Purls of wisdom: unravel knitting festival

Round & About

Farnham

Farnham Maltings will once again host unravel… a festival of knitting, between Friday, 22nd and Sunday, 24th February.

“It’s amazing to see the community of knitters, crochet and craft enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds return year after year to celebrate their love of yarn,” says festival organiser Gemma Curtis. “Whether you’re new to knitting and crochet or have years of experience, there is something for everyone.”

Since its launch in 2009, unravel… a festival of knitting has become one of the leading independent events, with yarn enthusiasts visiting from across the country and around the world.

The hub of the festival, unravel’s marketplace, allows visitors to buy products from more than 70 quality exhibitors from across the UK and Europe. Exhibitors include locally based The Little Grey Sheep and international vendors including Dye Dye Done from Poland, Fine Fish Yarn from Belfast and Lanivendole from Genova as well returning favourites and some new to the show for 2019.

As ever, unravel is offering expert-led workshops and talks on a range of disciplines. Classes include a mystical lantern class by crochet expert Jane Crowfoot, international tutor Kate Atherley introducing participants to the skills of glove-making and renowned knitwear design Alison Ellen leading an Entralec skills class.

Running throughout the whole Maltings building, visitors can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the show in this unique setting.

• Tickets £8 in advance / £10 on the door and workshops can be booked in advance and include the price of same day entry.

  Call 01252 745 444 or visit www.farnhammaltings.com

Where’s Santa?

Round & About

Farnham

Father Christmas is very busy this month finding out who’s been naughty or nice! Here’s where you can catch him (remember, he’s magic so can be in lots of places at once!)

Saint Nicholas, AKA Santa, will be in his own sitting room at Hatchlands Park near East Clandon on the first, second and fourth weekends of December, 11am-3.30pm. £5 per visit per child, including a present. On the third weekend, Mrs Christmas will fill his boots! For further information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatchlands-park

At Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking, children can take a train ride to see Santa and his elves in his cellar and receive a present and sticker book. £8.25 per child, no lower age limit. For £3, adults can join them on the train to much mince pies and browse craft goodies. www.denbies.co.uk

He will visit Haslemere Museum on Sunday, 2nd December, between 11am and 3pm as part of Haslemere Christmas Market. Little ones can tell him their wishes and receive a present for £3. He will return from Thursday 20th to Christmas Eve morning to chill in his Victorian parlour. £4 per child; visit www.haslemeremuseum.co.uk.

Over at Birdworld you can meet Santa’s reindeer and some of their friendly farm animals before you enter a magical world full of animated characters in winter wonderland settings. As you walk through the different scenes, enjoy friendly banter with the impish elves and meet Santa to claim your present! For full information and prices please visit www.birdworld.co.uk/christmas

On certain days in December, Santa has instructed his elves to teach children some of their magic with fun craft workshops at Painshill Park near Cobham (with a present and a note from Santa at the end). £8.50 per child, suitable for children aged between two and eight and two adults can go with them for free. Visit www.painshill.co.uk

Over the first two weekends in December, you can go on a Santa hunt on the Swingbridge broadbeam boat for a gentle family cruise along the River Wey. The boat will depart from Millmead Island, looking for clues along the towpath while you enjoy mince pies and mulled wine before Santa hops on board with his sack of gifts for the return journey. It costs £10 for each under-16, £10 for an adult with a child and £35 for a family (two adults and two children). Search for Swingbridge Santa Cruises on Facebook or call 01483 444334.

Other family-friendly Christmas highlights include carols, songs & readings at Hatchlands Park on Sunday, 16th December, at 12pm & 2pm. There is also the Lost in a Book Georgian Christmas trail, daily between Saturday, 1st December and Sunday, 6th January, 10am-4pm when you can enjoy the trail through the parkland and follow the Boscawen family as they discover the story of Gulliver’s Travels. Call 01483 444334 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatchlands-park

Carols for Clandon will warm the family cockles at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford on Tuesday, 18th December, from 7.30pm. The Oxford Singers will deliver carols and readings to support Clandon Park. Adults £12, child £9; call 01483 444334 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clandon-park

A cut above: best Christmas roasts

Round & About

Farnham

Turkey is a traditional favourite but there are so many choices of meat when it comes to the festive table, and many excellent local producers

What scene depicts Christmas more traditionally than a large cooked bird being brought out to the table and carved by the head of the household?

Turkey is, of course, still the popular festive choice. Tom Copas Jnr says: “Turkey is what you’re meant to have! We’ve been rearing the best turkeys in Britain for over 60 years and nothing tastes better on Christmas Day, especially knowing all the care and attention that’s gone into their welfare.” Visit www.copasturkeys.co.uk

For minimal stress, it’s important to plan your Christmas catering about now in the manner of a military operation. Ideally, place your order by 1st December and remember your butcher can help decide how big your roast needs be. As a rule of thumb, a 10lb turkey will feed between eight and 10 people and still give you leftovers. Tell your butcher not only how many guests you have, but how big an appetite they have to judge wisely.

“Talking to our customers, it’s become clear that many are looking for something a little different from the traditional turkey this year and we’re very pleased to oblige,” says Calumn Connelly of The Hungry Guest Butchers in Petworth. “The Goodwood rib of beef roast, or venison from the Merryworth Estate are delicious alternatives, looking wonderful as they’re served, and offering a glimpse back to older English traditions. There are, of course, many for whom turkey remains the centrepiece of the Christmas table; and alongside an offering of the finest whole birds, there’s the option of rolled turkey which is easier to prepare and serve, or a memorable three-bird roast. The Creedy Carver chickens and ducks used for these also make perfect alternatives for smaller households; and our homemade pigs in blankets will complement your meal, whichever roast you prefer!” Visit www.thehungryguest.com

Recipe queen Lyn Deveson says: “I’ve always cooked turkey and a gammon; cold turkey, ham, turkey curried, stir fried, in sandwiches is a big part of the appeal. But I cooked a cockerel last Christmas and won’t go back to turkey – it has more flavour. I remember my mother cooking the turkey all night on a low heat but the French way is best; higher heat and less time. People complain it can be dry but if cooked properly, it isn’t. Good gravy makes all the difference, too!

“I also remember my mother cooking the turkey all night on a low heat, but the French way is best – higher heat and less time. People complain it can be dry but if cooked properly, it isn’t. Traditionally we cook turkey, stuffing, bread sauce, sausages wrapped in bacon etc. with the head male at the top of the table, carving! That’s the  picture we all have in our heads and everyone wearing paper hats and pulling crackers! Because turkey meat can be quite bland, you can go to town with the other flavours. A good gravy makes the difference and thanks to chefs such as Jamie Oliver, we are learning that Bisto is not the essential ingredient but I am shocked by the number of English who still use it! The trouble is we are so spoilt nowadays and can eat anything any time of the year, so Christmas lunch or dinner isn’t such a treat as it used to be.”

Hungerford master butcher Christian Alba says: “In all the places I’ve worked, most of the Christmas meat customers buy is turkey. But I grew up on a turkey farm, so I have beef fore rib!”

Enter our competition for a Christmas In A Box foodie hamper – including a 6kg turkey!

GINspiration

Round & About

Farnham

Gin is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, with a wealth of interesting spirits produced right here on our doorstep. We chat to some of the enthusiastic local producers and offer up our favourite tipples!

History of gin

Gin may be one of the most popular liquors in the country, yet the colourless spirit has had to contend with a chequered history since it first landed on these shores more than 300 years ago.

Originally gin was sold as a medicine, distilled and supposedly capable of aiding kidney ailments, gallstones and gout after Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius created genever. Brits were first introduced to it when the English soldiers assisted the Dutch against the Spanish in Antwerp during the late 16th century during the Eighty Years’ War.

The armies were known to drink genever before heading into battle, and it’s thought to be the origin of the phrase “Dutch courage”. William of Orange then arrived here to rule in 1688 and promptly relaxed laws on making spirits. Gin, which starts with a base of juniper berries, gained in popularity – among all classes – with the upper classes drinking genever and the working classes making do with a new, cheaper “imitation” gin, substituting the costly ingredients with such things as turpentine and sulphuric acid.

Subsequently, gin’s reputation took a turn for the worse. In London alone, more than 7,000 “dram shops” sprang up with an estimated 10 million gallons being distilled annually by barbers, grocers and market stall holders. Gin became increasingly cheap to produce, easily accessible, little duty was paid on it and some workers were even given it as part of their wages. The 1736 Gin Act forced anyone wishing to sell distilled spirits to take out a licence costing £50.

Only three such licences were taken, but gin’s popularity did not wane as “mother’s ruin” remained hugely popular, before a second act was passed in 1751, which raised duty, and prohibited distillers, grocers, chandlers, jails and workhouses from selling the liquor.

Thankfully this was the low point for gin and the spirit has rebuilt its once-tarnished reputation to become the UK’s most popular alcoholic drinks. Gin’s popularity has been helped by upmarket gin bars, ever-growing gin festivals and distilleries offering delicious varied botanical flavours.

Distillers of Surrey

One such distillery is Ripley-based Distillers of Surrey, producers of bespoke spirits. Head distiller Simon Sherlock says: “I was inspired by the gin renaissance and really loved the creativity of distilling spirits. I’ve always dreamt of opening my own distillery and releasing truly small batch, hand-crafted spirits. Distillers Of Surrey is focused on providing distinctively different spirits of unparalleled quality. We are unhindered by the trappings of large-scale production, focusing entirely on quality and ethics.”

The Gin Kitchen

After hearing a radio show about the gin revival in 2016, friends Helen and Kate decided to set up a distillery, buying a beautiful Portuguese copper alembic still “using the money we would usually have spent on gin”. , set in a gorgeous 170-year-old barn in Dorking’s Punchbowl Lane, creates batches of superb gin, including the winter-spiced Gutsy Monkey infused with ginger, thyme, Jamaican allspice, coriander seed, black pepper and cumin. Visitors are welcome and there are experience packages on offer.

Elstead Village Distillers

Elstead Village Distillers, based at the 500-year old Thundry Farm in the Surrey Hills, was formed by Paul Shubrook and Neil Redit who decided to embark on their current journey at a gin-making event in London. What they produced was enjoyed by their friends and formed the basis of their first products – Original Gin and Sanctuary Gin – and eventually led to their flagship Thundry Hills Gin – The Spirit of the Hills.

Bombay Sapphire

Bombay Sapphire is one of the most popular gins on the market and its fascinating history can be seen first-hand at its heritage workshop and working distillery at Laverstoke Mill in Whitchurch. Charting more than 1,000 years of the mill, the heritage host tour showcases the history of this prestigious site with a range of artefacts, photos and historic documents. Bombay Sapphire has restored the beautiful Georgian and Victorian buildings to their former glory, and the Self-Discovery Experience allows visitors to take their time to explore the distillery and, of course, enjoy a free cocktail in the Mill Bar alongside the beautiful River Test.

John Challis: Boycie & beyond

Round & About

Farnham

National treasure John Challis comes to Farnham Maltings this month – he tells us more

Enjoy an intimate evening with one of the nation’s greatest comedy actors, best known, of course, as Boycie in BBC1’s Only Fools and Horses, who will reveal secrets from behind the scenes.

In fact, the man who portrayed a used-car dealer in the beloved series had been destined to become an estate agent. However, a lack of application and a tendency to impersonate the partners led to a parting of the ways, much to his parents’ horror. After spotting an advert on the back page of The Stage, he joined a touring children’s theatre.

Having worked with some of the biggest names in show business, John will spill the beans about his Only Fools and Horses co-stars Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst and friends and fellow performers including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Oliver Reed and George Best. He’ll also recall tales from his time in Dr Who, Coronation Street and other TV classics. A small cameo role in Citizen Smith incubated his best-known role. He played a policeman and decided on a very whiny voice, and was pleasantly surprised when John Sullivan, the script writer, said he loved the characterisation. He was further surprised when the script for Only Fools and Horses dropped through his door. None of the cast then knew what a phenomenon the show would become.

After John graduated from children’s theatre, he loved acting in thrillers. “One ambition of mine, though never achieved, was to appear in a thriller alongside James Stewart,” he says. But one of the astonishing plays he remembers seeing is Othello with Paul Robeson, Sam Wanamaker and a young Albert Finney. The love of the thriller is also reflected in his favourite books. “I think my favourite books are by John Grisham and Michael Ondaatje, but since moving to the Herefordshire countryside, these have been joined by historical books about the Welsh marches.”

John is looking forward to returning to this area of Surrey. Between the ages of 10 and 17 he was a boarder at Ottershaw School and remembers “many an enjoyable weekend cycling to and from my best friend’s house in Weybridge… To say nothing of picking up a guitar and joining a rock and roll band. Due to the fact it was a type of music not appreciated by the head a lot of the concerts were ‘underground’.”

l John will star in Only Fools & Boycie at Farnham Maltings on Thursday, 1st November followed by a Q&A and chat with the audience. Visit www.farnhammaltings.com

Young minds

Liz Nicholls

Farnham

Kevin Leivers of Guildford’s Naked Pharmacy explains how we can help boost children’s mental health

September summons our youngsters back to school, college and university. This may mean the start of somewhere new which is stressful for both students and parents alike.

Increased screen time, pressure to succeed and the inability to switch off can tip the nervous system into permanent “sympathetic nervous system” mode. This is the “fight or flight” mode the body originally evolved as a mechanism to protect us from imminent danger. The anxiety response in the brain causes a cascade of hormones with wide-ranging effects such as shortness of breath, a racing heart, paling or flushing of the face, sweaty hands… The list goes on and, if left unchecked, may lead to more regular and extreme symptoms.

Youngsters who suffer from anxiety may feel abnormal and isolated. Depression is a deeply personal issue and masks itself in many varied symptoms. Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that perhaps the most effective treatment is personal empowerment of the sufferer’s own treatment. This means that they can learn to recognise and manage their symptoms, assisted by their parents.

Finding the tools that work for the individual is key to success. A regular exercise routine is both physically and mentally beneficial for health, especially within a group or team which will help reduce isolation. Regular sleep and a bedtime routine is very important, so turn off all blue light-emitting devices, avoid late food or drink (give at least two hours to digest) and avoid caffeine and sugary drinks after 1pm. Encourage children to express themselves by drawing or writing; it’s such a beautiful tool as an outlet to release thoughts.

Correct breathing is also vital – learn how to retrain the breath. The hormonal cascade during an anxiety response causes us to shallow breathe and suck in more air than we breath out, making the panic worse. A great technique is “The Big Breath”. Tony Ulatowski has used this with more than 400 students in west London, from pre-schoolers to secondary students, for the last year and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents, teachers and pupils. Tony says: “One of the preschool teachers shared her story of a four-year-old girl with anger issues who has now learnt to take herself away, regulate her emotions, and just two or three of the big breaths help her feel better about taking control of her emotions.”

A healthy balanced diet including “live” foods, vegetables and fruits can be hugely helpful. Amazingly 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. A study from Victoria, New Zealand in 2017 found patients with moderate to severe depression had a statistically significant improvement in symptoms on a modified Mediterranean diet. Dr Chatterjee, star of the BBC’s Doctor in the House, shows diet can make a difference. However, when was the last time your doctor asked you about food when you were worried about feeling depressed?

There are also some natural supplements which are safe, effective, non-addictive and adaptogenic, and that provide an evidence-based approach for mood imbalance and anxiety in children and teenagers. One of the most widely tested is the ancient spice saffron. Saffron targets the gut as well as the brain.

Dr Paul Clayton, Fellow at The Institute of Food, Brain and Behaviour, believes saffron should be considered in place of current therapies, which he believes are outdated and on off-target. He says: “By targeting core aspects of mood and anxiety, saffron works far more rapidly than the pharmaceuticals, which are shooting at the wrong target. In short, saffron restores normal nerve function in key areas of the brain. If you have chronic inflammation, the “brakes” are put on a few key processes. Saffron takes the brakes off. Moreover, it acts very fast (hours, not weeks or months), has no withdrawal symptoms, no side effects, and is safe to use with children.”

Visit www.thenakedpharmacy.com or email or call 01483 685630.

Did you know?

1 In the UK 16 million people experience mental illness.
2 Three out of four mental illnesses start before the age of 18.
3 10% of school children have a diagnosable mental illness.
4 Three out of four young people with mental illness are not receiving treatment.
5 The average wait for effective treatment is 10 years.
6 Suicide is still the biggest killer of young people in the UK.
7 People with severe mental illness die 10-20 years earlier than the general population.

Ale & Hearty

Round & About

Farnham

Here at Round & About Magazine, we are passionate supporters of local pubs, restaurants and producers. After all, anyone working in the food and drinks industry will know it takes a lot of hard graft to help punters relax!

We have so many to mention that are especially beautiful in summer. For starters, top picks for a romantic meal include Kinghams in Shere (GU5 9HE, once known as Hangman’s Cottage) and Jodie Kidd’s wondrous Half Moon in Kirdford, RH14 0LT, (check out the events and sun terrace!). The March Hare in Guildford, (GU1 3SY), hits all the right gastro notes and The Dog & Pheasant in Brook, GU8 5UJ, is famed for its amazing roasts and garden – for free-range children. The roof terrace at Guildford’s Thai Terrace (GU1 3RW) is perfect for tom yum and cocktails while The Windmill in Ewhurst (GU6 7NN), offers great views. Oliver Reed’s old boozer, The Plough Inn at Leigh Hill (RH5 5RZ) might just be the quintessential village pub, especially when a summer cricket match is on, with its own brewery.

Speaking of breweries, hoppy bunnies are spoilt for choice. For tours, tastings and hearty ales, check out Hogs Back Brewery in Tongham (GU10 1DE), hand-batched brews at Windsor & Eton Brewery (SL4 1SE ) and Alton’s Pride and other award-winners from Triple fff in Four Marks (GU34 5HN). Cheers also to the teams at Ascot Brewing Company in Camberley (GU15 3DX), the Crafty Brewery Company in Dunsfold, Tillingbourne Brewery near Guildford and Surrey Hills Brewery (creator of the Shere Drop and Albury Ruby) based at Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking (RH5 6AA). We’re also smitten with the Sussex Dry Gin by artisan creators Blackdown Cellar in Lurgashall (GU28 9HA). High spirits indeed!

So, we’d like to know; what’s your favourite pub, and your favourite brewery, and leave a comment below!

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Wine quench marks

Cherry Butler

Farnham

We uncork some of our favourites food and drink places to enjoy this summer, starting with Cherry Butler’s visit to one of Bentley’s sparkling wine-producing beauty…

Once home to hops, the fields at Jenkyn Place are now filled with vines – although at one point, it could have been Christmas trees. After buying the Hampshire estate in 1997, property entrepreneur Simon Bladon considered farming festive firs. Then he tasted some “Champagne” that turned out to be from West Sussex which he enjoyed so much he set about growing grapes.

Simon Jenkyn
Simon Jenkyn

Judging by the delicate, fruity rosé I tried (and found especially moreish), this was a wise decision. Jenkyn Place has won numerous awards, its brut cuvée scoring gold several times. Since 2016, the vineyard has produced vintage sparkling wines every year, as long as the grapes pass muster. The North Hampshire Downs climate and chalky “greensand” soil is ideal for growing the classic Champagne varieties: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.

Cherry Butler Vine Planting
Cherry Butler Vine Planting

Camilla, Simon’s daughter, manages the business, with dogs Bertie and Oscar and brothers Freddie and Jack lending a hand/paw. Heat killed a fifth of the first vines in 2004, when the fledgling viticulturists planted them before laying down polythene sheeting. Rebecca, Simon’s wife, informed him that of course they should have laid down the poly first (like Nigel Pargetter just had on The Archers). Despite this, they let me – a rookie – plant a new vine; I hope to return one day to taste the fruit of my labour!

Right at the top of the first field, a wooden gazebo provides a sheltered spot to take in the view, and some wine. On the north side of the Wey Valley, the sloping site is carefully landscaped. Oak trees form a windbreak; and each row of vines is bookended by roses, which act as a “canary in the mine”, picking up any pests or diseases before the vines do. An 18th-century red-brick house and walled garden with a fountain complete the English country scene.

Roses at the end of each vine row
Roses at the end of each vine row

Anyone can visit, since Simon and his winemakers offer tours on selected dates. Wine buffs will appreciate the chance to see how the grapes are produced and ask questions, while casual enthusiasts can have fun soaking up the setting and tasters. Bottles to take home are available at a discount. Happily, Jenkyn Place is a five-minute taxi ride or half-hour walk from Bentley station, so there’s no need for a designated driver.

It’s said that if Wimbledon fortnight is sunny, the autumn harvest will be good, so we wine-lovers – and the Jenkyns team – should be able to reap the rewards of a particularly fine 2018 harvest.

Tour & tasting sessions £15. Visit www.jenkynplace.com

Pax a punch!

Round & About

Farnham

You’re welcome to come along and explore Lord Baden Powell’s former home in Bentley on Sunday, 8th July, where there will be fun for all ages and tastes.

Each year Pax Hill Care Home in Bentley holds a summer fete in aid of a chosen charity with the help of residents who make items for sale and help with stalls on the day. 

This year, the chosen charity is Cancer Research. Everyone is welcome, from 2pm-4pm in the central courtyard, GU10 5NG.

Visitors can also have a look around the home and grounds occupied for more than 20 years by Robert Baden Powell and his wife Olave.

In addition to residents’ contributions, many stalls will offer a variety of items, from vintage gifts and craft ideas to garden goodies. There will be plenty of on offer, including Nepalese street food, barbecue, ice creams, tea and cakes and live entertainment from Hampshire Scouts.

Organisers are hoping for fine weather for this family-friendly event in the beautiful Hampshire countryside. Pax Hill is surrounded by footpaths giving lovely views of the old village of Bentley. Free parking is available in Pax Hill’s grounds and a footpath trail can be accessed from halfway up the drive.

If you are interested in looking at care homes for now or future reference, this is a good day to talk to the people who live at Pax Hill and see what life is like in modern day care.

Call Pax Hill Care Home on 01420 525 882 or visit www.paxhill.co.uk

A good innings

Round & About

Farnham