Peter Rabbit & pals at Blenheim

Round & About

Wallingford

Looking for something fun and immersive to do with your little bunnies in a gorgeous setting?

The Peter Rabbit Garden Adventure is the fabulous live immersive experience in the grounds of Blenheim Palace until 3rd September.

We have some happy bunnies here at Round & About who have loved the magical mix of storytelling, live performance, and puppetry.

Developed in association with Frederick Warne & Co, this is the first time Peter Rabbit has appeared in this way, and is also a first for World Heritage Site Blenheim Palace which has allowed unprecedented access for families trying to save Peter Rabbit from ending up in Mr McGregor’s pie.

The Peter Rabbit Garden Adventure is a fabulous live immersive experience in the grounds of Blenheim Palace

This 50-minute immersive adventure celebrates Beatrix Potter’s beloved rabbit who has starred in 250 million books sold since he first appeared at the start of the 20th century. The experience has been created by the team behind Autumn Treasure Hunt with Percy The Park Keeper At Chiswick House & Gardens.

There are also free activities on site and a Peter Rabbit Farm Shop.

Find out more

For more info or to book your trip please visit PeterRabbitGardenAdventure.com & blenheimpalace.com

Thame Food Festival bursary winner announced

Karen Neville

Wallingford

Popular food festival runs on September 24th & 25th and this year more than 180 artisan producers are set to take part

Hartley’s Cookery School, based in Haddenham, has been awarded the Thame Food Festival bursary for 2022.

The bursary, reinstalled after sponsorship by Pinkster Gin, was established a few years ago to celebrate and promote newly-formed artisan food business within a 30-mile radius of Thame.

Hartley’s Cookery School aims to offer cookery class and chef table experiences which explore food, why certain ingredients or techniques are used and how to prepare and cook it. While also creating an environment that is fun and appealing for everyone – whatever their ability.

Creating an environment that is fun and appealing for everyone

Simon Hartley, Chef and owner of Hartley’s Cookery School said of the win: “I am delighted to be receiving this bursary and the support of the team at Thame Food Festival. Since opening our doors at Bradmoor Farm in January it’s been amazing to welcome and cook with our first guests at the school. We want to be a community-led business and have so enjoyed building relationships with other food producers and suppliers. Our vision for the school is to share my knowledge and passion for food in a relaxed environment, offering fun-filled courses for all abilities. Whether you’ve never picked up a knife or are a seasoned foodie, there’s something for everyone!”

The bursary includes an award of £1,000, a free pitch at this year’s Thame Food Festival, content in the festival programme, the opportunity to have an interview in the Food Glorious Food marquee and help with PR and social media.

Previous winners have included Ozi Lala, who has gone on to win Great Taste awards for his unique food products and the original winner was Lisa Hartwright of Tess’ Brilliant Bakes. Both of whom are going from strength to strength and still play an active part in the food festival too.

Supporting young businesses that have the same ethics as the festival is an important part of what we try to do

Patron and event co-ordinator Lotte Duncan said: “We are delighted to be in a position to offer a bursary again – thanks to Pinkster Gin. As a Community Interest Company, supporting young businesses that have the same ethics as the festival is an important part of what we try to do. It was such a pleasure to meet Simon and his partner and hear what they are trying to achieve by giving people friendly, fun cookery courses while learning about the provenance of their food.”

What will he spend the bursary on? Simon said: “As we have only been trading for just over five months, we are looking to use the bursary to invest in upgrading our website, signage and professional photography. Plus, use the support of the judges to broaden awareness of us and explore how we can potentially look at supporting initiatives in the community too.”

Find out more about them at Hartley’s Cookery School and to book tickets for the festival go to Thame Food Festival

It’s come home – at last!

Round & About

Wallingford

Now it’s over to you… be inspired by our Lionesses and get involved in football where you are, whatever your age and ability

Football has come home, it’s taken 56 years to win a major honour but it was well worth waiting for as England women’s captain Leah Williamson lifted the Womens Euros 2022 trophy at Wembley on Sunday.

The amazing achievement of beating eight-times winners Germany 2-1 was immense and while many backed the Lionesses as the favourites for the tournament on home soil, the result is truly outstanding and the women deserve all the plaudits and honours that will come their way.

One of the key aims for The FA and the England Women has been ensuring that this fabulous celebration of football creates a legacy for future generations and encourages as many women and girls as possible to get involved in the beautiful game.

Whatever your age and ability, football is for all and offers a huge opportunity for women and girls to engage in a healthy lifestyle through football, promoting both physical activity and mental health benefits too.

Follow in the Lionesses’ footsteps there are many options open to you.

Whether you just want to have a kick about with your mates, have a go at walking football or want to join a local club and perhaps follow in the Lionesses’ footsteps there are many options open to you.

Oxfordshire FA has a number of initiatives for girls and women to play their part in the “beautiful game” and is currently looking at relaunching the Women’s Small Sided Leagues such as 5-a-side – the ideal introduction to get into the game or get back into it.

Walking football offers a slower version of the game and enables women to play football under the same rules, enjoying the same great game just at a slower pace. Try Oxford United Walking Football Club at The Oxford Academy on Sunday afternoons.

Oxfordshire FA are also taking part in #LetGirlsPlay to celebrate the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022 and give women and girls’ the opportunity to get involved with football in their local community – any age, any ability.

Get involved!

As several players and commentators said after the epic win, this has to be the start of something even more special.

Gilt trip!

Liz Nicholls

Wallingford

Liz Nicholls chats to Nat & Ko, whose emporium Gilt & Grain in Southmoor is adding style & pizzazz to homes big and small.

Forget the pub… for more than 2,000 interiors fans, the Friday evening new stock email from Gilt & Grain is the real start of the weekend.

The weekly mail drop of fresh treasures has a sales rate most businesses can only dream of, with more than 60% of items snapped up this way. If you see something you like, you’d better buy it quickly as the beautiful, eclectic items go like hot cakes, as I learned to my cost recently.

I am now primed for buying, which is how I became proud owner of an enormous Tudor-meets Bridgerton upholstered headboard last weekend.

“Customers often refer to the Friday evening email as one of the highlights of their week due to the eclectic list of items,” Ko tells me. “When it arrives they know it is the beginning of their weekend!”

If you see something you like, you’d better buy it quickly as the beautiful, ecletic items go like hot cakes

Gilt & Grain has a gorgeously curated bricks-and-mortar shop in a lovingly restored 19th century chapel featuring a steel mezzanine. But one of the reasons Gilt & Grain has such a loyal fanbase is the couple’s decision to have a strong online presence by operating a website that is updated daily with multiple photographs and dimensions of each item of furniture.

After turning 40, after 24 years as a self-employed carpenter mainly working on period houses, Nat decided to start selling antiques and paintings on Ebay. After 18 months, a run-down shop became available in Oxford which he thought would be good for storage.

And after 20 years in retail Ko, who was at the time manager for TOAST on the High Street, was looking for a new challenge. The East Oxford treasure trove won a loyal customer base (me included) for a few years before the Old Chapel called…

The couple still live in Oxfordshire, and their two-year-old cocker spaniel Millie can often be found lending a paw in the shop.

“Our own interior aesthetic is eclectic,” adds Nat. “Our home is full of what I love whether mid-century or Georgian period furniture. I’ve always believed good design from any period, if carefully selected, can always look good together. We take very little notice of trends so this means interior designers often pick up rather good buys from us! Bamboo and rattan furniture is still selling very swiftly as is furniture with bobbin-turned legs. Due to Instagram, trends are now so swift that they come and go without us even noticing!”

Buying antique and used furniture is sustainable: a lot of the furniture Gilt & Grain sells is at least 200 years old and still perfectly usable, practical and very attractive.

“In recession people look around to save money and antiques are still very affordable,” adds Ko. “For example we recently sold a beautiful Regency sideboard for £185 with the original receipt from a LAPADA member dealer which the previous deceased owner originally purchased in the late 1980s for £1,895. We also often sell used modern good quality or designer pieces as greatly reduced sums.”

Find out more

Thanks to their good eye and high turnover, the shop attracts people from all walks of life, including some high-profile celebrities… And you might hear Ko practising the cello with Millie. Or else join the club of subscribers. Fight you for the best bits!

Visit giltandgrain.com

Valerian Court: A home from home

Round & About

Wallingford

Valerian Court is a brand-new purpose-built luxury care home set to open its doors to welcome new residents in summer 2022

Offering the very best in person-centred care, Valerian Court will be offering all-inclusive residential, nursing, dementia and respite care, providing support and companionship when needed around the clock.

The care of the residents is of paramount importance and the dedicated and caring team ensure privacy, dignity and respect whilst fostering independence, confidence and wellness of each of the residents.

This elegant home has been designed with the residents in mind with no attention to detail being missed. From luxury en-suite bedrooms that are beautifully decorated to a café and an array of dining rooms where you can enjoy quality home-cooked nutritious food lovingly prepared by the team of resident chefs.

There are lounges available on every floor of the home that provide a perfect haven for some R&R or why not pop into the library or one of the quiet rooms to catch up on the newspaper or to read your favourite book.

Moving into a care home really does not mean that you have to miss out on all of your favourite things and with a hairdresser on site you never need to miss an appointment. There’s a café to enjoy a cup of tea and slice of homemade cake and we provide a warm welcome for your family and friends to come in and join you and to be a part of the Valerian Court community.

If watching movies is your thing then relax with some popcorn in the cinema room or why not join in with the extensive activities programme that offers arts and crafts sessions, exercise classes, music and entertainment to name just a few of the activities.

With balconies and a rooftop garden you can enjoy the summer whilst doing some gardening or why not sit back and watch the comings and goings of the Didcot community.

Providing a warm and inviting environment for the residents and their families is what the home prides itself on. Come and discover the lifestyle that Valerian Court has to offer by visiting our Marketing Suite which opens on 18th May.

Find out more at Valerian Court Care Home and email

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A new lease of life

Round & About

Wallingford

A move to McCarthy Stone’s Jupiter House in Milton Keynes has helped give a retired newsagent a social network and greater peace of mind  

Having spent nearly 40 years behind the till of their family-run newsagents alongside her husband, Jill Lee, 75, was used to the hustle and bustle that comes with being at the heart of the community. 

After the loss of her husband Graham over 10 years ago, Jill and her family decided that it could be a good time for her to downsize and luckily, spotted McCarthy Stone’s Jupiter House under construction, just a ten-minute walk from daughter Katie’s home near Milton Keynes. 

“There’s always someone to have a chat with and I’ve got all of my friends right on my doorstep!”

Katie says: “We decided to move mum into a relatively new house, in a quiet cul-de-sac but after 40 years of living in a busy newsagents, it was just too quiet for her and she was becoming quite lonely and isolated.” 

Jill’s younger daughter, Isobel, lives in California with her two children, and with the pandemic severely impacting travel, being closer to loved ones was something the family felt would be beneficial for Jill. Katie says: “We were driving around one day near to where we live in Milton Keynes when we spotted the hoardings going up for Jupiter House. I said ‘why don’t you move here so you’re closer to us?’ and mum agreed so we registered as soon as we could!” 

Jill and her daughter Katie

After so many years being surrounded by people, this was an important factor in Jill’s decision to move, as she explains: “Our life was the newsagents, we used to open at 6am and close at 8pm at night, meeting and talking to people – that’s what we loved to do. When my husband died and I moved, although I had neighbours, they were always out at work, and really, I led quite a lonely life and I missed having people around me. Now, there’s always someone to have a chat with and I’ve got all of my friends right on my doorstep!” 

Since moving into her one-bedroom apartment in May 2021, which she did using McCarthy Stone’s convenient ‘Smooth Move’ scheme, Jill has wasted no time getting to know her new neighbours, and has even started what has become known as ‘The 2 O’Clock Club’ with some of her fellow homeowners. 

As well as offering a much-needed social network it has made a positive impact on Jill’s life and also offered the family greater peace of mind and the safety net of knowing Sarah the House Manager and her team are on hand if needed. Jill added: “We can’t speak highly enough of them; they’re always going out of their way to help.” 

Jupiter House features a selection of one and two-bedroom apartments, built exclusively for the over-60’s. Homeowners can also enjoy a spacious communal homeowners lounge and beautiful landscaped gardens while visiting relatives can make use of the handy hotel-style guest suite. 

Prices for the one and two-bedroom apartments at Jupiter House currently start from £225,000 and £340,000 respectively. Rental and part buy part rent options are also available to make moving even easier. 

For more information on Retirement Living in Milton Keynes, please call 0800 201 4743 or visit www.mccarthystone.co.uk. 

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Star Q&A: Gok Wan

Round & About

Wallingford

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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Star Q&A: Samantha Womack

Round & About

Wallingford

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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Wheelyboat Picks the Litter

Liz Nicholls

Wallingford

WOW-one crew stand proudly over their spoils of the Littler Pick

WOW! Wallingford Accessible Boat Club heroes support the Thames river clean-up with WOW-one wheelyboat

We thought we would share some heart-warming community news to add some light to what has been a very gloomy week for most.

Members of the Wallingford Accessible Boat Club (WABC), with their wheelyboat WOW-one, helped out with the Thames Clean Up in Wallingford today.  Bankside litter pickers, co-ordinated by local councillors and actively supported by the charity Wallingford 1155, passed the rubbish bags and other debris to the wheelyboat for ferrying downstream to the main collection point at Riverside in Wallingford.

WOW-one proved to be the ideal craft for the job. Its flat decking, designed for carrying wheelchair users, coupled with its shallow draft allowed it to get very close to the bank making it easy to load the rubbish.

Just some of the debris collected by WOW-one during the Litter Pick

Councillor Steve Holder, lead coordinator of the litter pick, said:  “Another great litter pick thanks to the 80 or so local people who turned out to help. We were very pleased to have the support of WABC and WOW-one which was invaluable for the river element of the Litter Pick which coincided with the wider South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse River Thames Clean Up event. It is great they were involved in this important community initiative.”

John Jenkins MBE, WABC chairman of Trustees, added: “The litter pick was all great fun and I am very glad that our involvement proved to be so helpful. After all, our wheelyboat operation is itself a community project and we are always keen to get involved to support local Wallingford initiatives such as this.”

For further information please contact John Jenkins on or phone 07976 297835.

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Star Q&A: Timmy Mallett

Liz Nicholls

Wallingford

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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