New Year, New Skills!

At the top end of the High Road you will find another delight. Two Little Magpies Gift Shop and Studio. They have an extensive range of courses for you to learn a craft and here are our top picks for sustainability.

Beginners Embroidery

A two-hour workshop, which encourages you to create your own unique project using basic embroidery stitches but the more experienced can learn new stitches too. A fabulous way to breathe new life into a tired-looking garment, embroidery is a great tool for brightening up knitwear and denim too. It can also be used to repair garments – but that’s for another class!

They have a large stash of threads and embellishments to dip into, including ribbons, sequins, beads, buttons and gems. Slow stitching projects like this can be so therapeutic.

What’s more, tea and biscuits, plus all materials are provided!

Paper Quilling

Supported by a large selection of templates, paper quilling is not quite as complicated as it looks, so it’s suitable for an absolute beginner. Coiling and shaping colourful strips of paper into beautiful works of art is so relaxing and produces great effects.

The finished projects are ‘light, delicate and look very intricate,’ they are bound to impress anyone who receives one as a gift! Made completely from paper they get the seal of approval from us, and like all Magpies courses, you will benefit from beverages and light snacks to keep you going.

You will also leave the workshop with a quilling tool and a fine glue applicator to continue your new craft at home.

Make a lampshade with Sarah Sewell

If you fancy making something for the home, Sarah Sewell of Wildgoose Designs will teach you how to make a fabric-covered 30cm drum lampshade – suitable for a table lamp or as a ceiling shade.

A fabulous idea to use up ends of fabric rolls and create something unique, so another thumbs up for both recycling and sustainability. This is also a course where no previous crafting experience is necessary. Oh and more tea and biscuits!

So what are you waiting for, it’s a new year and a time to learn new skills!

‘Good things come to those who craft.’ TLM

www.twolittlemagpies.co.uk

DU

Trees of Beeston #6

Last December’s Trees of Beeston (The Beestonian, issue 61), focused its attention on the seasonal staple: the pine. It celebrated the majestic Scots Pine that is well over a century old in the grounds of Beeston Parish Church at the junction of Styring Street and Chilwell Road, and the medicinal, cultural and social benefits Pine trees have gifted humans throughout history. A year on, as I sit in Costa admiring the pink lights on our traditional wonky Christmas tree in The Square, I want to take time to consider the theme of sustainability and how we might consider trees not just at Christmas, but of their sustained importance in our daily lives in Beeston, how they daily enrich our everyday lives and make habitable our community and how we might all be more tree aware in valuing the priceless environmental gems that line our streets and grow in our gardens and parks.

Sustainable Christmas trees

Last year, I discussed how readers might reflect on the festive tree they
purchase: whether cut or potted, how much use can be found for them after the twelve days of Christmas are over. A living potted tree (one with roots) can be kept either by planting them out in the garden (if you have space), potted on to be used again the following year, or else kept in pots on balconies. As they are evergreen, they add to the local ecology, and enable insects to find homes, and enrich our biodiversity. If you purchase a cut tree (no roots), how the pine needles can be mulched and added to compost to make ericaceous soil for plants like Blueberries or Azaleas that like acid-loving soils.

If you have a wood burner and somewhere dry to store it, the trunk of a Christmas tree can be ‘seasoned’ (kept) for a year then cut into burnable chunks as a yule log for the following Christmas. The branches
can be kept in a similar way and make excellent kindling that crackles with pine resin to release the divine smell of pine. If you have space at the end of a garden, allowing a dying cut tree to slowly decompose provides living spaces for the insects and bug life that pollinate flowers and plants as well as providing food for birds, so an ex-Christmas tree as a bug hotel is also another good use.

This year, I wanted to source a sustainable tree: to find out about its life before it takes centre stage in my domestic festivities during Christmas and before it makes its way to enriching my woodpile and garden compost in the new year. Luckily, I went to see Anthony at Hallams at their Christmas tree centre behind Sushi House on Beeston High Street and selected my tree.

It was a bitterly cold morning, and I spent a good while deliberating on which tree I could a) afford and b) how my investment in the tree could be used after the festive season had finished. I’ll admit, the presence of pine cones led to my choice of a Fraser Fir, as much as for its thick pretty dark green pine needles with a natural hue of white at their tips. The pine cones not only make an attractive additional feature to the tree while indoors, but after Christmas will make excellent kindling/firelighters, a bonus addition to my woodstore.

Most of the Christmas trees at Hallams (who are not paying for this promotion, but are an excellent local company and purveyors of top fruit, veg and fish as well as festive trees) are supplied by a specialist ‘needlefresh grower’. Needlefresh, their website states are “The UK’s leading supplier of real, living and fresh-cut Christmas trees direct to trade and to the consumer.” If you go to the website (www.needlefresh.co.uk) and type in the code number on the top of the tag of your chosen tree, you can locate where your tree was grown in the UK.

While the Fraser Fir is a tree native to America and the most popular variety used in the United States (including the type most acquired by the White House), this specially grown Fraser Fir had not been shipped across the Atlantic, and had far fewer carbon miles. The grower of this fine tree is Brian, son of Gordon Hughes who set up Tayside forestry 55 years ago. Today, Brian produces 60,000 trees up in the Angus countryside in Scotland in environmentally friendly ways, employing experienced staff.

It pleases me to know the provenance of my tree. I know that my money isn’t just going to a local business in Beeston, but that its growers and the community in Scotland will also benefit from the sale.

Anthony netted my tree ready for delivery. While the netting itself is not made from recyclable materials, I will be reusing it in a similar vein to how I reuse the nets that my fruit comes in: I will bundle it up and either use it as a large scouring pad to clean my garden pots or else use it for packaging filling when sending fragile items in the post.

I won’t be able to show you the decorations, as my decorating of the tree will happen after I have submitted this article, but for those interested in interior festive design, my humanist Christmas tree takes a different theme each year. Last year, it was scientists and science fiction writers, two of whom (Stephen Hawking and Ursula K Le Guin) has died in 2019 and I wanted to remember them (yes, I went full Blue Peter and made images of them into ‘angels’) along with Alan Turing, Prof Maggie Aderin-Pocock (my son is a big fan of CBeebies Stargazing live), and Dame Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the astro-physicist who discovered quasars and pulsars. This year, it will have a Bronte theme in honour of my favourite of the three Bronte Sisters, Anne, whose bicentenary is marked in 2020. The Midlands author George Eliot will also feature as she also shares a bicentenary with Anne Bronte. Given that pines are used in the making of paper and in the production of books, to have a literary festive tree seems – to me at least – entirely apt.

So I look forward to the quality of time spent with my Christmas tree, enjoying the twinkling lights, and taking time to be grateful for the many small blessings in my life, of which the trees of Beeston are one.

Trees of Beeston for 2020

I took a small break from writing this column. Over the summer,
I became despondent and a little down. Most days appeared to bring the screeching sonics of chainsaws, and trees in gardens along my street and surrounding streets in Beeston vanished. We have no street trees on my street, so any trees in the landscape around my home are in the private gardens of neighbours, increasingly absentee owner property ‘investors’ who appear to prioritize profit over planet, tenants over trees. Beloved trees I have enjoyed having as neighbours, have known the entire time of my living in Beeston were felled. I saw mature Holly, Sycamore,
Alder trees removed. I grieved their loss. The skyline changed. The atmosphere of the neighbourhood changed. When the heat of the summer sun shone down, there was no more tree shade as I waited for the bus along Queens Road. When the rains came, there were fewer trees to absorb the surface water and localised flooding occurred. Fewer bats flew past. The owl that used to regularly hoot its nocturnal presence does so no more. The sound of songbirds have audibly diminished. So I have made renewed efforts to encourage wildlife into my garden. I have begun to collect tree seeds. Pot up saplings. When I mark the passing of friends or another job application fails, I plant a tree. When I do this, I feel like I plant some hope. A more hopeful future.

So I mark the return of Trees of Beeston by getting behind initiatives taking place in Beeston that share an appreciation for trees in our landscape. I am encouraged to see the We Dig\NG9 initiative along with the Beeston Civic Society and Broxtowe Borough Council’s to plant a mini woodland habitat as a community forest.

For all interested in taking part, reserve 24th January in your brand new 2020 diaries: 10 am-noon at Beeston FC Pavilion, Cartwright Way. Bring wellies, tree enthusiasm and a sense of renewed purpose for being custodians of the treescape of future Beestonians! As the new year approaches, the very best thing every one of us can commit to is planting a tree. The Woodland Trust campaign #EveryTreeCounts acknowledges that in the face of climate catastrophe, a campaign for planting more trees will help
not just the quality of the everyday lives of people, for the connection they bring to the natural world, but because it makes our world habitable for wildlife and us: trees “lock up carbon, fight flooding, reduce pollution, nurture wildlife and make landscapes more resilient” (www.woodlandtrust.org.uk).

Trees of Beeston is strongly behind #TreesForBeeston and will continue to celebrate the trees in our fab town. It will also celebrate the efforts and capacity we have as fellow inhabitants to live sustainably with the trees we have and the new trees we can plant and grow, to share tree knowledge for future residents – tree and human – in Beeston. Given the multiple benefits of trees for environmental sustainability, I look forward to 2020 marking a renewed focus for Trees of and for Beeston!

Wishing you all a peaceful, sustainable and hopeful Christmas and 2020.

DR JN

Beeston Beats: a not so Merry New Year

Evening all, Let me tell you a tale so ghastly, you will wonder why it wasn’t included in our super scary 666 Halloween special, draw the curtains, stick ‘eatin on (that’s Central Heating for non Mainlanders) grab a brew, while I relay a tale that is worse than popping down shops for a pint of milk in January sales.

I’ve always loved a tipple, from the dash of rum added by my gran, to tea to keep cold out as a nipper, to teen years swigging god awful 20-20 (unapologetic new year pun) and finally nursing a proper real ale or flavoured porter with a sneaky few banana shots at the end of the night, ahh. After a pretty heavy session that included all of the above I woke up feeling like the arse end of a circus donkey (looking a lot like one too), I decided after a monumental hangover to give the old drinky poos a rest for a bit, before this starts to feel like a self-indulgent piece, bear with me. The true horror here is being Sober at Christmas and even worse a Sober New YEARS EVE!!! EKKKKKK!! Told ya it was gonna get scary.

I actually found not drinking didn’t faze me one bit, in fact, people were surprised that I was enjoying it, still going out to gigs, pub crawls and everything exactly the same, including the cost, a night on the softies can be just as expensive. Just as I was adjusting to life on the quieter side, the world descended into festive chaos, the Crimbo party invites descended like an avalanche, office party, staff party, don’t forget the festive jumpers! I overheard two girls chatting with one saying “everyone drinks at Christmas even those who don’t drink”. This leads me to my problem. Explaining to anyone this time of year that you simply don’t drink is a nightmare, and always leads to, ‘ahh go on its Christmas!’ Like an annoying Mrs Doyle on loop. It gets worse. New Year is the mecca of booze-fuelled intoxicated merriment if you will. So the ultimate night of the year, what to do? Here’s my guide to how to see in the New Year. These may or not have happened to me during my life, I cannot confirm nor deny…

Options

Go large! Hit Nottingham, see someone get kicked out of the pub by noon, wait at the bar for the rest of your life while two maybe three bartenders serve on one of the busiest nights of the year, die of thirst by the time you get served. Pay a fortune for a taxi only to end up in the local in Beeston.

Go Mega large! Hit London Baby Yeah! Realise that drinking in the street laws don’t apply on NYE and you’re the only sober one there. Spend the night wading through broken bottles and avoiding breathing as everywhere smells of wee.

Stay in! No queues and drunken idiots, only ones you know! Wait in while all said friends have gone to a cooler more awesome party leaving you to get bored and stare at other peoples fireworks.

Go for a walk! Watch the big displays over the marina, while a drunken man fires off fireworks from his boat while blaring out Bing Crosby and hitting the stone bridge (who put that there) head home as its January and freezing.

Go to someone else’s party! Turn up with a four-pack of Tesco value and drink all the Desperados, struggle to hear anyone talk as the music’s blaring, no one complains on NYE right? Pass out in the bath while all said party launch a search party, wake up in an empty house go home to 100 missed calls and messages.

Go local! Buy a ticket for a lock-in at the Local, invite all friends, half of them are pissed by the time they get there. There’s a couple who decided to split up that night, someone’s been dumped, everyone’s sighing while looking at the clock and some twats brought party poppers.

All options in, I just can’t decide, there’s always so much expectation with New Year, wherever you go, have fun, be safe and leave me being sober for the festivities alone or I am coming after you in Jan when everyone’s drying out, what was that? You wanted a triple jager?! Ahhh, Go on then…

Call me captain planet

It’s nearly midnight and I’ve just come back in from taking out the recycling, something that I always do in the dark, mainly because I don’t want the neighbours to see how much alcohol I drink. There is only so many times you can have a Christmas party before someone suggests you have a problem, especially when it’s May.

The environment is becoming a huge political hot potato, albeit one which was heated in a solar-powered oven made from mud. We are constantly being bombarded with messages of how little time we’ve got left and how we are on the cusp of Armageddon.

The straws

Don’t worry though everyone, it’s all going to be okay because we’ve banned the plastic straws.

These cardboard ones aren’t the answer though. Of all the materials that are suitable for being submerged underwater, cardboard would be way down that list. I’d like to say that these new straws sucked, but they don’t even do that. Ten seconds in a diet coke and it just gives up, it’s like trying to smoke a roll-up in the shower.

I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe we just have to put up with it, or I suppose we could drink directly from the glass, you know, like grown up’s do.

We need to have bigger changes than this, otherwise, we’ll be sat there on top of a skyscraper in fifty years’ time, tidal waves lapping at our feet, watching cattle float by like driftwood, sipping that same milkshake thinking, “Well I just don’t understand why we changed the straws?”

Extinction Rebellion

We have recently seen the rise of the protest group Extinction Rebellion.

The group were formed after founder members met at a Psychedelic Drugs retreat. That’s quite impressive. Most people who spend most of the day off their face can’t even organise a trip to the all-night garage, never mind a political movement.

Recently an anti-terror chief said that they should be treated as a terrorist organisation. Really? I’d like to see them try and radicalise some unsuspecting arts student:

“Oh yes, we started to notice his behaviour change. He would often wander around the house switching off lights and turning down the thermostat. He’d spend all day in his room, watching Greta Thunberg Speeches and just silently recycling. Then, two weeks later he totally flipped and tried to hijack that oil tanker with a gluten-free breadstick.”

Shamed into action

Like most things with the environment I think we need to be shamed into doing something, it’s the only way. That’s why a teenager like Greta is having such an impact. We feel embarrassed when our own kids make us look like morons, never mind someone else’s.

When I have a dental appointment, the day before I suddenly start caring about my teeth. I brush till my gums bleed, floss, gargle mouthwash; all so I don’t get told off by my dentist. Cleaning the house is the same. Some days I arrange for people to come and visit me, just so I have no choice but to get off my arse and do the hoovering. This is what we need to do for the environment.

“Right I’m going now, but I’ll be back on Friday to look at your environment, don’t let me down.”

We’d have it sorted in record time.

Our children

We are worried for the next generation. They are pumped full of guilt and fear, and so they should be, it’s partly their fault. Having a kid is terrible for the environment. For the first few years, all they do is consume food, energy, and resources. The amount of arts and crafts they churn out is an environmental disaster that could rival any oil spill.

Every day my three-year-old comes home with more things she’s made at playgroup. It’s a nightmare. I can’t throw it away because she’ll know it’s gone and I can’t recycle it because it’s just a congealed mess of glue, lollipop sticks, paper and glitter. My fridge door is straining at the hinges with the weight of this poorly executed emotional landfill. They are using up more resources than the US at the height of the industrial revolution.

“Look, Daddy, I’ve made you another picture of a sheep in dried pasta.”

It’s no wonder free school meals are in crisis. Stop sticking the stuff on paper and cook it!

I swear the things they make are getting bigger. It’s a conspiracy to stop you from throwing it all away. They started as A4 cards, then a painted plate. The week after it was a wooden spatula, by the end of term they’ll be sending them out the door with a sequin-covered surfboard.

My eldest daughter Olivia, is a vegetarian, at nine years old. She’s doing it both for ethical and environmental reasons. These dietary requirements are something my parents never had to deal with. At her birthday party this year it was a nightmare. We had two vegetarians, a vegan, someone who was wheat intolerant and a celiac. I don’t know where we’re having her party next year, probably Holland and Barret. It’ll just be sixteen bored kids, sitting there playing pass the parsley for three hours.

Disposable society

We live in a disposable society where we just endlessly consume and things cost more to repair than replace and that’s fundamentally wrong.

Our Tumble dryer broke recently, so I got in touch with the company:

“Don’t worry Mr Bennett for £15.99, a month, we can repair your tumble dryer and that will also cover you for all future problems.”

My life insurance is £8.99 a month. I told my wife Jemma, “Can you believe it darling, to repair this tumble dryer it’s going to be twice the price of my life insurance.” She looked at me and said, “Yeah, but the thing is, we couldn’t live without that tumble dryer.”

I wanted to repair it myself, I’m fairly practical, but it was impossible. The manufacturers don’t want you to. I couldn’t even get into the thing!

There are many screws that the designers could have used, ones that fit, say a conventional screwdriver. But no, my tumble dryer has a screw with a head on it that can only be turned by the toenail of a Komodo dragon! Not a flat-head, not a crosshead, this one is like a weird triangle. Who built this thing? The Illuminati?

Before we start trying to tackle bigger issues facing our planet, we need to have a change in our behaviour as a society not just as individuals. It needs to be a huge global effort in collective thinking; rather than being led by these huge companies who consistently look to put their profits ahead of the planet.

SB

Beeston FC closer than ever to being able to build new clubhouse

Congratulations to Beeston FC! The bees have secured almost £500,000 from the Premier League and Football Association towards a new clubhouse, but a further £50,000 is still needed to complete this project.

Beeston FC have been trying to raise money to build a clubhouse since we first starting covering them at the beginning of last year when they acquired a 99-year lease for a plot of land on Trent Vale road.

Since then, the club were unsuccessful in a bid to receive £10,000 from the Aviva Community Fund, but that hasn’t deterred them and after being successfully awarded this fund from the Premier League and FA, they are now closer than ever to getting there.

The club plan to raise the remaining money in a variety of different ways, including erecting plaques on a wall with the names of those who have donated towards the site’s construction.

“The supporter’s wall will be a mixture of individuals and businesses,” said club chair, Charlie Walker. “so far we have raised around £100 from this.

“We’re also collecting some memories that people have of playing at the site from over the years, as there have been lots of people playing football, hockey, cricket and tennis, so we’re hoping to have some photographs of these memories in the clubhouse.”

The clock is ticking for Beeston FC, who need to raise the remaining 50K within the next six months, otherwise, the money that they have been awarded will be withdrawn.

Charlie tells me that the club are making good progress towards making the total and are hoping that the support from a combination of businesses, banks, local authorities and the community will see them reach that £50,000 total.

“We received £3800 from the Co-op, as part of their local community scheme and £2000 pounds from the Bank of England. We’re also speaking to Broxtowe Borough Council and Nottinghamshire County Council to try and apply for money from them and we’re approaching local businesses to see if they can support us. We’ll also be running some events in 2020, so look out for those.”

2020 promises to be a big year for Beeston Football Club and Charlie is conscious of how rare this opportunity is for them and the wider community of Beeston.

“The clubhouse will mean that we can increase the size of the club so that more children, boys and girls will be able to play football in the years ahead. We’re also planning to start a second men’s team, an adult women’s team and a couple of disability teams, so, there’s going be a lot more opportunities to play football.

“We’re determined to get it over the line as we’ve come so far and we will never get this offer again.”

If you are interested in supporting the clubs efforts by having your own plaque, email trentvalesports@mail.com or telephone Beeston FC committee member, Sarah Green on 07976 299229.

Life is a cabaret, old friend

For many, the words ‘British Legion’ means a place that old soldiers can go to for a bit of company and a cheap pint. While that part may be true, the Legion in Beeston also means being entertained at a reasonable price. As four years ago, David Clifford, the former road manager of Nottingham’s Paper Lace and Bittersweet, together with his partner Anita opened the club for cabaret evenings. You can forget the end of the pier and novelty acts that made their way onto the stage in Peter Kay’s comedy series Phoenix Nights, David attempts and succeeds in attracting quality acts that people want to see for a very reasonable on the door price of £5, through his many contacts in the music industry.

David, with much help, charity and goodwill from people and companieshas transformed the inside of the nondescript building into a warm, welcoming space for everyone to enjoy a night out. Full Steam Ahead is a sponsor for instance. Some of the improvements have included LED lights for energy conservation, improved soundproofing to stop the neighbours complaining and stage lighting that originally came from Plessey.

The original use of the building hasn’t been lost, as there’s still an area dedicated to veterans of the Korean conflict and the bar is named Troopers, after the Paras. Although most members of the armed forces now tend to go to Chetwynd Barracks for their companionship.The Cabaret Club’s main audience are people in their 30s and 40s. There’s no age restriction either, so families are made most welcome.

“a warm, welcoming space for everyone to enjoy a night out.”

So what sort of entertainment is on offer? Tuesday evenings are set aside for line dancing, Wednesday’s are bingo nights, Beeston Camera Club meets there on a Thursday, while the cabaret nights are the first Friday in the month. There’s also music or comedy on a Saturday too. The venue can also be hired for private parties like weddings. And David has just opened a smaller room that can be used for meetings. Car parking isn’t a problem, as there’s enough space for 60 cars. The club currently has around 150 members and has a loyal following. David and Anita are always thinking of ways to improve the club, as they would hate to see it close.

For that first-hand experience, David invited me and my wife Gail along to see a show. The next cabaret night featured a Cliff Richard and Cher tribute bands. So I thought that would be a good one to choose. We arrived to a packed house who were enjoying the songs of Cliff and his backing band the Shadooz. Will Chandler does a fair impersonation of Harry Webb and tended to keep to a lot of his early back catalogue songs from the 1960s, so we were spared his latter tunes like ‘The Millennium Prayer’. Kelly Marie as Cher came on next, dressed in a similar costume that she appeared in the ‘Turn Back Time’ video. And no, it wasn’t ‘that’ Kelly Marie, who had a hit in 1980 with “Feels Like I’m In Love’.

At the break, a cheque presentation was made to Breast Cancer Care of £620. This was raised by the club, as one of its members Jayne Walker was diagnosed with the disease four years ago but is now free after going through 16 months of therapy. I had a quick chat with Jayne, who comes from Hucknall and she really wants to get the word out about the charity and its work and was genuinely pleased that the club had raised so much through a charity evening held there earlier this year.

There’s a real family atmosphere to the club as members have their birthdays celebrated. While we were there Cliff led the singing of Happy Birthday to one member.

With a change of costume and Cliff was on again for some more songs to entertain the happy audience. I wondered whether Cher would make another appearance, and she did. Well, Kelly did, but as herself. And was something of a rock goddess. She did an amazing version of Guns & Roses’ ‘Sweet Child of Mine’, which went down a storm with the audience.

So if you fancy having somewhere new to go, then why not give the Legion on Hallcroft a go. You never know, you might decide to become a member.

If you want to know more about the club and what it can offer, then give David a call on 07917 773003.

CF

 

I Am Beeston: William Charles Wheatley MBE

The name of William ‘Bill’ Wheatley may not be known to that many Beestonians, but to those that do, he means a great deal to them. My only time of meeting Bill was when I went to his house to chat with him as a subject for the ongoing ‘I Am Beeston’ project. Although I managed to take his photograph, for some long-forgotten reason the interview never took place. Now, of course, it is too late, as Bill sadly passed away in June. So as a way of recompense to him and his family, here is a potted history of his life and his many achievements.

William was born on 31st October 1929 on Moorbridge Road in Stapleford. He was the oldest of four children. Archie his father worked at Stanton Ironworks, while his mum Elsie was what is known as being in service, before becoming a wife, parent and homemaker. When Bill was eight, the family moved to Stanton-by-Dale. At 15, Bill got a job at the Ironworks as an apprentice electrician. National Service arrived when Bill reached 21.

Having knowledge of electrical matters, Bill served in the REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) where he instructed recruits on radar systems, at their base in Arborfield, Berkshire.

When he was demobbed in 1952, Bill specialised as an electrical engineer in mining and petrochemical sites. He became a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers and a Chartered Engineer (C Eng MIE). He retired in 1992, after being an engineer for 50 years.

Life changed for Bill when he married his wife Cynthia Chapman in 1957. Bill met Beeston born Cynthia through his involvement in the local Methodist Church on Victory Road. They enjoyed 53 years of marriage, living in the same newly built bungalow on Trent Road in the Rylands before she died in July 2010. The couple had two daughters; Kathryn and Helena. Bill became involved in the church at a very young age, through firstly becoming a choirboy, then as a bell ringer. He loved the Methodist Church nearly as much as Cynthia. as he was involved in the church’s many activities such as teaching, leading the Sunday School, organising a boy’s club and the Christian Endeavour, which aimed at helping young people to find God. In 1963, Bill helped to create the Midland Camping Venture (MVC). This group provided week-long summer holidays for young people and gave them an opportunity to get involved in various outdoor activities. It proved to be very popular, as thousands of young people signed up for these camps. Bill also became a local preacher and looked after the Victory Road church.

But religion wasn’t the only thing that kept Bill busy. After seeing shire horses as a child, Bill found his love of all things nature. He learnt to recognise the calls of different birds and know lots about plants. He even sold rose bushes to Wheatcroft’s. In 1996, he and the late Keith Corbett started the Beeston Wildlife Group, which is very popular with wildlife enthusiasts, and became Chair, after Keith’s passing eleven years later. He was also heavily involved in Attenborough Nature Reserve and other local conservation projects.

His community work was formally recognised in 2008, when he took a trip to Buckingham Palace and received his MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for Voluntary Service to the Community in Beeston, Nottinghamshire’. Bill described this as one of his proudest moments. Then in 2012, Bill was given the Freedom of the Borough of Broxtowe. A fitting tribute to such a remarkable man.

 

Away from the church, nature conservation and helping others, Bill enjoyed reading, with his favourite novel being Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider With Rosie’, possibly whilst listening to some jazz music. He supported Derby County and was a fan of motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi. He also liked steam trains and a bit of plane spotting at RAF Waddington. Bill also spent the best part of 25 years learning Spanish, and at the age of 79, drove for several hours, so he could do some birdwatching.

An inspirational man by any standards. I went to his service of thanksgiving at Beeston Methodist Church on June 22nd. It was a sad, but joyous affair, with many people relating stories and fond memories about their connection with Bill. A lot were from the days of the MVC. This was followed up with a later meeting that day at the Attenborough Nature Centre.

With many thanks to Kathryn Randall
and Heidi Tarlton-Weatherall for the information and photographs.

CF

 

 

 

The gym that’s adding some muscle to Beeston

In an age of shrinking attention spans where people are trying to find new ways of keeping fit whilst having fun doing it, going to the gym is something which you may find repetitive. It often becomes something you force yourself to do without getting any real enjoyment from it, meaning that many will begin to go less or even stop going altogether. 

But there is one method of fitness which seems to keep people interested.

If you regularly lift weights or know people who do, then you would have probably heard of something called CrossFit. Far from being a new sport, CrossFit’s origins trace back to the start of the millennium with an American personal trainer called Greg Glassman, who helped open the first CrossFit gym in Seattle.

CrossFit is described on its official website in three steps. The workouts, including the varied exercise routines such as weightlifting and aerobic activities, the lifestyle, such as the nutritional part of the sport and finally the community, perhaps the most unique part of CrossFit which helps to define its popularity.

Beeston has its own CrossFit gym on Humber Road called Urban Outlaws, founded by Ash Fowler and Louis French who found out about his method of fitness training a decade ago.

“I was looking online at Olympic weightlifting and I stumbled across CrossFit,” said Ash.

“CrossFit has 33% of Olympic weightlifting in it and when you start searching online it starts popping up all over the place on social media, so we decided to carry that into our training.

“Me and Louis, will train together and throw in the CrossFit style movements alongside our Olympic weightlifting as well. That’s really how we started getting into it. We self-taught ourselves.”

CrossFit is more structured than your regular gym-going experience.

You may be wondering if CrossFit is for you but Ash says anyone can try it no matter what their physique is.

“CrossFit appeals to everyone. You could be a 16-year-old lad that’s trying to find a fitness method or our oldest member who is 72. Anyone can do this, any size, any shape. Strong has no size.”

So what will you get from CrossFit compared to going to a regular gym? Ash tells me it’s all about the detail.

“There isn’t really something out there that caters for your progression like this. If you go to a normal gym class everyone lifts the same, it’s very generic and there’s no progression whereas here, everything’s based on percentage; what you can lift compared to what I can lift.”

Ash’s fellow founder and owner Louis mentions that CrossFit is the perfect base for young people to develop if they want to become professional athletes in the future.

“Essentially, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning programme. If you’re learning CrossFit as a young person, you can learn how to lift weights and use your body to do gymnastic movements. Going forward, you can apply those to other sports because you’re more agile and coordinated.

“When I was at school, I was never particularly fit or strong. If you were to speak to any of my peers who knew me, they would never have thought I would be someone who is very fit and capable of the stuff I’m doing now.

“If I’d been doing CrossFit since I was at school, I think I could have had a lot of options in terms of what I could have done as a sport, whether it was being a rugby player, footballer, gymnast, weightlifter, anything, it gives you such a good base, because you practice everything. I think going forward for CrossFit, it would be good to be able to get it into schools,” said Louis.

Detailed instructions are given out during one of the sessions. (Pic credit: Urban Outlaws)

Of course, for such an intense mode of fitness, there will always be a risk of injury, something which Urban Outlaws are prepared for.

Attila is a manual therapist from Hungary who has been working at the gym for over a year. “In my role, I treat any kind of musculoskeletal problems and sports injuries,” he says.

“Often the injuries people get from CrossFit are pulled muscles or joint pain. 80/90% of the issues are tight and stiff muscles because of the training, but massages and stretching are a really good way to solve this. Just like in any sport, you can get injured here as well and it depends on the level of your training and how hard you push yourself.”

CrossFit is fast, demanding and intense but it’s community along with the opportunities it gives you to develop, make it a uniquely popular way of keeping fit.

Anyone interested can book a free taster session with Urban Outlaws at https://www.theurbanoutlaws.co.uk/contact

IS

Dark Nights, Bright Lights

It’s autumn! Time to get out the woolly sweaters, hand-knitted socks and indulge in some cosy indoor activities. On bright, brisk days it feels good to get the heart pumping with a walk round the nature reserve or Highfields Park but as daylight dwindles and the heating kicks in, it’s wonderful to get back inside.

In contrast to the long summer days, where blue skies hang around until way past tea time and evenings extend outdoors, autumn nights are for creating a cosy atmosphere and snuggling under a homemade quilt, watching a film or reading a book. Part of creating the perfect environment for a cosy evening in has to be the lighting. We are very much a household that only turns on ‘the big light’ in cases of emergency, you know like a lost remote, so it’s important to have the right kind of lighting where it’s needed.

There are many different styles of lamp on the market these days to suit all tastes and budgets, we are literally spoiled for choice! However, something simple that will do the job suits me, and that’s why Mark Lowe’s contemporary pieces caught my eye a while back. Apart from being made from sustainable wood, which supports an environmental ethos, there is also the opportunity to personalise a lamp with a choice of wood, coloured flex and shade so you feel like you are part of the creative process.

Fellow Beestonian Mark, was born here and has stayed local to the area, apart from his university years in at Loughborough University where he gained a degree in furniture design. He lives and works out of a home workshop in Beeston, having spent his early years working for a lighting company that did not at all reflect his current tastes. Mark has always considered the role of lighting in the home as an important one. After leaving the industry for a while and pursuing a career in teaching design and technology, Mark’s been drawn towards the ‘honest design’ of the late 19th century Arts and Crafts movement and Bauhaus.

Although Mark has enjoyed a decade of teaching and inspiring his students to experiment with their own ideas and designs, he has continued to work on his own – feeding the need to have a creative outlet. He designed his first lamp around four years ago, an adjustable lamp for use at home which is just perfect for a reading corner. Tall and elegant, the original design has undergone many modifications, but the principle design has remained the same. The frank use of visible construction adds interest to the simple lines, and the coloured cord provides a colour pop that transforms simple into eye-catching in one vivid streak.

Mark tells me that as production has increased and designs have evolved, his wife Marianne has brought her own creative flair to the range. She sourced the coloured flex and shades that complement the designs so well and he continues to collaborate with her as new products are conceptualised on the pages of his sketch pad. The range now boasts a fixed standard lamp, table lamp, coat stand and coat racks in ash and oak with vibrant discs – a nod to the colour variations that can be added to the lamps. Subtle or statement? You decide, but with their beautiful simplicity, each piece would slot well into any tastefully finished room.

Since launching the business in 2017, Mark has been keen to get his products out into the wider world, and in June of this year they had their first stand at the Handmade in Oxford Show. He also tells me about a successful alliance with Long Eaton upholsterers John Sankey Furniture, which resulted in a selection of Mark’s lamps being installed to complement their sumptuous sofas in the Tunbridge Wells showroom, along with some quality publicity photos.

As I type up this article, his Facebook newsfeed tells me that Mark is being filmed at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, Manchester, a handpicked selection of over 160 designer makers. We hope they appreciated your beautiful designs as much as we do at The Beestonian Mark!

You can see the full Mark Lowe range on the website www.marklowe.co.uk and follow him on Facebook www.facebook.com/marklowe.co.uk/ and Instagram @marklowelighting

DU

Scotty’s Soap Box: Halloween Special

Now is the time of year our streets will be teaming with youngsters, all wearing costumes and face paint, marauding through the local community, angrily making their demands. No, I’m not talking about the next protest from Extinction Rebellion; I’m referring, of course, to Halloween.

I’m baffled as to why it seems to be such a big deal these days? I think it’s the closest us Brits get to having an affinity with the Americans, apart from our growing obesity problem and embarrassment with our political leaders. It’s a major feature on the calendar now. The kids get excited like it’s Christmas and it nearly rivals Easter when it comes to the calorie count.

When I was a kid back in the 1980s Halloween wasn’t even a thing. I can only remember going trick or treating a few times. The first time was when I was about three years of age, a mere amateur in the game. My parents took a photo of the occasion. I was there sporting a massive black bin bag, with skeleton bones crudely drawn on the front in Tippex. I looked like a walking ISIS flag. I was wearing my father’s wellingtons as they were black and presumably, my Fireman Sam ones didn’t have the required scare factor. I was sat in my Batman go-kart and my poor dad was pulling me around the streets with a rope. I think I was the only Trick or Treater to be chauffeur-driven.

The second time I was about 12, which in trick or treater years is approaching retirement. I was with a friend and went trick or treating around his estate. It was a strange night. The only people to answer the door were his parents, his grandma and one of his highly religious neighbours, who gave us a little note of some bible scripture, warning us against dabbling with the occult. My mate ate it as he thought it might be some sugar paper, it wasn’t but he’s now a fully qualified vicar so it was certainly laced with something.

They even have zombie walks through town centres now. Hundreds of people, walking with a vacant stare, moaning and groaning. I’ve seen it in Nottingham many times, although not exclusively on Halloween.

I often wonder if trick or treating is different in really posh areas. The kids would probably only be able to do two houses as it would take half an hour to walk up the driveways. They’d all be dressed in designer Halloween costumes, a little off the shoulder gothic number by Gucci, with a swan slung over each shoulder and they wouldn’t say trick or treat, it would be “Hoodwink or delicacy?”

Unless it’s Green and Blacks 80% organic fairtrade chocolate, they’d not accept it and the tricks would be a little different too, something more in-keeping with the area. “I say sir, haven’t you heard, house prices here are set to plummet by 5%!”

I have two children, nine and three, strange names but easy to remember. They both love Halloween. At my eldest daughters’ school last year for Halloween they were allowed to go in fancy dress, she said to me, “Daddy I want to go as something really scary.” So I had a think about it and sent her as an Ofsted inspector.

We don’t send them out on their own trick or treating, it’s a different world now. So, we have to accompany them like a pair of weird bouncers. Waiting at the bottom of the driveways and mouthing an embarrassed “sorry” as they storm into our neighbour’s hallways to mug them of all the Haribo they have.

The street I live on really embraces Halloween, because the demographic is mainly young families. It started out quite low-key, a couple of pumpkins, maybe a cobweb here and there. A morning at Costa and a WhatsApp group later and its now Grand Designs meets Friday the 13th. It’s a competition in one-upmanship. We’ve got gravestones in gardens, smoke machines and spooky music on Bluetooth speakers. Last year one resident had the idea of putting a life-size dummy of a killer clown in the front seat of their people carrier. It was a nice touch until one child had a panic attack. I think they are still in therapy now.

I don’t know where this madness is going to end. I wouldn’t be surprised if my wife tries to convince me to bury myself in the garden, with nothing but a paper straw to breathe through. She’d tell the children I was working away and then on Halloween night, as soon as the first bars of Michael Jacksons “Thriller” are blasted across the garden, I would emerge from the soil like one of the Living Dead.

Towards the end of the evening, we tend to get the stragglers coming, to pick off the last of the sweets. These are the kids who are too old for the trick or treating game. The ones who have worn the tread on the tyres, jaded old hacks who should know better. The cut-off point is when The One Show intro music starts, everyone knows that. Once the pumpkin is extinguished it’s over. Yet they still come, all charged up on E-numbers, mobile phones lighting their faces like low budget ETs and hammer the doorbell. I expect the reason they were late is because some of them are old enough to be working at Subway and they needed to finish their shifts first.

The carving of the pumpkin is something I try to involve the children in. It’s a calmer, more traditional taste of Halloween. The kids try and carve, but ultimately, they get bored. They start off with such big ideas, “I’m going to carve Harry Potter’s face into this one Daddy!”, “I’m going to do a full-scale picture of Hogwarts in mine Daddy!” this all fades away at record speed when they realise how difficult it is to cut into and all we end up with is two pumpkins with a glory hole in them.

This years Halloween will be very different. I won’t be able to celebrate it as I am performing my tour show “Leap Year” (tickets available at www.scottbennettcomedy.co.uk/tour.html yes this is a plug) in Amersham, Hertfordshire.

Let’s hope that it’s a treat for me and not a trick where no one turns up. Or worse than that, one person turns up, in fancy dress as the grim reaper.

@scottbcomedyuk | scottbennettcomedy.co.uk Find The Scott Bennett Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes.

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