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Let’s go out

50 things to do this summer

On the trail of Robin Hood

Tracking the outlaw

Good living Life on a smallholding

£1.50 August 2011 08

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W W W. B E S T L O C A L L I V I N G . C O . U K


st u g u A e u s s i s i h T When I was visiting London recently, I noticed the popularity of the ‘Boris Bikes’ – a network of hire cycles that you pick up from a computerised docking hub, ride to your destination, and leave for the next person to make their journey. Peterborough could possibly get its own version, as part of a £5 million grant that has been awarded to the City Council by the Government’s Sustainable Transport Fund. The money is to be used to build on the success of the council’s Travelchoice scheme, which has led to a nine per cent reduction in car journeys, a 12 per cent increase in cycling and a 35 per cent increase in public transport use. Great news, especially if you are a city dweller, but it does make the decision to axe the regular daily bus service to some of the outlying villages in this area even harder to understand. Surely the most sensible way to cut congestion and carbon emissions is through an efficient, regular and reliable public transport system? The daily buses which were cut have been replaced by a diala-ride bus, which is often over-subscribed. Nobody wants to see empty double deckers thundering through the country lanes, but what about a mini bus service instead? It works brilliantly in Turkey, where even tiny rural villages are connected by the frequent dolmus. Cycling is wonderful in principle, but for older people who need to travel into town, or young mums with babies, who can’t afford to run a vehicle, it’s not a practical solution. ‘Joined up thinking’ is what we need when looking at our transport system. Let’s hope that all the different departments and regional councils will come up with something efficient for everyone to use. Whatever your mode of transport, we have many ideas for getting out and about this summer. Try a rural museum, a nature walk – or follow in the footsteps of Robin Hood. Enjoy the month.

Fion a Cu mberpatch Editor SUBSCRIBE TO Nene Valley Living

Cover shot:

Lyveden New Bield by Dave Phillips

5 Editor’s selection

What to buy, do and see this month

6 Upfront

Holiday in Mauritius


9 Upfront

Spruce up your hound

10 Upfront

Mail box solutions

12 Role reversals

Cross generational fashion


15 The heart of the city The new face of Peterborough

17 Food news

Dexters, Oundle, reviewed

18 Charting new waters A restaurant success story

21 Health and beauty notes New treats and treatments

23 On the trail of Robin Hood Shadow the outlaw

34 WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Editor Fiona Cumberpatch Write to Nene Valley Living, PO Box 208, Stamford, PE9 9FY Advertisement Manager Bridget Steele 01733 707538 Advertisement Director Helen Walton 01780 754801 Head of Design Steven Handley Senior Designer Nik Ellis Advertising Copy Rachel Beecroft 01780 765320 Publisher Nicholas Rudd-Jones 01780 765571 Email: Published by Local Living Ltd, PO Box 208, Stamford, Lincs. PE9 9FY Printed by Warner’s of Bourne

29 Growing for gold Living the good life

32 Preserving the past Rural museums to visit

34 Walk on the wild side Nature’s finest

37 Diary dates

Our pick of this month’s events


For £20 (£30 for overseas’ surface mail) you can subscribe to Nene Valley Living for 12 issues. Please send your name, address and a cheque made out to Local Living Ltd to: NVL Subscriptions, PO Box 208, Stamford, PE9 9FY




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Editor’s selection Things to do and buy this August


Relax in a traditional stripy deckchair, John Lewis £35, Queensgate Centre, Peterborough



Blue sea glass earrings, £17.50, by Fyne Jewellery at The Emporium, Oundle, online only at

Sea Salt Pirouette dress in linen, £80, Cavells, Oakham Tel: 01572 770372 or from http://www.cavells.



Peterborough Lido celebrates 75 years this summer and you can’t beat an outside dip on a hot day. Open until September 7th. Bishops Rd, Peterborough PE1 5BW Tel: 01733 343618


Home made English muffins, 45 pence each, Hambleton Bakery, 44 Jericho, Oundle PE8 4AU Tel: 01572 812995

Great recipes, not just for diehard outdoor types, in The Camper Van Cook Book (Martin Dorey and Sarah Randell, Saltyard Books, order from Oundle Bookshop, tel: 01832 273523)


Bring a coastal feel inside with this stripy bean bag, £70, John Lewis, Queensgate Centre, Peterborough


Aqua LTD watch, £60, perfect with a tan. From Reba, Cathedral Square, Peterborough or visit http://www.rebaboutique. NENE VALLEY LIVING August 2011

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Upfront What’s new this month

Spotlight on Mauritius Cast adrift in the Indian Ocean where continents meet, Mauritius is a marvellous mix of African, Indian, European and Oriental influences. The island is surrounded by a huge reef sheltering the shallow lagoons, whose waters meet a shoreline of sugar white beaches. The capital, Port Louis, has an international atmosphere, and the coastline is home to a collection of fine hotels. There is a choice of world class golf courses and the beaches and lagoons are a haven for watersports. Not least, the island is home to some of the friendliest people, so you can expect the best hospitality. Mauritius makes a relaxing destination, or why not use the easy flight connections from East and Southern Africa to make a twin centre holiday to somewhere more adventurous? A spell under the vast skies of Africa, or a safari in one of the finest game reserves could make a great contrast to lazy island days. With the most cosmopolitan of character of all the Indian Ocean islands, Mauritius offers a fine range of holiday styles in a stunning tropical setting. Oundle Travel recommends a range of different hotels, to suit all

tastes and budgets. For a fantastic four star all inclusive option, The Tamassa is a contemporary hotel which is a firm favourite, from £1489 for seven nights, including flights and transfers. The Merville Beach will not disappoint, offering seven nights from £1100 per person, travelling in October. For five star luxury, maybe a honeymoon or special anniversary, The Residence and The Oberoi are without a doubt the top two hotels on this beautiful island. Prices from £1739 for ten nights in October 2011. Mauritius experiences hot summers from October to February with temperatures from 25-33 degrees. The cooler and often wetter period is from May to November with temperatures ranging from 20-25 degrees. “Although sold at this time, be very careful of cheap airline seats and deals, the weather can often be very unpredictable,” comments Travel Consultant Gemma Brennan. • For more details, personal advice and recommendations, contact Oundle Travel on 01832 273600

A family affair Family law specialist Belinda Smith examines grandparents’ rights The breakdown of a marriage or long term partnership can be upsetting for all concerned. But for grandparents it can even be more so if contact with the grandchild is denied. Time spent with grandparents is a precious and integral part of a child’s experience. The loving and nurturing relationship between grandparents and the grandchild often provide a child with benefits that cannot be derived from other relationships. The law as it stands at the moment allows a grandparent to apply to the Court for permission to make an application for contact, provided certain criteria is satisfied, such as their previous close involvement with the grandchild. An application for contact can then be applied for in the same way as separated parents. Recent news articles have referred to a private members bill before Parliament which is due its second reading in October this year. If it became law it would give grandparents extended rights of access to their grandchildren, so recognising the important role grandparents can play in supporting children who are vulnerable to the effects of relationship breakdown and confirming their value as pivotal family members. Will this reform make it through to the statute books? It is another case of wait and see in the ever changing landscape of family law. • For more information or any further questions about family law, contact Belinda Smith on 01733 267414 or visit



Oundle-based jewellery designer Carol Clift will be showcasing her unique range of wedding rings and bridal jewellery at a wedding show at her Barnwell studio on Sunday 21st August. Carol, a member of the British Jewellers’ Association, specializes in bespoke jewellery, working in all the precious metals – silver, gold, palladium and platinum – as well as gemstones and diamonds. • Barnwell Workshops, 11am-3pm. For information, call 01832 275296


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Come and see our new Autumn Collections !

Summer Sale continues Now up to 70% off 16 Church Street, 20 Market Place, Market Harborough Oundle Tel: 01858 431396 Tel: 01832 270033


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DOUBLE DISCOUNT We have a fabulous line-up of products for Students of all ages. From must-have essentials to designer collections. The great news is that between 11th July & 10th September we are offering all full-time Students 20% “Double Discount”!* 20% Double Discount Example:-

Easy Original Pen AS SEEN ON

TV RRP £6.82

Normal Price £4.99



20% O FF

£3.99 Each, Inc. VAT

Stabilo’s Easy Original Pen, available in right & left-hand versions, is designed to promote correct hand posture when writing. The rollerball refill doesn’t smudge or scratch and comes with Royal Blue erasable ink which is ideal for school use. STAMFORD


1-2 St Pauls Street T: 01780 762324

46 High Street T: 01572 770883



10 New Street T: 01832 272868

12 Cowgate T: 01733 343201

20% O FF

* Offer excludes some nett priced special offer items & printer cartridges


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Upfront Land Rover love It’s such a popular vehicle that it has its very own festival. Each year in September, the Land Rover Festival at the East of England showground celebrates this special car. One celebrity fan is Top Gear’s Richard Hammond. Event organiser Colin Ward explains: “Richard owned a bog standard Land Rover but had his own ideas on what he wanted it to look like. He knew about the show and contacted us, so we collected his Land Rover from his home in the West Country and our exhibitors got to work on the project, each doing their bit to make Richard’s ‘Landy’ the vehicle of his dreams! He was delighted with the result.” The Land Rover Festival has been held at the Showground for over ten years and attracts fans from all over the region. You can buy spare parts, go off- roading at a nearby quarry and enjoy countryside arena attractions. • Discounted tickets are available for the event, which takes place on September 10th and 11th. Call the hotline on 0871 2307152.

Advice on long term care The issue of funding long term care is something which affects many families and is currently a political hot potato. If you feel confused or worried about this subject, Hegarty LLP Solicitors is running a helpful and practical free seminar on the subject. There are two dates planned, September 8th and September 21st, both in Peterborough. Joanna Grewer, associate solicitor at Hegarty LLP says: “this is an informative seminar for members of the public who would like to understand the issues regarding funding for long term care. It is well documented that people may find they have to sell their home to pay for it. We have designed this seminar to show how long term planning now can provide peace of mind for the future. You will find out about options available for safeguarding your home from care home fees and learn the rules regarding provision of care.” • For more information, visit or call Angela Mann on 01733 295618.

Getting ready for school By the time they begin secondary school, most students like to have their own collection of stationery. Essential are reliable pens, sturdy folders, several wallets for homework, plus a couple of different sized notebooks. Colemans in Oundle, Stamford and Oakham have a huge range in store, and more on the website, and their service is legendary. Karen Holmes in the Oakham branch loves the new recycled leather bound notebooks in fabulous ice cream colours and reminds us that they sell academic diaries for those embarking on further education. A discount is offered to all students. • Visit for store locations and stock.

Spring clean your car Does your car resemble a dustbin on wheels? Upholstery looking worse for wear? Book a clean with Mister Car-Shine and they promise that they can restore it to showroom condition, and what’s more, they’ll come to your home or work to do it. A full valet costs £39.95 and a mini valet is £19.95. A deodorising service is £9.95, although this is free when you book a valet service. • Call 01733 561502 or 07538 402555. The service is available seven days a week.

Handsome hounds Ensure that your dog looks his best and has a healthy, shining coat with the help of Handsome Hounds Dog Grooming. Proprieter Liz Chaney offers a full grooming service for all breeds, which includes bathing and blow drying, clipping, nail cutting, and ear cleaning and plucking. She also has a flea treatment and prevention service. A dog owner herself, with experience of showing, Liz is both knowledgeable and caring. “I try to work out what is best for the dog and the owner, and I will advise people if that’s what they want,” says Liz. “For example, if someone wants to keep their dog’s coat longer, I have a very reasonably priced brush out service which they can have between trims to keep the fur knot-free.” She also has discounted rates for puppies. Liz is based in Peterborough, where dogs are groomed, but she can collect and return pets if clients are unable to deliver them to her. She also sells essential supplies, such as flea treatment products, wormers and brushes. • To book an appointment, call 01733 741256 or 07561 553354.

STOP PRESS STOP PRESS STOP PRESS STOP PRESS If you’re looking for a special gift or some holiday reading, try Courthouse Books, Oundle’s second hand book shop. Prices are competitive at this gem of a business: a first edition HE Bates novel is around £5. Crime fiction is a speciality, and there are plenty of titles to choose from. Unit 3, The Courthouse, Mill Lane, Oundle PE8 4BW NENE VALLEY LIVING August 2011

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Upfront The big race The Perkins Great Eastern Run attracts top athletes from all over the world, as well legions of local runners. It’s expected that some 5,000 runners of all abilities will take part this year on Sunday October 9th, either in the 13.1 mile half marathon or the 4km Fun Run or Junior Challenge. Steph Twell, Commonwealth Games 1500 metre bronze medallist, who launched the event said: “this promises to be a great family day out and I’m really excited to see people of all ages and abilities get involved in athletics.” Last year’s winner was Kenyan Edwin Kipyego, whose time was an impressive

62 minutes and 16 seconds, the second fastest flat race in the UK for 2010. The route starts near Peterborough Cathedral and ends on the Embankment and participants will run through streets lined with cheering spectators. A series of free training days have been set up and these will take place on August 10th, August 24th, September 7th, September 21st and October 5th. For full details of where and when, plus lots more information and training tips, or to register your place, visit www. or call 01733 207207.


Places for the Great Eastern Run are filling up fast but we have three free ones to give away, worth £20 each (£18 if you belong to a running club). Just visit www.bestlocalliving. and answer this simple question: Who won last year’s half marathon? a) Sebastian Coe b) Dame Kelly Holmes c) Edwin Kipyego

Join the Oundle Pilgrimage

Office essentials

Love walking or cycling? Want to help a good cause? It’s time to join the Oundle Pilgrimage, which this year takes place on August 13th-14th. The aim is to raise funds for the Sue Ryder Care charity, while exploring the local area. You can choose your level, by taking on part of the pilgrimage, which is anything from one mile to the full 42 mile route. To register, simply purchase a passport from Trek-Kits in Oundle for £5, and get it stamped at stated landmarks, such as Stoke Doyle Church, the King’s Arms, Polebrook and Pear Tree Farm, Aldwincle or St James’ Church, Thurning. If you want to make a weekend of it, there’s free camping at Oundle Rugby Club, which is opening up its showers and loos for the event, and you can also camp at The Shuckburgh Arms, Southwick. A beer festival will be taking place at the Rose and Crown in Oundle. Event founder Robin Moore is an experienced endurance walker who has covered 22,000 miles for charitable causes. Claire Crosby, from Trek-Kits, Oundle’s outdoor outfitters, says: “we get so many people coming in to ask about good walks in the area. This event is the perfect introduction to everything we have in this region.”

Are you in any of the following situations? • you’re starting a business from home, yet would prefer to have a high street business address to convey a more polished image • you share accommodation or have a temporary address and want to avoid the possibility of your mail going missing • you’re moving abroad but wish to retain a UK base • you travel frequently, so packages that are delivered to your door are often returned to the depot • you’re going away but would like to have your mail forwarded regularly They’re all common, and sometimes frustrating dilemmas, but local business MBE can help. It offers a huge range of mailbox services, all with fully guaranteed security checks. It can also help to solve problems such as packing and shipping bulky, fragile or valuable items anywhere in the world. “We have a mail or parcel receiving solution to suit every need,” says a spokesman. In addition, it has an extensive print and copy service, offering flyers and promotional materials such as banners and billboards, at very competitive prices. • To discuss your requirements, call 0800 623123 or for general information, visit



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et 1 sh 0% ip o yo m ff th u b ent you is ri w r ad ng he ne ve in n xt rt

We work with all the major international couriers including UPS, FedEx, and Parcelforce Worldwide

Whatever you have to send, wherever it’s going, we can get it there.* Mail Boxes Etc., Leicester, 14 Belvoir Street, Leicester, LE1 6QH tel: 01162 553 182 - fax: 01162 553 182 e-mail: -


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Role reversals What happens when you take four stylish local mums and get them to select clothes for their son or daughter and vice-versa? By Genevieve Potter

Sarah, HR Director Fashion icon? “Elle McPherson” Why she chose Matty’s outfit? “He looks really cool, in fact so cool that we just had to buy the t-shirt!” Matty, full-time student Matty’s fashion icon? “Aiden Grimshaw” Why he chose Sarah’s outfit? “The t-shirt isn’t the sort of thing she would normally wear and I like the fact there’s a bit of colour with the scarf too.” Sarah wears Maison Scotch jacket £155, t-shirt and scarf £65, Pepe jeans £85 (shoes Sarah’s own) Matty wears Scotch and Soda t-shirt £45, Levi jeans £100, hat £12 and sunglasses £5 (shoes Matty’s own) All from Energy, 9 Ironmonger Street, Stamford PE9 1PL tel: 01780 765633

Elli, Head of Marketing Fashion Icon? “Eva Mendes” Why she chose Jessica’s outfit? “This is one pair of leggings I’m happy for Jessie to wear; and the top is beautiful.” Jessica, full-time student Fashion Icon? “My Aunty Sally” Why she chose Elli’s outfit? “I chose Mummy’s dress because she looks pretty in it.” Elli wears Esprit dress £60, Made in Heaven skinny jeans £140 (jewellery, Elli’s own) Jessica wears Petit Bateau tunic £35 and Esprit leggings, £10, basket £30 All clothes from Attic Weekend, 43 St Paul’s Street, Stamford PE9 2BH, tel: 01780 766675



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Sally, writer Sally’s fashion icon? “A mix of Keira Knightly and Cate Blanchett” Why she chose Ellie’s outfit? “Ellie has a definite sense of style and I knew she’d love this twist on a classic Barbour jacket and the slightly quirky combination of styles.” Ellie, full-time student Ellie’s fashion icon? “I don’t really have one, I think everyone should look individual!” Why she chose Sally’s outfit? “She loves combat trousers and I like the boots because Mummy’s not too tall in them.” Sally wears Barbour coat £149.95, Dubarry shirt £59, Barbour scarf £59.95 and Vie boots £195 Ellie wears Barbour jacket £74.95, White Stuff leggings £19.95, Superdry t-shirt £24.99, Ash pumps £115 All clothes from Cavells Country, The Old Mill Yard, South Street, Oakham LE15 6BG, tel: 01572 772477

Ali, Head of Sales and Marketing Fashion Icon? “Jackie O” Why she chose Rene’s outfit? “It’s not too grown up for her but just looks lovely and individual and shows off her slenderness.” Rene, full-time student Fashion icon? “Vivienne Westwood” Why she chose Ali’s outfit? “The sleeveless jacket is on trend and I like the fact this is a bit more dressed down than Mum usually looks.” Ali wears Oasis dress £19.99, Denim sleeveless jacket £5.99, Havaianas £9 (t-shirt and jewellery, Ali’s own) Rene wears Boden t-shirt £4.99, Miss Sixty jeans £14, Hackett jumper £20, Havaianas £9 All clothes from Label Loop dress agency, 25 Broad Street, Stamford PE9 1PJ, tel: 01780 762183

Photography by Elli Dean, Oakham 07932 055548 Hair and make-up by Gerards using Aveda make-up, which contains no animal derivatives or parabens. Gerards offer make-up lessons or application for weddings, proms and special occasions. Call for more details. Gerards, George Hotel Mews, St Martins, Stamford PE9 2LB, tel: 01780 753002 NENE VALLEY LIVING August 2011

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Green Man

Antiques & Restoration Ltd

Period antiques that complement 21st Century technology & style, Specialising in 17th – 20th Century mahogany, walnut & oak furniture Georgian and collectable silver. Free estimates given. Friendly helpful advice. Restorations and repairs

74 West Street, Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 4EJ (opposite Oundle Clock Shop) - Tel: 01832 270970 Open: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 10am – 4pm (Or by appointment)

1 hour parking outside and easy access for loading/offloading

The Oundle Clock Shop specialises in local clocks and we offer advice on full restorations and repairs.

Tel: 01832 272099


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The heart of the city It’s time to enjoy Peterborough’s Cathedral Square now that the refurbishment is complete and new businesses are opening their doors. Fiona Cumberpatch reports


athedral Square’s new look was a long time coming. Businesses lived with disruption over a protracted period, but now the workmen are gone. Whereas the Square was once just a quick route to get from Queensgate to Bridge Street, now it’s somewhere to drink coffee and sit in the sun, admiring the ornate Guildhall, St John’s Church and of course, the splendid Norman Cathedral with its beautiful Gothic West Front. As well the architecture, it’s the independent sector which really gives a city character, and Cathedral Square and the surrounding streets contain many small, familyrun businesses, including some of the most trusted names in the region:

Harriet’s Tea Room 52-53 Cumbergate Peterborough PE1 1YR Tel: 01733 552955 Traditionally styled café serving breakfasts, lunch and afternoon tea. Piano music in the background and uniformed staff. Outside seating area. Upstairs, local entrepreneur Dawn Birch-James has just launched an art gallery, showcasing local talent.

Coffee and Cookies Minster Precincts, Peterborough Cathedral, PE1 1XS Tel: 01733 352676 With a new coffee machine, the Cathedral café is now serving lattes and cappuccinos and a new range of locally made scones and fresh cakes. Sit inside, or outside at a table in peaceful surroundings, away from the crowds, or takeaway. Open 10am – 4pm.

Niro 2 Cumbergate, Peterborough PE1 1YR Tel: 01733 564077 Designer wear for men, established for 24 years, selling names such as Hugo Boss, Armani Jeans and Stone Island. Formal attire and casual clothes, plus branded accessories.

Reba Cathedral Square, Peterborough PE1 1 XH Tel: 01733 319606 With accessories, clothes, and decorative items for the home, Reba is brilliant for gifts. The East of India range is a bestseller, as is the ‘fast fashion’ – clothing under £30. We loved the Molton glass pendants and rings in juicy colours. New ranges include rings and necklaces with a vintage look. Valley Nursery Joe from the Valley Nursery sells well priced plants and hanging baskets every day except Mondays. His usual pitch is in front of The Guildhall. “Everything we sell is raised by my cousin at our nursery near Bedford,” he says, “so it’s a proper family business.” Patisserie Valerie 2 Cathedral Square, Peterborough PE1 1XH This is a chain, but it has a continental feel and it’s great to sit outside. My enormous pain aux raisins was made for sharing, and if you like pastries and elegant lunches in a prime peoplewatching spot, this is your place.



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Sundays 3 Cumbergate, Peterborough PE1 1YR Tel: 01733 554334 ‘Slow roasted fast food’ is the motto of this friendly local business, serving meat and veg from the family farm. The emphasis is on traditional English food, with a daily carvery for a full roast lunch (£5.99) or a roast meat roll (£2.79). Great breakfasts with all the trimmings, served until 11.30. Lunch options include jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw for just £2.79 and sandwiches. Takeaway available. They also do hog roasts and outside catering for parties for 20-2,000. Charles Bright 10 Exchange St, Peterborough PE1 1PW Tel: 01733 567830 The oldest business in the Square, this independent jewellers has been a fixture here for almost 100 years. Expect timeless pieces, with classic diamonds, pearls and opals. They have some less expensive, but high quality lines, such as the best selling Murano glass pendants and bracelets, and good quality silver pieces with real stones. Repairs offered. Peterborough Designer Leathers 8 Queen St, Peterborough PE1 1PA Tel: 01733 348917 The only specialist in leather coats in the area. Butter soft jackets and shirts, sheepskin gilets, plus a large selection of Radley and Kipling bags, and beautiful coloured leather wallets by mywalit.

John Lionel Hair Design 4 Queen St, Peterborough Tel: 01733 348870 Men’s and women’s hair stylist. Gents’ cuts start at £12. Pick of the chains: Pizza Express and the newly opened Nandos, a family friendly chicken restaurant

Burghley Academy 4 Cumbergate, Peterborough PE1 1YR Tel: 01733 341878 Established for over 20 years, this beauty salon and hairdressers based in a beautiful 15th century building is going strong. Chris and Tina Parsons head up the business, with their daughter Alexa, and it also includes a training centre, at which many of the beauty therapists in our area have earned their qualifications. The beauty treatments come highly recommended: you’ll really feel that you are in the safest possible hands.

WIN! A Jessica manicure and pedicure worth over £50. Enjoy two relaxing treatments absolutely free. Just visit our website, and answer this simple question: A pedicure is a treatment for the: a) Hands b) Feet c) Face Competition closes on August 30th. NENE VALLEY LIVING August 2011


21/7/11 14:26:35

Ri v

e r f ord

Sacrewell Farm


cook book

when you tr y a vegbox


Traditional Butchers Eat for a Week:

1.5lb Minced Beef, 1lb Chuck Steak or Large Pie, 1lb Sausages, 4 Burgers 8 Lamb Breakfast Chops or 4 Chicken Legs AND 1 Whole Chicken or 2lb Pork Joint ONLY £24.99 Ideal for the family.

fro 15 m m inu Ha te mp s ton

Senior Citizen Days: Wed & Thur Lunch 12 – 2.30pm Mains £5 – Puddings £2.50 NEW - Senior Citizen House Breakfast £3.99 - 9 – 11.30am

Tel: 01780 740261

The Granary café 01780 749483

Open: Tue to Fri 7am - 5.30pm, Sat 8am - 4pm, Sun 10am – 4pm

Open: Tue to Fri 9am – 4pm, Sat 8.30am – 5pm, Sun 9am - 4pm

Professional Hog Roast and Outside Catering Service with Marquee if required. Call 07718 971900 Willow Brook Farm, Scotsman Lodge, Stamford Road, Helpston Heath, Peterborough. PE6 7EL

free delivery 01780 789700 *Free book on your 2nd delivery when you place a regular vegbox order. Applies to new customers only.

T h E F i n EST E n g l i S h C u i S i n E AT


Cherry house Restaurant

“ The difference is in the detail...” Reservations Essential

• For Superb Food & Excellent Service in Delightful Surroundings • We offer fortnightly changed, fixed price menu • For all occasions inc birthday & anniversary celebrations, intimate weddings, wakes...

01733 571721 125 Church Street Werrington Peterborough, PE4 6QF


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Food news All the latest on local food and drink

Let Catherine cook for you

If the daily grind of cooking a hearty meal for your family gets too much, or you’re unable to manage it through illness, or perhaps you have a new baby in the house, Catherine Belton can come to the rescue. She prepares appetising dishes such as lasagne, fish pie, boeuf bourguignon or lamb tagine which she will deliver, or you collect. “I’d describe my cooking as mid week supper type food,” says Catherine, who has a catering background and used to run the pub at Wadenhoe, near Oundle, with her husband. Catherine cooks at home and her kitchen has been inspected and passed by the Environmental Health department. “I have all sorts of clients, from people who just hate cooking, to elderly people who live alone, and busy mums who have guests coming for a weekend and don’t have time to do the extra catering,” says Catherine. “I describe my food as meals on wheels with a home cooked edge!” To find out more, call Catherine on 01832 720751 or email contact@catherinecooks. Her new website is



RECOMMENDS • Dexters, Oundle •

chameleon, from day to night, from weekday to weekend, is how Ian Simmons, the owner of the recently opened Dexters (and proprieter of The White Swan, Woodnewton) describes his new project. My three visits in the last month can vouch for that. The restaurant has a lively buzz, yet it is large enough to tuck yourself away for a business meeting or sit outside on a sunny day in the charming courtyard enjoying a coffee with friends. This is sure to become a popular choice in Oundle. Dexters menu is exciting and innovative with sections such as “amuse and peruse” – sharing foods such as olives and flat bread, or light diners’ choices. Nicholas and I went for lunch on a weekday, and decided to have a starter and main course. Nicholas went for the bruschetta with roasted tomatoes, red peppers and garlic mozzarella. The robust flavours and size made for a substantial and tasty starter. I chose the ceasar salad, which came with freshly grated parmesan, and plump anchovies topped with crispy croutons – perfect. We both chose a fishy main course. Nicholas went for the traditional fish and chips. His beer battered haddock was served with matchstick chips and crushed minted peas and tartare sauce. I chose pan fried sea bass fillets on a bed of crushed potatoes with a mango and lime sauce. This came with a generous serving of roasted vegetables. Both main courses were delicious, I particularly enjoyed my fruity sauce which complemented the fish perfectly. We’ve also heard good reports about the vegetarian options. The desserts on offer included Whiskey parfait with baked shortbread, sticky toffee pudding with a citrus custard, and baked vanilla cheesecake with a black cherry shot, ice creams, sorbets and an English cheese slate In a nutshell: Relaxed dining, charming courtyard for alfresco eating. with artisan Open Monday – Saturday 8am – 11pm for coffee, drinks, lunch and dinner. crackers and General Manager: Ian Fisermanis chutney. Average Price for two with wine: £50 Bridget Steele Crown Court, Market Place, Oundle, PE8 4BQ Tel: 01832 273366

Throw a corn on the barbie

Fresh sweetcorn is delicious and nutritious – it’s packed with magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and vitamin B3. For a quick snack, rub some cobs with olive oil, sprinkle on some sea salt and chilli flakes and pop them on the barbecue for about ten minutes, turning occasionally until tender.

Jam it! Capture the taste of summer by turning seasonal fruits into jam. Pick your own strawberries, raspberries, tayberries and plums at Hill Farm, Chesterton (tel: 01733 233270), or forage in the hedgerows for blackberries. Stu-Pots in Oundle (tel: 01832 275414) has everything you need for successful jammaking, including pans, jars, lids, seals and waxed disks. If you’re proud of your culinary art, why not enter a pot or two into Nassington and Yarwell Garden Society’s traditional annual show? It takes place on Monday 29th August on the playing fields at Fotheringhay Rd, Nassington, and has been going strong for 131 years.



17 FOOD NEWS.indd 1



21/7/11 14:27:28


Charting new waters Patcharee Shaweewan is one of the most successful women in Peterborough, influencing the way we eat, drink and socialise. Dave Phillips learns the secret of her success


t’s nearly 20 years since I first stepped aboard Charters – the floating pub that revolutionised the way we enjoyed real ale in Peterborough. A decade later, I learned to appreciate fine oriental dining in the newly-opened East restaurant on the top deck of the same former Dutch barge. This place has been a voyage of discovery for tens of thousands of local people like me. It’s been a real success story – and today I’m here to meet the woman who is making it all happen. Patcharee Shaweewan was born in Thailand 53 years ago. As a young woman in the late 1970s she came first to Germany to study economics at Frankfurt University, then in 1980 to England where she opened her first business, a hairdressing salon in Epsom. By the 1990s she had raised enough money to open her first restaurant, in London, which she sold in 1996 when she returned to Thailand to set up a network marketing business. “But it wasn’t a success,” she admits. “By 1997, the economy was bad so I decided to return to London and open another restaurant.”

Branching out By chance, at that time Paul Hook, the owner of Charters, was looking for somebody to help him set up a Thai restaurant in the Brewery Tap pub that he also owned, in the city centre. Patcharee got the job and the restaurant, which opened in October 1998, was very popular from the start. Soon afterwards, Paul and Patcharee fell in love and they have been a formidable partnership ever since. With the success of the Brewery Tap under their belt, Patcharee turned her attention to Charters, opening an oriental restaurant called East on the upper deck in 2001. “We decided to make it a different experience to the Brewery Tap, which is Thai food and casual. East is fine dining and a fusion of foods from south-east Asia,” she says. “Again, it was well-received from the start.” Since then, Patcharee and Paul have expanded the concept of real ales and fine oriental dining to Birmingham, where they opened a large pub at Aston, and are currently developing a new venture in London, near the Kennington tube station. Meanwhile, the Oakham Ales brewing operation that used to be based at the Brewery Tap outgrew its premises and has moved to


Patcharee Shaweewan a modern new factory at Woodston, which is run by Paul and two other business partners. Its trademark beers include the award-winning JHB bitter.

Overcoming hurdles Yet life hasn’t been one long list of happy endings for the couple. Seven years ago, developers wanted to demolish the Brewery Tap to make way for a shopping development. The plans caused uproar and more than 15,000 outraged customers signed a petition demanding it be saved. The development was later withdrawn and the building reprieved. Now Patcharee hopes revised plans will be submitted which make the Brewery Tap an integral part of the new area. “I am all for development,” she says. “I would love to see Peterborough grow and more companies come here. It is a wonderful place.” “I wasn’t sure about the town when I first came here. It seemed so small after London, and I didn’t know anybody; I had to start from scratch, but I came to appreciate it. I tell everybody what a beautiful city it is.” “Peterborough people enjoy nice things and nice experiences. We cater for these people and

help them to enjoy good beer, good food and good times – it fits with our values because we enjoy the same things.” Of the future, Patcharee is determined to expand upon the winning formula. “Our business has grown organically and about three years ago we decided to consolidate it by creating our new brand – Oaka. Our vision is to find more suitable properties – perhaps in other towns and cities, like Cambridge – and do the same again. Our pub in London will be the first – we are going to call it Oaka at Mansion House.” Patcharee, who has two grown-up daughters, has no plans to slow down. Today she employs nearly 100 people – a workforce that grows as her businesses expand. And this indefatigable woman loves every minute of it. “It’s hard work, but my motivation is that I like seeing people enjoying themselves. To be able to provide that is a great satisfaction…” • East, Upper Deck, Charters, Town Bridge, Peterborough PE1 1FP Tel: 01733 315702 • The Brewery Tap, 80 Westgate, Peterborough PE1 2AA Tel: 01733 358500


18 PATCHAREE.indd 1

21/7/11 14:29:37

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• NVL August ADS.indd 19

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FOR A YOUNGER LOOKING SKIN TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE. Now available through the Bushfield Dental Practice, Available nowOrtongate.Tel: 01733 370331 or visit the website


• NVL August ADS.indd 20

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Health & beauty

notes Bridget Steele rounds up news from local health and beauty businesses

lour o c ir a h r u o y h s Refre

lt water hs, with sun and sa the summer mont g Raffaele rin du lon r sa ffe ir su ha n Hair ca . Popular Oundle ed fad d an ll s hair du ve r ht products lea leaving the colou g and using the rig rin xt. lou ne co e ir th ha to in s specialise e colour session days nditioned from on es co Tu d m an fro iny ice sh rv g se r lookin t with any colou cu e fre be a st ing mu er d ted stylists an The salon is off plies only with selec ap y. er ar off ss e ce th ne – s ys to Frida s are not alway ring. Appointment le, PE8 for full head colou West Street, Ound 23 , ing ss re ird Ha ele ffa Ra • Contact 3822 4EJ Tel: 01832 27


Mineral make up range A new cosmetic range has been introduced to Elysia Health and Beauty in Tansor. Mii, which is part of the popular Jessica brand, includes many mineral based products that are suitable for all ages and types of skin. I met up with therapist Zoe, who after cleansing, toning, and moisturising my skin applied a small amount of mineral powder based foundation to my face, giving light coverage leaving an even glow and just added a sweep of radiant natural blusher. On my eyes, Zoe showed me how to apply and blend in colour on my lids and frame the brow, leaving my eyes looking wider and open. She selected glossy lip colours and showed me how to apply using a brush to give definition and fuller lips. I was delighted with the end result, particularly as it was a hot day, and even at the end of the evening my make up looked freshly applied. Elysia are offering make up consultations and your own make over throughout August and September for £15, products are available however this is a great way to pick up tips and experiment with colour. • For more information contact Elysia Health and Beauty, Tansor, Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 5HP Tel: 01832 226328

Rejuvenate your complexion A hand held that claims to maintain FORdevice A YOUNGER LOOKING SKIN young looking skin is now on sale from the TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE. Bushfield Dental Practice in Peterborough. The Galvanic Spa Available now system is placed on different areas of the face and works on the facial muscles as part of your daily skin care regime, with the aim of maintaining young looking skin. It should be used twice weekly for just a few minutes and skin is toned with self-adjusting electrical currents and interchangeable conductors. A pre-treatment gel is used to soften and relax pores followed by a treatment gel which nourishes the skin and minimises the appearance of ageing. The Practice will advise on technique and products to achieve the best results. • For more information contact Bushfield Dental Practice on 01733 370331



21 H&B.indd 1

Get a summer holiday body Amanda Murphy at Apollo Hair and Beauty Salon in Netherton, Peterborough has introduced two pre-holiday summer body treatments, The Body Contouring Wrap is an hour long treatment and begins with body polishing to cleanse and purify, followed by a stimulating “cellulite buster” massage with a seaweed, horsetail, rosemary and lemongrass body firming gel. While being cocooned for 30 minutes, enjoy a deeply relaxing pressure point face and scalp massage, completed with an application of intensive seaweed body lotion for toned, firm and smooth skin. Cost is £40 for a one treatment or £200 for a course of six. Or try a 45 minute Body Polishing treatment to bring your skin alive with a unique and gentle exfoliating treatment for wonderfully hydrated, soft and silky skin. The skin is gently buffed using a bamboo exfoliating mitt with the luxurious body polishing gel of geranium, rose and neroli, blended with conditioning plant extracts, then moisturised and nourished with the intensive seaweed body lotion. Who would need a holiday after that! • Contact Amanda, Apollo Hair and Beauty, 27 Winslow Road, Peterborough, PE3 9RE Tel: 01733 333300. NENE VALLEY LIVING August 2011


21/7/11 14:31:52

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On the trail of Robin Hood Did you know that Britain’s most famous outlaw once roamed our local woods? Dave Phillips tells the story and shows you how to follow in his footsteps…


The Brigstock connection Back then, two of the most important places in the forest were Rockingham Castle and the village of Brigstock. And it was in Brigstock’s famous Saxon church that Robin Brigstock’s Hood and his men attended Mass Saxon on Lady Day (March 25), the Feast church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin. Local legend has it that Robin and his men were betrayed by a treacherous priest and, as they left the church, they were ambushed by a posse of armed men led by Sir Ralph de Hanville, an officer of the crown. Arrows flew in all directions and, among the casualties, were Sir Ralph and the traitor priest, both fatally injured. With blood on their hands, the outlaws rode off in haste and, a mile or so outside the village, Robin and his men got rid of the evidence by throwing their bows and arrows into an old, hollow oak tree before disappearing into the forest and posing as peasants. The tree soon became known as the Bowcase Tree (later shortened to Bocase Tree) and became a meeting place for important forest courts. Eventually the old tree died and a stone

was erected to mark the position. Today, the Bocase Stone still stands in the spot, with the inscription “In this plaes grew Bocase Tree”… and a new oak sapling has been planted nearby to perpetuate the legend. NENE VALLEY LIVING August 2011

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Continued on page 25 ▲

obin Hood was – and still is – the quintessential English hero. For 700 years we have loved the timeless tales of the one man who could deliver us from our wicked and greedy ruling classes. After all, Robin Hood robbed the greedy rich to feed the oppressed poor; an outlaw from a cruel regime who, along with his band of merry man, roamed the forests that covered much of the east midlands in the Middle Ages. But did you know that this legendary man of the wildwood was a frequent visitor to this neck of the woods, too? For although the history books will tell you that Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, there’s compelling evidence that he was a frequent visitor to this area, particularly Rockingham Forest. Robin Hood was supposed to have lived somewhere between the 12th and 14th centuries, when Bocase Rockingham Forest was a royal Stone hunting ground that covered 200 square miles, extending from Stamford in the east to Northampton in the west. Only 30 miles or so from Sherwood, it would have been an obvious retreat for the most wanted man in the kingdom.


21/7/11 14:33:32

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Imprisoned at Rockingham After the Brigstock incident, Robin Hood and company then apparently went on a hunting spree in the forest, poaching the king’s deer. For a while they got away with it, but eventually the notorious outlaw was caught red-handed and thrown into the dungeon at Rockingham Castle to await trial. Records at the castle do indeed reveal that a “Robyn Hode” was imprisoned there in 1354 for “trespass of vert and venison in the forest”, but unfortunately there is no record of his eventual trial and punishment. What other evidence of Robin Hood is there in the area? Well, there is the little matter of his early home. He is said to have lived in Barnsdale before he became an outlaw and most historians have assumed that was Barnsdale in South Yorkshire. But Barnsdale on the northern shore of Rutland Water has a decent claim, especially considering that nearby place names include Robin Hood’s Cave on the road to Oakham and Robin Hood’s Field, at Whitwell. Also, to the north at Castle Bytham, is Robin Hood’s Cross. Meanwhile, at Gunwade Ferry near Castor, on the outskirts of Peterborough, there are two standing stones, known locally as Robin Hood and Little John. The true origins of the Robin Hood legend have, of course, been lost in the mists of time. The original tales and ballads of his exploits were passed down in the oral tradition and it was much later before they were written down and, no doubt, considerably embellished. But I’d still like to think that Robin Hood and his outlaws roamed our local woods, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. And I do wish he was around today, in 2011, to sort out those greedy, self-serving bankers and politicians…

Following in Robin’s footsteps You can get on the trail of Robin Hood by enjoying this four-mile walk which takes in Brigstock Church, the Bocase Stone and some lovely parts of Rockingham Forest. It is easy going and should take no more than two hours (Ordnance Survey references supplied) Start at Brigstock Church (SP946851) – note the 10th century round Saxon tower – then head north and through the old market place, bearing left then right (SP945856) down lane. After 300 yards, take care crossing the main A6116, then continue down lane for just over one mile, with Harry’s woodland to the left and the open Park Wood parkland of Fermyn Woods Hall to the right. After Bocase Farm on the right, you’ll find the Bocase Stone on the left (SP951877). After about 200 BOCASE yards (SP949881), turn left down STONE path through Harry’s Park Wood for about a quarter of a mile, then turn left (SP944881) and head south through the woods for about a mile. When the main forest ride bears left (SP944867) continue straight on along smaller path. After about 100 yards follow footpath across fields and carefully cross main road, continuing along path into village and turning left on main street to walk back to church. BRIGSTOCK Brigstock CHURCH 



23 25 ROBIN HOOD.indd 2


21/7/11 14:33:56



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The stunning and exquisite Regional Wedding Show returns to Burghley House

Sunday 6th November 2011 - 10am - 4.30pm Tickets: £5 in advance, Group Booking discounts in advance, or £6 on the day

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or call: 01780 766543

The 1st 400 registered brides to receive a stunning goody bag See the region’s finest wedding exhibitors within the full splendour of Burghley House Sparkling drinks reception and canapés, courtesy of Amps Fine Wines - Oundle, & Chefs Thyme - Peterborough

A beautiful Catwalk Show featuring the UK’s top wedding designers A grand musical firework finale to close the show - Courtesy of Komodo Fireworks

For further information call 01780 766543 email: The Essential Wedding Show is part of the Essential Media Events Ltd and Local Living Magazines 26

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• NVL August ADS.indd 27

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for gold Fancy growing your own fruit and veg but don’t know where to begin? A new local smallholding business could be your saviour, as Chris Clifford discovers


rom nursing to nurturing plants…that’s the bold leap taken by award-winning gardener Kim Grove, who has created a thriving horticultural business near Crowland. Kim and husband David moved from Surrey to the fens after he sold his printing operation four years ago, and they now run the Grow Your Own Resource Centre, on a five-acre smallholding at Whaplode Drove, just east of Crowland. A nurse for 16 years, Kim was looking for a change of pace, and a love of gardening blossomed into an interesting business idea. She now offers a wealth of bespoke services for potentially green-fingered types who are enthusiastic, but not sure where to start. She explains: “I love every type of vegetable and had successfully grown them for many years, but then it dawned on me that I really wanted to do it on a bigger scale, and help other people who want to learn about growing their own produce. The right size facility was too expensive down in Surrey, so we looked to Lincolnshire for its better value and great soil.” The fenland site was already equipped with poly-tunnels, due to the previous owner growing flowers on a commercial basis, but now these are filled with everything from miniature pomegranates to chard and baby corn. There is also a healthy orchard with many varieties

of apple, pear and even cherries…testimony to Kim and David’s selfsufficiency. Kim says: “I’ve never forgotten the moment I tasted a home-grown strawberry for the first time, and it took me back to my childhood when many more people grew their own produce. From then on, I became more and more keen on growing my own fruit and veg, and it just went from there.”

Alan Titchmarsh admires Kim’s planting style

Rent-a-bed Kim’s idea of helping others manifested itself in the form of pre-prepared vegetable beds on site, which can be rented for just £5 each per year. For the inexperienced, Kim will also advise on the basics of veg gardening, and can even supply plants and seedlings to order. The service is perfect for those who don’t have room in the garden at home, or a local allotment plot is unavailable. Also, Kim will make house visits to consult on veg-growing matters for those who wish to do their growing more locally. During the 1980s housing boom, local

Rental beds at Kim and David’s smallholding authorities removed countless allotments to make way for dwellings. Now, allotment space is at a premium and many have long waiting lists, as more of the British public wake up to the joys of grow-your-own produce. Kim cites TV’s Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as her veg-growing hero, after his Landshare project help people beat the allotment queues, by connecting those who wanted to grow fresh produce with landowners happy to offer spare growing sites. “I think helping other people to work the land is the right thing to do in this day and age,” says Kim, who admits that finding the right format for her business was initially tricky. She adds: “I think we’ve got it right now. Anyone can come and take on as many beds as they like, and get the advice they need…and it helps us to keep the land in good order.” One-day workshops are also planned, and Kim and David will even provide a holiday watering service.

The Titchmarsh touch


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Continued on page 30 ▲

Kim and David with their home grown produce

It’s not just growing fruit and veg that fires Kim’s enthusiasm. The passionate plantswoman also offers a decorative garden design service, and her efforts were duly rewarded at this year’s BBC Gardner’s World Live event in Birmimgham, after judges awarded her a Gold medal for her Sensory Retreat display. It’s rare for a designer to win gold on their first attempt,


21/7/11 14:36:53

ACTIVITIES restfulness, and a gently trickling water feature and blooms renowned for attracting bees to fulfil the sound element. The nation’s gardening favourite, Alan Titchmarsh, showed great interest in Kim’s design, whose Salvias were photographed (with Alan), for BBC Gardener’s World magazine.

Look out Chelsea! Kim receives her Gold RHS Award from Alan Titchmarsh and Kim’s was one of just two awarded in the Birmingham Borders section. “I was completely stunned and couldn’t quite take it all in at the time. Now I’ve had time to reflect, I’m so incredibly proud of what we achieved,” she says. Kim initially planned her winning display in her own garden after being inspired by her work with dementia patients, and how gardens can stimulate the brain and affect mood. The Sensory Retreat featured complimentary pink, lilac, purple and blue colours to promote

Kim’s gold medal success at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre has lit a fire within the already ambitious gardener. And what Kim jokingly branded a fluke actually comes from intense study, as she has completed many City and Guilds gardening courses, and plans to take selected Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) qualifications in the near future. But there’s one accolade that every designer wants to secure, and that’s a medal at the famous Chelsea Flower Show…and Kim is determined to succeed. “I don’t think I’ll rest until I’ve managed a medal from Chelsea, but in the meantime, I’m hoping to enter a garden display for next year’s Malvern Show and I’ll take it from there!

Kim’s sensory retreat

Contacts: The Grow Your Own Resource Centre, Grove Lodge, Whaplode Drove, Spalding, Lincs, PE12 0TW Tel/Fax: 01406 330675 Email: http://www.grow-your-own-resource-centre. For Kim’s garden design service, Tel: 01406 330575 or Email:

David attends to the weeding

Sight When combined in a garden, pink, blue, lilac and purple provide a restful feast for the eyes.


Touch Stachys (above), Alchemilla, Calamagrostis and Lagurus are all comforting to the touch, and dipping one’s hands into the bubble pool offers a soothing sensation.

Including the heady scent of roses with Dianthus (above), Lavandula and herbs stimulates our sense of smell and helps us to relax.


Taste Classic herbs such as Mentha (above), Thymus, Allium and Borago all increase enjoyment of food, and Mentha makes a superb herbal tea.


Lithe Betula and Calamagrostis (left) rustle tantalisingly in the breeze, while Salvia, Lavandula and Nepeta entice buzzing bees to the garden. Seed feeders prompt visiting birds to break into song, and the bubbling water feature calms the nerves.


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Preserving the past At a time when some local museums are fighting for survival, Sue Dobson discovers why they’re a resource worth supporting

Oundle Museum


Gordon Boswell Romany Museum

eople have been living in and around Oundle since Neolithic times and Oundle Museum has exhibits to prove it. There are reminders of how many Roman sites there are in surrounding villages and of Iron Age farmsteads along the Glapthorn Road. The first written reference to Oundle came in 709 on the death of St Wilfred in his monastery. A model of the pre-1825 Market Place is complete with horses and cows. Nostalgic photographs of village railway stations form the backdrop for a scale model of Oundle station. The reminiscences Oundle of an evacuee Museum in Ashton are accompanied by a small collection of World War II memorabilia. One display explores the town’s brewing and malting days. There were three breweries in the 19th century and a fourth, Smith’s, was in business from 1775 to 1962. Another tells of important charities with names and legacies that echo still. A town map covers the floor of the second room, where a life-like model of a pharmacist with his pill-making equipment sits alongside a General Store, its shelves laden with jars of sweets, tobacco tins and all sorts of cleaning materials. Then you’re into the room that takes on a different theme each year. For 2011, it’s Bandages, Brandy and Benevolence. There are some very strange cures detailed in this exploration of medical and social care, like an ointment of pigeon droppings and watercress to treat baldness and gout, and seeing some of the medical, optical and dental equipment you’ll be glad to be living in the 21st century! The museum is housed in the old Courthouse and upstairs there’s a remand cell, complete with model prisoner. Outside, the Barn is filled with farming implements. Oundle Museum may be small, but you could spend hours here browsing through folders and files and following a history trail on well-presented wall displays, all expertly researched.

Model village

Gordon Boswell


The Thorney Heritage Museum chronicles the life and times of this fen island village from the medieval building of a great Benedictine abbey with rich monastic lands. With the 17th century comes the story of the drainage of the fens and the Huguenot settlers who farmed the land. In the 1840’s, the wealthy landowning Dukes


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Contacts: Oundle Museum, The Courthouse, Mill Road, Oundle PE8 4BW. Tel: 01832 272741. Open March to November, Saturday 11am5pm, Sunday and public holidays 2-5pm. Free. Donations welcome. http://www.

Thorney Heritage Museum

Thorney Heritage Museum Gordon Boswell Romany Museum

March and District Museum of Bedford began an innovative social housing scheme for poor agricultural workers and Thorney became one of England’s first model villages. Displays reveal how comparatively grand these modern homes would have been, with gas lighting, water on tap, sand-flushed outside toilets and a plot of land to grow vegetables and perhaps keep a pig. Local social history is covered in displays as diverse as eeling, wildfowl decoys and the war years of the Women’s Land Army ‘girls’ and the German prisoner-of-war camp. In the Map Room, a succession of maps, aerial photographs and panoramas trace the development of Thorney from the Bronze Age to the present day. The friendly volunteer stewards, all members of the Thorney Society, are a mine of information and a small bookstall has some interesting publications.

Memorabilia At the March and District Museum you step straight into room sets depicting life in Victorian times. Pink-iced cupcakes sit invitingly on the scrubbed pine table, there’s a rag rug in front of the range and an array of colourful jugs and dishes decorate the little kitchen. A picture of Queen Victoria presides over the parlour while the nursery is filled with dolls and toys, even a child’s commode. Across the room, Craftsmen’s Corner displays the tools used by local craftspeople: the carpenter, blacksmith, thatcher, cobbler, metalworker and shipwright. In between are Coronation mugs, smoothing irons and medical equipment, white broderie anglaise underwear and embroidered christening robes, Victorian beadwork, hair combs, spectacles, typewriters, corn dollies, railway memorabilia and models of horses, ploughs, carts and wagons. Watching over it all, a wall display pays homage to local heroes Benjamin Gilbert and James Nightall of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) who were awarded the George Cross for saving Soham from destruction after a fire on their ammunition

train in 1944. Off the main room, the military collection spans the Boer, First and Second World wars, with maps, medals, weaponry and carvings and models made by Italian and German prisoners of war housed in Thorney. Here, too, are radios from crystal and valve sets to Bakelite transistors and a collection of cameras from bellow and box to cine equipment. Finally there’s a room devoted to the chronology of the fens, with locally excavated finds including Iceni silver coins on loan from the British Museum. The sheer number and variety of artefacts, neatly arranged in warm wood and polished glass display cases, is impressive. You could make numerous visits here and still find something you hadn’t spotted before.

Thorney Heritage Museum, The Tankyard, Station Road, Thorney PE6 0QE. Tel: 01733 270908. Open Sundays from Easter to end September 2-5pm (except August Bank Holiday Sunday, 11am-2pm) and by appointment. Free. March and District Museum, High Street, March PE15 9JJ. Tel: 01354 655300. Open all year, Wednesday and Saturday 10.30am3.30pm. Free. Donations appreciated. http:// Gordon Boswell Romany Museum, Clay Lake, Spalding PE12 6BL. Tel: 01775 710599. Open late-March to late October, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays 11am-4.30pm. Groups daily by appointment. Adult £5.25, child £3.

More to see:

Romany colour Tucked away down a drove near Spalding, the Gordon Boswell Romany Museum boasts a unique collection of Romany vardos (gypsy wagons or caravans) and carts, horse harnesses and paraphernalia. It’s a colourful world in which to let your imagination roam. Gordon has been collecting for over 40 years, loving restoring each piece, painting and decorating in the traditional way. Many are intricately carved and finely patterned and each wagon has a story to tell, like the one built in Spalding by Gordon’s father when he was 70, “just to prove I could still do it”. The grandest is ‘Queen Victoria’s Wagon’, so called because when it was restored the Queen’s coat of arms was discovered on the front. For 60 years it belonged to actor Sir John Mills and appeared in many films. His wife wrote her books and plays in it, including Whistle Down the Wind. From compact 1870s bow-topped wagons to expansive 1970’s trailers, all the interiors are beautifully designed to make every inch of living space productive and the craftsmanship is superb. Old family photos fill the walls of the museum, giving an insight into 150 years of the Romany way of life. Gordon’s guided tours for groups are a treat.

Whittlesey Museum: Woolly mammoth tusks discovered in nearby gravel and clay pits are among the eclectic exhibits, ranging from clothes, toys, fen life and local industries, displayed in rooms built to house the town’s horse-drawn fire engines. The Town Hall, Market Street, Whittlesey PE7 2BD. Tel: 01733 840968. http:// Ramsey Rural Museum: Country traditions, agricultural machinery, fen life, old shops and nostalgia exhibits are housed in renovated 17th-century farm buildings. Wood Lane, Ramsey PE26 2XD. Tel: 01487 815715. Tithe Barn Museum: Neolithic, AngloSaxon, Roman and medieval finds from excavations around the 800-year old Prebendal Manor; fine informative displays and hands-on activities for children. Surrounded by recreated medieval gardens. The Prebendal Manor House, Nassington PE8 6QG. Tel: 01780 782575. http://www. NENE VALLEY LIVING August 2011

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A walk on the wild side

It’s summer and our countryside is awash with colourful wild flowers. Dave Phillips explains how and where to enjoy them Wood anenome

Rosebay willowherb

Cow parsley

Ragged robin

Wild garlic


or me, one of life’s greatest joys is walking through a meadow or wood surrounded by a wealth of wild flowers. Happily, in this region we don’t have to go far to appreciate them. The ancient woods of Rockingham Forest and the lush damp meadows by the River Nene are great places to appreciate our native flora, but you don’t have to wander through picture-postcard countryside to enjoy wild flowers. Some of the best are to be found on wasteland and in old quarries. Take the Hills and Holes, just outside the village of Barnack. This hummocky landscape is a former limestone quarry. It was first exploited by the Romans, more than 1500 years ago, but excavations continued through the Middle Ages for stone to build great ecclesiastical buildings like the cathedrals at Peterborough and Ely. The quarry was exhausted 600 years ago, but nature reclaimed the rubble left behind and today it is a wild flower haven of national importance, with over 300 wild plants recorded, including eight species of orchids. Throughout the summer, this 22 hectare reserve, managed by Natural England, is awash with colour from wild flowers, including some rarities. There is a real thrill when you do find a rare wild flower. Only this weekend, my partner Anita and I chanced upon a beautiful creamy-white flower in a damp corner of a local wood. Much thumbing through my pocket guide book ensued before we identified it as an Early Marsh Orchid – the first we’d ever seen. But you don’t have to identify rare species to enjoy wild flowers. The everyday and commonplace are often the most spectacular. For example, our local woods are particularly well blessed with Bluebells – Short Wood and Southwick Wood, near Oundle, are said to be the best in Northamptonshire. It would be a hard-hearted person not to be moved by the sight of a carpet of these blue flowers in the dappled light of a fine spring evening. Our woods have many more fine species of flowers, from the beautiful Wood Anemone to the secretive, shade-loving Wild Strawberry. And be prepared for a real sensory experience if you chance upon an expanse of white-flowered Wild Garlic – there are huge areas of Fermyn Woods dominated by this pungent herb, which is also known as Ramsones. One of my favourite woodland flowers is the Ragged Robin. It’s beautiful yet subtle – the sort of plant that would be welcome in any cottage garden. So many of us gardeners strive to achieve the so-called “naturalised” look in our plots, yet few of us are capable of emulating what nature can do all on its own. The vast majority of Britain’s ancient meadows have been destroyed by modern agricultural practices, but here in the Nene valley we are luckier than most. It’s a liberating experience in summer to push through the waist-high grasses and flowers of a riverside meadow, surrounded by the hum of insects and enveloped in the heady aroma of Meadowsweet. If ever a wild flower lived up to its name, this is the one. The traditional country names of all our wild flowers are so evocative: Shepherd’s Purse, Jack by the Hedge, Foxglove, Primrose, Meadow Cranesbill, Rosebay Willowherb, Wood Sorrell. Aren’t they so much better than the tongue-twisting Latin names of plants that gardening snobs love to impress us with? TV gardener Monty Don, of Gardener’s World, uses the odd Latin name, but I’ll forgive him that because he’s a wild flower enthusiast who recently admitted to a passion for Cow Parsley, a plant considered a nuisance weed by most folk, but one which Monty allows to romp free in his own garden in Herefordshire. Happily you don’t need to go to such extremes – there are plenty of wild flowers for you to enjoy in our countryside.

Early marsh orchid

Cowslips bank


Wild garlic and bluebells

Meadow with oxeye daisies

Where to spot wild flowers: Meadow cranesbill

Wood sorrell


Barnack Hills and Holes, near Stamford. Over 300 species of wild flowers, including rare orchids. Fermyn Woods, near Brigstock. Rich variety of woodland plants. Lyveden New Bield, near Oundle. Surrounded by flower-rich meadows, with vast numbers of Ox-Eye Daisies. Short Wood and Southwick Wood, near Oundle. Typical woodland species, noted for Bluebells in spring. Bedford Purlieus, near Wansford. More than 400 plants, including some rarities. Barnwell Country Park, near Oundle. Waterside plants, including Purple Loosestrife. River Nene, Wadenhoe, Aldwincle, Thorpe Waterville, Nassington, Yarwell and Wansford. Damp-loving wild flowers, including Meadowsweet.




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EVENT: Maxey Classic Car Show Increasingly well-known among classic and modern car enthusiasts, see hundreds of exotics such as modern Ferraris, 4x4s; classic cars, motorbikes and cycles! Live music, bar, BBQ and children’s amusements. Entry: £3; under 14s free. 01778 346780 email: Opposite Tucker’s Nook, Maxey, Peterborough PE6 9EH

TALK: Meet the Author 1pm Allan Mallinson, military historian and author of The Making of the British Army, talks about the rich operational heritage of today’s army: its future, and his military novels. Tickets: £3 (£2) John Clare Theatre, Central Library, Broadway, Peterborough, PE1 1RX or Waterstones, Queensgate Centre, Peterborough, PE1 1NH. 01733 864277 or email: Elaine.

Tuesday 23 to Saturday 27 August EVENT: CAMRA Beer Festival Various times Try any number of real ales to the accompaniment of live music. Entry: £4 - £9 including a refundable £3 glass voucher. The Embankment, Bishops Road, Peterborough, PE1 1EF. 01733 896555;

Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August EVENT: Open Gardens in Glapthorn 2–5.30pm Flowers in St Leonard’s; homemade teas in the village hall; traditional stalls in this pretty Northamptonshire village. United+Kingdom/England/Glapthorn/ Contact Rosemary Weatherburn on 01832 272396 for more information.

WALK: Summer Walk around Clare’s countryside 10am Starting off at Clare Cottage and back in time for lunch, this is a walk for all the family.

Yasmin Bradley selects event highlights for August

August 1
























13 Wednesday 17 August

Saturday 6 August














SHOW: Equifest 9am–5pm Equestrian extravaganza for all horse lovers. Free. Tel: 01733 234451. East of England Showground, Peterborough, PE2 6XE. Email: bbranyan@ eastofengland.; http//:www.

Until Saturday 27 August











Thursday 18 - Sunday 21 August




WORKSHOP: Clare Cottage Artist in Residence Felt Workshops 10am-3pm Artist in residence, Madeleine Allison will be running nature inspired felt-making workshops with families (Monday) and children (Tuesday). £10 per adult/child (no unaccompanied children under the age of 9).Class limited to 15. To book, or for information about other creative activity days, contact Clare Cottage, Woodgate, Helpston, Peterborough, PE6 7ED on 01733 253330;




Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 August


Saturday 13 August

Diary dates

EVENT: Wild Wednesday Drop- in Events 10:00am-2:00pm An exciting programme of free events are on offer to youngsters with Faces in the Woods on the 3rd; Minibeast Mobiles on 10th; Green Man Mask-making on the 17th; Butterfly Streamers on 24th; Puppets on 31st.. • Cost: Free. No need to book. Meet at Discovery Den, Ferry Meadows Country Park. Nene Park Trust, Ham Farm House, Ham Lane, Peterborough, PE2 5UU. Contact 01733 234193 or

Every Wednesday in August







PLAY: Outdoor Theatre at Tolethorpe Hall 1.30pm/7.45pm Picnic in stunning landscaped grounds or order a pre-performance buffet. Then enjoy Shakespeare’s Hamlet’s and The Winter’s Tale or Pride and Prejudice at “one of England’s premier alfresco theatre venues” (The Stage). • Tickets from £6 - £16. Tolethorpe Hall, Little Casterton, Stamford PE9 4BH. Book online on or or call 01780 756133.

For September 2011 EVENT: Bourges Exchange New members wanted! Travel by coach, stay with a French family then return the hospitality next year. Details from Ann Elliott on NENE VALLEY LIVING August 2011

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Nene Valley Living August 2011  

Nene Valley Living August 2011

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