

See our other recipes

Star Q&A: Steve Backshall

Liz Nicholls

Featured

Explorer, naturalist, presenter & dad Steve Backshall MBE, 48, talks to Liz Nicholls ahead of his Ocean show at a venue near you.

Hi Steve. Can you tell us a bit about your Ocean show? “Yes! We’re bringing marine scenes to the stage, creating the undersea environment inside a theatre which is quite a challenge! Marine creatures will be brought to life through the use of props, life-size replicas of the largest animal ever known on our planet, footage on the giant screen, and interactivity. It’s going to be a blast.”

Q. Is the shark your favourite animal? “It’s up there. One of the things I find most fascinating is that even the sharks we have here in our seas we know little about. Even recently, people used to think basking sharks hibernated, lying on the sea bed for winter. But now we know about their fascinating mating and parenting lives. To me they are the most majestic prehistoric, but not primeval, predators on the planet. There are fewer than ten people every year killed by sharks, but we have this impression of them as malicious, man-eating monsters out to get us. And that’s simply not true.”

Q. You’ve been bitten by a caiman, crawled on by a redback and have only respect for animals. But has any experience scared you? “With animals it’s rare but one stands out. We were diving with crocodiles in Botswana and a hippo came out of the murk and approached within metres of us. I’d say you could have tossed a coin as to whether we lived or died in that situation.”

Q. Did growing up on a smallholding in Bagshot inspire your love of wildlife? “Yes. I had such a halcyon childhood surrounded by our old asthmatic donkey, psychotic ‘guard dog’ geese, guinea fowl, peacocks… Every one was a rescue animal that had been given a second chance of life with us. They were our friends, our housemates.”

Q. What was your favourite book growing up? “Call Of The Wild by Jack London. I still even now read it and get the hackles going up at the back of my neck. Once I got a little bit older Alfred Russell Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago took over.”

Q. Do you love your local wildlife in Marlow? “Absolutely! I now find my best wildlife encounters are not in the world’s most exotic places, they’re here. I’m seeing these things with fresh eyes through my kids. They’re very lucky with Helen [Glover] as their mum, a double gold-winning Olympic athlete who is amazing at everything, and from me they get a love of nature. About two months ago we saw otter spraint at the bottom of our garden and set a camera trap with the kids. We watched the swans, rats and foxes and when we got our first otter we practically blew the roof off this house. It was epic! It remains one of my fondest wildlife experiences ever. Even though I’ll probably never even see those otters with my own eyes, our world has become that little bit more exciting because we know they’re there.”

OCEAN SHOWS NEARBY

Guildford’s G Live on 7th April
Reading’s Hexagon on 14th April
Basingstoke’s Anvil on 19th April
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on 29th April
New Theatre Oxford on 4th May

Many more shows available at various locations.

Visit stevebackshall.com for info & to book.

Tell us your local news here

LEGO’s super-sized celebration cake

Round & About

Featured

Check out this super-size LEGO cake to celebrate LEGOLAND hotel’s 10th birthday & welcoming visitors for fun

There were no soggy bottoms in sight when a birthday cake with a difference was unveiled at the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort to kick off its 2022 season.

The talented model makers at LEGOLAND Windsor have been hard at work building a super-size LEGO cake. Standing at an impressive four-foot-tall, built using an incredible 18,272 LEGO bricks, weighing over 50kg and with ten LEGO candles included, the supersize cake is now on display outside the 148 room LEGOLAND Hotel throughout its milestone birthday year.

With ten LEGO candles included, the supersize cake is now on display outside the 148 room LEGOLAND Hotel throughout its milestone birthday year and is the latest incredible LEGO model on display at the Resort and Hotel.

Helen Bull, Divisional Director at the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, said:We’re well and truly in party mode this year, as we open the Resort for our 2022 season. We have so much for families to enjoy, from our new brick building experience – The Brick – opening in April, to the first anniversary of the UK’s first flying theatre ride Flight of the Sky Lion in LEGO MYTHICA.

Helen Bull, Divisional Director at the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, said:We’re well and truly in party mode this year, as we open the Resort for our 2022 season. We have so much for families to enjoy, from our new brick building experience – The Brick – opening in April, to the first anniversary of the UK’s first flying theatre ride Flight of the Sky Lion in LEGO MYTHICA.

“The LEGOLAND Resort Hotel is celebrating 10 years since it first opened its doors in March 2012 and we’re marking this milestone with a host of celebrations including the unveiling of our giant LEGO birthday cake! We can’t wait to welcome families back into the Resort this year and hope that guests will join us at the hotel for a slice of real cake very soon.

”Guests to the LEGOLAND Resort Hotel during this celebratory year will see LEGO Ollie the Dragon receive a birthday makeover as he guards the hotel entrance sporting a colourful party hat. The party atmosphere continues inside the hotel where guests will be greeted with sweet scent of birthday cake as step foot inside the reception. With an array of party decorations, new party evening entertainment, pop badges up for grabs, birthday themed food and drink items added to the menu and fun new birthday themed LEGO building challenges.

But that’s not all! To add to the bricktastic excitement, families staying at the Resort Hotel and Castle Hotel in 2022 will now get priority access to the rides from 10am-11am*.

Overnight stays at the LEGOLAND Hotel are from £90per person for a bed and breakfast stay with one day entrance into the theme park. Guests visiting the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort this year can look forward to a host of great attractions including a brand new brick building experience ‘The Brick’ coming to Miniland this April. Kids and their parents can fully immerse themselves in this new experience filled with thousands of LEGO bricks while building, LEGO masterpieces together.

Intrepid explorers can also voyage through the portal to visit the parallel universe of LEGO MYTHICA®, full of epic adventures, powerful guardians and mythical creatures waiting to be discovered. Families can soar through the skies on the UK’s first flying theatre ride, Flight ofThe Flight of The Sky Lion is found in the heart of the multi-million-pound land.

For more details on the LEGOLAND Windsor Resorts opening times and the Resort Hotel’s 10th anniversary year, or to book a stay visit www.legolandholidays.co.uk

Tell us your local news here