Saturday, 31 May 2014

What's on?

There were a couple of events advertised in the Phonebox magazine for tomorrow night, so we thought we'd draw your attention to them now... 

Castle Ashby Church Fete and Fun Dog show @ The Castle's Italian Gardens
Gates open at 12 midday. Fun for all the family, classes for all dogs. Admission £3, concessions £2 which includes entrance to the gardens. Children under 12 are free and there is free parking. 

Fancy some sport? Arsenal ladies vs. Everton ladies FA Women's cup final @ Stadium MK
The party begins outside the stadium, with the FA Junior Fanzone, and free interactive football-based games. The FA Girl's Youth Cup Final between Everton and Liverpool will take place before the main event, at 1pm. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children/concession. 

In the evening...

That Time Of The Month comedy club @ The Cannon in Newport Pagnell. Joel Dommett and John Hastings preview their new shows for the upcoming Edinburgh festival. Tickets are £5 in advance or £7 on the door. 

Competition Time! Home Alone Star Sings...

Fresh off the press- our June competition is quite a quick one this month, we need your entries in by Thursday 5th June as the prize takes place on the 7th... What is this great prize I hear you say?! Well, who remembers Macaulay Culkin? The child star from those classic films: Home Alone. He is now fronting a band and will be playing at Esquires in Bedford. Slightly different to his times of chasing bad guys and singing with a comb for a mic, Macaulay Culkin has combined the loves of singing and pizza from his Home Alone days...

One of the more bizarre gigs The Pad have ever put on, the band is titled 'Pizza Underground' and is a 'Velvet Underground' cover band with a bit of a twist, a pizza themed twist. The songs of Velvet Underground have been changed to involve pizza themed song names and lyrics, an unusual twist set to provide an interesting show!

From New York's anti-folk scene, the gig is part of their first ever UK tour, and tickets cost £10 in advance- BUT- you can get in for free if you win this very simple competition!


What country does the pizza originate from?

Please email your answer to:

or post your answer to:

Phonebox Competition,
Unit 2 Stanley Court,
MK46 5NH

The first 2 entires pulled out of the hat will win a pair of tickets each to the gig.

What are you waiting for?! This sounds like one of the most random yet fun gigs around, get those competition entries in to be in with a chance of getting to the show!

Friday, 30 May 2014

History of the WI

The first WI (women's institute) was formed in 1897 in Canada, as a branch of the farmer's institute. At that time, the group brought women together from isolated communities, and offered various training, such as childcare, economics, and the aspects of farming which were traditionally women's roles, such as poultry keeping and small animal care. The first WI to be started in Britain was in 1915, during the first world war where women were encouraged to get involved in farming; growing and preserving food to help keep up supplies.

The WI appealed to women from all walks of life, and helped break down some of the social barriers which previously existed between women who wouldn't have mixed in social circles before. By the 1930s, WI members took part in other activities other than just farming and educating, such as music festivals, dancing, pageants and plays.

During the Second World War, the WI saw the need to remain strong as a group in order to provide support and a sense of stability to women. As a result, the group's meetings continued as per usual throughout the war, and as well as providing support to the war effort through caring for evacuees, the WI's main contribution was through growing and preserving food. In particular, the WI became famous for their production of jam, saving fruit from becoming wasted and helping feed the nation.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

What's on at the movies?

It seems to be a good week for film releases this week, there's a lot on for you to check out at the weekend! Here's just a few to get you inspired...

You may have seen these guys in 50 first dates, so it's a little bizarre to be seeing them together again in a different movie, but 'Blended' is well worth a watch. Laugh-out-loud funny, touching and a great story, this film is set to be loved by all the family. 'Blended' tells the story of a couple who get stuck together in Africa, along with their children, after a disastrous blind date! Out now in cinemas, this is one not to be missed!



'Maleficent' tells the previously untold story of Disney's villainess from the tale of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent. Starring Angelina Jolie (with some crazy looking cheekbones!), this story tells the 'other side' of the tale; what caused Maleficent to curse Sleeping Beauty and why was she so 'evil'? Another great one for all the family, although the little ones may be hiding their eyes at points! Disney have done it again in producing a great movie!

While we're beginning to loose count of the number of X-Men films we've now seen, it can never be a disappointment to see another one on the screens...can it?! 'X-Men, days of future past' stars the ultimate X-Men cast as they fight across two time periods. This time-travelling, action-packed performance is set to grab your attention from start to finish, and while you may think it's all been done before, this film yet again brings something new to the table.

A remake of the old classic, 'Godzilla' is now new and improved with 21st century effects. An action packed movie, this reinvention delivers great characters and an awesome spectacle. A battle between the radiation-enhansed Godzilla and humankind- who will win?!

One for the kids! Possibly worth avoiding if you remember the original Postman Pat as this chap looks a little different, but nonetheless, see Postman Pat as you've never seen him before! Postman Pat enters a talent show and the film sees a robot take his place as postman! See what happens in Pat's first CGI animated big screen family movie!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Service to remember the 250th anniversary of John Newton's curacy

John Newton, most famous for writing the classic hymn, 'amazing grace', is being remembered tomorrow, with a special service being held in Olney to commemorate the 250th anniversary of his curacy in Olney. The service is being held at St Peter & Paul's church in Olney, where he served as curate for 16 years, from 1764. It will be led by the Revd Claire Wood, Vicar of Olney, and is set to begin at 12.30pm. As well as the service, there will also be a presentation on John Newton by the Rev Mike Swales, discussing Newton's life before his arrival in Olney and how he came to be there. All are welcome to join.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

'tap dance day'

Time for one of those bizarre 'days', and today is National tap dance day! A day to celebrate tap dancing, it began back in 1989 in America, and is now celebrated in many places by tap dancing shows, clubs etc held on the day. 

Why not get inspired to try tap dancing on this national day of tap dancing?! We've had a search for some of the local dance schools in the area if you fancied it... 

  • The Olney School of Dancing Ballet and Tap Dancing classes for children and adults. The Olney School of Dancing is a well established dancing school which holds a range of classes in both ballet and tap dancing . Children can be entered for the  Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing examinations in tap dance.
  • Sue Coles School of DanceThe school follows the I.S.T.D. syllabus, with classes from Primary through to Advanced standard. The children and students can work towards a graded examination if they wish to. An Adult Advanced class is also available.
  • Leanne Hughes Theatre SchoolWe offer weekly classes in ISTD Ballet, Tap, Modern dance, as well as classes in Jazz and Musical Theatre.  Weekly adult classes are also held in Ballet, Tap and Modern and are suitable for all levels.
  • Diamond School of Performing ArtsDiamond School of Performing Arts runs classes in Newport Pagnell Youth Club. Classes include Drama, Singing, Musical Theatre, Ballet, Tap, Freestyle and Hiphop. Diamond Students get so many wonderful opportunities including professional work (film, television, theatre, radio and modelling), performances at numerous charity, community and corporate events plus we have 2 school shows per year – our Review Show in June and a full scale production in October.
  • Arts1 School of performance - Classes from aged 4 up to adult. Learn the technique and step sequences often seen in Musicals in the West-End and Broadway and in films of the Golden era of musical theatre in a class led by a fully qualified ISTD tap teacher. Students take part in a nationally recognised and accredited exam syllabus, learning choreographed sequences and exercises focused on developing rhythm, muscularity, musicality, co-ordination and performance technique.

This is just a small selection, but there are clearly lots of places to learn tap dancing in the local area! Why not get on those dancing shoes and give it a shot?!

Friday, 23 May 2014

What's on this bank holiday weekend?

Welcome to yet another bank holiday weekend! May seems to have flown by, and maybe it's because of all these bank holidays giving us time off-we're not complaining! So what is there going on around Milton Keynes to get involved with this weekend? We've collected a few different ideas for you incase you're stuck...

'Look at life': Milton Keynes museum is having a look at nature this weekend, as well as a 'microscope safari' workshop which the kids (and adults!) are sure to love! They're open Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4.30pm. Find out more here. The fun continues into half term at Milton Keynes museum, with a week filled with children's fun activities!

Castle Ashby craft and design show at Castle Ashby Gardens: From Friday- Monday. The weekend kicks off on the Friday night with a concert of swing jazz, undercover in the walled garden with some of the UK's leading jazz musicians. A hot supper is included in the ticket price of £17 and there is a fully licensed bar. On Sunday and Monday the craft and design show will be open to the public, over 70 designer-makers of contemporary and traditional work will be found in the walled gardens. Many artists will be demonstrating their crafts, and there will be puppet shows to entertain the children, as well as falconry displays and live music. Why not have a game of croquet, or just enjoy strolling through the gardens? Don't forget to visit the meerkats at the small animal farm! Find out more here.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The British quiz obsession?

Quizzes- love them or hate them, are a huge part of our British culture. Even if they've never won a quiz, many people take part in pub quizzes regularly, often seeing it more as a social than playing to win each week (obviously a bonus though!) As well as all the pub quizzes out about, come all the television quiz shows that crowd our screens every evening. The number of different spins and twists they've managed to put on the general theme of answering questions and winning money is pretty impressive if you ask me, we've got pointless, the chase, ejector seat, university challenge, eggheads, the million pound drop, the weakest link and so many more, it seems Britain really does love the quizzes! Then on top of all the regulars, we get the big fat quiz of the year, which is basically a glorified pub quiz (with a few obvious differences, the fact that it's not in a pub and in a television studio for starters!)

So why do we like being questioned? Surely it reminds us of exams, interviews and tests?! Is it only the idea of winning that motivates us- would we take part in quizzes if there was no prize incentive?... I've got a feeling that many of us would. Maybe it's the challenge it provides, racking our brains for that fact we just know we know... somewhere far back in the memory bank.

With technology and social media has also come the unending stream of online quizzes, you can take a quiz to see which Simpsons character you are, what actor is your lover, what age you 'really' are and so many more... is the British quiz obsession getting a little out of hand?! Maybe we are better off sticking to the old fashioned pub quiz, then at least you get the social aspect and (hopefully) some questions that make sense and which you can actually answer! Why not head down to your local pub this week? Most pubs hold pub quizzes once a week or so, in Olney alone there are pub quizzes at the Two Brewers pub and the Cowpers Oak, just to name two! I might start truing and learning some random facts in preparation for the next pub quiz!...and the capital of Venezuela is...

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Olney District Historical Society

Olney District Historical Society has been around since 1997, and is now key for events, talks and information about the history of Olney; from the time of the Civil war to the present day. The society was created in order to keep the history of the town alive for all generations, for those living in the town currently and for those who have since moved away. Their website contains a host of historical information, including photographs, as well as census data which allows you to search for family members and other people from the Olney area.  As well as people, users can search for maps, buildings and images, providing a rounded history of the town of Olney. Information also includes history about the arrival of the canal, the railway, and the M1 motorway, as well as a history of Bury field common and a variety of local industries.

Tomorrow evening the society are having their monthly meeting, a talk on the garden archaeology of Hampton Court and more, by archaeologist and gardener Joe Prentice. He will talk about the Hampton Court Palace garden, and cover Harrington Falls, Holdenby and Wrest Park. The meeting will be held in the main hall of the Olney centre at 7.30pm, and costs £1 for members and £2 for visitors.

Monday, 19 May 2014


If you're a bit of a techno-wizz on your smart phone you'll more than likely be aware of a new app sweeping across the screens. Taking a new twist on the social media revolution which we appear to be living in, this app takes us back in time, showing what we posted on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Foursquare on that day a year, 2 years, 3 years and so on, ago.
There's a few ways you can choose to look at this phenomenon, either...

  1. We're living in the past too much... It feels a bit like the app has been created because someone out there knows that we all like browsing back through our photos and tweets and messages, and they want to arrange it better to date for us (cheers!)
  2. It gives you a positive look back at how far you've come (hopefully!) over the years
  3. Acts as a virtual time-capsule, especially good if you've got a bit of a bad memory
  4. A way to daily enjoy memories of some of the important events which have taken place in your life (best if you don't over tweet, otherwise you may have to read your random ramblings about your washing machine or new running trainers, come on, we've all seen it!) 
  5. and if you are one likely to over share on social media, then it can be a painful (and maybe helpful) reminder of how we spend too much time on social media...although saying that, timehop is a social media app in itself, so maybe there really is no escape!
What do you think? Is timehop a good or bad idea? I've just got it on my phone and I'm ashamed to say a little addicted... oh look I tweeted about being on a train 2 years ago... how exciting! (see what I mean?!)

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Sunday in Milton Keynes

Don't get those post-Monday blues today, there's still a whole day of the weekend left to be enjoyed! As always, Milton Keynes is home to a variety of different events, and we've rounded up just a few of them to give you an idea of how you could spend the day...

HULA animal rescue are holding a fete and dog show at South Midlands animal sanctuary, Glebe farm, Aspley Guise, from 12-4pm. There will be a fun dog show (entries from 11.30am), doggie games, car boot and assorted stalls, pet photo competition (bring your best photos), bargains in the bazaar and pet bed shed. Come and meet some of the animals in search of a new home, there'll also be fun games for the children and delicious refreshments. Admission is £2 per adult and £1 for children. All proceeds to the care and welfare of HULA's animals.

Hackleton and District WI plant sale is being held at Hackleton village hall, from 10am-1pm. If you're sorting out your garden or just need a few extras to go in it, head over to the plant sale where you'll find a variety of shrubs, perennials and bedding for your borders, tubs and baskets. Homemade cakes and tea will also be available.

Lawnmower day. Milton Keynes museum have a selection of old mowers and their machines and are open from 11am-4.30pm. Family tickets cost £22 for 2 adults and up to 4 children.

Aspley Guise Open Gardens. Gardens will be open around the village from 12.30-5.30pm. The gardens range from those tucked behind small Victorian terraces to larger modern landscaped vistas and some classic gardens with period houses. The amazing gardens at Flaxbourne farm are also included. £4 admission. Light lunches, teas and plants for sale in the village hall where there is also plenty of free parking.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

What's on Saturday 17th May in Milton Keynes

It's the weekend!!... So what's on out and around the Milton Keynes area for you to get involved in? (lots, is the answer!)...

  • Friends of St. Lawrence in Broughton are holding a talk on 'Medieval villages of Milton Keynes'. An interesting talk from Helen Jones for all those of you interested in history and maybe wondering what Milton Keynes was like back in the day before it was a city. Followed by tea and cake, tickets are just £8. The event will be held at St. Lawrence church in Broughton, starting at 3pm.
  • Over at Yardley Hastings Memorial Hall from 7.30pm (starting at 8pm), there's a cheese and wine evening, including music and dancing to the Gary Wood Swing Band. Tickets are £15 which includes a bottle of wine and a cheese board. Other than that please bring your own drinks and glasses. All proceeds to the Poppy Appeal.
  • Olney's community choir are singing at Cowper memorial United Reformed Church, High Street, Olney. Doors open 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Tickets cost £5 with all proceeds going to Advantage Africa. 
  • Age UK are holding a family fun day at Age UK Milton Keynes, The Peartree Centre. 11am-5pm. The event will including stilt walking, Samba band, crafts, pizza cook-off, face painting, raffles, refreshments and a plant sale. All proceeds to Age UK Milton Keynes and Festive Road.
  • The Cowper and Newton Museum at night: Come and see the museum at night! From 6.30pm-8.30pm, entry is £6, which includes wine and entertainment. Visit the museum and lamp-lit garden to raise money for the summer house. Follow a lantern-lit pathway through the gardens, via a gate to William Cowper's Summer House 'secured for the nation.' Inside the museum with a glass of wine, listen to music and learn more about the summer house's history from a talk by Lisa Gee. 
  • MK Cat's protection annual spring fayre is on from 11am-2pm and is being held at the United Reformed Church, High Street, Newport Pagnell.

There's much more on other than this, and if the weather's nice a walk around one of Milton Keynes' many parks, lakes or woodland areas is an easy and enjoyable option for a sunny Saturday afternoon! Enjoy yourself this weekend! 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Tonight- ABBA Reunion Show

Tonight at the Bedford Corn Exchange is the long anticipated ABBA reunion show. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 'Waterloo' tour, the World Class international live ABBA tribute show gives ABBA fans the opportunity to re-live the ABBA phenomenon, from Dancing Queen to Waterloo, resulting in the perfect ABBA look and sound. You'll have seen us advertising the event across the last two issues of the Phonebox Magazine, and we're really excited that the day has finally come!

The tribute act have toured around the world, and their visit to the Bedford Corn Exchange has been highly anticipated. ABBA Reunion has been created by the original Director, Producer and Choreographer of the Award Winning Abbamania West End musical, and stars the original 'Frida' from the London cast played by Vikki. If you didn't see the interview with Vikki Holland-Bowyer in this month's issue you can read it below, or as always, make your way to the online magazine here.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Olney on The One Show!

Incase you missed it- Onley was on BBC's The One Show on Tuesday evening, following the story of John Newton and the famous hymn, Amazing Grace, which was written in Olney. 

If you missed it, have a watch on iPlayer (skip forward to 12 minutes in to watch the part about Olney and Amazing Grace!)

The programme includes an interview with ex-MP Jonathan Aitken who has written a biography about John Newton, titled John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace, and fits in some of Olney's beautiful scenery, as well as a performance of Amazing Grace in St Peter and St Paul's church in Olney by the Gospel Touch choir.

What's the history of the Rotary club?

Rotary clubs have been around for years, and there are a number of them in the Milton Keynes area alone. The Newport Pagnell Rotary club, for example, has been running since 1963. But how, why and when did they begin? Well, the first ever Rotary club meeting took place over a hundred years ago in 1905, when Paul P. Harris decided he wanted to meet with some like-minded people, and met with three other men at an office in downtown Chicago. They decided to call the club 'Rotary' because of the number of different places they met at- (rotating locations). By 1910 there were 16 clubs, and in 1922 the name was changed to Rotary International to reflect the addition of clubs now in different countries. 
By July 1925, Rotary had grown to more than 2,000 clubs and an estimated 108,000 members on six continents. The reputation of the Rotary clubs attracted a number of prominent figures; including presidents and prime ministers, as well as other key figures, including author Thomas Mann and American astronaut Frank Borman. Today, there are over 34,000 clubs, and over 1.2 million members worldwide.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Newport Pagnell Clubs and Societies

Similarly to the clubs and societies we looked at yesterday, there are a huge number of them in Newport Pagnell as well.

Just a selection of these include:

  • Newport Pagnell Girl Guides
  • Newport Pagnell Football Club
  • Newport Pagnell Women's Institue
  • Newport Pagnell Boys and Girls Brigades
  • Rotary Club of Newport Pagnell
  • Newport Pagnell Scout Groups
  • Newport Pagnell Historical Society
  • Newport Pagnell Tennis Club
  • Newport Pagnell Town Cricket Club
  • Newport Pagnell Archers

You can see where a few of these were written about in the last issue of the Phonebox Magazine below. Getting involved in a local club or society can be a great way of getting more involved in the community and getting to know other like-minded locals. Why not google a few of the clubs listed above to find out more, or if you know of any other great societies we've missed out give us a message, we'd love to hear about them! 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Olney entertainment- Clubs and Societies

If you're a regular reader of the Phonebox Magazine, you'll have probably noticed the wide variety of different clubs and societies Olney is home to. We thought we'd collect a few here to give you a snapshot of what's on offer in the town, as even if you're a local, there are probably some things going on you won't yet have heard of!..

  • Olney Short Mat Bowling Club
  • Olney Tennis Club
  • Olney Table Tennis Club
  • Olney and Clifton Fishing Club
  • Olney Archaeological Society
  • Olney Jazz Club
  • Olney Camera Club
  • Olney Car Club
  • Olney Town Football Club
  • Olney Masonic Club
  • Olney Lions Club
  • Olney District Historical Society
  • Olney TASK Karate Club
...and this is just a selection! What do they do though? Well, the Phonebox magazine this month covered a number of these clubs and societies, sharing a little of what they've been up to. Here are a few snapshots, or follow the link to the online magazine to read in more detail.

Monday, 12 May 2014

International Nurses Day

Today is international nurses day, an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and many hours which nurses put in to taking care of the health of people across the world.
Celebrated on the 12th may each year (the birth day of Florence Nightingale, the founder of professional nursing) the day is an opportunity not only for nurses to be recognised for their hard work, but for them to take a stand and share what nursing means to them, and allow them to be proud of what they do.

Florence Nightingale, also known as the lady with the lamp, became famous whilst serving as a nurse during the Crimean war. She later opened her own nursing school at St. Thomas' hospital, London, which was the first secular nursing school in the world. Her achievements helped to bring nursing to where it is today, and the significance of her role is why the day of her birth has been chosen as the day to remember and celebrate the work of nurses across the world.

Nurses are encouraged to share their experiences with their local communities, some going in to schools and doing talks, all to raise awareness of the job they do and to be able to share what they love about it. Equally, it gives those in the community the opportunity to understand a little better what it is nurses do on a daily basis, and to show their thanks and support.

Why not show your support by thanking a local nurse for all their hard work today?!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mr Fothergill's Nation of Gardeners Campaign

In the last issue of the Phonebox Magazine you'll have noticed a feature about the Mr Fothergill's Nation of Gardeners campaign, with an interview with the local representative for Buckinghamshire, Diana Herniman. 
We found out about the campaign and what it requires of it's 12 gardeners across the country, with the aim of discovering more about the way in which plants grow in different locations around the country, and how, where and when they grow the best. Diana had been discovering that many of her plants were the first to bloom and quickest to grow compared to the others, an interesting point if you're a gardener in the Olney area.

We've grown quite interested in the campaign, and have been following it's progress on the official blog. If you're a keen (or budding) gardener it's well worth keeping an eye on the progress, as you're more than likely to pick up some interesting tips. One of the most interesting and useful things being studied during the experiment, is the differences in growing certain plants in the autumn compared to in the spring, letting you learn from the experiment rather than having to risk your own plants.

Having seen how well plants have grown in Diana's local garden, it's pretty inspiring to try at home for yourself. Knowing that you can grow your own beans, garlic, fruit etc. and grow them in abundance, makes it seem well worth it! Think of how much you'll be saving from not having to buy certain things in the supermarket, not forgetting how much better home-grown foods are bound to taste. Why not keep track of the Mr Fothergill's Nation of Gardeners campaign while planting your own seeds? It's time to go green!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

World Fair Trade Day

Today is World Fair Trade day! - A day set apart to draw attention to the work and objectives of the Fair Trade movement. The idea of the Fair Trade movement is basically what it says on the tin; to help improve the lives of workers and small producers, particularly in developing countries.

Fair Trade has become the leading movement in promoting social justice today, supporting producers and encouraging consumers to choose fair trade products when shopping. The theme of this year's world fair trade day is 'fair trade people', which is to celebrate the people of fair trade, both producers and consumers. Through raising awareness of the unfair ways in which all too many people are treated in the trade industries all over the world, the hope is that consumers will be encouraged to buy fair trade products and support the cause in this way. 
Countries across the world will be celebrating today with events which recognise the contributions of fair trade initiatives. Often involving food and art, the day is a celebration of the success of the Fair Trade movement and all it has achieved so far, and raising awareness in the hope that the achievements will continue to increase as time goes on... so go for it, what can you buy today with a fair trade logo on it? A bag of fair trade bananas? Or even a fair trade bottle of wine, show your support for the day in this little way!

Friday, 9 May 2014

History Festival @ Milton Keynes Museum

Starting tomorrow: It's that time of year again, and the Milton Keynes museum is holding another one of it's famous history festivals over both Saturday 10th May and Sunday 11th. The day includes demonstrations from large groups of re-enacting enthusiasts, offering plenty of opportunities for visitors to get 'hands on' as well. Last year included people showing how to make bread, dying wool, sword fight and weapons training and more. The day is set to show historical re-enactment through the ages, and is the biggest re-enactment  encampment in town; from the Romans to the Jacobite rebellion, bows and arrows to black powder. A family ticket is £22, adults £7.50, concessions £6. For more information and to see pictures from the event last year visit the museum website.

Local man attempts world record in microlight

Tomorrow, Will Hughes from Maulden, will be attempting to break a Guinness World Record for the most take offs and landings in a microlight (weather permitting). The attempt will involve climbing to a new height of 1000 feet above the airfield before beginning his decent. To break the record, Will needs to achieve as many take offs, circuits and landings as possible in one hour, in a 20-meter box on the runway.  

Will is completing this challenge in aid of Keech Hospice Care, which offers support to children with life-limiting conditions across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, and adults from Luton and South Beds. The hospice provides practical and emotional support to patients and their families, helping them enjoy the highest quality of life possible. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

This month's recipe...

If you haven't noticed already, each month we have a recipe for you to try out in the Phonebox magazine, and this month we've gone for a Mallorcan recipe! Find it in the online magazine here, or use the image below. It's a pretty straightforward recipe, and is basically tomato and garlic bread but the simplicity doesn't take away from the taste. It's a quick and easy food which can be eaten as breakfast, lunch or dinner, or as a snack, so is well worth giving it a try!

If you missed last month's recipe, have a look here and learn how to make some yummy Wodehill cheese and Taylor's mustard scones (image below).  Made from local ingredients, this is another versatile recipe which can be eaten hot or cold, with fillings or on its own, and is again a fairly simple one to master! 

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

This month's book reviews...

If you like reading, you'll probably be acquainted with our book reviews page each month in the Phonebox magazine. This month, we featured a review of the book titled: 'The Absolutist" by John Boyne. Set in the first world war, this is written by the same author who brought us the heart wrenching book; "The boy in the striped pyjamas" and sounds like it is an equally touching story. If you haven't read "The boy in the striped pyjamas" then let us tell you a little about that one as well. Set in the Second World War, the book tells the story of the son of a German commander at a concentration camp and his unlikely friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence. Touching and unexpected at times, it is a story which is well worth a read. Have a read of the review of "The Absolutist" by the same author, either follow the link and read the review here, or click to enlarge the image below, and see if it takes your fancy.

Another book reviewed this month was "Familiar passions" by Nina Bawden. Best known for her children's books, particularly "Carrie's War", she has also written a number of excellent adults books, and this is one of them. A story which explores relationships, pasts, future, deceptions and secrets and more, we think the review will leave you wanting to give it a read! Click here to read the full review.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

World asthma day

World asthma day is an initiative organised by the global initiative for asthma (GINA) in order to raise awareness and improve the treatment of asthma around the world.

It began in 1998, and has been held on the first Tuesday of May ever since. A condition which affects around 235 million people worldwide, and over five million in the UK, it seems only right that a day be dedicated to raising awareness of asthma and how to deal with it. The day has a specific theme each year, and this year the theme is: "You can control your asthma", and the sub theme "It's time to control asthma".

Through days such as today, it is hoped that by raising awareness, the number of people affected by asthma will decrease significantly, and the effects of the condition will be less. For those with asthma, it can be potentially fatal, and so learning how to deal better with the condition can clearly save lives- awareness and preparation are key!

Monday, 5 May 2014

May: National Barbecue Month

Apparently, May is National Barbecue month, and so what more of an excuse could you need to get out there and 'throw some shrimps on the barbie' (only for the saying's sake, I'd much rather stick to the typical sausages and burgers myself!) It does mean it's that time of year to clean the winter muck off the barbecue if you left it outside over the colder months (now who would do that?!) and find your tongs and apron.

Now's a good opportunity to have a look at some bbq recipes, and try something different for this year's parties and bbq gatherings. There are some really unusual things you can try on the bbq, how about some veggie skewers, try vegetables such as peppers, zucchini, corn, aubergines, courgette and onions to create a healthy, flavoursome snack or meat replacement for the vegetarian option. For a spicy, meat-skewer option, why not try some jerk pork skewers; pork, pineapple and jerk seasoning to create a spicy Caribbean taste. Of course you have the classic burgers and sausages, and if you're looking to do something different with them why not try lamb burgers instead of beef, or make your own beef burgers with added seasoning and/or spices. Bbq season has only just begun, we're thinking we can get a fair few in over the next month! Hopefully the weather will cooperate with these plans!

For a few bbq recipes, have a look on Jamie Oliver's website, or on the BBC good food site, you'll find a few ideas to get your national bbq month off to a flying start!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

What to do this bank holiday Monday in Milton Keynes...

Bank holiday weekends always tend to fill themselves up with family and friends visiting, jobs to be done and of course a bit of an extra long snooze, but if you're still looking for something to do with your bank holiday Monday, we've got a few ideas for you...

Hollington Wood are holding their annual Bluebell day, where the woods are open for free for visitors to explore as they wish, as well as see the pigs and piglets, enjoy a guided tour of the woods and, as the name suggests, see the carpet of bluebells on display. The woods are open from 10am-6pm, and  refreshments will be available, including their very own sausages cooked on fire bowls. A great day out and lots to see, make the most of this open day to enjoy these local woods which aren't usually open to the public.

Woolaston Courtyard is holding a wedding fayre and fashion show for all prospective brides, grooms and their families. 11am-4pm, as well as clothing will be photography, locations, entertainment services and more. Head that way if you've got a wedding to plan!

The MK marathon and half marathon are taking place across the city on Monday as well. While you'll be too late to sign up, if you're not already running, you might want to watch from a point, or otherwise avoid the areas where it will be taking place as the roads will be closed for the duration.

Then of course you've got all the usual events in Milton Keynes to keep you busy, there's the regular charity quiz night at the slug and lettuce in the theatre district, and the comedy open mic night at Robinsons wine bar in Newport Pagnell.

Whatever you do this bank holiday weekend, we hope you have a great time!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Phonebox Walk

Hooray for another bank holiday weekend! It seems only yesterday we were off for Easter, not that we're complaining, and now it's already the first May bank holiday. We've got our fingers crossed for some nice weather this weekend, and if we get lucky with that, why not give our Phonebox walk a try? You can follow the link to the interactive magazine here, or have a flick through your hard copy if you've got one (which might be easier so you can take it out with you and not get lost!)
This month we've got a nice 5 mile walk for you, which should take around 2 hours and takes you through countryside and along the canal and riverside to Cosgrove. We hope this walk inspires you to try others of your own, and to explore and make the most of the lovely places surrounding Milton Keynes where you can walk and enjoy picturesque scenery. Keep your eyes peeled for next month's Phonebox walk, or if you can't wait until then, why not flick back to a few of the old copies and try a few of those walks?! Enjoy!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Is MK getting greener?

In the April issue of the Phonebox magazine, we told you about a company introducing electric charging points at their offices in a bid to try and be more 'green' and environmentally friendly. The issue of protecting the environment has always been a huge one, and today it seems there are more options and ways than ever before, for individuals to be able to make a small difference. Electric cars are a fairly new thing but seem to be becoming more and more popular, with the hybrid option also particularly popular. Cities especially seem to be stepping up their green transportation ideas...

Milton Keynes is one of the leaders in this, with a fleet of electric buses zipping around the city. Milton Keynes is the first place in the UK to be proudly running the first all-electric bus route, still in it's early days, the buses are set to be reviewed to see how their usage and efficiency compare to the previous diesel vehicles, our guess is that they can surely only be better than before, but we shall see! The electric transport is definitely quieter, which on the whole is a positive, but as with everything, there have been complaints. A fair point is that they may be slightly more dangerous for pedestrians, who may not be able to hear the vehicle coming. Maybe there needs to be more emphasis on making people aware that new cars and buses might be quieter, and reminding them that they need to look as well as listen when crossing roads etc. While these types of transport are still in the minority, and are a relatively new concept, the fact remains the same that every little does help and so they are just steps in the right direction. Obviously the best for the environment would be if everyone walked or cycled, but that's not going to be viable for the majority we don't think!

What do you think about the new electric transportation?

Thursday, 1 May 2014

May Day

Today is May day, and while nothing much happens for it nowadays, there are a number of ways it was celebrated traditionally. The traditions include dancing the maypole dance, and crowning the Queen of May, although why this dancing began is somewhat unclear, its origins are thought to have been from Germanic pagan times. Morris dancing is another May day tradition, where dancers dress up in full Morris dancing gear, but the day is traditionally associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility, and celebrating this with feasts, village fetes and family gatherings. The May day bank holiday is on the following Monday after May day, and gives us another day off- bonus!

If you fancy connecting a bit with May day this year, then this Saturday there's a free family fun day at Campbell Park in Milton Keynes, from 12-5pm. There will be a maypole to dance around, children's entertainment, Morris dancers, stalls and fair rides.