By Rick Stroud
The Special Operations
Executive (SOE) set up by Winston
Churchill in 1941 “to coordinate all
action by way of subversion and sabotage
against the enemy overseas” saw its role
in France as helping the Resistance by
recruiting and organising guerrilla
fighters; supplying and training them;
and then disrupting the invaders by any
The basic SOE unit was a team of three:
a leader, a wireless operator and a
courier. These teams operated in
Resistance circuits and the agents were
given random codenames. The aim of this
work was to prepare for the invasion of
Europe by Allied forces and the eventual
liberation of France. It was soon
decided that women would play a vital
There were 39 female agents recruited
from all walks of life, ranging from a
London shop assistant to a Polish
aristocrat. What linked them was that
they knew France well, were fluent in
French and were prepared to sacrifice
everything to help defeat the enemy. The
women trained alongside the men,
learning how to disappear into the
background, how to operate a radio
transmitter and how to kill with their
bare hands. Once trained they were
infiltrated behind the lines by
parachute or tiny aircraft that could
land in remote fields. .
Stroud tells their stories in
considerable detail, skilfully engaging
the reader in the lives of the women,
their recruitment, training and
deployment, making contact with the
Resistance, sending and receiving coded
messages, evading betrayal and capture.
Some of the women went on to lead
thousands of Resistance fighters, while
others were arrested, brutally
interrogated and sent to concentration
camps where they endured torment and
The brutality and inhuman treatment that
they endured was truly sickening. One of
the women was Noor Inayat Khan. An
Indian Muslim, born in Moscow, she
volunteered in 1943 and was parachuted
into France, making her way to Paris
where she worked as a radio operator in
the “Physician” network. Like many
others, she was betrayed by a double
agent and arrested. Following months of
interrogation, she was transported to
Dachau concentration camp where she was
shot dead. A memorial to her was
unveiled in 2012 in Gordon Square
Twelve of the 39 women were executed and
two died of illness. The book concludes
with a review of what happened at the
end of the war for each of the survivors
and their lives after the war including
the recognition and awards given to all
those concerned. Painstakingly
researched, Lonely Courage tells their
story and sheds light on what life was
really like for these brave women who
played such a selfless part in the
liberation of occupied France and the
ultimate defeat of the Nazis.
Author, Rick Stroud
Rick Stroud is a bestselling historian
who specialises in unique stories from
the Second World War. His previous books
include Rifleman, The Phantom Army of
Alamein, and Kidnap in Crete. He is a
trustee of the London Library.
Lonely Courage: The true story of the
SOE heroines who fought to free
Nazi-occupied France is published by
Simon & Schuster. Price is £20 for the
For more information visit the website
An Unlikely Agent
Review by Jenny Itzcovitz
An Unlikely Agent is set in London, in
1905. Margaret Trant lives with her
mother in a dreary boarding house in St
John's Wood. The pair have fallen on
hard times, with only Margaret's meagre
salary from a ramshackle import-export
company keeping them afloat.
When a stranger on a tram hands her a
newspaper open at the recruitment page,
Margaret spots an advertisement that
promises to 'open new horizons beyond
your wildest dreams!'
After a gruelling interview, she finds
herself in a new position as a secretary
in a dingy backstreet shop. But all is
not as it seems, she is in fact working
for a highly secret branch of the
intelligence service, Bureau 8, whose
mission is to track down and neutralise
a ruthless band of anarchists known as
Margaret's voracious reading of
detective fiction has scarcely prepared
her for the reality of true criminality.
Her journey of self-discovery forms the
heart of this remarkable novel, as she
discovers in herself resourcefulness,
courage, independence and the first
stirrings of love.
Menczer conveys the fog and grime of
Edwardian London in an espionage
thriller that evokes the humdrum
dinginess of spywork as it alternates
with thrilling danger, in a manner
characteristic of John le Carré.
Margaret Trant is a heroine to remember.
I'm always on the lookout for something
original and different to read, so I was
intrigued when I received An Unlikely
Agent. I immediately sympathised with
the dowdy and disillusioned
Margaret Trant who is down on her luck
and living in a miserable boarding house
with her difficult, elderly mother.
I liked the way the story was cleverly
constructed as we follow Margaret and
watch her situation change and her
character grow in confidence and
maturity. As she takes on
more responsibility in her role as a
secret agent at Bureau 8, and gets
increasingly tangled up in the
mysterious web of the Scorpions, we
wonder if this ruthless group of
anarchists will ever be stopped?
I really enjoyed this debut novel by
Jane Menczer, it kept me thoroughly
engrossed over the Easter break. I would
heartily recommend it if you enjoy spy
novels with a twist of romance, elements
of danger and plenty of nail-biting
Jane Menczer was born in Winchester and
now lives in Cambridge. She has worked
in a West End Theatre, as a nanny, as a
waitress, and as a bookseller.
Working with Germaine Greer on her
dissertation awakened an interest in all
the talented and heroic women from other
eras who have been overlooked or
forgotten, and directly influenced the
creation of the character of Miss Trant.
Jane currently teaches drama at a
comprehensive school near Cambridge. An
Unlikely Agent is her first novel.
An Unlikely Agent is published by
Polygon on 11th May. Price is £8.99 for the
paperback. It is also available as an
For more information about the book
visit the website at
Improve Your Digestion
By Patrick Holford
Review by Simon Fine
A recent survey of 59,000
people’s digestive health has found that
British digestive problems are worse
than ever. The survey found that two in
three people experience bloating after
meals, eight in ten don't go to the loo
every day and one in four women complain
of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In his latest publication, Improve Your
Digestion, Patrick Holford explains the
complex workings of our digestive
systems and provides an easy to follow
roadmap of how we can improve how we
digest, absorb and eliminate our food.
The objective is to banish common
digestive problems such as bloating and
constipation, indigestion and heartburn,
food intolerances, IBS and inflammatory
bowel disease, candidiasis and other gut
The book contains a great deal of
explanation about how the digestive
system works, and the symptoms and
causes of digestive illnesses, supported
by recent research. There is a chapter
dedicated each common digestive problem
along with step by step solutions. These
involve adjusting our diets, avoiding
certain trigger foods where necessary
and adding vitamins and supplements as
Taking drugs is a last resort rather
than the first port of call. Each
chapter concludes with a helpful summary
of the main points. The book provides
the information and empowers the reader
to understand their condition and to
tackle their problems in a structured
and easy to understand way.
The book concludes with a selection of
gut-friendly breakfasts, main meals and
snacks. This is a valuable resource for
the many people who suffer from
digestive problems, and provides
potential solutions which are based on
eating the right foods, taking
supplements where necessary and adopting
Patrick Holford is one of the UK's
best-known nutrition experts and a
leading spokesman on nutrition in the
media. He is the author of over 30
books. In 1984 he founded the Institute
for Optimum Nutrition, an independent
He is CEO of the Food for the Brain
Foundation and Director of the Brain Bio
Centre. He is also an honorary fellow of
the British Association of Nutritional
Therapy, as well as a registered member
of the Complementary and Natural
Improve Your Digestion is
published by Piatkus. Price is £14.99
for the paperback.
For more information about the book
visit the website at
Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet
By Tom Kerridge
Review by Simon Fine
Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge
enjoyed the celebrity chef lifestyle
when it came to eating and drinking. But
as he approached his fortieth birthday
he realised that, at 30 stones, he
needed to take drastic action to lose a
lot of weight and become slimmer and
healthier. Tom has positively
transformed his lifestyle and his body
shape over the past three years,
shedding eleven stones and has got his
weight firmly under control.
To emphasise his achievement, the
introduction of his recently published
book, Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet,
features a remarkable full page
photograph of Tom wearing one of his old
suits. You could almost squeeze two Toms
into the waistband of the trousers and
the jacket hangs off his shoulders. It
is a very positive statement from a chef
who enjoyed rich foods and plenty of
meat. And still does.
How has he done it? Well one big change
Tom made was to cut out the alcohol. He
found it quite a challenge at first, but
soon felt the benefits, especially the
morning after! He also swims every day.
So, although the book is essentially
about food, it is not the only element
of Tom’s weight loss strategy.
Tom explains that he spent ages
researching diets to find an approach
that would work for him but found that
most diets were either “too fussy, too
restrictive or just plain unpleasant”.
He decided that a high-protein/low-carb
diet was right for him. His ethos is to
eat as many foods that stimulate the
production of dopamine as possible.
Dopamine is a “feel good” chemical which
is released in our brains. Tom's
'dopamine heroes' include dairy products
such as double cream and yoghurt, eggs,
fish, fruit, good-quality meats
including beef, chicken and turkey,
vegetables, spices and even chocolate.
By ditching alcohol and starchy carbs in
favour of plenty of protein, fresh fruit
and veg, Tom eats meals that help him
lose weight, whilst offering a
satisfying intensity of flavour.
The book contains a hundred recipes from
soups to salads, omelettes to stews,
roasts to sweets and breads. These are
recipes that do not feel like diet
meals, and can be shared with friends
and family. Rich mussel broth, sausage,
sage and onion omelette, poached salmon,
samphire and seaweed, Chinese pork hot
pot and blueberry bread and butter
pudding do not sound like a diet that
will leave you hungry. The dopamine diet
has worked for Tom and it can work for
Tom Kerridge worked as a chef in
restaurants across Britain before
deciding to set out on his own, and take
over a rundown pub in the quiet town of
Marlow. He opened The Hand & Flowers
with his wife Beth in 2005, and it went
on to become the first pub in the world
to acquire two Michelin stars.
As well as hosting his own BBC
television series, Tom has recently been
at the helm of the BBC's Food & Drink
and Spring Kitchen series, and appears
regularly on major broadcasts such as
Saturday Kitchen, Great British Menu and
Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet is
published by Bloomsbury. Price is £20
for the hardback.
For more information about the book
visit the website at
Prezzybox offers a great
selection of gifts for the home,
entertaining and the warmer
weather ahead. Check out their
extensive range of products
which are suitable for every
Make a fruity statement with
this Retro Pineapple Ice Bucket,
just like we used to have for
parties back in the 1970s.
Perfect for keeping your drinks
cool, this realistic pineapple
has a removable top, complete
with leaves so you can fill and
store your ice inside. You can
even fill it with tropical
fruit, a boozy punch or a
delicious cold dessert.
Use if for a tropical party,
serving cool drinks at your
barbecue, entertaining in your
garden or a hot conservatory.
The Pineapple Ice Bucket
includes a glass liner to keep
your ice chilled and ready to
use. It has a capacity of 1500ml
and is presented in a retro
style gift box. Price is £27.95.
Give your home a fresh seaside
feel with this eyecatching Beach
Hut Planter Set. Ideal for
anyone who likes to grow their
own herbs or vegetables, the hut
contains everything you need to
plant and grow your very own
This cute beach hut includes its
own wooden fence with rope
detailing that sits around a
plant pot with a drainage tray.
The beach hut can be lifted and
used as a storage space for the
included soil pellet and mint
seeds. Hand painted and made
from wood, dimensions are 15cm x
25cm x 26cm. Price is £19.95.
Enjoy your own delicious home
made ice cream in this fun to
Shake 'n' Make Ice Cream
Maker. Quick and easy to use,
just mix salt and ice in the
base, add your mixture to the
stainless steel dish and shake
the ice cream maker for just 4
minutes to make perfect ice
cream every time!
Create your own ice cream with
milk, yogurt and all your
favourite ingredients. Make your
ice cream healthy with plenty of
fresh fruit and as little or as
much sugar as you want to use.
Recipe ideas are included in the
enclosed instruction leaflet.
Easy to clean and dishwasher
safe. Hand powered, there is no
need for batteries. Price is
Enjoy some simple Summer baking
with this fun Pusheen Chocolate
Brownie Kit. Perfect for easy
baking with your grandchildren
or a quick tasty treat, the cute
brownie mug mix kit contains
three individual portions of
high quality ingredients with no
The kit includes enough
ingredients to make three mug
cakes. You just need to add a
bit of butter and milk. Ready in
just 60 seconds. You can
decorate your cakes with the
mini marshmallows which are
included to finish off your
yummy dessert. Enjoy your
Brownie Cakes with a cup of tea
or coffee. Price is £4.95 for
This stylish Personalised
Wine Gift Set is perfect for any
occasion. This 75cl bottle of
Sparkling French Rosé
is produced from only red grapes
and has a natural sparkle
resulting from its fermentation
Make it special with your own
personalised label. Choose the
design and personalise with the
recipient's name (up to 25
characters) and a special
message (up to 80 characters).
Perfect for housewarming
parties, a retirement gift,
thank you gift, birthday or
anniversary. Price is £21.95.
If you're setting off on holiday
but only have a limited luggage
weight allowance, then treat
yourself to a Digital Luggage
Scale. The scale is small enough
to slip into your hand luggage,
but can hold a massive 50kgs of
weight – so you can be sure that
your luggage is always the right
Portable and easy to use, the
scale has a clear LCD display
and is powered by a 3 volt
lithium cell battery, which is
included. The scale includes a
built in auto-weight lock
function, so that once the
weight is stable, the display
locks so that you can easily
read it. Measuring 13cm x 3cm.
Price is £10.95
Get ready for the warm weather
with this charming Luxury Half
Circle Two Person Willow Picnic
Basket. Handwoven with willow,
this delightful basket is ideal
for a Summer picnic on the beach
or at the park.
Made from a light woven wood
with a striped blue lining, the
inner cooling section is perfect
for all your sandwiches, drinks
and desserts. It's also perfect
for camping or taking to
festivals or concerts.
The inside of the hamper has
dark brown straps inside so that
you can keep the cutlery and
plates secure within the basket
and transport it safely.
Contents include plastic plates,
knives, forks, tea spoons, salt
and pepper shakers, a corkscrew
and plastic wine glasses. Fill
it up with delicious food to
enjoy on your picnic. Price is
For more information about
Prezzybox visit the website at
Gorgeous Gifts from The
Contemporary Home for May
Liven up your home with the
gorgeous selection of gifts from
The Contemporary Home.
Whether you're lucky enough to
live by the sea or not, these
beautiful Wooden Seagulls will
bring the beach right into your
Available in two sizes (small
and large), their bodies are
carved and colour washed in soft
brown and white, with long
yellow beaks. Great for gifts
£12.00 for the Small Wooden
Seagulls and £15.00 for the
Large Wooden Seagulls.
Cheer up your home with a
Nautical Be Lucky Terrier Mug or
a Ship Mate Nautical Mug.
The Nautical Be Lucky Terrier
Mug is the perfect mug for dog
lovers and seaside fanatics.
With a strong greeny-blue sea
background, the design features
a happy terrier, a few spilt
ice creams, several yachts and a
flashing lighthouse. It's a
great gift idea for those who
love the sea and terriers, and
is the perfect addition to
nautical themed kitchens.
The Ship Mate Nautical Mug is
the perfect mug for salty ship
mates, or those aspiring to
become one! With a strong greeny-blue
sea background, the design
features a rosy-cheeked
shipmate, a pair of yachts, some
friendly seagulls and flashing
lighthouses. It's a great gift
idea for those who love the sea,
or the perfect addition to
nautical themed kitchens.
Both mugs are
and matching items are
Price is £12.00
There's something wonderfully
retro about serving drinks and
food on a tin tray, especially
when the design is as pretty and
vintage-looking as this fabulous
Builders Tea Tin Tray.
Featuring a traditional stripy
mug of strong builders' tea,
this lovely tray will look great
in any kitchen. Measuring 32.5cm
in diameter, it's strong,
durable and easily wiped clean
with a damp cloth. Price is
This sold glass Dragon Fly Jug
will quickly become a household
staple. Whether you use it for
water for dinner, as a vase for
flowers or even for a Pimms in
the garden, it will be a firm
recycled glass with an embossed
dragon fly design, it's the
perfect jug for entertaining or
as a welcome in your new home
gift. Price is £15.00.
This delightful Set of Three
Cake Tins makes a welcome return
to The Contemporary Home
collection this season.
Beautiful and practical, the
tins are sold as a set of three.
The largest tin (22.5cm
diameter) features a yummy cup
cake design, the medium tin
(20cm diameter) is covered in
wonderful fresh eggs, while the
smallest tin (17cm diameter) is
greeny-yellow in colour and
features a raspberry jelly
All tins are airtight, safe for
use with food products and easy
to wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Now you can bake to your heart's
content and store your produce
in style. Price is £30.00 for
For all those who love days by
the ocean, this Beach Rules
Lighthouse Sign spells out the
things you must do the next time
you visit the sand - they are
the beach rules.
From soaking up the sun to
collection seashells, there are
eleven simple tasks to undertake
when visiting the beach. This is
a great, fun interior accessory
to brighten up your home
wherever you live, or as a gift
for the beach-lover. Price is
We are all partial to a new
recipe, and this stylish Wooden
Recipes Storage Box is a great
way to accessorise the home
without causing unnecessary
clutter while storing all of
your favourites recipes and
In rustic wood with limed effect
finish, its A4 size will keep
your recipes neat and tidy.
Price is £17.00.
For more information about The
Contemporary Home visit the
a Large Talking
Thomas Soft Toy
Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Golden Bear
to offer three lucky readers the chance
to win a Large Talking Thomas Soft Toy.
Peep Peep Peep! Start your own little adventure
with everyone’s favourite little blue engine.
Large Talking Thomas from Golden Bear is
fantastic for all fans of the show and features
his iconic phrases with a squeeze of his body!
Suitable for children aged 10 months +, these
soft toys are perfect for little hands and
inquisitive minds. RRP is £14.99.
For more information about Talking Thomas click
For Your Chance to Win
Tell us what is Talking Thomas?
a) A steam tram
b) A steam train
c) A steam tractor
d) A steam tugboat
To Enter the Competition
us what is Talking Thomas? Then send in your answer, together with
your full name, postal address and telephone
number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address
* Please label your entry
Talking Thomas Competition
* This competition is
open to our
UK visitors only
for Elderly & Disabled
The New amplicomms M9500
is the first Smartphone that turns into a
remotely controlled device so that Care Givers can
support operation of the Phone or provide help in an
· Unique HELP Function for Relatives to remotely
operate the phone.
· Care Giver Function – remote Call In for
status check, Find My Phone operation etc.
· SOS Button For Emergencies with Google Map GPS
location of caller.
· Press & Hold Operation to avoid accidental
· Hearing Aid Compatible with Amplified Ringer
(90dB) and Calls (40dB).
Specially designed to help older or disabled
users connect to the wired world, the new
amplicomms M9500 offers all the benefits of a
Smartphone with some exceptional features.
HELP Button for Remote Access
For the first
time, family members can support a loved one by
remotely operating their phone, as if it were in
their hands. Pushing the Help button on the
M9500 will give a choice of authorised contacts
to receive an automated link via email, text or Whatsapp, enabling a screen share for complete
control of the phone. Apps can be loaded,
settings changed, emails constructed, etc.
Care Giver Function
Using the Care Giver
function, selected relatives can initiate a
remote “Call In” and have a two-way hands-free
conversation, remotely activate “Find My Phone”,
check the battery or signal status or do a
complete a restart.
The SOS button can be
programmed to call up to five contacts with a
pre-recorded voice message, followed by a text
containing a Google Map link of the phones
location, in an emergency this could be a
Press & Hold Operation
The menu is displayed as
large slices, with a “Press & Hold” long click
function to avoid accidental touching (speed
adjustable) when navigating the menu, making it
easier for people with dexterity issues or those
not used to a touch screen.
Simple to Use
The 5” touch screen has big app
icons and an XL horizontal keypad with the
option of voice assistance, or message dictation
facility. Messages of any type, text, emails,
notifications and images all arrive in the
phone’s Message Centre making it less confusing.
Additional features include hearing aid
compatibility, amplified sound, vocalised Caller
ID, double-sided camera, Dual SIM Card Slot, and
built-in music player, FM Radio, torch calendar
The new amplicomms M9500 helps avoid isolation
and depression for people living independently.
The new amplicomms M9500 Smartphone is priced at
Tel: 0800 032 1301.
Jeremy's Home Store
Check out the eyecatching
range of retro gifts from Jeremy's Home Store.
Enjoy a jug of custard or cream with your
favourite pudding in this eyecatching Bird's
Custard Jug. Sure to be a talking point in your
kitchen. The jug has a 750ml capacity. Price is
This lively Kellogg's Vintage Frosties Wash Bag
is perfect for a weekend away. Use it for your
toothbrush, paste and other essential
The bag features Tony the lovable tiger and the
iconic Kellogg's Frosted Flakes logo. It has a
zip fasting and a Kellogg's logo zip
pull. Price is £7.99.
This nostalgic square retro Marmite Tin is the
perfect gift for Marmite fans. Decorated with
the famous Marmite logo and iconic jar, it will
make a great talking point in your home.
Use it to store your Marmite, crackers, biscuits
and other tasty treats to enjoy with Marmite.
It's also a great tin for trinkets and small
items. Price is £4.99.
Jump back in time with this iconic Retro Space
Hopper! Still as much fun today as it was back
in the '70s, the hopper is perfect for children
and nostalgic adults.
The Space Hopper can inflate to 60cm using the
foot pump included. Price is £12.99.
Tiddly Winks was everyone's favourite childhood
game, and now you can enjoy it again with all
the family with this fabulous vintage version.
The retro style box opens up into the playing
board which can be played by up to four players.
The game comes with full instructions. Price is £3.99.
Entertain your friends with the
Family-Fun Bingo Game.
Suitable for up to 18 players, the set includes
a Tombola cage, 75 bingo balls, caller board, 18
player cards, 150 marker counters and complete
instructions. Price is £14.99.
For more information about Jeremy's Home Store
Check out the cool range
of gifts from Totally Funky, perfect for a
special treat or birthday gift, there's plenty
of treats to inspire you.
There is no denying the mystical powers of the
mighty unicorn and these powers even expand into
battery power. Pop this Unicorn Powerbank in
your pocket or bag and when you need to boost
the battery on your smartphone. Let this 2000mAh
battery work its magic. Price is £14.99.
This Pillow Egg Cup is the perfect gift for
anyone who enjoys boiled eggs. At first glance,
it seems as if the egg is perched on a small,
soft, fluffy white pillow. But despite first
impressions, this plush resting place is made
from fine glazed ceramic and neatly holds your
morning egg in place.
The prospect of a perfectly presented boiled egg
for breakfast will help to drag your sleepy head
from the pillow. Give your egg the royal
treatment with this posh egg cup holder. A great
gift for eggheads and early risers. Price is
This fabulous Flamingo Watering Can is the ideal
gift for green-fingered adults and little
gardeners. Made from lightweight plastic it has
a generous 1.5 litres capacity. Price is £17.99.
For more information about
Totally Funky click on