Saturday, 10 December 2011

MONEY MATTERS by Rob Terry


Welcome to High Edge Financial Planning, your local independent financial planning and advisory professionals and our column on issues relevant to financial planning and advice.

Investment and Risk

We’ve gone through some testing times in the last few years: banks collapsing, credit crunch, stock markets falling and then bouncing back. What is one to do when it comes to investing money? If you ask anyone what they would like from an investment the typical response is ‘no risk and a big return’! Utopia! 

However, all investments and savings are exposed to one or more forms of risk and it is true to say that by taking increasingly more risk you can achieve a better return over the longer term.

Term: why is that important? Well, depending on your investment horizon (the period over which you are prepared to invest), it will dictate the type of asset you may consider for the investment. As a rule of thumb, if your investment horizon is under 5 years, you would generally be better off investing in deposits with a bank or building society. This is because if you need the money in the short term you would not want to expose yourself to the risk of not being able to access it, or getting back less than you have invested due to asset price movements.

When investing for 5 years and beyond you open up other investment possibilities. The traditional asset classes are: cash, bonds, property and equities. Each carries a different level of risk and within each asset class you can access different levels of risk. A key consideration for the investor is that of risk and return, and capacity for loss. For instance, you could build a portfolio of shares yourself, but that can carry a high degree of risk, as you are relying on your own experience and research capabilities to select the right stocks.

There are also different types of risk. Inflation risk is a particular issue right now as cash deposits are paying low rates, whilst inflation is higher. Your money is therefore losing value in real terms.

There is market risk. This is where your investment is subject to the ups and downs of the markets. This could be the stock market.

Concentration risk is where you may have all your cash in only one or two asset classes or investment funds. A way to tackle this issue is to diversify your investment. This means to invest varying percentages in different funds and asset classes to spread the risk and also the return (the not having all your eggs in one basket principle).

Counterparty risk is typically found in what are called ‘structured products’. These are products which aim to provide a return of capital after a fixed term if the stock market index they are linked to falls. The provider enters into financial arrangements with other counterparties to provide the capital protection. 

However, as found when Lehman Brothers collapsed, the counterparty may not be able to uphold their obligations to the product and consequently the return of capital could be affected adversely.

Consideration also should be given to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme limits for deposits and investments. This could affect how much you invest with one institution.

So, I am barely scratching the surface here on this A5 page. A lot of thought needs to be given to how you invest and this depends on a number of factors personal to you. I would suggest that when in the position of considering investments, speak with someone who has access to the whole of the market and can therefore offer independent, impartial advice.

High Edge Financial Planning is an appointed representative of Unleash Advice Partnership Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Information presented here is generic, does not constitute specific financial advice and are personal opinions of the author. For advice tailored to match your personal circumstances, please feel free to contact us on 07773 426498.

Rob Terry
Independent Financial Advisor

Friday, 9 December 2011

“On Two Wheels” By Ian Bax of Roy Jervis, Ripley


Motorcycling – The Benefits

I make no secret of the fact - I love motorbikes! I have loved them since I saw my first one as a toddler and, as soon as me and a couple of mates could raise the required £5 (a lot to a 12-year-old in 1972), we bought a very used Raleigh Runabout, painted it white and proceeded to thrash it round the woods!

Various bikes followed, ex GPO Bantams, stripped down Vespas and such like until the magic day arrived; my sixteenth birthday. My parents had relented and bought me my first road bike, a PUCH M50 Sport, the first in a long line of bikes that I have owned and ridden on and off road, in fact I still have four motorbikes and my son’s scooter in my garage at present.

To me, riding a motorbike is pure joy and I have never really given any conscious thought to the real benefits of owning and riding one, even though I travelled to work for years on bikes - mainly because I enjoyed it but also because I knew I would get to work in less time than in a car and parking was a doddle.

Congestion is a major problem in many of the UK’s towns and cities with the number of cars increasing annually. London’s Congestion Charge has, depending on where you are sitting, proved a success and now the charge looks set to be rolled out to other major cities. Motorcycles and scooters are exempt from congestion charges and often parking for bikes is free so straight away the cost savings are quite substantial.

Not only will you save money but, because bikes can filter through traffic queues, you will get to work a lot quicker and probably be able to park a lot closer to work as well.

With fuel costs at well over £5 per gallon never has motoring been so expensive and many people are swapping to motorcycles and scooters purely for the savings to be made in fuel costs. Modern 125cc motorcycles and scooters cost a lot less than 10 pence per mile to run and some can achieve 100 mpg!

In addition, a 125cc powered two wheeler (PTW) costs just £16 per year in Road Tax, even the largest bikes only attract a tax duty of £74 per annum. Savings will also be made on insurance, running and servicing costs over cars. Also, don’t forget that bikes are substantially cheaper to buy than cars.

Despite manufacturers’ claims, electric cars have a long way to go before they are a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine, whereas electric two wheelers are lighter and therefore don’t need the plethora of batteries and large motors to keep them going. OK the range is still not fantastic - up to 50 miles - but to get into work they are ideal and again parking is a doddle and it’s a lot easier to get close to a plug socket to recharge.

Not only will you enjoy the cost saving benefits of owning a bike you will also be benefitting the environment by reducing your carbon footprint and on a nice sunny weekend, you will have a vehicle that you can go for a ride on purely for the fun of it and hopefully you will come to love bikes as much as I do.

Interested? Then come and see me for a chat and we’ll see just how much you can save by joining the biking community, I’ll look forward to meeting you.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Jessica’s Column by Jessica Davies


Jessica Davies from Duffield has been a regular columnist for All Things Local for the past 3 years. Jessica is now at Cambridge University studying French and Spanish. With such an intense workload, Jessica has decided to step down from her role as regular columnist for All Things Local and this is her final contribution:

Welcome Winter
This is the time of year that Dad likes to play his thrifty heating game. It’s a game of endurance and pushing the boundaries. And shivering. He likes to sneakily knock the thermostat down one degree at a time and reduce the hours that the radiators thaw; with an adamance that 18oC is a healthy room temperature. How cold can a house get before the family turns into icicles? 

There’s probably some secret league table for fathers everywhere. “I got it down to 15.5o today,” They boast, “Only had it on for two hours!” Cue impressed hand-shaking and blokey congratulations. We just huddle together resignedly.

I can forgive winter for making me sleep in a cocoon of dressing gown, fleecy blankets and duvet, surrounded by hot water bottles. I can even put up with the depressingly grey mornings when it’s terrifying to set a toe out of bed, because the sub-zero temperatures make way for exciting novelties that have been forgotten about amid the tedium of t-shirts and boring in-between weather.

I want drama from my sky. I want heat wave or snowfall, fierce wind or mysterious fog. Much of the time, England’s weather is indecisive – autumn is all showers and breeze and short spells and frosty edges, whereas winter here is executed thoroughly. An everyday family walk could be dull - plodding along, drearily uphill and aimlessly downhill. Winter throws a bit of spice into the mix. She strips the trees to leave hauntingly beautiful skeleton silhouettes and stiffens the grass to give a satisfying creak when we tread. A brisk winter hike gives you a fairytale rosy flush and gets the circulation going. Plus I can gleefully dust off my pea green coat and retrieve my beautiful rainbow scarf and gloves, glad for zero threat of a bizarre socks-and-shorts tan.

When my legs have entirely forgotten the golden brown sunshine feeling of summer, a hot drink is medicine, an antidote to the frost that presses threateningly against the windows. The steam floods my glasses, rendering them opaque, and I sigh with happy anticipation. I am permanently in the mood for a cup of tea and often scarcely have I drained the dregs before the kettle is put on afresh. Winter is a time of banding together, of laughing and of passing around scorching mugs. Hot chocolate anyone?

As the world outside grows darker and colder, the lights inside glow brighter. Ice tightens around the visitors’ cars on the drive whilst indoors songs are sung, food is gobbled and spirits remain high. Everyone’s clothes become more colourful and jolly despite the plummeting temperatures on the streets. We have the ideal excuse to wear ridiculous woolly socks and gorge on casserole and crumble.

When the flurry of red and green festive sparkle dies down, the Christmas presents are thoroughly investigated and the doors are locked – an established custom at home known as the hibernation period. It’s the rest between the relatives, and a brief respite from celebrating the cheer when we can sleep until late and generally indulge.

Winter is my favourite time of year. Last year the snow was so special – and so unusual. Because, lovely as it would be, the weather isn’t always that spectacular. It’s sometimes just an inundation of chilly muddy rain. Hopefully this winter the delicate drifting flakes will be a frequent sight and we’ll get towering mounds of snow again. Then I can wear my wellies and scruffy navy jumper and enjoy snowball fights and snowy sculptures, as well as the other joys that winter brings – glistening turkey, early nights and friends home for the holidays. Oh, and did I mention my birthday is in January?

Jessica

Note from Editor: Congratulations on securing your place at Cambridge University Jessica, thank you for providing an excellent and well-articulated range of articles over the past 3 years. Good luck with your course and I wish you every success for the future. Karyn x

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Views from a Grumpy Old Man

Doesn't it seem like only yesterday that it was dear old Delia filling our screens with 30 minutes of 'How to cook an egg' or 'How to grate cheese' or my favourite, 'How to make ice'?

Or to acknowledge a true TV institution; the Antiques Roadshow would present us with a treat of little old ladies with pillowcases full of priceless works of art to which we sat on the edge of our settees feeling a strange, mixed emotion between jealousy and euphoria when the said little old lady finds out that the vase she has kept old screws, drawing pins and empty cotton reels in, turns out to be the missing centrepiece of Emperor Wah Wah III from 987 AD's wedding gift to his son and future icon – Ming, and is worth just over £40 million quid.
 
Fast forward 20 years and for reasons that any intelligent person cannot fathom, our screens are overrun with both cookery and antique sales shows.
 
Let’s tackle food first. I am all for education through entertainment and learning how to make a really decent hotpot/Bolognese sauce or indeed how an omelette is both useful and long-lasting. So why do we accept and apparently continue to demand food cooking shows that are so impossibly far from our day to day lives that that the TV companies would be better presenting shows about how to live on Mars (Oops, I think that has been done) or how to make an Ocean Liner from a sherbet dib-dab.

So as always, this is best by way of example. Firstly - I assume that our readers either go to work (I include parenting housewives and househusbands in this as there is no harder job!), are retired, studying, looking to work, or somewhere in between these - i.e. normal life.

One show in particular, asks members of the audience to spend £5 in a supermarket on random products and then the 'experts' will make a meal in less than 20 minutes - using only these products and a selection of standard store cupboard ingredients. On the episode I watched, the mystery bag contained some sausages, some potatoes, an onion and some gravy powder. Our audience guest confesses: “I keep seeing these ingredients and would love to know what to do with them.” Our 'expert' looks perplexed, confused and claims: “You do know how to challenge a man don't you Barbara.” He is given time to think his dish through and the presenter returns 2-3 minutes later and asks: “So then Tarquin, what are you going to do for us today?” Tense moments ensue to be followed by a positive explosion of enthusiasm: “I'm gonna do Sausage and Mash!” The crowd erupts into a near riot as if each of them has just had all 6 numbers come up on a Saturday night rollover. Meanwhile at the other end of the studio, Claudia  - our other 'expert' receives an equally gratuitous reception for announcing that with the eggs, sugar, flour, butter, milk, cream and jam delivered to her, she is going to attempt the Holy Grail of haute cuisine; the Victoria Sponge. The fact that neither of these dishes can be prepared in 20 minutes is a mere oversight, so clearly we have to assume that the studio staff ply the audience, contestants, chefs, presenters and indeed themselves with large quantities of cooking sherry so that the actual 60 minutes feels like 20 and they cut the program accordingly to fit their primetime slot. The end scene is our audience now beyond containment, sampling the extraordinary fayre on offer......Blimey. 
 
At the other end of the scale, we have the show where a Michelin starred chef brings his/her cooking into our homes and shows us that the dishes he/she charges £120.00 each for can be made by anyone at home. Again in a particular show I have seen, our host informs us that tonight he will show us how to make his signature dish: 'Filete asado con especias de la nutria erizo relleno con un jus flamenco rosado y caramelizada p├írpados bate.' In English: 'Roast fillet of otter with spiced hedgehog stuffing with a pink flamingo jus and caramelised bat eyelids' (note to Editor - no actual harm came to any creature in the writing of this piece!) We are informed that most supermarkets now stock these items ....well not in Ripley they don't! So, we sit in front of our TV with a long, exhausting day behind us munching on our exquisite sausage and mash watching in a sense of disbelief or wondering if they served this on Mars. Our host then begins to assemble this dish using kitchen equipment only reserved for those that have had all 6 numbers come up, in a kitchen the size of Swindon.
 
 
Now off to antique world.

TV Land has created a series of shows that have devalued our beloved Antiques Roadshow and tried to be humorous in their titling. So, we now have shows like: 'Shekels from the Shed' or 'Cash from the Cupboard' or 'Wonga from the Window Sill' - the format is the same. Some low-on-work antique traders visit some UK outpost and visit a family who need to raise some money for a holiday/wedding/car etc - all good so far. They then scour their house looking for stuff they think will fetch a premium in an auction. The program generally falls down as most people (myself included) have very few items in their house of antique value. So, our 'hunters' normally dispossess our victims of things they really need.

“Brian, how do you think today went?”

“Well I got 35 quid for my sofa, have nothing to sit on now and still owe 300 quid on it, so not a great day.” Our presenter looks slightly pained but not enough to really care too much.

In another format 'antique' show, we have two teams who, for their sins get to wear bright blue or red jackets to highlight them as being absolutely clueless to the antique traders. They then walk around an antique fair and try and buy a bargain that will earn them a profit at an auction. Our stall holders at the fair are not that daft, so when presented with two family members in bright jackets surrounded by a film crew and sound engineers they unsurprisingly are reluctant to give their livelihoods up, so they do not sell a Royal Crown Derby commemorative teapot with gold inlay for £20.00 instead of £1200.00, so our witless contestants come away with a bag of utter tat for which they have parted with £100.00 and make their way to the auction rooms. They are accompanied by 'experts' who have tried to help with the negotiations but typically fail miserably. The viewers’ joy (if it can be called that) is the ignominy faced by our contestants when their item; a chipped,
one-eared clay cat inscribed with 'Souvenirous de Torremelinos' on its base for which they paid £40.00, is snapped up for 60 pence by a 9-year-old boy who thinks his Gran would like it. After auctions fees, our contestant receives 15 pence and then is informed that they have lost £39.85. “How do you feel about that?” our presenter asks. “Gutted” says the contestant. “Wrong audience” says the expert. “Give me strength” says the viewer...
 
GOM

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Diary of a local Mum by Helen Young

As I write this, it’s half term. The time when teachers get a well-deserved rest, and parents are suddenly thrown headfirst into a whirlwind of complex childcare arrangements and endless attempts to entertain their children (and often one or two belonging to other people as well).

I was lucky enough to have some time off work to spend with the kids this half term, and was hell-bent on making sure we enjoyed our time together. However, after a day or two (possibly more like an hour or two, but it felt like a while…) of giving in to the can we do’s and the can we have’s I noticed that my purse felt decidedly light, and recoiled in shock at the sight of my bank balance. It was then that I cast my mind back to my own childhood, and began to get a bit more imaginative with the entertainment…

I reinvented myself as a Blue Peter presenter and we spent a happy afternoon baking and making models from cardboard boxes, toilet roll inners, much glue, and some paint. The next day was spent at the park kicking piles of leaves and rolling down hills (resulting in lots of giggling, some filthy clothes, and only a very minor head injury). I even introduced them to the wonders of communication via two yoghurt pots and a piece of string, which caused more astonishment and intrigue than my iPhone ever has.

Our enjoyable budget days started me thinking about how childhood has changed over the years, and how the current economic climate, although difficult in so many ways, may have some hidden positives (albeit deeply hidden). I look back on my childhood with fond memories, and it wasn’t full of gadgets, holidays and expensive days out. My brother and I would spend hours building dens from blankets and boxes, creating our own musical instruments, or concocting delicious mud pies in the garden.

This article appeared in the Dec 2011 / Jan 2012 edition of All Things Local.

The thing with kids is, they have no preconceived ideas about how life should be, but they expect what they get used to – and the more they’re given the more they come to expect. And as parents it’s easy to fall into this trap of feeling guilty if we don’t give them what they want. It’s a vicious circle. Don’t get me wrong, I know that as a parent (especially when you work as well) it’s very hard to find the time and energy to get creative or leap around the park like an excited six year old, but when you do manage it, it’s surprisingly liberating!

The other great thing about spending some time getting back to basics is that the special outings become so much more special. We did treat the kids to a day at a theme park, and there was a noticeable absence of ‘can we have’s, ‘pleeease Mum’s, and tears at home time. There was a real sense of enjoyment and, dare I say it, gratitude.

With Christmas fast approaching I have no doubt that there’s much spoiling to come (I’m already clearing out the toy boxes in preparation), but after my half-term reality check I’m going to really make an effort to embrace the simple (and cheaper) pleasures in life over the festive season. I’m not planning on depriving my children of what’s on their Christmas lists (that wouldn’t be fair, especially considering what’s on mine…), but I will make sure they understand how lucky they are, and that their gifts are appreciated.

And I’ll show them how much fun you can have making your own decorations and baking mince pies, even if nine times out of ten they’re totally inedible.

Monday, 3 October 2011

ARTicle - Frankie Langhorne


Frankie Langhorne (pictured) designs and produces bespoke exquisite silver jewellery and is also a budding watercolour artist with her works shown at a major exhibition in London.

Frankie’s passion is art. She studied Ceramics at college but taught most aspects of Art at schools in Derby for 38 years, retiring four years ago.

Most of her jewellery is crafted at home, but she also travels to Chesterfield College where she is tutored and has access to special equipment for the more complex processes of silversmith work.

Frankie loves travel, and purchases gorgeous gemstones and beads from India and Nepal which are incorporated into her jewellery. She has used delicate freshwater pearls, amethyst, rose quartz, turquoise and even lava stones. She also buys from gemstone suppliers at jewellery exhibitions.

Her beautiful silver link bracelets are all handcrafted. Frankie uses little hammers to give each individual link a pretty, dappled effect by texturing and planishing. She said: “The hand-made bracelets can take several hours to complete, whilst other bracelets take less time dependent upon the individual pieces that I make to add to ready-made chains. I create tiny charms and fasteners to make each bracelet unique.”

Her earrings are again all individually made, either adding tiny gemstones, or cut shapes of textured silver. Some are made from an etching and this process is carried out at college using acid. Frankie’s silver rings are cleverly designed so that they can adjust to fit any ring size. Some are textured silver bands while the others have teeny gemstones; each individually attached to the ring using fine silver wire which takes 2.5 hours to produce.

Frankie’s other passion is botanical painting in watercolour. She began her art classes seven years ago and is now proud to have had her work accepted by The Society of Botanical Artists. Her pieces have been exhibited in the Central Hall of Westminster in April this year and she is already working to produce five new pieces ready for 2012.

Frankie’s jewellery and artwork was displayed at Belper Open Houses earlier this year and another event is planned for Whitsun in 2012.

You can also see Frankie’s work at the Christmas Fair held at Strutt’s Centre, Derby Road, Belper, on Saturday 3 December from 10am to 4pm. For more details contact 01332 557113.


This article appears in the October / November editions of All Things Local. The community magazine for Kilburn, Ripley and Belper, Derbyshire.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Views from a Grumpy Old Man

A couple of weeks back, I made a rare and intrepid visit to a supermarket to buy a few groceries. Before leaving, I asked the wallet drainers in my house if they required anything – “a packet of cornflakes please!” came the response. Well at least I got a ‘please.’ Easy I thought. Hmmm…

So upon arriving, I made for the cereal aisle, conveniently placed at the very back of the store next to the bread and some sort of alien food which I deduced brought forth a boiling hot jam substitute, between two layers of cardboard after five minutes in a toaster. Surely there are better things to eat before you succumb to this?

Anyway, I looked for cornflakes and that was not difficult at all. There was virtually a whole shelving unit dedicated to them. The problem came when trying to choose the right ones. With time on my hands, I set about my task. Firstly I counted the number of different options: there were 43. Since when did anyone need to choose from 43 ‘different’ types of cornflake?

There were the obvious known brand ones - the supermarket’s own offering, various ‘organic’ offerings, economy cornflakes, some where the factory had added sugar for you (how kind – is anyone really that busy?). One of the brands had added dried fruit for you (claiming to give you the powers of Batman); another brand had some stuff removed… (it’s a cornflake, if you take something away surely you are left with dust?)

One brand claimed to make you thin – although none claimed to make you fat, which would be hilarious. Another offered you a luxurious trip down the cornflake taste pageant; (you know, the supermarket’s offerings that claim to taste better, simply the greatest, and more). Some claimed to have added nutrients derived from a fish liver (really?). There were others but I had lost the will to live at this point.

Being tighter than a rat’s ear, I thought I would go for the economy brand. This came in a bag not a box and was in pence not pounds – a bargain! The labelling screamed ‘tightwad’ and declared that they were like normal cornflakes ‘only smaller.’ Presumably these are the ones that have slipped off the conveyor belt onto the floor before making a new life for themselves in any of the aforementioned offerings, then scooped up by an out of work jockey using a kid’s shovel and thrown into the bag.

Ah, I thought, I’m missing a trick here. They could have trebled the price and stuck them in a box and delivered us the ‘Tasmanian Miniature Cornflake’ or similar, declaring that the constant sun, spring water irrigated channels and caring nature of the farmer (imagine a picture of farmer type; old hat, smiling, just a hint of cheekiness from the sly wink he is giving) giving us a breakfast taste sensation bettered only by Eggs Benedict at the Savoy on Royal Wedding Day.

But then I thought – what will fellow customers and staff think of me at the checkout? I am tight? I am skint? Or I am sensible? I don’t need a blinking identity crisis when buying cornflakes. So ironically - after about 43 minutes - I shuffled back to the cereal aisle and picked up a box of supermarket cornflakes. On the way back to the checkout, I passed through the pet aisle and noticed ‘Simply the Greatest’ Cat Litter!!!

You have got be kidding me... I can just imagine the conversation in households who have bought into this: “You can leave that litter in the tray for a few more weeks, Shirley. It says on the packet that it’s better than the others” – urrrgh!

GOM

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Fashion by Shona Harding from Pearls & Scarlett

Hello Everybody.

I thought of a slightly different approach to my article this issue. Normally I talk about influences on the high street from the fashion world and catwalk shows, but what we wear is also influenced by media and famous personalities.

Magazines are flooded with shots of TV, film and showbiz stars; all with their own take on style and how to achieve it and wear it. This is not a new trend: in the 1980’s shows like Dallas and Dynasty spawned a generation of heavy make-up and power dressing. Princess Diana sparked new trends with many of her different looks, including copy cats of her wedding dress and the millions who tried to work the ‘Sloane ranger’ look to full effect. Who can forget the 1990’s when we had ‘heroin chic’ and grunge? Indie bands Oasis and Blur bought us Fred Perry and mod fashion as well as making the Union Jack a “cool Britannia” again. Media stars and film stars can impact the fashion world as strongly as designers in Vogue and all the leading glossy magazines.

For example recent film releases such as Black Swan which is set in the world of ballet dancing soon filled the pages of magazines. Short cardigan wraps, ballet slippers and tutu-inspired clothing became the feature of the week, followed by the hair styles and make up. Pale skin and rosy cheeks are ‘in’; hair is loose, or in tight buns on the top of the head. Looks are always watered down for the everyday shopper but this pattern of gaining ideas from the media has become very big business.

We now have websites dedicated to copying the stars’ looks. ASOS.com (As Seen on Scene) replicates red carpet fashion immediately after the events. Celebrities seen in everyday life are picked apart and every piece of clothing or jewellery is scrutinised and copied. Variations on whole outfits are offered side by side to the picture of the celebrities at a fraction of the cost. TV even understands the public obsession with star style. Gok Wan puts together high street outfits for women of every size and shape, giving them a glamorous look on a high street budget.

It is also big business for handbag makers. Once Victoria Beckham was seen sporting a Birkin by Hermes. She was sent one in every colour whilst the rest of the population has to go on a two-year waiting list. Companies understand the power she wields over women aspiring to her lifestyle and wardrobe; every time she is seen with a new colour bag the waiting list gets bigger.

So it is wise to be aware of the influences all around you.

Have fun with fashion and see you in the next edition.
Shona

Friday, 24 June 2011

Belper Community Matters By Adrian Farmer

Royal Connections

With a Royal Wedding so recently behind us, I thought I’d look at some of this area’s royal connections (with thanks to the Friends of Duffield Frith, and others).

Duke William of Normandy’s invasion of England in 1066 had considerable repercussions for the Duffield Frith, of which Belper was a part. Siward Barn was the Danish Earl who owned the Frith at the time of the invasion and he resisted the Normans strongly, but to no avail, and his lands were taken from him.

When William, now King William, had completed his conquest, he rewarded his followers handsomely. Few were so well rewarded as Henry de Ferrers, the principal of the six Baron Fossiers (iron-workers) of Normandy’s iron-producing district. It is likely he was armourer-general for the invading forces, and he was a favourite of William. Henry de Ferrers received a total of 210 manors, 114 of which formed an almost solid block in Derbyshire. One of these manors, or lordships, included Duffield and Belper, and he built a castle at Duffield, with some of the thickest walls of any Norman Castle. He brought with him iron-workers and nail-makers who honed the industry for which Belper was so well known for much of the millennium that followed.

The Norman and Plantagenet kings were occasional visitors to the Belper area in the centuries that followed, attracted by the good hunting to be found in the Frith. This provided many jobs for the villagers, protecting the land and the deer and other game which lived in the forest.
The last of the de Ferrers family to hold the Duffield and Belper lands was Robert, 8th Earl of Derby, who after two attempts at rebellion against Henry III, in 1263 and 1266, had his lands taken from him and given to Prince Edmund, Earl of Lancaster and second son of King Henry. King Edward I, elder brother of Prince Edmund, was the first King to hunt locally after the change in ownership, visiting several times between 1290 and 1293. His son Edward II spent a month here for the same purpose in 1323.

These lands remained with the Earls (later Dukes) of Lancaster, until Henry Duke of Lancaster became King Henry IV in 1399, after deposing Richard II. The lands then went to the crown, and the woodlands surrounding Belper became a royal forest. The Duchy of Lancaster has remained with the crown ever since, although the manors of Duffield and Belper were disposed of by Charles I in 1628.

Henry VIII’s break with the Church of Rome in August 1533 had repercussions in Belper. November 1534 saw acts of parliament put in place which made the King head of the English Church, and this move away from the old faith accelerated during the time of Henry’s son Edward VI.
During this ‘Reformation’ Belper’s Chapel was renamed. It was originally dedicated to St Thomas the Martyr, the Thomas Becket murdered by Henry II’s men less than a century before the chapel was built. Becket’s memory was not relished by the new heads of the English Church, and so the chapel was rededicated to John the Baptist, from whom it still takes its name today.

Next time I’ll be looking at more recent royal connections. If you’d like to know more about the history of Belper and the surrounding area, drop in to St John’s Chapel on the last Saturday of the month between 10am and 12.30pm when members of Belper Historical Society are on hand to answer questions and there are historic images to see and information to read.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Music Scene by Rhia Calvert

BuryTheLadybird are a female-fronted rock band from Derby. Their unique sound and powerful performances have gained them fans all over the UK. Here's guitarist Matt Gascoyne, bassist Zach Shannon and vocalist Tiggy Dockerty to tell us more.

Can you introduce us to BuryTheLadybird and tell us a bit about your sound?

Matt: Well, I guess I can, although these are always the hardest questions! We've been building up to where we are now since late 2009 and we've come so far! We actually started out playing soft rock with funky riffs, so it’s quite strange looking back at that saying that we now play rock'n'roll! As a band, we're quite easy going and laid back but we all have the same dedication and we put so much effort in because we all know what direction we want the band to go in. With regards to 'our sound,' it’s a tough one to answer because we all bring in loads of different influences from across the board. However, we've come to terms with the idea that we have a very classic rock edge with a strong blues and soul edge which is very commercially accessible.

What is currently happening with the band?

Zach: Right now, we're getting a new drummer in, teaching the new songs, etc - but our main thing is to finish our recordings. We've been recording for the past few months for our first proper E.P. and we're looking forward to releasing it to the public as well as sending it out to record labels, promoters, etc. When we get these done, we'll be getting them out into the public domain, and then really pushing for bigger gigs and such.

Matt: I'm so excited about the fact that we are playing so many big festivals this year, such as Glastonbudget, Amplitude and Silver Bullet. We are also playing at Rock City with Mcfly's support band That Sunday Feeling on 6 August.

How important do you think image is when it comes to being a band?

Tiggy: Music and image combined is a major part of being in the music industry especially now in the 21st century. Although you should never hide behind an image or become fake to whom you are, you should emphasise your own personality through your looks, to stand out from the crowd.

Zach: I do think, nowadays more so than ever, that image and music have come together, not necessarily for the better or for the worst. Image has changed how music is viewed, and how people perceive some bands or artists before they've even listened to their music. I do think that it has been pushed too far by certain labels or personalities, where their image is more recognisable than their music.

The rock world is predominantly male dominated. How does this affect you as a band being female-fronted?

Tiggy: I love being one of the few girls in the Midlands rock scene. When people think about female-fronted bands they think of the stereotypical female bands like Paramore, wearing boyish clothes and taking on the more male role. I love being around the guys but love the fact that I am a girly girl. I love my make-up and dressing up and I really want to encourage females to be true to themselves rather than trying to fit into a particular role. Rock'n'roll is my love and I am inspired by artists such as Axl Rose and Steven Tyler: I want to incorporate their styles with a feminine twist. As a band we do get noticed more because of the fact that I am a girl wearing high heels and fake eyelashes whilst still rocking out, but I love the reaction we get as usually people are surprised by our act.

Any last words?
ROCK 'n' ROLL!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Win Hill and Ladybower

Walk supplied by Angela Clarke of Belper www.peakwalker.net

Start: Heatherdene car park (SK 2025 8599)
 
Route: Heatherdene car park - New Barn - Win Hill - Hope Brink - Hope Cross - Ladybower Reservoir - Heatherdene car park

Map: Explorer OL 1 Dark Peak
 
Distance: 8.5 miles   

Terrain: Good tracks

Refreshments: Yorkshire Bridge Inn

Toilets: Heatherdene car park

A walk that despite its location and length is generally on good paths and tracks. The route used to reach the summit of Win Hill means the ascent is relatively gentle and once the summit is reached your effort is rewarded with views that extend for miles in all directions.

From the car park follow the footpath on the left, that starts by the toilet block, to the main road. Cross the road and take the path across the dam wall, ignoring the footpath, signed Win Hill, on the left.

Having crossed the dam turn right to soon find a footpath, signed for New Barn, on the left. Follow it uphill until you reach a gate.

After passing through the gate continue straight ahead along a broad track ignoring the one heading downhill on the right. As the broad track swings left continue straight ahead to find a gate with a yellow public footpath arrow on it.

Follow the grassy track through the woods to a sign, on the left, for Win Hill. Head uphill to eventually cross the broad track you were on earlier. Continue uphill, following the yellow arrows, to a gate (missing at time of writing).

Follow the narrow stepped path uphill to a further gate. Pause to look behind you and you will see the distinctive Crook Hill opposite you, with Derwent Edge following the line of Ladybower Dam on the right.

The path continues straight ahead, uphill, to yet another gate. Although Winhill Pike is straight ahead of you turn left, signed for Thornhill, to follow the path with the wall and fence to your left.

At the next gate don’t go through it, instead turn right, signed Win Hill, to follow a narrow path uphill, with the wall on your left. The path will soon swing away from the wall and head up towards Winhill Pike, which is in front of you. Follow it to reach the summit with its trig point and wide-ranging views.

From the summit of Win Hill the view extends beyond Crook Hill to include Hope Forest and Alport Moor, with Bleaklow in the distance. In the opposite direction Hope Valley and the Great Ridge dominate the view. Elsewhere the view includes the Edges, which follow the line of the Derwent Valley.

Pick a path down through the rocks to the path just below and to the left of the summit. Follow the clear broad track across Hope Brink, ignoring any gates on the left, to eventually reach a gate and stile.

Cross the stile and continue straight ahead crossing two broken walls. Ahead of you the scenery is dominated by Kinder Plateau, whilst to your left the view of the Great Ridge is constantly changing, as Hope Valley is replaced by the Vale of Edale.

As the track starts to run alongside a wall on the right it splits. Take the path on the left and follow it across another wall until you eventually pass Hope Cross on your right.

Take the gate to the left of Hope Cross and continue straight ahead to a further gate and stile, which you cross.

Despite the multitude of signs next to the stile none of them point in the direction you want. Turn right and follow the track downhill, to a gate, into the wood.

Follow this track downhill, through the wood, to reach another gate. Continue straight ahead to join another track.

Continue straight ahead to follow this track where you will soon find Ladybower Reservoir below you on the left.

Follow the track, alongside Ladybower Reservoir, back to the dam wall, which you cross in order to return to the car park.

We have taken reasonable steps to ensure that this walk is safe and achievable by walkers of a realistic level of fitness. The publisher accepts no responsibility for any injuries caused to readers whilst following the walk. Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The View from the Projection Box with Ritz Cinema projectionist Paul Winfield

Hello from us all at The Ritz. The summer season is upon us again. Lots of blockbusters on of course, but I thought I’d concentrate on some of the other films coming soon.

Firstly, ace director Kenneth Branagh, better known for his film version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Shakespearean interpretations, gives us his computer-assisted fantasy action movie Thor. It is based on an ancient Norse legend, the one-and-only Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman and newcomer Chris Hemsworth star.

Set in ancient Japan, 13 Assassins tells the story of a suicide mission to kill an evil lord. There is lots of spectacular Kung-Fu type action in this one.

Staying with assassins, we come to Hanna. A friend of mine saw this and she tells me it’s very good. Hanna is a 16-year-old girl trained by her father to be the perfect assassin. Set in Europe, it stars Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett.

In a lighter mood, remember The Hangover? Well, the boys are back with The Hangover Part II. The lads travel to Bangkok for Stu’s wedding… oh dear!! More post-blackout misadventures must follow.

A more serious film – The Way – follows an American father on a journey to recover the body of his son who died while on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Father and son Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen are director and star.

Win Win is an American indie which looks good fun.

All the summer “biggies” will be with us; Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and the final instalment in the Harry Potter series - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

That’s all for now folks! Say hello when you visit The Ritz.

*Taken from the June / July 2011 editions of All Things Local.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The View from the Projection Box with Ritz Cinema projectionist Paul Winfield

Well here we are again, well into another year already and lots of films on their way to The Ritz. So without further ado, let’s go!

Now I’m sure, like me, many of you will remember a rather disturbing news story which hit the headlines in May 2003. Aron Ralston was trekking alone in the Utah Mountains when he fell into a crevice and became trapped by a boulder which landed on his arm. To save his own life he resorted to very extreme measures. Now Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle has filmed Ralston’s remarkable story. I’ve seen a preview and let me tell you, this may not be for the squeamish but it is gripping cinema and not to be missed. Look out for 127 Hours.

Javier Bardem is a Ritz favourite and his new film Biutiful (no the spelling is not wrong) has him playing a man in free fall, on the road to redemption. Again, I’ve seen a preview and it’s a dark, gritty drama. Bardem has already been tipped for an Oscar for his role as a man searching to forgive, for love and forever.

I’ve seen a little bit of this one as well - Black Swan - it looks beautiful. While vying for the lead roles in a production of Swan Lake, a veteran ballerina enters into a twisted friendship with a new dancer. Natalie Portman, Winona Ryder and Mila Kunis star and of course, there is great music.

I mentioned these next three films last time and they are coming soon:-

Never Let Me Go. Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield play Ruth, Kathy and Tommy. After a seemingly idyllic childhood, as young adults they have to come to terms with the love they feel for each other and a haunting reality that awaits them.

The Coen Brothers’ True Grit is unmissable!

Gulliver’s Travels looks good fun. Also keep an eye open for these…

Of Gods and Men, Somewhere, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. All of these will be with us soon.

So, until next time, take care and say “hello” when you visit The Ritz.

Music Scene by Rhia Calvert

Rhia Calvert (17) is a young lady from Holbrook with an extremely bright future ahead of her. She is in her second year at Derby College where she is studying Media. Rhia (pictured) has a huge passion for music and spends a lot of her spare time at gigs. She loves photography and writing and hopes to become a professional photographer.

Rhia is interviewing bands and reporting back in forthcoming issues of All Things Local. If you’re a local band and would welcome some exposure within this magazine then e-mail karyn@allthingslocal.co.uk

I've personally felt for a while now there are not enough good melodic rock bands around any more. With genres such as 'deathcore' and 'metalcore' dominating the music scene it seemed I was giving up hope on finding anything different and a little bit unique; but Blood Orange are exactly this. For any metal lover, the Nottingham four-piece are definitely something to look out for. Here's Blood Orange to tell us more...

Can you tell us how Blood Orange first got together and how long you've been a band?
Simon and Steve (drums, guitar) met while in previous bands and formed Blood Orange during the late 1990s. Neil joined in 1997 and Paul in 2006.

Can you tell us some interesting facts about each member?
Steve and Neil are scared of germs and carry alcoholic hand disinfectant everywhere they go! Neil was once an extra in an AC/DC video. On his left hand Steve has the top of his middle finger missing. Simon is an excellent surfer. Paul still gets really nervous before playing live.

How would you describe Blood Orange's sound?
We think we're doing something a little bit different to what else is around. I think Faye Coulman, from Sandman Magazine, said it best. She once reviewed one of our gigs and described us as "Goth-tinged melodic rock" with "intricate melodies both luxuriant and acidic-edged in character" and an "almost manic-depressive energy." I love that description. I don't know why, but bands often seem to find it hard to put their sound into words - ourselves included; but for me, Faye's totally nailed it. If we'd have said it ourselves it'd look like we're being pretentious, but coming from someone else - it's awesome.

What's currently happening with the band?
We're finishing off our album. It's taken quite a while to do, but we're doing it all ourselves so there's been a lot to learn about recording and stuff. Up until now, we've just recorded in studios as cheaply and quickly as possible, but the results have always been disappointing quality-wise. This time it's going to sound how it should.

Where is the band's favourite place to play a gig and why?
Anywhere playing outdoors is fantastic if you've got good weather. Rock City in Nottingham is cool to play just because of its reputation. We've had some great gigs at The Vic Inn in Derby, too. It's really small in there, but there's a good atmosphere.

What's planned for 2011?
Our album will be released early this year, then it's all about getting it heard in as many places as we can, so we'll be gigging a lot to promote it.

To find out more about Blood Orange and to listen to their music go to www.myspace.com/bloodorangeonline

Rhia

Belper Heritage Matters By Adrian Farmer

For the first edition of a new year, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on events that happened in this area exactly a century ago. 1911 was the year work started on the building of Belper’s biggest building, the East Mill, but a look back to other events of that year shows how much life has changed – and how some things change very little.

January 1911 saw the release of figures showing 75 per cent of old people in the Belper Union Workhouse eligible for pensions had said they preferred to stay at the workhouse rather than take the pension and move out. At a meeting of the Belper Guardians, who officiated over the workhouse, this announcement was met by one member’s response: “I thought these old age pensions were going to see the workhouses abandoned!” which raised considerable laughter. Persistent badgering of the authorities by former police inspector John Clark (73) of Belper finally saw a change that month in the frequency pensions were paid, from quarterly to monthly.

Early in the year, the improved street lighting programme for the town took another step forward with better and brighter lamps on Nottingham Road, Bedlam Hill, Over Lane and Long Row. April saw the first appearance of electric lighting for private use in the town centre. Rushton’s cycle and motor works on Chapel Street had electric lights in the workshop and house. The only electric lighting previously seen in the town was at the fair and to light up the front of the Public Hall (now the Ritz Cinema) for an event in 1908.

Illness hit a Belper’s High Street School in the February, with outbreaks of whooping cough and Scarlet Fever closing the school for three weeks. It was Pottery Infant School’s turn in April, with a 14-day closure owing to outbreaks of mumps, chicken pox and measles. The building had to be fumigated and disinfected before it was cleared for opening by the council’s medical officer.

In May, there was a massive explosion at Kilburn brickworks. Mr Gale was breaking up old iron with dynamite and used too much. Iron fragments were thrown hundreds of feet into the air, and one piece fell on the leg of 18-year-old Tom Chamberlain, who had been lying down nearby, looking on. His leg was fractured, and he was taken to the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary. Several others were hit by fragments, one being knocked off their feet, but no-one else was hurt.

The 1911 census results were released in June, showing Belper's population had risen from 10,934 in 1901 to 11,643 – it has more than doubled since.

George V's 1911 coronation saw bonfires lit at Duffield and Alport, with activities in all the surrounding communities. Many of the elderly were invited to a dinner in Belper River Gardens but didn't attend because the organisers didn’t put on any transport.

September saw Belper's first ever bungalow being built by Fred Blount at the rear of his new hosiery factory on Spencer Road. That month, Milford people were asking for a station to be built for the village, but this failed to receive backing from Alderman Strutt at Makeney Hall, and came to nothing.

If you want to know more about the history of Belper and the surrounding villages, visit St John’s Chapel in the town on the last Saturday of the month, between 10am and 12 noon. Members of Belper Historical Society are available to answer questions and there is information to read and a database of old photographs to explore.

Fashion by Shona Harding from Pearls & Scarlett

I hope you have all recovered from the excesses of Christmas and I am sure, like me, you are currently on one of numerous diets to get off the weight before spring. With diets and sale shopping I get very depressed in January and February.

Firstly I hate having to lose weight and secondly I loathe the hustle and bustle of sale shopping. So I always look forward to the optimism that spring brings; new fashion styles, funky prints and the promise of adding some bright colours to my winter palette of black, black and more black. What makes this spring especially promising is the influence designers have taken from oriental fashion. As well as this we have the trend of animal prints following through from winter to spring.

Firstly we will look at oriental fashions taken straight from the influence of the 70’s, Studio 54 and the style icon, Bianca Jagger. Here we have vibrant colours, floral or tropical flora and fauna teamed with sharp cuts and laser cut jackets. Large bracelet cuffs and tie oriental style belts make accessories a safe bet if you are not sure about going fully oriental all at once.
Autumn/Winter 2010 was filled with animal print and this trend will continue throughout spring. From leopard spots to tiger stripes whatever your taste, a touch of any print will make an outfit look current and on trend. If you feel uncomfortable wearing prints then why not try jewellery, shoes or a handbag?

It seems there is still a throw-back to the eighties this spring. Instead of power dressing jackets and big shoulders, the high street will feature more of a ‘glam disco’ feel. Neon colours and golds are all over the catwalk with Fendi, Dior and Versace all going for all out glamour. If you have an occasion to attend it might be worth ditching the staple black dress and experiment with bright bold colours. Statement belts will help to pinch in the waist and create the curves.

Colour seems to be the real theme running through all the catwalks for spring/summer 2011. Gone are the ditsy prints and pastels and in is a more acidic palette of colours. If the thought of neons in the daytime scares you then tone down the impact with a crisp white shirt. If you can’t bear the thought of all over neon why not just introduce a bright belt or bright patent shoe?

See you next edition, when we get a glimpse of spring/summer 2011.
Shona xx