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The Times Weekend - 7 April 2018

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Saturday April 7 2018
Yes, crash diets really can work
Plus Would you try the new mega-filler facelift?
Starts on
page 25
30 adventures
in America
A road trip
through California
Stay on a luxury
ranch in Wyoming
Mistakes? I?ve made a few . . .
Our food, fashion, fitness and sex
experts reveal where we all go wrong
rafting in Idaho
the times Saturday April 7 2018
2 Weekend
You?re doing it wrong! The 60
Do you add olive oil to your pasta water? Avoid
wearing navy with black? Shout at your dog when
he behaves badly? Do sit-ups to get abs? We called
in the Times experts . . . Here?s what to do instead
Peta Bee, 50 this year
In the bedroom
By sex columnist Suzi Godson
The missionary position
is best for achieving
simultaneous orgasm
Everyone thinks that the missionary
position is the most reliable route to
a simultaneous orgasm. In reality,
that only happens in the movies. In
the real world, simultaneous orgasm
requires such a complex combination
of clitoral stimulation and ejaculatory
control, timing and luck that it eludes
most couples. The main problem is
that the majority of women (75 per cent)
cannot achieve orgasm simply
through penetration, so although the
missionary position is intimate and
pleasurable, it tends not to provide
enough clitoral stimulation to make
women climax.
Libido disappears with
No, it doesn?t. This myth was so
embedded that sex research used to
have an upper age limit of 45. Once
researchers started including older
people in studies they realised that this
myth was unfounded. The most recent
National Survey of Sexual Attitudes
and Lifestyles (Natsal) study included
those up to the age of 74 and found
that people continue to have sex into
later life. It is true that we do have less
sex as we get older, but this is more
likely to be explained by relationship
difficulties, bereavement or health
and mobility issues rather than loss
of libido.
Spontaneous sex
is better
Impromptu sex is a nice idea,
but it is simply not a reality. Of
course, if none of us worked, or
had families or responsibilities
we would all be having lots more
of it. As it is, in the majority
of long-term relationships,
spontaneity is often not an
option. If a committed couple
decided to limit sex only to the
moments when both partners
were suddenly simultaneously
overcome by desire, they
would never have sex. Some
people feel that having a
set, agreed time for sex
removes excitement.
However, having a schedule ensures
that a couple?s sex life remains healthy
by diligently preserving their intimate
relationship. Couples should aim to
have sex about once a week, and if
Saturday morning is the only window,
Saturday morning it is.
Rather than
relaxing into
gentle exercise
as you get
older, up
the ante
Condoms take away
the feeling and
pleasure of sex
This is untrue and particularly
dangerous, because barrier methods
such as condoms are the only
way to protect against sexually
transmitted infections. In 2013 a large
study in the US that included 1,800 men
and 2,500 women, published in The
JJournal of Sexual Medicine, tested
tthis myth and found that men did
not struggle to maintain erection
when putting on condoms, and
men and women consistently
rated sex with a condom as
being just as pleasurable as sex
without a condom.
Sex affects athletic
Apparently Muhammad Ali wouldn?t
have sex for six weeks before a bout
because he thought it would make
him weaker and less focused if he
did. Science now suggests the
opposite is true. The endocrinologist
Emmanuele Jannini from the
University of L?Aquila in Italy has
that having sex stimulates the
production of testosterone, and this
can potentially improve athletic
performance. Sex and orgasm also aid
sleep, which can be really helpful the
night before a big competition.
Sex is never as good
after children
Everyone likes to say that sex is never
as good after you?ve had children, but
this is a myth. Childbirth can take its
toll on the female body and women
who have had episiotomies or prolapse
or a caesarean may take longer to
recover, but most couples find that
intimacy is intensified rather than
decreased. Experience, familiarity
and connectedness tend to help rather
than hinder sexual satisfaction.
Getting fit over 50
By fitness expert Peta Bee
Don?t start running
in your fifties: it?s
bad for your knees
I?ve interviewed many experts and read
dozens of studies, and the consensus is
that this is not true. A study in the
European Journal of Applied Physiology
last year was one of the latest to suggest
that running is not harmful to the knees
and may help to keep them healthy by
changing the biochemical status inside
the joint in ways that help it to work
smoothly. Much more important than
age is susceptibility to injury, determined
largely by genes, running style and any
old injuries. Those caused by the
jumping and twisting of skiing and
football, for example, can lead to joint
wear and tear in later life.
Yoga is the best way
for older people to
improve flexibility
A University of Ontario study showed
the average drop in flexibility of hip and
shoulder joints to be about six degrees
a decade from the fifties. Stretching is
vital, but yoga is not necessarily the best
route to improved flexibility and range
of movement. It will improve suppleness,
but it is not so effective when it comes
to the vital task of releasing fascia, the
dense, fibrous connective tissue around
the body that encompasses all muscles
and bones. In small amounts, fascia
is protective, but when it builds up
through bad habits, heavy workouts
and injury it becomes restrictive,
limiting our ability to move freely. An
assisted-stretching class, of which there
are many in gyms, is more effective.
Lifting weights will
harm a bad back
It may seem counterintuitive to
suggest that repeatedly bending to
lift something heavy will help. Yet our
backs are structurally very strong, and
strengthening the muscles around the
spine with resistance work is more
helpful than harmful for most of us.
Good technique is important ? but a
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Weekend 3
mistakes we all make
In the kitchen
By Times food editor Tony Turnbull
Add olive oil
to pasta water
The only thing an Italian adds to pasta
water is salt, about two teaspoons for
every litre of water. The best way to stop
spaghetti from sticking is to use a large
pan with a litre of water for every 100g
of pasta and to give it a good stir once it
has gone in. The other thing most get
wrong is to drain the pasta in a colander.
Much better to use tongs to transfer the
pasta (and a bit of its starchy water) to
the pan you are heating your sauce in.
Roast a chicken for
an hour and a half
Don?t follow supermarket instructions
? it honestly doesn?t take that long.
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5, put in
the bird, at room temperature, with its
legs to the rear (where the oven is
hotter). Anything under 1.5kg will be
ready in an hour. (Insert a knife into the
thickest part of the thigh to check the
juices run clear to test.) Rest the bird for
10 minutes before serving.
French baker Richard Bertinet showed
me that less is more. He holds the chilled
butter and flour and uses his thumbs to
flake the butter into pieces, almost as if
dealing cards. The most important thing
is knowing when to stop, which is when
the butter is in pieces about the size of
your small fingernail.
Use two cups of water
for every cup of rice
No ? it?s too much water. Soak your
rice in water for 30 minutes (this will
stop it from clumping together). Drain.
For every cup of rice add a cup and a
third of water. Season with salt and bring
to the boil. As soon as it boils turn the
heat to its lowest setting and cover with
a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 20 minutes
and fluff up with a fork before serving.
study by researchers at the University
of Alberta in Canada found that using
weights to relieve lower-back problems
caused less pain than other exercise.
Gentle exercise is
better as you get older
It used to be assumed that we would
relax into our later years with gentle
activities. But scientific research over
the past ten years has proven that, if
you want to stay in shape and avoid
the signs of ageing we once took for
granted ? withering muscles, postural
stooping and a sharp fall in strength and
power ? that is far from the case.
Rather than take it easy, you should up
the ante (but not necessarily the
duration) of your workouts, trying
short bursts of intense activity, or HIIT,
lifting weights and running, cycling or
power walking.
You?ll never be as fit
as in your twenties
Science and celebrities ? look at
Sharon Stone (60), Sandra Bullock (53),
Brad Pitt (54) and George Clooney (56)
? have proven that it?s possible to
maintain fitness, and in some cases
improve it, as we get older. However,
there?s no denying that it takes effort.
And, since our bodies change as we get
older, we do need to switch the focus
of our workouts accordingly. Our
natural aerobic fitness starts to drop
and, as muscle mass declines from
the mid-thirties onwards, power and
strength begin to dwindle, unless they
are addressed with a targeted workout
programme. That should include
weights and resistance training,
stretching and flexibility, and some
short-duration running or cycling.
Crunching your exercise into some
HIIT sessions is also important.
Short bursts of high-intensity activity
? such as 30-second sprints on a bike
? have been shown to reverse signs of
ageing at a cellular level.
There is no reason why you
shouldn?t set the same fitness goals
as you did for yourself at 20, including
running a marathon or doing a
triathlon for the first time. German
researchers at the Institute of Physiology
and Anatomy in Cologne recently
reported that age-related losses in
fitness and speed occur at a more gentle
rate in runners and don?t really kick in
until after 50.
When making a sponge,
cream the butter and
sugar until it?s pale
Yes, true, but it takes longer than most
people are prepared to give it. If you
keep going for at least five minutes, it
will turn really pale and fluffy, but more
importantly the sugar will have
dissolved and you will incorporate
more air, resulting in a lighter sponge.
Add all your stir-fry
veg at the same time
Those packets of ready chopped mix are
to blame here. First add the firmer
vegetables (eg carrots, peppers, broccoli),
then softer items such as mushrooms
and beansprouts, and finally leaf
vegetables. Heat half a tablespoon of oil
in the wok until smoking hot, then cook
your meat and remove or push it to one
side before cooking the vegetables in this
order. Toss regularly, rather than stirring.
Flip fish over halfway
through cooking
If you are pan-frying a plain piece of
salmon, leave it skin-side down for 90
per cent of the cooking time and flip it
over for the final 30 seconds or so. Fish
will often stick to the pan, but once it?s
cooked it will release itself.
Soften onions
for five minutes
Cookery books persist in giving this
instruction, but five minutes is not
enough. Heat the oil, add the onion, turn
the heat to medium, then add a sprinkle
of salt. You will need 8-10 minutes to get
to that ?softened but not browned? stage.
With pastry, rub flour
into butter until it
resembles breadcrumbs
The key to good pastry is to keep it cool
and handle it as little as possible. The
Don?t follow
instructions for
roasting a
chicken. It
doesn?t take
that long
When making a
batter, always get
rid of all the lumps
Some things should never be lumpy
? custard and b閏hamel sauce for
two ? but with simple batter for fish,
pancakes or Yorkshire puddings it
doesn?t matter so much. Most lumps
will disappear in the cooking and the
alternative, of smooth but overworked
batter, will be heavier and chewier.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
4 Weekend
Health myths
By Times fashion director
Anna Murphy
By Dr Mark Porter
Women on the Pill
should take a break
every few years
There is no evidence to support this
theory. Indeed, quite the opposite
? the only likely consequence of doing
so is an increased chance of unplanned
pregnancy. If you are worried about how
long you have been taking the Pill, don?t
take a break, talk to your GP or practice
nurse about switching to the latest
longer-acting contraceptives (such as a
birth-control implant), which tend to be
safer and more effective.
Antibiotics will
make your cold
go more quickly
Most colds (and coughs and sore
throats) are caused by viruses that
are unaffected by antibiotics. Faced
with growing antibiotic resistance,
we need to cut down on inappropriate
use. Contrary to what many of our
patients seem to think, the fact that
you have an important meeting at
work/family wedding/holiday next
week doesn?t suddenly make viruses
sensitive to antibiotics. The fact that
you have plans won?t change the way
your doctor assesses what treatment you
need. Although it may make us more
sympathetic to your plight, it?s still
beyond our control.
Vitamin C protects
against illness
Vitamin C is taken by lots of people to
ward off colds and there have been
numerous studies into its efficacy.
A comprehensive review of research
from around the world carried out by
the highly respected evidence-based
organisation Cochrane suggests that
vitamin C (in doses of 200mg or more a
day) has no protective effect on your
chances of catching a cold. There
are exceptions however ? five of the
trials reviewed by Cochrane did show
some benefit in people subjected to
extreme physical stress (such as
marathon runners). In this group, taking
rregular vitamin C halved the chances of
ccatching a cold.
By Times columnist Stephen Anderton
You can transfer plants
from a small to a big pot
for faster growth
You need a good
rich compost for
raising seedlings
A big potful of rich new compost ought
to make sense, but actually it?s far better
to use a pot only 5cm to 6cm bigger all
round than the old one. If there is 10cm
to 20cm of compost all round, as yet
containing no roots, it will remain soggy
and can kill the plant?s rootball. Stand
your intermediate-sized pot in the
intended large one if it looks better.
Would you give a baby steak? No.
Highly nutritious composts, such as
John Innes No 2, are too rich for
seedlings, because most are ?universal?
composts. They can burn seedling
roots or produce gangly growth.
Better to use a proper gentle
seed compost mixed for the
Never just use up what
you have left over from last year.
Only when seedlings are established
can they be potted into richer composts.
Kill rampant weeds
before they get too big
If you can get rid of weeds while
they?re still seedlings, great, but if you
have an established weed running
underground, such as ground elder or
couch grass, and intend to use weedkiller
on it, then let the stems grow big (short
of flowering and seeding) so there is
plenty of leaf to take up the weedkiller
Spring is the perfect
time to prune trees
No it?s not. In fact, April pruning can
produce cuts that bleed sap horribly.
Winter is the time for significant
pruning, but medium-scale pruning of
branches up to 5cm in diameter can be
successfully done in July and August.
Summer is the only time you should
prune stoned-fruit trees such as plums,
apricots and cherries; winter pruning
encourages fungal diseases.
Get houseplants outside
as soon as the sun is out
Definitely not! Sudden exposure to
UV light scorches the leaves, making
browned or reddened patches or
crisped edges, which can take months
to disappear. A couple of hours
outside in the shade on a mild, dull,
drizzly day is much better for rinsing
off the winter dust.
Chemical moss-killer
will fix a mossy lawn
Do that if you must, but it?s a temporary
fix. The presence of moss means that
the grass is weak owing to inadequate
and drainage. To strengthen it,
apply some fertiliser, trim back your
trees and (although it?s a big messy job)
put in some drains. Or don?t have grass
there, of course. No shame in that.
You need to hide
your big bits
are a bit common
You don?t like your big bits ? be it
hips, stomach, whatever ? so you
swamp them with fabric. But this adds
bulk. The correct approach, in fact, is
to hide them in plain sight, ie to skim,
not swamp. Far more becoming. Dress
in a tent and you will ? not surprisingly
when you think about it ? end up
looking like one. If you have got flesh,
you have got curves: hew to them, hone
them. They have a power all of their
own. And flash your flesh at your
skinniest points, namely your ankles and
wrists. Cropped trousers and mid-calf
skirts will sort the first bit; three-quarterlength sleeves the second. And, yes,
cropped trousers work for shorties too.
I am still a single-earring kind of
a girl, but I am practically the only
one left on the front row. Tiny
constellations illuminate the lobe,
helix and tragus of many a fashion
ear these days ? so much so that they
even know what a helix and a tragus
are. To my amazement, it looks chic,
and is a great complexion-lifter. Want
to give it a whirl without the actual
piercings? Try the affordable range of
excellent fake-it-to-make-it alternatives
at Astrid & Miyu (
Black solves
everything . . .
Sure, black can solve quite a lot, but
beware of its limitations, which is that
it can look harsh next to the skin ?
especially as you age ? and that it
can go ?off? as it ages. (The second
that a black piece turns grey or
yellowish, ditch it.) Plus, check out
softer neutrals, such as navy or khaki,
instead, which can be more flattering.
Other tips: look for black items
with an interest-adding flourish,
such as Me+Em?s trousers with white
top-stitching (�9, or
Zara?s tunic dress with multifloral
embroidery (�.99, And I
would avoid a head-to-toe look, with
the marked exception of the little
black dress. But even then ? just to
come over all Miss Jean Brodie about
it ? lift, girls, lift! With bright lippy
and/or shoes, or some grandstanding
jewellery. Plus, of course, a high-wattage
Black doesn?t go
with navy
Turns out our grandmothers were
wrong on this one. It, like, so does.
Indeed, the mix-and-non-matching
of black and navy has become a
fashion-pack signature in the past
couple of years. Can?t get your head
around it? Buy a piece that does the
rule-breaking for you, such as LK
Bennett?s tweed Charlee jacket,
which is navy with a black trim
Gold and silver
jewellery don?t mix
Another front-row favourite these
days is to clash-match your metals.
Indeed, it?s become infra dig to play
it like a purist. The experts stack an
assortment of fine chains and bands
at neck, wrists and fingers. Just don?t
ask them how long it takes to get
them all off. Again, if you remain
chary, buy a single mixed-metal
item, then build from there. Such as
Maya Magal?s faceted stone necklace
Colour and pattern
are difficult to wear
They aren?t hard to wear at all. The
safest approach is to concentrate on
your top half. Nothing will lift your
look quicker than a colourful
blouse or jacket. Try Zara?s lovely
flora-and-polka-dot blouse, which riffs
on a multifarious theme of turquoise,
pink, white and black (�,
Or Boden?s white-on-emerald floral
Ellery blazer (�0, If
you are feeling really brave, add in
the trousers (�). Because you can
go head to toe, provided that you keep
to one pattern or colour. Just leave the
off-piste approach to the street-stylers:
they?ve got nothing else to do and
looking ridiculous is their MO.
Sportswear is not
for grown-ups
Clothes with pretensions to sporting
activity are a great way to modernise your
look. The key to athleisure is to look for
finer fabrics and upscale finishing, and to
remember that less is more. A nudge is
better than a shove. Which is definitely
the case with Cefinn?s black with a red
trim zip-collar midi-dress (�0, Or H&M?s cream satin
blouse with sweatshirt neckline and
drawstring sleeves (�.49, Or
Uterq黣?s black leather trainers with
outsize diamant� buckle (�0, Mix with tailored pieces to
further finesse your ensemble.
And the mistakes men
6 Wearing brown shoes with jeans.
Not OK.
6 Buying a brown leather jacket. They
are a bad look. (Sorry, Mr Clarkson.)
6 Thinking stonewashed denim is
acceptable over 40. It?s not. If you want
to wear denim, Gap?s 1969 dark-rinse
straight-fit suits everyone (�.95,
6 You can get away with scruffy or
cheap. Only if you are under 25.
You should be either casual or smart. In
fact, mixing the two is a real moderniser.
Try a soft black cotton linen blazer
(�0, over a grey
cashmere sweatshirt (�5,
for starters.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Weekend 5
Parenting mistakes
By expert Rachel Carlyle
Send them to their room
Nag teenagers to tidy
their bedroom
You want them to calm down and
?think about what you?ve just done?,
but all they?re thinking is how unfair
you are. As a discipline strategy it fails
on two counts. Young children usually
misbehave because they can?t regulate
their emotions, so what they most need
is our calm presence to explain why
throwing a toy at their sister was a bad
idea. And sending them away doesn?t
allow them to learn from the mistake. If
they?ve thrown toys, better to get them
to tidy up rather than banishing them to
their bedroom while you do it.
A teenager?s wish to live in a pit is about
exerting a bit of control over life. The
danger of getting too obsessive over
something that?s irritating but
essentially minor is that it risks halting
conversations about bigger and more
important things: consent, drugs, Netflix
addictions. Ignore the room, crack the
odd joke about damp towels and offer to
help with a bedroom blitz every month.
Make them stick at a
musical instrument
You once read about the benefits of
learning an instrument and signed
them up for violin in primary school.
They are now desperate to give it up.
You?re equally determined to make
them carry on. Perseverance is
important, but there comes a point
when spending time on something
they hate is a waste. Better to
help them find their genuine
passions. Yes, playing the violin
is good for their brain, but so is
anything that?s cognitively
engaging and leads to what
psychologists call ?flow?, where
you?re so engaged in something
that you lose track of time. That
might be the banjo, basketball or
making YouTube videos.
Stand under the
climbing frame
Research shows that children whose
parents stand too close when they play
are less adventurous, curious and active.
It also stops them making their own
judgments about risk (which studies
show are pretty realistic and not
very far beyond what parents
consider safe). And it?s practising
these kinds of judgments early
on that will one day stop them
trying drugs at parties, or so the
thinking goes.
Don?t force them to stick
with musical instruments
Trail them on
social media
It wasn?t so long ago that the experts
were advising us to follow our child on
Facebook or Instagram. Then two things
happened: the same experts decided it
was better to teach your child how to
behave online (not to overshare, or be
mean) so they could police themselves.
Following an 11 or 12-year-old you?ve
allowed to sign up to social media is
fine, but following a teenager without
them knowing is like reading their diary,
or sitting with them in the playground.
They will soon move elsewhere.
Children don?t really want one hour
of intensive quality time ? they would
rather have you generally around.
Being willing to make the time to put
your phone down and connect properly
when they want to is key ? and that
doesn?t happen to order during a neat
hour of prescribed quality time.
Teenagers, particularly, hate the idea of
an hour of intense quality time. They?d
rather talk while you?re both half-doing
something else, which is why the car is
a brilliant place for proper conversations.
There are several problems with a
negotiated settlement. First, the
concept is beyond young children
who would prefer to be told what their
limits are. It can make children think
that they can negotiate on everything.
And when it comes to teenagers, too
much negotiation can lead to a fudging
of the boundaries. It doesn?t mean that
you can?t compromise, but in the end
they need to know that you?re the boss.
It feels sensible to let them concentrate
on academic work rather than polishing
the shower screen on a Saturday
morning. But the message it sends is
that their time is too precious for such
trivial matters. It?s through precisely this
kind of task that they learn to play their
part in a social group, to exercise quality
control and to budget their time ? skills
that employers value more than ten As.
Good grades help us to reassure
ourselves that our child is on track to
do well. Which is fine, but as they
progress through secondary school, the
only grade that means anything is their
effort grade. That?s the better predictor
of future success. If it?s low, it may not
be laziness, but fear of failing. Dig
around to see what?s behind a low mark
for effort. Finding a hobby they love
can be a surprisingly effective antidote.
Set aside quality
time for them
Negotiate with them
Let them do homework
instead of chores
Worry about their
achievement grades
Give them �pocket money
Following a
teenager on
social media
without them
knowing is
like reading
their diary
A token amount of pocket money is
worse than not giving any: it doesn?t
teach them anything about money,
budgeting or saving, but it makes you
feel you?ve done something useful.
Better to stop buying sweets, comics
and toys on the supermarket run, work
out with them what they?d like to be
able to buy each week and give them
enough to cover it, plus a bit left over so
they can start saving. Research says that
a realistic amount of pocket money is
best from age five, or at the latest seven.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
6 Weekend
Pets (The untruths about cats and dogs)
By animal experts Nigel Reed and Claire Bessant
Shouting at your dog
will make it obey you
Your dog jumps up at a visitor to your
house, so you shout at it to get down.
Or it chases a jogger on the common,
so you shout at it to come back. Not a
good idea, says the trainer Nigel Reed,
the author of The Dog Guardian: Your
Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Dog.
?Shouting only ever stops the
behaviour in that moment; it?ll keep
doing it,? he says. ?You need to teach
the dog self-control, which is
permanent.? If your dog jumps up at
someone, Reed says, take it by the collar
and move it away, 2ft or so. If it does
it again, move it away 5ft. Escalate
the consequences and show the dog
what you want it to do. ?Always be calm
and kind,? he says. ?As soon as you
shout it looks like you?re losing
You need to walk
your dog every day
?Dogs do need exercise, but
people exaggerate how badly
they need it,? Reed says. You
should think about how
much exercise your dog is
getting on a weekly, not
daily, basis. Once a
dog has been able to relieve itself, if it
doesn?t want to go for a walk in the
driving rain or snow, you shouldn?t force
it. ?I didn?t take my dog out for a couple
of days when I hurt my ankle, and when
I took him out on the third day his
behaviour was no different,? Reed says.
?A dog has needs other than exercise,
including a physiological need to stay
warm and dry. Wolves in the
wild don?t go for a run unless they need
to ? if they have to hunt, they hunt.?
Your cat should
have a litter before
it is neutered
Some people feel that it is
for a female cat to
have a litter before it is
spayed, either for health
or so that it
can experience having
kittens. ?There is no
reason for this and the cat
won?t know any different,?
Claire Bessant, the chief
executive of the cat health and
welfare charity International
Cat Care, says. ?They don?t have the
same sort of qualms that we do. And
there?s a problem with unwanted
kittens.? Most experts advise getting
kittens neutered before they become
sexually mature, at about four months.
There are no documented health
benefits associated with allowing
your cat to have a litter first, while
unneutered females are more likely to
suffer from some infections, and uterine,
ovarian and mammary gland cancers.
Cats love to be
stroked and petted
Many owners want to pick up their cats
and kiss and cuddle them, but cats like
to be the ones doing the approaching,
Bessant says. It makes them feel secure.
?It comes from being
solitary animals ? they
have to be able to
look after themselves
and a lot of that is
knowing how to get
away, being able to run
or hide,? she says.
?If you pick them up
they are not in control
of the situation.? How
much petting a cat
can take depends
partly on genetics and
partly on how it is
handled up to the age
of eight weeks. ?It?s
very important to
expose kittens to gentle handling, little
and often, and to make sure they meet a
range of people,? Bessant says.
A dog wagging its
tail means it?s happy
to see you
?Dogs can try to attack you with their
tails wagging,? Reed says. ?It just
signifies an alert state.? To be really
sure that a dog is happy to see you, he
says, make sure that it?s not showing
other signs of discomfort, such as
licking its lips, yawning or turning away
from you. And call the dog to you,
rrather than approach it, then you
can be sure you?re not invading
its space.
Cats are happy
they are
Cats may purr when they?re happy,
b they can also purr when they
are in pain or frightened. Research
shows that it?s a self-soothing
mechanism, because the
of the its vocal cords
helps to release endorphins.
Interviews by Fiona
Fitness and
nutrition with
James Haskell
Looking to get in shape? Struggling to keep your new
year?s resolutions? Join James Haskell on Wednesday,
April 18 to hear all about his new training and nutrition
plan, Perfect Fit: The Winning Formula ? a definitive guide
to getting fit for life.
Book tickets today at
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the times Saturday April 7 2018
Weekend 7
In the gym
Beauty mistakes
By top trainer Harry Jameson
By beauty editor Jo Glanville-Blackburn
Sit-ups will give
you defined abs
Core exercises build and strengthen the
abdominals and the postural muscles,
but it?s the reduction of overall body fat
that makes abs visible. Training the
muscles underneath fat in any part of
your body won?t necessarily shift that
fat, so sit-ups and crunches will not burn
any fat from your tummy. The only way
to reduce body fat is to put your body in
a state of calorie deficit. To get defined
abs you need to eat less and move more.
Women who lift
weights will get bulky
You would need to have high levels
of testosterone and a very high protein
diet to ?bulk up?, which makes it quite
a difficult thing for women to achieve.
Many of my female clients often ask
me not to give them muscular
?Madonna arms?, a look that in fact
requires a strict and specific regimen.
Muscle mass naturally declines with
age, so it?s important to lift weights as
you get older. It will also help to
prevent osteoporosis, a condition that
is most common in women over 50.
tasks over and over again. After
the first few times of performing the
same activity at the same pace (such
as walking for 10 minutes or jogging
for 15 minutes), the fitness benefit is
lost. There are health benefits in
such regular cardiovascular activity,
but you won?t continue to get fitter
or slimmer unless you work at a
more intense pace: go faster or
for longer. We need to make
11,000-12,000 steps each day to
maintain good physical health.
Walking to work is good for you,
but if you are looking for serious
results, such as weight loss or
gains in strength, you need to
follow a regimen that pushes your
body to perform tasks outside your
recommended daily step count, such
as jogging, swimming or playing a
For more help, information
and inspiration follow
or go to
You have to do HIIT
to burn fat
The extreme cardio work involved in
high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
puts your body into a state in which it
continues to burn calories after you?ve
finished exercising. This doesn?t have to
mean sprinting on a treadmill, however
? it is generally the lower-intensity,
slower, steady cardio that uses fat for
energy. A 30 to 45-minute bout of
so-called ?submaximal? cardio, such as
light jogging, fast walking, swimming
or cycling, first thing in the morning
before breakfast, will be just as effective
at burning fat as pushing your body to
the extremes of HIIT training.
Possibly the greatest myth in
the beauty industry. Sure,
at times you may pay
more for exclusive
ingredients in a
unique formula
? plus, smaller,
niche brands
?en masse?
? but learn to
read labels and
you can easily
find great
alternatives with
all the tech for less.
Try ranges such
as The Ordinary,
Of course you should use face
which does not spend
cream on your neck
millions on packaging
and marketing. Check out the
company behind your favourite cream
too. Six key beauty empires ? Coty,
L?Or閍l, Unilever, Shiseido, P&G and
Est閑 Lauder ? between them notch up
more than 250 leading beauty brands,
from Origins to Tom Ford, SkinCeuticals
to YSL, Lanc鬽e and REN. They?re
often manufactured in the same
factories too.
If you pluck a grey hair
five more will appear
It?s impossible to increase the number
of hair follicles on your head by
plucking out one grey hair, but you
can guarantee there?s a few more
growing near by. Never pluck, however,
because this may destroy the follicle
and potentially lead to thinning.
Long hair past ?a
certain age? is ageing
Try telling Cindy Crawford, Julia
Roberts, Julianne Moore and the like
that they should have gone short the
moment that they turned 50. Fab hair,
whatever your age, isn?t about length,
it?s about condition. Long hair styled
well and trimmed regularly means that
it can be whatever length you want.
Do, however, go for a fringe or layers
to frame and flatter your face.
You should never
skip breakfast
The belief that breakfast is the
most important meal of the day
is increasingly questioned, partly
because of the rise of the ?fasting
window?. This extends the time between
your evening meal and first meal the
next day. A popular protocol
is known as the 16:8 intermittent fast,
in which you fast for 16 hours ?
between 8pm and noon the next day,
for example. You eat only during the
eight-hour ?feeding window? of noon
to 8pm, putting your body into a
fat-burning state known as ketosis.
A ?fasting window? has many health
benefits, such as boosting energy levels,
weight maintenance, improved cognitive
function and reducing the chances of
type 2 diabetes. You can drink as much
water as you like, plus black coffee (the
caffeine gives you energy). Following
this type of regimen between one and
five times a week has been shown to
have excellent results for managing
You need a separate
neck cream
Why? It may sound very caring to
nourish that precious neck (and as
we age, gravity does draw our attention
downwards), but the skin on your neck
is no different from the skin on your
face. So do carry your facial skincare
regime ? this should be cleanser,
serum, moisturiser and sunscreen
? down to your neck and chest.
Lose weight and
you?ll lose that cellulite
Walking to work will
make me lose weight
We are master adapters and our bodies
become used to performing the same
You need to pay more
for a good face cream
Harry Jameson
If only. Cellulite is a skin issue, not fat.
When the skin?s connective tissue,
collagen and elastin fibres weaken and
break down, fat cells push through the
dermis, resulting in dimples on the
surface. Sure, lose a bit of weight, but
better by far is to increase your intake
of skin-strengthening essential fatty
acids, such as omega 3, with walnuts,
coldwater fish (haddock, tuna, salmon,
herring, mackerel) and olive oil.
Skin needs a toner
No it doesn?t. If you?re cleansing
properly, your skin is clean, so you don?t
need a toner too. Try a treatment-style
?toner? or ?essence? instead, because
they?re full of ingredients such as
hyaluronic acid to soften drier skin,
or skin-refining alpha or beta hydroxy
acids to smooth and refine those darling
pores. I like The Ordinary Resveratrol
3% + Ferulic Acid (�50).
You?ll get better sun
protection with SPF50
If you?re using a SPF30 broad-spectrum
(evenly filtering out UVA and UVB)
sunscreen that protects skin from
94 per cent of UV rays, an SPF50
offering 97 per cent protection is a
negligible increase. If anything, you?re
potentially applying more chemicals
than you need. What matters most is
choosing a reputable brand with quality
broad-spectrum certification, such as
La Roche-Posay, Av鑞e or Heliocare.
Oil is the best way
to treat dry skin
Dry skin needs moisture, not oil. More
importantly, it needs help to rebalance
its moisture levels by caring better for
the outer surface, the stratum corneum.
Dead skin cells accumulating on the
skin?s surface makes it look ashen,
dehydrated and lined. Slather a ton
of oil or cream on top and it will only
sit there, clogging pores. Gentle and
regular exfoliation is the best treatment
for dry skin.
If you have dry skin
you need to drink
more water
Please do drink those recommended
eight glasses a day, but do it for your
body. Although skin is the largest
organ, it is way behind your vital
organs to benefit. ?Eat your water? is
a better way for all-round integrative
health, according to the skin specialist
Dr Howard Murad. Eating plenty of
cucumber, celery, peppers and so forth
gives us all the nutrients we need for
a healthy body ? and healthier skin
as a result.
And for men. . .
6 It?s fine to wash your face with soap.
I?m afraid not. Fighting the lacklustre
appearance of middle-age skin is easily
solved by washing your face well and
using a decent anti-ageing moisturiser.
Try Lab Series; Kiehl?s and Clinique
also have good ranges for men.
6 Hands take care of themselves.
Men?s hands are prone to dry cuticles
and chapping ? so they need some help.
Use a non-oily hand cream (Clarins
Men Active Hand Care, �.40) to soothe
6 Nasal hair is just part of ageing.
Please trim those crazy, wiry hairs that
spring from ears, nostrils and brows in
middle age. The Wahl Rechargeable
Ear/Nose/Brow Trimmer (�.99, Boots)
is an excellent choice.
The Times has been a proud supporter of the Cheltenham Literature Festival for
more than a decade. We are delighted to offer our readers the opportunity to be part
of this exciting new venture with Cunard, as the festival sails the Atlantic with a
packed programme celebrating the written word.
JANE KNIGHT ? Travel Editor, The Times
Let your imagination set sail with a voyage that brings together our partnership with
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ou are invited to join the inaugural Queen
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Escape to an uncrowded world with an
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A seven-night Transatlantic Crossing from New York
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Flights from the UK to New York and transfer from airport
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Literary experts:
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James Naughtie ? PJ O?Rourke
Elizabeth Strout ? Robert Harris
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the times Saturday April 7 2018
Body + Soul 9
I?m 69. I wouldn?t say I?m grown up
The last time Lulu
was on stage in the
West End, she was
in her 30s. Now
she?s back. By Julia
Llewellyn Smith
Lulu?s perfect
Cook or be cooked for?
Be cooked for
Early bird or night out?
Early bird when I?m not on stage
Priscilla Queen of the Desert or Pinter?
Lazy Sunday or out and about?
If I don?t have a heavy work schedule I
love to see my grandchildren
Pilates or personal trainer?
What is your signature dish?
Bagels with cucumber, cream cheese and
smoked salmon, from Panzer?s deli in
St John?s Wood. So easy!
The most-used app on your phone
Voice Memos for throwing a lyric in, doing
dialogue, rehearsing something. You
don?t have to have a memory any more
I couldn?t get through the weekend
without . . .
Catch-up TV, bagels and smoked salmon,
a good cup of coffee in the morning
ulu is lying on her back on the
floor of her dressing room at
the Theatre Royal on Drury
Lane in London, raising one
knee, then another, towards
her chin, before flipping both
from one side to another. ?It?s
my new thing!? she exclaims. ?Stretching
every morning before I get out of bed.? She
breathes in and out deeply. ?Feel your
spine,? she mutters to herself. ?That?s it!?
The 1960s icon, who had a No 1 with
Shout when she was 15, partied with the
Beatles, had a fling with David Bowie
(describing him as having ?slim but powerful thighs?) and married the Bee Gee
Maurice Gibb, then the legendary hairdresser John Frieda, turns 70 in November. ?Can you believe it?? she yells.
Yet far from slowing down, she has
switched up a couple of gears, having just
replaced her fellow Scot Sheena Easton in
the role of the ageing diva Dorothy Brock
in the West End musical 42nd Street. ?I
can?t tell you how quickly it happened,? she
says. ?In January I was in Turks and
Caicos, no thought of this! When my
manager called me I thought, ?No!?
because I?ve done musicals [she was in The
Mystery of Edwin Drood in the West End in
1987]. But then I went to see the show and
I thought, ?This is a gift!? Three weeks after
they approached me I was on stage.?
She?d been having acting lessons for
several years and had been rejected for
other roles. ?I was slightly disappointed,
but not very,? she says. ?If I was younger I
would have been devastated, but now I
thought, ?Well, good for you for trying!? As
you become older there?s the realisation
you?ve wasted so much time, and if I had a
bucket list acting would be on it.?
Tiny, in head-to-toe black, basketball
cap pulled over her blond hair and with
glowing, not overly wind-tunnelled features, there?s an endearing if almost manic
energy to Lulu, gabbling away in an accent
that see-saws between mid-Atlantic and
her native Glaswegian while making me
coffee with her Nespresso machine. ?I
bring so much stuff with me when I tour, it
comes from being away from my parents
from when I was very young, crying into
my pillow every night,? she says, before
showing me photos of her two young
grandchildren from her only son, the actor
and restaurateur Jordan Frieda, with
which she has plastered the walls.
Lulu doesn?t need to keep proving herself, her CV is packed with achievements,
from winning the 1969 Eurovision Song
Contest and singing a James Bond theme
(The Man with the Golden Gun) to the 1993
No 1 Relight My Fire with Take That. Yet
still she drives herself relentlessly: last year
completing a sell-out tour of America; the
previous year releasing a well-reviewed
album of songs that she co-wrote with her
brother, Harry Lawrie. ?I?ve never
stopped. It?s so important for me to keep
doing different things, to keep challenging
yourself, because in that discipline I find a
tremendous sense of security,? she says,
finally settling into an armchair and
swigging from a large water bottle.
She brushes away my remark that her
eight shows a week for the next four
months would exhaust anyone, let alone a
near septuagenarian. ?I?m sure I?m going
to live into my nineties, but still ? time is
running out, so I?m truly blessed,? she says.
There?s a lot of such touchy-feely talk
from Lulu, who clearly has spent a lot of
time with counsellors and various gurus
(she goes to an ashram in India every year).
?I used to think I knew it all. It was pretty
late when I discovered I didn?t,? she says
with a giggle. ?When people would say,
?You?ll sing that song so much better
when you?ve had experience and actually
understand the emotions,? I used to think,
?What are they talking about?? But
now I?ve read every self-help book; I?ve
studied meditation, eastern philosophy.
?I?ve had no education, I didn?t even do
my A levels.?
Instead, Lulu was fronting a local band
at 12 and by 14 had moved permanently to
London to live with her manager?s family.
?I came from nothing and was thrown in
the 1960s into what was then the centre of
the universe ? I was like a chicken without
a head, so I?ve always tried to surround
myself with smart individuals,? she says.
?God bless my parents, but they were very
naive from a worldly point of view; they?d
never left Glasgow until I left.?
Born Marie McDonald McLoughlin
Lawrie, she was brought up in tenement
housing and had a difficult childhood: her
father, who worked in a meat market, was
a drinker and beat her mother, a depressive.
?Everyone has it tough,? she says with a
shrug. ?I hate victimhood. But I have learnt
to be compassionate about my younger
self: that?s come from being thrown from
side to side and generally living and grow-
Above, Lulu. Right, with
David Bowie in 1973
ing.? She guffaws. ?I still wouldn?t say I?m
grown up, but I?m starting to grow.?
Did she identify with the superstar
aspect of Dorothy Brock? ?No, what I liked
about Dorothy was her desperation, the
fact she was trying to survive, because as a
kid I was the eldest of four and I was like a
parent to them,? she says. ?So there was
desperation about me, a sense that the
money would go if I wasn?t perfect. That?s
unrealistic and very hard on yourself.?
This pursuit of perfection inhibited her
for decades. ?I?m not a party person, I
never really have been. Elton [John and his
husband] David Furnish threw me a big
party for my 60th, but I?m not going to
have a big 70th,? she says. ?I used to go out
a lot, but I?d feel a bit shy, uncomfortable in
my skin; I just didn?t feel good enough. I
always thought I was a bit odd, that I
looked weird, that there was something
not quite right about me.? She gurgles
gleefully as she continues: ?I still
think the same, but then it was
very serious. I was trying to be
someone I wasn?t. The one
thing I knew I could do
was sing. Put me on stage
and I?m comfortable.?
She won?t say if she?s
single or in a relationship, though from her
description of her life
(she shares her home in
central London with her
two nieces and says, ?I learn
so much from them?), plus
the fact that she recently announced ?dating is not a priority?,
I?d hazard the former. She once said that
her two marriages ended because she and
her husbands were emotionally immature.
?Music was the great love of my life, that?s
probably true,? she muses.
Having sat still for at least 20 minutes,
Lulu suddenly leaps up and starts dancing
around the room. ?Chug-chug! Being in
this show is like being part of a vast train: if
you don?t keep up you?ll get left behind,?
she says. ?But it?s what I was born to do. My
son will attest to the fact I?ve hardly ever
taken any time off. I?m a workaholic, I?m
afraid. Anything extreme is not healthy,
but it?s who I am.?
For tickets to see Lulu in 42nd Street go to
the times Saturday April 7 2018
10 Body + Soul
It costs �000 and
involves 18 injections,
? but the results
are instant, says
Alice Hart-Davis
mall scratch . . .? murmurs
Dr Tapan Patel, as he nips
the first needle into my
right cheek, and we?re off
on a filler-marathon, a
mega session of stealthy
facial readjustment.
I have to admit, I?m a tad nervous. Not
about the injections ? I confess I have
been having injections of fillers to pad
out my cheeks and lips for about 15 years
? but about the quantity on the menu.
I will be receiving 18 in total, to slip 10
whole millilitres of filler into my face.
Fillers are now the second most
popular treatment in cosmetic clinics in
the UK after Botox. But if you?re one of
the many who think that the treatments
are interchangeable, they aren?t. Botox is
injected into muscles, to reduce their
ability to contract. Filler adds physical
volume. Fillers are made from
hyaluronic acid ? a polysaccharide (a
kind of sugar, not a stinging sort of acid)
that holds many times its own weight in
water ? which will stay in your face for
a couple of years before it dissolves.
Until now, the approach most cosmetic
doctors have used with fillers is that less
is more ? a millilitre or two at most.
That way, patients end up looking subtly
refreshed, rather than hamster-cheeked
and slug-lipped. Now there is a new
approach. What you really need for the
natural-looking result, which is the
ultimate goal for all injectors, is more
product, not less, they say.
?Originally, fillers were used to fill
lines,? Dr Patel explains, ?but it is volume
that we want to restore. In any one
patient we may need to treat the temple,
cheekbone, mouth, chin and jawline.?
Thus, he says, the new approach is to
use 16 to 18 syringes of product in one
Would you
have the new
I did
treatment plan. Of course, this sort of
treatment doesn?t come cheap. It costs
�000 to have 10ml of filler. That?s
halfway to the cost of a full facelift. But
unlike full surgery, it?s instant and
painless, and there is no drawn-out
recovery time. Going under the knife
requires at least two weeks off work and
months for scarring to settle.
It?s peaceful in the all-white treatment
room and so quiet I can hear the slight
hiss as the syringe slowly empties, but
apart from that tiny scratch, all I can feel
is a strange kind of pressure as the filler
gel eases its way into my face. There?s no
pain ? I had a dab of ice to chill my skin
before the needle slipped in and the
filler, a thick, sturdy gel called Voluma
from a reputable and well-tested brand
called Juvederm, contains local
anaesthetic, so it numbs as it goes.
Yet I am a little nervous. We all know
what it looks like when fillers go wrong,
when celebs have too much put in and
end up with a bad case of pillow-face. No
one wants to look like that, which is why
most people are terrified of the very idea
of fillers. To calm my fluttering tummy, I
think about some of the transformations
I have seen Dr Patel carry out with this
new mega-filler technique, all giving
lovely, soft, natural-looking results.
And 10ml of filler is only a couple of
teaspoons, and it?s going all over my face,
not just in one spot.
Also, at age 54, I?m ready for this.
For the best part of a year I have been
popping in to see Dr Patel and saying,
?Look!?, pointing out the hollowing
under my eyes and in my mid-cheeks,
the nose-to-mouth grooves and the way
the skin puckers around my chin,
especially when I?m looking down.
I was nervous.
When fillers go
wrong you can end
up with a bad
case of pillow face
6 Temple hollows: one
injection each side, to
stop end of eyebrows
6 Cheek: one injection in
each outer cheek section,
one injection in each
mid-cheek section, one
extra in mid-cheek on
left, all to lift the mid-face
and soften nose-to-mouth
6 Chin: two injections
below lower lip (one
each side), to make chin
more symmetrical and
compensate for
age-related bone loss
6 Pre-jowl area: three
injections to firm the
chin line and stop skin
6 Jaw: one injection
each side on the corner
of the jaw, to add
definition to jawline
6 Lips: four injections
(one each side for
upper and lower lips)
to place hydrating
filler inside the skin of
the lip
Total injections: 18
Usually he just says, ?Hmm, excessive
muscle movement,? and quietens down
the overactive muscles with a few shots
of Botox. It was only last month that he
suggested I try the new approach. ?Book
out 90 minutes. We?ll do fillers,? he said.
When it comes to this kind of
treatment I should stress that the safety
aspect is vital. Because of the dire lack of
regulation in the aesthetics market in
the UK, there are about 200 injectable
fillers available here and very few of
them are backed by the sort of safety
and efficacy data demanded, for
example, by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) in the US before
it will approve a filler for use by doctors.
Also, in most other countries,
injectable fillers are classed as
prescription medicines, which means
they are carefully controlled and only
doctors can prescribe their use. In the
UK they are merely classed as ?medical
devices?. Anyone can take a weekend
course in how to use them and can,
legally, set up in business. Add in the fact
that things can and do go wrong: the
product can go lumpy if the body puts a
protective ?encapsulation? around it, and
if filler is accidentally injected into a
blood vessel it can kill the surrounding
tissue, or, near the eye, cause blindness.
In 2013 the Keogh report, a review of
cosmetic treatments led by the NHS
medical director Professor Sir Bruce
Keogh, recommended that ?aesthetic
injectables should only ever be provided
by medical professionals?. So if you are
thinking about having fillers, it is vital to
go to an experienced practitioner who
uses decent products, preferably with
FDA approval. And one who has a good
eye for what they are trying to achieve.
Cheeks done, Dr Patel moves on to my
temples, adding Voluma to alleviate the
sagging of the eyebrow tails that
happens as fat pads in the temples start
to shrink. Next, my chin is marked out in
white pencil with two long rectangles
below my lower lip, and three round
spots along the jawline. The long patches
are treated with a cannula, a type of
blunt needle that sounds like a terrible
idea, but can nose its way along between
the layers of the skin, pushing out of the
way fibrous bands, or blood vessels,
which a needle could just stab through,
so is gentler on the skin tissues.
My lips get the cannula treatment too.
Dr Patel floods them, just below the skin,
with Volite, a super-runny type of
Juvederm filler, which will hydrate them,
rather than add volume. ?Like having
moisturising gloss on the inside,? he says.
Astonishingly ? given that lips are so
sensitive, and back in the old days I used
to want a dental block anaesthetic before
having anyone take a needle anywhere
near them ? it doesn?t hurt.
Dr Patel keeps sitting me up to check
how things are looking and decides my
left cheek needs more volume, to make it
more in keeping with my right cheek. A
couple of stripes of filler along the corner
of my jawline and we?re done. Wow.
My brain feels scrambled from all the
injections, but my face looks ? great.
There isn?t a single bruise or even any
puffiness. My lips swell up overnight, but
quieten down after 24 hours, and my left
jawline swells for a couple of days, before
settling. That?s it. I massage my new face
carefully every night, to help the product
to integrate with the skin tissues. After a
week I can barely feel it in my cheeks,
although my chin feels as if it has an
internal implant. I?m thrilled with the
results. My face looks more balanced,
my brows are less droopy, my chin and
jawline firmer.
More filler? Bring it on.
Filler treatments with Dr Tapan Patel
cost from �0; Alice?s treatment costs
�995 (
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Body + Soul 11
Yes, crash diets can work
(if you?re overweight enough)
Britain?s leading
obesity expert
claims that sudden
weight loss is good
for you ? and safe.
By Rachel Carlyle
f there?s one thing we all think
we know about losing weight it?s
that crash diets are bad: they?re
unhealthy, you can?t keep the weight
off and they feel like cheating
because dieting is supposed to be
slow and sensible (and torturous).
However, new research is about to be
published by Professor Susan Jebb, one of
Britain?s leading weight loss experts, challenging the negative myths around crash
diets. This academic study will show that
people who were put on a drastic eightweek liquid diet not only lost weight, but
were still lighter a year later.
Jebb will also be fronting The Big Crash
Diet Experiment, a BBC TV programme in
which she and a team of doctors follow
four obese, middle-aged volunteers on a
total meal-replacement diet of shakes and
soups, totalling 800 calories a day. Over
nine weeks on the crash diet, during which
no ?real? food was allowed, they all lost
more than 10 per cent of their body weight.
?A lot of prejudices bandied around
about crash diets don?t play out when you
look at the research,? argues Jebb, a professor of diet and population health at the
University of Oxford and a former obesity
adviser to the government. She emphasises that by ?crash diet? she means a structured, total meal-replacement diet with
counselling included ? not eating only
cabbage soup or grapefruit for a few weeks.
The main objection to crash dieting,
whatever your weight, is that you simply
regain the weight you lost ? plus a bit
more because your metabolism has
slowed down ? once you go back to eating
normal food. Yet the truth is that people
tend to put weight back on whatever diet
they use. An Australian study from 2014,
which pitted people on a 12-week crash
diet against others who cut their daily intake by 500 calories over nine months,
found that after three years 71 per cent had
regained their original weight, regardless
of which diet they chose. However, the
crash dieters were more likely to reach
their target weight (80 per cent did, compared with 50 per cent of the slow dieters)
and were less likely to drop out because
their rapid results bolstered motivation, so
they had greater overall weight loss.
Even losing weight for a short time is
beneficial to health, Jebb argues. ?People
do regain weight, it?s true, but they regain
it more slowly than you might imagine and
in studies are generally still lighter a year
later than they were at the start. If you lose
weight you can undo a surprising amount
of the damage, and even studies where
people have regained all the weight show
there?s a lasting health benefit. By losing
weight you give your body a bit of a metabolic break for a few years ? your blood
pressure and pulse rate fall, and even quite
small differences have a big effect.?
But what about the claim that crash
diets slow metabolism, meaning we?re
prone to put even more weight on afterwards? This isn?t based on much evidence,
Jebb says. ?If you do any diet and are therefore eating fewer calories than you need,
your metabolic rate will go down,? she explains. ?Your body is saying, ?Help, I?m
being starved,? and its response is to become more efficient. But once you start
eating again it recovers.?
Ah yes, say the slow-and-sensible brigade, but if you lose weight too quickly you
lose muscle mass as well as fat, which isn?t
healthy in the long run. That?s true, Jebb
says, but 25 per cent of the weight you?ve
gained is muscle [the rest is fat], so it follows that you lose it in the same proportions. ?There?s no good evidence that there
is any inappropriate loss of lean tissue, as
long as you are eating enough protein in
your diet,? she says.
A study in February by a colleague of
Jebb at the University of Oxford seemed
to show that crash diets harmed the heart?s
ability to pump blood after a week,
although it improved later. The lead researcher, Dr Jennifer Rayner, warned that
What?s in a crash diet?
Participants in the study were put on
the Cambridge Weight Plan, a diet of
800 calories a day for nine weeks.
Each dieter lost more than 10 per cent
of their body weight.
The plan replaces regular meals
with high-protein soups, shakes and
snacks, such as:
6 Banana, strawberry or
vanilla-flavoured skimmed-milk
protein shake
144 calories
6 Oriental chilli,
tomato and basil, or leek
and potato-flavoured soup
200 calories
6 Skimmed-milk and
149 calories
To keep you on the
plan you are paired
with a consultant,
usually someone who
has been through it
those with heart problems should check
with their doctor before embarking on a
crash diet. ?What she also showed was that
even after one week people?s blood pressure
and pulse rate had fallen, and by eight
weeks it was much better than the baseline
? which is highly beneficial,? Jebb says. ?It?s
likely that the short-term effect on the heart
was a small and transient effect you probably get with all diets because of the release
of fatty acids from the adipose [fat] tissue.?
The four volunteers featured in the Big
Crash Diet Experiment had seen their
weight creep up over the years. Tracy, 52,
was still cooking for a family of six even
though all but one of her children had left
home (she had the heart attack risk of a
75-year-old); Rebecca, 43, was ?addicted?
to takeaways; Yolande had fatty liver disease, despite being the lightest of the
group; and Paul Lomas, a Catholic priest
and former chemistry teacher who was the
heaviest, would eat three courses at all
meals, including breakfast, and had been
diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. After four
months Tracey had lost 4st, Yolande 3st,
Rebecca 4st and Paul 5st.
Probably the biggest objection to crash
diets is that they?re not ?real food?; they?re
cheating and don?t teach people how to eat
a normal diet when they?re let off the leash.
Actually for some people it can be an
advantage not to think about what to buy
and cook, so they are freed from their bad
eating habits, Jebb argues.
The four volunteers were supported
during and after the nine-week experiment, and that?s vital to long-term weight
loss, Jebb says. ?If you?re doing it on your
own and you lose 2st you might think,
?Well, I?m done with dieting now.? That?s
when people are vulnerable to putting
weight back on and they need a managed,
phased reintroduction to food.?
Jebb acknowledges that crash diets aren?t for everyone, but she believes that
there?s enough evidence to remove the
stigma. ?The fact is that it?s incredibly hard
to manage your weight in the society we
live in,? she says. ?You have to exert huge
cognitive control; it?s mentally draining
and you can?t do that for ever. I think we
need to be realistic. Perhaps people who
have a genetic and/or emotional susceptibility to putting on weight have to go on a
crash diet every few years. In effect they?re
managing a chronic relapsing condition.
Maybe that?s easier than having monthon-month weight battles with yourself.?
Even if you?re not obese, but are classed
as overweight (with a BMI of 25 to 30), like
36 per cent of the UK population, losing
weight has huge benefits, Jebb says. That
could mean a mini crash diet every few
years. ?I?d advise a partial meal-replacement diet where you substitute one of your
three meals with a shake or soup,? she says.
She points out that your risk of diabetes
increases the heavier you are even if you?re
close to the normal BMI range.
?When you have a BMI of 26 or 27 you
are four or five times more likely to get diabetes than with a BMI of 22. ?Crash dieting
is not the solution for everyone, but I just
want to put it on the agenda as an option.?
The Big Crash Diet Experiment will be
broadcast on BBC One this spring
the times Saturday April 7 2018
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the times Saturday April 7 2018
14 Food + Drink
Tapas goes Asian
Five spicy plates
Fancy Vietnamese
cr阷es or Thai
chicken wings? Try
these small dishes
with big flavours
Charred prawns with nam jim
Makes 2 pancakes
100g white spelt flour
� tsp baking powder
� tsp sea salt
150ml cup instant dashi, or fish or
vegetable stock
2 eggs
300g cabbage, thinly sliced
3 spring onions, finely chopped
diagonally, reserve some for garnish
2 tbsp vegetable oil
100g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp mayonnaise (Kewpie Japanese
mayonnaise is best)
2 tbsp bonito flakes (available in larger
supermarkets or Asian supermarkets)
1 tbsp pickled sushi ginger
Non-stick frying pan with a fitted lid
For the dipping sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 First make a dipping sauce by mixing
the soy sauce and the rice vinegar. Or
use shop-bought okonomiyaki sauce.
2 For the pancakes, combine the flour,
baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk in the stock and eggs. Then add
the cabbage and most of the spring
onions and combine.
3 Add a tablespoon of the vegetable oil
to the frying pan and heat over a
medium-high heat. Add half of the batter
in a neat round shape, about 15cm in
diameter ? okonomiyaki should be thick.
4 Place half the prawns on top so that
they sit into the batter, put the lid on and
cook for about 3-4 min, until the bottom
is set and golden. Carefully turn over,
place the lid back on and cook for a
further 3?4 min, until the prawns are
cooked through and the surface is
golden. Turn over and cook for a further
2 min with the lid off.
5 Slide the pancake on to a plate, then
drizzle over half of the mayonnaise and
top with the bonito flakes and remaining
spring onions. Drizzle with the
okonomiyaki sauce or serve with the
dipping sauce. Serve immediately with
the pickled ginger on the side. Repeat for
the second pancake.
Thai chicken
wings with
peanut sauce
Serves 4-6
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
225g smooth peanut butter
120ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp crushed chilli flakes, plus extra
for garnish
1� tbsp ground cumin
250ml warm water
1.8kg chicken wings, halved at the joints,
tips removed
Sea salt flakes, to taste
Makes 8 cr阷es
220g rice flour
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp coconut palm sugar or
demerara sugar
400ml coconut milk
300ml cold water
Vegetable oil, for frying
200g beansprouts
250?300g cooked prawns
Sea salt and black pepper
To serve
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Cucumber wedges
1 Whisk together the garlic, peanut
butter, lemon juice, crushed chilli flakes
and ground cumin with the warm water.
Season with salt.
2 Toss the chicken wings with 225g
of the sauce, cover and marinate in
the refrigerator overnight or for at
least 2 hours.
3 Preheat the grill to high. Grill the
chicken for 20?25 min, turning
occasionally, until cooked through,
lightly charred and the juices run clear
when the thickest part is pierced to
the bone.
4 Serve the wings with the remaining
peanut sauce, topped with chopped
flat-leaf parsley and crushed chilli
flakes, accompanied by chunky
cucumber wedges to counteract the
spicy heat.
For the nuoc cham dipping sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 bird?s-eye chillies, very finely chopped
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
110ml water
Thai peanut chicken wings
Vietnamese chicken
and quinoa bites
To serve
Large lettuce leaves
Fresh mint leaves
Handful of spring onions, sliced
22?24cm non-stick frying pan
1 For the nuoc cham sauce, combine the
garlic, chillies, rice wine vinegar and
lime juice in a small bowl and leave for
5 min. Add the rest of the ingredients,
mix well and leave to one side.
2 To make the pancake batter, sift
both flours and turmeric into a large
bowl. Stir in the sugar and a pinch of
Recipes taken from
Asian Tapas
(Ryland Peters and
Small, �99)
salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the
coconut milk and water, ensuring
there are no lumps.
3 Place the frying pan over a high heat.
Add a little vegetable oil, and once
smoking hot, ladle in a thin layer of the
batter, swirling around to evenly cover
the base of the pan. Turn the heat down
to medium-high and fry for 3 min, then
add some beansprouts and prawns and
cook for a further 2 min. When the
bottom of the pancake is crisp and
golden, fold it over, slide it on to a plate.
They are best when just cooked, so
serve them immediately, one at a time.
4 To eat, place a good chunk of the
pancake, some mint and slices of
spring onions in a lettuce leaf, wrap
it up tightly and dunk in the sauce.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Food + Drink 15
Japanese okonomiyaki pancakes
Should you drink wine
from China? Of course
Jane MacQuitty
a medium heat and bring to the boil,
then reduce the heat to low. Simmer
with a lid on for 10 min, until it is soft
and fluffy and all the water has been
soaked up. Leave to one side to cool.
2 Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6.
3 Add all the ingredients for the spice
paste to a blender and whizz until
smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4 Add the ground chicken to the spice
paste, then the cooled quinoa, the salt,
sweet chilli sauce and cornflour, and
mix everything together.
5 Dampen your hands and roll the
mixture into balls about 1 tablespoon in
size. Lay them on the prepared baking
sheet and drizzle with the oils. Bake in
the preheated oven for 10?15 min. Once
cooked, cut one open to check it is
white all the way through and slightly
browned on the base.
6 Serve wrapped in lettuce leaves with
some fresh coriander and sweet chilli
sauce on the side to dip into.
chicken and
quinoa bites
Makes 20
85g quinoa
450g minced chicken
� tsp sea salt
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, plus extra
to serve
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
Lettuce leaves and fresh coriander,
to serve
Baking sheet, lined with non-stick
baking parchment
For the spice paste
50g sliced shallots
20g fresh mint
20g fresh coriander
2 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves
discarded and roughly chopped
2.5cm piece fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
� tbsp fish sauce
2 bird?s-eye chillies
1 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
1 Put the quinoa in a small saucepan
and pour over 250ml of water. Set over
Charred prawns
with nam jim
Serves 3?4
The stalks of 1 bunch of fresh coriander,
plus some leaves for garnish
2 garlic cloves
2.5cm piece fresh ginger
1 large red chilli, deseeded, plus extra
slices for garnish
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar or demerara
Sea salt
2 tsp fish sauce
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
8 raw king prawns, shell on
1 To make the sauce, use a pestle and
mortar to pound the coriander stalks,
garlic, ginger and chilli into a paste.
When the skin of the chilli comes loose
you should pick it out and discard it.
2 Add the sugar and pound, then add
a little salt, the fish sauce and lime juice.
Mix together and taste. Adjust it ever so
slightly until you get the right balance.
3 Heat a griddle pan over a high heat.
Cut the prawns lengthways down the
middle of the belly so you have long
halves. Place them, flesh-side down,
on the dry pan, cook for 2 min, then
flip them over and cook for another
2 min.
4 Once cooked, arrange the prawns
together on a plate scattered with
the reserved coriander leaves and
extra chilli slices. Drizzle with nam
jim and serve.
his year could be the start
of something big for
Chinese wine. Sainsbury?s,
Wine Rack, Tesco and
Berry Bros have taken
delivery of the latest
vintages, and there will be
plenty more coming our way soon.
Sceptical? You shouldn?t be: China has
the second largest area under vine in the
world and its 2,000 wineries pump out a
billion litres a year, with consumption
expected to rise by almost 40 per cent in
value over the next five years.
Unsurprisingly, big boys such as
Pernod Ricard, Mo雝 & Chandon and
Ch鈚eau Lafite have all set up shop in
China, joining Changyu Pioneer Wine
Company, the country?s oldest producer,
famed for its Noble Dragon wines.
Until a decade ago most Chinese
wines were grubby, distinctly odd,
usually red wines with stewed fruit, too
much oak and often horrid, unripe,
green, herbaceous notes. Then five years
ago Berry Bros took the brave step of
importing half a dozen just about
drinkable wines and last year Sainsbury?s
was the first supermarket to list the
Noble Dragon white and red duo.
China has the same problems it has
always had, favouring quantity over
quality, with excessive use of irrigation
and pesticides. Counterfeit wine and
bottle variability remain issues, and
dodgy weather in the main regions
doesn?t help. Yet its vast range of soils,
climates and sheer scale offer lots of
untapped potential, and quality is rising
with every vintage.
Much of the wine that reaches our
shores is in the upper price brackets.
Last month I tasted the 2014 Ao Yun
vintage from Mo雝 Hennessy, made in
the foothills of the Himalayas, and found
its bold, green olive, bay leaf, graphite
and blackcurrant fruit to be lean,
structured and clearly bordeauxinspired. At �0 a pop from Harrods,
it?s not worth the money, but to pull that
off in the second-release vintage shows
just how far and fast China has come.
In the same vein are the 2013 Ch鈚eau
Changyu Moser XV, another 15 per cent
alcohol cabernet sauvignon, with strong,
herby, green-pepper fruit (Berry Bros,
�), and Judy Chan?s 2011 Deep Blue
from the Shanxi-based Grace Vineyard,
a rich, gamey, savoury, 13 per cent
cabernet-merlot (Selfridges, �.99).
At the bottom end, most of the wines
we get here will contain a large dollop
of cabernet gernischt, so if that doesn?t
appeal check out the quirky, curranty
spice of the 2015 Moser XV Cabernet
Sauvignon (Tesco, down to �.
Changyu Noble Dragon
Riesling, Yantai, China,
13 per cent
Sainsbury?s, �(down from �)
Musky, peach and five
spice-scented, textured,
non-vintage white.
2015 Changyu Noble
Dragon Red, Yantai,
China, 12 per cent
Sainsbury?s, �(down from �)
Truffle and spiced beef red
from cabernet gernischt
with cabernet sauvignon.
2016 Moser XV White
Cabernet, Ningxia,
China, 14.5 per cent
Wine Rack, �.99
China?s first blanc de noir
pink: dry, herbaceous and
surprisingly palatable.
2016 The Lady of
Fashion, Shandong,
China, 11.5 per cent
Real Wine Company,
0800 0322992, �.50
Check out this pleasant,
smoky, appley, oak-aged
chardonnay-viognier mix.
This week?s best buys
2017 Exquisite Collection
Albari駉, Spain,
13 per cent
Aldi, �29
Awesome albari駉 with all
the bright, breezy, citrus
peel pizzazz you?d expect.
2017 Ferrandi鑢e Rouge
R閟erve, France,
13.5 per cent
Aldi, �99
Nab this ripe, raisiny,
plum jam of a merlotsyrah-marselan mix.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
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projects for the
whole family
Children will love
helping out, says
Joe Swift, they just
need the right
tools and plants
t this time of year as the
days get longer, garden
centres are always fully
stocked with plenty of
interesting plants. Spring
weekends provide a great
chance for families to
spend time out in the garden together.
Most children love gardening and there
are no downsides ? it?s fun, healthy,
creative, educational, exciting and
rewarding. It teaches them patience, that
things may not always turn out as
expected and, if they grow some edibles,
it helps them to understand where their
food comes from. Of course, it?s vital not
to make gardening feel like a chore.
Before you head off to the garden
centre here are some things to
consider and some easily
achievable family gardening
branches that you have pruned off to
make a bonfire. Once any tidying is done
and it?s time for the creative elements
such as laying plants out, making plant
supports, planting or sowing seed,
get them involved.
A patch of their own
Early success, rather than failure, is vital
to keep their interest going. If you are
giving them their own patch, which I
think is a good idea, make sure that it
has got decent soil and that it is in a
sunny spot. It needs to be practical and
accessible, so put a few stepping stones
round it or perhaps dig up a section of the
lawn so that it?s accessible from all sides.
Ideally, site it near the house so they can
watch it grow and will know
when to weed and water it.
Growbags and large pots
can work well too and
can be placed on
hard surfaces.
Adult tools are
simply too heavy
for kids to use;
they need their
Creating a simple
own. They won?t
theme or a couple
need many:
of themes, such as
a children?s fork or
?butterfly garden?,
spade (ideally both)
?touch garden?
and a hand fork and
Buddleia is a good
(sensory), ?scent
spade, perhaps a small
choice for butterflies
or ?salad garden?,
watering can (kits are
will help you to choose
available). Try to look for tools,
plants, keep things simple and
not toys. Handle them yourself and see
A sign can then be made
the size in your child?s hands. Fat plastic
up for fun (eg ?Joe?s super-smelly
ones tend to be cumbersome and
garden?) and scarecrows, bird baths
impossible to dig with.
and so on can be added later. Perhaps
you already have some existing plants
in the garden to build on, such as a
buddleia (for butterflies) or lavender
Let them dig and get muddy and
generally help with whatever you?re doing (for scent).
in the garden. Encourage their interests
and appreciate that they may not have
long concentration spans. Some children
Flowering annual plants are best bought
like to dig, some like to carry trugs of
in strips (the cheapest), modules or small
leaves to the compost heap or stack
pots and planted out. These aren?t hardy,
What to
Find out what they like
Buy seed or small plants
Give children their
own easy plants to
grow such as
lavender and
however. As we can have frost into mid and
even late May, which can be calamitous,
wait for these to go in or have a plan to keep
them protected (fleece them over, grow in a
protected cool greenhouse, conservatory or
porch and plant out a little later).
Sowing seeds and watching them sprout
and grow, flower and fruit is magical. Large,
easy-to-handle seeds (beans, sunflowers,
courgettes) are best for small hands, and
quick-growing annual flowering plants
are always a favourite. Some can be
started off in little pots or modules on
the windowsill (perhaps made from old
toilet rolls) and once they have got going
and the frosts are definitely over they can
be hardened off and planted directly into
the soil; the cardboard will rot away as the
plant grows.
curry plant (Helichrysum italicum), sweet
My top easy-to-grow
plants for children
Three fun projects
Plants for attracting butterflies
Scabiosa ?Butterfly Blue?, honesty (Lunaria
annua), sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis),
Verbena bonariensis, aubretia.
Plants for scent
Lavender, rosemary, chocolate cosmos,
Plants for touch
Lamb?s ears (Stachys byzantina), silver sage
(Salvia argentea), Jerusalem sage (Phlomis
fruticosa), ponytail grass (Stipa tenuissima).
Easy edibles (ground/growbags or pots)
Radishes, spring onions, cut-and-comeagain salad mixes, pak choi, carrots (plant
in deep pots), courgettes, salad potatoes.
Plants for colour
Sunflowers (a must ? they can grow a foot
a week in summer), heuchera (colourful
leaves), Swiss chard ?Bright Lights? (edible),
Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena),
snapdragons, marigolds, cosmos.
Make a bug box or a log stack
Bug boxes or homes can easily be made
from recycled materials for many insects,
including ladybirds and hover flies, which
will return the favour by munching on your
aphids. A wooden box with one side open
(one of those posh single wine boxes with no
lid or something similar) is ideal. Fill it with
branches, stems, drilled pieces of wood and
the times Saturday April 7 2018
?I stopped to see a rare duck
? a mandarin, all in ginger
and scarlet and white?
Christopher Somerville?s good walk
Dig out the secateurs ? it?s
time to trim your fuchsias
A good prune now
will set them up for
the rest of the year.
Stephen Anderton
gives his advice
Fuchsia ?Genii? and ?Rufus?
cut sections of hollow bamboo canes.
Cut them flush at the front for a neat
finish if you are bothered about
aesthetics (the bugs don?t care) and hang
on a fence or fix to a wall in a cool shady
spot. Siting is important ? move it to
another spot after a week or two if there
aren?t any signs of insect life.
Grow your name in the lawn
This is so easy, and the lawn will quickly
recover. Cut out a name in big letters or a
pattern out of cardboard and pin down
on to the lawn with bent bits of wire coat
hangers. Leave for a week or so and then
lift to reveal the design. It teaches
children that plants need sunlight to
photosynthesise to produce chlorophyll
(the green pigment).
Bamboo canes or hazel sticks stuck in the
ground and tied into a simple tepee at the
top with string or cable ties makes the
perfect support for annual climbers such
as sweet peas, black-eyed Susan or
climbing beans. If you have the space you
could get quite carried away and with
only a few canes make a one-season den
or tunnel with a bark chippings floor.
Sounds fun, eh?
t?s the best time of year to prune
hardy fuchsias, the kind that live
as permanent shrubs in the garden
and with slim, elegant dangling
flowers on arching stems. Can you
remember popping their buds as a
child, or the sweet-nothing taste of
their reddish-black berries, or watching
them being visited by moths? They are
a world removed from the highly bred
bedding fuchsias you see in pubs?
hanging baskets, overflowing with
Hardy fuchsias certainly deliver the
goods, flowering from June until the
frosts, even in semi-shade. Not many
plants do that. And isn?t that flower
fascinating? People rave about the
complications of passion flowers, but
fuchsias are almost as good: the green
seed capsule, the waxy scarlet outer
petals peeled back, the purple frilly inner
petals, and below that, like exotic icicles,
the multiple red stamens tipped by a
central stigma. They are pretty
spectacular when you look properly.
There are pink-flowered varieties too,
and white ones, and some variegated.
So, how do you prune them, to set
back to keep them within the profile you
them up for the year? There are three
require, whether it?s at 1.5m or 2.5m. Just
different effects that you can produce.
remember that really heavy pruning,
The first is the ?fountain effect?. I like
cutting back through 4cm diameter
to cut my fuchsias down to about
stems and more, is a winter job; sawn
15-20cm every spring. By midsummer
through now, they may bleed.
this produces a fast-developing
Fuchsia shrubs can also be
fountain of self-supporting
grown as a hedge. Cornwall is
stems and is starting to
the place to see them as
hedges because in the
Try to create a little
milder climate they are
coronet of last year?s
more permanent.
fatter stems (say,
?The wall shrub? is
finger-thick) and snip
the final effect you
off all those wispy
can achieve in your
twiglets so they stand
own garden. The long
clean. It has to be
annual shoots of
said, fuchsias are
fuchsias are remarkably
uncomplaining plants
disinclined to break or
and there is no finesse
snap off at the base, which
F. ?Whiteknights Pearl?
required here. There is
means they are good for
nothing else to do except give
clothing a fence, perhaps at the
a bucket of compost or a handful
back of a border, or even up a pergola. In
of fertiliser, because having all that
this situation they need pruning back to
growth cut away annually is a tough
a flat framework, which may need tying
life for a shrub.
back. (The so-called climbing fuchsias
The second effect that can be
with bigger, fatter flowers ? such as
produced is the ?chunky shrub?. Left to
?Lady Boothby?? are more ganglers
their own devices, hardy fuchsias can
and definitely need tying back.)
turn into 3-4m shrubs, fine in the right
Life at the foot of a wall or fence is
place, and if they have the rich, moist
always dryer than in the open and so
soil they love, they?ll get there faster.
here a bucket of compost is especially
Grown as shrubs, all they need is cutting
useful to help the soil to hold moisture.
Q I have been throwing
in forks full of compost
among my shrubs. Do I
need to spread it out or
is it OK to leave that to
the birds?
K Brewer
A As a feed it?s fine as it
is, as a moisture-retainer
it needs spreading. What
matters is that you do
not leave it in mounds
against the stems of your
shrubs. Worms and birds
will pull away a layer
5-6cm deep, but 10cm
and more may remain to
smother and kill bark,
leading to disease. Poke a
hoe in there and just pull
it back a little.
Email your gardening
questions to
My favourite fuchsias
?Riccartonii? (2.3m)
The classic red-and-purple slender
fuchsia ? hedge-worthy and hardy.
?Rufus? (60cm)
A lovely variety with flowers that are
wholly red (rather than red and purple).
?Mrs Popple? (1.5m)
Bushy, with chunkier flowers than most
?Hawkshead? (1.5m)
White with green tips to the outer petals.
F. var. molinae (1.5-2m)
A soft pink, vigorous and easy to grow.
?Mrs W. P. Wood? (1m)
An attractive salmony shade of pink.
?Whiteknights Pearl? (1m)
Pale pink with just a hint of mauve.
?Genii? (1m)
Lime yellow foliage with red and purple
?Versicolor? (90cm)
Conspicuous coppery pink new foliage
in spring, later grey-green.
To divide hellebores, slice
out a piece of the crown,
just as the leaves begin to
shoot, but leave the rest
of the clump undisturbed.
Plant new heathers 4cm
deeper than in the pot
and in 100 per cent full
light. Most heathers
like an acid soil, but
winter-flowering Erica
carnea accepts lime.
Lightly trim established
heathers, just as the new
shoots are showing
colour, to keep them
dense and attractive.
Never cut back into old
bare wood. Stiff callunas
are easily snipped over
with shears, by about
1-4cm. Lanky daboecias
may need to have spent
flower stems taken by the
handful and chopped
through with secateurs,
back to emerging buds;
as much as 30cm may
come off.
Put on gloves and comb
out the dead foliage
of evergreen grasses
such as Stipa gigantea,
but don?t cut them
back hard. SA
the times Saturday April 7 2018
20 Outside
Five summer bulbs to plant now
With a little
planning, you?ll
have blooms that
last until autumn,
says Alice Bowe
ummer-flowering bulbs are
an easy way to add colour
that will last right through to
autumn, and now is the best
time to plant them. If you
plan to dot them around as
summer bedding, plant each
bulb into its own pot of multipurpose
compost. If you are using them as part of
a longer-term container, a soil-based
John Innes (one part grit to three parts
compost) is better. The bulbs should be
planted at twice the depth of their
height, in a container at least double
their width.
Choose a warm sunny spot to help
them to sprout: a windowsill or
heated greenhouse is ideal. Water
sparingly ? and only when the compost
is completely dry ? until you see the
first green shoots. You can move them to
their permanent position outside once
all danger of frost has passed.
Peacock orchid Acidanthera murielae
These beautiful giants are also
known as the Abyssinian
gladiolus. Heavily scented
white flowers appear from
August on 100cm stems that
dance in the breeze. Each
flower is stamped with a deep
aubergine central blotch. Plant
the corms in clusters, say 15 of them
in a 30cm pot, or the equivalent space
in a border at a depth of 15cm. A layer of
sharp sand at the bottom of the planting
hole to help drainage should avoid you
having to lift and overwinter them.
Cape hyacinth Galtonia candicans
These extremely frost-hardy
bulbs produce a dazzling
summer show of fragrant white
flowers from July. Plant them
in full sun with reliable levels
of moisture. They do not like
too much moisture in their
dormant winter season,
however, so choose a
well-drained position and be
prepared to add extra water and mulch
in the growing season if you need to.
Many waxy white flowers dangle from
each main central stem. Grows up to
120cm and 40cm across.
Skyscraper lily Lilium ?Anastasia?
This fantastic hybrid is the
result of a cross between
oriental and trumpet lilies. It
retains the best qualities of
both, producing a towering
plant with multiple large
scented pink flowers throughout
July. It will reach peak
performance in the second or third
Skyscraper lily
year, growing 250cm with up to 25
large blooms on each stem. Plant in a
sunny spot in reliably moist soil, but
shaded at the base. Staking is vital. Do
this before the flowers appear to prevent
it collapsing under its own weight.
Coral drops Bessera elegans
This bulb, reminiscent of
a fuchsia crossed with a
snowdrop, is small and
unscented ? but a total
delight. The flowers are
mesmerising; bright red buds
open to show cherry-red
reflexed petals, a pale, creamy
interior with red veining and long
Cape hyacinth
scarlet anthers. Each flower will last
several weeks, with up to eight flowers
dripping from each stem. This 60cm
plant likes a spot in full sun or
semi-shade and will flower
for up to four months
between June and the
end of September.
Coral drops are only
half-hardy and will
not survive a UK
winter in the ground,
so are ideal for
planting in a container
or window boxes.
Coral drops
Amarcrinum Amarcrinum
memoria-corsii ?Howardii?
This hybrid has beautiful scented flowers
from one of its parent flowers, the
crinum, but improved foliage
from the amaryllis. Crinum
foliage is ugly, quickly
becoming tatty while
the flowers are at their
best. However, the
issue is resolved here
and instead the lily
has thick sturdy stems
and fresh green leaves.
The trumpet-shaped
flowers, blush pink with a
pink central stripe,
appear from July, with up to
15 gorgeous flowers on each stem.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Outside 21
A good walk Bewdley
and Wyre Forest, Worcs
he venerable buildings of
Bewdley, half-timbered and
crooked, lean together
along the River Severn
like familiar neighbours.
The picturesque little
Worcestershire town,
admiring its reflection in the
bronze-brown waters of the Severn, was
once a rough and prosperous river port.
Bewdley bargemen were so famed for
their strength and skill on the water
that Nelson?s press gangs frequently
invaded the place to march them away
for the navy.
A swan with four cygnets in tow sailed
down the Severn and under Bewdley?s
graceful old bridge. Cherry blossom was
out along the banks as we walked
upriver; violets and wood anemones
ringed the trees as we followed rutted
woodland paths through Wyre Forest.
Beside the chuckling thread of
Dowles Brook stood the long-redundant
Knowles Mill, its iron and wooden
milling machinery still in situ. A lonely
site for a corn mill, but a beautiful one
today, with chiffchaffs singing in the
spring in the oak tops and the pink buds
of bilberry coming into blossom in the
heathery banks of the wood.
I stopped to see a rare duck swimming
in the brook ? a mandarin, all in ginger
and scarlet and white. Out from the
banks swam his steel-blue mate, both
birds bobbing their heads as they hunted
for a nesting site.
We passed Lodge Hill Farm and
headed south among old orchards in
blossom, then through woodland, cut
and coppiced by the Wyre Community
Land Trust. The trust is intent on
restoring 300 acres of neglected forest to
their former richness of wildlife and of
timber production, essential work that
goes largely unsung.
At Ribbesford Church the ancient
tympanum over the north door showed
a huntsman discharging his bow at a
ravening mythic beast of the forest.
Inside, a bristle-backed boar in medieval
stained glass wrinkled his long snout in
swinish mirth. We stopped to admire
him, then walked the Severn path back
to Bewdley, with mergansers pairing off
under the river banks and anemones
starring the grasses along the way.
Start Dog Lane car park, Bewdley,
Worcestershire DY12 2EF (OS ref:
SO 785755)
Getting there Severn Valley Railway
( from Bridgnorth or
Kidderminster. Bus service 2
(Kidderminster). Road: Bewdley is on the
A456 (Kidderminster-Tenbury Wells).
Walk 9 miles, easy underfoot,
OS Explorer 218. Left along River Severn;
at broken bridge (780764), left to B4194.
Right through broken bridge; left
(?Geopark Way?) on woodland path.
At road (772764), right. In � mile, left at
Knowles Mill across stream (762766).
Go between house and mill; right up path
(don?t cross stile). In 500m, opposite
nesting box No 18, right (760766) through
kissing gate (KG). Bear left across drive of
Lodge Hill Farm (KGs, yellow arrows/
YA). South across old railway; continue
are heading
back to
the moors
Lodge Hill
The River Severn
near Bewdley
St George?s
Lord?s Yard
500 metres
south for 1� miles (YAs) on woodland
paths via Ruskin Land and Lord?s Yard
Coppice to A456 (757742). Dogleg left/
right across road (fingerpost); south
across fields, into wood. At far side of
wood (759735), left; in 40m, right (YA);
at gate (761735, ?Keep Out?), follow
bridleway (blue arrows/BA) through
woods for 2/3 mile to Park End (767735).
Left along road and follow Worcestershire
Way past Horse Hill Farm (777736) and
the Beeches (780739) to Ribbesford
Church. Right (787740, BA) to road and
heatears are
returning to
Britain for the
summer. Along
with chiffchaffs
and sand
martins, they
are the earliest summer migrants to
arrive. The wheatears appear first in
open places such as football pitches,
where you see what looks for a moment
like a small white bird scampering
about or fluttering up to catch a
low-flying insect.
At closer quarters you see that it is
pale grey above, with a long white rump,
and has a dark line through the eye,
blackish wings and white underparts
tinged with pink ? a much more
handsome bird than it seems on the
first distant impression. It also has a
distinctive black T-shape at the end of its
short tail. The female bird is browner.
Their name traces back to medieval
English and, referring to their rump,
means ?white arse?.
Before long these restless creatures
will be back on northern and western
moors. Here the males will sing a lively
warbling song from a small hillock or
from the top of a dry stone wall. They
make sharp, impertinent-sounding
?chack chack? cries, and as they dart
and dive about, constantly bobbing up
and down on stones, one may think of
them as imps of the moors. They make
their nests, often using bracken, in
hollows under rocks, or in holes in
the walls.
There is also a subspecies, slightly
larger and darker, called the Greenland
wheatear, which every spring makes a
prodigious journey from central Africa
(where our wheatears also winter) to
Greenland and even eastern Canada.
They can be seen in Britain in May,
usually along the coast, and again on
the way back in autumn. On each trip
these birds that weigh an ounce cross
the Atlantic.
Derwent May
River Severn (789739); left along river
to Bewdley.
Lunch/accommodation Mug House
Inn, Severn Side, Bewdley DY12 2EE
(01299 402543,,
right on the river
More information Bewdley Tourist
Information Centre (08456 077819);; online maps and
more walks at christophersomerville.;;;
Christopher Somerville
A swan with
four cygnets
in tow sailed
down the
Severn and
under Bewdley?s
graceful bridge
the times Saturday April 7 2018
the times Saturday April 7 2018
24 Travel
the times Saturday April 7 2018
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 25
?To the Englishman, Tasmania
seems unexpectedly familiar
yet strange: almost dreamlike?
Matthew Parris enjoys a tour of the Australian island
Monument Valley on the
Utah-Arizona border
30 best adventures in America
Planning a break
in the US? From a
trek in the Grand
Canyon to music
tours in the Deep
South, Aaron Millar
has the best trips
The west
1 Colorado cowboys
Ranch Rider has a new five-day
horsemanship and working ranch
experience. Camping out on the eastern
prairie, near Colorado Springs, with the
two-time world champion extreme
cowboy Cameron Schryver, expect daily
lessons, campfire meals under the stars
and the chance to move cattle on his
working team. Even better, new low-cost
London-to-Denver flights make getting
there more affordable than ever.
Details A six-day stay, including all
meals, activities and private furnished
tent, costs from �425pp (01509 618811, Return flights to
Denver on Norwegian cost from �0pp
(0330 8280854,
2 Utah glamping
Experience two of America?s
finest new luxury camping
experiences on this Utah road
trip. Sleep on the border of Zion
National Park in a ?stargazer?
tent, then head to Moab,
staying in safari-style cabins by
Canyonlands National Park. En
route, stay by Monument Valley.
Details Three nights glamping in
both Zion and Moab plus one night
at Monument Valley, with flights and
car hire costs from �500pp
(020 3553 2535,
?Stargazer? tent in Utah
3 Ranches in Arizona
Western & Oriental has a brilliant new
trip combining three of Arizona?s best
ranches in a ten-day adventure. Its
highlights include riding across
the deserts of Saguaro National
Park adjacent to the White
Stallion Ranch, staying in a
recreation of an 1880s Wild
West town, and the historic
hacienda-style Rancho de la
Osa, close to the border with
Details An 11-day trip, including
flights to Phoenix, full-board
accommodation and all on-ranch
activities, costs from �849pp
(020 3553 9299, W
the times Saturday April 7 2018
26 Travel
20 The French Quarter, New Orleans
Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming
Whale watching in Alaska
4 Idaho family rafting
Idaho is America?s whitewater rafting
capital, and this idyllic floating trip down
the Salmon River is as good as it gets.
Designed for families, it includes fun
rapids as well as stretches of calm water,
from where you can gaze at canyons
rising way above, stopping at old pioneer
and Native American sites. Nights are
spent camped out by the water?s edge,
with a dedicated ?River Jester? to
entertain the children with games,
crafts and adventure.
Details A five-day holiday, including
equipment, guides, meals and activities,
costs from �2pp. Suitable for ages
five and up. Flights to Lewiston, Idaho,
cost extra. Departures are from July
to September (01273 823700,
5 America?s favourite
Consistently voted America?s favourite
luxury ranch by leading US travel
magazines, the Lodge & Spa at Brush
Creek Ranch in southern Wyoming
is everything a high-end Wild West
holiday should be: impeccable
frontier-style design, warm attentive
service, ?pasture-to-plate? food and
more than 30,000 acres of private,
wide-open countryside to explore.
Go horse riding or fly-fishing ?
and unwind in the great outdoors.
Details Doubles cost from $775pp
(�8) a night, including all meals,
drinks and activities. Flights to Denver,
four hours south, cost extra (00 1 307
327 5284,
6 Yellowstone in a tepee
Explore Yellowstone National Park on
a six-day tour that includes tracking
wolves and bison in the Lamar Valley
and strolling among the kaleidoscopic
hot springs of the upper geyser
basin, home to the world?s highest
concentration of geysers.You stay in
luxury tepees and mountain lodges.
Details A six-day guided tour with flights
to Jackson Hole, accommodation,
activities, some meals and transfers
costs from �899pp. Departures are
June to September (0333 2207275,
7 Discover Nevada
This self-drive trip begins with two
nights in Las Vegas before you head out
to discover Nevada?s starkly beautiful
landscapes. Highlights include seeing the
sand dunes, salt flats and mountains of
Death Valley, exploring ghost towns, and
hiking in Great Basin National Park.
Details An eight-day trip, including
flights, accommodation and car hire,
costs from �135pp (020 8742 8299,
8 Autumn Grand Canyon
Most people come to the Grand Canyon
in summer and see the south rim, but
away from the crowded viewpoints in
the autumn the majesty of this wonder
of the world comes alive. Following the
remote Escalante Trail through the heart
of the canyon itself, this guided 33-mile
trek, camping out at riverside beaches
along the way, is considered by experts
to be one of America?s best hikes.
Details A seven-day trek leaving on
October 21 with mountain guides,
camping equipment, all meals,
permits and transfers costs from
�490pp. Flights to Phoenix cost extra
(020 8875 5060,
10 Californian dream
West coast
9 Alternative Pacific
Coast Highway
California?s legendary Pacific
Coast Highway from Los
Angeles to San Francisco was
hit by a landslide last year,
making the northern stretch
around Big Sur impassable. For
an equally stunning and more
adventurous alternative head two
states north to the Pacific shores of
Washington. This west coast road trip,
which hugs the rugged coastline of the
Olympic Peninsula via the whale
watching of the San Juan Islands and
the rainforests of Olympic National Park
may be less well known, but it?s arguably
more spectacular.
Details An eight-day Seattle Loop
Olympic National Park Route, plus
a tailor-made, four-day San Juan
Island add-on, with flights to Seattle,
accommodation and car hire, costs
from �344pp (020 8776 8709,
If you have only two weeks to see
California, this is the perfect trip. Start
in LA before heading east to the deserts
of Joshua Tree National Park and the
modernist architecture and spas of Palm
Springs. From there, turn north past
Sequoia National Park to the waterfalls
and peaks of Yosemite in the Sierra
Nevada. Finish by circling back to San
Francisco via the beaches of Lake
Tahoe and the marvellous vineyards
of Napa Valley. Alternatively, book
a flight, hire an RV (recreational
vehicle) and stay at camp sites
on a self-drive trip.
Details A 14-day self-drive trip,
including flights to LA,
returning from San Francisco,
accommodation, breakfasts
and car hire, costs from
�299pp (020 3504 3404,;
for RVs see
11 Family adventure on
the Oregon Trail
Hire an RV to explore
California?s Sierra Nevada
This new family holiday recreates the
adventure of the Oregon Trail, the
more than 2,000-mile migration path
taken by the pioneers 175 years ago.
Mirroring the experience of those early
settlers, families will spend three days
travelling in a mule-driven covered
wagon train, cooking over the campfire
and sleeping out under the stars each
night. Other highlights include hiking
by the cobalt waters of Crater Lake
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 27
Whitewater rafting on the Salmon River, Idaho
Yosemite National Park, California
a two-day rail journey across the
northern spine of the country. The
journey takes in the lakes of northern
Minnesota, the vast empty plains of
North Dakota, Montana?s Glacier
National Park and the lush mountains
of the Pacific Northwest before ending
in the hip port of Seattle.
Details A ten-day trip including flights to
Chicago, returning from Seattle, seven
nights? hotel accommodation and two
nights on the sleeper train, costs from
�195pp (01904 521936,
The south
18 Direct to Nashville
National Park, peering over the edge
of Hells Canyon, which, at 7,993ft, is
the country?s deepest river gorge, and
spending time in the buzzing city of
Portland at the start and the end.
Details An 11-night trip, including
return flights to Portland, car hire,
accommodation and guided covered
wagon train experience, costs from
�475pp. There are set departures
from July to September (0800 3160194,
12 Alaska by small ship
The rugged coastline of Alaska?s Inside
Passage is one of the world?s great
natural wonders and this new small-ship,
expedition-style cruise will show it in the
most intimate way. Spot orcas, porpoises
and seals in Behm Canal, look for
bears and moose in the Tongass Forest,
hear the crack of icebergs on the mighty
Dawes Glacier and finish off in the Misty
Fiords National Monument, where
3,000ft cliffs drop to ice-blue lakes.
Details A seven-night cruise including
transfers, activities and meals, costs
from �467pp. Flights to Juneau are
extra. Departures are from May to
September (01737 886103,
13 Hike the
John Muir Trail
Commemorate 50 years since the
formation of America?s superb network
of long-distance trails by tackling one of
its best: the John Muir Trail, 200 miles of
hiking nirvana, from Mount Whitney,
the highest point in the lower 48 states,
across the hills of the High Sierra, to the
heart of Yosemite National Park. Permits
are hard to get, but this guided group
trip from World Expeditions has some.
Details A 23-day trek, including
mountain guides, camping equipment,
all meals and permits, costs from
�990pp. Flights to Mammoth Yosemite
airport are not included. Departs on July
6, August 3 and September 3 (0800
The centre
14 Art and design
in the Windy City
New budget flights make reaching
Chicago more affordable than ever. It?s
a good time to visit too because 2018 is
Chicago?s year of art and design, with
dozens of special exhibitions and shows.
Come in summer and you can combine
that culture with some of the best urban
beaches in the world ? 26 miles of
golden sand on the edge of Lake
Michigan. The new Viceroy Chicago
hotel makes an excellent base.
Details The Viceroy Chicago
has double rooms from $206
( Return
flights to Chicago on Norwegian cost
from �8pp (
15 Detroit road trip
Detroit is known as America?s Comeback
City: five years ago it was bankrupt and
and tour
Cruise the Atlantic
in style then tour
North America, with
stops at
Boston, New York,
DC and Niagara Falls
Includes flights, 15night cruise on
Silver Spirit, 6 nights
in top hotels and
Sept 10-Oct 1.
22 days from
Call 0808 278
9598, quoting
SAT0704. See
derelict, now it?s one of the country?s
hippest places, with buzzing restaurants
and nightlife plus a raft of new design
hotels including Shinola, opening in the
autumn. But don?t stop there. Also
explore Michigan?s Upper Peninsula by
the shores of three Great Lakes, Huron,
Superior and Michigan, the secret
summer playground of Midwesterners.
Details Prices for the Shinola Hotel have
yet to be announced (00 1 844 744
6652, New low-cost flights
to Detroit on Wow Air start this month,
from �0 return (
16 Minnesota houseboat
Voyageurs National Park in northern
Minnesota has 344 square miles of lakes
and meandering waterways surrounded
by boreal forests teeming with moose
and wolves. See it on a houseboat, many
of which feature hot tubs and even slides
into the water. Explore remote coves,
barbecue on the boat each night and
moor up beneath the stars.
Details A seven-day houseboat rental,
suitable for a family of five, costs from
$1,795. Flights to Minneapolis, transfers,
permits and mooring reservations
cost extra ( Permits for
overnight stays cost from $10 a night
(00 1 877 444 6777,
17 From Chicago
to Seattle by rail
Start with four days exploring the music,
art and nightlife of Chicago before
boarding the Amtrak sleeper service for
Next month BA launches its first direct
London-to-Nashville flights. Music City,
as it?s known, is an extraordinary place
filled with non-stop live performances
and steeped in country music history,
while nearby Memphis is famous
for being the home of Elvis and the
blues. Also launching this year is the
Tennessee Music Pathway, a 1,200-mile
road trip that links those popular music
sites with lesser-known gems.
Details A 15-day trip, including flights to
Nashville, car hire and accommodation,
costs from �775pp (020 8742 8299,
19 Follow the
Civil Rights Trail
This month marks the 50th anniversary
of Martin Luther King Jr?s assassination,
and a new self-drive US Civil Rights
Trail has just been launched. It covers
eight states and highlights include
where he was born in Atlanta, Georgia,
the 16th Street Baptist Church in
Birmingham, Alabama, bombed by the
Ku Klux Klan in 1963, and the new Civil
Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.
Details A 15-day Civil Rights Trail trip
across Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee,
Mississippi and Louisiana, including
flights to Atlanta, accommodation
and car hire, costs from �995pp
(0800 3163012,
20 Deep South
jazz and blues
The Deep South is a hotbed of
American music, with jazz and blues
as well as folk and country influences.
The best way to get to grips with the
different sounds is to hear them live
on a road trip that covers some of the
main night spots, including New Orleans
Continued next page
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 29
29 Nantucket in New England
27 North Carolina pirates
(famous for its jazz, blues and r?n?b
joints), Memphis and Nashville.
Details A nine-day trip including flights
to New Orleans, six days? hire car with
a free upgrade and three and four-star
hotels in New Orleans, Natchez,
Memphis and Nashville costs from
�149pp (020 7368 1200,
Commemorate the 300th anniversary of
the death of Blackbeard, the pirate, on a
self-guided trail around the coves and
inlets of North Carolina?s Outer Banks
? Blackbeard?s former hideout and the
location of his grisly end. There are
many lovely seaside villages to explore
? and the seafood is superb.
Details A seven-day trip including flights
to Raleigh-Durham, accommodation and
car hire, costs from �9pp (020 7993
21 Music festival and
Formula One in Austin
Whether it?s blues, country or rock?n?roll,
Austin is a feast for the ears. With new
low-cost flights direct from London,
which started last month, the legendary
Austin City Limits Music Festival and
the Formula One grand prix, both in
October, it?s a great time to go. Stay at
the hip Aloft Austin Downtown hotel.
Details Doubles at Aloft Austin
Downtown are from $339
( Return
flights are from �8 (
28 Maine autumn
foliage sailing
There is perhaps no more relaxing
way to see New England?s autumn
colours than from on board an authentic
19th-century sailing schooner, and
this six-day trip will take you to them,
minus the crowds, traffic and stress.
Details A seven-day cruise on
September 30 including
accommodation, activities and meals
is from $995pp. Flights to Boston cost
extra (
22 Texan design hotels
Explore the Rio Grande and the
spectacular mountains of Big Bend
National Park before heading to Cibolo
Creek Ranch, a 19th-century fort
converted into a boutique hotel. Finish
at the improbably hip Marfa ? the only
tumbleweed town in the world to have
two trendy design hotels (the sleek Hotel
Saint George is divine) and one of the
world?s leading contemporary art
galleries (the Chinati Foundation).
Details A week-long trip to Big Bend,
Cibolo Creek Ranch and Marfa, with
flights, accommodation and car hire
is from �555pp (020 8742 8299,
The east coast
23 Tour of the capital
This new tour of Washington DC, put
together by the documentary film-maker
Ken Burns, has been designed to provide
the most in-depth look at America?s
capital. Featuring private talks with
historians, political experts and Burns
himself, as well as exclusive tours of the
Library of Congress, Supreme Court,
National Archives and a black-tie gala
ball with a menu inspired by Lincoln?s
second inauguration dinner, this is
perhaps the ultimate intellectual tour.
You stay at Willard Intercontinental
hotel, host to every president since 1850.
Details A five-day trip with hotel,
transfers, most meals and all activities,
but not flights, costs from �790pp on
May 20 (0800 8108020,
24 Fly-drive Virginia
Virginia?s governor Terry McAuliffe
is passionate about his state, and this
self-drive itinerary shows off his family?s
favourite spots including swish hotels
such as the Jefferson ? host to 13
presidents ? and Boar?s Head Resort
in the foothills of the Blue Ridge
Mountains, as well as top restaurants,
spas, golf courses and vineyards.
Details A seven-day trip with flights to
Richmond, accommodation and car hire,
costs from �899pp (0333 3239099,
25 East coast family fun
Taking in Boston, Washington DC, New
York and Philadelphia, this nine-day trip
for families showcases the east coast?s
history from Gettysburg to the Liberty
Bell. There?s also jet-boating around
Manhattan, playing ball in Boston?s
Fenway Park, tours of the Hershey?s
chocolate factory and lunch in an
Amish community.
Details A nine-day trip including all
activities, accommodation, transfers
and some meals, costs from
�595pp (�335 per child).
Flights to Boston cost extra
(0808 5335619,
29 New England summer
26 New in Orlando
Universal Studios launches
its Fast & Furious:
Supercharged ride this
spring, a high-octane 3D
rollercoaster car chase. Sea
World opens Infinity Falls,
with the world?s tallest river
rapid drop, this summer.
Meanwhile, Disney?s Hollywood
Studios launches Toy Story Land,
with lots of exciting rides.
Details The eight-day Disney?s All-Star
Music Resort trip, including flights to
Orlando, accommodation and seven-day
access to Disney?s main Orlando parks,
costs from �106pp. Tickets to Universal
Studios and Sea World cost extra (0800
169 0730,
Travelling from Boston to the idyllic
islands of Cape Cod and Nantucket,
this trip offers the quintessential New
England seaside experience: small
fishing towns, quiet beaches and some
of the best seafood.
Details Purely New England?s
14-day trip to Boston,
Nantucket and Cape Cod,
including flights to Boston,
accommodation and car
hire, costs from �089pp
30 Family fun
in the Big Apple
The Supreme Court in
Washington DC
In New York?s Times Square,
National Geographic Encounter:
Ocean?s Odyssey is a new ?virtual
aquarium?, which has just opened
next to the NFL Experience, an
interactive museum. There is also
Spyscape, a new spy-themed museum
that lets kids test their espionage skills.
Details The Moxy Times Square
has doubles from $139
( See for further information
the times Saturday April 7 2018
30 Travel
Luxury travel
A room at the Relais de Chambord
Ch鈚eau Chambord
Fine wines and
even finer hotels
in the Loire Valley
Ch鈚eau Chambord
has restyled its
gardens and
opened a chic
new hotel in the
grounds. Sean
Thomas checks in
f there?s one word to describe the
royal ch鈚eau of Chambord in the
Loire Valley, two hours by TGV
from Paris, it might just be
?ridiculous?. The deer park
surrounding the estate, with
cantering stags and snuffling boar,
is as big as Paris; it is also the largest
walled space in Europe, maybe the
world. At the centre of this regal park is
the huge, white, crazily skylined castle
? a 16th-century architectural tribute
to the testosterone levels of its young
creator, King Francis I. It has 440 rooms,
84 staircases, uncountable corridors and
282 fireplaces.
And now there are a couple more
superlatives to add to Chambord?s list
of marvels, starting with a first-class,
ultra-luxe hotel, the Relais de Chambord,
which opened last month. Sleek, chic
and not exactly meek, it has decorous
and sensuous suites with a faintly
modernist ambience ? to sweetly
counterpoint the views of the beautifully
baroque ch鈚eau. Other rooms open on
to the languid River Crosson, or the
endless green of the forest.
Inside, expect soaring sash windows,
marble baths and purple chairs like
rounded Henry Moore sculptures,
juxtaposed with integral wood-burning
stoves and piles of chopped timber
hidden behind gleaming glass: despite
its elegant modernity, the hotel cleverly
reminds you that this is still deep rural
France ? with peasants and forests and
hunters 200m from your slumberings
? even as it is royal France. You may
see wild boar wandering across the
sward through those floor-to-ceiling
windows as you sip local whites such as
Pouilly-Fum� and Menetou-Salon.
Beyond the bedrooms (if you can
struggle from the encompassingly
sumptuous beds, and the oddly soothing
views of fleches, crockets and turrets)
you?ll find a wellness room, a billiard
salon, oodles of discreet, sun-trapping
courtyards for aperitifs and ?
naturellement ? a stylish restaurant, Le
Grand Saint Michel, lit with lacings of
sinuous white light and directly facing
the mighty castle, mano a mano. I think
the castle wins, but the Relais de
Rooms at the Relais de Chambord have integral wood-burning stoves
Chambord?s cheeseboard makes the new
hotel a worthy silver medal-winner.
The second of Chambord?s innovations
comes with another princely price tag:
$20 million (�.3 million). That?s what
an American benefactor has spent on
recreating its formal garden (reputedly
in return for rights to hunt game in the
park). In doing so they have added a
lustrous pearl to a necklace of
fascinating gardens that stretch all the
way to the Loire, through ancient Anjou.
And it?s this garden route that I intend to
follow, in fittingly sybaritic style.
My guide, Marianne, takes me to the
roof of the ch鈚eau, where the white
chimneys rise like huge ivory chess
pieces. As we gaze down at the diagonals
of box and topiary, and the avenues of
Japanese trees ? just round the corner
from the new hotel ? she explains the
problems that the restorers faced when
rebuilding Chambord?s jardin.
?Chambord is sited on a swamp ?
that?s why so many of the original
workmen died from malaria,? she says.
?It?s basically an impossible place to
build or grow, and Chambord?s first
gardens only lasted 20 years. We had to
go to libraries in Blois and Paris to see
how they looked.?
The result is spectacular: Ch鈚eau
Chambord is like a coke dealer?s palace
designed by a drunken god-king, with its
double helix staircase inspired by
Leonardo da Vinci. And now it is
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 31
A courtyard at the Relais de Chambord
with the view over his beloved garden. It
is palmy, verdant and vividly Italian.
From Amboise I trundle down the
riverside to, yes, another ch鈚eau. But
this isn?t any ch鈚eau. If you?ve seen a
picture of a French castle somehow
floating on a river the chances are you
were looking at Chenonceau. In 1577 its
owner, Catherine de Medici, decided to
complete the building by extending it
across the River Cher (a little tributary
of the Loire). And so the building vaults
across the waters like a prancing unicorn
escaping a fairytale huntsman. Quixotic.
In the gardens, everything returns to
French formality. Even the herb and
kitchen gardens ? which supply the
excellent restaurant (try the stunning
puds) ? are sliced and diced into
diagonals and polygons: Napoleonic
regiments of lettuce face ordered
phalanxes of apple trees. It?s all rather
pretty, but maybe unnervingly perfect.
Luckily, my next bedroom is designed
to soothe any anxieties. I?m sleeping on
complemented by clipped, gleaming,
very Cartesian lawns. It is mightily
ridiculous, but it is also magnifique.
In keeping with the grandiosity ? and
absurdity ? my first night?s sleep is in a
cave, a few miles downstream from
Tours. But this isn?t any old cave, this is
Les Hautes Roches hotel, built into the
riverside cliffs, and it comes with cocktail
terraces, a view of the languid Loire,
sparkling bidets in the bathrooms and, in
the main hotel, a Michelin-starred
restaurant that serves a tranche of
gorgeous turbot in that classic French
way: with crunchy boiled veg and
unctuous hollandaise. Delicious.
Well fed and well happy, I retire to my
plush little cavern with a bottle of the
local and rather pleasant Chambord
white ? Cheverny ? and a collection of
Louis Aragon?s poems, including my
favourite, Les Lilas et Les Roses. It is
about the horrors of the First World
War; it is also an elegy for the beauty of
this flat, dozing, winsome riverine land.
It concludes with the refrain, ?Couleur de
l?incendie au loin roses d?Anjou,? which
roughly means: the colour of fire, in the
far roses of Anjou.
When he wasn?t writing about the
horrors of war Aragon was famous for
more surrealist verses. And I can?t help
wondering what he would make of my
next destination: the garden festival of
Chaumont. Here, every summer, a score
or more international garden designers
and landscape architects are invited to
turn 30 square metres of Ch鈚eau
Chaumont?s lawns, woods and meadows
into diversely conceptual, dada-esque
mini-gardens. They employ sculpture,
glass, mirrors, sounds, herbs, knickers,
pools, car engines, shrubs, uranium,
streams, tulips, disco lights, roses,
walkways and suspended hairdryers.
It?s all pretty strange and very good
fun, if you?re in the right mood (and if
the weather is kind). Go on a sweet,
warm, moonlit evening in high summer,
when the nooks, espaliers and Andy
Goldsworthy sculptures are magically
illuminated with twines of sparkling
LEDs, then it is truly divine (there?s a
decent restaurant too).
Back in the car, I decide I?ve got time
? in between ch鈚eaux ? for an
unexpected sidestep: Amboise. This is a
cute, quaint, touristy Loire-side town
famous for two things: quite nice biscuits
and Leonardo. The great Renaissance
polymath is buried here, in a gothic
chapel next to the battered castle.
However, the most resonant and moving
place is his final home, a half-timbered
manor house gifted to him by Francis I.
Climb the rickety wooden stairs, along
with all the Japanese tourists, and you
can visit the bedroom where Leonardo
died, apparently in tears because he
hadn?t fulfilled the artistic talents given
him by God. You can also stare through
Leonardo?s favourite leaded window,
Sleek, chic and not
exactly meek, the hotel
at Chambord has
decorous suites
Need to
Sean Thomas was a
guest of Atout France
( Relais de
Chambord has B&B
doubles from about �5
(; Les Hautes
Roches has B&B doubles
from about �0
La Bateli鑢e sur Loire
has treehouses and
boats from �0 a night
the Fontevraud Abbey
has B&B doubles from
�0 (
a houseboat, on the Loire, in the Anjou
Natural Park. The smiling owner, Selma,
greets me with very sensible instructions
(?if you smoke, everything might burn
down!?), then leaves me with a nice
basket of supper, a great bottle of Valmer
white and a glorious view of the watery
sunset. Kingfishers swoop. Herons soar.
A beaver swims for the shore, making a
determined and glittering wake, a vee of
blinding light over which dragonflies
hover. I climb into my cosy bunk bed
and I am lulled into a delicious coma by
the gentle sway of the backwaters.
Morning dawns equally sweet. I?ve got
two more gardens to visit, and they
couldn?t be more different. The first,
Ch鈚eau du Rivau, is a romantic fantasy
of English disorder and Italian grace
with a dash of eclectic modernism.
Expect ironic gnomes, hidden music,
erotic sculptures, glorious flowerbeds,
child-friendly tree houses and excellent,
fluffy quiche in the alfresco brasserie.
And don?t forget to buy some of the
veggie soup as a souvenir: it?s all organic,
and all the ingredients are picked within
10m of the till.
The second garden, Villandry, is one of
the most famous in France. A Spanish
scientist bought the house in 1906 and
restored the gardens using his American
wife?s millions, creating a rhapsody of
symmetry. There are 1,004 lime trees,
83km of box, a zillion nodding tulips in
the ?love garden?, every herb imaginable,
sculpted shrubs, swanned lakelets,
crystal cascades, wooden loveseats
adorned with glowing roses and a maze
where you can?t go wrong because it is
designed to lead you to the beauty of
God at the centre.
How do you top all that? With my last
stop, and my last and most historic bed:
Fontevraud Abbey. Here you?ll find
another neat formal garden and also an
exceptional restaurant, run by a
Michelin-starred, Bocuse-medalled chef
who appears to be about 14 years old (try
his coffee crisps with foie gras and
mushrooms). Moreover, and more
importantly, if you book into the Abbey
hotel you get to sleep ? poignantly ?
in subtly luxurious rooms that were once
cells for lepers, then for Victorian
prisoners, then for Resistance fighters
held by the Nazis.
The best thing about Fontevraud is
revealed once the day-trippers depart: if
you are a hotel guest you are given right
to roam at will and can wander through
crypts and transepts, into medieval attics
and ancient kitchens.
And so, after my dinner, slightly tipsy
on fine Saumur wine, I steal through the
dark, deserted cloisters. I trip over
cobbles, pass nocturnal dovecotes and
finally find myself in the high, vaulted
nave of the great and empty abbey. This
mighty and echoing edifice is where the
Angevin kings of England are interred;
their painted effigies are suspended
above their medieval bones.
It is nearly midnight; I am alone. A
silver light shines through the gothic
windows on to the faces of Eleanor of
Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart. It?s
just me, the moon and the Plantagenets.
And as I look at their graves I can see
exactly why they chose to lie here, for
ever, in the sweet and watered back
garden of France, this land of grand
rivers and vast forests, where ch鈚eaux
and poetry and art and legends flourish
in the driving rain and burning sun,
along with the cherry and the lilac and
the roses of Anjou.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
32 Travel
My epic tour across wild and
Matthew Parris
enjoys the Australian
island?s sweeping
scenery, fascinating
wildlife and
delicious cuisine
50 miles
Bass Strait
n Field
n Park
Bruny Island
asmania defies summary.
Soft and gentle? Harsh and
elemental? Raw?
Sophisticated? The island
is all these things. Visiting
some years ago and moved
by the contrasts, I resolved
to return to the wild and the sweet sides
of this entrancing place.
Our trip ended on Bruny Island. Not
far offshore from Hobart, Tasmania?s
capital, Bruny is a haven of sorts: kindly
folk, dappled sunshine, wind chimes and
galleries, music and literature, fruit trees
and flowers, sheltered bays and endless
beaches, meadows and misty woodlands.
But before that we had been in a place
about as far from the soft and sunzny
side as you can get. ?I checked the map,?
Paul Gowers, the catering manager of
Pedder Wilderness Lodge, told me as he
piled another log into the burner. ?This
was a road to nowhere.?
Outside, a squally gale blew a crescent
moon away, and giant eucalyptus trees
thrashed and splashed in the rain-soaked
wind. All around was lake, mountain and
forest ? the biggest temperate rainforest
in the world. Inside, a blazing fire,
Tasmanian whisky and the promise of
dinner ? eel, beetroot chips and ovenbaked flounder ? warmed body and
soul. Through the rain-lashed windows
was Tasmania in the raw, as the great
island must have appeared to the first
European explorers blown in from the
west on the Roaring Forties winds
across the Southern Ocean: a soaking,
gale-buffeted, dense, green, almost
impenetrable forest shore.
I love wilderness. My instinct on first
looking at a map of anywhere I don?t
know is to spot the empty places. Check
a map of Tasmania and you?ll see a vast
area of woodland and water in the
bottom-left corner, empty of people,
with only one road, literally to nowhere.
For some 50 miles you wind your way
along a fine, surfaced road through
mountains and forest, and are lucky if
you see another living soul, until you
reach the first (and last) thing that you
could call a destination: Strathgordon ?
just a few houses and the lodge, by the
shores of the immense Lake Pedder.
This lake is part of the sometimes
troubled soul of Tasmania. It lies above
what was once a smaller lake ? also of
great beauty, whose pink and white
quartz shores older islanders still
remember ? now drowned by a colossal
dam that supplies a huge hydroelectric
power station. Enthusiasm for the
project, and rage against it, divided
the islanders in the 1960s, and the
bitter dispute went to the heart of a
tension that?s still there in Tasmania:
between development and conservation.
But the new Pedder is surely as
beautiful as the old, and our itinerary
took us out on to that lake and its
myriad islands.
Tasmania produces great guides: a
relaxing mix of informality and
professionalism. We had spent the
day learning to kayak on the lake as
the guests of Wild Pedder, a small,
super-professional outfit whose
managers, Lou and Cody ? ?the boys in
shorts?, as they?re known locally ? are
also its guides.
Lake Pedder is amazing. Its almost 100
square miles is so laced with islands ?
and so strung into thousands of inlets
and creeks as it twists its way through
forested hills and mountains ? that you
fast lose all bearings. And as birdsong
echoes from the trees crowding the
shore, you feel yourself part of a
Swallows and Amazons dream. The water
is cold and limpid, but tan-coloured, like
black tea, from the vegetation; and the
shores and beaches are pure quartz,
sparkling like snow. Wherever the land is
torn, it bleeds brilliant white.
Add to this the sudden squalls
whipping up spray and the equally
sudden bursts of sunshine ? in a climate
where on average it rains 250 days of the
year, yet shines as often ? and you have
a setting that breathes adventure.
Lou and Cody had been with us
almost from the start. We?d flown into
Hobart on a sunny, breezy morning,
filled our lungs with the
eucalyptus-scented air and driven
straight to the Stefano Lubiana
restaurant and winery, half an
hour out of town. Tasmania
can do sophistication as well
as any Australian state. The
pinot noir was as good as a
great burgundy.
That night we?d stayed in a
lovely holiday house, Swallow?s
Nest, on the banks of the deep,
swift, silent River Derwent. And
that was where we?d first met Cody
and Lou, over a spectacular breakfast
that they had cooked us: quinoa, red
onion, chives, sweet potato and egg
cakes, and mushrooms.
What is it about these Australian
males, dressed like bushwhackers,
cooking like celebrity chefs? One
imagined the pair wrestling a crocodile
into submission, then whipping up a
lemon souffl� to celebrate.
They?d decided that we needed to be
let gently into the kayaking and bushwalking that was to come. Stage two of
their plan was just as gentle. We went to
some of Tasmania?s oldest-established
vineyards. Deep in the countryside,
A wallaby: one of the many
animals in Tasmania
Meadowbank Farm seems to leap from
the pages of a historical novel set in
pre-Dominion days. Gerald and Sue
Ellis and son-in-law Alex led us
across their hillsides of vines
rolling down to the Derwent,
teaching us about each type of
grape; and then, as dusk fell,
invited us to sample the
product over dinner by a log
fire in a mellow, colonial
house full of family history.
This homestead dated much of
the way back to the arrival of
the first white settlers; and there
was something terribly English,
still, about our hosts.
Stage three took us on an
unforgettable ten-mile hike in Mount
Field National Park, climbing through
southern beech and eucalyptus forest
(the highest trees, at 260ft, much taller
than Nelson?s Column) until we reached
more open mountain country: an alpine
plateau of little lakes and tarns, ghostly
white trees and creeping pines, and
boulders painted white and orange by
lichen. You twist and turn through
somehow primeval scenery, a lifesaving
boardwalk your only reminder that
human beings inhabit this strange planet
that you?re touring.
The word ?bungalow? does not do
justice to Tasmania?s many sweet abodes,
almost all of one storey. After Lake
Pedder, Lou and Cody left us at
Hawthorn Lodge, a bungalow built in
1869, a delightful guesthouse where
Marie and David Hearle plied us with
cream teas and samples of finest
homemade tomato soup. Over sparkling
wine on a veranda whose ironwork was
garlanded with flowering creepers, I
reflected that if the image of Australia
that we Europeans have is missing
anything, it?s what Tassie can offer: a
certain softness, a grace and charm.
So now for that other, tender side of
Tasmania. My partner and I loved Bruny
Island and found ourselves wanting to
stay. Bruny ? ?an island, off an island,
off an island, at the end of the world?, as
the islanders like to say ? has a charm
that is hard to capture in the clich�
beloved of travel-blurb writers.
If you want biggest, highest, wettest,
driest, oldest, newest, head for the many
wonders of the world. If you want a
green and peaceful tapestry of hills,
coves and cliffs, woodland and pasture,
wild, empty beaches, and small,
picturesque communities united in the
pride that they take in their special
island, then Bruny will call to you as it
did to us.
Our guide, Rob, was the ideal man to
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 33
wonderful Tasmania
Lake Pedder, Tasmania
The log cabin on Bruny Island
Russell Falls in Mount
Field National Park
show us the tender magic of the place.
He met us early at a coffee shop in
Hobart and we followed him to a
shipshape little launch, the Sea Dragon,
run by a friend. We cast off from Hobart
Harbour, leaving that trim and salty city
gently raked around the bay with little
idea of what lay ahead. A couple of
hours beneath the coastal cliffs ? an
excursion in itself ? and we rounded
a point to see a long, low island
stretched along the horizon, not far
from the mainland.
About 30 miles long ? narrowing to
an isthmus that?s no more than a long
sand spit, then broadening out again ?
the two halves, north and south, are
home to about 700 permanent islanders
and many visitors throughout the year,
most of them Australians. Tasmanians
know and love the place for its
restfulness, its fruitfulness and its locally
famous cheeses.
Rob, who lives on Bruny and adores
the place, taught us about the past and
present of the distinctive community
there. In his thoughtful way he
explained that the island is in many ways
Tasmania in microcosm. Seasoned locals
? families who?ve been on Bruny for
generations and for whom making a
living from fishing, oysters, cows and
sheep has not always been easy ? mix
with the Joni Mitchell generation: artists,
writers, craftsmen and studious types, for
whom Bruny has become a kind of
haven. On mainland Tasmania the
encounter between the greens and the
grizzlies has sometimes been harsh; on
Bruny there seems to be room, and time,
for everyone.
Passing the drive-through oyster bar,
the ?Boot-ique? (wares displayed in the
back of a long-retired car) and a
?landscaping supply? store that also
housed a hardware shop and a resident
barber, we parked Rob?s vehicle and
started our introductory walk. Small
wallabies hopped from our sandy path, a
huge black cockatoo posed helpfully on
a flowering banksia, and we saw the
island?s jack-jumper ants ? they really
do, like grasshoppers ? as we headed
down an easy track to a high bluff over
the ocean, where a picnic lunch
appeared as if by magic.
By similar magic, what looked like a
big, buff-coloured, spiky ball emerged
from the grass. The timid creature was
an echidna: a mammal that looks like a
tumbleweed, swims like an otter and lays
eggs. Sometimes, Bruny felt like a
fairytale world.
Eight miles of magnificent beach
stretched below us with not a person nor
even a building in sight. The sun shone,
Need to
Matthew Parris was
a guest of Tourism
Australia (
and Abercrombie &
Kent (01242 547708,,
which has a 16-night
Classic Australia trip to
Sydney, Cairns, Uluru and
Melbourne from �175pp
with international and
domestic economy
flights, hotels, transfers
and some guiding. It
offers five-night add-on
trips to Tasmania,
including one night at the
Henry Jones Art Hotel in
Hobart, two nights at
Pedder Wilderness Lodge
and two nights on Bruny
Island from �700pp,
including guiding and
domestic flights
the air was warm and the breeze cool:
Bruny has a mild, changeable, oceanic
climate. ?It?s rare you get more than
three days of anything in a row,? Rob
said. We descended to the shore ?
Adventure Bay, where the sand squeaked
? and swam in clear water. ?It?s
14,000km [9,000 miles] to South
America from here,? Rob said, pointing.
?Nothing in between, and the cleanest
air on the planet.?
On a hillside in a eucalyptus wood, the
Bruny Island Long Weekend (Rob?s
company) has built a camp in a glade
among the tall trees, an enchanting
place. There we went, but not before
stopping to shuck oysters that Rob
waded out to fetch from his frame on an
oyster bed. We sat on a rock in the late
afternoon sun to devour them. From
somewhere, sliced lemon appeared.
?It?s a fine line between good camping
and crap accommodation,? our host
remarked as we swung down a track
between ancient trees and his campsite
opened up before us. If so, this was
very good camping: fixed tents on
platforms, warm, comfortable beds and
wooden floors. There was even a shower
? with the best view you?ll ever see from
a bathroom.
Rob cooked: he?s built a wood cabin
with a log fire and its own veranda as a
forest dining room. Lamb, quinoa and
Tasmanian wine made a good prelude to
a peaceful sleep, the overnight patter of a
passing rain shower on canvas and a
clear dawn, as a fading crescent moon
drifted through the eucalyptus trees. The
new day brought a four-mile walk
around Cloudy Bay, with crashing waves
turned pink by a rare tide of algal bloom.
Back to the fairytale world.
And I forgot to mention the wild
ocean trip, whipped by spray and
clinging to our seats, to an offshore
turret of rocks in a savage sea where,
lolling in tiers all the way up the side of
the rock pile, fur seals eyed us with mild
interest, an upper-circle audience
amused by our stage fright. There was
nothing between this outcrop and
Before our last dawn under canvas, the
crescent moon was still only a sliver.
How had we done it all? We?d been only
two nights on Bruny, hardly a week in
Tassie. Had time stopped?
To the Englishman, Tasmania seems
unexpectedly familiar yet unexpectedly
strange: almost dreamlike. As another
shower swept over our tent I dreamt of
wallabies, sunshine, Wild Pedder, sweet
Swallow?s Nest and colonial
Meadowbank . . . and that fantastical
echidna?s spikes.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
34 Travel
A breathtaking hike on
Portugal?s rugged coast
The Rota Vicentina
has stunning views
as it winds 350km
to the southwestern
tip of Europe, says
Tom Chesshyre
rom the clifftop path near
the village of Cavaleiro, the
rugged coastline stretches
ahead as waves crash below.
Huge rollers collapse on
half-submerged boulders,
the biggest echoing like
cannon shots. Cormorants and gulls
wheel above. The sun casts golden light
on succulent plants and thickets of
bracken, while the air smells of herbs.
We pass a whitewashed lighthouse on
the outskirts of the village, peering down
at the treacherous water. Over the
centuries many a vessel must have come
to a sticky end down there.
This wonderful coastline has an
elemental intensity: tough, unforgiving
and raw. I am on a walking tour to
sample one of the most picturesque
parts of the Rota Vicentina, a path
covering 350km from the city of
Santiago do Cacem in the north to
the Cape of St Vincent in the south.
The trail opened in 2012 and is dotted
with peaceful villages, beaches, hidden
coves, many a tough ascent and many a
hard-earned descent.
There?s a feeling of being on the very
edge of Europe ? and that?s because we
are. The Cape is the Continent?s most
southwesterly point. We are heading that
way, enjoying the marvellous scenery
and the quiet of this rota. During an
entire morning on the way to Cavaleiro
we lay eyes on just one other hiker.
At the village we turn inland by the
lighthouse and stop for lunch. One of
the great joys of the Rota Vicentina is
working up an appetite, then resting for
a lazy hour or so in a sleepy village
before heading onwards down the path.
And there appears to be just one place
to eat in Cavaleiro, the friendly little
Bar Adelia, on a corner near the square.
This is clearly the epicentre of village
life. Inside, three diminutive men
wearing flat caps prop up the bar and
nod in our direction as we enter. They?re
drinking shots of the local firewater
(48 per cent) made by farmers from the
bright-red fruit of the medronho tree;
there is no mass-scale commercial
production of the drink (you just need
to ask a local and hope that they know
who has a spare bottle to sell).
Bar Adelia is like an old curiosity shop.
In a corner a clutter of children?s toys,
pots, puzzle books and toiletries fills a
trestle table. Football flickers on a screen
and faded magazines gather dust on a
rack behind the bar; Viva Papa! (a
magazine about the Pope) incongruously
on sale beside Playboy. Chocolate cake is
on offer, as are cheeses, fruits and wines
from Alentejo. This region, just north of
the Algarve, covers about 30 per cent of
Portugal?s landmass yet is home to only
5 per cent of the country?s population.
We feast on fish stews, served in a
spicy tomato and onion sauce, along
with a hunk of crusty bread ? another
local speciality. This is accompanied by
good fruity red wine and, of course, a
round of medronhos. The price? A mere
?22 (�) . . . for the three of us.
Onwards we go with a medronho
spring in our step. The coast winds
towards Zambujeira do Mar, with doves
fluttering high above cliffs; these ?rock
doves? are said to be the original species
from which all the world?s doves
descend. Meanwhile, inland, sheep with
bells jangle in a pasture.
Here, on the run up to the tiny village
of Entrada da Barca, prickly-pear
cactuses line the old stone walls and we
pass grand sweeps of oatmeal-coloured
beaches. In the village, fishermen are
mending lobster pots, while farther on
we come to a cove with a solitary car
parked on a track facing the magnificent
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 35
The coastal town of Odeceixe
Azenhas do Mar
The harbour at Azenhas do Mar
view. Two heads pop up from the back
seat as we pass (we appear to have
interrupted a Portuguese tryst). Eyes
firmly down, we continue to Zambujeira
do Mar, with its long beach reached by
steep steps, and the Hotel Rosa dos
Ventos, our digs for the night.
In the main square, kids play football
while the rest of the local population
seems to be in a bar watching
Benfica play the game on a TV. It?s
so packed inside that some are
peering through the window,
catching the match from
outside. We celebrate our day?s
hike, which covered 22km,
with red wine (80 cents
a glass) at plastic
tables on the square.
Doing the Rota
Vicentina will not
break the bank.
Our bags have
been delivered to the
hotel ? all part of the service offered by
the tour operator that arranged our
walking break. After checking in and
meeting the turtles that live in the hotel
courtyard, we continue our walk-hard,
eat-and-drink-hard ways by enjoying a
blowout meal at the Costa Alentejana
restaurant. Delicious olives, p鈚閟,
shrimps, sea bream and octopus salads
are delivered with aplomb by a friendly
waitress, washed down with a good
bottle of Alentejo wine and finished off
with a medronho or two (naturally).
There are strict instructions to stick
to the marked trail on the Rota
Vicentina. This is so that the delicate
clifftop flora is not damaged, and also
to prevent accidents, because some
cliffs are unstable. Keep to the path
we do the next day on our way to
Odeceixe, a town that is just
across the border in the
It?s another blustery but
warm day with massive
waves breaking on the
shore, where rocks jag
up from the water
looking like great
rows of sharks?
teeth. The flora
here is especially
interesting, with beautiful yellow and
purple flowers, as well as wild rosemary
and oregano. The sky is a delicate blue,
with the horizon meeting the pearl-grey
sea with a solid line of lilac.
We come to beaches that are said to be
great for surfing, although no surfers are
about. One of the beaches is named after
the late Amalia Rodrigues, a diva of fado,
a mournful form of Portuguese song
that emphasises a sense of longing. She
helped to popularise the genre, bringing
it to the attention of the world ? and
she owned a beach house here.
Beyond Amalia we meet our first
fellow walkers; we?re travelling in
November, which explains why it has
been so quiet ? the Rota Vicentina?s
official ?season? is June to September,
according to
Mike and Eva are from Canada and in
their fifties. They say that they?re
?slackpacking? around Europe: going
on long walks while having luggage
transported, just like us. They are
retired and are on a series of such trips.
?Don?t you just love it round here??
says Mike.
We do ? and we especially adore
Azenhas do Mar, another village that?s
not far along the trail. The terrace of
Caf� Palhinhas, facing the sea, has to
be one of the most perfect places for
lunch in Portugal. We settle at a table,
the caf�s only guests, soon tucking into
grilled prawns, washed down with Sagres
lager. In the baking sun, we put our feet
up on a fence, watching seabirds sailing
in thermals high above and listening
to the crash and hiss of the waves.
do Cacem
do Mar
5 miles
Cape of St Vincent
By the time we get to Odeceixe,
having cut inland and followed a river,
with a wide sandy estuary, we have
covered 18km. In the small central
square, in true Rota Vicentina style, we
order glasses of Alentejo red (about ?1
each), drink to the day?s hike and vow to
come back to complete this fabulous
coastline soon. Is this Europe?s best
walk? It?s certainly up there.
Need to
Tom Chesshyre was a guest of Explore
(01252 883054,, which
has a nine-day, self-guided Coastal
Trails of Portugal tour along the Rota
Vicentina from the Cape of St Vincent
from �9pp, including eight nights?
B&B hotel accommodation, luggage
transportation and maps, but excluding
flights; each day covers four to six
hours. A four-night version costs from
�0pp. TAP Air Portugal has flights
from London to Lisbon from �
the times Saturday April 7 2018
36 Travel
The River Cam and King?s College
A weekend in . . . Cambridge
he house at Kettle?s Yard
has a tranquil air, even on
a sunny Sunday morning
when it is heaving with
chatting visitors. It?s the
kind of space that you long
to hole up in for a lazy but
erudite weekend, picking out a book and
sitting at the large oak reading table in
the library, tinkling on one of the two
grand pianos, or sinking back in an
armchair to admire the sculptures by
Barbara Hepworth.
?It was while we were still abroad in
1954 that I found myself first dreaming
of the idea of somehow creating a living
place where works of art could be
enjoyed, inherent to the domestic setting,
where young people could be at home
unhampered by the greater austerity of
the museum or public art gallery,? wrote
Jim Ede, who, with his wife, Helen,
bought four dilapidated cottages in the
1950s and turned them into their home
and a place to display contemporary
British and European art, ?stray objects,
stones, glass, pictures, sculpture?.
The Kettle?s Yard house of today,
taken over by the University of
Cambridge when the couple moved out
in the 1970s, is still much as they curated
it. A lemon, regularly changed, sits on a
pewter plate opposite the Miro painting
featuring a spot of yellow. There are nine
works of art on the walls of the upstairs
loo and a Henry Moore on the ledge by
Jim Ede?s bed.
The house has just reopened to the
public after a two-year, �.3 million
renovation. New additions include a
contemporary gallery, gift shop, coffee
shop and education space. They are
designed by Jamie Fobert architects, the
practice responsible for the new Tate
St Ives gallery, which also houses works
by many of the Edes? artist friends and
contemporaries, such as Hepworth and
Ben and Winifred Nicholson.
There is some striking new work in the
opening show Actions: The image of the
world can be different, with photography
by Khadija Saye, who died in the
Grenfell Tower fire, and an arresting
series of photographs by Melanie
Manchot. The Ladies shows a group
of local British Bangladeshi women in
traditional dress posing in iconic city
settings such as the King?s College
dining hall.
The vibrant women feel oddly
juxtaposed against the stuffy dark wood
of the 19th-century room. They stick in
my mind over a weekend of wandering
the pristine quadrants of privilege that
make up Cambridge, still
overwhelmingly dominated by its
university colleges and an unusual
proportion of young men cycling in
shorts on a cold weekend ? but it is a
city undergoing change.
My husband, a Cambridge ?alumnus?,
laughingly remembers fellow students?
parents who would not visit overnight
because there was nowhere good
enough to stay and who would complain
that the fanciest restaurant was Browns.
From summer, however, posh parents
will have the new University Arms,
overlooking Parker?s Piece, that is
undergoing an � million renovation led
by the interior designer who has worked
at Scott?s in London and Soho Beach
House Miami. And a branch of the Ivy is
due to open this spring.
For now there are restaurants such as
Pint Shop, which is in a converted house
where EM Forster once lived. On the
weekend that we visit, it is holding a
Manchester special, with craft beers from
Manchester breweries and the sound of
the Smiths in the background. Food
includes charcoal-grill dishes such as
braised and charred pork cheeks, or
overnight pork belly with salt-baked
We stay at the Tamburlaine, which
opened late last year. From the outside
it is a relatively unexciting new-build
block opposite the station. Inside it
feels like something out of Mad Men?s
New York: deep-green panelled walls,
patterned tiled floors and pink velvet
seats in the lounge, with a glossy
marble and brass cocktail bar in the
dining room. It is fun, inviting and the
beds in rooms named ?Fresher?,
Need to
Laura Whateley was a
guest of Visit England
( and
Visit Cambridge
Where to stay
The Tamburlaine
(01223 792888,
is a large boutique hotel
with 155 rooms, art
deco-inspired interiors,
lots of patterned
wallpaper and velvet
furniture. Rooms are
business-like, but have
Roberts radios and White
Company smellies. The
hotel is on Station Road,
convenient for the train
but a 15-minute walk to
the centre of town.
Double rooms
cost from �0
?Scholar? and ?Dean? are enormous.
It?s an ideal base for a weekend of
reminiscing for my other half, and
learning for me. I had never visited
King?s College Chapel, for example,
which takes my breath away. I love
spotting the intertwined initials HA on
the dark oak screen in its centre, which
helped historians to date it between 1533,
when Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn,
and 1536, when he had her head chopped
off. There is red Civil War graffiti on the
wall by the altar, left over from when the
chapel was used as a training ground for
Oliver Cromwell?s troops.
More elegant graffiti is carved into
the pews in Pembroke College?s chapel,
seemingly by bored students: ?HC
Cooper 1827? and ?I Vachell 1786?.
Pembroke is one of the colleges that
you can wander into freely (see also
Emmanuel, with its peaceful grounds)
and is worth a visit for the chapel built
after the Civil War by Sir Christopher
Wren, extended by Gilbert Scott.
If you make it into the city centre
before 12.30pm on a Saturday during full
term, visit Wren?s library at Trinity, built
in 1695. He designed the bookcases and
furniture, as well as the building. It holds
the notebook of Isaac Newton, the
original manuscript of Winnie-the-Pooh
and more than 70,000 books printed
before 1820.
Another essential Cambridge stop is
the Eagle, a coaching inn from the 1600s
where Crick and Watson announced that
they had discovered the structure of
DNA. It is opposite the Cavendish
Laboratory, where they worked; we
order a pint of Eagle?s DNA. There?s
more graffiti here on the ceiling from
off-duty airmen in the Second World
War: they used candles, Zippos and
matches to burn in their initials and
squadron numbers.
On Sunday afternoon we take in
the Fitzwilliam Museum, one of
Cambridge?s most famous (and free)
cultural sites, after a leisurely lunch at
Six restaurant, which has a panoramic
view across the city.
The upper floor of the museum has
1,700 paintings by artists including
Turner, Constable, Rubens and Monet.
The ground floor includes ancient
artefacts, more than 400 coats of
armour, and ceramics, including a vase
glued back together after a visitor
famously tumbled into it.
There?s just time for tea and a
sticky Chelsea bun at Fitzbillies on
Trumpington Street ? turning out
cakes since 1921 ? which my husband
says is unrecognisable from his student
days. Like most of Cambridge, it is an
attraction imbued with history and
memories, but adapting with the times.
You may well still find that you are
eating your avocado brunch next to a
future Nobel prizewinner, though.
Laura Whateley
The Tamburlaine hotel
Packed with facilities, from dozens of restaurants to an
outdoor cinema, the Voyager of the Seas is as much a
feature of a cruise as the destinations it visits.
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Times ship rating: 8/10
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fter flying to Singapore, you will enjoy an
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You will also have time to enjoy everything Dubai has
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You will enjoy a three-night full-board
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During your trip you will have time
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A three-night full-board cruise on board Royal Caribbean?s
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the times Saturday April 7 2018
38 Travel
Seeking solitude? Stay
in a Croatian lighthouse
Isolated buildings along the country?s coast have been converted
into chic accommodation. Tristan Rutherford tries them out
y wife calls it
?lighthouse porn?.
My browsing history
is a sad middle-aged
miasma of lonely
lighthouses basking
in splendid isolation.
Croatia provides my best fantasy fix. It
has more than 1,000 islands and its
fjord-fractured shores are dotted with
50 working lighthouses. Uniquely, most
towers have attached accommodation
once used by visiting meteorologists and
marine inspectors. These properties
form the country?s most in-demand
accommodation, with rustic lighthouse
lodgings from �0 a night, up to
boutique family stays for �0. I?m off
to see a few of the best.
You don?t need a map to find Savudrija
lighthouse. It rises 36m skyward on a
teardrop of coast that drips into the
Adriatic. My family are warmly
welcomed by its keeper, Mario. His
forefathers tended the lighthouse for five
generations, through the ages of coal, oil,
gas and electricity. That Mario speaks
dialectal Italian is testament that this
polyglot coast has been governed by
five foreign powers in the past century
alone. When Savudrija was opened by
the Austrian Emperor Francis I in 1818,
it guided ships into Trieste (now in Italy)
past Portoroz (now in Slovenia), towns
that twinkle on the horizon a short
drive away.
The situation is paradisiacal. We pass
through steel doors set in 70cm-thick
walls into a lighthouse courtyard ablaze
with rampant rosemary. This sheltered
quad ? sun-drenched in the summer
but guarded from terrific bora winds in
the winter ? is the domain of Mario?s
pet rabbit and his son, who scrutinises
his English homework on a table under
the tower. Outside our family room with
simple kitchen is a prodigious vegetable
patch. More isolated lighthouse keepers
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 39
Palagruza lighthouse
Savudrija lighthouse
would go without contact for months on
end. Each would grow their greens, make
their own wine, then pair both with the
seafood larder that surrounds each tower
along Croatia?s endless coast.
With a young family in tow, I?ve
chosen Savudrija and two other
mainland lighthouses for their relative
accessibility. I say relative; Savudrija is
down a dirt track with a bucolic
campground next door, a scouting
expedition hut down the road and a
handful of fish shacks along the shore.
The restaurant within walking distance,
Lanterna, offers a no-need-to-check-theprices seafood menu. We bag fish soups,
squid spaghetti, octopus salad, saut閑d
Savudrija?s beam sweeps
like an ethereal turbine,
casting a propeller of
light over the inky sea
chard, four desserts, a litre of white wine
and brandy chasers for �.
The eatery?s walls are plastered with
photos of my favourite three island
lighthouses. Oh my days! All of them,
Savudrija included, can be booked online
through Airbnb and a variety of other
portals. There?s Susac, with its own tiny
beach, reached by a 45-minute boat
ride from Korcula. And Veli Rat
lighthouse, which guards the 140 gems of
the Kornati Islands National Park. And
best of all Palagruza, a castle-like affair
three hours by speedboat from the
mainland, built to showcase Austrian
naval power. The original lamp from
1875 still guides ships through the
channel midway between Croatia
and Italy. On a clear day you can see
both countries.
We bed down as the cactus flowers
in our courtyard close. Staying in a
Marlera lighthouse
Za reb
a ar
Veli Rat
50 mil
Adriatic Sea
lighthouse ushers an earthy sense of
being. Sea breezes and swirling water
soothe the senses, encouraging guests to
turn in early. Distractions are few. At
midnight I awake to check the children
and sneak gingerly to the shore. High
above, Savudrija?s beam sweeps like an
ethereal turbine, casting a propeller of
light miles over the inky sea.
Another day, another lighthouse. We
nose the hire car through the Istrian
peninsula?s patchwork of vineyards,
cherry orchards and olive groves.
Tourists abound at Restaurant Viking
when we stop to munch the famed
oysters of the Lim Fjord. (The Venetian
loverboy Casanova was said to be a fan.)
With new flights from British Airways,
and seasonal links from Jet2, Easyjet
and Thomson, passenger numbers at the
nearby Pula airport are rising, along with
the number of visiting Britons to Croatia.
We?re lucky to secure a night at the
luxury Valamar lighthouse on the ragged
edge of Rt Zub, or Cape Tooth. At a
standard rate of �0 a night, it contains
three chic bedrooms draped with crisp
linen. ?Beats glamping,? says my wife.
The lighthouse?s stone and white wood
interior is like a hip Cornish villa. If
Virginia Woolf had set a novel here she?d
have had to mention the bottles of
Croatian prosecco-type sparkling wine in
our huge fridge. Every room except the
Need to
Tristan Rutherford
travelled as a guest of
Airbnb (,
which lists the
lighthouses of Savudrija
(from �6, sleeps four in
two bedrooms) and
Marlera (from �2 a
night, sleeps eight in
three bedrooms), and of
Valamar (00 385 52 465
000,, which
manages the luxury
lighthouse on Cape Tooth
(from �0, sleeps eight
in three bedrooms).
British Airways (
flies to Pula from Gatwick
from � one way
kitchen (which has a grand dining table
for ten) looks on to an ever-changing
vista: seagulls, sailboats, a passing
battleship. The children?s favourite part
is the ancient stone dining terrace,
which predates the (fully automated)
lighthouse structure above that was
built in 1872. The seafront has ladders
into the water, rock pools and ? a
young boy?s dream ? a battered
Austro-Hungarian gunnery.
That night I wake again. A brisk
breeze means I have to shoulder open
the double layers of steel doors to
venture outside. The whoop-whoop
blades of light spin over a choppy
seascape from Cape Tooth?s eastern
edge. Warm sea air blends with a
fragrant fug from the sage garden
planted by a long forgotten lighthouse
keeper. It?s truly magical. Better still, this
lighthouse sits within the grounds of the
Valamar Tamaris Resort. Over the next
days we take full advantage of the free
children?s club, free bike hire, sailing
courses, mini golf, swimming pools and
shuttle boat to the former Venetian town
of Novigrad.
Before flying home we drive to the
southern tip of Istria, where green fields
fracture like fractals into topaz sea. Here
sits the boutique lighthouse of Marlera,
renovated by a young couple, Slaven
and Tijana. Oak beams blend with
whitewashed furniture to lend a
Proven鏰l air to this edge-of-the-world
delight. Unsurprisingly, the couple laugh
off my attempts to stay the night. A
movie is being shot inside at present,
after which the three-bedroom
property is fully booked by paying guests
for six months. Not to worry ? as
long as my wife doesn?t snip my internet
connection. Marlera lighthouse is in
my favourites bar, to fantasise over
another day.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
40 Travel
Accessible travel
The best holidays, cruises and
websites for disabled travellers
Travel is still not easy for people
in wheelchairs or with disabilities,
but there are some great specialist
tours, says Ben Clatworthy
espite bold claims by
travel companies it is a
sad reality that many
people in wheelchairs
or with disabilities still
encounter significant
problems when travelling.
Flying in particular can be a daunting
? often troublesome ? experience.
Last month Frank Gardner, the BBC?s
security correspondent, was stuck on
board a flight arriving at Heathrow for a
full 100 minutes after ground staff sent
his wheelchair to the baggage reclaim
half a mile away. This week, following a
backlash, the government promised a
review, with new measures to improve
air travel for disabled passengers.
My brother, Stefan, has cerebral palsy
and is in a wheelchair. From his
experiences, I know that travel for
disabled people can be a nightmare ?
and many of you know it too. Each
week our mailbag on the Times Travel
desk bulges with letters from readers
complaining about the lack of provision
for disabled and elderly travellers
and asking for accessible-holiday
recommendations. Here are a selection of
the best, although many of the operators
mentioned offer many more holidays.
Holidays (01582 766122, 2by2holidays. offers game drives on fully
River cruising in the
accessible tours in Kenya, South Africa,
Botswana and India. The trips vary
in length from 7 to 12 nights;
Enable Holidays (0871 2224939,
some require upper-body offers
strength and are only
wheelchair-friendly river
suitable for people
cruises, as well as villa
in manual
holidays and some
wheelchairs. A
group tours. This
seven-night safari
year it has a
taking in the
five-night cruise
Victoria Falls in
taking in the
Zimbabwe and
historic towns
of Nijmegen,
Park in Botswana
Zaandam and
costs from
Harlingen in the
Netherlands on a
game drives. Flights
riverboat with accessible
A tall ship tour with the
cost extra.
cabins and adapted
Jubilee Sailing Trust
bathrooms. Five-nights? full
Group tours for
board costs from �995pp,
including flights, transfers and excursions, blind travellers
departing on September 2 or 9.
Traveleyes (0113 834 6094, traveleyes-
Wheelchair safari
Many safari operators are not well suited
for wheelchair users or people with
restricted mobility. However, 2 by 2
The best UK guides
for disabled travel
A new Rough Guide to Accessible
Britain was published this month
( and is a good
place to start for people with access
needs, as well as other conditions
such as autism and mental illness.
Now in its 10th year of publication, the
guide has become the handbook for
people planning an adventures in the
UK; it is researched by a team of writers
either with a disability or who have
visited one of the destinations with a
disabled friend or family member.
Euan?s Guide (,
founded by Euan MacDonald, who was
diagnosed with motor neurone disease
in 2003, lists more than 4,000 places
around the country and users can rate
venues and leave reviews describing
ease of access, lavatories, disabled
parking and how helpful the staff are., a specialist operator
founded by a blind entrepreneur, Amar
Latif, takes more than 60 groups away
each year. On each trip half the group
are blind and half are fully sighted. In
return for doing guiding and helping
with audio description, sighted travellers
receive up to 50 per cent off the cost of
their holiday, subsidised by Traveleyes.
As an example, a four-day Amsterdam
city break on B&B board costs from �9
for blind travellers and �9 for sighted
travellers, departing on May 22. The
company also offers activity holidays,
staycations and beach breaks.
Self-catering properties
around the world
Finding good-quality places to stay that
are accessible can be hit-and-miss.
Accomable ( is a great
place to start ? it has just been bought
by Airbnb. It works in the same way as
Airbnb, but has listings that include
details on step-free access, rooms with
hoists and roll-in showers. There are
more than 500 properties from the UK
to Australia.
Sailing holidays
Ascend a tall-ship mast? In a
wheelchair? On a Jubilee Sailing Trust
( adventure that?s exactly what
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 41
See the best of the Netherlands
on a five-night cruise
Do you encounter
difficulties when
travelling as the
result of a disability?
We want to hear
your views.
email us,
or write to
The Times Travel
Desk, 1 London Bridge
Street, SE1 9GF
We will publish a
selection of the best
Osaka, one of the highlights
of a ten-night tour of Japan
happens. Disabled and able-bodied
guests are paired up on a buddy system
and sail together on equal terms.
Everybody is encouraged to climb the
mast, see left. Anyone who is worried, or
finds climbing difficult, is roped up with
a professional crew member. Those in
wheelchairs are hoisted up. Itineraries
vary from a short trip on the Solent
(�5) to a 40-day voyage from Antigua
to Southampton (�960), and lots in
between. Flights cost extra.
Self-drive Ireland
Can Be Done (020 8907 2400, specialises in
accessible holidays for disabled and
elderly travellers, and offers a range of
escorted tours, self-guided trips and
single-centre holidays. As an example, a
ten-night self-drive holiday in Ireland,
starting in Dublin, costs from �480pp,
staying in four-star hotels in rooms with
roll-in showers. The price includes B&B,
car hire and flights.
Cottage stays in the UK
Premier Cottages (0117 325 8810, has 75 properties
that are accessible, from small cottages
that sleep two to stunning homes for big
groups. Mulberry Cottages (01227
464958, also has
a great selection of properties suitable
for people with varying degrees of
mobility issues. (0345
4986900) is another place to look.
For example, the Coach House in
Betws yn Rhos, Co Conwy, sleeps
four and has a lift and bathroom with
rails and roll-in shower. A week costs
from �1.
Japan highlights tour
Japan is very well set up for disabled
travellers and it?s only going to improve
as the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics
approach. Inside Japan has put together
a self-guided tour specially for
wheelchair users that takes in the ?golden
route?, starting in Tokyo. From there
head to Kyoto?s celebrated Golden
Temple before continuing east to lively
Osaka. All rooms are accessible. The
ten-night tour with B&B stays costs from
�180pp, including a tour of Tokyo,
trips to Mount Fuji and Nara and
bullet train tickets (0117 370 9730, International
flights cost extra.
hotel in Germany
Hotels can be very tricky for wheelchair
users. Not so at the Seehotel Rheinsberg
on the shores of the picturesque
Grienerick lake, 90 minutes? drive from
Berlin. As well as extra-wide corridors,
the stylish rooms have wheelchairaccessible balconies and everything from
mini-bars to plug sockets at wheelchair
height. The hotel also has a spa and pool.
B&B doubles cost from ?155 a night
For disabled people, transport is
frankly dignity-destroying; read
Ben Clatworthy?s Thunderer at
42 Travel
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Travel 43
44 Travel
the times Saturday April 7 2018
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 45
Save 45% in
the Cotswolds
The cool
hotel guide
Number 38,
In a nutshell
It?s a beautiful walk across the Downs
from this stylish 11-room B&B to one
of the finest bridges in Britain. Clifton
Suspension Bridge, Isambard Kingdom
Brunel?s posthumous masterpiece,
stretching across the magnificent expanse
of the Avon Gorge, is a 20-minute stroll
away. Clifton itself is close by too, with its
Georgian terraces, labyrinthine streets,
independent shops and restaurants.
Number 38, owned by Adam and
Michael Dorrien-Smith (whose father
Robert runs the estate on Tresco in the
Isles of Scilly), faces the Downs with
brilliant city views from the back.
What are the rooms like?
Sisal carpets, grey wood panels, abstract
art, velvet armchairs and the odd
antique create a refined look. Smart
touches include directional bedside
lights, digital radios, well-stocked mini
bars and fancy REN products. The B&B
spans two Georgian buildings; original
sash windows provide views of either the
Downs or the cityscape. Room nine and
ten are the cheapest (from �0 B&B
midweek and �5 B&B at weekends).
The Painswick, Cotswolds
Price includes
? One night?s B&B
? Three-course dinner
? One spa treatment per couple
? Late check-out
? Return transfer from Stroud
wonderfully named Giggling Squid Thai
restaurant, where I can vouch for the
chilli and basil chicken gra pao stir-fry;
three courses are from about � (01179
Which is the best room?
The two new suites, opened in February
in an adjoining building recently
purchased by the Dorrien-Smiths, are
super comfortable (from �5 B&B
midweek, rising to �5 B&B at
weekends). The best rooms in Bristol?
Possibly. Book well in advance.
So what?s the food like?
Breakfasts are excellent with a choice of
full English, bacon and avocado with
chilli flakes on toast, scrambled eggs
with smoked salmon, and first-rate
bacon and sausage sandwiches.
Muesli, fruits, juices and yoghurts are
also provided. My garlic chestnut
mushrooms with poached eggs on
sourdough toast was simply delicious.
For dinner, stroll into Clifton and try the
Who goes there?
Walkers seeking a stroll on the Downs
and lovers of Georgian architecture.
Pubgoers will like it too: Clifton is
packed full of cosy inns.
The highs, the lows, the verdict
Nine and a half out of ten
This is a marvellous, almost faultless
B&B: elegant, contemporary and
friendly. Quibbles include a slightly
rattling central heating system and some
road noise (but these really are quibbles).
Tom Chesshyre
?The Painswick is a vision of
honey-stone south Cotswolds
Tom Chesshyre
Cool Hotel Guide reviewer
Times hotel rating: 8/10
Need to
Tom Chesshyre was a
guest of Number 38
(01179 466905,,
38 Upper Belgrave Road,
Bristol BS8 2XN; B&B
doubles cost from �0;
no wheelchair access;
single occupancy
discount of �; no dogs
Call 01452 346 591
Terms and conditions apply
pan iss fab
s, surpassing expectations I didn?t realise I had.
S ? associate
te editor, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine
rom futuristic cities to sacred temples
and magnificent mountains, Japan is
yours to discover on this fascinating
13-day tour. After three thrilling days in Tokyo,
you?ll take the bullet train to admire
breathtaking views from Mount Fuji. Other
highlights will include visiting the 16th-century
Matsumoto Castle and the beautiful Kenrokuen ? one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.
The cosmopolitan cities of Kyoto and Osaka,
where Buddhist shrines rub shoulders with
skyscrapers and Michelin-starred restaurants,
reveal more about the history, heritage and
innovative future of this enthralling country.
Want to make your trip
extra special? Readers
have the exclusive
opportunity to upgrade
to Business Class flights
from just �5pp*.
Your expert Englishspeaking guides will
reveal the history
behind Japan?s
must-see attractions ?
including Mount Fuji;
the Buddhist shrines of
Koya-San; the markets
and historic sites of
Matsumoto, Takayama,
Shirakawago; and the
cities of Tokyo, Kyoto
and Osaka.
Everything from
entrance fees and airport
transfers, to flights and
four-star accommodation
is included in the price
of your trip. All meals
are included too. Dine at
high-quality restaurants
and enjoy local and
western-style dishes.
Economy-class international flights and current taxes
l All transportation and transfers
l All meals and four-star accommodation throughout
l All sightseeing and entrance fees
l Touring with English-speaking guides and entrance fees
l Visits to Japan highlights including Tokyo, Mt Fuji, Kyoto
and the Japanese Alps
Departures: September 12 and 19, November 7, 2018.
Exclusively with
�290** per person
0808 252 2810
*Book by April 14, 2018, based on November departure. Upgrades from �5 on other dates. Very limited space, subject to availability. **From price based on a twin/double share, single supplement applies. Holidays are operated by Wendy Wu Tours, Cottons Centre, 47-49 Tooley Street,
London SE1 2QG and subject to the booking conditions of Wendy Wu TOURS, ATOL AND ABTA protected; a company wholly independent of News UK. Wendy Wu Tours: ATOL 6639. ABTA W7994.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
46 Travel
South East Asia
Hants & IOW
Book your
or announcement
now at:
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Book your
advertisement or
now at:
Overseas Travel
Travel 47
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the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 49
the times Saturday April 7 2018
50 Travel
Travel tips
Restored historic home in Norfolk
For a little history with your holiday, book
into Hales Hall in the Norfolk countryside,
built in 1478 by the attorney-general to
Henry VII, Sir James Hobart. It has been
restored in keeping with its roots ? open
fireplaces, roll-top baths, half-timbered
bedrooms, manicured lawns and a moat.
Book a three-night break for 14 from �612 (; a
cottage, gatehouse and garden rooms are also for hire.
Horse riding on Turkey?s Carian Trail
The new Wolf?s Trail Cottage near the village of Bayir, on the
Bozburun Peninsula, is close to the Carian Trail, which can be
explored on foot or horseback. The villa?s owner is a qualified
trekking guide and takes guests to explore beneath the surface of
rural Turkey, including riding on little-known routes. The horse treks
operate throughout the season, and in the hotter months rider and
mount cool off in the sea. From October there will be dedicated
horse-trekking weeks. A week costs from �0pp, including two
days? horse trekking and seven days? car hire (020 3875 0351,
Cool stay in Mykonos
It?s already the place to stay in Greece,
but Mykonos gets a little hipper in June
with the opening of Katikies Mykonos,
overlooking the peninsula of Agios
Ioannis, and only ten minutes from
Mykonos town and airport. There are 35
elegant rooms, done out in Grecian white
and blue, three dining options, a pool and a spa focusing on couples?
massages. A room in September will cost you from ?362 (�7) a
night (
Learn fencing in Sardinia
Sardinia?s Forte Village Resort is a hub of activities, with everything
from a mini-racetrack to a children?s village with fire station and
village shop. This year it?s introducing a fencing academy, running
Monday to Friday, for adults and children. If you want to go
in May half-term, you?ll get a week?s half-board for three from �333
through Citalia (, including flights and fencing tuition for
the child. The resort also has a new private spa at its thalassotherapy
circuit that can be booked from ?900 for a half day for up to ten
people (
50 Greatest National Parks
If you love the great outdoors, take a look
at 50 Greatest National Parks of the World
(�99) by Times Travel writer Aaron
Millar. This isn?t a coffee-table tome, but a
guide covering the history of each
national park, including the Lake District
National Park, pictured on the cover,
above. There?s also information on planning visits. From Norwegian
fjords to Angel Falls in Venezuela, it is full of inspiration. Jane Knight
Madeira?s rugged north coast
Travel doctor
I like walking and my
husband likes golf. Is there
any way we can go on a
holiday that combines these
two activities, preferably in
winter and somewhere warm?
Susan Hannis, via email
Stylish Quinta Casa Velha do
Palheiro in Madeira should
appeal to you both. An early
19th-century hunting lodge
that?s now a Relais & Ch鈚eaux hotel
(with one of the best restaurants on the
island), it has direct access to Palheiro
Golf, an 18-hole par 72 course and as a
guest your husband would get discounts
on green fees. You could take your pick
of Madeira?s many levada walks: one of
them, Levada dos Tornos, starts near the
Palheiro Gardens, next to the hotel and
ends in Monte, famous for its wicker
toboggans. A week at the end of
November will cost from �9pp for B&B
in a double room, flights and transfers
through Prestige Holidays (01425
480400, If you?d
rather go for long-haul guaranteed heat,
try St Lucia. More mountainous than
any of the other Caribbean islands, with
its Pitons rising to nearly 800m, it has
great walking. The best golf courses on
the island are in the northwest and if
you base yourself there at Bay Gardens,
the resort can arrange myriad activities
including golf and a guided hike of Gros
Piton. A week next winter starts at
�029pp, including B&B, flights and
transfers through Tropical Sky (01342
Q I?m looking for a week-long break
somewhere warm in the next few
months where I can combine yoga and
bodyboarding. I?m an inexperienced
but enthusiastic bodyboarder so
somewhere safe with equipment hire
is essential. I?m in my fifties and like
a degree of comfort; my budget is up
to �000.
Tricia Phillips, via email
A It sounds like some bodyboarding
lessons might be useful. Bodyboard
Holidays ( runs
week-long courses in Portugal and you
could tack on yoga sessions. One-to-one
tuition on Sintra?s beaches costs �9pp,
including self-catering in an apartment in
the pretty village of Colares; if you are
happy to join a group trip on May 19, it
costs �9pp. Return flights to Lisbon
start at � in mid-May with Ryanair
from Stansted. If you?d prefer yoga to be
the focus of your trip, Lotus Retreat
in the seaside town of Corralejo in
Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands
offers a week of yoga, t?ai chi and Pilates
(some classes are held on the sand) and
can advise on safe places to bodyboard,
including the popular beach at El Cotillo,
as well as equipment hire. Weekly retreats
start on Saturdays. A single room with
shared bathroom costs �4pp, including
classes, a massage, and some meals (all
vegetarian) with Azul Fit (
Return flights with Easyjet to
Fuerteventura start at about �0 in May.
Q My friend and I bought tickets from
Aegean Airlines from Manchester to
Lesbos. We were delighted to get
daytime flights with good connection
times. We have just received ? four
weeks before travel ? a flight schedule
change. The outward flight now leaves
just before midnight and there is a
seven-hour wait for our connecting
flight. We miss a day of our holiday
and will arrive very tired. The return
flight now necessitates an overnight
stay in Athens (which Aegean has
offered to pay for). We were offered a
refund, but it?s too late to make other
arrangements. Are airlines entitled to
make such extreme changes to the
flight schedules?
Judith Magill, via email
A The short answer is yes. Airlines sell
tickets up to a year in advance of
departure, but tend not to finalise slots
until much later. If the flight number is
still the same and airlines inform
passengers more than 14 days in
advance, no compensation is payable.
Aegean offered a refund because the
schedule change was so significant, but
at this point any alternative flights would
be hugely expensive.
Julia Brookes is the Travel Doctor
Don?t put up with this
Cancelled P&O cruises have cost us
Can you persuade P&O to put right the
unfair treatment we have suffered at
its hands when it sold its cruise ship
Adonia? We had booked two cruises
early because of the unique itineraries,
price and the level of on-board credit.
We have received �0 on-board credit
each for the distress and inconvenience
for each cancelled cruise when booking
another cruise. The new cruises we
have booked are more expensive than
they would have been had we booked
them in January 2017 when we paid
for the Adonia trips. Most important
for us is that we have lost out on the
high level of on-board credit we would
have had on Adonia; we have lost
�000 in total. This is grossly unfair.
Paul and Carolyn Coote, via email
Cruise companies have some of
the tightest cancellation policies
in the travel business ? and, as
you?ve discovered, can be scarcely
more generous when they cancel
cruises themselves. After my
intervention, P&O looked at your
case again and has made you a
satisfactory offer, which you have
Contact us . . .
If you have a gripe, suggestion or question about
holiday travel, write to Travel Doctor, The Times
Travel Desk, 1 London Bridge Street, London
SE1 9GF, or email
Please include contact details. If you have a
dispute with a travel company, try to resolve it
before contacting us.
Do not send us original documents.
Unfortunately we cannot reply to every inquiry.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
Travel 51
illuminated with twines of sparkling
LEDs, then it is truly divine (there?s a
decent restaurant too).
Back in the car, I decide I?ve got time
? in between ch鈚eaux ? for an
unexpected sidestep: Amboise. This is a
cute, quaint, touristy Loire-side town
famous for two things: quite nice biscuits
and Leonardo. The great Renaissance
polymath is buried here, in a gothic
chapel next to the battered castle.
However, the most resonant and moving
place is his final home, a half-timbered
manor house gifted to him by Francis I.
Climb the rickety wooden stairs, along
with all the Japanese tourists, and you
can visit the bedroom where Leonardo
died, apparently in tears because he
hadn?t fulfilled the artistic talents given
him by God. You can also stare through
Leonardo?s favourite leaded window,
Sleek, chic and not
exactly meek, the hotel
at Chambord has
decorous suites
Need to
Sean Thomas was a
guest of Atout France
( Relais de
Chambord has B&B
doubles from about �5
(; Les Hautes
Roches has B&B doubles
from about �0
La Bateli鑢e sur Loire
has treehouses and
boats from �0 a night
the Fontevraud Abbey
has B&B doubles from
�0 (
a houseboat, on the Loire, in the Anjou
Natural Park. The smiling owner, Selma,
greets me with very sensible instructions
(?if you smoke, everything might burn
down!?), then leaves me with a nice
basket of supper, a great bottle of Valmer
white and a glorious view of the watery
sunset. Kingfishers swoop. Herons soar.
A beaver swims for the shore, making a
determined and glittering wake, a vee of
blinding light over which dragonflies
hover. I climb into my cosy bunk bed
and I am lulled into a delicious coma by
the gentle sway of the backwaters.
Morning dawns equally sweet. I?ve got
two more gardens to visit, and they
couldn?t be more different. The first,
Ch鈚eau du Rivau, is a romantic fantasy
of English disorder and Italian grace
with a dash of eclectic modernism.
Expect ironic gnomes, hidden music,
erotic sculptures, glorious flowerbeds,
child-friendly tree houses and excellent,
fluffy quiche in the alfresco brasserie.
And don?t forget to buy some of the
veggie soup as a souvenir: it?s all organic,
and all the ingredients are picked within
10m of the till.
The second garden, Villandry, is one of
the most famous in France. A Spanish
scientist bought the house in 1906 and
restored the gardens using his American
wife?s millions, creating a rhapsody of
symmetry. There are 1,004 lime trees,
83km of box, a zillion nodding tulips in
the ?love garden?, every herb imaginable,
sculpted shrubs, swanned lakelets,
crystal cascades, wooden loveseats
adorned with glowing roses and a maze
where you can?t go wrong because it is
designed to lead you to the beauty of
God at the centre.
How do you top all that? With my last
stop, and my last and most historic bed:
Fontevraud Abbey. Here you?ll find
another neat formal garden and also an
exceptional restaurant, run by a
Michelin-starred, Bocuse-medalled chef
who appears to be about 14 years old (try
his coffee crisps with foie gras and
mushrooms). Moreover, and more
importantly, if you book into the Abbey
hotel you get to sleep ? poignantly ?
in subtly luxurious rooms that were once
cells for lepers, then for Victorian
prisoners, then for Resistance fighters
held by the Nazis.
The best thing about Fontevraud is
revealed once the day-trippers depart: if
you are a hotel guest you are given right
to roam at will and can wander through
crypts and transepts, into medieval attics
and ancient kitchens.
And so, after my dinner, slightly tipsy
on fine Saumur wine, I steal through the
dark, deserted cloisters. I trip over
cobbles, pass nocturnal dovecotes and
finally find myself in the high, vaulted
nave of the great and empty abbey. This
mighty and echoing edifice is where the
Angevin kings of England are interred;
their painted effigies are suspended
above their medieval bones.
It is nearly midnight; I am alone. A
silver light shines through the gothic
windows on to the faces of Eleanor of
Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart. It?s
just me, the moon and the Plantagenets.
And as I look at their graves I can see
exactly why they chose to lie here, for
ever, in the sweet and watered back
garden of France, this land of grand
rivers and vast forests, where ch鈚eaux
and poetry and art and legends flourish
in the driving rain and burning sun,
along with the cherry and the lilac and
the roses of Anjou.
the times Saturday April 7 2018
32 Travel
My epic tour across wild and
Matthew Parris
enjoys the Australian
island?s sweeping
scenery, fascinating
wildlife and
delicious cuisine
50 miles
Bass Strait
n Field
n Park
Bruny Island
asmania defies summary.
Soft and gentle? Harsh and
elemental? Raw?
Sophisticated? The island
is all these things. Visiting
some years ago and
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