POWER IN Cheshire Life: Novem­ber 2018

Cheshire Life - - Society -

The ladies of Tar­por­ley are proud of their de­light­ful vil­lage, com­plete with stylish shops and fash­ion­able places in which to eat but, be­ing a creative, en­er­getic and com­mu­nity-minded bunch, they’re keen to do so much more than sim­ply shop and lunch, although there will al­ways be a place for that too!

‘Ab­so­lutely. Tar­por­ley is per­fect for those things,’ says Abi­gail Webb, Founder and Pres­i­dent of Tar­por­ley WI, which will be cel­e­brat­ing its fourth birth­day this month with pros­ecco and a ma­gi­cian. ‘Much of the High street is a con­ser­va­tion area – not many places can claim that – but it isn’t pick­led in as­pic, it’s a re­ally vi­brant place and we’re glad to con­trib­ute to it.

‘I started our branch be­cause I wanted to learn how to bake and cro­chet: it worked! We do lots of other things too: Pimms and Pud­ding Nights; gin tast­ing; style talks and belly danc­ing be­cause we have more than fifty mem­bers from 20 to 80 so there’s some­thing for ev­ery­body and ev­ery­body is wel­come,’ smiles Abi­gail, who is also mother to hon­orary mem­ber, six-week old Char­lotte Rose and who had to ask a tu­tor to teach the group how to sing ‘Jerusalem’; some­thing they only in­dulge in on the group’s birth­day.

The Deci­bel­las, the award win­ning ladies choir, founded in 2009, would be most up­set if they had to limit their singing to once a year, and so would their Cheshire wide army of fans. This el­e­gant group – clad in be­spoke French Navy dresses – have re­cently com­pleted a con­cert tour in Bu­dapest and in­cor­po­rate all ages and oc­cu­pa­tions.

‘It’s a com­pli­ment to us that peo­ple as­sume that one has to pass a rig­or­ous au­di­tion to be ac­cepted into the choir but that is not the case. You just have to love singing, any­thing from show tunes to cho­ral works,’ ex­plains past chair, Hazel Row­lands.

The Deci­bel­las have also per­formed at the In­ter­na­tional Eisteddfod; the BBC Mu­sic Na­tion Event; The Ch­ester Fes­ti­val of Per­form­ing Arts; many Christ­mas light switch-on cer­e­monies and scores of pri­vate events. They have even made a CD, which sold like hot cakes.

‘It’s great fun, es­pe­cially when Mar­cus, our mu­si­cal di­rec­tor, holds up his trusty cracked mir­ror so we can see any strange ex­pres­sions we might be mak­ing when singing – yes, singing can bring out your in­ner ‘gurner’,’ smiles Hazel who is de­lighted the choir has raised funds for many char­i­ties such as Teenage Can­cer Trust, Sight­savers and Alder Hey Chil­dren’s Char­ity.

‘As an added bonus, singing also gives you a full phys­i­cal work-out al­most, but not quite, with­out us notic­ing,’ laughs Hazel.

Jo Comerie’s work gives her a full phys­i­cal work-out – and she def­i­nitely no­tices it. Ear­lier this year, she opened Cheshire Cut Flower Farm in a beau­ti­ful an­cient gar­den, just out­side Tar­por­ley in Bun­bury.

‘It was a veg­etable gar­den for cen­turies, so I’m ben­e­fit­ting from all the till­ing and hoe­ing that our Cheshire an­ces­tors did,’ smiles Jo, who has a fair-weather helper in Pud­ding the dog and who spe­cialises in English coun­try flow­ers.

‘Peo­ple of­ten buy a bou­quet

at the gate – it’s an hon­esty box – and yes, Tar­por­ley folk are hon­est – or brides come along to choose their bridal flow­ers. I’m also happy to plant flow­ers for them and they can watch their own bou­quet grow. It is so joy­ous and per­sonal for a Cheshire bride to carry English blooms grown in our own Cheshire soil on her wed­ding day,’ says Jo, who doesn’t use any chem­i­cals and who finds her­self equally busy in the au­tumn and win­ter; mak­ing sump­tu­ous door dec­o­ra­tions or pro­vid­ing flo­ral dec­o­ra­tions for Cheshire sup­per par­ties as the evenings draw in.

Rachael Carr doesn’t grow flow­ers but, as a trained artist, she has helped many peo­ple to paint them; as well as draw­ing nudes, mak­ing Pa­pier Mache fig­ures, draw­ing land­scapes and a good many things in be­tween. Her Craft Room is filled with glo­ri­ous light.

‘It’s one of the rea­sons I chose it. A good light is es­sen­tial in an art class,’ says Racheal who runs work­shops for both adults and chil­dren and who finds that Tar­por­ley ladies like to book the stu­dio for a hen or birth­day do.

‘It’s re­lax­ing, bond­ing and you have a piece of art at the end: what’s not to like,’ she says.

Nikki Abell-fran­cis, who runs The Zenchi Clinic, pro­vides an enor­mous range of re­lax­ing ther­a­pies and treat­ments; fast be­com­ing the first port of call for mums to be, dads and ba­bies, who might find them­selves in need of some rest­ful mas­sage.

‘I spe­cialise in all types of mas­sage such as Thai and as, well as mums, we also have clients who need a bit of help af­ter cy­cling and eques­trian ac­tiv­i­ties,’ says Nikki, who has a rep­u­ta­tion for magic fin­gers among the Cheshire horse set and who of­ten gives talks on ther­a­pies, as well as hav­ing a reg­u­lar slot on lo­cal ra­dio. It might not be too long though be­fore she is find­ing her­self in­ter­viewed as a best­selling au­thor.

‘Yes, my first book has been pub­lished and, no sur­prises, it’s a love story set in the polo world. It’s not me, though and none of my clients are in it,’ laughs Nikki who has al­ready been asked to write the se­quel and, by ne­ces­sity, is hav­ing to learn the best mas­sage to deal with writ­ers’ cramp.

She might find a comfy writ­ing chair in the Tar­por­ley War Memo­rial Hospi­tal char­ity shop but this shop, which has raised tens of thou­sands, is no or­di­nary char­ity shop.

‘Peo­ple think we are a com­mer­cial up­mar­ket trendy vin­tage store, when they first en­ter and I guess, apart from the com­mer­cial bit, we are all those things,’ smiles man­ager, Clare Bond, who, along with her vol­un­teer helpers, takes enor­mous care in pre­sent­ing items such as crock­ery by Clarice Cliff, vin­tage de­signer hand­bags, pe­riod fur­ni­ture and quirky items such as the much sought af­ter Pel­ham pup­pets.

‘Peo­ple come from all over the UK to see what we have in stock. We’re not par­tic­u­larly cheap I’m afraid but then our items are pretty spe­cial,’ says Clare who is also known for her reg­u­larly chang­ing eye-catch­ing win­dow dis­plays.

Tar­por­ley ladies are def­i­nitely do­ing it – not just for them­selves – but for their vil­lage too.

Si Belle in Tar­por­ley is known for of­fer­ing fine ladieswear from some of Europe and Amer­ica’s finest brands and de­sign­ers.

The past year has seen the ad­di­tion of Elie Ta­hari, Nicole Miller, Tem­per­ley Lon­don, Tory Burch, and Max et Moi.

This trend of of­fer­ing top brands con­tin­ues in Si Belle for Spring and Sum­mer 2019.

Roland Mouret will be a new ad­di­tion. Roland is an un­likely de­signer. He is self-taught, the son of a butcher in a small vil­lage in south west France, but his busi­ness is based in Lon­don and he lives in Suf­folk. He aims for a time­less qual­ity in his clothes: “I learned as a coun­try boy grow­ing up with the sea­sons that what is beau­ti­ful one sum­mer will be just as beau­ti­ful the next”.

As an aside, Elie Ta­hari is an­other self-taught de­signer: ear­lier in his life he was an air­craft tech­ni­cian in the Is­raeli Air Force!

By con­trast, the founder and de­signer of Milly, an­other brand com­ing to Si Belle next Spring, is Michelle Smith, and she stud­ied fash­ion, in­terned at Her­mès, and worked as an ap­pren­tice at Louis Vuit­ton and Chris­tian Dior. Re­mem­ber Amy Sher­ald’s por­trait of Michelle Obama, com­mis­sioned by The Na­tional Por­trait Gallery, ear­lier this year? It was in all the news­pa­pers. The dress Michelle Obama is wear­ing was de­signed by Michelle Smith of Milly.

Also join­ing Si Belle are Bluma­rine and Blu­girl: two brands bet­ter known in Italy than in the UK, and very highly re­garded. Both brands are so­phis­ti­cated, el­e­gant, and have a light­ness of touch about their de­sign. Bluma­rine is a more ma­ture look, and Blu­girl is aimed at younger women, or those who are young at heart.

For some­thing to wear over your cozzy on the beach or next to the pool, Melissa Od­abash will also be avail­able in Si Belle. A well-known swimwear model be­fore she started her own brand, Melissa Od­abash brings more than a touch of glam­our to beach­wear. Si Belle will con­cen­trate on Melissa’s cover-ups and kaf­tans.

Fi­nally, High by Claire Camp­bell is mak­ing a very wel­come re­turn to Si Belle for the first time since 2017. As an­other aside, Claire was the chief de­signer at Marithé et Fran­cois Gir­baud be­fore found­ing High.

Si Belle crosses con­ti­nents and oceans to bring you the best ladieswear from de­sign­ers you usu­ally only find in in­ter­na­tional cities like Lon­don, New York, Paris, Mi­lan, and Dubai. You need only pop to Tar­por­ley to find the best brought to you!

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