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Buckinghamshire news - May 2014

PUBLISHED: 11:01 24 May 2014

Black Horse licensees Ian Wilson and Lynne Comley

Black Horse licensees Ian Wilson and Lynne Comley

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Emma with Amersham's Mayor Cllr Nigel Shepherd and Loncroft founder Abi PurserEmma with Amersham's Mayor Cllr Nigel Shepherd and Loncroft founder Abi Purser

Go on, let us in for some pampering!

We like to help readers find excellent treats with our reviews of hotel stays and food and drink menus, and now we’ve discovered somewhere new and very special in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside.

Spacious rooms with the comfiest of beds, first class entertainment, a chauffeur-driven Mercedes if we require it, health and beauty pampering sessions, and a menu which will allow us to dine on the likes of melt in the mouth king prawns. And once we’ve been primped and look our best there’s the option of a photo shoot.

Yes, that sounds like us. The problem is we’ve been turned away by discerning proprietor Emma Seddon because you have to be a cat to stay at Longcroft in Winchmore Hill. Miaow!

Retracting our claws, we’re not surprised that those attending a suitably stylish party to celebrate the opening of Longcroft were all agog at the accommodation and personal service feline guests enjoy there.

For Emma, running this luxurious establishment is a dream come true: “I’ve always wanted to run my own business. Combine that with working with cats and still being at home and available for my young children, and you have the dream job!”

Emma, husband Mark and their two daughters are undoubtedly cat lovers. Her first cat, Poppy, travelled everywhere with Emma, even during university days and sometimes on holidays, reaching the ripe old age of 19. Now the family have two new rescue cats, Charlie and Lola, as well as two horses.

Find out more about Longcroft at www.longcroftcathotel.co.uk, tel: 01494 372371. Like our other top recommendations, we reckon this one will become the place to be seen.

Bring theatre to your village

In Buckinghamshire’s annual Theatre in the Villages extravaganza village audiences across the county are regularly mesmerised by storytelling, spellbound by drama and chuckle over humour. With plans already underway for this autumn’s event, the county once again looks set to benefit from yet more professional entertainment in local venues and at modest prices.

As part of the Rural Touring Scheme, TIV is offering a range of quality acts, some new and others returning by popular demand, including classical music, drama, magic, cabaret, comedy, puppetry and much more.

Shows are organised individually by volunteers who choose the venue and artiste, and are responsible for ticket sales and promoting the performance. TIV begins in September but any villagers keen to organise a performance, and find out more about the myriad of available acts, are now invited to contact Jeannette Baxter, Theatre in the Villages Coordinator, tel: 01296 630902, 07966 473379, jeanette.baxter@gmail.com, www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/theatreinthevillages.

Congratulations to The Black Horse

Recent years have seen testing times for our local public houses, so we’re delighted to see that Lacey Green’s The Black Horse achieved a flawless score in a national pub excellence scheme – one of only three pubs across the country to achieve the remarkable feat.

The Black Horse emerged in first place from almost 1,000 Admiral Taverns pubs spread across England and Wales, which were assessed for all the key ingredients that go into making the very best of British pubs.

This traditional village establishment is a good spot to stop for a bite to eat throughout the week and for Sunday lunch, and there’s a children’s menu.

Licensee Lynne Comley, who has run the Black Horse for 19 years, said: “We are just so delighted with the result of the scheme. It’s great to have achieved this award, and is fantastic to know that our hard work at the pub is being recognised in this way.

“We are continuously working to ensure we have the very best range of drinks, finest pub food and the highest quality service for our customers.”

Nicola Reeves, of Admiral Taverns, who visited the pub several times to carry out detailed inspections before awarding it perfect marks, said: “This really shows that the Black Horse is genuinely our best of the best, so huge congratulations to Lynne and her incredibly hard-working team. The award really showcases the outstanding service and high standards at the pub – and the general excellence that runs through everything they do.”

The scheme is run by 2013 Pub Company of the Year Admiral Taverns. Their pubs are run by individual licensees as their own businesses, deciding which products to offer and what type of customers to target. Nicola Reeves said that the Black Horse excelled in all areas of the meticulous review, including in the range and quality of drinks on offer, cleanliness of pub both inside and out and level of customer service.

Stories from the First World War

Poignant stories and fascinating artefacts make High Wycombe Museum’s ‘Wycombe in World War 1’exhibition a must visit.

The exhibition is interactive, with a replica walk in ‘dugout’, handling objects, clothing and music. Among the many mementoes on show is a 1914 coloured postcard of mother and child mourning their absent father ‘sent to a soldier’ when training with the Royal Field Artillery service at High Wycombe.

Exhibits include an actual propeller from one of the aircraft manufactured by local furniture factories. B North & Sons and R Tyzack were both major suppliers of aircraft parts as were other specialist woodworking businesses in the district. And, of course, local Terriers boy Geoffrey de Havilland was responsible for aircraft design for Airco at Hendon, helping significantly with the war effort before setting up his own company in 1920.

Two special exhibits are an embroidered silk handkerchief from France and a piece of souvenir ‘Trench Art’ fashioned by a serving engineer from Broom and Wade as a miniature coal scuttle and made from a brass shell, possibly one manufactured at Dexters Foundry or at the Wethereds Brewery in Marlow.

There is also the story of Fred Huddlestone, sent to Wycombe to train in the Artillery Service in 1914. After many escapades his horse was shot from under him, leaving him with a disabled leg for the rest of his life. He had left a good job as a pattern maker and came back to make do as a street sweeper after demobilisation. The local paper picked up his tale, photographing him and branding him ‘the best dressed street sweeper in town’. Today his granddaughter is a volunteer at Wycombe Museum.

On 11 May History Wardrobe presents ‘Women in the Great War’ at Wycombe High School, highlighting the catastrophic impact of World War One on the lives of millions, both on and off the battlefield. This extraordinary time of social upheaval, new opportunities and freedoms for many women is explored through a display of costumes, anecdotes and stories.

Wycombe Museum, Priory Ave, High Wycombe HP13 6PX, open Monday-Saturday 10-5 and Sundays 2-5, tel 01494 421895.

HS2: crucial decison

The Chiltern Society has urged MPs to ‘stop and think’ before agreeing to the Second Reading of the HS2 Hybrid Bill, which, if passed, will determine the London to Birmingham route of HS2 across the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty The Society has written to all 650 MPs saying the Bill sets a dangerous precedent for all protected landscapes in Britain.

“The HS2 Environmental Statement paid little or no heed to the fact that AONBs are protected landscapes that require special consideration,” said Society HS2 spokesman John Gladwin. “Now the public response to the Environmental Statement has shown that protecting AONBs is at the top of the agenda among people concerned about the environmental impact of the railway.

“We are urging MPs to stop and think about the environmental consequences before approving the Second Reading of the HS2 Hybrid Bill. Both the Environmental Statement and the public consultation so far have been deeply flawed. The country cannot afford MPs to get this decision wrong.”

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