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WOOD WORKS! Repairs and restoration


P E T E R B O R O U G H , O U N D L E A N D T H E


The city celebrates Our Cathedral is 900 years old...

JANUARY 2018 £1.50



Nene Living




T’S an anniversary like no other: Peterborough Cathedral has been at the heart of local happenings for 900 years… and in 2018 the whole city is out to celebrate! A packed programme of events starts this month – turn to p11 for a summary and prepare to join in the fun. The new year heralds a new start for many, and if you’re planning to make some changes in 2018, this issue should provide plenty of inspiration. Thinking of a career change? Darren Fountain did exactly that and, just over a year on, is working wonders with wood whilst also improving his own wellbeing – see how on p16. More ‘me time’ is something many of us have resolved to make over the coming months – whether it’s to take up a new hobby, get a health-check, or break the bad habits of a lifetime. Our features on p23 and p29 suggest ways to do all, and much more besides. And if your sights are set more on the homefront, we’ll try to help with that ‘move or improve’ dilemma too… there are tips from those in the know on p19. There are exciting changes coming up in my own household this month: I’m moving on to some new publishing ventures and so this issue is my last as Editor of Nene Living. I’ve met many fascinating people during my tenure, have enjoyed working with such a talented team of journalists and have appreciated every kind email, letter and phone call received from readers. Thanks to everyone who’s made my time at the helm so much fun… and a very Happy New Year to you all!

Gillian Bendall Editor INCORPORATING


5 Upfront

33 Health & Beauty

Just what you need for January…

7 & 8 News & Notes

Helping you make the most of living locally

The latest tips for looking good and feeling great

19 Move or improve?

New ways to make your house a home again

36 Food & Drink

Dining out in Woodnewton, plus a tasty Riverford recipe to enjoy at home

11 Peterborough celebrates 23 Find your fabulous Our glorious Cathedral is 900 years old and the whole city is out to make it a great anniversary year

Resolve to discover a new and improved you in 2018… there are plenty of local specialists on hand to help

16 Back to life

29 Express yourself

Darren Fountain is a wonder at restoring wooden furniture, and while he works he’s restoring his own wellbeing

A look at some of the local groups and courses that can help you make 2018 a year of doing something different

Editor Gillian Bendall Write to Nene Living, PO Box 208, Stamford, PE9 9FY Advertisement Manager Bridget Steele 01733 707538 Head of Design Steven Handley Designer Sarah Patterson Advertising copy Rachel Beecroft 01780 765320 Publisher Nicholas Rudd-Jones 01780 765571 Published by Local Living Ltd, PO Box 208, Stamford, PE9 9FY Printed by Warners of Bourne


39 The Great Fen

It’s on our doorstep… and makes a great day out!

45 & 46 Out & About

Fun events for your new year

COVER Dominik Krolik’s beautiful photograph, Mirror, was the winner of the 2016 Peterborough Cathedral Photography Competition. It was the first time that Dominik had ever entered a photography competition and he commented: “I feel proud of being part of this monumental building by capturing its beauty one rainy, late evening.” In all nearly 130 images were submitted by over 50 photographers, of which around 20 were shortlisted for exhibition. For details of this year’s competition, see p13.


Nene Living

Subscribe to Nene Living For £25 (UK only) you can subscribe to Nene Living for 12 issues. Please send your name, address and a cheque made out to Local Living Ltd to: NL Subscriptions, PO Box 208, Stamford, PE9 9FY Or you can subscribe online – go to NENE LIVING JANUARY 2018


OUNDLE CARPETS & CURTAINS the elegant way to choose

The Winter Sale Starts Tuesday 2nd January 2018

FANTASTIC REDUCTIONS IN ALL OUR RANGE OF CARPETS, VINYL & WOOD FLOORING 100% Wool Natural rib One colour only 4 & 5 metre wide Heavy Domestic Normal Price £19.00 per square metre SALE PRICE £6.00 per square metre One Colour ONLY 5 metre wide Heavy Domestic Wool Twist Normal Price £22.00 per square metre SALE PRICE £7.00 per square metre 4 Colours in Heavy domestic, 4 metre wide Polypropylene Twist Normal price £15.00 per square metre SALE PRICE £8.00 per square metre OCW Wool Twist in 4 and 5 metre wide Heavy Domestic Normal price £18.00 per square metre SALE PRICE £14.00 per square metre Axminster and Wilton’s in 90cm, 1.80m 3.65m and 4 metre wide 100% Wool Extra Heavy Domestic Normal Price from £65.00 per square metre SALE PRICE £20.00 per square metre STOCK VINYL’S 2 and 3 metre wide All suitable to Heavy domestic areas Normal price £16.00 per square metre SALE PRICE £8.00 per square metre

FANTASTIC REDUCTIONS IN ALL OUR RANGES OF CURTAINS, FABRICS, BLINDS AND ALL CURTAIN RAILS Curtain Fabric from stock SALE PRICE from just £5.00 per metre Our Famous Hand made readymade Curtains In Three Designs in 4 standard sizes All lined and weighted Normal Price from £49.00 a pair SALE PRICE from just £30.00 a pair Ready Made Curtains lined Most Sizes available including Eyelets normal prices from £26.00 per pair SALE PRICE from just £19.00 a pair Quality Roller Blinds from stock ALL Colours and sizes Normal Price from £19.00 SALE PRICE from just £15.00 a pair Swish the curtain rail of quality All sizes from stock Normal Price from £16.00 for a 125cm width SALE PRICE £12.00 for 125cm width Cushions in a host of sizes all ready to take away SALE PRICE from just £10.00 each

OVER 150 END OF ROLLS AT OVER 50% OFF NORMAL PRICE MATTR E In Mem SSES ory foam Non Tur 1.35m & n 90cm, 1.50 SALE P m wide RI from £ CES 79.00

We also have Poles. Venetian and vertical blinds in beautiful designs along with solid wood And don’t forget our handmade hand sewn Open: Mon to Fri 10am – 5pm, Sat 10am – 4pm service.

01832 275009 (carpets) 01832 273078 (curtains)

Units 4/6 Eastwood Road, Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 4DF


UPFRONT After all the fuss of the festive season,start the new year with some rest,relaxation and ‘me time’. Take comfort in the soft colours,snuggly textiles and tasteful treats for you and your home that can be found in our local stores… and most of all, enjoy your January!

Floor lamp, £115, M&S

Mint Velvet poncho, £59, John Lewis Brandy warmer set, £14.99, John Lewis

Pyjama set, £38, River Island

House jacket, £24.99, New Look

Cable knit throw, £69, M&S

Faux fur rug, £35, Next

Polo neck, £79, M&S

Copper fondue set, £85, John Lewis Dog print slippers, £19.95, Joules

STOCKISTS All from Queensgate Centre, Peterborough PE1 1NL. NENE LIVING JANUARY 2018


NEWS & NOTES Helping you make the most of Nene living

Do you need another one?


EN and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week – that’s the same as six pints of average strength beer a week. But it’s easy for the occasional glass of drink in the evening to quickly become two or three glasses most days. If you regularly drink above the guidelines, cutting back on alcohol can help reduce the risk of developing health problems. Once you start cutting back, you’ll probably notice these benefits: • You may lose weight – with a pint of lager containing 190 calories, the same amount as a slice of pizza, the calories in alcohol soon add up. • You’ll save some cash – the cost of drinking alcohol can quickly add up. Think how much you could save by making some small changes and cutting down. • Once you start cutting back, you may quickly find you have more energy and feel less tired during the day. • You’ll sleep better – drinking can affect your sleep and stop you from sleeping deeply, so drinking less should help you feel more rested and full of beans. • You should reduce your risks of developing cancer, liver and heart disease and stroke. It’s important to know how much you are drinking and make sure you don’t drink more

than the recommended guidelines. There are easy ways you can cut back, without cutting alcohol out completely: • Have a couple of booze-free days each week • Swap strong beers or wine for lower-strength ones • Choose a smaller drink • Alternate between an alcoholic drink and a soft drink • Avoid rounds so you stay in control • Download the free Drinks Tracker app Struggling to cut down or think you might have a problem with drinking? Realising you have a problem is the first step to making a change. There’s lots of help out there and a good place to start is with a visit to your GP who may refer you to the local Peterborough alcohol service, Aspire, free on 0800 111 4354. • For more advice on how to cut down on alcohol visit

Become more mindful


CCORDING to the Stress Management Society, more than 105 million working days a year are lost as a result of stress in the UK – and it has a huge impact upon our personal lives too. Learning mindfulness practices and principles will not make the challenges disappear, but can help create a fresh perspective – mindfulness gives us a platform upon which we can ‘surf’ the ups and downs of life. If that sounds of interest, you might like to enrol in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course starting in Peterborough mid-January. Tutors are Dr Andrea Woods, a clinical psychologist working in the NHS, and Jennifer Cramb, an accredited professional coach and consultant. The course starts on 16 January at West Town Primary Academy, Midland Road, PE3 6DD and will continue on Tuesday evenings from 6.30pm-8pm. There are a limited number of ‘early bird’ tickets at £245, thereafter the price is £260. • For information email or see breathingspacepeterborough

Tickets go on sale this month for the 60th anniversary production by Oundle G&S Players. Three shows for the price of one feature in the group’s celebratory performances: mayhem ensues on a trip to Regents Park in The Zoo; meet Messrs D’Oyly Carte, Gilbert and Sullivan in If You Want To Know Who We Are – a lighthearted look at some all-time favourite G&S numbers, plus a glimpse of Oundle G&S 60 years ago with an original work especially written for this anniversary; and witness the case of a breach of promise of marriage in Trial By Jury, the famous duo’s first success which pokes fun at the legal system. Shows take place at Oundle’s Victoria Hall from 26 February to 3 March and tickets go on sale from 22 January. •

It’s about time...


VOR Frost established The Right Time in Peterborough’s Westgate Arcade twenty years ago – now in a larger unit, it’s a first-stop shop for watch repairs, battery replacements and adjustment services for all timepieces, not just those bought there. The store offers a wide range of watches and clocks to suit all budgets and styles, and Ivor says: “We will match internet prices and pride ourselves on always being fair.” The Right Time stocks a fine selection of sterling silver jewellery including rings, earrings, chains, brooches and nose studs. Gold is also bought at highly-competitive prices. • The Right Time, 23 Westgate Arcade. 01733 555499.

Type by Touch in Apethorpe has been running successful touch-typing courses for many years and tutor Diane says: “In our computer-filled world, the lifelong benefits of being able to touch-type make it one of the most important skills anyone can learn. Touch-typing is the fastest method of communicating thought to screen. For those with handwriting problems or learning difficulties, or those with permission to use a computer in exams, learning this skill can be transformational.” February half-term courses are booking now – get in touch with Diane on 07494 717578 for more information or take a look at




Feeding dogs the clever way


Winter and spring inspiration Need something to look forward to? Director of Oundle Travel Paula Cockcroft advises on six fabulous destinations for the coming months… Iceland – capital of ‘cool’ Featuring as one of our top destinations for the third year running Reykjavik, the world’s most northern capital, never fails to impress. Northern Lights viewing by Super Jeep, the Blue Lagoon and whale watching are just a few of the adventures that await. Fabulous dining options and independent quirky shops make for the perfect short break with a difference.

Sri Lanka – for history and culture Whether you want to tour and experience local customs, stay in an intimate romantic retreat, relax on a white sand beach, or get up close with the wildlife in the many national parks and reserves, we promise that Sri Lanka will not disappoint. With the lowest rainfall between January and March, Sri Lanka is a surprisingly inexpensive long haul destination.

Oman – for sun seekers With temperatures in the mid-20s during the winter months and wall-to-wall sunshine, Oman is a stunning choice for that dose of winter sunshine. With daily direct flights from London why not check yourself in to the newly refurbished 5* Deluxe Al Bustan Palace and take advantage of its world class spa?

New York – The ultimate city break The most iconic city in the world awaits, and by travelling off-peak in January you can take advantage of some of the very best prices on airfares and hotels. Take in a Broadway show and walk in Central Park, discover some of the best dining in the world and shop until you drop!

Costa Rica – for adventure and wildlfe Discover abundant scenery, amazing wildlife and adventure-filled excursions among misty rain forests, volcanic peaks and dramatic waterfalls. Twenty-five per cent of Costa Rica is dedicated to wildlife reserves and national parks and has the highest density of biodiversity in the world. The abundance of nature coupled with the eco-credentials of the country makes Costa Rica one of the rising stars for 2018.

Tenerife – for family half-term The all-new Hard Rock Hotel in Tenerife is a cutting-edge, luxurious hotel combining style with a vibrant atmosphere. Complete with fine dining, bars and unique entertainment plus a personalised service, this hotel will make an unforgettable family holiday. A temperate climate for the February and Easter school holidays makes it a firm favourite, and only four hours flying time from the UK. •

Well-known archaeologist Prof Stephen Upex will deliver a talk on The Saxons In Elton on Friday 19 January in aid of the All Saints Church Elton Reformation Committee, which is raising funds to put a kitchen, toilets, new heating and electrics in the village church. The talk takes place at Highgate Hall, Elton at 7.30pm and tickets, priced £10, are available from Gill Thompson on 01832 280398, email



E have changed the way dogs acquire their food significantly in recent times: the teeth and muscles they use to tear up meat are mostly redundant when we feed a bowl of kibble. Canines are designed to hunt for their meal, either by sniffing it out, or by chasing, catching and chewing it up. We need to give our dogs an outlet for this perfectly normal feeding activity. Dogs are very intelligent, so engaging them physically and mentally to find their food is a constructive use of their time and energy. There are many ways of doing this and dogs find food more interesting when they have to work for it. Look at your dog’s preferences to see what options there are for feeding – these often relate to breed type. For example, the bull breeds have great fun if their food is delivered in empty plastic bottles; they can chase these about, grabbing at them as the food falls out. Collie types often enjoy a ball feeder to push around until the food is all gone, and many different dogs enjoy scatter-feeding on the lawn (food can be scattered over the entire lawn and the dog spends ages making sure he’s found every morsel). Many dogs love this but it especially suits the breeds that love to use their noses, like beagles and spaniels. These days, especially for our younger dogs, there are few excuses for bowl feeding. Start the year by giving your mutt a feeding challenge and see how much more fun he finds his meal times!

Wood Green The Animals Charity offers a free advice service for dogs and cats. If you would like behaviour or training advice for your pet call 01480 830014 ext 1281.

Specialist in the manufacture, installation and care of natural stone. With our experience in materials such as Marble, Granite, Neolith and Quartz, we are able to create stunning kitchen worktops, bath surrounds, vanity units, staircases, fireplaces, flooring and wall coverings. We offer a personal and knowledgeable service with highly skilled craftsmen and pride ourselves on the quality of service, the quality of materials used and the workmanship of your finished product. We offer a full supply, template, manufacture and installation service Open Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm, Saturday 8am – 3pm Unit 14-15 Wainman Road, Woodston, Peterborough, PE2 7BU Tel: 01733 687414 or 01733 370941

Where will you be in 2018?


7-13 Co-Educational

Boarding and Day

“Small enough for everyone to know each other but big enough to offer a first-rate, all-round education, the school encourages pupils to work hard, get lots of fresh air and have fun along the way.” GOOD SCHOOLS GUIDE

Open Morning Saturday 20th January 2018, 10.30am-12.30pm

The Open Morning will involve a welcome reception, tours of the school with current pupils during a normal busy Saturday morning and the opportunity to meet members of staff. Please contact us on 01604 686234 in order to book a place.

Northamptonshire, NN6 9JG Tel 01604 686234


The areas main KBSA member

The areas largest Siemens dealer 10


Peterborough celebrates Our glorious Cathedral is 900 years old and the whole city is out to make it a great anniversary year, as Sue Dobson reports… P H O T O G R A P H Y: JO H N M O O R E


ET ready to enjoy a host of events and activities as Peterborough celebrates the 900th anniversary of its great Cathedral. Across the year, over 100 events have been programmed so far, involving schools, community groups, businesses, organisations and charities. The annual Katharine of Aragon Festival and hugely popular Heritage Festival will take place in and around the Cathedral, there’ll be celebrations at Ferry Meadows (which is celebrating its own 40th anniversary), free rides on the Nene Valley Railway, exhibitions at Peterborough Museum, talks by renowned historians, concerts, art projects and competitions.

“The City Council is proud to be supporting what promises to be momentous year for Peterborough and our fantastic Cathedral,” says Peterborough City Council Chief Executive, Gillian Beasley. “Peterborough Celebrates encourages everyone to embrace and promote our city in a positive way and to make the most of the jewel in our crown that is the Cathedral. “Council employees have got behind the celebrations with various 900-themed activities and we are partnering with the Cathedral, so that we can utilise its beautiful surroundings even more throughout the year.” The 900 theme is catching on. The Serco team is aiming to raise £900 in 900 minutes by completing a number of activities,

and Greenwoods Solicitors are planning a fundraising day for staff and clients. Peterborough Regional College is aiming to get 900 students into work experience throughout 2018. For schools, Papa Luigi will be running a ‘design a Peterborough Celebrates pizza’ competition, with the winning design being added to the restaurant’s menu and a donation given to the Cathedral for each pizza sold. Travel companies and hotels will have special offers for people living outside the city to join in the celebrations. And the grounds of the Orton Hall Hotel & Spa will be glorious in the spring when the 900 bulbs planted there are in full bloom.

IN THE BEGINNING... The Cathedral at the city’s heart may be 900 years old, but its story goes back long before that. There are foundations of a Saxon church beneath the current building with re-used Roman stonework embedded in it. Large quantities of Roman pottery were found during an archaeological dig in 2016 and it seems likely that there was a high-status building on the site, possibly a temple or monumental arch, long before a church was constructed. Paeda, prince of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, founded a monastery here around 654 AD when Peterborough was known as Medehamstede. In 870 AD, marauding Vikings attacked and destroyed it, the monks killed or driven away. A century later, Bishop Aethelwold of Winchester had a series of visions

instructing him to re-establish Christianity in an area formerly overrun by Vikings and particularly at Medehamstede, where, in 972 AD, he built his abbey – a collection of monastic buildings including a church – run by the Benedictine Order. A collection of holy relics attracted pilgrims, a town grew up and its wealth led to the abbey being known as Guildenburgh, the golden borough. Then, as a fortified enclosure with its church dedicated to St Peter, it became known as Burgh St Peter, the name from which Peterborough is derived. After Hereward the Wake and an army of Danish mercenaries attacked in 1070, looting the abbey’s treasure and burning the town, William the Conqueror ordered Continued on page 16




“I love the soft light inside the building,” says photographer John Moore

Peterborough celebrates PETERBOROUGH 900 Since 2011, the Peterborough 900 campaign has been working towards raising £10million to improve and develop the Cathedral’s facilities, extend its reach into the communities it serves and increase its accessibility for all. The ambitious plans included not only improving and preserving the fabric of the Cathedral and buildings in the Precincts, but creating facilities available for use by businesses, schools, the arts, local residents and the thousands of visitors who come through its doors every year – and to sustain its work into the future. Its success has resulted in some highlight developments, particularly in the stunning entrance with its welcoming glass doors and the clever landscaping that has created a level, step-free access into the building. The brilliant new Visitor and Learning Centre opened in the precincts in autumn


2016. Imaginative, high-tech interpretation materials and priceless artefacts tell of the wealth of the Cathedral’s history and heritage, there is a room for temporary exhibitions and on the top floor, a fully equipped learning centre. Also on the top floor, the magnificent Knights’ Chamber has been opened up and restored. Originally constructed in around 1220 for the use of the knights of Peterborough Abbey, it can be hired for events, talks, concerts and gatherings. Music lovers are delighted with the re-pitching of the Hill organ and the improvement in the Cathedral’s sound system. The opening of Becket’s Tea Room last year was much appreciated by locals and visitors alike. After 900 years, Peterborough Cathedral is still a focus of Christian worship. It is also a centre of learning, culture, music and events, a cherished historic site and an icon for the city that bears its name.

the construction of a motte and bailey castle on the north side of the abbey precincts as a deterrent to future aggressors. However, it couldn’t deal with the disastrous fire of 1116 that started in the bakehouse and raged for nine days, destroying the entire town. Rebuilding started two years later with the construction of a new church, substantively the one that would become Peterborough Cathedral (hence the 900-year anniversary). Additions and renovations aside, the structure of the building has remained essentially as it was when it was consecrated in 1238. In order to fund the building project, Abbot Martin de Bec obtained a market charter from King Stephen. The new marketplace and resulting townscape to the west of the precincts survives today as the modern city centre street plan. Peterborough Abbey was dissolved in 1539 during the Reformation and its land and properties confiscated. Instead of tearing down the church, however, Henry VIII created a new Bishop (the former Abbot) in 1541 and the great abbey was transformed into Peterborough Cathedral (the final resting place of his discarded queen, Katharine of Aragon).



An elevated view, taken during the Peterborough Heritage Festival weekend Peterborough Cathedral features in long-time Nene Living contributor Sue Dobson’s latest book, The 50 Greatest Churches and Cathedrals of the World (Icon Books, £8.99). It features some great places to visit in our region and is ideal for anyone who enjoys a day out in Britain or exploring on holiday abroad.

Many thanks to John Moore, who has a passion for photography and selected some of his favourite images of the Cathedral for us to publish. You can see more of his work at


Our pick of some of the events taking place in Peterborough during this celebratory year…


19 25-28

Burns Night Supper: a traditional celebration of the Scottish bard, complete with piper, Ceilidh band and dinner in the Cathedral Katharine of Aragon Festival with commemorative services, events, tours and exhibitions, including a talk by popular historian and novelist Alison Weir and family activities at Peterborough Museum

FEBRUARY Concerts of sacred music by The Sixteen and varied music by the Huntingdon Male Voice Choir in the Cathedral, plus historian and broadcaster Dr Jonathan Foyle on the publication of his new book, Peterborough Cathedral: A Glimpse of Heaven

MARCH The Cathedral has a special programme of music and services to mark Lent, Holy Week and Easter The Northamptonshire Music & Performing Arts Trust concert sees a 200-strong choir and orchestra perform a specially-composed piece of music about the River Nene 900 Steps to Haven: the opportunity to win a season’s free entry for the family to the Railworld Wildlife Haven


RE you inspired by our cover photo this month, or John Moore’s wonderful images on these pages? Now’s the chance to try your hand at capturing the Cathedral on camera, as Peterborough Cathedral launches this year’s competition for amateur photographers. The competition is open to all ages, including under-18s, and the judges include those from the fields of the media and visual arts, as well as the Cathedral and photography. There are cash prizes for the winners and the closing date for entries is 18 January 2018. For details call 01733 355315 or see


26 MAY


Abseil down the north-west tower of Peterborough Cathedral as you raise funds for both the spina bifida charity Shine, and the Cathedral Over 500 Morris Dancers perform in the city centre



10 16-17 29

Help charity Anna’s Hope break a Guinness World Record with 900 fairies gathering on the Cathedral Green Peterborough Heritage Festival: the largest city centre living history event in the UK is notching up its 10th anniversary St Peter’s Day: a special service in the Cathedral and a celebration

JULY Peterborough Schools’ Country Dancing Festival, YMCA Youth Jam, events at Queensgate Shopping Centre and Peterborough Greyhounds 900th race

AUGUST Once upon a Festival: Vivacity’s day of storytelling, puppet shows and family theatre Free family fun at the Peterborough Environment City Trust’s Green Festival

SEPTEMBER The Nene Park Trust celebrates the 40th anniversary of the official opening of Ferry Meadows Heritage Open Days: see places not usually open to the public for free Nene Valley Festival events Italian Festival: 900 portions of pasta will be served Classic Car and Vintage Vehicle Show

8-9 15-23 OCTOBER


Paper Peace: art installations unique to Peterborough and an outdoor night-time arts parade

NOVEMBER Remembrance Sunday parade in the city centre and Marriott Hotel 900 balloon release Christmas lights switch on

DECEMBER Christmas events and celebrations

CLOCKWISE FROM THE TOP: “My favourite time of the day to photograph the Cathedral – at dusk,” says John. “This photo shows the Norman Arch and gateway to the Cathedral Precincts, with the Cathedral illuminated behind” Peterborough celebrated Shrove Tuesday in 2017 with a pancake race held at the Cathedral A portrait of a historical interpreter taken during the Vivacity Heritage Festival, 2017. Robert Scarlett was born in 1496 and lived to the ripe old age of 98. There is a painting of him on the west wall of Peterborough Cathedral. ‘Old Scarlett’ worked as parish sexton, a role which involved burying the dead in the parish church yard, buying communion bread and tolling the bells. He was at the burials of Katharine of Aragon and of Mary Queen of Scots A wide angle view inside the Cathedral NENE LIVING JANUARY 2018





Back to life Darren Fountain is a wonder at restoring wooden furniture, and while he works he’s restoring his own sense of wellbeing too. Gillian Bendall finds out more… P H O TO G R A P H Y: TI M S A ND A L L


HE notion of a second or even third career is not uncommon; in recent weeks I’ve met a sailor-turned-shop owner-turned-plumber, a writer who’s training to be a maths teacher and a bricklayer who’s now a website builder. It’s too early to tell whether they’ll all be a roaring success, but they’re part of a trend that’s predicted to continue. The youngest members of the so-called ‘baby boomer’ generation may be over 50, but most are nowhere near ready – or financially able – to retire and many, after decades of working in the same field, are hankering for a fresh challenge. Some of those who decide to do something different have been made redundant; others simply want less stress and less responsibility. Whatever the reason for the fresh start, it seems we’re revelling in the opportunity for reinvention. The quest for a more peaceful pace of life was one of the factors that led Darren Fountain to found Fotheringhay Furnishings a little over a year ago. Housed in a converted pig shed just outside the village it’s named after, the business is a haven of quiet craftsmanship, filled with



glorious pieces of furniture in varying stages of repair and restoration. Sturdy dining tables, decorative sideboards and elegant seats show off Darren’s talent for working wonders with wood, waxes, varnishes and paints. With only the gentle sounds of Radio Two in the background and loyal black labrador Boo for company, Darren’s workshop and showroom couldn’t be more blissful… or more different to his previous workplace. And for this former member of the Armed Forces and, more recently, the police service, the relationship between the pieces he so lovingly restores and his own personal wellbeing couldn’t be more symbiotic. It was, perhaps, inevitable that Darren would start adult life in the Armed Forces – he was born in Penang, Malaysia, where his father was serving in the RAF – and Darren’s initial career in logistics took him to many foreign locations, including Germany where he had his first experience of building. “It was a sort of kit house, where the roof, windows, floors and front door were supplied, and I learnt to do everything else. I was living in it within six months, though the tiling took a bit longer,” he says.

After leaving the RAF Darren lived and worked in Germany awhile, before returning to the UK where he joined Cambridgeshire Constabulary, later transferring to a specialist security unit of the British Transport Police based in London. “That meant lots of time spent accompanying VIPs and dignitaries on their journeys; interesting work, but stressful because I never really knew what might happen on any particular day, and could never even talk about where I was going and when, as any breach of security could have very serious repercussions,” he explains. It also meant, on many occasions working as part of the London Counter Terrorist Support Unit, where Darren held a primary role as a special response officer for unattended or suspicious items as well as providing specialist cover for prominent events throughout the UK. He often found himself away weeks at a time with no notice and also in covert roles or ‘plain clothes’ operations involving other security agencies. “Again, secrecy was paramount and there was no real schedule; very hard for my loved ones who often never knew where I was or when I’d be home.”

BEFORE Ultimately, the stress of the work became too much. “I think it was when it became mandatory to carry a Taser in one of my roles,” Darren says. “I’d had enough of weapons, had seen too much of what they can do and that, coupled with previous experiences… I just couldn’t do that sort of work any more.” With a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Darren was ‘pensioned off’ and, thus, afforded the opportunity to start over. “I’d always enjoyed tinkering in my shed, and had done up a few bits of furniture for home,” he says. “Then, one day, my therapist suggested that perhaps I should think about doing something [for work] that I really loved, and that’s when the idea for Fotheringhay Furnishings came about.” Encouraged by wife Lou (the couple married in their home village last summer), Darren set about securing premises in nearby Tansor, spending six months converting a former pig barn into somewhere in which he could work and show off his accomplishments. He also completed several woodworking courses, chalk painting design and technique workshops along with a traditional French Polishing course – all of which enable him to offer a bespoke refurbishing, rejuvenating and upcycling service for furniture and accessories of all ages and styles. Darren is a huge fan of the popular Annie Sloan paints and waxes: “They’re the best materials available to me,” he says. “The paints mix well, they adhere to most surfaces without a lot of preparation work, and there’s such a wide palette of colours to choose from. There is absolutely no substitute for quality.” And newlyadded to Darren’s can-do list is upholstery – his



HIS turn-of-the-century (the 20th!) pine cupboard had definitely seen better days. In a previous home it had been relegated to the garage where it was something of a ‘dumping ground’ for Christmas decorations and those oversized serving dishes which prove useful for occasional party use. It was called into full-time kitchen action, however, when the owners ‘downsized’ to a tiny cottage which, though full of character, is distinctly lacking when it comes to storage space; it fitted perfectly in a corner of the kitchen and could house all manner of tableware. What it didn’t do, though, was look good! Decades of neglect, some now-dead but obviously once-ravenous woodworm, and the well-meaning DIY attempts of an unknown former owner had all rendered it rather ugly. Time to ship it off to Fotheringhay Furnishings then, and ask for Darren’s expert, empathetic help. First he made sure there was no active woodworm, before setting about repairing the damaged doors – out-ofsight supports for a crumbling centre panel on the worst of them were an ingenious move. Then he gave the inside of the cupboard a light colour-wash and the top a careful rub-down to remove a lifetime of old varnish and furniture polish. Challenged to come up with a look that would complement the owners’ coastal-themed kitchen, Darren mixed Annie Sloan colours to create a paint finish which evokes the seascapes they love so much, before adding new drawer knobs and distressing the original tin plate door decorations… ‘work in progress’ photo messages were reassuring, and gave them a chance to say what they liked (all of it!). Delivered back in super-quick time, the cupboard now has pride-of-place and is already proving quite a talking point. Rather like a work of art, it reveals something new each time it’s looked at it, and the owners say they love the way its ‘battle scars’ have been made a thing of beauty. As the famous William Morris quote goes: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” This cupboard ticks both boxes!

mother-in-law, being skilled with a needle and having years of upholstery lessons, has taught him the basics, while he’s gleaned further know-how from an upholsterer friend in Peterborough. “The generosity of people who are happy to share their skills and knowledge has been a huge help and source of support,” Darren comments. Now he’s been in business for a year, Darren’s confident that this new career is the one to

see him into old age. “I’m fortunate that I have pensions so I’m not under a huge amount of financial pressure,” he says. “I can charge a sensible amount for what I do, and that’s resulting in a steady work flow which, when you’re self-employed, is what you really strive for.” It’s clear, too, that there’s an element of selfhealing in the work he does. “Old pieces of furniture have such nice stories to them,” Darren says. “They’ve seen a lot of action, if you like, and it’s important not to remove every mark and imperfection as that’s often what makes them so meaningful. When I restore something I don’t want to wipe out its history; I want to give it a new lease of life, but acknowledge its past at the same time. “So yes, I guess there is a similarity – while I work on a piece of furniture, I’m ‘restoring’ myself too. I definitely don’t feel stressed or worried any more. And, at 50, I’m certainly not ready to reach for the pipe and slippers just yet!” • Fotheringhay Furnishings is based on a working farm, so it’s important to make an appointment if you wish to visit. Call Darren on 07947 577825, or email darren@fotheringhayfurnishings. For more details and images of some of Darren’s recent work, see



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Move or improve? Sarah Chase suggests new ways to make your house a home again

Space maker


T’S a dilemma most of us are faced with at some point in our lives – our home no longer meets our life’s criteria, so do we move, or do we improve? Television series dedicate themselves to the question, and the message seems to be that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. A clear and unequivocal reason for moving, such as a job change or family commitments, removes the quandary, but uncertainty comes when the reasons for moving are less clear-cut: perhaps you want to stay in the same locale but need more space; you’d like a bigger garden; you feel it’s time to downsize; or you just want a change. For some, the cost involved in moving can be off-putting when it’s for one of these less well-defined reasons, and it may be worthwhile in these cases investigating the possibilities of extension or improvement to your existing property. Take time to consider what it is that is stopping your home from working for you – and think about the solutions: could it be as simple as moving an internal wall to get that extra space in a bedroom? Have you always hated your bathroom suite? Is the ‘inherited’ garden just not what you would have chosen? All of these are problems that can be dealt with, using the right attitude, ideas and experts.

Making the best use of your space, both internal and external, is the catchphrase of home improvement, but it can often take a practised eye to see potential in an established home. Employing an architect will give you a professional view on what might seem to be an unsolvable issue, as Lucy and James Leakey will vouch for. When the wonderful surprise of their third child came along, the Leakeys turned to Joe Croser of Oundle Architecture for an ingenious solution to their accommodation problem. Their Grade II listed home, full of charm and character, had only three bedrooms, and this meant their two daughters sharing a room in order to make space for the baby. “My brief was to find room for a fourth bedroom upstairs”, explains Joe, “but our options were limited by the building’s Grade II listing. “The obvious way forward was to split the large room shared by the girls into two – and by integrating staggered wardrobes, desks and shelving we created two useable spaces which maintained the integrity of the building.” Care was taken to retain key features such as the beam across the middle of the ceiling and the result is two rooms of equal size, both with a window and both with fabulous storage. The family has been able to stay in their much-loved home, and at a fraction of the cost of a full extension, or moving. BEDROOM 1

From ugly duckling to swan Having the vision to see past what you buy is an enviable trait, and when a house in the beautiful village of Barnwell with nearly a hectare of land around it came onto the market, Rich and Emma Watson knew it was a rare find. Built in the 1950s and a little outdated, the house lacked pavement appeal – but the plot made it a purchase worth making. “We worked with Oundle Architecture to interpret our ideas,” says Emma, “and the result is our dream home, with more space and the ‘wow’ factor we were after.” “The house needed enlarging for the family to fit it comfortably,” says Joe Croser. “By choosing to use more local materials in the building of a sizeable rear extension, we have also managed to improve the appearance of the house dramatically, and that has positively impacted its surroundings.”





It may be that your house is everything you could wish for inside but your outside space lets it down: tidying up your garden is relatively simple and can be achieved with a bit of elbow grease - either your own or that of a paid helper! For a more permanent improvement, consider re-landscaping – perhaps by creating a new seating area; repositioning lawns and pathways; digging out new borders or investing in a garden structure such as a summerhouse or arbor. If you’re struggling for a vision, bring in some outside help – Joe and Helen at Garden Wise can offer an holistic service from consultation to design and implementation - and will maintain your creation once it’s complete! Start planning now, and you could be enjoying the summer sun in a whole new space.



Move or improve? The heart of the home In today’s homes, the kitchen is the room to which the family gravitates – it’s often a dining area too, whilst some even incorporate sofas and living areas. So, for an instant uplift to your home, updating your kitchen could be the best money you spend. Guy Bolsover, of Oundle-based Küchen Kraft, has a wealth of experience and has seen trends come and go, so it’s well worth planning a visit to his showroom if you’re considering upgrading your fixtures and fittings. “First of all, look in magazines to get ideas of what’s out there and build a wish-list of what you want,” Guy advises, “then, visit a couple of showrooms and discuss what you’re looking for in your project. Book a home visit and ask for samples to be brought along, so you can see what different products look like in your home.” It’s important to consider whether the kitchen will be for you to enjoy for many years to come, or whether a move may be on the cards – in which case, Guy suggests you be circumspect in your choice of colour and style. “It’s got to be attractive to a future buyer,” he points out. “Shaker is still the most popular style, but there is no doubt that the more modern kitchen is catching up. “It’s also worth bearing in mind that a high price doesn’t always mean higher quality – many of the high-end brands are charging for the name, whilst some of the kitchens with a more modest price tag can be fantastic value.” If the kitchen units themselves are in good order, then perhaps a new worktop would be a good investment – or some of the latest appliances, which have become more aesthetically pleasing over the years. Both will offer a fresh look to an older room. Whether it’s a full refit or a minor upgrade, having a clear idea of what you want to achieve is important – a Pinterest board is a great way to collate your different ‘looks’. Then, discussing your plans with an expert can result in fantastic and bespoke rooms that will make you fall in love with your house all over again.


AFTER New windows and a smart front door can alter the look of a house dramatically – and make sure it’s in keeping with the character of the area

MORE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME • New windows and a smart front door can alter the look of a house dramatically – try Tradells or Orchard Windows for beautiful products in keeping with the character of our area. • Maintain external woodwork with a professional paint job - Mark Hamilton Painting and Decorating, and Oundle Decorating Services, are both reputable local businesses.

Making the move If you’re set on moving, it’s important to get your house ready for viewings. Vito Fierro, Director at City and County Estate Agents, offers his advice for those looking to move... “First impressions are absolutely critical when selling your home. When people come to view a property for the first time, they will be trying to get a feel for it – and you can positively influence this. “For example, if your kitchen is looking tired, it can easily be spruced up with new cabinet doors or handles, a new worktop or updated flooring. “Bathrooms can look almost as good as the day they were fitted with a bit of work. Hack out any discoloured grout between the tiles or sealant around the washbasins, baths and showers, and replace with new. It’s inexpensive, effective, and looks good. Make sure you polish any chrome as well, using limescale remover if necessary. “Do declutter. Buyers want to imagine themselves living there, so don’t distract them with too much of your own stuff, although a cosy home can be more appealing than a clinical one! “Outside, flowerbeds can instantly be given a new lease of life with a generous helping of shredded tree bark compost. Freshly-mown lawns with neat edges look great, as do paths which have recently been weeded. Patio areas are more appealing when they have been jet-washed, but also when they look as if they are enjoyed regularly – so it’s worth having your garden furniture out rather than packed away. The same applies to children’s play equipment if you are selling a family home. “The key is a neat, but lived-in look, which will appeal to the heart as well as the head!” In doing much of this work you will be adding value to your home, so even if the time is not right to move now, maintaining your home will make living in it more enjoyable – and will reward you in the future.



• Rummage through reclamation yards for unique and characterful finds that will add impact to your home - Oundle Reclamation Yard and Select Stone offer all sorts of flooring and paving options, as well as one-off reclaimed objects. • New soft furnishings (curtains, blinds, cushions) can change the whole look of a room – Wooster Interiors offer a bespoke service.

DIRECTORY Oundle Architecture: Garden Wise: Küchen Kraft: City & County Estate Agents: Tradells: Orchard Windows: Mark Hamilton Painting and Decorating: 07773 291079 Oundle Decorating Services: 01832 270186 Classic Reclaims Ltd: Select Stone: Wooster Interiors:


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Find your fabulous! Resolve to discover a new and improved you in 2018… there are plenty of local specialists on hand to help

Healthy glow Lindsey Reed has been coaching professionally since 2005 and specialises in enabling people to be confident in themselves. Her first book Got It! The Answer to a Confident, Productive & Stress Free Life is available in over 20 countries worldwide, and she also offers an online Confidence Programme. Warmington-based Lindsey is currently travelling the world, so for UK clients she offers Skype coaching sessions. She says: “My clients are very diverse as confidence issues can affect many people. I coach internationally and work with individuals from all walks of life: teenagers, small business owners, athome parents, senior executives… we all deserve to have a great quality of life. “Many people have noticed a change – a shift in their thinking and level of confidence – just through reading my book. We are all different; an insight is like a light switch – it can happen in a moment or it can be like a dimmer switch, a gradual shift over time. I work at the client’s pace and usually clients will only need a couple of coaching sessions with me. What I share and how I coach is powerful and is based on the principles of human experience.” So how does she make a real difference to a client’s confidence? “I often explain how we actually experience life – there is a huge psychological misunderstanding of where our experience comes from. Often people believe that their confidence issues come from outside of them – from other people, from past experience, from worldwide issues, lack of money, career, etc. This causes them to feel out of control, overthink and worry. In fact our experience comes from our own thinking in the moment,” Lindsey explains. “When people have ‘got it’, a shift happens.“ • Glows Coaching. 07789 622652.

What’s your personal style? The Personal Stylists at John Lewis are specially trained to help you find looks that work effortlessly, to create a wardrobe that’s unique to you. For an instant refresh or help with finding one special outfit, opt for the one-hour Style Express service, or book the longer Style Experience and explore the latest trends and styles – it’s like shopping with a best friend, but one who has only your best interests at heart! Lorraine, one of the four Personal Stylists at the Queensgate store, (right) says: “The personal styling world at John Lewis Peterborough is a busy one, with over 1,000 customers a year walking through our doors. “The lady who visits us does so for so many reasons, and all of them are unique to each customer. It’s fair to say that outfit building for a wedding is usually how people imagine us and, of course, that is a good percentage of our customers. But we see ladies for so many other reasons, from formal events such as graduations and interviews to everyday needs such as a new wardrobe and holidays. Equally as important, there’s our other customer who simply needs guidance on which pair of jeans will be ‘the one’!” Lorraine says one of the most important things a stylist can do is “help the customer recognise her assets and show how sometimes even the smallest of changes can make the biggest of differences.” And what are our most common mistakes when it comes to clothes shopping?

“Wearing clothes too big, not experimenting enough and buying something because you like it but it doesn’t actually work for you,” she says. • John Lewis Peterborough. 01733 294196. NENE LIVING JANUARY 2018



Discover your true colours Dena Hellowell is passionate about colour and the impact it can have on people’s lives. She offers a three-pronged approach which covers all areas of a client’s life. Dena is a ColourMeBeautiful image consultant. She explains: “I support my clients in finding their inner confidence and bringing out their authentic self in the way they dress. By looking at the way their skin, eye and hair colour work together I advise on the colours that are in their personal palette and how to wear them. I also give advice on the style that would suit my client by looking at personality, body shape, face shape and much more…. they go away looking and feeling younger and healthier. “Your home is an extension of who you are, and says so much about you – it is your support, your safe place… it is an extension of who you are,” Dena continues. “I support my clients by going to their home and we look at where they are in their life and where they would like to be, their goals and aspirations. By looking at the colours that support their colour personality, and bringing in the principals of feng shui, we

pin-point areas to work on, and bring colours into the home through soft furnishings, art, accessories and more. ‘Thirdly, I use a number of coaching and healing techniques to tailor-make a session specifically to each client and their goals. Your body and mind are like a computer – everything that happens in life, good or bad, is stored on your ‘hard drive’. We ‘clean’ your hard drive so that the old issues and blocks, traumas, emotions, upsets and limiting beliefs no longer pop up and stop you achieving the life you want and deserve.” Clients can use these three consultations separately, or they can fast-track their journey to wholeness by experiencing the entire process, with some amazing results. A colour consultation lasts a couple of hours and styling takes the same amount of time; clients leave the session with their colours

Sound advice You probably have regular check-ups at the dentist and the opticians, but when did you last have your hearing tested? It’s estimated that as many as one in six people in the UK have some degree of hearing loss. It usually occurs gradually and can cause inconvenience, embarrassment, depression, isolation and has even been linked to mental health issues. It can also take between 10 and 15 years to come to terms with – people try to compensate by asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the TV, etc. Sound Advice Hearing is a privately-run, local family business with a full-time hearing care centre located in Peterborough and a day centre in Whittlesey. It offers free hearing tests in a fully equipped centre or, if more convenient, can arrange home visits. Independent, impartial advice and a free hearing aid trial (with no obligation) are all part of the service. In short, there’s a personalised solution for all your hearing requirements based on lifestyle, cosmetics and, importantly, budget. • Sound Advice Hearing, 1 Cross Street, Peterborough PE1 1XA. 01733 343888.



and style book and can implement change immediately. “At home, one consultation will give all the information required to make the changes and then the client can begin to put the colours together and make the changes necessary to achieve their goals,” Dena says. Self-development sessions vary from one client to another. “But even after the first, clients say they feel lighter and like a weight has been lifted,” Dena says. • Colour by Dena. 07802 897985.

Eyes right!

A client shares the vision board she had fun creating during a mindset session

The vital element Offering a holistic approach to healthy ageing, Jane and Lesley at Vitalise4Life are on a mission to educate and inspire clients about feeling healthier, not only physically but mentally. “Ours is a proactive approach encompassing 1-2-1 consultations focusing on healthy nutrition, appropriate and enjoyable exercise, mindset and relaxation where age does not dictate ability,” they explain. “ We also run healthy breakfast/lunch events, Time4Me days and regular talks on various health topics – a typical client would be anyone who wants to be proactive about their health with a view to staying young!” • Vitalise4life, Manor Cottage, Duddington Road, Collyweston PE9 3PN. 07810 485541 or 07725 984804.

The signs were there – I just couldn’t read them! Kindle fonts that increased in size with alarming regularity, restaurant menu choices that ‘coincidentally’ echoed my companions’, text messages that confused and amused their recipients… all signalled that I was long-overdue an eye test. The ‘lightbulb moment’ came when I realised that, as my career depends on me being able to write, read and edit accurately, and often for hours each day, caring for my eyesight is as vital as updating my MacBook or having 24/7 WiFi access; it’s not something to scrimp on. Off I went then, to The Oculist in Peterborough’s Westgate Arcade. An independent lifestyle opticians that celebrated its 10th birthday in November, it’s renowned for its exceptional customer care, cutting-edge eyewear and excellent range of contact lens choices. Owner and optometrist director Gerry Sondh is rightly proud of his chic, casualfeeling store where state-of-the-art technology and a customer-centric ethos is akin to a private clinic. Gerry carries out all eye tests by appointment, with consultations lasting around 40 minutes and tailored to your unique needs. There’s no escaping the clinical nature of an expert eye examination, but the spacious room in which mine was conducted, and Gerry’s gentle ‘bedside manner’, made for some relaxing me-time with none of the nerves I’d experienced in previous check-ups elsewhere. Some of the process was familiar, though most definitely modernised – the computerised chart includes real-size car number plates, television menus, pictures and many more programs to address the visual problems that we all have in the real world. Gerry also uses the latest technology for the intraocular pressure test that so many of us find uncomfortable but provides invaluable information about what’s happening inside the eye and within its

surrounding structures. The apparatus may look like a sonic screwdriver but there’s no uncomfortable puff of air – the pressure on my eye was imperceptible! On to the visual field examination, which provides information about the pathway between the eye and brain. As Gerry explained that certain systemic disorders can lead to nerve fibre damage, I began to realise the real importance of an expert eye test – it really does look so much further into what’s happening behind the lens. The Oculist boasts the latest technology in retinal scanning, with Gerry having invested in a world-leading Heidelberg Spectralis that examines ocular activity right down to cell level. This impressive piece of kit (below left) produces MRI-quality images in 4D – the fourth dimension being time progression, so any changes to my eyesight will be apparent at my next review. The scans help detect macula degeneration, glaucoma and any retinal abnormality – and allow Gerry to refer clients direct to Consultant-level care if needed. Reassured that I had nothing more than ‘some natural deterioration’ to worry about, with new prescription in hand I stepped back into the shelf-lined store where ultra-patient dispensing opticians Rob Gilbert (who’s also the Westgate Arcade shop manager) and Hannah Castle encouraged me to try some of the 1000plus frames and sunglasses that are always in stock. Mainstream designer names include RayBan, Prada, Dior and Tom Ford, and The Oculist specialises in engineered eyewear from Theo, Orgreen, Mykita, Lindberg and Face a Face. There’s no pushy sales agenda. “We are really proud of our products,” said Rob, “and we will always do what’s best for the customer. Face shape is not so important but proportion and fit is key; we’ll encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone, but will always be honest if the look doesn’t suit.” Some time later (there were so many styles to choose from!) I settled on a pair of Face a Face frames and a lens that takes into account my need to work at various computer screens and move around my home and office without the giddiness I’ve experienced from varifocals in the past. I couldn’t be happier with my new look… or my ability to see clearly once more! • 24 Westgate Arcade, Peterborough PE1 1PY. 01733 555621. NENE LIVING JANUARY 2018




An opportunity for change Nina Heaton uses holistic therapies and consciousness technologies alongside workshops on self-development and wellbeing. Or, to put it in layman’s terms, “I work with clients who may feel a bit ‘stuck’ and want to move forward in life by increasing their confidence and self-expression, or to experience a new sense of wellbeing to enjoy life even more,” she explains. Human Software Engineering (HSE) is one of her favourite technologies. “Think of a computer with a virus, something that’s stopping it working properly,” Nina says. “When you know the name of the virus and details about the virus it doesn’t resolve it; you have to debug the system. It’s just the same with humans. You’ve probably noticed that intellectually understanding your issues doesn’t resolve them. But HSE clears them up easily and permanently with three simple techniques. It’s different to a talking therapy, as it’s simply about feeling sensations/energy in and around the body in a specific way. It’s so empowering to learn this technique because you can use it for any depleting emotions like stress, anxiety, lack of confidence and so many other issues. It’s a vital tool for mastering feelings and emotions.” Another of her ‘signature’ strategies is Matrix Energetics (ME), a consciousness technology based on quantum physics. “It is a vehicle for transformation,” Nina explains. “As human beings we are all made up of electrons and photons (light and information). During the session I use focused intent, drop down to the ‘heart field’ and simply observe; from here I can access various techniques like Two-Point, 21 Universal Frequencies. Using this strategy we can change the way the electrons show up and so change the pattern (physical, emotional, limiting and negative thoughts, etc). It’s a very intuitive and creative process which opens the doors to new possibilities. Changes happen instantly and the effects ripple out for days and sometimes weeks later.” Clearly passionate about her work, Nina says: “So much can happen in just one hourly session: realisations, self-awareness, shifts in feelings, along with physical changes. Every session is different but something always changes. It’s joyful to see.” • See for free video clips and details, or call 01733 236476.

Finding the balance Pip Fairhall is a Nutritional Therapist and Life Coach and her business Live Life in Balance is based in Oundle. “The best people to work with are those who have had similar problems to yours,” she says. “As a former chocoholic stress nut, I know how difficult it is to cope with the stresses and strains of life. I slept so badly, I used to vacuum the house at 2am (not popular!) and struggled for years with my weight – I used to eat all the Christmas chocolate decorations before I’d even bought the tree! “As I believe that what we eat and how we think affects every aspect of our life and health, I studied nutrition with the Naturopathic Healing Foundation for three years and stress management through becoming an NLP Master Practitioner, using many techniques.” Who would be a typical client? “As we are all wonderfully unique and so are our problems, I have a wide range of clients,” Pip says, “from those who have a variety of health issues to others who want to have a better relationship with food. I’m not an advocate of restricted diets as the body and mind feels deprived so the weight loss is unmaintainable. We’ve all known people who have lost stones, only to put it all, and more, back on! It is better to understand your triggers and cravings than to try and fight them.



“I also work with people with confidence issues, phobias and emotional, personal, professional and stress issues.” Response to treatment varies, of course, but Pip says she’d expect a client to feel happier and to notice a difference after a couple of sessions with her. “The first session would be going through a detailed Personal History form. Many of the issues that affect our adult life are established when we are children. The infant brain up to seven years old is like a sponge, so just because Great Aunt Betty didn’t eat anything green, you decided you didn’t like sprouts! Or because somebody made a derogatory comment to you at five, you still believe it at 35. Although we forget these occasions as we get older, the impact is still there. Also in session one, we fill out a Food and Drink Diary. As a rule, we underestimate how much we eat and overestimate how much we drink – alcohol not included! By writing everything down, it shows many of the shortfalls and over-indulgences. “After highlighting the issues in session one, any subsequent sessions work through techniques to diminish their impact and give the client some much-needed clarity and control.” • Live Life in Balance, Office 3, The Courthouse, Mill Road, Oundle PE8 4BW. 07557 344402.


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The new year needn’t be about denial and abstinence – instead of the post-splurge purge, why not learn a new skill, take up a hobby or perhaps create something for your family, your home, or that reflects your individuality? Rebecca Downey finds local groups and courses that can help you make 2018 a year of self-discovery

FEATHER YOUR NEST Sarah Wood Upholstery If you are keen to learn how to upcycle and create unique items for your home, then look no further. Based in Castor, professional upholsterer Sarah Wood has been teaching since 2012 and runs classes in traditional and modern upholstery, with students working on their own projects. Sarah also runs a ‘taster day’ or a two-day traditional lampshade course – participants will learn how to create a pinned, tailored lampshade with a traditional balloon lining, in addition to how to restore the frame, fit the fabric, lining and complete the look with a hand-sewn trim. Sarah provides a high level of individual tuition and keeps her classes to a maximum of three. She also offers tailored classes to suit your requirements. 01733 380107, 07500 316238.

Hilly Horton Home & Florae Foray This delightful homeware and gift shop in Thrapston runs a variety of courses with Florae Foray in the studio above the boutique. Workshops are suitable for all flower lovers, whether experienced or absolute beginners. Courses include learning the art of creating hand-tied posies, buttonhole designs, jam jar and table centre displays as well as spring wreaths and floral gifts for loved ones. Prices include all materials and sundries while the design and arrangements are yours to take away and enjoy. Friday 2 March 9.30am-2.30pm: DIY Wedding Flowers workshop, £105 or £200 for two Friday 9 March 10am-1pm: Mother & Daughter workshop, £85 for two people 4pm-5pm: Children’s Mother’s Day workshop, £24 per child 7pm-9pm: Mother’s Day workshop, £46 per person Thursday 22 March 10am-12noon and 7pm-9pm: Spring Door Wreaths, £44 per person

CREATIVITY IN THE KITCHEN Cooksmart with Rachel CookSmart is a new cookery tuition business in Oundle offering tailored lessons for individuals, groups and children’s parties. Rachel provides all the ingredients for clients to learn to cook from scratch, whether it is for a dinner party or a nutritious repertoire of weekday meals. Lessons take place in the comfort of your home, or in Rachel’s kitchen. Rachel also offers group teenager lessons for those keen to cook for themselves when they leave home – also ideal for the Duke of Edinburgh skills requirement. Rachel’s ethos is cooking creatively while minimising waste and maximising value for money.

The Pickled Village & Shop Founded by Camille Ortega McLean, The Pickled Village is Bulwick’s fine food shop, and a recent Great Food Club award winner. The shop sells internationallyinspired, British-made chutneys, preserves, marmalades, curds and dressings – all with a twist. The Pickled Shop is the online boutique run by daughter Camilla, featuring a selection of goodie boxes tailored for different occasions. As well as regular tasting events, the brand is creating a programme of pickling and preserving workshops launching this spring. If you’re passionate about pickles and want to learn the process from a connoisseur then check online for details., NENE LIVING JANUARY 2018



Love-a-duckie Papercraft

Printmaking with Sam Marshall

Helen Jennings, creator of Love-a-Duckie Papercraft, runs classes from Nassington Village Hall on the fourth Wednesday of each month, 7.30pm-9.30pm. Her aim is to ensure participants have the opportunity and resources to enjoy quality time away from the busy demands of work and everyday life. All the resources you need to create cards and other papercraft projects are supplied and Helen is on hand to guide and inspire, plus there is always cake and refreshments to accompany the fun. A session pack costs £10 and you will create six cards with three different designs to take home.

Print maker and artist Sam Marshall runs workshops from her studio in the idyllic village of Laxton. One-day courses are run as groups of no more than four from 10am-4pm, cost £50 and include cake and cuddles from Sam’s miniature dachshund, Miss Marple. Sam provides all the equipment and materials you will need and participants come away with detailed instructions, suppliers and stockists. Ideal for beginners, the Introduction to Linocut course guides you through the techniques and tools, and at the end of the day you will have produced several prints from two or three images. The Reduction Linocut course is suitable for those who have had previous experience but wish to create several prints using layers of colour. The Drypoint workshop is ideal for those who are keen to extend their knowledge of Intaglio printmaking; the image is drawn directly on to the plastic plate and a small edition of prints is created through Sam’s etching press. Introduction to Linocut courses take place on Sunday 28 January, Saturday 24 February and Saturday 24 March. For all other courses check online for latest dates.

The Seasons Art Class These friendly and informal art classes held at Yarwell Village Hall are suitable for beginners and improving artists, and run as 12-week courses. Spring term commences the week beginning 15 January; Monday evenings 6.45pm-9.15pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-1pm. Local artist Michael Taylor teaches using the media of pencil, pastel, watercolour, acrylics and oils. The curriculum changes each term so participants never repeat classes and all materials are included in the cost. For further information contact Helen on 01832 273749. TheSeasonsArtClassPeterboroughandStamford

Peterborough Decorative and Fine Arts Society This society aims to educate and entertain, with regular lectures and trips to places of artistic and historical interest. Membership costs £35 per year, and includes nine lectures and a quarterly magazine subscription. Sixth form students can gain free entry to lectures relevant to their studies. Coming up soon: 11 January: Caroline Shenton Votes for Women! Art, Suffragettes and Female Politicians 8 February: Jane Gardiner Masquerades, Music Lessons and Monkeys, the fashion for porcelain figure sculpture in the 18th century.

MAKE A SONG AND A DANCE OF IT Lucy’s Pop Choir This choir is bursting with enthusiasm and perfectly pitched for those who love to sing pop songs and modern arrangements of classics. Originally launched in York in 2013 by Lucy Mclean, the group has started another community choir here in Peterborough with Lucy’s equally dynamic sister, Emily Hughes, as choir director. The group meets at Alwalton’s Colonel Dane Memorial Hall every Monday evening 7.45pm -9.15pm for some uplifting singing and natter in The Cuckoo after. There is no audition or sheet music and your first session is free. Membership is £7 a week, paid termly in advance.,

Peterborough Choral Society Formed in 1991, this well-established choir is 80 people strong and sings works from the great choral tradition, with Peterborough Cathedral’s Steven Grahl as music director and Howard Goodall as patron. The group performs Christmas and summer concerts with professional soloists. Term-time rehearsals are held at St Andrew URC, Ledbury Road, PE3 9RF on Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm. Though there is no audition, the ability to read music is a requirement. Annual membership is £90.



Oundle School of Ballet Lisa Hunter, Principal of the Oundle School of Ballet, runs an adult class from Fletton House’s fabulous studio every Wednesday during term time, from 1.30pm-2.45pm. The drop-in class costs £6 each week and welcomes beginners and those with previous experience. Lisa teaches the Cecchetti method which involves exercises at the barre and centre work. Not only is it excellent for your posture, ballet will strengthen your core muscles and increase your flexibility. What’s more you’ve earned your coffee and cake at The Hub afterwards!

Hereward Harmony This male barbershop close harmony chorus is celebrating its 30th anniversary by running a Learn to Sing course at Orton Wistow Community Centre. The course will run on Thursdays from 7.30pm-10pm from 8 February to 15 March. Participants do not have to read music and will sing a part alongside experienced singers. Sheet music and teach tracks allow singers to practice during the week. The friendly and sociable chorus group promises rapid progress and an enjoyable experience, whether you are new to singing or simply looking for a new challenge. Reserve your place by calling Alan Lund on 07850 007057.


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HEALTH & BEAUTY Bridget Steele has the latest on looking good and feeling great

Organic treatments River Nene Holistics is run by Kay Nash in Ham Lane, Peterborough – with a treatment room overlooking Ferry Meadows, it is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy treatments featuring products from Neal’s Yard Remedies. Treatments available include reflexology, Indian head massage, back, neck and shoulder massage, Hopi ear candling and facials. I met Kay for a Rejuvenating Facial using frankincense, which included lymphatic drainage using acupressure points and a scalp, neck and shoulder massage. The treatment lasted an hour and each stage was thoroughly relaxing – there were no machines, beeps or probes, just beautiful aromatic products being massaged into the skin. Kay offers Pamper Days for groups of up to six people that give options of mini versions of treatments. She is an independent consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies and is also offering 15 per cent off all treatments booked in January. • Call 07960 500852 or email to discuss Detox Massages and Winter Protection Facials.

Anytime Fitness opens in the Ortongate Centre in Peterborough early this year. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week this member-based Fitness Club franchise gives members the convenience to work out whenever it suits their lifestyle. The group already has over 100 clubs in the the UK and Ireland – access is via a security key that members can use at all clubs and a remote monitoring and surveillance system ensures member safety. “The club will include state-of-the art strength training and cardiovascular equipment, an array of instructor-led and virtual group exercise classes with competitively-priced memberships as well as personal training,” says manager Tom Fletcher. • Anytime Fitness, Units 30-33 Ortongate, Orton, Peterborough PE2 5TD. 0780 9213847.

Peterborough’s Drolma Buddhist Centre offers a Fresh Start to 2018 meditation and mindfulness workshop on Sunday 7 January. Discover the power of meditation and mindfulness to uplift and energise your mind. Perfect for beginners, the workshop is from 10.30am-3pm and costs £20 including lunch. Weekly meditation classes start on 17 January. • 01733 755444, www.

Bowen at Balance Rebecca Summerfield joins the team at Balance Oundle this month, offering The Bowen Technique – a holistic therapy that has been shown to have significant beneficial effects on the whole body. Developed by the late Tom Bowen in Australia, this uses gentle and very precise movements to stimulate and re-align muscles and connective tissue. Particularly good results are reported by those with back, neck and shoulder problems and Bowen is suitable for all from the tiniest baby (colic or reflux) to the frail and elderly. • Call Rebecca on 07811 729095 for details or email rebeccaj.summerfield@

Top tips for a healthy, balanced diet January for many people is a chance to re-focus their diet. Small changes now can help you get in shape, and making healthy eating your resolution for life can help you stay feeling great too! A healthy, balanced diet provides energy for the day, boosts mood and helps achieve a healthy weight. Eating well also reduces the chance of developing type-2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Follow these healthier tips to help you get started. • Know what’s included in a healthy diet. The Eatwell Guide (right) can help. • Wake up to breakfast – it provides important nutrients, gives you energy for your morning activities and can help support a healthy weight. • Eat plenty of fruit and veg – at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day. Try adding a portion (80g) to each main meal and having them as a healthy snack in-between. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried and juiced all count. • Cut back on less healthy foods – food and drinks high in sugar, saturated fat and salt are not needed in the diet. Swap biscuits or crisps for rice cakes, desserts and ice-cream to plain yoghurt and fruit or sugar-free jelly, and croissants or muffins for fruited teacakes. • Drink plenty – aim to have six to eight glasses of fluid every day. Water is a healthy way to stay hydrated. Lower-fat milk, tea, coffee and sugarfree drinks all count. Fruit/vegetable juices or smoothies count but are limited to just one small glass (150ml) a day as they are high in sugar. Try to avoid sugary soft drinks and fizzy drinks which are high in sugar. • Check the label – it can help you to see what is in your food and drink. Try to compare food labels for similar products and choose the

healthier option. • Download the free Change4Life BeFoodSmart app to scan products and show how much sugar, saturated fat and salt they contain. It’s available on the App store or Google Play. This January, start by making one small change to your diet. Write it down and tell friends or family for extra support. When you achieve your change, acknowledge your achievement and then start to introduce a second change. • Visit for free weight management programmes for adults and for families, healthy eating apps and nutritional advice. NENE LIVING JANUARY 2018


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FOR 2018

Lisa Claypole - Elysia Health & Beauty.

We all start off with the best intentions to make this year different. It doesn’t have to be a huge step… just something to help you feel and look great. Sometimes just taking a little time for YOU makes a huge difference to your health and wellbeing.


New and advanced technology means incredibly effective skin and body solutions. Lisa can achieve results previously thought unattainable without surgery. Advances in products mean you can continue maximising on results even when you’re at home. Elysia see their clients every few weeks but in between can offer you so much advice that it will really maximise your results. Using prescribed medical skincare ranges by Obagi and Environ will offer so much more than an over the counter product.


for products that pack a punch. During January and February only, Elysia are offering a massive 15% off all products purchased. Quote ENV18 when ordering.


Backing up great skincare with oral supplements is the smart choice for those serious about results. “We are hearing lots more about the Human Microbiome project and the ‘Holobiome’, not just the microbes in your gut, but those on your skin. We’ll hear lots more about this in the months to follow and will keep you updated” says Lisa.

HYDRATION AND PROTECTION Over-indulged at Christmas? Skin feeling dry, flaky and you’ve got more wrinkles? Why not try SKINADE – and see real results!


This is a wonder treatment! Always consistent and works to treat anti-ageing, lines and wrinkles, reduce pore size and acne scarring. “We have some wonderful before and after’s in our portfolio where you see great lifting and natural collagen stimulation – it’s also fabulous for rosacea.” A little downtime with this treatment – but only 12 hours maximum and definitely worth it.

REFLEXOLOGY OR A MASSAGE – these treatments have

CACI Lisa has worked with CACI for over 10 years. CACI have decades of industry expertise and is famous for the nonsurgical face-lift. It started as a medical treatment restoring loss of muscle tone and has crossed into the aesthetic market as a favourite anti-ageing treatment. “I always describe to clients that it’s like a gym workout on your face and neck” says Lisa. It has lots of loyal celebrity followers too, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Jennifer Aniston to name a few. Whether it’s just the lifting and toning you want or the ULTIMATE, which covers the latest orbital microdermabrasion, wrinkle comb and ultrasonic peeling, light therapy, hydratone collagen mask, CACI EYE treatment and lymphatic drainage, Lisa can make the treatment bespoke. “TO REALLY CUSTOMISE IT TO “YOU” WE HAVE MANY CLIENTS WHO ADD IN A STIMULATOR PEEL OR RADIO FREQUENCY. IT’S THE ULTIMATE MUSCLE AND SKIN WORKOUT.”

LIPOFIRM PRO/COLLAGEN WAVE LIPOFIRM PRO and EXILIS ELITE provide fabulous radio frequency treatments. Also with the added benefit of ultrasound on the EXILIS, it can give a focused treatment with deeper penetration depths. Radio frequency heats deeper into the skin tissue to stimulate collagen production so it’s also perfect to improve skin texture and lift and is very comfortable with no downtime. This is a popular treatment either on its own or in combination with other technology. KYLIE MINOGUE is a fan of the COLLAGEN WAVE TREATMENT. BEFORE


been around for thousands of years. The power of TOUCH is incredible. It’s soothing and healing, amongst a list of other positives. Why not try one of Elysia’s relaxing or deep tissue massages? If you’ve never had a reflexology it’s amazing and will relax mind, body and soul. Throughout January and February Elysia are offering their Winter Warmer package – a massage or reflexology treatment along with a hot chocolate or warming drink for only £25.

LASER AND IPL TREATMENTS Using the best technology from LYNTON lasers you can be sure of effective and safe treatments. Elysia can treat a range of concerns including hair removal, pigmentation, acne, skin rejuvenation, red veins and rosacea. It’s the ideal time of year to start your course of treatments. And wouldn’t it be amazing if you didn’t need to wax or shave again? Hair removal is super popular for men and women and Elysia can treat most areas. No sticky wax, no in-growing hairs. What are you waiting for? Skin rejuvenation - Using all the benefits of light energy in a safe and controlled wavelength. Reduce pigmentation and veins. Tighten the pores. Stimulate collagen production and skin tightening. Quite simply it’s like using a rubber to erase the imperfections! OFFERS ON ALL COURSES OF LASER TREATMENT BOOKED IN JANUARY

ELYSIA HEALTH & BEAUTY REALLY LOVE WHAT THEY DO AND ARE COMMITTED TO HELPING YOU ACHIEVE GREAT SKIN FOR A LIFETIME Elysia Health & Beauty, Tansor, Oundle, PE8 5HP Tel: 01832 226328 or 07879 620196 Follow us: elysiahealthandbeauty


FOOD & DRINK Swan-like! Looking for a reason to go out this month? Woodnewton’s local might tempt you out of winter hibernation…


FTER the excess of the festive season January can be a month for lying low and counting the pennies. Those grey days and chilly nights are hardly conducive to dressing up and dining out – but find the right venue and you’ll forget the winter woes. One such place is the White Swan at Woodnewton, a popular ‘local’ and always a pleasant pub in which to unwind and meet new people. Owners Will and Jason – already successful in the hospitality industry elsewhere in the country – took over in 2016 and have added their own expert touch ever since. Expect a friendly welcome, a fine selection of drinks and an extensive menu, enhanced further by ‘specials’ such as Happy Mondays (when there’s 25 per cent off all food, and happy hour prices on all draught pints and selected wines – all night!), Steak Wednesdays (two steak meals and a bottle of wine for £29.95) and Super Sundays, when food is served from 12noon-2pm and 6-9pm. A lovely atmosphere, personable service and high standards of customer care are all signatures. Matt (above) – a former friendly face at The Talbot in Oundle, he moved to be manager here last summer – welcomes customers, is quick to take drink orders and darts between bar and kitchen. Head chef Jackie has been at the White Swan for over a year and is committed to using local produce wherever possible – even the batter for everyone’s favourite, fish and chips, is made with a local brew. Popular with walking groups all year, the White Swan serves wellproportioned pub favourites at prices to suit all pockets: £12.95 for a BBQ rack of ribs, £13.50 for a surf ‘n’ turf burger and £10.95 for gammon, egg and chips. January will see new additions to the menu including home-made duck spring rolls, liver and bacon, and a game pie made with local venison. There’ll also be an interior refurb, carefully designed to complement the existing chic but cosy look. Diners with allergies and food intolerances are well catered for. “We’re especially keen to offer gluten-free dishes,” says Matt – a commitment which continues behind the bar, where you’ll find Skinny Lager which is vegan, gluten-free and only 89 calories. With an ABV of four per cent, it’s said to taste great too! The White Swan opens seven days a week. A programme of themed nights and entertainment appears on the website, the monthly ‘Woodie Night’ (when a specially-priced selection of menu choices is served) is hugely popular, and take-away fish and chips are a particular favourite among villagers. There really is something for everyone here, but with no compromise on quality, surroundings or service. • The White Swan, 22 Main Street, Woodnewton, Peterborough PE8 5EB. 01780 470944.



Roasted beetroot, carrot, lentil and cumin seed salad • 2 medium beetroots (about 300–350g), scrubbed well • 3 medium carrots (about 300–350g), peeled and cut into quarters lengthways • 5-6tbsp olive oil • 1tsp cumin seeds • 100g Puy lentils (or other small green lentils) • 2tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste • Bag of salad leaves, eg rocket or watercress • Salt and black pepper • Heat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. • Wrap the beetroot in foil and roast in the hot oven – when you can easily insert and remove a knife, they are cooked. • About half an hour before the beetroot are cooked, toss the carrots in a roasting tin with 1tbsp of the oil, the cumin seeds and some salt and pepper. Add to the oven and roast for 20–25 minutes, until beginning to caramelise. • Meanwhile, put the lentils into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer until tender. Drain and dress with 1tbsp of the olive oil and a little salt while still warm. • Mix the lemon juice and 3-4tbsp of olive oil with a little salt to make a simple dressing. • Allow the beets to cool so you can handle them, then slip off the skins. Cut into bite-sized chunks and toss with some of the dressing. • Dress the salad leaves, scatter over the lentils and top with the carrots and beetroot. For a heartier dish, double the quantity of lentils, omit the leaves and finish with a scattering of crumbled feta and chopped parsley.

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The Great Fen

One of the most ambitious conservation projects in the UK for 100 years, The Great Fen will take a generation to complete. Here’s how an ancient landscape is being turned into a 9,000-acre nature reserve


MODEST wooden bungalow set in a remote clearing in rural Huntingdonshire played a key part in the beginnings of the nation’s wildlife and conservation movement more than a century ago. Today the Rothschild Bungalow, in Woodwalton Fen National Nature Reserve, is at the heart of the Great Fen project – one of the biggest land restoration projects in Europe, which will take a generation to complete. The Great Fen will form a huge 9,000-acre super-reserve on land between Huntingdon and Peterborough, linking Woodwalton Fen and Holme Fen National Nature Reserves to recreate a wetland area containing a diverse range of habitats to protect wildlife and plants. The sheer size of the reserve is designed to make it more sustainable and secure. It will also become a major tourist attraction as the reserve develops over the years in a partnership involving the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonhire, Natural England, the Environment Agency, Huntingdonshire District Council and the Middle Level Commissioners. The Rothschild Bungalow was built by Charles Rothschild, scion of the banking family, insect

expert and nature conservation pioneer, after he bought Woodwalton Fen to carry out his own research in 1910. Two years later he created the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves, the forerunner of the Wildlife Trust which, despite the First World War, started to identify important wildlife sites that were at risk and bought some of them to create the nation’s first nature reserves. Rothschild had earlier acquired Wicken Fen, which he handed over to the National Trust, and a 36-mile walk now links Britain’s two oldest nature reserves. Woodwalton Fen and Holme Fen are two of the last remaining fragments of wild fen that once covered the region, gradually disappearing as the fens started to be drained for agriculture 400 years ago. The aim is to restore much of the land to resemble the way it looked in the distant past. THE VISITORS RETURN Bitterns, marsh harriers, dragonflies and butterflies, together with rare fauna, all survive at Wodwalton Fen and common cranes, which disappeared at the time of the fen drainage, are now regular visitors. From Woodwalton Fen, looking towards the

north-west, Holme Fen can be seen across land acquired by the Great Fen which is now gradually changing from arable fields to a wetland which will provide a home for a wide range of species. Holme Fen centres around silver birch trees and two lakes. It also features the famous Holme Post, driven into the ground to show the shrinkage of the fen soil. More than half the land for the Great Fen has now been acquired, including some from the Crown Estate. Kate Carver, project manager of the Great Fen said: “The Great Fen is one of the most ambitious conservation projects in the UK for 100 years. The local Wildlife Trust is working with Natural England and partners to create an area the size of a city, joining together fragments of ancient fen landscape to create a 9,000-acre reserve. “Many years ago this was a beautiful complex of rivers, streams, grassland and bog, but it was drained for agricultural use – a full 99 per cent of wetland has been lost, as well as Whittlesea Mere, once the largest lake in southern England.” “At Rymes Reedbed restoration work to recreate an area of wetland started in 2011 has seen the encouraging return of raptors such as NENE LIVING JANUARY 2018


The Great Fen

short-eared owls, rough legged buzzards and marsh harriers. “By summer the scrapes will be teeming with butterflies and myriad species of dragonflies, while water voles have established a stronghold in the drainage ditches. The mosaic of wetland is expanding and producing very tangible rewards for the work done so far. “At Kesters Docking, after the end of the farmer’s tenancy, the arable fields were sown with grass seed so that the area could be grazed by sheep and hay crops taken off. In the days when it was farmed, the formerly rich peat soil had been increasingly fertilised so the grassgrowing regime started to remove these excess nutrients from the ground. It also helped to improve soil condition and reduce loss through fen blow. This area is low-lying and is therefore most suitable for wetland creation.” REVERSING THE DAMAGE “Tackling climate change is a global effort and one which The Wildlife Trust is a part of through its Living Landscape Schemes, especially our Great Fen Living Landscape,” Kate continued. “It has been estimated that the oxidation of peat in the Great Fen area releases 325,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum (Open University, 2008); the equivalent of the

carbon emissions of 54,000 local householders every year. “Through our restoration of the wetlands, we can stop peat degradation and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases – over approximately 80 years, it is predicted that each re-wetted hectare of Great Fen could result in the mitigation of 10,000 tonnes of CO2.” ENABLING ENGAGEMENT The restoration enables people to get close to wildlife, to enjoy the new landscapes and learn about the heritage of the fens. As the landscape develops, people will be able to explore new walking, cycling and horseriding routes. There will be a visitor centre, with events and natural play areas for children. Education and outreach programmes focus on the fascinating ecology and history of the fens, and a range of workshops – from photography to wildlife identification – are great opportunities for people to get outdoors and engage with wildlife. Kate added: “There is of course much more that needs to be done by international bodies and governments, but the Great Fen is a positive story in the fight against climate change; it’s also a fantastic example of how local people and businesses are supporting our rich fenland heritage and helping a diverse range of local wildlife.”

Back in 1850, the ground was level with the top of the original Holme Post; a second post was put up in the 1950s and continues to show the impact of damage on the peat


HE Great Fen gave up secrets from the Second World War when the remains of a Spitfire which crashed 75 years earlier were recovered. The aircraft had been flown by Pilot Officer Harold Penketh, flying from nearby RAF Wittering with 266 Squadron, just after the Battle of Britain. P/O Penketh was flying with two other aircraft on a battle climb to high altitude when the Spitfire, which was just a few weeks old, plunged into the ground killing the 20-year-old pilot instantly. He had just 13 hours’ experience on Spitfires. The remains of the aircraft, including P/O Penketh’s flying helmet, were recovered because it was the 75th anniversary of the crash and because the development of the Great Fen as a wetland would make a future operation impossible. •




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OUT & ABOUT So much to do,see and enjoy in the new year...


UNDLE’S Yarrow Gallery presents an exhibition of Contemporary Ethiopian Art from Saturday 13 to Friday 26 January, with four artists exploring the relationship between tradition and modernity in contemporary Ethiopia. Through woodcut prints and mixed media, Ephrem Solomon uses archival and current newsprint in order to juxtapose political commentary, whilst Kirubel Melke’s large hand-stitched works utilise traditional fabric and imported garments in order to highlight the importance of supporting local produce whilst negotiating global markets. Tamrat Gezahegne uses paint to produce works inspired by indigenous spirituality, and Tewedros Bekele’s sculptures make use of found materials to address enviromental issues. The exhibition is curated by Wanja Kimani, a visual artist and writer based in Cambridgeshire who has presented and lectured on art and politics at cultural and educational institutions including University of Cambridge, Uppsala University in Sweden and the British Council, Ethiopia. Her work has been exhibited in international exhibitions in Europe, Africa and Asia. • The Yarrow Gallery is at Glapthorn Road, Oundle PE8 4GH. Opening times are 10.30am-1pm and 2.30pm-5pm Monday to Saturday, 2.30pm to 5pm Sundays.

LEFT TO RIGHT: • Ephrem Solomon Folk Memory Series 9, 2015 • Tamrat Gezahegne Adorned Body 14, acrylic paint, ink and collage on paper, 2016 • Kirubel Melke • Tewedros Bekele, 2017

Wednesday 3 to Saturday 6 January Dunsinane Peterborough Mask Theatre’s latest play, Dunsinane is set in Scotland and takes place just after the death of Macbeth. It follows Siward, Earl of Northumberland, as he faces the challenges of leading an English occupying force and keeping the peace in a country split by warring clans. Malcolm is not the strong king that Scotland

needs and Lady Macbeth, who is known by her Gaelic name, Gruach, is very much alive and fighting for her son’s right to the throne. 7.30pm. £12.50. The Knights’ Chamber, Peterborough Cathedral Precincts PE1 1XS. Tuesday 9 to Saturday 20 January Everybody Knows But Their Fingers Are Crossed

A drawing installation and works in progress by Artist in Residence Kate Genever, who is trying to make work about big things, big issues, but sometimes they are too big and overwhelm her, so instead she has been focusing on the small acts, the quiet improvisations made by communities that reveal coping mechanisms and acts of resistance. 10am-5pm. Metal, Chauffeurs Cottage, St Peter’s Road,


ETERBOROUGH Cathedral and Vivacity’s annual festival commemorating the city’s connection with Katharine of Aragon, the Spanish princess who became Henry VIII’s first queen, will be joined by Spanish musicians and dancers this year. Their performance on Thursday 25 January is entitled Spain pays Homage to Katharine of Aragon and will use Spanish music, dance and literature to create a bridge between English and Spanish cultures. The Festival runs from 25 to 28 January and marks the anniversary of Katharine of Aragon’s burial at Peterborough Abbey in January 1536, following her death in exile at Kimbolton Castle. There’ll be a commemoration service at the Cathedral at 10.30am on Friday 26 January, when dignitaries will lay wreaths on Katharine’s tomb. Best-selling novelist and historian, Alison Weir, is to give a talk at the Cathedral that evening about Anne Boleyn, Katharine’s former lady-in-waiting who became her rival for the King’s affection. There’ll be a Pottage and Ale supper beforehand, with re-enactors as Katharine and her ladies. A schedule of Tudor tours of the city and Cathedral will take place during the weekend. Vivacity is also offering its popular drop-in family activities, At Home with the Tudors, on Saturday and Sunday at Peterborough Museum. On Saturday evening historian Lauren Mackay takes up the Boleyn theme with her talk The Rise and Fall of the Boleyn Men – this takes place at the John Clare Theatre at Peterborough Central Library. The Katharine of Aragon Festival is a must for Tudor history enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in the UK’s Spanish connections. It is the first major Peterborough Celebrates event, marking the Cathedral’s 900th anniversary year. • For full details visit www.peterborough-cathedral. or call Peterborough Information Centre on 01733 452336 or Peterborough Museum on 01733 864663. Peterborough PE1 1YX. Thursday 11 and Friday 12 January Sinbad & the Seamen Hot of the heels of last year’s adult panto, the Market Theatre Company bring to life the story of Sinbad the Sailor and his epic adventures across the seas to defeat the one-eyed monster - packing it with corny

jokes, raunchy plots and sexual innuendo. With a minimum of set, props and costume a fearless company of three (left) take this traditional story and distort it almost beyond recognition. Strictly for adults only! 8pm. £16. Stamford Corn Exchange, Broad Street, Stamford PE9 1PX. 01780 766455. www. stamfordcornexchange.


➧ 45

OUT & ABOUT So much to do,see and enjoy in the new year...


OOKING for a fresh challenge, new skills and a great social scene to boot? Then look no further… following its phenomenal success over the last couple of years, Men United in Song is back for 2018, once again raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. Launching early next month, the project will sign up a minimum of 40 local men with a range of previous singing experience (including none) to rehearse over 10 weeks for a charity concert at the Cresset Theatre on Saturday 14 April. To date the project has engaged hundreds of local men, raising many thousands of pounds for the charity. Men United In Song kicks off with introduction sessions at the Key Theatre on Thursday 1 and Friday 2 February from 6.30pm-9.30pm, and Saturday 3 February 10.30am-12.30pm. Rehearsals will be on Thursday evenings from 7.45pm-9.45pm at the John Mansfield Campus, Western Avenue, Peterborough PE1 4HX and the Men United In Song concert will be at Peterborough’s Cresset Theatre at 7.30pm on Saturday 14 April. To register, call Jo on 01733 425194 or send an email to info@

Monday 15 January The pile dwellings of Must Farm Mark Knight, site director of the incredible Must Farm excavation (right) talks to members and guests of Peterborough Civic Society. 7.30pm. Free for members, £3 guests. St Mark’s Hall, Lincoln Road, PE1 2SN. www. peterboroughcivicsociety. Thursday 18 January Climate Change: What can be done to reduce carbon emissions and who must we motivate to do it? Two esteemed authors who have written books Leo Barasi

about climate change visit Oundle as part of the town’s Festival of Literature programme. Leo Barasi is a freelance consultant on climate change policy and campaigns; he writes regularly for the

Guardian, New Statesman, openDemocracy, ClimateHome, and his own site, Noise of the Crowd, and his new book, The Climate Majority, is about apathy – the billions of people who have heard plenty about climate change and acknowledge there’s a problem, but who are just not engaged enough to stimulate the change required to stop it. David Hone works as Chief Climate Change Adviser at Shell International Ltd and is the only expert working within the energy industry engaging in this

debate publicly through his blog and previous books. His latest tome, Putting the Genie Back, explores the climate issue from its very beginnings through to the end of the 21st century and looks in depth at the transition challenge we collectively face. 7.45pm. £8 (£6), £1 off tickets bought before 11 January. The Great Hall, Oundle School. Oundle Festival Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle PE8 4ED. 01832 274734. Tuesday 23 to Saturday 27 January The Ladykillers of Orton Brimbles Continuing their tradition for mad-cap spoofs, this year Eastern Angles have turned to the Ealing Comedies of the 1950s for inspiration with an offthe-wall re-telling of The Ladykillers. 7.45pm. £13 to £16.50. Key Theatre Studio, Embankment Road, Peterborough PE1 1EF. 01733 207239. www. vivacity-peterborough. com Wednesday 24 January Faulty Towers When the audience becomes diners in the Faulty Towers restaurant, pretty much anything can happen. Two-thirds of the show is improvised and the fun starts as guests wait to be seated, hurtling along in a two-hour tour de force of gags and shambolic service as Basil, Sybil and Manuel serve a

‘70s-style meal together with a good dollop of mayhem. 7pm. £45. The Great Northern Hotel, Peterborough PE1 1QL. 01733 552595 or email Saturday 27 January Frankie’s Guys A Celebration of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons A fast-paced, energetic production with an authentic live concert feel, Frankie’s Guys put their own stamp on timeless classics to remind you exactly why The Four Seasons sold over 100 million records and earned themselves a place in the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 7.30pm. £20. Stamford Corn Exchange, Broad Street, Stamford PE9 1PX. 01780 766455. www. stamfordcornexchange. Sunday 28 January Dunkirk Oundle Cinema’s 2018 season begins with Dunkirk (below), Christopher Nolan’s epic re-telling of the evacuation of British troops from the beaches of war-torn France, starring Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh and Harry Styles. 7.15pm. £6, under-18s £3. Stahl Theatre, West Street, Oundle, PE8 4EJ.

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