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Great Barr Gazette

John Taylor Hospice Celebrate 40 years

A local voluntary charity that helps patients with life threatening illnesses has its 40th anniversary this year.


To contribute to the celebrations, the League of Friends of John Taylor Hospice wants to recruit 400 adults, children and even dogs to take part in the Great Midlands Fun Run in Sutton Coldfield in June.


Registration begins on 1st February and their recruitment drive was given a send off by Birmingham’s Lord Mayor Councillor Mike Leddy, the Lady Mayoress Pauline Leddy, Erdington MP Jack Dromey and Tracey Spare Director of the Fun Run for over 20 years.


Entrants can WALK, jog or run as it is not a race. For more details, of how you can help the Charity, please contact Ray Woods on Freephone: 0800 500 3016 or email fundraising@johntaylorhospicelof.org.uk.’

The Great Barr Gazette is a magazine delivered free to homes in Great Barr and surrounding area’s.

Are you ready to look after your health?

Osteopathic Medical Practice has 10 years experience in treating a range of pain conditions

Osteopathy is a fully hands on approach to managing and successfully treating acute and chronic pain.

It walks side by side with Physiotherapy and Chiropractic treatment.

Our philosophy at approaching pain is holistic, looking mechanically, emotionally and nutritionally.

Some conditions we commonly treat are:

Ø  Low back pain

Ø  Sciatica

Ø  Neck and shoulder pain

Ø  Headaches

Ø  Sports injuries

Many patients come in for checkups and maintenance. Our bodies are like cars, they are the machinery that allow us to carry out daily functions. If a component in a car starts to wear and is not replaced, it will start to place strain on other components and fail.

After our body has compensated, our failing mechanism is pain. However our bodies are very resilient, they have the ability to cope with strain for a lot longer than cars. Unfortunately this can mean, it may be years before a pain condition develops.

 Osteopathy works very well by maintaining balance in our component parts to prevent failure, just as we see the dentist for our teeth and the optician for our eyes.

 Isn’t it time we looked after our bodies?

       For a Free consultation or even just to have a friendly chat to see if we can help you, call us on

0121 2280 159

Or visit our website at www.osteopathicmp.co.uk

This article features in the Great Barr Gazette,

delivered free to homes and businesses in the Great Barr and surrounding area’s.

Top Honeymoon Destinations

Consider this an inspiration list – only a drop in the ocean of the honeymoon destinations you can explore. From more relaxed beach-centred honeymoons to those involving bustling cities or remote expeditions, speak to your personal Travel Counsellor for advice on how and where to book.

1 Dubai


Where better to spoil your loved one than in the shopping epicentre of the world? From the rich colours and scents of the souks, to the luxury of the large shopping malls, a belated wedding present must surely be on the cards.

Take your time to relax poolside or on the beach and then enjoy some of the finest cuisines in the world whilst the skyline changes around you.

2 Barbados


Described as the ‘pearl of the Caribbean’, Barbados is a lovers’ delight. Colourful nightlife and friendly people, glorious beaches and fun-filled attractions ensure that no-one who graces these shores will ever be disappointed.

Almost year-round sunshine provides a welcome relief for winter honeymooners and the stunning backdrop will keep them coming back for more long after they have left.

 3 Mauritius

Playground of the rich and famous, Mauritius has long been a top class destination, for honeymooners in particular.

Stunning beaches, luxury resorts, deep blue lagoons…the list is endless. A tropical paradise sitting afloat in the sea, this island will delight newlyweds the world over.

Taste the local cuisine and watch displays of traditional dancing before slipping to the bar for a nightcap.

4 – Maldives

Long sandy beaches fringed by overhanging palm trees, stunning coral reefs and mysterious lagoons. The whole picture evokes an image of romance, of sunbathing and swimming, of cocktails and beachside dining.

If serenity and beauty are the most important factors for your honeymoon destination, you have hit the jackpot here.

5 Malaysia

Vibrant, exotic and ethnically diverse are just a few phrases that are used to describe Malaysia. The gorgeous beaches of the coast and the lush vegetation of the rainforests, combined with first class luxury ensures that honeymooners are well looked after.

Surf, shopping, sand and sea can all be found in different areas of this fabulous country.

6 – Seychelles

With decadent top class resorts offering sumptuous honeymoon suites, you can rest assured you will be in the lap of luxury in the Seychelles.

Catering toward the romance of the newly married, the privacy and seclusion of the islands’ many hotels ensures total rest and relaxation, as well as the endless possibilities of dining on the beach or indulging in a spot of pampering at the spa.

7 Hawaii

With dazzling sunsets, glorious beaches and intimate dinners in which to share, it is easy to see why Hawaii is a favourite honeymoon destination.

Embracing traditions such as midnight picnics, sunset cruises and couples massage in the spa, honeymooners are made to feel extremely welcome in every sense of the word on each of these beautiful islands.

Take a romantic walk along the beach or through the orchids to truly experience Hawaii.

8 Jamaica

White, sandy beaches, sparkling waterfalls and lush vegetation are just a few of the highlights of this fantastic island.

Relax to the sounds of reggae music whilst you sip cocktails around the pool. Let the natural beauty of the island take your breath away as you marvel at the mountainous landscape.

Indulge in a tot of rum and don’t forget to bring some home for your friends.

9 Fiji

A tropical island paradise, Fiji is bursting with jungle waterfalls, blooming orchids and palm-fringed beaches that are guaranteed to melt the heart of even the most cold-hearted of visitors.

Infamous for its great surfing, Fiji is a veritable feast of water sports and aquatic wildlife, along with a thriving nightlife and dining scene.

The pace of life is relaxed here, so take your time to enjoy it.

10 New York

Frenetic nightlife, an abundance of cultural attractions and in the middle of it all, a more tranquil green haven known as Central park.

Of course, this is New York, a lesser known honeymoon destination, who caters to the city crowd and those who like to enjoy their entertainment at super speed.

But romance can flourish in the most unlikely of places, and New York is just one of those destinations.

This article appeared in the Great Barr Gazette,

a free publication delivered to homes in the Great Barr area.









Clever Avocado

The simple avocado is receiving lots of attention from researchers examining inflammatory health problems such as arthritis. Packed full of anti-inflammatories, anti-oxidants and monounsaturated fats, Omega 3, carotenoids and an array of other nutrients, it also ticks the box for promoting a healthy cardiovascular system.
Healthy, quick, simple to prepare and delicious! Try this recipe of Mexican origin – guacamole. Making your own gives this dish a new dimension much superior to the supermarket’s version.

2 avocados
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tomatoes (2 golf ball sized)
2 mild chillies chopped (sweet bell or cherry peppers are mild)
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1 onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
10 ml (2 teaspoons) water
Salt and pepper to season to taste
Equipment: Pestle and mortar or wand blender.
Number guide: Allow 1/2 an avocado per person and adjust the other ingredients accordingly.
Method: Use a pestle and mortar if you have one and make a paste from the tomatoes, chillies, coriander, onion and lime juice. Add a little salt and the water. Mash in the avocados. Choose how smooth or chunky you prefer the consistency to be. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with tacos, savoury biscuits, bread sticks and/or a selection of prepared raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumber and celery.


A story of carpentry and football…

Ask John Abbott of J.A. Carpentry why he became a carpenter and you soon realise that he was never going to be anything else. Because, it transpires, carpentry is in the Abbott blood. John got his first taste of this oldest of trades accompanying his carpenter dad on jobs. And before John’s father there was his grandfather too, who, back in the day, installed the old wooden seats at Aston Villa!

The job’s a good ‘un

At 89 John’s dad is still giving him advice, such as “a bad job goes round faster than a good one”. Not that John needs that particular piece of advice, because by his own admission he is very fussy. As far as John is concerned a job is not finished until the customer is completely satisfied, which is why, over the 30 years he has been a carpenter, he has built a solid reputation for craftsmanship and customer service.

Call J.A. Carpentry

John has carried out pretty much every carpentry job you can think of over the years and has a wealth of experience. You can call J.A Carpentry for everything from new kitchens, bathrooms and floors to custom built porches, staircases and other bespoke work. Call for repairs and refurbishments too, from the smallest of jobs to the largest of projects. You’ll find the things that are important to you are also important to John – quality craftsmanship, friendly service and a fair price.

Keeping the tradition alive

Sweeping changes in the design and build of football stadiums mean those old wooden seats that John’s grandfather built have long gone, but today J.A. Carpentry keeps alive the tradition of local quality craftsmanship that began all those years ago.

Not sure if he gets down to Villa Park much though…he’s always too busy working!


This article was featured in the Great Barr Gazette, delivered to 16,000 homes and

businesses in the Great Barr and surrounding areas.

Gardening – My Desert Island Disc Plants

I’ve always liked the Desert Island Disc concept, the one where you get to choose just eight pieces of music to ease the sense of isolation as you while away your days alone on an island in the Caribbean – but I’ve always felt that unless you were lucky enough to get stranded with Mrs Crusoe (or Nigella Lawson) you’d need a bit more than Vaughan Williams to keep you sane. Well here’s my choice of eight flowers to compliment the music; clearly these are purely personal and if you’d rather take along some nice King Edwards and a couple of grape vines instead, then I quite understand!


First choice is the Nerine, a bulb which has fascinated me since I was a boy. The fact it has a summer rest with no water makes it easy to grow and it always flowers around my birthday – September in case you’d forgotten! You don’t need desert island temperatures for the hardy Nerine bowdenii – try it, you won’t be sorry!


Next up is the Azalea – not the most fashionable plant at the moment but one which is indelibly etched in my memory because many years ago I took a seed pod from a war grave in Germany. One of the resulting plants still flowers in my mother’s garden every spring and its powerful scent alone earns it a place on my list.


The Iris family is vast but the big and bouncy tall Bearded Iris is my favourite. I have hundreds of varieties in my garden (the photo shows a few) so the big problem would be selecting just one to take to the island!


Like the Iris my next choice would relish the hot, dry desert island conditions – Coronilla glauca is one of those special plants I ‘discovered’ by accident a few years ago. Now I can’t imagine a garden without finding a spot for this small growing shrub! Delightful!


My next choice would not seem out of place on a desert island – the orchid – although the particular type I prefer would rather be stranded on top of a cool, moist hillside. The Pleione is a tiny little spring flowering species – another of my heirloom plants I have been growing forever and would hate to be without. Captivating!


My last three choices I have grouped together as Marigolds, Sweet Peas and Roses. All of them are as indispensable to this stranded Yorkshireman as tripe and onions. And as for the choice of rose, it would have to be my dad’s favourite – Josephine Bruce – a gorgeous deep red colour with a fantastic scent. The next best thing to Mrs Crusoe!



Jonathan Wild

Garden Consultant and Up a Creek with no Paddle!


This article appeared in the Great Barr Gazette, a local magazine delivered to 16,000 homes in

Great Barr and the surrounding area’s.


Did you wake up with a throbbing headache, a general feeling of physical misery, a tiger in your bathroom and a bit of left over turkey stuck somewhere on your shirt?
Before you choose to finish that cold turkey or opt for the Bloody Mary, try
these tips instead:


Alcohol is a diuretic – a chemical that kicks your urinary system into overdrive, and unless you managed to alternate your alcoholic beverages with water in between (which never works does it?), your post-drinking symptoms are most likely due to dehydration. Rehydrating is key when it comes to recovering from a hangover and cannot be stressed enough. But I’m not talking coffee, Red Bull or hair-of-the-dog here. Caffeine is an acknowledged stimulant, and while you might hope caffeine can perform its miracles of giving some much needed focus and alertness, it’s another diuretic. Red Bull isn’t much better (and requires another column), and choosing the hair-of-the-dog option would only be advisable if you want to pass out to forget what you’ve done the night before. Coffee will not help your stomach either, so the best option is water at room temperature. You may add some fresh lemon or fresh orange juice to give you additional Vitamin C for energy, and for soothing your upset tummy.

Top Up

When you drink excessively, you lose a lot of key minerals and vitamins including potassium, magnesium and B-Vitamins, all of which need to be topped up. Bananas are a great hangover food; they are like nature’s own little hangover cures. Not only are they full of fructose (natural fruit sugar) to help with energy, they contain a nice amount of potassium. Bananas are also natural antacids – which will help your nausea and stomach pain – and they also contain magnesium, which helps to relax pounding blood vessels in your head. Have a banana on toasted wholegrain bread (for the carbohydrates and B-Vitamins) with organic peanut or almond butter (great sources of magnesium and protein), and you get a good dose of all those key minerals and vitamins you lost the night before. Drinking vegetable bouillon soup or coconut water are two other good sources of vitamins and minerals, and easy for a fragile stomach to digest.


Do eat. Yes, it might be the last thing you want to do, but you will feel a lot better the minute you get your blood sugar levels up after having had some food. There is no one-and-only hangover food cure, but you can’t beat a good fry-up. It gives you the greasy fat to coat your stomach, and the bread and eggs will give you the carbohydrates and protein for energy and blood sugar support. All I can say there is no perfect food cure for a hangover, so if you’ve found one that works for you, stick to it. My advice, though, would be to opt for a well-balanced meal, including all groups of macronutrients: complex carbohydrate, lean protein and healthy unsaturated fats. A toasted wholegrain bagel with cream cheese and salmon is another good option, and so is porridge with natural yoghurt and strawberries, giving you enough fibre for blood sugar balance, selenium to boost liver function, and Vitamin C for energy and soothing your tummy.


But for the best cure of all (and if you have the luxury of not having to get up), go back to bed after your breakfast and sleep it off!

The Nutrition Coach

This article appeared in the Great Barr Gazette, a local magazine delivered to 16,000

in Great Barr and the surrounding area’s.