Friday, 31 October 2014

A Night of Hope

Tonight is Halloween, and while you may have been ready to carve your pumpkins with scary faces and getting ready for some 'safe scares', World Vision are using Halloween to highlight the reality of life for children in Syria, for whom a 'scary' night happens every night.

This Halloween, World Vision are asking that you carve a heart into your pumpkin instead of a scary face, to show the children of Syria that they have not been forgotten and turn a night of fear into a Night of Hope. As well as standing up for a cause, which you can also donate to via text, the heart pumpkins look really nice and add a different twist to the tradition of pumpkin carving!

Never carved a pumpkin before? It's actually pretty simple...

  1. Just cut around the stalk by cutting around the stem in about a 5cm radius to create a bit of a lid. 
  2. Then scoop out the filling, using a spoon, and get it as clean as you can so that more light will shine through. 
  3. Draw on and cut out your shape, a heart if you're trying out this idea, using a small knife and cutting away from yourself incase the knife slips. 
  4. Finally, pop a tea light inside the pumpkin to see the shape glow out, and position it in your window for all to see.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Fireworks- What's on nearby this November?

There are plenty of events to choose from in and around Milton Keynes this November, don't miss out on some fireworks and bonfires!

Turvey Village Firework Display, Saturday 1st November @ Turvey Village, free parking off Carlton Road. Tickets cost £3.50 for adults and £1.50 for children. Food and refreshments available and will include a BBQ. Gates open at 5.30pm, the bonfire will be lit at 6pm and the firework display will start at 6.30pm.

Fireworks Frenzy, Saturday 1st November @ Santa Pod Raceway, Wellingborough, Northants.
Fireworks Frenzy is a great day out for all the family. open from 4-7pm, it's a spectacular afternoon and evening of fireworks, live action including 'Podzilla' the monster truck and a great stunt display, a hinge bonfire, fun fair, refreshments and bar, as well as family entertainment. See the website for more details.

Thornborough Bonfire night with torchlit procession, Saturday 1st November @ Thornborough Village.
Everyone is invited to join in the traditional village Torchlit procession which starts at 6.30pm from the Two Brewers, High Street, Thornborough. the procession leads directly up the Nash Road to the venue on the outskirts of the village. Tickets are available from the Two Brewers and outside on the night from 6pm. Parking is available along the High Street and Village Green. Gates for the bonfire and Fireworks open at 7pm.

Spectacular Fun Fair and Fireworks display @ Campbell Park, Milton Keynes
The Fun fair is in town from 30th October- 9th November, and the firework display will be on Sunday 2nd November, at approximately 7.30pm. A great night of fun fair and fireworks!

Olney Town Fireworks, Sunday 2nd November @ The Recreation Ground, off East Street, Olney.
This fantastic fireworks event has added a live one-man fire show, featuring fire eating, music and comedy, ending with a spectacular finale. Gates open at 5pm and the display starts at 6.30pm. Refreshments will be available, including burgers, a licenced bar, hot chocolate, stone baked pizza and real coffee. There will also be activities for the kids, including face painting and a small fair. Tickets are £5 on the gate or £4 if bought in advance, and family tickets are £11 on the gate or £9 if bought in advance.Tickets can be purchased from the Phonebox magazine, Olney Library, C.T Wilson, McColls Newsagents and Stephen Oakley Estate Agents.

Bozeat Annual Fireworks display, Wednesday 5th November @ Bozeat Playing Fields on Harrold Road by Dychurch Lane.
Gates open at 6pm and the display begins at 7.30pm to end no alter than 8pm. Admission charges are £5 per adult and £2 per child.

Ampthill Fireworks, Friday 7th November @ Ampthill Park, Woburn Road, Bedfordshire.
Ampthill Fireworks is an annual community fireworks display, featuring a pre-show of live acts, fairground and various food outlets. The event has something for all the family, with no alcohol or sparklers allowed within the park. Gates open at 6pm, pre-show at 6.45pm, lighting of the Ampthill Beacon at 7.30pm and fireworks at 8pm. Tickets are £6 in advance for adults, £7 on the gate and £3 in advance for children, £4 on the gate. Car parking is £2.

Join Tickford Abbey on Thursday 6th November at 6.00 pm. 
Hot food and drinks to enjoy while watching a spectacular display.  Fireworks will be at 6.30 pm.Address: Tickford Abbey, Priory Street, Newport Pagnell, MK16 9AJ.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Proposed Wind Farm Cancelled

A wind farm which had been proposed to be built near Milton Keynes has now been dropped- after the company behind the scheme 'ceased interest' in it. RWE technology have decided not to develop the proposed Nun Wood Wind Farm near Lavendon and Bozeat across the local authority areas of Milton Keynes, Bedford and Wellingborough. 
Robin Basten, RWE Innogy UK’s regional development manager, said: “It’s with great disappointment we have decided to cease our interest in the Nun Wood Wind Farm development.
“We believe it is a good site for a wind farm and could have made a significant investment to the local area in addition to helping to tackle climate change. 
"As a company we remain committed to developing onshore wind, which is an abundant energy source and plays an important role in helping to secure the UK’s energy supply.”

Those of you against the wind farm will be pleased to hear this news, while the eco-conscious among you may not be so pleased. The reasons for the loss of interest in this scheme is somewhat unclear, maybe we should watch this space to see whether there will be any interest from elsewhere.

What do you think about wind farms? Do you think this is good or bad news? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Spooky Railway Walk this Halloween...

Milton Keynes theatre of Comedy actors and Olney drama club, are teaming up to provide a spooky evening of entertainment this Halloween (31st october). Come along to Clifton Reynes, Olney, and walk the disused railway track. It's like no other spooky walk, and you will be led along the railway by your guide as you are surprised by zombies, pirates, witches and other spooky characters.

The walk is designed to be scary in the same way that a pantomime villain can be scary, and your guide will send off any unwanted spooky guests for you, so it's suitable for all the family.

Wrap up warm and bring wellies and waterproofs, each walk will last approximately 30 minutes and it may be chilly and wet, a torch may also be useful. You are welcome to come in fancy dress if you would like, from ghosts and ghouls to superheroes and fairies!

Tickets MUST BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE, and you need to select your chosen time slot when you book. Tickets cost £4 each, or £13 for a family ticket, and children's tickets include a glow stick and quiz sheet. You can book your tickets on the MKTOC website by clicking here.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Hope MK is back- Young People Making a Difference in Milton Keynes

Last year you may have read about an initiative called Hope MK in the Phonebox magazine. Well it's that time of year again, and during the half-term break starting tomorrow (27th-31st Oct) more than 130 young people aged 11-17 will be out across Milton Keynes, challenging the negative stereotypes which are usually associated with them. By giving up their school holiday to run a variety of community building & social action projects, they will demonstrate that young people are not lazy, apathetic & good for nothing.

Through an initiative called Hope MK, a small army of 130+ young people will spend their mornings with the Hope MK team being trained & equipped, before heading out to projects taking place in communities across Milton Keynes each afternoon. Projects include children’s work, drop-in cafes, a social media project, Messy Church, community clean-up/gardening, & play sessions. All the activities are free, and everyone is welcome to join in. 

The team will be dressed in purple & yellow hoodies to make sure they stand out, but also to challenge the widely held misconception that wearing a hoodie means you’re a threat or a nuisance. At last year’s event over 100 young invested a total of 5400 hours in communities across the city; this year we anticipate that will increase to 6500 hours!

‘Seeing so many young people committing to give up their half-term break to invest their time & energy to bless communities across MK is amazing. We hear so much about young people leaving the Church, so it’s great to know that these guys are leaving for the right reason: in order to go and serve others & share the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.’ Ricky Rew – Hope MK Team 

The initiative ends with an event for Year 7-13s from 7:30pm on Friday 31st at St. Paul’s School to celebrate all that’s been achieved through the week, and will feature a variety of activities including sumo suits, inflatable demolition derby & gladiator podiums, and human foosball. 

Twenty churches, six local & four national organisations have been working together for a year to plan & prepare for the event. Look out for the teams of purple & yellow hoodies around MK during half term!

Hope MK is a partnership of churches and organisations across Milton Keynes. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Half Term Activities in MK

MYIMA @ Hollington Woods Wednesday 29th October- Over Half term, MYIMA will be offering family earthy explorer sessions. Story Express will be from 10.30m-1pm for children under 6 years, and Earthy Explorers: Nature Detectives will be from 2-4.30pm for children over 6 years. The sessions will be packed with uniquely interactive and creative activities to promote ecological awareness with a sprinkling of Halloween for flavour! Booking is essential as spaces are limited. The sessions cost £4.50 for 1 child, £8 for 2 children or £11 for 3. Email Jessica Flowers on to book.

Milton Keynes Museum- Half term activities all week from 11am-4.30pm, Monday-Friday. MK museum is open all half term for family frights and spooky goings on. Seasonal children's activities will be on offer, and you can meet Professor Beamish and his diabolical devices!

Bletchley Park Presents- Family Fun Wednesdays (29th October)- There will be activities for the whole family, including a range of craft and spy workshops for all ages, children's guided tours,  trails, quizzes and handling competitions. Have fun while learning about the home of the Codebreakers!

There are also a number of Halloween activities this half term, including some spooky walks at Howe Park Wood and the Spooky Railway Walk at Clifton Reynes in Olney, to name but a few!

These are just a handful of activities going on, there are a lot more available in your local area!

Don't forget the clocks go back tonight so you get an extra hour in bed tomorrow morning!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Dirty Dancing in Milton Keynes

Dirty Dancing is currently at MK Theatre until the 5th November, and following our interview with Roseanne Frascona in the October edition of the Phonebox magazine, we were excited to see the show for ourselves.

For both the fans of Dirty Dancing and those less acquainted with the film, this show is one which gets feet tapping and engages all, with the excellently choreographed moves and gripping storyline, it definitely feels as if the film has been brought to life.

It is hard to believe that Roseanne, who plays Baby in the show, came from an acting background with little dancing experience, as her dance moves are flawless, as are the rest of the cast's. Her resemblance to Baby from the film is uncanny, making you feel like you're really involved in the film.

The on stage connection between Baby and Johnny was electric as we watched, and feeling rather caught up in the moment, it was over before we knew it, all too soon.

The show had the classic tunes, including time of my life, as well as those famous lines of 'I carried a watermelon' and 'nobody puts baby in the corner' which Dirty Dancing has become so famous for. All in all it was a great night, and we can't recommend it highly enough! Dirty Dancing will be in Milton Keynes for another two weeks yet, so do get along there if you can.

Apocalypse Now North Bucks!

It's that time of year again, where the nights are drawing in and the smell of bonfires fill the air, so don't miss out on a great local event and enjoy the autumn evening. This Saturday 25th October, come along to Hollington Wood Bonfire Party from 5pm. Celebrating fire, the magic of autumn and an extra hour in bed, this year is set to be just as good as the last, with something for all the family to enjoy.

There will be a shuttle bus running from Prospect Place, Newport Road, Emberton MK46 5JQ between 5 and 6pm, and parking spaces are very limited and as such will be charged at £10 per car, and spaces must be booked in advance (email to book). Return shuttle will be between 8 and 9pm.

Not one for the faint hearted, but for the reckless and brave with fireworks lighting up the trees, it's an unforgettable experience! In order to cover costs, a donation of £10 per adult and £5 per child will be expected, £25 for families. Refreshments including mulled wine, home-made soup and home-grown sausages will be available.

Hollington wood is a great local wood and hosts some great events, don't miss out on the bonfire party this Saturday evening.

Some photos from last year's event

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Milton Keynes Monopoly Board will be revealed tomorrow!

The exciting new Milton Keynes monopoly board is to be released tomorrow, and the secret of which places are being used on the board will finally be revealed. There has been a fair bit of speculation as to which places will feature on the board, particularly what will end up taking the place of Mayfair and Park Lane on the original London monopoly board. Suggestions have included Woburn, Woughton on the Green and Loughton as some of the top places, but the answers are being kept under wraps until tomorrow, where the board will be revealed at 9.30am at into MK, outside Hollister. We're waiting to see whether Olney will feature on the board! The big reveal is set to be done in 'spectacular style', and a giant board will be unveiled in the city for all to see.

Keep your eyes and ears open tomorrow to find out what has been included on the board, and don't forget you can also buy a copy of the game tomorrow, at an RRP of £24.99, at a variety of stores including WH Smiths, John Lewis, The Works, Waterstones, Waitrose and Toys R Us, and from a variety of online suppliers including Amazon. 

Black History Month 2014 at the Cowper and Newton Museum

The Cowper and Newton Museum are running an exhibition throughout October on Black history, as part of Black History Month 2014.

The museum will be looking at a variety of things, place and people over the month, including John Newton, William Cowper, Northants Black history and the slave trade, with a number of historical items to handle. There will also be a focus on Africa today, including the Olney-Newton link and looking at Advantage Africa.

Black History month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987, and is an annual observance in order to remember important people and events in the history of African diaspora, the communities throughout the world which descended from the historic movement of peoples from Africa.

If you haven't yet visited the exhibition you still have a few more days to see it. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10.30am-4.30pm. Visit the Cowper and Newton museum website for more information.

Have a look at the official website for Black History month here.

Church of England apologise over Waddington abuse scandal

Eli Ward
Last year in the Phonebox magazine we featured a letter from an anonymous source, soon after named as Eli Ward, who walked into our office to tell us his horrific and heart-breaking story, 'Paradox of Abuse.' A member of the Manchester Cathedral choir, 11 year-old Eli was groomed and further abused by Robert Waddington, who was Dean at at the time. Eli's article was a brave step, and after first being published here at the Phonebox magazine, the Times also picked up on the story, and soon light was shed on a link with abuse in Australia. Eli decided to waive his right to anonymity in the hope that it would encourage others to come forward, and help those who had been in similar situations of abuse.

The First time Eli's story was told

The recent inquiry into the Church of England's response to child abuse allegations made against Robert Waddington, has come to a conclusion, and yesterday saw a formal apology from the Archbishop of York. It found that there had been severe failures within the Church of England which had not dealt with the situation when it arose and had consequently put other children at risk. The Archbishop of York offered his personal and profound apologies to the victims of Robert Waddington, and is now pushing for Priests to be able to report matters of abuse which are made during formal confessions, as current rules mean they are bound to secrecy.

Over 30 years after this abuse was sustained and 7 years after Waddington's death, this apology is arguably too little too late. Lord Hope has been accused of compromising police investigations after it arose that abuse had also been suffered by more victims of Robert Waddington, both in the UK and in Australia, and despite some allegations being made against him, nothing was done.

Interviewed on the news last night, Eli Ward declared: 'I want no other child, person, to go through what I have gone through. I have been through the full range of emotions- that's terrible, disgraceful. I should have been enjoying life... my abuse has stopped me doing that.'

Having passed away in 2007, Robert Waddington has not been brought to justice as such, but the case has reached a conclusion and now the Church has apologised. While this in no way can undo the damage done to these victims, the hope is that it will force better systems to be put into place, with the judge recommending a number of steps be taken, including the need for a 'more consistent approach to safeguarding policy and practice' across the Church of England.

Read more:
Bishop of Manchester's official statement.
Manchester Evening News
BBC News

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

GinFizz- The secret Clubs in MK

Have you heard of GinFizz? Based in and around Milton Keynes, GinFizz hosts pop-up clubs for a great night out, held in secret locations, which are only revealed to ticket holders!

With a retro-vintage theme, there's fancy dress and themed entertainment, and while you won't know the location until you've signed up, you can be sure to enjoy a great evening of entertainment, food, drink and dancing.

The next event is to be held on Saturday the 25th October, 'The Jump Joint', and will be a night of rockabilly mayhem! Expect fire eating, rockabilly sounds from live band 'The Broadway twisters' and great dancing tunes form the guest DJ's.
Come dressed to impress along the vintage theme if you like (no pressure if not but it'll look great for the photos if you do!) rockabilly, swingers, hot dogs and cool cats, think vintage  and the possibilities are endless! There'll even be a pop-up beauty parlour on the night where you can get your hair and makeup done, vintage themed!

Don't forget to buy your tickets in advance, it's a seated event so buy your tickets together if you want to be seated with friends! There'll be scrumptious platters of food available to revive you through the dancing, and must be pre-ordered on booking your tickets.

For more information and to book tickets visit the website, it's a really unusual event and should be great fun!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Family Arts Festival

The National Family Arts Festival 2014 brings the arts alive for families from the 17th October- 2nd November.

There are over 2000 events going on across the UK for the festival, which is now in it's second year, covering art, music, film, circus, theatre, dance, literature and more.

Stantonbury Theatre will be offering two family-friendly events during half term as part of the festival.

Saturday 25th October presents 'Hey Presto', adapted from the well-loved children's book by Nadia Shireen. The story features Monty, a fuzzy brown dog, and his best friend Pesto the fuzzy blue cat, who live on the streets and have some very clever talents. They get involved when the travelling carnival comes to town and head to the big tent to put on a show. But fame goes to Monty's head and soon Pesto loses his friend and his show...will friendship prevail?! Suitable for children aged 3-8 years, 45 minutes long. Tickets cost £9.50, £7.50 for concessions or £30 for a family ticket. Start time 2.30pm.

Thursday 30th October sees Mr Magic come to town! Fresh from dazzling families at the open day in July is Mr Magic himself Adrian Ward, member of Magic Circle and just waiting to show what's up his sleeve. Come and join in the fun as Adrian takes you on a mind-boggling magical journey- prepare to be amazed! Suitable for ages 4+, 50 minutes long. Tickets cost £6.50, £5.50 for concessions or £20 for a family ticket. Start time 2.30pm.

For more information visit the Stantonbury theatre website.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

What have MK Dons brought to the city?

MK Dons (Milton Keynes Football Club) has been based at Stadium:mk in Milton Keynes since 2007, when it was opened by the Queen. The stadium cost around £50 million to build, money which has arguably been well-spent, but do you agree?

It is a great quality standard and hosts superior facilities, with a modern look and a lot of glass on view. The recent installation of seating in the previously unused upper tier has made more use of the space and fits even more people in, although whether this amount of seating is needed is debatable, as there has yet to be a sell-out match. With a capacity of 30,500 seated, and an average attendance of 8,612 it is often looking more empty than full. Being used for the rugby world cup next year may see the stadium a bit more full, but whether it will remain empty once that is out the way who knows.

The surrounding area of Milton Keynes has grown up around the stadium, and it would seem that the stadium has attracted other retail businesses to it. A new retail centre is currently being built nearby, with restaurants and an IMAX cinema, saving visitors to the stadium from having to travel too far for a meal before or after the match, possibly encouraging them to make a day of their visit rather than just watching the football. It looks like we could be seeing yet more uses for the stadium soon, with gigs rumoured to be coming to the arena soon in the future.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

You're fired!- The Apprentice is back

It's that time of year again, The Apprentice is back on our screens... do you watch it?! Whether you watch it for the business side of things, or simply for the comic value of watching them all run about like headless chickens, it can be quite an entertaining show. This week has seen an introductory double-whammy of the Apprentice, with 3 people fired in just 2 days. With more contestants comes the chance of double eliminations out of the blue, which is what was seen last night as Robert and Scott were both fired.

With added members to each team compared to previous years, one might think that the inventions would be better and the teams more organised. Far from it. The show last night depicted a group of mouthy and argumentative members, who seemed to be acting more like teenagers than business men and women. 

Maybe it's a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, and it did seem the case yesterday with the creations the team came up with. Having been given the brief of 'wearable technology', the boys came up with a jumper with a video camera on the front, which they advertised with the unfortunate words 'privacy is history' and which rather resembled a tacky Christmas jumper.
Similarly, the girls had a bit of a nightmare with their product too, a jacket which charged your phone, kept you warm with heat pads and had flashing lights on the front. A gimmicky product which was trying to be too many things to too many people and just didn't seem to make sense. For example, why would you be wearing a jacket if the sun was out? (the sun was the main source of power to charge the jacket through the solar panels) and why would you want flashing lights on a jacket, never mind the fact that they would need to be in the light to be charged?! More bizarre of all was the fact that they were pitching to a sports shop among others... they seem to have missed a trick here.
It seems that this week the team members were just too much for the project managers to control, and there was a definite conflict of opinions amongst some large personalities. However much we can laugh and shout at the television screen, it does make for good entertainment, even if it's just to see Lord Sugar's humorous remarks at the end of each challenge. It looks like it'll be an eventful series, and we're definitely interested to see what happens over the next couple of weeks!

World Food Day 2014

Today is World Food Day, something which was started on the 16th october 1981, and has continued to be remembered each year since then. The aim of the day is, in summary, to raise awareness of the problems surrounding food and hunger, and to encourage those involved in its production across the world.

2014 is the year of family farming, and so this is the theme which has been given to World Food Day this year, with the aim of raising the profile of family farming and smallholder farmers around the world.

World Food Day aims to raise awareness towards their cause to eradicate world hunger, to achieve a world with 'zero hunger'. Despite the numerous emergency situations around the world, the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners are making a real difference for children, families and communities around the world.

Eradicating world hunger seems like a huge task, and it is, but it is so true that every little helps, and where better to start eradicating hunger than on your doorstep. Why not donate a little bit of non-perishable food to the Milton Keynes food bank which distributes food to hundreds of needy people across the city, or you could even volunteer to help at one of these food banks. So far this year, the food bank has distributed over 10247 food parcels across Milton Keynes and continues to do so every day. Things such as these save lives, and help start the steps at home towards a world without hunger.

This Weekend in and around Milton Keynes

Tonight 16th Oct: 

The Pad presents: Chas and Dave & The Ouse Valley Singles Club @ Bedford Corn Exchange, ST Paul's Square, Bedford. 7.30pm
Following on from the release of their brand new album 'That's what happens' on Warner Brothers Records, which entered the top 20 in it's first week and saw the duo Headline at the Royal Variety Show 2013, Chas and Dave are now on their 'on the road' tour. Chas and Dave began writing music and performing together in 1972, and have now recorded their first original album in 27 years- a mixture of vintage rock and roll songs and new renditions of their own classics. Due to public demand, they are now to be seen performing together on the stage again. Support comes from The Ouse Valley Singles Club. For more information visit

Tomorrow 17th Oct:

Barn Dance and concert- Singing for all with Cut a Caper @ The Carlton Club in Olney. 7.30pm
The night is raising money for 'Family Futures' for their 'Families in Crisis Fund'. Tickets are available in Wilson's, 84 High Street Olney and from choir members. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children, to include a ploughman's supper. 

Gary Beckwith @ The Newport Pagnell Football Club. 8pm- late
Tickets cost £5.

Saturday 18th Oct:

Pink Party Disco for charity @ The Crown, Stoney Stratford. 7pm- midnight 
The pink party is being held to raise funds and awareness for the breast cancer unit at Milton Keynes hospital. Get your best pink party outfit on, you don't have to dress in pink but you'll have the chance of winning a prize for best dressed if you do. There'll be pink drinks, nibbles and cakes available to satisfy your thirst and hunger, as you dance the night away. Pink balloons and decorations will bring the room alive, and there will be various fundraising activities including a silent raffle. The evening is open to all over 18s, male and female, and entry is priced at £4 with all proceeds going straight to the cancer unit.     

Sunday 19th Oct:

Bletchley Park Presents Gary Ayton @ Bletchley Park. 
Gary Ayton is a Curator at the crime museum, which may not sound like much unless you know that it was once called the Black Museum... He has 30 years experience in the investigation of major crime and homicide and is a qualified trainer at the world-renowned Crime Academy. This event is now sold out but if you have managed to get tickets, it's set to be a great event.

Great Linford Apple Day @ Community Orchard, Loriner Place, Downs Barn, Milton Keynes. 12-3pm
Apple day is a chance to celebrate the apple and other traditional orchard fruits with apple pressing, bouncy castle, herb garden, games for the children and an apple product competition. Bring your apples to press into juice. A free event for all the family.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Who is Ada Lovelace?

Today is 'Ada Lovelace day', but who on earth is Ada? Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron, was born Augusta Ada Byron. Brought up by her mother, she was encouraged to study logic, science and mathematics, for fear that she would inherit her father's poetic temperament. She grew up being fascinated by mechanisms from an early age, and embraced the Industrial revolution, designing things such as steam flying machines.

In 1833 Ada worked alongside Charles Babbage, mathematician and inventor, on a device called the Analytical Engine, an early predecessor of the modern computer. Ada became better known in 1842, when she expanded an article by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea, and elaborated on the use of machines through the manipulation of symbols. She developed a vision for the capabilities of computers to go much further than simple calculating and number-crunching, which is what others in the field focussed on. Her programs were the most elaborate and complete to date, and first to be published, and as a result she became known as the first computer programmer, long before computers even existed and in a time where women weren't generally educated.

Nowadays, the day is used as an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It encourages other women to draw inspiration from those who have gone before them in the fields of STEM, both famous and not.

We'd like to know, what women do you look up to, famous or not, and how do they inspire you? Comment below, or on our Facebook page.

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Real Junk Food Project- Saving food by serving it up

You may not have heard of the ‘Real Junk Food Project’, but it is something helping save a lot of food from becoming waste in the UK. The project is an attempt to help bring about change in our food system. Run by a collaboration between activists and catering professionals, all volunteers, the project aims to stop food from being wasted. There are a number of cafes which have been set up by the project, and more are emerging regularly. The cafes use perfectly edible food intercepted from skips or stores as it is thrown away. As well as creating positive environmental impacts by not wasting so much food, the cafes operate on a ‘Pay as you feel’ (PAYF) system, creating clear social benefits as well. There is no price on the produce in store, and as well as allowing people to pay what they can afford, it helps people think about the way they use and waste food in general. For those who can’t afford to pay in money, people can also donate by offering their skills for a meal.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

One month today in Olney...

Olney Post Office is located inside McColl's newsagent in the market place, and has for many years offered a great service with typical opening times of 9.30am-5.30pm Monday- Friday, and 9am-12.30pm on Saturdays.

One month today, the Post Office will be re-opening following a 10-day refurbishment, which will improve the services offered to customers and also add an extra 59 hours a week of opening times. This is particularly good news if you're working 9-5 and need to post a parcel, as it looks like Olney Post office will be open until around 9pm every night, with increased hours over the weekend. The improved services will include bill payment, banking, benefits, travel money, home shopping returns and local collections. The refurbishment of the shop will feature a new open-plan layout, all aiming to help make life easier for Post Office customers, meaning you can use all of the Post Office services without having to go into the city.

This does mean that the Post Office will be shut from 5.30pm on 27th October until November 12th, but during this time, your nearest Post Office's are Lavendon and Newport Pagnell.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Brighter lights for the MK Redways

The walkways of Milton Keynes, also known as the redways, are something of a rarity for a city of its size. They give the public a safe way of getting around the city without having to come into contact with main roads, and has become something which Milton Keynes is pretty well-known for.

However, these routes are well-underused, and as a result, Milton Keynes council are taking steps to make them more appealing. In time, all redway lights are set to be replaced with energy-efficiant LED lights. On top of this, a further 500 lights are planned, which adds to the 600 that were added last year, and vegetation will be cut back to make the redways more accessible and visible, to help pedestrians and cyclists feel safer.

As well as safety, the lights are also a step towards energy-saving, with the new lights estimated to reduce carbon dioxide by up to 300 tonnes each year, which is the amount needed to power around 100 houses. This will eventually save about 3% on the council's overall energy bill. A seemingly small percentage, but a step in the right direction.

This is all part of the council's £50m highway investment programme, which includes resurfacing stretches of the gird roads, roundabouts and new and improved signage. The redways are a great way for cyclists and pedestrians to travel safely, and yet it is true that they are underused as there are all too often cyclists on the busy grid roads, causing hazards for both themselves and drivers. Hopefully the redways can become safer and better used with these planned improvements, keep an eye out for the new lights!

Friday, 10 October 2014

What's on this weekend

It's the weekend again (hooray!) and as always, there are plenty of events in and around the local area to keep you entertained. 


Turvey Bloomers Apple Pressing Day @ Turvey Village Hall from 11am-2pm. 
Come along for a great free event at Turvey Village hall, with fresh and bottled apple juice, cider, breakfasts, ploughman's lunches, cakes, honey, bread and pies, all locally produced. There'll also be plants (to buy, not to eat!) and there'll be musical entertainment to enjoy along with your food and drink.

The Ancient Order of Foresters- Annual Charity Brunch @ The Harrold United Reformed Church from 10am-noon.
This event is being organised by Gill and Brian Hillier on behalf of The Ancient Order of Foresters, in aid of Sense for deaf-blind people. Come along and enjoy an English breakfast or danish pastry and tea or coffee, all for a donation. Enjoy the wonderful, foot-tapping sounds of the Bedford Ukulele group as you eat or drink. There will also be a raffle, cake stall and the chance to get in there early and buy some Christmas cards and wrapping paper.

Local Choirs and the Hospice sing @ Newport Pagnell Parish Church at 7.30pm.
Join the Newport Pagnell singers and the Cranfield based Sounds Familiar Community Choir in celebrating the role of the Hospices in our local communities. The concert is organised by the choirs in association with the Friends of Willen Hospice. Tickets cost £8.

Bark in the park @ Ouzel Valley Park at 10am.
The monthly dog-walking social is back, at just £1 per dog, come along and meet other dog walkers and enjoy a new dog-walking route. Walks typically last between 1-1.5 hours and involve on and off lead walking. Meet in the car park on Simpson Drive, off H9 Groveway. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

And so it ends... the Great British Bake off is off the screens

The Great British Bake off has come to an end, and while some of you may be weeping, others are rejoicing, both at the results and at the fact that it is over for another year. If you have yet to watch the final and are trying to avoid knowing who won, read no further!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Tuesday Societies and Clubs!

Tuesday night seems to be the night for societies, there's a lot on tomorrow for you to have a look at!

Emberton and District Flower Club @ The Olney Centre, 7.30pm:
'Seasonal Twists'- Demonstration by Jane Belcher. The club meets on the first Tuesday of every month and all are welcome to join.

Bedford Floral Art Society @ The Addison Centre, Kempston at 7.30pm:
Open Evening with Barry Grey, NAFAS National Demonstrator, presenting: 'To tread a quiet pathway'. Raffle of arrangements and refreshments. Tickets cost £12, £10 for members. Everyone welcome, meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every month.

Newport Pagnell Historical Society @ The United Reformed Church, Newport Pagnell, 7.30pm:
'A day in the life of Time Team' presented by Paul Blinkhorn. Admission is £3, £1 for members. There will be light refreshments and a raffle.

Olney Jazz Club @ The Carlton Club, 8pm:
The Ben Holder Quartet. A graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire, Ben Holder is recognised as one of the top jazz violinists in the country and, at 25, is one of the youngest to lead a band at OJC. A bargain at £10. Sponsored by the Phonebox Magazine. Food will be available.

Olney Archaeological Society @ The Olney Centre, main hall, 10am-12 noon:
'Servant of two masters: Priest in church and secular employment' a talk by Revd. Richard Coles, Radio and TV personality. Host of 'Saturday Live' Radio 4, TV appearances and more. All welcome, £3 for visitors, membership is £20 for 19 lectures.

....and that's just a selection!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

British Food Fortnight ends today!

Have you been aware that today is the last day of  British Food Fortnight?! Well, it began on the 20th September and ends today, but what it is all about?

British Food Fortnight happens every year and is the opportunity to celebrate some of the best food and drink in the world, which Britain produces. On top of that, the fortnight is also home to the 'Bring home the harvest' campaign, which aims to bring back the celebration of harvest and British foods across the nation.

If you've been aware of the fortnight then maybe you've been getting involved like many others across Britain. From making sure you buy local produce, to growing your own, to getting involved in a local harvest festival, there have been a variety of ways to get involved.

British Food Fortnight was started in 2002 with a group of 10 vicars who wanted to organise activities in communities across Britain for the national food promotion. It provides a good opportunity for individuals and those working in retail and catering to pay attention to where their food comes from, and to take steps in making their produce more locally sourced. More and more pubs and restaurants can be seen to proudly advertise their British produce, and the positive reaction this tends to have has in itself become a selling point.

Many retailers, large and small alike, have held special events over the fortnight to celebrate British food, and even schools and hospitals in some areas have had a special seasonal British menu to celebrate.

If you've missed the British Food Fortnight, don't panic, the aim is mainly to raise awareness of British produce, so why not see if you can buy all British grown products the next time you're in the supermarket to show your support, or buy from a local greengrocer, butcher, baker etc. You might be surprised at how much British produce you already buy. With food produce quality as high as it is in Britain, it's well worth it, and will taste great too!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Saturday events in and around MK

Autumn may be officially here, but that doesn't mean that the events have stopped in the local area, far from it, there's another great selection of things to do this Saturday in and around Milton Keynes... 

Yardley Hastings Memorial Hall is holding a charity auction event, a 50/50 auction with goods accepted between 8.30am-1pm and viewing from 1-2pm. The auction itself starts at 2pm. Proceeds go to the village funds.

There's a Macmillan coffee morning being held at the Village Hall in Vicarage Lane, Denton from 10am-12 noon. Come and enjoy coffee, cakes and chat while raising money for a great cause. 

The Bedford Ukelele group are hosting a fun evening which will include a dinner of lasagne. Held at Lavendon Village Hall. 7pm for a 7.30pm start, tickets cost £15 for adults and £10 for children under 14. A great night of entertainment and food for all the family. 


The MK Wedding show will be in Middleton hall in the centre:mk all weekend. A free event, there will be catwalks as well as numerous stalls showcasing everything you might need to help plan your big day. There will also be the first ever auction of wedding services, tonight at 6pm. If you're getting married soon and want some ideas and deals then don't miss out on this event!

As we mentioned on Thursday, Oktoberfest at the White Hart in Sherington is on this weekend, with a great selection of German foods and drinks, and music to enjoy with family and friends- don't forget your fancy dress! 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Oktoberfest- kicking off tomorrow night in Sherington

The White Hart in Sherington is hosting the traditional German beer festival, Oktoberfest, all this weekend. There's a great selection of food and drink on offer over the weekend; German beers, including fruit beers (something different to try!), ciders and German foods, including sausages and pretzels.
The event begins tomorrow night from 5pm, with food on offer up until 10pm and the bar open till midnight. 8.30pm sees music from London based singer Billy Keane Music until late. You're encouraged to come dressed in German traditional themed fancy dress, and there will be a prize for the best dressed male and female so get down to the closest fancy dress shop! (see the image below for some inspiration!)
Saturday kicks off at midday, and there will again be all the great food and drink on offer. The evening will feature a classic disco with DJ from 7.30-11pm, so don't forget your dancing shoes!

Sunday is the finale, with a family fun day from midday featuring more live music from 2pm, candy floss, popcorn, face painting, more German beer and more German sausages! There'll also be a bouncy castle for the kids and, wait for it, a bouncy castle for the adults too! Food is served until 5pm and the bar will close at 7pm.
It's set to be a great weekend, don't miss out!

Name your car day- Have you?!

It's an official, national day, so we thought we'd better mention 'name your car day.' So, the question needs to be asked- have you named your car? Some people like to give their car a personality, and I suppose spending a lot of time alone together, you might want to imagine that your travelling companion has a bit of a personality. But how do you come up with a name for a car?!

Some may use the colour of the car for inspiration? Ie. Blue Bruce, Silver Sheryl, Black Bill, or maybe the type of car: Clive the Corsa, Carol the Clio, Mike the Micra? Or imagine the car to be a pet and give it a pet-themed name?... inspiration may be running low, we'd like to hear if you've named your car, and if so what is it called? We're wondering if more cars have boys or girls names?! If you haven't already, maybe today is the opportunity to give your car a name, or maybe you think it's a bit of a crazy concept, we're on the fence! Don't forget to comment on our Facebook page!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

International Older Peoples Day

From sharing stories of the past to providing endless biscuits and tea, those of the older generation in our lives give us a lot to be grateful for. The knowledge of the past and learning about our ancestors history is important in giving us a rounded view, and hearing stories of having to go through times of war and hardship gives us something to be thankful for living in the UK in this current day and age. All too often, however, the older generation is forgotten and are not appreciated as much as they should be.
International Older Peoples Day is on the 1st October each year and was started in 1990 by the UN in order to help raise awareness of issues facing the older members of society and recognise the positive contributions they make within their communities. People are living longer nowadays, and the estimation is that by 2035 over 23% of the UK will be aged 65 or older. This is a huge proportion of our society, and it is obviously important to make sure each member feels valued and welcome.

You can celebrate this day in a variety of ways, from simply sending time with an older family member or friend, or attend one of the local ceremonies where the day will be celebrated. If you want to join in the slightly wider movement, get involved by posting a selfie with an older person. One of the aims of the day this year is to value and recognise the contributions that older people make to our society, while attempting to change the current dated image of ageing. Older people are often portrayed as frail, and while some may feel frail on the outside, they rarely do on the inside, and so this is a stereotype that needs to be shaken.
The challenge this 1st of October is to show positive images of ageing and celebrate the contributions of older people in society. So get involved, and encourage your grandparents to get involved too, by posting a selfie (you might need to explain what that is!) with someone older than you and using the hashtag: #olderpeoplesday.

Let's make the negative image of ageing a more positive one!