Theatre review: The Divine Mrs S

Round & About

Petersfield & Villages

Jonathan Lovett reviews the world premiere of The Divine Mrs S by April De Angelis at Hampstead Theatre

Sarah Siddons was not only one of the great actors of the 18th century but one of the first modern celebrities.

Carefully calibrating her image she chose her roles shrewdly and worked with the best portrait artists of the age to represent her as a cultural icon – tragic muse, Lady Macbeth etc. She also spun herself as a devoted mother even though her chosen career demanded she often had to neglect her children.

As such her and her era are fascinating subjects for a playwright as skilful as April De Angelis who penned the brilliant Playhouse Creatures about female actors in the Restoration period, set 100 years before this one.

And yet… even though Angelis’s new play stars the commanding, twice Olivier nominated Rachael Stirling it is but a walking shadow to the life of dramatic technicolour lived by Siddons and her contemporaries.

Set mostly backstage at the Drury Lane Theatre we hurry through a number of vignettes involving Siddons (Stirling), her brother and theatre manager, Kemble (Dominic Rowan), and a host of quirky characters who pop in and out of proceedings.

Siddons is tired of performing in sub-standard romances or revisiting Shakespeare for the umpteenth time and yearns for something fresh and radical. Enters unknown playwright Joanne Baillie (entertaining Eva Feiler) who bonds with Siddons and writes her parts to die for.

So there is a lot of comic potential and opportunity for comment on women on stage and their place in the patriarchal society but the play never takes off and, for the first half in particular, it feels flat.

Too sketchy to fully involve the audience in a strong, engaging narrative; not funny enough to carry us along on a wave of laughter; and lacking the biographical insight to spark interest this is an odd hotch potch that fails to do justice to its source.

It’s a shame as Stirling certainly has the stage presence – as well as the plangent voice of the tragedian – to be a successful Siddons. At the end she is allowed to portray the actress as Lady Macbeth and for a few moments the audience holds its breath in a too fleeting flicker of what could have been.

Until 27th April. Box office: 020 7722 9301

Zone out!

Karen Neville

Petersfield & Villages

You’ve done all the preparation and your garden is good to be ‘glammed up’ all ready for you to sit back and relax and enjoy the summer

Courtyard, green oasis, large and luscious, small and secluded – whatever type of garden you have you’ll want to make it work for you and its place in your life.

An increasingly popular way to make the most of your garden is to create zones or spaces designed to suit a particular purpose.

Careful planning even in smaller gardens can result in two or three areas, try a larger focal zone with one or two smaller ones, it will largely depend on how you use your garden space.

Most of us want a relaxation area, somewhere to lie back on a lounger and probably an entertaining/dining area too. Perhaps you work from home and a garden room offers you some escape or just want a space to chill out?

Sit back and consider the choices – patio and/or decking are a good place to start, make space for both if you can and you’re creating zones without realising it. Seating is a must, chairs and a table, anything from a cute bistro set to a full on comfy garden sofa taking the indoors out or a wooden table and chairs fit for a banquet. You may find that once you’ve created your zones, the seating falls into place naturally.

Add a touch of class, comfort and luxury to your garden with unique, high quality rattan and teak furniture and ornaments from Rattan & Teak. Customers can be assured of an expert, premium installation service and bespoke delivery that befits the superior product they are purchasing. Visit for more.

If you’re looking for high-quality long-lasting outdoor furniture covers or gazebo side panels check out family-run, UK-based cover manufacturer – Kover-it. They manufacture all types of covers, including for sofa sets, BBQs, pool tables, durable waterproof sides for gazebos. All are bespoke and manufactured to ensure the best fit. For more info visit

With over 40 years of experience across our family run buiness, you can be confident Surrey Pools and Water can offer bespoke solutions in all aspects of your garden features, including swimming pools, hot tubs and jacuzzis, water features, breakdowns, repairs and maintenance, liner replacements as well as irrigation and rain water harvesting. Operating across all GU postcodes, we pride ourselves on first class quality, excellent workmanship and customer service. More at

Summer is the time to entertain al fresco and enjoy the fruits of your hard work with friends and family. Explore your dining options, do you like nothing better than the sizzle of a burger on the BBQ, like to mix up your toppings with a pizza oven or will only a full-on outdoor kitchen feed your need?

BBQ areas are rapidly becoming extensions of your kitchen, from live fire cooking to the ease and convenience of a Traeger Wood Fired Grills, Black Box BBQ, near Liss, has knowledgeable staff and all the useful gear to ensure your BBQ area is a great place to relax, eat and entertain. Find out more at and call 01420 612591.

Garden rooms have increasingly become an extension of your home and not just for those who work from home. Always wanted to run your own business but not sure where you’d do i? They make the ideal space for a beauty salon or dog grooming parlour and are a great way to gain an extra room without the cost of moving or an extension.

New Timber Spaces offers the perfect solution for the versatile and personalized outdoor space you’re looking for. Their expertise in designing, building, and customizing garden rooms ensures each customer receives a tailored, high-quality sanctuary that enhances their outdoor lifestyle. Transform your garden with a garden room, cabin or outdoor office with their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. More at

One thing that’s pretty much a necessity in this country is some sort of shade or cover. Awnings and sails add a decorative touch and are available in a variety of styles and colours. If you’re after a more permanent fixture then pergolas and gazebos will add a stylish touch to cover your furniture or just as a shelter.

In East Hampshire there’s a family firm, Ambassador Timber Buildings, manufacturing and installing premium-quality bespoke, custom-made outdoor buildings in oak, cedar, larch, and other timber, as well as composite cladding finish. They also supply and install aluminium shading solutions. See their advert in this magazine or visit their website –

Need finishing touches to complete your masterpiece? Garden decor such as stylish pots will attract attention, a fire pit will help ward off any chills while lighting will allow you to enjoy your haven late into the night.

Using traditional techniques dating back 4,000 years and hand thrown on the wheel in Crete, these quality pots are fired at 1,150 degrees centigrade, guaranteeing quality and durability, ensuring they are frost proof to endure our winters. Order online at or visit the Crete Pots showroom displaying over 150 pots in the heart of Hampshire.

Prepare for al fresco dining with Culinary Concepts. Set the table with perfect dining pieces and illuminate your space with beautiful garden lanterns. Visit our Hampshire Showroom, at Lodge Farm, Hook Road, North Warnborough, RG29 1HA (just past Newlyns Farm Shop).Visit for latest opening hours.

The door to dreams

Karen Neville

Petersfield & Villages

Stepping into a bookshop is like catching up with an old friend, the familiarity and love come flooding back and yet you just know there will be something new to discover. Karen Neville invites you to step inside these independent havens of literature…

As a child I loved pushing open the big wooden door on the bookshop in the town where I grew up to be greeted by an Aladdin’s cave of words wrapped in colourful covers.

There was a whole world waiting to be discovered that ate up much of my pocket and birthday money. The delight I felt when collecting the special copy of Ballet Shoes I’d ordered and handing the assistant the piece of paper with the details felt like I was joining a very special club – the bookshop club.

Sadly that shop is no longer but fortunately for all of us bibliophiles according to the Booksellers Association at the end of 2022 there were 1,072 independent bookshops sharing the love I treasured.

Life’s adventures start with a book according to Blue Bear Bookshop in Farnham which was recently voted 10th in The Times UK independent bookshops guide. Named after a cult novel by Walter Moers, The 131/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, the family-run indie bookshop and café opened in 2019 with a glamorous 1920s inspired interior and serving speciality coffee and cake. The much-loved community hub also offers a diverse schedule of literary and cultural events.

The award-winning Haslemere Bookshop was named the best independent bookshop in the south east of England in the 2022 British Book Awards and deservedly so for the friendly knowledgeable service and wide range of books for all ages, extensive collection of maps, guidebooks and information on local authors. Wander upstairs and you’ll discover three-rooms full of potential hidden treasures nestled among the second-hand treats.

You’ll find more than 7,000 books, cards, games, stationery and more served up at The Old Bakery home of Petworth Bookshop and if it’s old books that are collectible and readable you’re after then head to Reader’s Books in Market Square, Petworth.

One Tree Books in Petersfield is turning 30 this year and in their own words are “passionate about all things literary” and don’t worry if you’re not tempted by what’s on the shelves, they can order in just about anything you want. As with many book shops now, they offer so much more and once you’ve browsed and shopped why not take a moment with your purchase to escape to Ginger’s Café which serves breakfast and lunch in a seated area at the back of the shop or takeaway from the front. Join their book club, go along to one of their special events or book launches or make an appointment with the book doctor for yourself or as a gift. A 30-minute consultation includes coffee and a welcome pack, a chat about your reading tastes and what you love most about books. Musicians can shop the wide range of sheet music on the first floor and order what they can’t find.

Who doesn’t want to run a bookshop-café-bar? ask owners of Goldfinch Books in Alton, Gary, Jude and Andrea for whom it had been a long-held dream and the perfect way to combine their love of literature, music, wine and craft beer – sounds perfect! The trio say: “Books are our passion. Each of us at Goldfinch has our own favourite genres, our go-to books, and our top 10 recommendations. Come in and grab a copy of a new release or an old fave. Browse the shelves without pressure, sit and read for a while, enjoy a coffee, relax and take a breath, or chat with friends. We are here if you want a recommendation, or you just want to talk about books (or anything else for that matter).

“Goldfinch Books is more than a bookshop. It is a place to meet like-minded people, and enjoy spending time. It is somewhere to help us remember to enjoy the journey, and relax our focus a little on the destination.”

They have a special interest in and passion for mental health and have plans to support mental health awareness and education with events and initiatives in the offing.

Laurence Oxley in Alresford has more than seven decades of experience to share with customers, stocking both new and second hand books, including rare and collectible editions as well as art materials, cards, Victorian watercolours and maps.

The Cobham Bookshop has been a thriving indie for more than 30 years and no doubt one of its key attractions is that it welcomes dogs so feel free to take Archie or Ruby along while you browse and shop for novels, children’s books, history, biography and all other genres of non fiction.

Godalming is home to A Novel Idea in more ways than one. It’s a bookshop making a difference in the community, founded by Catalyst and the Welcome Project to help people with their mental health and wellbeing. It is run entirely through donations and volunteer staff with high quality donated fiction, non fiction and children’s books. They also sell second hand vinyl, albums and singles covering rock, pop, soul, folk, musicals, films, classical and more.

As author Evie Woods writes in her novel The Lost Bookshop: “The thing about books… is that they help you to imagine a life bigger and better than you could ever dream of.”

Show your support for independent bookshops in Independent Bookshop Week, June 15th to 22nd, part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, an annual celebration of independent bookshops nationwide, and the role they play in their communities.

Placebo join Southampton Summer Sessions

Round & About

Petersfield & Villages

Rock legends join Tom Jones and Madness for this Summer’s hottest shows

Alternative Rock legends Placebo are the latest headliner to be announced for the somewhat long-named TK Maxx presents Southampton Summer Sessions. Guildhall Square is well known as the Cultural Quarter of the City. Proud to be the hub of live music venues, museums, galleries, bars, cafes, and restaurants. This summer will see the square transformed into a buzzing live music hub, welcoming artists from across the globe for this series of Southampton Summer Sessions. That’s far too much sibilance for any festival.

Placebo bought a touch of gothic androgyny and a smart edge to a scene that, in the aftermath of the Grunge explosion, was primarily obsessed with Blur and Oasis. The band are now a duo and still going strong after 8 albums. So, whether it’s Nancy Boy or Every You Or Every Me that floats your boat, Placebo should have the songs to deal with any residual teenage angst that might be knocking about.

Support comes from Friedberg – a four-piece led by Anna Friedberg. Friedberg is also known as Anna F, who was a successful pop star in her native Austria. Now fronting a band comprised of her friends, they specialise in making quirky pop anthems – as evidenced on their latest release Hello or the frantic Midi 8. Definitely worth checking them out live.

These latest names join the already announced Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Tom Jones, Madness, Paloma Faith, and Kaiser Chiefs on the growing lineup of incredible acts taking over Guildhall Square for Southampton Summer Sessions from 15 to 30 June.

Tickets for the latest show go on general sale on Friday 08 March at 10 am via / Fans can follow @smmrsessions for the latest news and updates.

 Placebo headline the festival on Wednesday 26 June

 For ticket information and further updates, music fans should follow @smmrsessions and visit

Ring the changes with your wedding

Round & About

Petersfield & Villages

Celebrate your big day, your way, your wedding day should reflect who you are and with these trends for 2024 it shows you can ‘rip up the rule book’ and surprise your guests

Congratulations! You’ve celebrated your engagement and now’s where the fun / hard work starts. Planning a wedding is exciting and sometimes overwhelming. Why not take some inspiration from the trends for 2024 to kick start those plans for your ‘big day’…

Sustainability is a key consideration for many brides and grooms this year with couples becoming increasingly aware of the impact on the environment of ‘throw away’ items. Many will opt for biodegradable, recycled and upcycled decorations with ‘pre-loved’ dresses ticking both the eco and cost boxes. Charity shops are a great source of beautiful bargain dresses and Oxfam has a website dedicated to them,

Hiring is growing in popularity too for all the reasons above, older readers will remember fondly popping into high street stores for tails and top hats. Searches for ‘wedding dress hire’ have increased with specialist shops offering the opportunity to rent designer or vintage dresses. It’s only worn for one day and if you’re on a budget or are trying not to splash too much cash on one item, it gives you funds to use elsewhere. One of the key dress trends for this year is colour, expect blush or champagne hues, bold brides may even try blue or peach.

Alongside alternative colours and styles are a move towards alternative venues allowing couples to be more creative and often offering a more personal choice – beaches, barns, vineyards and even industrial spaces are becoming increasingly popular as are outdoor options. During the pandemic many couples wishing to continue with their nuptials had no alternative but to say “I do” in the open air and this is continuing especially with brides and grooms wishing to get up close to nature and celebrate in the great outdoors.

Ideally positioned within the heart of the charming historic village of Crondall, Crondall Village Hall offers a perfect setting for your magical day. Opening onto the village green and able to seat 150 guests comfortably, offering a further smaller room which can act as a bar, buffet space or a further entertaining area, a large well-equipped kitchen, parking and competitive packages, making it suitable for all requirements. Please contact [email protected]

Hand in hand with the venue will go the choice of food and again, there is an increasing trend towards less formal fare with couples reflecting their personalities with sharing platters and grazing menus. Both provide a great way for guests to mingle and break the ice, chatting over the charcuterie and cheese, wandering among warm bread and olives. Dessert bars are an original alternative to the traditional cake, choose a variety of mini options that are sure to please even the pickiest of guests, bear in mind you’ll need to cater for different diets but the possibilities are endless.

After the day-long celebration comes that precious time for the two of you to be together and reflect but don’t despair if that bucket-list once-in-a-lifetime trip isn’t possible right now, opt for a minimoon instead. Choose a nearby location and enjoy just recharging and relaxing after the hectic past few months, perhaps extend your stay at your wedding venue and enjoy what that has to offer.

Explore a delightful array of wedding gifts at Culinary Concepts, crafted to capture the hearts of the newlyweds and be treasured for years to come. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift or a stunning centerpiece, from beautiful barware to charming token gifts, our collection has you covered. Visit for ideas.

Art & soul

Liz Nicholls

Petersfield & Villages

John Vardon raises a toast to Arts’ Society Farnham Evening who have been meeting for 20 years this month

Venice was the subject of the inaugural lecture given by Douglas Skeggs to the Cobbett’s Wey Decorative and Fine Arts Society on 14th January 2004. 

Eight months earlier, in April 2003, a group of like-minded ladies got together with a view to setting up a Decorative and Fine Arts Society (DFAS) that would meet in the evening, complementing the existing society meeting in the daytime, and giving an opportunity for working Farnham people to attend lectures.  There was much to do, from finding a suitable venue, through procuring audio visual equipment, creating a programme of lectures, finding a name for the nascent society, drafting a constitution and preparing publicity material to establishing a membership.  In the intervening period, the steering committee worked hard and with success; the society was born.

From the beginning, refreshments were served before the lectures, allowing members and their guests to socialise and the society’s meetings rapidly gained a reputation as friendly as well as informative events.  In the beginning, nine lectures were presented each year but, after only two years, this was increased to ten. The range of lectures has been extremely wide; topics covered have been as diverse as gardens, silver, furniture, tromp l’oeil, architecture, music, bricks and much else.

The society also arranges visits and study days for members, often related to a the subject of a lecture. Members have also been active participants as Church Recorders and Heritage volunteers. Church Recorders ensure that the contents of a church are meticulously described and fully recorded whilst Heritage Volunteers work to conserve artefacts in museums, archives, gardens and historic houses.  Another aspect of the society’s activities was the Young Arts Bursary designed to assist promising young students in their studies to support artists of the future; more recently, the Society has provided financial support to the Woodlarks Centre, specifically in support of the on-site Activity Centre.

In 2017, the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies rebranded as The Arts Society so, as an affiliated organisation, Cobbett’s Wey DFAS became The Arts’ Society, Farnham Evening (ASFE) but it still retained its reputation as a welcoming and friendly society offering an excellent series of lectures.  The COVID pandemic presented further challenges to the Society which went on-line enabling its programme of lectures to continue with only minor interruptions.  However, it was a real joy for Members to reconvene to socialise over a drink and listen to excellent lectures. Over the years, a hard working and cohesive committee supported by enthusiastic volunteers has ensured the success of the Society.  And so at the end of 2023, the Society celebrates the completion of twenty years with the return of Douglas Skeggs, speaking this time on the topic of James Whistler: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

New members are most welcome or come to a talk as a visitor. Free parking and a glass of wine are included! For further information visit

Festive cheer with local beer!

Karen Neville

Petersfield & Villages

Hogs Back Brewery gears up for Christmas with new beer and parties at its Tap

Hogs Back Brewery is getting ready for Christmas! The Tongham brewery has a trio of festive beers, available from the Brewery Shop and Tap as well as local pubs. For anyone after some festive fun in the brewery, ‘Winter Wonderland’ nights in December offer delicious food, drink and a crowd-pleasing disco.

Newly brewed for this Christmas is Fairy Tale of New Pork, a 4% ABV amber ale available on draught. Brewed with authentic beechwood smoked German malt, English pale and crystal malts, it has flavours of cinder toffee, caramel, biscuit and warm smokiness.

Fairy Tale of New Pork joins two returning seasonal favourites: Mistletoe & Swine, a 4.2% ABV, full-bodied cask ale with subtle hints of sultana, peppery ginger, warm cinnamon and orange zest and Advent Ale, a 4.4% deep chestnut ale with notes of sweet liquorice and rich dark chocolate aftertaste, which is available in bottle as well as on draught – making the perfect stocking filler for a beer lover! 

Fun on Tap

The brewery’s Tap has become a destination for great beer, food and regular performances from local bands when it becomes a party space every Friday and Saturday night, offering a range of menus – including vegan options – and drinks packages to suit every taste and budget. And with a DJ playing all the hits through til midnight, it’s a great way to celebrate the party season with friends or work colleagues. Book your table and dust off your dancing shoes now!

Other festive events at the Tap include a special family-friendly charity quiz on Thursday 21st December. Or just book a Tap table with friends for any night and enjoy a Snorter – a refillable glass flagon containing 31/2 pints of any of Hogs Back’s festive or year-round favourites, fresh from the brewery.

And for designated drivers or those wanting to take a break from drinking, Hogs Back’s Little Swine 0.5% is a full-bodied, flavourful pale ale. Brewed with speciality malts and three hop varieties including Cascade from Hogs Back’s hop garden, Little Swine allows offers all the taste of a full-strength beer, without the alcohol. Available in 330ml bottles from the Tap or Brewery Shop.

Managing director Rupert Thompson said: “The run up to Christmas is always a busy time for us: we’re brewing flat out to meet demand from pubs and customers in our Shop, and at the same time we’re hosting parties and other events in the Tap. There’s always a great atmosphere with many of our regular drinkers popping in to pick up supplies for their celebrations at home, or to meet friends for a drink.”

For more details on events at the Hogs Back Tap, go here. The Brewery Shop will be open for extended hours from December, for details go here.

Spirit of Christmas comes to Fleet

Karen Neville

Petersfield & Villages

As the Christmas season gets underway, Fleet is preparing to wrap itself up in the magic of the season with three heartwarming events that capture the essence of Christmas

Get ready for the annual Fleet Christmas Festival on Wednesday, 22nd November, from 2pm to 9pm. Organised by a passionate team of volunteers, the festival transforms Fleet into a festive hub, boasting 120 market stalls lining Fleet Road.

From hot and cold culinary delights to unique gifts and decorations, the Christmas Market is a celebration of Christmas and the warmth of community connections. There will also be entertainers and rides as well as a giant snow globe where you can immerse yourself in a magical winter wonderland.

Gurkha Square becomes a stage for the town’s talents, featuring school choirs, community groups and the cast of the year’s pantomime, Dick Whittington. The switching on of the Christmas tree lights at 6.30pm marks a moment of shared joy and anticipation. The square also includes community stalls, celebrating the people who make a difference locally. Father Christmas will be in his grotto in The Harlington which will also host the Harlington Bazaar.

Hart Shopping Centre are hosting the Hart of Craft Christmas market where you can pick a unique or handmade gift, and also enjoy a free glass of wine and mince pie. The Shopping Centre is also host to Autism Friendly Fleet’s Chill Zone offering a quiet space to rest and chill.

Santa’s Post Office: Where wishes take flight

Santa’s Post Office returns to the Hart Shopping Centre, delivered by the Fleet Business Improvement District (BID) and funded by local businesses. This is a charming experience for adults and children alike and children can meet Santa’s elves and write their letters to Santa. It is a true community event with volunteers from Fleet Guides manning the Post Office, raising awareness of the great work they do.

Opening hours:

Wednesday 22nd November, 4pm to 7pm

Saturdays 25th November, 2nd, 9th and 16th December, 10am to 4pm

Sundays 26th November, 3rd, 10th, 17th December, 10am to 4pm

School holidays, Monday 18th – Friday 22nd Dec, 10am to 4pm

Snow Windows: Artistry in every corner

Building on last year’s success, the Fleet Business Improvement District has again commissioned Snow Windows to create unique Christmas artwork in Fleet. Shop windows throughout the town have been transformed into unique pieces of art, each personally designed by renowned artist Tom.

This unique street exhibition showcases the individuality of these local businesses, making a perfect Christmas trail for families to spot the details that make each artwork so special.

For anyone wanting to see the artist at work, Tom from Snow Windows will be decorating the window of 217 Menswear at 217 Fleet Road during the Fleet Christmas Festival on 22nd November.

Tracey Shrimpton, Fleet BID Manager said “Fleet puts on some amazing events throughout the year, and Christmas is a really special time in the town.

“The Fleet Christmas Festival is organised by a dedicated group of volunteers who work so hard every year to organise this event which attracts people from far and wide. Through the contributions of local businesses, the Fleet Business Improvement District is able to provide additional free entertainment including the magical experience of Santa’s Post Office and the awe-inspiring artwork of world-famous Snow Windows.

“We recognise that families may find the pressure to spend money stressful this Christmas and we are delighted that we can offer something very special for families to enjoy that they can do completely free of charge.

“We are so lucky to have such a fabulous range of committed small business owners who open their doors every day to offer customers unique services and products, with local staff to provide help and advice. The High Street is facing many challenges right now and our mission is to support businesses in Fleet with a number of activities to improve the trading environment and this is a great opportunity for people to show their support for local businesses which are the lifeblood of our community.”

 Celebrate at The Shed this November

Karen Neville

Petersfield & Villages

There’s plenty to celebrate at The Shed this November, with a fireworks bonanza, a cosy comedy club and a Remembrance Day afternoon, plus Saturday Markets and Christmas Wreath workshops

The Shed has a sparkling selection lined up with some real fireworks throughout November with the return of the Cube Comedy Club as well as live music, quiz nights and the ever popular markets.

The venue offers the perfect backdrop for evenings of laughs and fantastic community events.

The Cube Comedy Club, 2nd November, 8pm

We’re back with a bang this November and continue to bring you the best of the best from the UK comedy circuit. This month features Matt Price, Eva Bindeman and Joey Page.

Eva Bindeman is a Bristol based, North East Comic bringing a warm, conversational sense of humour with a twist of the unexpected and named Funny Women “one to watch” in 2022.

Joey Page has been hailed as the future of stand up and is storming the circuit with his trail blazing brand of ‘Indie Comedy’ that’s surreal and inventive and has gained a big following during his time as support act for Noel Fielding on tour.

‘Conversations with Criminals’ podcast host Matt Price interacts with a crowd in a way that makes everyone in the room feel good. Matt’s stories are from the wilder side of life but surprisingly easy to relate to.

Firework Extravaganza, November 4th, 5-9pm

Get ready to light up the night sky with a FREE Firework Display on November 4th, with a night of dazzling lights, delicious treats, and fairground rides.

Head to Parade Square for a spectacular night of jaw-dropping fireworks at Whitehill and Bordon, with gates opening at 5pm and the breath-taking display commencing at 7pm, this event is not to be missed.

There will also be an array of exciting fairground rides for all ages. And when hunger strikes, indulge in mouth-watering meals from a selection of food trucks, offering sizzling burgers, hot dogs, delicious hog roasts, and a variety of sweet treats including donuts, waffles, and crepes.

Remembrance Sunday with Stephanie Bell, November 12th, 12-2pm

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the enchanting melodies of the 1940s as Stephanie Bell takes the stage gracing us with not one, but two captivating sets of music, each lasting 45 minutes. Absolutely free with no need to book, this is the perfect way to get the family together for an afternoon of remembrance and celebration.

Throughout November there are also the popular Saturday Markets on 11th and 25th November, as well as a Christmas Wreath Workshop at Bud Hut, where guests can learn how to create a stunning moss-based wreath adorned with seasonal natural accessories.

You can find the full line-up of all upcoming events at The Shed here:

Garden Invaders

Round & About

Petersfield & Villages

There are many plants that can inadvertently take over our gardens, particularly weeds, but there are some beautiful plants on sale that you can wonder why you ever planted. These are my own experiences and everyone will have a different gripe, says R&A gardener Cathie Welch

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chamaeleon’ (pictured)

A beautiful plant often sold for ponds and waterside planting now rampaging in my edible border. It is edible but not very nice. It spreads underground by rhizomes and pops up everywhere gathering momentum after its winter sleep.


This is where it is essential to do your homework. There are bamboos and there are bamboos. Avoid at all costs the running away ones that can colonise gardens and invade those of your neighbours as well as lift up paths, destroy foundations and puncture pond liners. I tend to choose Phylostachys aurea and nigra which are clump forming with beautiful stems but they are quite high maintenance needing to be thinned and trimmed constantly. Occasionally an unwanted shoot pops up but it is important to cut it off. You are in charge of your plants and not vice versa.


Helianthus is the Genus which includes the annual sunflower. There are several perennial varieties that spread indefinitely if you don’t keep them in check. They also spread by underground tubers and as anyone who has grown Jerusalem artichokes on their allotment will know.


This is a very pretty fern-like spreading shrub colonising the whole of Thursley common and the surrounding gardens. It is readily on sale in garden centres but never plant it in your garden unless you have the room.

Anemone japonica

I mentioned these in my last article and have battled with them in many a small garden. There are tall invasive varieties but also delightful cultivars like ‘Frilly Knickers’ which I can’t grow at all. They need a regular cull so just choose carefully.


There are many other invasive garden plants like Hypericum calycinum which spreads like mad but is great for banks as is Vinca major or periwinkle. There are many Buddleias and Ivies that do not seed and are not invasive. All plants have their right place. Choose your plants and their location carefully and do a little research on your soil type as one person’s thug plant may not even thrive in your garden.

CGS Courses

Please ask for details as I am now meeting potential students for Spring Courses as well as bespoke workshops and volunteering. I can also come and teach you in your own garden and am happy to chat over a coffee at Ashdene.

Consultancy gift vouchers available too.

Website Cathie’s Gardening School: Surrey’s Garden School

Email [email protected]