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Sixtyplusurfers Competition

Win The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on DVD

Win The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on DVD

To celebrate the cinema release of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on 26th February, official partners and award-winning over 50s insurance specialist Staysure are offering three lucky readers the chance to win a copy of the box-office smash first movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on DVD.

The renowned cast has reunited for the sequel including stars Dame Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Tina Desai, Diana Hardcastle, Lillete Dubey. Additional cast making their debut include Tamsin Greig, David Strathairn and Richard Gere.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is directed by John Madden and based on the 2004 novel by Deborah Moggach, 'These Foolish Things'. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a retirement destination in India for 'the elderly and beautiful. But the hotel has seen better days. The story is a gently comedy about seven British people who decide to move there, and the enthusiastic attempts of Sonny Kapoor, Dev Patel, from Slumdog Millionaire to make them welcome.

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Staysure is one of the UK’s fastest growing insurance and financial services providers offering a range of highly competitive products and services tailored for people aged over 50.

Visit the Staysure website by clicking on www.staysure.co.uk 

TM & © 2015 Fox.
  
 For Your Chance to Win

Tell us where is
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel set
?

     a) Italy
     b) India
     c) France
     d) Portugal

  To Enter the Competition

Tell us where is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel set? Then send in your answer together with your name, address and telephone number by clicking on the Sixtyplusurfers link below:
sixtypluscomp@hotmail.co.uk

* Please label your entry
The Best Exotic Marigold
Hotel Competition


* This competition is open to our
UK visitors only

 

Slow Train Through Africa with
Griff Rhys Jones


Griff Rhys Jones

        Starts on Friday 10th April
                           on ITV 1


 “Africa. There’s nowhere else quite like it. A billion people speaking thousands of languages and a paradise of wild animals and natural wonders. I’m going to take it on in an unhurried manner aboard Africa’s railways. It’s the ideal way to meet its people and to experience its beauty,” says Griff Rhys Jones.

Griff Rhys Jones explores Africa the unhurried way, as he takes to the continent’s railways to immerse himself in the joy and sometimes the frustration of travelling through a beautiful and beguiling continent, using the most romantic method of transportation.

Travelling a total of 7000 miles over five journeys, he explores fascinating landscapes, encounters unforgettable wildlife and meets extraordinary people.

Stunning aerial photography combines with observational travelogue to produce a fresh portrait of Africa through Griff’s experiences on and off the train. On each epic trip across five episodes, he discovers how the railway reveals a great deal about the places he travels through.

Griff uses the train to get to unexpected places in deserts and forests, villages and cities, learning stories of their past and finding out how they are used today.

Griff travels through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, Kenya and Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. He experiences the extraordinary diversity of Africa, on and off the railways, drawing together a rich and entertaining narrative.

Griff talks about the programme.

What can viewers expect from the series? How would you summarise it?

Griff Rhys Jones


“It’s going through Africa by the back trail. The rail service across Africa is good in places, hugely efficient in others, dangerous in no-go areas and almost non-existent in others. We took this route, the slow train, and it was slow in
places, but the series is about the way many African nations were forged.

"So apart from the journey I make, the underlying story is about colonials who bought the railway to many parts of Africa. It is how the modern world arrived in Africa, and usually to exploit bits of it."

“The whole overview is a look at ordinary people living and working in Africa. 90% of the stories that come out of Africa are about disease, poverty and war but the majority of the population of Africa gets on with their lives and don't encounter the brutal end of this.

"People were genuinely pleased to hear I wasn't there making a film about poverty. There's a wonderful bit in Zambia where I went to the railway training school. They just wanted to know what I thought of their country. To me, it was a very important part of what we were doing. It's a huge place. And there are very different countries there. That was the great excitement for me."

Griff Rhys Jones visits a leather tannery in Fez with his Moroccan guide

During the series you cover an astonishing 7,000 miles, is travelling a passion? How long did the filming process take?

“It was in chunks of three or four weeks and 15 hour journeys were quite common. We had to leapfrog a bit but yes, we did a lot of travelling on trains! It was a glorious opportunity. You're very privileged when you go with television. You get access to areas that you wouldn't and couldn't if you were just a traveller. It is an eye opener and it makes you realise what an extraordinary beautiful and various world we live in. We went out into the hills in the back of Zambia to watch the sun come up, it was just beautiful. We looked at a lot of National Parks maintained by African countries. It is an amazing place to visit.

"We saw wildlife, yes, but we also visited towns. The railway largely exists as a link down the east coast, on the west coast it generally drives inland, and was built to pick up what they were looking for; ivory, gold or metal."

Griff Rhys Jones

Of all the countries you visited for the series, did you have a favourite?

“They all stood out. It's not easy to choose one. I love Morocco and have been there many times. Fez is one of the greatest medieval cities in the world. You walk through the streets and you could be in ancient Rome. You come outside of the city into the hills. The countryside is maintained by religious charity groups.

"It is one of the most exotic, detailed, concentrated ancient cultures with the most beautiful things available. They make all the leather work for the Italian fashion manufacturers. Then you go to Kenya and suddenly you're travelling through Tsavo. This is Africa too! Wild and open and limitless. You're in Constantine in Algeria, a city built on rock linked by suspension bridges with wonderful views across a deep gorge. You think, 'Am I in Africa or am I in Switzerland?' The diversity is incredible.

"South Africa is a shock because you have got used to laid-back dusty roads and run down villages, then you encounter freeways and huge towns which feel like Manhattan. Namibia is different again, it is an almost empty country. There are so few people there and it has vast ancient deserts and huge landscapes. It's just staggering."

Griff Rhys Jones visits a Date Palm Grove near Tozeur in Tunisia and helps a local man harvest dates

You met some great characters during your travels and made a lot of effort to befriend them, taking pastries and offering drinks! Was anyone particularly memorable?

“We didn't have an interpreter with us and we used to roam up and down the trains to meet people and in the end we found the best way was to sit down and I'd talk to the camera about where I was and what I was doing and the other people in the carriage would listen and start talking naturally with me.

"In North Africa, I was told people won't talk to you if you don't have anything to offer, which is why we took pastries. We met two interesting guys who worked in the mines and had been to Tunis to buy clothes. They were getting the train back but my French is terrible so I struggled to understand a lot of what they were saying!"

Griff Rhys Jones has a ride on a camel

There is a strong wildlife element to the series?

“It is true that all across Africa wildlife is part of the experience. The people training to be locomotive drivers have to learn with coping with animals on the track. We tend to assume in Britain that game parks and reserves are simply wonderful because we go there as tourists or we love animals, but the truth is, it is a strain on these countries to have so much land given over to animals.

"We must be prepared to help if we want to preserve these places. There is a pressure from poachers, because of the money the deeply impoverished know they can make from poaching. They take huge risks and travel great distances to do this. All these concerns, the demand and the use of land and the trade are our worldwide responsibility and it's good to highlight them."

Griff Rhys Jones enjoys a slow train ride through Africa

Has the series put you off train travel for life or given you an appetite for more?

“No, not at all. I love trains. I am a person who would much rather get a train. On the train you can read a book, walk up and down and eat a meal.

"You can look out over at the landscape, it's something to do with the height, compared to being stuck in a car. I have to say, I never think ever of writing poetry until I'm sitting on a train. If I had any talent I would sit there and write a poem! Instead I make TV."
 

Vera

Brenda Blethyn stars as Vera

            Starts Sunday 5th April,
         8.00pm - 10.00pm, ITV1


A new Series of Vera begins on Sunday, 5th April, ITV1. There are four new episodes in this new fifth series.

In Episode 1 - Changing Tides, DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) investigates a suspicious fire that rips through a holiday park on the Northumberland coast. Three cabins are destroyed and the body of a woman is found inside.

Brenda Blethyn and Kenny Doughty in Vera

Park owner, Jim Viner (Wayne Foskett) returns from a weekend away with his daughter Clare (Katherine Rose Morley). He quickly suspects the body is his sister, Deena, but he can’t explain why she was there and not at the family home. Long-term resident Malcolm (Dorian Lough) returns to find his cabin has also burned to the ground.

A police report reveals Clare’s boyfriend Ryan (Elliott James Langridge) and his stags had been partying near the caravan hours before the blaze started. But where are they now? And where is Deena’s best friend Sally? When Vera discovers Deena was locked in her cabin, she knows this is more than just an accident.

Brenda Blethyn with Dorian Lough as as Malcolm Raggert

Supported by her trusted team, DS Aiden Healey (Kenny Doughty), DC Bethany Whelan (Cush Jumbo) and DC Kenny Lockhart (Jon Morrison) Vera must use all her tenacity and instinct to expose the deep rift at the heart of this fractured family and ultimately discover the truth behind Deena’s tragic fate.
 

Carry On Forever

Bernard Cribbins and Juliette Mills in Carry On Forever

       Watch it at Easter on April 3rd
                to April 6th, ITV 3


  Bernard Cribbins and Juliette Mills
                are pictured above


In a special on screen event covering the whole of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, ITV3 will be airing some of the most loved Carry On movies back to back.

The centrepiece of these celebrations will be a brand new and exclusive 3 part documentary called Carry On Forever', narrated by Martin Clunes.

The series will be the definite guide to the Carry On movies a true British institution. Discover how legendary comedy moments were made with some of its greatest stars including Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims and Barbara Windsor.

Jim Dale

        Jim Dale in Carry On Forever

Included within the programmes are new cast interviews, never before seen behind the scenes footage, extraordinary on set photography (some unseen for over 5 decades), emotional trips back in time for cast members, location reunions and much more.

Some of the Carry On cast providing interviews for the new documentary series include Amanda Barrie, Liz Fraser, Bernard Cribbins, Juliet Mills, Sally Geeson, June Whitfield, Shirley Eaton, Fenella Fielding and Jim Dale.
 

Britain's Got Talent

Britain's Got Talent

            Coming soon to ITV1

     Picture shows David Walliams,
   Alesha Dixon, Ant & Dec, Amanda
           Holden and Simon Cowell


Britain's Got Talent is back! Returning to screens with the king of TV talent shows Simon Cowell, the joker of the pack David Walliams, alongside the one who's seen it all, Amanda Holden and the queen of cool, Alesha Dixon, the popular judging panel have been stunned, entertained and moved to tears on their hunt for the best talent around.

They are joined by the nation's favourite TV duo Ant & Dec'.
 

Entertainment & Travel


Eurovision's Greatest Hits

Graham Norton


        Watch it in April on BBC ONE

As part of the European Broadcasting Union’s celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, the BBC will be hosting a special concert showcasing some of the very best songs from the competition in Eurovision’s Greatest Hits, for broadcast on BBC One and countries across Europe and in Australia.

London’s Eventim Apollo Hammersmith will roll out the red carpet for this special anniversary event, which will feature an array of iconic performances from throughout the Eurovision Song Contest’s colourful 60-year history. The UK’s Eurovision presenter Graham Norton and ESC 2013 host, Sweden’s Petra Mede, will co-host the show, which, as well as featuring a number of both classic and contemporary acts, will also feature surprise guests and a show-stopping finale performance.

The 15 acts performing on the night are:

Conchita Wurst

     Conchita Wurst, reigning champion


Reigning Eurovision Song Contest Champion Conchita Wurst will sing Rise Like a Phoenix. Conchita went on to enjoy international superstardom following the most recent contest in Cophenhagen, Denmark, winning the competition with 290 points, giving Austria its first win since 1966.

Swedish pop group Herreys, who won the 1984 competition with the song Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley will be reprising their famous Eurovision hit. Following the competition, Herreys became the bestselling pop group in Sweden in the Eighties and enjoyed enormous success touring and performing in excess of 300 live shows.

Natasha St-Pier, who represented France in the 2001 contest, will once again sing her power ballad Je n'ai que mon âme. Following the contest, as well as releasing new music, Natasha went on to become a coach in the second and third seasons of The Voice Belgique (The Voice Of Belgium).

Emmelie De Forest

         Denmark's Emmelie De Forest

Denmark’s Emmelie De Forest who came first in the 2013 Eurovision Song will be performing her winning song, Only Teardrops. Upon victory, Emmelie became the third contestant from Denmark to win the competition.

Lordi from Finland, who made history in 2006 by becoming the first, and to date, the only hard rock act to win the Eurovision Song Contest, will once again take to the stage to perform their winning song, Hard Rock Hallelujah.

1982 Eurovision Song Contest winner Nicole from Germany was just 17 years old when she led her country to victory in Harrogate, Yorkshire, and she will once again perform her song Ein Bißchen Frieden (A Little Peace). After the contest, the English language version of the song went on to become the 500th UK Singles Chart number one.

Johnny Logan, who is best known as ‘Mr Eurovision’ and the only performer to have won the Eurovision Song Contest three times - twice as a performer (1980 and 1987) and once as a songwriter in 1992 - will perform a medley of the winning songs he performed at the competition - What’s Another Year from 1980 and Hold Me Now from 1987.

Rosa López finished in seventh position in 2002 and she will pay homage to some of Spain’s most successful Eurovision hits, including her own Eurovision entry, Europe’s Living A Celebration. Following the contest, Rosa released a self-titled album, which went to number one and also gained a 5x Platinum status in Spain, selling over 500,000 units.

Anne-Marie David won the competition for Luxembourg in 1973 and will once again sing her winning song Tu Te Reconnaitras. Following the contest, Anne-Marie performed her winning song in eight languages - the English version Wonderful Dream reached Number 13 in the UK charts and the original version reached the Top 10 in Sweden, Netherlands among other countries.

Danish duo The Olsen Brothers finished first in 2000 and will sing their winning entry Fly On The Wings of Love.

Loreen won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with a total of 372 points. Loreen will be performing her song Euphoria which, following the competition, went on to reach No. 1 in the charts across Europe including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Loreen’s home country of Sweden.

Brotherhood of Man

             UK's Brotherhood of Man

The UK’s winning entry from 1976, Brotherhood Of Man, will perform their famous song Save Your Kisses For Me. Following the Eurovision Song Contest, the song became a major hit around the world, selling six million copies and made No.1 in many countries and returned the group to the US Charts.

Dima Bilan has represented Russia twice at in the competition – first in 2006 performing Never Let You Go, finishing second to Lordi, and then winning the contest in 2008 in Belgrade with the song Believe. Dima will perform a medley of both songs at the London concert.

Dana International represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 in Birmingham and will take to the stage to perform Diva once again. Following the contest, Dana International released the winning song as a single in Europe and it became a hit, reaching number 11 in the UK charts and the top 10 in Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Bobbysocks

           Norwegian duo, Bobbysocks

The Norwegian pop duo Bobbysocks! won the Eurovision Song Contest 1985 and will once again sing their winning song La det swinge (Let it swing).

Eurovision’s Greatest Hits will be broadcast in the following countries: Australia - SBS, Austria - ORF, Belgium - VRT & RTBF, Bulgaria - BNT, Denmark - DR, Finland – YLE, France - France 2, Greece - NERIT, Iceland - RÚV, Ireland - RTÉ, Israel - IBA, Norway - NRK, Portugal - RTP, Romania - TVR, Russia - C1R, San Marino - SMRTV, Slovenia - RTVSLO, Sweden - SVT, Switzerland - SRF, Spain - RTVE, United Kingdom - BBC One & BBC Radio 2.

Presenters Graham Norton and Petra Mede answer questions about the show

Petra Mede

Are you looking forward to the 60th anniversary concert? Which acts are you looking forward to?

Petra: "Yes it’s going to be a lot of fun. The songs are going to be great. I love the Olsen Brothers."

Graham: "I do like the Olsen Brothers too. We have also got the cream of the newer ones like Conchita. I think going into the 60th year, Conchita was the perfect winner. She really captured the spirit of Eurovision. People love her."

Do you love the quirky acts?

Graham: "It is great as a commentator when someone is a quirky or funny act!"

Petra: "You have to take it seriously. In Sweden, we take it very seriously. We have six weeks to decide who will represent us. Eurovision absorbs the whole country."

Tell us about your own first memories of Eurovision.

Graham: "I remember Dana winning! They were the Irish Abba! She put Ireland on an international stage. It seemed amazing at the time. I remember Dana sitting in her little dress with a water stream and village on the set."

Petra: "I was four years old when Abba won. I was at kindergarten and the whole place went crazy. When I was 11, I became a lot more aware of the world around me and I really took it to my heart."

Any particular acts that stand out for you, maybe for the wrong reasons?

Graham: "Sometimes people think it is a good idea but then it falls foul! I remember a turkey act for Ireland. When you saw the turkey exposed on the stage, we did have a good laugh."

Graham, do you think the British take Eurovision seriously?

Graham: "Yes I do. There is a great sense of national pride on the night. There is always outrage if we don’t get the vote but Eurovision has such a fun and great spirit to it all."

Are you pleased to be working together?

Petra: "Yes I was very star struck when I met Graham! Swedish TV is very influenced by the British and so for me to be invited by the BBC is crazy but fantastic!"

Graham: "It will be a lot of fun and I like the fact it is a European event, rather than a London-based event. It’s nice to have someone on stage with me."

Do you think the UK will ever win?

Graham: "Yes I do. Germany has won it and so yes, I do think we will. The great thing about Eurovision is you can never second-guess it!"

Do you hope Eurovision will go on for many more years to come?

Graham: "I can’t imagine life without it. What’s great about this concert is everyone is a winner. It has been a huge part of their lives."

Petra: "I hope so. There are so few TV shows that gather so many people together. Eurovision is one of those shows where everyone has an opinion."

And finally, if you could swap lives with one of the acts for 24 hours, whom would you choose?

Graham: "I wouldn’t mind being Dima Bilan!"

Petra: "I’d love to swap with Johnny Logan. He is a legend and I love his songs. They are beautiful."

Eurovision Song Contest 2015

We are pleased to announce Electro Velvet as our Eurovision act for 2015!

Alex Larke and Bianca Nicholas will represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 performing the song ‘Still In Love With You.’

Eurovision Song Contest 2015 will be shown on 23rd May, 2015 on BBC ONE.

Electro Velvet

Alex Larke, aged 35, from Welwyn Garden City and Bianca, aged 26, from Beckenham in Kent will be flying the flag for the United Kingdom in Vienna. Electro Velvet’s debut song ‘Still in Love With You’ was selected from hundreds of entries following an open selection process. A huge variety of amateur and professional writers and performers submitted songs and ‘Still in Love With You’, an up tempo electro-swing track written by David Mindel and Adrian Bax White was the stand out song.

Alex says: “I feel incredibly privileged and humbled to be representing the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, for this massively historic 60th anniversary event. We have a fantastic song and will work as hard as is humanly possible to bring the contest home and make our our great nation proud. It's time to get this party started! See you in Vienna!"

Bianca says: "I am so proud to have been chosen to be a part of the world’s biggest song contest. It's such an honour to represent the UK, especially in its 60th year too! I have never been to Austria before, and I can't wait to get out to Vienna and do my best, and I hope to make the UK proud!"

Electro Velvet

Alex was born in Welwyn Garden City. His passion for music began at the age of 15 when he received a copy of the Oasis album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory. From that moment on, Alex was transfixed and from then on knew that all that he wanted to do was play guitar, write and sing.

Alex is currently lead singer for tribute group The Rollin’ Clones, one of the biggest Rolling Stones tribute shows in the world. Alex has toured the UK and internationally and absolutely loves every minute of being with the band, the music and performing as Mick.He has recently worked with Big Beat pioneer Cut La Roc on his album Larger Than Life, which also featured the talents of Ice-T collaborator, Donald D and Snow Patrol frontman, Gary Lightbody.

Outside of performing, Alex has taken all the musical experience he has gained over the years and used it to educate the next generation of budding musicians, working part-time in a primary school, teaching ukulele and recorder. Last year, Alex was privileged to work in a special needs school with children and young adults with profound to severe learning difficulties. He found it to be one of the most incredible, rewarding and fun things he has done in his life.

Bianca Nicholas was born in Beckenham, Kent and from an early age was interested in the performing arts. At just five-years-old, Bianca played the lead role in the Cannes Film Festival award- winning short film, ‘Is It the Design on the Wrapper?’ and in her early teens, she appeared alongside Johnny Depp in the Hollywood blockbuster, Sleepy Hollow.

But at 15 Bianca decided she was determined to follow her true passion, music. Bianca went on to sing at a string of high-profile charity events which has seen her duet with Will Young, tour with Classical Brit winners ‘Blake’ and perform for Princes William and Harry as well as the Duchess of Cambridge. Bianca also sang at the turning on of the Regent Street Christmas lights in 2011 where she performed her debut single 'Hold On To Your Dreams' which was a top 100 single and number 1 on the iTunes Vocal Chart - a huge achievement for an unsigned artist.

The single re-entered the vocal chart at number 2 in 2013 when the Heart FM Breakfast team played the song on air as part of their ‘Have a Heart’ charity appeal and more recently, Bianca appeared on The Voice UK in 2014 and her blind audition has now amassed over 250,000 views on YouTube.

Since The Voice UK Bianca has kept busy with gigs and live session radio performances. All of which has led to her representing the UK alongside her friend Alex at the Eurovision Song Contest on 23rd May, 2015 on BBC ONE.

  Hear Electro Velvet sing
   'Still In Love With You'




     
Click on arrow to watch

Scotland's First Picnic Butler

Scotland's First Picnic Butler


    VisitScotland and Forest Holidays
    Launch a New Holiday Experience


VisitScotland and Forest Holidays have launched an exclusive new experience for holiday makers to Scotland - The Picnic Butler, which has been created to celebrate the country's Year of Food & Drink and promises to create many brilliant moments for visitors to Scotland.

The Picnic Butler is currently an exclusive experience offered by Forest Holidays at their two Scottish locations at Ardgartan in Argyll, and Strathyre in Perthshire. Each location is nestled in the natural luxury of breathtaking Forestry Commission land, on the edge of stunning lochs and surrounded by dramatic mountains.

The Picnic Butler will take guests out to extra special places at each location to experience a picnic of local produce. The Picnic Butler is an experienced forest ranger and will offer guidance on foraging, making fires, spotting wildlife and outdoor survival – creating brilliant moments guests will remember for a lifetime.

Guests at Forest Holidays' two Scottish locations will be able to choose from a range of Picnic Butler experiences tailored towards couples or families. Guests will be able to suspend the reality of the clock and let the Picnic Butler lead them to the magical locations, learning all the secrets of the forest and its inhabitants.

Each of the Forest Holidays locations will source produce from local suppliers for the picnic hampers, including Scottish smoked salmon and Caboc cream cheese bagels, Scottish crisps, Arran cheese and Arran oat cakes, seasonal fruits, Tunnocks tea cakes and caramel logs, Heather Honey tablet, Irn Bru, Scottish spring water and a glass of sparkling wine for romantic walks.

Jack Black, The Picnic Butler, is a true force of nature, with a fascinating career which has taken him to every far-flung corner of the world. He has climbed Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro and Ben Nevis, worked as a wildlife ranger in Kenya, ferried Chinese refugees through the mountains into Nepal and escaped from a bear in Canada.

Now, as Scotland's only Picnic Butler, Jack says, “Having travelled the world exploring and visiting some the highest mountains and greatest wilds, it's only fitting that I am now taking on the greatest challenge of my career – being Scotland's only Picnic Butler. Scotland's incredible landscape and the natural larder go hand-in-hand, and the two Forest Holidays locations offer excellent opportunities for picnics and discovering wildlife. It's a pleasure for me to be a part of people's holidays, creating moments they will treasure forever.”

Forest Holidays' Ardgartan location has 40 luxury cabins on the banks of Loch Long and is surrounded by enchanted forest and pine-clad mountains. On the edge of the Argyll Forest Park, it's also just a short drive to Loch Lomond. Meanwhile, at their Strathyre location, guests can also spend time looking for rare wildlife including red squirrels, wild deer and buzzards, while surrounded by the majestic peaks of Ben Ledi.

The Picnic Butler is available at Forest Holidays' two Scotland locations and can be booked directly through the website www.forestholidays.co.uk  as a pre-bookable extra when booking a holiday. It can also be booked on-site at both of the locations for resident guests.

The Picnic Butler experience costs from £75 and cabins at Forest Holidays in Ardgartan and Strathyre start from just £255 for a weekend break in a two bedroom cabin.

New Boat Launches in Norfolk Waters

Dazzling Light is a 44 foot cruiser


Herbert Woods, a leading Norfolk Broads holiday operator located in Potter Heigham has launched a brand cruiser, ‘Dazzling Light.’

The newly built Dazzling Light cruiser is a 44 foot, eight berth vessel and is the first one of two entering the water, ready for the Easter holidays.

Dazzling Light has been designed to be large, spacious and well equipped. It’s an ideal boat for groups because it can sleep eight people in four separate cabins with the option of two extra people sleeping in the saloon.

For a perfect holiday to relax with all your home comforts, the new cruiser comes complete with an alfresco dining area and sun deck with sunbathing platforms. There are LED TVs & DVD players in all three cabins and the saloon, plus all Freeview channels are available.

Playing music has been catered for with a USB port docking station which is compatible for any MP3 player, iPod and iPhone.

It has two bathrooms and a warm air heating system. Vitally, it has a bow thruster to make mooring easier and dual steering.

Amanda Walker, Marketing Director from Herbert Woods says, “The Norfolk Broads continues to be a popular destination choice for many and the quality of our boats is crucial for our holidaymakers so that they have the best experience and most comfortable time while cruising on our magical waters.”

The cruiser has a large saloon and a light contemporary finish with teak and holly laminate strip flowing throughout.

For further information visit the Herbert Woods website at www.herbertwoods.co.uk

Sixtyplusurfers Holiday Review

Ironbridge

Ironbridge


By Jenny Itzcovitz
 

It has been a long and cold winter, so I was looking forward to a short break and sunshine, with some interesting things to see.

We set off for Ironbridge mid-morning and broke up our journey with lunch at the usual busy service station. We arrived in Ironbridge at around 2ish, greeted by cheery sunshine and the picturesque site of the Iron Bridge and Severn River.

 

Tea at Queenies Cupcakery

 

There were lots of pretty shops and restaurants in Ironbridge, but we were enticed by Queenies Cupcakery, a vintage 1950's style tea room full of beautifully decorated cupcakes and biscuits.

We found a cosy table and shared a delicious Turkish Delight Cupcake and a pot of traditional English tea, served in a china teapot with a knitted tea cosy and  delightfully nostalgic cups and saucers. We felt instantly revived and refreshed.

 

Queenies Cupcakery

After our tea at Queenies, we drove into Telford and it wasn't long before we arrived at The Stanage, a pretty Tudor style bed and breakfast.

The owner, Hazel was very friendly and welcoming and helped us to settle into our generous sized and well furnished bedroom.

The Stanage

The room had everything we could possibly need and more, to make our two night stay as pleasant as possible. We had a lovely soft bed, with plenty of pillows and pretty decorative cushions. There were lots of spare blankets and good heating to ensure we were lovely and warm.

 

Our bedroom at The Stanage

 

The room was well equipped with a television and free WiFi. We had tea-making facilities including a kettle, china teapot with knitted cosy, beautifully decorated china mugs, a selection of biscuits, teas, coffees, and mint chocolates to enjoy later.

There was a coffee table, chairs and vintage style dressing table. There was also a pretty window seat, adorned with soft cushions so we could enjoy the view of the well tended back garden.

 

Tea making facilities are provided in the room

The room had an immaculately clean and well laid out own en-suite bathroom with shower and toilet. There were also a lot of well thought out extras such as bath robes, plenty of soft towels, fluffy slippers, hot water bottle, hair dryer, beautiful hand made soaps, hand cream, sewing set and shoe shine equipment.

 

There was even a cute cuddly toy doorstop to make the room feel friendly and homely. Hazel had thought of everything to make our stay really extra special.

The cute and cuddly doorstop in our room

Breakfast at The Stanage was in a cosy dining room overlooking the garden, decorated with pretty plants and a roaring fire.

There was plenty to choose from including a selection of cereals, fruit, conserves and yoghurt, and a full choice of English cooked breakfast.

Jeremy Itzcovitz enjoys breakfast at The Stanage

I tend to eat a light breakfast, so I chose cornflakes with fresh strawberries, followed by hot buttered toast with Marmite and a pot of tea.

My husband enjoyed scrambled egg and smoked salmon with toast and coffee on the first day, and poached egg on toast on the second day. It was delicious and warming and helped set us up for a day of sightseeing.

The roaring fire in The Stanage Breakfast Room

It was a gloriously sunny day and we had a passport to see the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, so we began our holiday by visiting Blists Hill Victorian Town.

Blists Hill Victorian Town

Blists Hill is a fascinating replica of a Victorian town with working factories, shops and cottages set in 50 acres of woodland. The townsfolk are all dressed in Victorian clothes and are knowledgeable about what it was like to live and work in these times.

As you stroll through the streets you can step back in time and visit a vast array of shops such as a haberdashery, bakery, sweet shop, post office, public bar, and candle makers.

A volunteer at the Haberdashery

As well as shops, there is also a school, fun fair, bank, doctor's surgery, dentist and colourful local characters who greet you on the way.

A surly looking policeman threatened to give my husband a 'clip around the ears' if he didn't attend school and a photographer explained how family photos might have been taken in Victorian times, with exposure taking around 15 minutes and children given laudanum to keep them still!

A volunteer at the Sweet Shop

After stocking up on old fashioned sweets at the Sweet Shop we had a delicious lunch in the old fashioned pub and then set off on our way to The Coalport China Museum.

 

Coalport once made some of the finest china in the world and we found out how it was made, looked around the old factory buildings and walked inside the massive kilns. We watched demonstrations of china making and decoration.

A kiln at the Coalport China Museum

There was also an extensive gift shop to bring back souvenirs of the visit.

Next we visited the Jackfield Tile Museum, which took us back in time to the history of tile making with displays of dazzling tiles through the ages.

A display at the Jackfield Tile Museum

The museum showed examples of tiles in their original settings including the London Underground, cinemas, theatres, hospitals, and a butchers shop. Tiles could be washed down for hygiene and were attractive and eyecatching.

The galleries gave us lots of visual examples of their use in flooring, fire grates, kitchens and bathrooms. I was particularly drawn to these framed tiles with the plumage of The Prince of Wales.

Jenny Itzcovitz at the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron

Our next port of call was the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron where we had a quick cappuccino in the well stocked cafe, and then explored the extensive galleries. Here we had a chance to find out how the Industrial Revolution began with displays of fine art castings and giant models.

There were full size displays of products which had been made from iron such as stoves, cookware, tables, fireplaces and grates. There was so much to look at and interact with. As you can see, I'm trying my hand at cooking on an old iron stove!

Finally, we visited Enginuity, a fabulous 'hands-on' discovery museum for children. Packed with lots of colourful giant exhibits, visitors can play, build, test and discover to find out how everyday things work. Fun and educational, the museum also has regular workshops.

White Hart restaurant in Ironbridge

After a fascinating day out, we had a delicious dinner at the White Hart restaurant in Ironbridge.

We would be having a mainly fish based meal, so we selected the Sauvignon Blanc Marcel white wine. Perfectly chilled with a fresh, fruity flavour, it was the ideal accompaniment to our dinner.

For starters my husband opted for
the Cured Sea Trout, Hot Smoked Coquette,
Pickled Cucumber, Crispy Capers & Horseradish. It was beautifully presented, well cooked, lovely and light. The perfect appetiser!

Cured Sea Trout, Hot Smoked Coquette, Pickled Cucumber, Crispy Capers & Horseradish

I decided on White Asparagus with Poached Egg, Chanterelles & Brown Butter. This delicious, warm appetiser was also beautifully laid out. The soft poached egg brought out the delicate flavours of the asparagus and was a delicious start to my meal.

Whole Lemon Sole, Parmentier Potato, Samphire and Charcuterie Butter

My main course was one of the evening specials, a Whole Lemon Sole, Parmentier Potato, Samphire and Charcuterie Butter. Everything was cooked to perfection, the fish was soft and succulent, well flavoured and the crisp parmentier potatoes were a lovely accompaniment to the fish.

My husband chose the Truffled Gnocchi, Wild Mushroom, Tarragon and Cep Veloute as his main course. It was perfectly cooked, soft, rich and flavoursome with a lovely sauce. I couldn't help stealing a few tasty gnocchi myself. Gorgeous!

Burnt Vanilla Custard, Poached Rhubarb, Ginger Crumb and Rhubarb Sorbet

My dessert was Burnt Vanilla Custard, Poached Rhubarb, Ginger Crumb and Rhubarb Sorbet. The custard had a lovely crisp topping and the pink rhubarb was cooked to perfection. I loved the rhubarb flavoured ice cream and the ginger biscuit crunch underneath gave it an interesting texture. Absolutely delicious!

My husband finished with the Cheese Board including Perl Wem Organic Brie, Quiches Cheddar, Lincolnshire Poacher, Relish, Grapes & Biscuits. He loves fine cheese, and was delighted with this well presented platter of mouthwatering cheeses and biscuits.

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at the White Hart. The food was delicious, the staff were helpful and friendly, and the ambience was delightful. We would thoroughly recommend it.

After a comfortable second night at The Stanage, it was time to go home. We were sorry to leave as we had had such a good time. We had a lovely final breakfast and thanked Hazel for looking after us so well and making us feel so comfortable.

Sunnycroft, an Edwardian house in Wellington

Before leaving, we told Hazel that we liked looking around stately homes, so she suggested we visit Sunnycroft, an Edwardian house in nearby Wellington. Bequeathed to the National Trust by Joan Lander, the suburban house and mini-estate is a time capsule with original contents and features that transport you back to the pre-First World War 'country house' lifestyle.

Inside Sunnycroft

Helpful guides took us around the house which included a billiard room, bedrooms, sitting room and kitchens. It was fascinating to see some of Joan's treasures which she had hoarded over the years including her embroidery, medicine cabinet, pianola with rolls of music, photographs, books, games and magazines. Her larder even included old jams and honey she had made in 1997!

After our visit to Sunnycroft, we drove back to Ironbridge for lunch and to buy some cupcakes at Queenies to bring home. It had been a lovely break, with so many interesting things to do, so many friendly people and plenty of delicious food.

We came back feeling rested and refreshed, with some fabulous photos and very happy memories. I would highly recommend visiting Ironbridge and Shrewsbury if you are looking for an interesting break with stunning scenery. There is so much to see and enjoy. You will be spoilt for choice.

Travel and Booking Information


For more Information about The Stanage at Lawley Village, Telford visit the website at:
www.bedandbreakfastintelford.co.uk

Or call 01952 507742.

Double rooms for two sharing start from £66 B&B per night.

For more information about the White Hart restaurant at Ironbridge visit the website at:
www.whitehartironbridge.com

To reserve a table at the White Hart, Ironbridge call 01952 432901,

For information about visiting the Ironbridge Gorge Museums visit www.ironbridge.org.uk

Or call: 01952 433 424

Details about other things to see and do can be found at www.visitironbridge.co.uk 

A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing entry into all ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums and unlimited return visits, costs £27.95 per adult, £21.50 for the 60 plus, £16.95 for students and children, £68 for a family of two adults and all their children aged up to 18 years in full time education (terms and conditions apply) and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free.

Activities and workshops vary day-to-day and some carry an extra charge in addition to the museum admission fee. Individual museum entry tickets are also available.