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A FREE lifestyle magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens




Aled Jones

Issue 1 | June 2016


FREE magazine covering the Fens

The origins of the Market Place


A meal for two History | Food | Home & garden | Nature | What’s on | Places to visit | Media The Fens | June 2016


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Barley Media THE TEAM PUBLISHER / EDITOR Natasha Shiels MEDIA EDITOR Anthony Shiels SUB EDITOR Valerie Matthews

DESIGN Barley Media Limited

PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Brudenell

ADVERTISING SALES Anthony Shiels Natasha Shiels 01733 202049


ACCOUNTS 01733 202049

CONTRIBUTORS Simon Parr-Black | Bryony Mezzatesta | Joe Ferridge | Jackie and Dave Prebble | Eamonn Dorling | John McGinn | Westfield Nurseries | Anthony Austin THE FENS is published by Barley Media Limited. Care is taken to ensure that the content and information is correct, however we cannot take any responsibility for loss, damage or omission caused by any errors. Permission must be granted to reproduce, copy or scan anything from this publication. For a copy of our contributors’ guidelines please email hello@thefensmagazine. Registered office: 40 London Street, Whittlesey, Peterborough, PE7 1BT. Barley Media Limited accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.

Ed’s letter This magazine is a long time coming for me. I’ve been in the publishing industry since I left university, working on various publications from local magazines to national ones. But I have never felt prouder of the work that I have done than when I first took pen to paper to construct THE FENS. A true family-run business, this magazine involves my parents, husband, in-laws and some close friends. It’s more than just paper, it’s a future for my children and something I hope we can all take pride in. Welcome to the first issue of many, of THE FENS. This new, monthly publication aims to bring you quality editorial, with a limited number of adverts to ensure first and foremost, that this is a magazine you want to read. We’re proud of living in the Fens, and we hope to share that passion in our 32 pages. As well as local subjects and areas of interest, we will also bring exclusive interviews and columnists from our gardening experts, historian, and many more. THE FENS truly is a local magazine, run by local people. So if there’s anything you would really like to see us cover, or do differently, please do email or call me. Finally, I’d like to finish this first introduction with a thank you to every person who has helped make this publication possible. From our contributors, to the kind advertisers who took a gamble with me and my dream. I won’t let you down.

Natasha Shiels Publisher, THE FENS

June contributors John McGinn is the culinary genius behind the gastro pub, Dog in a Doublet.

Bryony Mezzatesta is a busy mum and volunteer breastfeeding peer supporter.

Simon ParrBlack runs an Interior Design & Project Management company.



p.16 The Fens | June 2016





Contents A FREE lifestyle magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens


Fens Issue 1 | June 2016

Ne w

7 Writing workshop

16 Inspiration for your home

9 Success for Whittlesey U14s

The origins of the Market Place

17 Your garden in June


A meal for two History | Food | Home & garden | Nature | What’s on | Places to visit | Media The Fens | June 2016


Issue 1 | June 2016 Front cover - ‘Rape fields’ by Chris Brudenell Distribution

6,000 copies printed monthly. Delivered to over 5,700 homes, and available to pick up from the following places (email for a full list):

10 EXCLUSIVE interview with Aled Jones 14 This month’s recipe - Strawberry Eton Mess 15 Baby-led weaning explained

28 The latest books, music, film and game reviews for this month 18 Find out the best place to see Water Voles

The George Pub, Whittlesey Library, Whittlesey Town Council office, The Manor Lesiure Centre, The Co-operative Whittlesey

The Fens | June 2016

29 The ultimate what’s on guide for events and gigs in the Fenland area 30 A day in the life of a Fenland farmer

20 Festival fever - find out the best local festivals to visit this summer 4

21 Columnist Joe Ferridge talks about mugs - yes, really 22 Ready, steady, RUN. Find your running feet today

FREE magazine covering the Fens


Aled Jones

6 Picture this

The Fens | June 2016


Picture this...

Image Chris Brudenell Bluebell Woods, Thorpe Road, Peterborough. This pretty woodland is beautifully lit by a purple hue during springtime, but it is a wonderful haven throughout the year.

From couple shoots to your wedding day, the birth of your ďŹ rst child to a family group shot - we can help you keep those memories forever Tel: 01733 202694 6

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Capturing moments... last a lifetime

In other news... Are you a budding author ? Find out about approaching publishers, self-publishing and indie publishers with Prose to Print, a workshop being run by Bird’s Nest Books in March Town Hall on Sunday June 19th. Have you written a book but haven’t a clue how to get it published? Maybe you have a novel in you but are feeling so daunted by the thought of what to do with it once you’ve finished, that it’s putting you off even starting? Whether you write, or want to write, fiction, non-fiction or children’s books, this workshop explains the mysteries of publishing and helps you to take that next step. Jane and Claire, from local indie publisher Bird’s Nest Books, will look at the various types of publishing solutions – traditional publishers, smaller indie presses and selfpublishing, explaining the pros and cons of all approaches so that you can decide which is best for you. This will be followed by a panel presentation from our three guest speakers, authors Sue Welfare, Jon Lawrence and Darren O’Sullivan. All three have been successfully published and will share their experiences, give advice and take questions. This workshop is for ages 16 and over. Tickets are just £10, which includes a buffet lunch. Advance booking is essential – book your place now at

§ This project is supported by the Market Place. Market Place is part of the Creative People and Places programme for Fenland and Forest Heath, initiated and funded by Arts Council England. Find out more at

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem! A sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating. It can happen to people of any age and without warning. If someone goes into cardiac arrest, they need a defibrillator. This allows the heart to reset itself. The sooner they get the defibrillator the better their chance of survival. The casualty will need CPR as well as a defibrillator. Their chance of survival drops by 10% for every minute the defibrillator is delayed. The ambulance target is eight minutes for a non-breathing casualty. Due to the Fen roads and railway crossings, they may not arrive in time to make a difference. Defibrillators For All have been placing defibrillators into Whittlesey, and the surrounding area, for the last two years and, to date, have placed 29 (with more in the pipeline). So you might say: ‘What is the problem? That all sounds great.’ Well, the problem arises when we dial 999, emergency control will only send someone to collect the nearest defibrillator if the casualty has already stopped breathing, if it is no more than 200 metres away, and only then if there is someone left behind to perform CPR. This means valuable time could be lost, or in some cases, the defibrillator does not get to the casualty at all! Whittlesey has more defibrillators than any other town in the country. This means a defibrillator is always within two or three minutes away. This can

quadruple the chances of survival compared to other places, where it may mean travelling a couple of miles to find one. Collecting the defibrillator early can also be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THEY HAVE STOPPED BREATHING! We have to think ahead; therefore if a casualty has difficulty breathing, has chest pain, has had a seizure, or is unconscious, dial 999 and then fetch your nearest defibrillator ASAP (it is better if you get someone else to do this). While waiting for the emergency services to arrive, keep checking to make sure the casualty is still breathing. If they stop, immediately open the unit and follow instructions. The defibrillators in Whittlesey belong to the people of Whittlesey. We need people to understand the importance of collecting one early, rather than leaving it too late. There is nothing wrong with collecting 999 a defibrillator. If it is not needed, you can just put it back in its case. Remember dial 999, Grab and Go!

§ Deborah Slator, Chair Defibrillators For All. 07731 880444

The Fens | June 2016


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In other news... Unveiling of new sign for Coates On a windy, wet and rather turbulent day back in April, a longstanding local hero took centre stage to unveil a new sign in Coates. Replacing the previous one which stood for 33 years, the sign was donated by Coates Women’s Institute, in celebration of the WI centenary year. Designed by Coates artitst, Jeni Cairns, the new sign shows an intricate type of fretwork depicting various aspects of village life. Speaking about the unveiling, Jill Anthony, Coates WI vice-chairman, added: “It's right that Derek Bedford should unveil it. Not only has he been keeper of the old sign, three years ago he was chosen to be Coates' Citizen of the Year for all the work and support he has given to the village. Whittlesey's Mayor and Deputy Mayor were also among those who were invited to join WI members for the event.

Whittlesey U14s reaching As the curtain comes down on one of the most exciting football seasons for many years, it’s not just Leicester City FC who are celebrating. Local team, Whittlesey U14s, are celebrating their own success after finishing the season League 2 as winners. This achievement will see the team playing in the top division next year, the result of many years of hard work and dedication by a team of boys, half of whom have been playing football together since they were five years old. The team’s success is also down to the continued support of their manager, David Beckett, along with his coaching team Wayne Holman, Mick Strowger and Carl Johnson. “The majority of our team have been together for over four years, some even longer,” says David. “We haven’t hand-picked our players, they’ve joined us because they like what we do at the club and they want to be part of it. This year’s result is due to a hardworking team that have improved year after year, and I am incredibly proud”. “We had three incredible seasons, which led to new players joining us from as far afield as Stamford,” added David. “But this year has been even more amazing. Finishing top was something I knew we were capable of, and I’m delighted for the boys that we will be up in the top league next season.” David puts their success down to the brilliant teamwork of all the boys. “We are also lucky that we have a great group of parents who are extremely supportive of the boys, and massive support from Graham Sharman, Chairman of Whittlesey Football Club.” The boys will be celebrating their success at two presentation events, before they prepare themselves for the summer tournaments, and a new challenge next season.


BROWNIE LEADERS We have two full Brownie Units in Whittlesey who meet at Inhams Road and have a great time. However, we are in danger of closing! Due to retirement, maternity leave and re-location, we are urgently in need of new helpers. No experience is necessary as full training is given (including First Aid). Opportunities to have fun, make new friends and even travel. You don’t need to have been a Brownie or Guide. You could even enhance your career prospects with volunteering or leadership skills on your CV! Visit the website below to find out more: involved/volunteer/register_your_ interest.aspx

new goals

Whittlesey U14s team: Lewis Beckett; Thomas Holman; Sam Lindsey; Charles Loew-Berry; Jack White; Joel Anthony-Smith; George Gilbert; Edward Wurr; Calvin Fletcher; Kristian Frank; Luke Toomey; Kieren Strowger; Finley Twigg. The Fens | June 2016



On the sofa with

Aled Jones Aled Jones became a household name at the tender age of 15, when his cover of ‘Walking in the Air’ shot to number five in the charts. Since then, there isn’t much that Aled hasn’t done, from presenting, performing, to releasing new albums. This month he chatted to Anthony Shiels about his latest project


ou first joined a Cathedral choir at age nine. Did you have any early feelings that bigger things could happen? “Definitely not!! Being in the Cathedral was THE biggest thing in my life. I'd never sung anywhere so majestic before! After a couple of years in the choir I became the main soloist, but even then I just was proud and wanted to do the best I could for the choir. Others in the congregation were always telling my mum and dad that I was special, but we as a family just thought I had quite a nice voice!” You are a successful singer, musician, writer, actor, author, TV and radio presenter. Where do you feel most comfortable in show business? “I am lucky to feel comfortable in all I do professionally nowadays - it's probably my age! But there is nothing quite like performing a near perfect concert! There in the dark on stage, singing something like ‘You Raise Me Up’ - I honestly do feel a magic - a connection if you like, to something bigger and greater than all of us. I feel very blessed to have all the great opportunities I have - and thoroughly enjoy the variety. I never 10 The Fens | June 2016

dreamt I'd be singing, presenting my own show on TV and on radio. Long may it continue!” Your new album, 'One Voice’, sees you singing duets with your younger self. The record is a beautiful listen. What inspired you to do this and how did it feel revisiting your early recordings? “It's not everyday that your parents announce that there is a previously unreleased album in the airing cupboard at home! An album of folk songs I'd recorded, just before my voice broke, had been sitting there for 30 years when I listened to it I almost cried! I never used to listen to my treble voice when I was young, and out of the 16 albums I released, there are still many I've never heard. This undiscovered album was different; I listened and listened - it was the first time I felt proud of what I’d achieved as a child. The voice in my opinion was at its best! “I started toying with the idea of doing something with it, and that's when the duet idea came about. It's a world first - the same person singing in two different voices. Within minutes of starting to record the adult voice with the child, I knew that it would work both producer and I had goose

pimples and shivers. It was a really special moment. Performing live with the little Aled track has been magical too. The first concert I performed the repertoire at, was at the Royal Albert Hall for Classic FM Live, and I felt so so emotional. An incredible experience, and it also felt like I was drawing a line under my past.” I first met you at Radio 2. One of the things that struck me most was how relaxed, quick witted and grounded you were. Do you ever get nervous being so much in the public eye? “I always get apprehensive especially when meeting people I admire - like you! (Big, big, big fan of The Candle Thieves) “I spent many, many years with my broadcasting hero, Sir Terry Wogan, so I learnt from the best! Always do your homework and always appear like a swan - calm on top whilst paddling like mad out of sight! I've learnt over the years to deal with nerves, but before a big event, or if I feel underprepared or slightly under the weather, then the anxiety is greater. But if I'm doing my own show then I am totally in control it's my environment and the buck stops with me - I like that!”

Feature If singing hadn't shaped your career, what do you think you might have done with your life? “I wanted to play football for Arsenal or win Wimbledon!! I have been very foolish really as I never had a backup plan - even when my voice broke I just went with the flow. I've always been a real hard worker who gives 100 percent, so I just assumed something would come up!” Can you tell us something about yourself that our readers might be surprised to hear? “When I was at college I could down a pint of bitter in four seconds! “I also played tennis in the Royal Albert Hall before the Whiteman Cup competition, which I was presenting. Up until recently, there was a tennis ball of mine in one of the huge sound discs in the ceiling! I'd knocked it there as a bet!! Very naughty!”

The Fens | June 2016



There in the dark on stage, singing something like ‘You Raise Me Up’, I honestly do feel a magic - a connection if you like, to something bigger and greater than all of us Do you have any other ambitions, and what drives you towards a new project? “My drive is being able to keep my son in Lego! I'm not an ambitious person really. I do drive myself quite hard but that's only because I enjoy what I do. Having so many projects on the go is quite tough mentally and physically, but I wouldn't really have it any other way.” What advice could you offer young musicians, or performers, with a dream of making a career in the business? “Never give up! And always strive to be better. I suppose though the greatest advice would be to enjoy what you do and never take yourself too seriously. I see so many performers stressing about everything - where is the joy in that? Be confident in who you are and embrace every opportunity! (The confident bit is easier said than done!)”

12 The Fens | June 2016

Your forthcoming UK tour is taking you to 22 Cathedrals across the UK. What excites you about performing in cathedrals, and any top tips for looking after your voice on tour? “I am totally at home in cathedrals, and the two concerts we've performed so far on the tour have been so enjoyable. We've also been lucky to have two huge standing ovations too, so as a team we were thrilled. Cathedrals are in my DNA - it's where I perform best. The acoustics are incredible and I also love it that no two cathedrals are the same. Every night will be different. As far as the voice - well I don't really have a routine - although I'm never far away from my Grether's Pastils!” Natasha and I are delighted to have our tickets purchased for your performance at Ely Cathedral on June 16th. What can we expect from the gig? “I have my MD - who also

produced my album 'One Voice' with me on keyboard, which I'm over the moon about as I trust him more than anyone musically. My long-suffering awesome guitarist, Pete, is also back for more! The first half has ‘Never Bridge’, performed live music from the new album, so little and big Aled duet - and without giving too much away there is also some never before seen footage projected into the cathedrals. It's been fun seeing people's reactions - a mix of nostalgia, wonderment and quite a few tears too! Hopefully people come away from the concert feeling happy and uplifted. It's a very fun evening too. “I have guest artists and choirs joining me too - different ones for different venues - so lots of music everything from anthems to jazz to folk to hymns.” Aled Jones’ Cathedral Tour 2016 continues into June and July. Tickets are priced from £19.50 and are available from Aled’s album ‘One Voice’ is now available.

The Fens | June 2016





Eton Mess Cheesecake

There isn’t much more quintessential than an English strawberry picked at its very best. This dessert combines two favourite puddings into one taste sensation. By John McGinn, Dog in a Doublet

Serves 4 Prepare 30 minutes Cook 0 minutes The Base • 200g butter crunch biscuits (crushed) • 80g unsalted butter (melted) Method Mix together thoroughly in a bowl. Keep at room temperature until construction.

WIN an 8-course taster menu at the Dog in a Doublet

The cheesecake • 500g cream cheese (Dog in a Doublet use Longley Farm) • 500g clotted cream • Grated rind of one lemon • Seeds from one vanilla pod • 200g icing sugar Method Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Chill. The topping • 100ml Chambord liqueur • 100g caster sugar • 300g raspberries • 200g strawberries (hulled and halved) Method Puree the liqueur, sugar and raspberries and strain, discarding the seeds. Stir in the strawberries. Chill. This dish is part of our eight course summer tasting menu, available from July 1st until September 31st. 14 The Fens | June 2016

Tell us what you love about living in the Fens to be in with a chance. Email or find us on Facebook. Entry closes on June 15th, 2016


Construction Press the base into individual bowls or glasses. Spoon on the cheesecake. Then add the topping. Finish with more fruit, meringue shards, fresh mint leaf, freeze-dried strawberries and white chocolate.

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Mother & baby

The key facts!

Baby-led weaning Offering your little one their first taste of real food is an exciting day, but it can sometimes seem a little daunting. What do I need to buy? Which foods shall I try first? Do I need to spend weeks stocking up the freezer with homemade purees? Words by Bryony Mezzatesta Weaning can actually be a stress-free, simple and enjoyable experience for both baby and parents. Baby-led weaning, or BLW as it is often called, refers to encouraging your baby to explore a range of healthy solid foods (often finger foods) right from the beginning without needing to puree anything! The government guidelines recommend starting solids at six months and you can begin BLW right away. Before this, a baby’s digestive system is still immature and a milk-only diet is sufficient. There are a few signs to look out for to check your baby is ready to begin solids; they should sit upright in a high chair with minimal support, they should have good hand to mouth coordination, and they should have lost the tongue-thrust mechanism which prevents them from moving foods around in their mouth and swallowing safely. If you feel that your baby is ready, you can begin to offer them some foods to try!

First foods

Fruit and vegetables such as sweet potato, carrot, banana, broccoli or avocado are all ideal first foods. When starting out, it is important to ensure that vegetables are well cooked so they are soft. Cut them into ‘chip-shaped’ sticks which can be grasped easily, and simply offer them to your baby and sit back and watch! Don’t be worried if for the first few meal times, your baby doesn’t actually eat anything - at this stage it is all about exploring textures. Just let your baby lead the way

and provide a wide variety of different foods. As they begin to get the hang of it, you can start to introduce them to a wider variety of flavours and textures. By the age of seven months, you will probably find that your baby will happily tuck into a spaghetti Bolognese or chicken curry!

What to buy

There really isn’t much you actually need for baby-led weaning! The key items I would recommend investing in are a good high chair with a large, easy to clean tray, plenty of long sleeves bibs, and a copy of ‘The Baby Led Weaning Cookbook’ by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. This book explains everything you will need to know about BLW and contains lots of fantastic recipes. You might also wish to invest in some plastic baby bowls, plates and cutlery, but really these are not necessary until later on as before 12 months, you will probably just put the foods directly onto the baby’s tray and let them use their hands to tuck in. Once you have stocked up on the essential equipment and are ready to begin, remember to relax and enjoy - there will be plenty of cameraworthy moments of mess you will look back on fondly, and hopefully smiles from your little one as they begin this new and exciting phase of their development! The Fens | June 2016


Home & garden

Creating a new


With spring in the air, many of us are moving to a new home or looking to develop and refurbish our existing one. But where do you start? Simon Parr-Black explains

In addition to the elements that create the scheme, you must also always think about the layout and the flow of the area, or the whole property. The easiest way of doing this is on paper. By drawing up the project to scale, you can then see how your existing, or new furniture, is going to fit; how you can move about in this new area; and foresee any potential issues. How you are going to get that large sofa you just bought, into the house? With a scale plan, you can then progress to sketching up a section; this can ensure that you get the proportions right – a reading lamp is not going to work well if it is not tall enough to cast light onto the page!

Mood boards are also a great way to look at colour balance and design. By saving images of individual items and rooms that you like – for what ever reason – you start to build up a picture of what you would like to create. This will help you select the paint colours, grout and how much of that large pattern that you love should be used in one area. Too much and it could be overwhelming, too little and it may look like an afterthought. 16 The Fens | June 2016

Try to ensure you think about every aspect, right down to the bulb in your light fittings

There are many aspects to consider when it comes to refurbishing a home, as we all have our own personal style, likes and dislikes, and of course budget. I remember fondly the ‘Door Handle’ episode of AbFab, and indeed a whole scheme can evolve from one seemingly simple element - I have done this myself over the years.

Try to ensure you think about every aspect, right down to the bulb in your light fittings. If you have a cool white scheme, it may look really great at night if the lamps give off a warm glow – or it could feel like you are sitting in a fridge. Make sure that you look at all the elements collectively in the day time and also at night. Colours change in natural and artificial light, and their relationship with other elements may not work so well in certain situations.

This process can take a while to get right and can cost more than you expect. Take your time to get it right and enjoy the process, once it is finished, you may live with the result for quite a time! § Simon Parr-Black is an interior designer. Get in touch at; or call 01733 688235 or 07789 885825

Home & garden

Your garden in June

June 20th is the longest day of the year, and the extra light and warmth encourages the garden to put on a burst of growth. It’s a busy month again for gardeners with lots of planting, tidying, maintenance, weeding and pruning to be done

Garden jobs for this month

• Hoe borders regularly to keep on top of weeds.

Annual and perennial weeds need removing to prevent them from spreading and seeding themselves. Bindweed can be especially invasive and should be removed as soon as it appears.

• Pinch out side-shoots on tomatoes.

This will direct the plant’s energy to the fruit growing on the main stem. A good tip for protecting against whitefly attack is to plant basil or marigolds close to your tomato plants.

• Put summer hanging baskets and containers outside.

Choosing a sunny spot for your hanging baskets and containers will ensure you get the best from them. Remember to water at least once a day, or more frequently, when it's hot and dry or windy. Regular feeding – once per week in the summer – will also help your basket plants thrive.

• Mow lawns at least once a week. The lawn will be growing fast now and will continue to do so throughout the summer so a good weekly cut is essential to keep it looking neat and tidy.

• Plant out summer bedding.

June is a great month to plant summer bedding plants such as begonias, marigolds, petunias and lobelia. Before planting give the plants a good soaking of water. If it's a sunny day try to plant them in the late afternoon or early evening. Don't forget to water well again after planting.

• Stake tall or floppy plants.

Tall growing plants such as delphiniums, lupins, poppies and climbers need a frame work or canes and string around them to help prevent wind damage.

• Prune spring flowering shrubs.

Plant of the month - Rose

From hybrid teas to floribundas and shrub roses, standards, climbers and ramblers, there is a rose for every situation, be it a hedge, groundcover, border or container. Breeding has produced many flower shapes and dozens of colours from creams, whites and pastels to intense primary reds and yellows. Many of these will also be highly scented. Regular feeding with a rose feed helps maintain vigour and regular dead heading will ensure your rose blooms for as long as possible.

Cutting back spring flowering shrubs and perennials can encourage a fresh flush of foliage.

Westfield Nurseries Station Road, Whittlesey, PE7 2EX

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The Fens | June 2016


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Large selection of locally grown shrubs, bedding & basket plants Good selection of Vegetables including Seed Potatoes, Vegetable Packs, Packet/Loose Seed New stock arriving weekly during season Conifers, Roses, Alpines, Climbers, Perennials Gravel, Slate, Rockery Stones

Compost Corner - Loads of multi-buy deals on Compost

Garden chemicals - Lawn Feed, Weedkiller, Pest Killers Furniture, Benches, Arches

Everything you need for the perfect garden

*Some items subject to seasonal availability

Station Road, Whittlesey, PE7 2EX

• Shrubs • Conifers • Roses • Bedding/Basket Plants • Perennials • Alpines • Compost • Turf • Bark • Wide Selection of Pots • Bagged Aggregates • Slabs

Quality and Value…..Right on your Doorstep

Opening times: Mon-Sat 9am to 5pm; Sun 10am-4pm

Tel 01733 206688

18 The Fens | June 2016

Water Voles

Exploring the Fens

at Lattersey Nature Reserve Lattersey Nature Reserve, Whittlesey, is managed by the Wildlife Trust on behalf of Fenland District Council and is located at the end of New Road, Whittlesey. There is a free car park adjacent to the Reserve which can be visited at any time. The Reserve is visited by those who enjoy the quiet tranquillity of this wetland site, which was colonised after the demise of the brick industry. There are areas of open water, reed beds, ditches and small ponds, some of which dry out during the summer months. Water voles, the largest of the British voles, traditionally live in burrows in the banks of rivers and streams, but are now often found in reed beds where they can hide more easily from predators. Water voles are a nationally declining species in Britain, but in the

Fenland area, thanks to the work of the Internal Drainage Board and the Wildlife Trust, they are thriving. On several occasions, water voles have been spotted at Lattersey Nature Reserve. On the Friends of Lattersey Nature Reserve facebook page, there is a video taken with a trail camera of a water vole foraging in the reed bed. Water voles eat a large variety of plant material, but especially aquatic plants, reeds, sedges and herbs. They like large areas of open swathes, which make the reed beds at Lattersey Nature Reserve ideal habitat. Whilst it is not always possible to see water voles, their feeding stations can be spotted by looking for remains of vegetation eaten at 45 degree angles. Piles of rounded, often green,

droppings are left to mark breeding territories. Water voles do not like shady areas and for this reason, at Lattersey, the Wildlife Trust and its volunteers cut back a large section of willow that was shading the back of the reed bed and ditch system. To encourage regeneration of the reed bed, a section is cut each year, raked up and burnt to keep the plant growth healthy and nutritious for the water voles, and other creatures that inhabit them. The Wildlife Trust BCN have just released a new report reviewing water voles surveys over the last decade; the results reveal a thriving Fenland population. ยง You can find out more at news/2016/04/18/thrivingwater-vole-population The Fens | June 2016


Out and about

Festival fever Just as the weather starts to warm up, festival season is around the corner. Forget Glastonbury though - there’s plenty to take part in closer to home. Here’s our pick of some of the best local events

PETERBOROUGH DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL | PETERBOROUGH ROWING CLUB | JUNE 11th Peterbrorough Dragon Boat Festival supports breast cancer care in our area, and is a great activity for those with a competitive side - or those who just want to have fun on the water. If you’re too late to participate, why not support those taking part and soak up the atmosphere. MUSIC FESTIVALS AT THE BUTTERCROSS | WHITTLESEY | JUNE 12th, JULY 17th & AUGUST 21st On Sunday June 12th, the Peterborough Concert Band will be performing under the Buttercross in Whittlesey between 2pm and 6pm, in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday. Deck chairs, hampers, etc, are encouraged with Union Jack bunting being erected around the Market Square, and small Union Jacks will be given out to the audience, for what is a free concert. A well known local singer, Leanne, will also be performing during the afternoon. On Sunday July 17th, a stage will be erected for a blues band known as FEDZ, who will entertain along with the female singer, Shannon. Again this is a free event. Finally, on Sunday August 21st, the Motor City Vipers will be bringing their Motown music to the stage, supported by Andy Coulson’s disco. Both of these events will commence at 2pm. 20 The Fens | June 2016

The Temper Trap will be performing this year

SECRET GARDEN PARTY 2016 | GRANGE FARM | JULY 21st - 24th The Secret Garden Party is not as well known, but each year, in Abbots Ripton in Huntingdon, it hosts some of the best local talent and raises funds for the charity CALM (the campaign against living miserably) and have a great time.

PETERBOROUGH SAUSAGE & CIDER MUSIC FESTIVAL | ELTON HALL | JULY 29th - 31st The Peterborough Sausage and Cider Music Festival combines a large selection of sausage-based foods, great cider and live music. There will also be a firework display, craft and art stalls and a large funfair. What’s not to love?

THE WILLOW FESTIVAL | PETERBOROUGH | JULY 8th - 10th This local event has always been a favourite of music fans, and returns this summer. Weekend passes are just £10, which means you can come and go as much as you like. Keep an eye on the website for a full list of bands.


Life of an ordinary guy So I asked myself, with a legitimate outlet with which to voice my views on life rather than leaving random messages on toilet doors, what should I write about and it occurred to me what better topic than my current biggest grievance regarding a very important relationship I have with my mug. Hot drink lovers will appreciate the importance of a good mug. Mine is not very big and has a blackboard body upon which over the years colleagues have written ever-imaginative ways of telling me to ‘go away’ in chalk. Recently however, it was dropped and a chip appeared along the rim apparently making it a bio-hazard, with the exposed porcelain being the preferred meeting place for the world’s most dangerous bacteria, leading to my mug being ruthlessly resigned to the bin. Now, without a mug whenever tea is offered in the office I proclaim loudly ‘no it’s alright, I no longer have a mug’ and so perhaps underestimating how annoying I could be, my colleagues bought me a novelty Batman mug as a replacement. Sadly this ‘pity mug’ is shaped like Batman’s body meaning that if I were to drink anything from it, I would spill the majority down me due to the strange oval opening and surprisingly sharp rim. However, having cut down on tea I find I am drinking water by the gallon to compensate and should urinating be selected as a last minute sport for the Rio Olympics, I feel I would be a valuable last minute contender. At the time of writing, I am still a mug widower, staring with envious eyes at my colleagues every time they take a sip, and so I challenge everyone today to this: Pour yourself your favourite hot drink in your favourite mug, sit, relax, read this magazine cover to cover and enjoy the company of that little porcelain friend who is always there for you when you need it most. Apart from when it gets a chip and some git chucks it away.

§ Joe Ferridge is an occasional writer and lover of hot beverages

Flexible Drawdown from your pension Many people want to know exactly how the changes in legislation might help them, let’s see if I can shed some light in this area. Firstly, it is important to understand what an Annuity is so you can consider whether it is right for you or not. During your working life the pension pot grows from contributions, tax relief and fund performance. Approaching retirement you may be invited to buy a guaranteed income for the rest of your life, it may be just for you or it could provide an ongoing benefit to a spouse who survives you, other options include choosing an income that increases each year to offset the effects of inflation. The general name for this plan is an annuity. In years gone by annuity rates were considerably higher than now based not only on economic factors but also because the population is gradually living longer – so the providers have to pay out more. If you are in good health the annuity rate may be lower than someone in poor health. It is important to know that you are free to select the best annuity rate from the open market rather than just accepting the rate offered by your pension provider (you may need the help of an Independent Financial Adviser to access the entire market place). Even after searching the whole market an annuity might not deliver the level of income required, if it is too late to make the fund larger – other options might be considered. There might be enough guaranteed income from an employer’s pension plus state benefits that increase each year – and yet there is still another pension fund available to take, maybe you need to span a gap between stopping work and the commencement date of other pension arrangements. Perhaps a lump sum is required to clear debts in order to reduce monthly expenditure in servicing those liabilities. Flexible Drawdown allows the retiree the option to NOT purchase an annuity – there is a risk here because access to this fund could result in the fund running out of money too early therefore it is important to take qualified advice. Death benefits differ from an annuity – sometimes in a very dramatic way. There is also a risk in terms of funds left to draw down later that need to be invested in something, a cash account may not provide enough to cover the expense of running the plan and an adventurous fund might fall in value – an annuity takes away those risks – so the best solution depends on your circumstances. For a Free initial consultation please contact me.

Eamonn Dorling Dip PFS, Senior Independent Financial Adviser. Brooks Wealth Management Tel: 01733 314553 Mob: 07767 795816 Email: Brooks Wealth Management is a trading style of Ampris Limited who are an appointed representative of Wealthline Limited, Registered in England 08761632 (Registered office: 8a Cowgate, Peterborough) Wealthline Limited The Fens | June 2016 are21 authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 684319

Health & fitness

Ready, steady,


Do you want to run but don’t know where to start? Our beginner’s feature will give you the confidence to tackle those first steps today WORDS Natasha Shiels Pic Chris Brudenell


aving been an editor of a running magazine, I am no stranger to the virtues of running. But I wasn’t always so readily happy to don my trainers and hit the ground. In fact, I used to hate running. I hear many people utter the same words that I did, back then: ‘I can’t run’, ‘I’m rubbish at running’, ‘It’s not for me’. There are, however, many very good reasons why incorporating a little bit of running into our weekly regime could be very beneficial.

So why is running so great? The biggest draw to running, is that not only is it super time-efficient and great for busy people, but it’s also a fairly in-expensive way to burn off calories and get fit. Aside from some essential equipment (we’ll cover that a bit later), all you need is yourself, some space outside, and a little bit of time. You can run, shower and be ready or work in less time that 22 The Fens | June 2016

it could take to drive to the gym! And you can run pretty much anywhere - on-road or off, indoors or out, in summer and winter, with a friend or on your own. If that’s not enough, there’s plenty of research now which shows that running can help depression and stress, lower cholesterol, blood pressure and release feel good endorphins. It can even help you sleep better and lose weight.

Health & fitness Making running fun The key is to ensure that you associate running with pleasure and not pain. Most people start running too fast, which is not only unsustainable but also demotivating. Take your pace down to a level that is comfortable and always finish a session feeling like you could have done more. Gasping for breath before you’re even at the end of your street is miserable! Your main goal at the beginner stage is to increase the length of time you can run for - slowly and gradually over time. The key to doing this successfully is to slow your pace right down, factor in plenty of walk breaks and be patient. Easy and comfortable is the goal.

Getting started Before embarking on any new exercise regime, it’s really important to get checked out by your GP before you start.


Start with a 20-30 minute brisk walk, and work up to 60 minutes, three times a week for a month before starting. This will give you a great foundation of fitness. Once you feel you are ready, start with a five minute walk - but make it brisk, swinging your arms and getting warmed up. Then you can break into a very slow jog. Time yourself for one to two minutes, and then walk briskly for two minutes. Repeat this 10 times, then walk for another five minutes to cool down.

The rules • Always walk briskly for five minutes first and cool down with a gentle five minute walk after the session • Avoid running on consecutive days. Have at least two days rest between sessions • This schedule is meant to be a guide. You may find it too tough, in which case drop one or two of the sets from each session, or add more walking time • If you find it too easy, still be cautious. Even though you might be fit, your legs need time to get used to the impact of running, so build up slowly • Keep fully hydrated, especially in the hot summer weather. Drink plenty of water during the day and leading up to your session. Carry a small bottle of drink with you if it’s really hot. There are lots of running guides, and ‘couch to 5k’ plans you can find online. If you’ve been bitten by the running bug, why not join a local running club? Not only will it be great for motivation, but you’ll meet lots of new people and make lasting friendships. Visit for local running groups.

Running clubs It’s also vitally important that you get the right gear. You don’t need to buy the latest and most fashionable equipment, but you do need correctly fitting shoes, and for women, a decent sports bra. The choice of running shoes can be overwhelming, so head over to a specific running shop (try Advance Performance in Fengate), where trained staff can help and advise you. As a rule of thumb, go for a pair 1-1.5 sizes bigger than your normal shoes to allow space for your feet to expand and toes to move. Finally, a simple stopwatch is probably the only other thing you will need at this stage. They don’t have to be expensive, and you could even use the stopwatch on your phone.

Walk first, run later Lots of us have made the mistake of thinking we’re the next Mo Farah, and headed out the door at a pace that’s impossible to sustain. The best advice is to start with some regular and consistent walking.

Thorney Running Club A great, friendly running club catering for all abilities and ages, based in Thorney. New Beginner Running Group in Whittlesey Beginner adults running group started on May 16th at 7pm, meeting at the Manor Leisure Centre, Whittlesey. Call Laura 01733 208289 or Nathalie 07894 115165.

Running-friendly stores

Advance Performance - Fengate PE1 5XN Great for buying your running gear and asking fullytrained staff for advice. Sweat Shop - Bridge Street, Peterborough Also run a beginner to 5k course. Check out their Facebook page for updates. Been inspired by this article? Let us know by emailing the team or find us on Facebook The Fens | June 2016



The history of the

Market Place Part one by Anthony Austin

Discover the wonders of the Fens in our regular history features. From the origins of wellknown places in Whittlesey, to the history of Eastrea, Coates and Thorney, let us delve into the past together


new magazine and a new set of stories about the history of familiar places in the Fenland area which I hope you will have as much pleasure reading as I and my colleagues have in writing them. I am going to start with the story of the Market Place in Whittlesey. If you have only recently moved to the town you will know it as the square in front of the George, run by Wetherspoon’s, Hubs, Sonargon’s, Blinds in Harmony, the Friday Market, and the Butter Cross. But to those of us who have been here rather longer, it was the site of the Post Office, Hinton and Hewitt the solicitors, and of course the bus stop. Once a year the Straw Bear still makes his appearance to remind us of the folk history of the town. To tell the real story of the Market Square though we have to go a lot further back in time, not only that but also to a different part of Whittlesey. Between 24 The Fens | June 2016

973 and 1000 AD the Abbeys of Thorney and Ely became the owners of the Manors of Whittlesey St Mary and Whittlesey St Andrews respectively. They acquired the property possibly from the same Saxon family but whether Whittlesey existed as one settlement at that time is not clear. St Mary’s Manor owned roughly two thirds of the huge parish and St Andrews the remaining third and at some point soon after the two Abbeys laid out a new village which would grow eventually into our town. They kept the name of Whittlesey, which had derived

from the Saxon “Witel’s Eya” or “Witel’s Island” referring to the island rising above the fen owned by Witel and the new settlement had at one end the manorial buildings and church of the St Mary’s Manor and at the other end the buildings and church of the St Andrew’s Manor. Each had its own Manor House, the St Mary’s Manor House still standing and the St Andrew’s Manor House which stood north of St Andrew’s Church. In between the two churches was the High Street of the town with narrow lanes running north and south; north to the


The early Market Place of St. Andrews communally farmed open fields and south to the river and the fen. The High Street was laid out in plots of land for the peasants who belonged to the two Abbeys, each plot having a long low lathe plaster and thatched house, one end lived in by the family and the other end by the family’s animals; and at the back a yard and toft where vegetables and herbs were grown. This High Street, the oldest street in the town, still exists today. If you walk down London Street, you are walking in the footsteps of our original Whittlesey folk all those long centuries ago. Not only that, and this is the reason for our moving from the Market Square, at each end of London Street you will see that the road is wider. In front of the Falcon Inn and at the other end of the street lie the sites of the first Market Places in the town. Each Abbey had its own Market Place. Markets were a valuable part, not only of the local economy, but also of the income for the Manor. Each Abbey charged rent to put up a stall and sell goods to the local population. At this time there were about 38 families living in London Street, plus the Abbey’s staff and visitors living at the Manors. Doesn’t sound so many to us today but on Market days it would have been a busy place. One of the lanes that ran south from London Street is today called St Andrew’s Place; then it was known as


The early Market Place of St. Mary’s Cheap Lane. Cheap derives from the Old English “Chep” or Market. As the lane runs down to the Briggate River it was probably one of the accesses that brought in and shipped out goods from Whittlesey. The Briggate River follows an artificial course through the town which date back in construction to Roman times. There certainly was a branch of the river than ran on the course of the present footpath from Turners Lane by the Doctors’ Surgery past Grove House through to the buildings of St Marys Manor beside the Church of St Marys. Rivers were vital means of travel with the bad state of fenland roads in medieval times and it’s no coincidence that Whittlesey was sited so close to the river. As two thirds of the land of the town belonged to the Abbey of Thorney’s St Marys Manor the same was true of London Street. If you start walking from the St Mary’s Market Place outside the modern Falcon Inn towards Church Street, all the houses and land belonged to St Marys until you get to Woolpack Lane and roughly from there until you arrive at the St Andrew’s Market Place all the houses and land belonged to St Andrews. As a matter of interest, as the town expanded with new streets being laid out across the field they were also divided up with about two thirds belonging to St Marys Manor and one third belonging to St Andrews.

This “belonging” became known as copyhold. You held your property from the Manor and when it was sold or transferred the seller and purchaser appeared at the Manorial Court and paid a “fine” or a fee to the Lord of the Manor for the transfer. And the town did expand. Whilst the Abbot of Thorney had a canal connected to the Briggate, as we have seen, he wanted a similar easy connection by water across the fens to the island of Thorney itself and his great Abbey. A canal was dug from Thorney all the way to Whittlesey. At some time, a lane came into use running north from the Manor buildings at St Marys to the edge of the island across the fens looking toward Thorney. This lane, on the site of the modern High Causeway, was developed by the two Abbeys with new house plots, again with the ratio of two thirds belonging to St Marys and one third to St Andrews. The house plots were only laid out on the eastern side, the western side was still agricultural land. At the same time buildings, at first just used for store and workshops but no doubt soon used as cottages, appeared on the riverside at Briggate. The focus of the town was changing. In Part 2 we will look at how the town grew and how the Market Place we know today appeared. The Fens | June 2016


Books, music, film and games What we’re

reading The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins; Transworld Publishers Watch out, The Girl on the Train is about to hit social media all over again. The novel, written by Paula Hawkins, is due to be released at the cimema on October 7th. The Girl on the Train is the story of Rachel Watson’s life post-divorce. Every day, she takes the train in to work in London, and every day the train passes by her old house. The house she lived in with her husband, who still lives there, with his new wife and child. As she attempts to not focus on her pain, she starts watching a couple a few houses down -- Megan and Scott Hipwell. She creates a wonderful dream life for them in her head, about how they are a perfect happy family. And then one day, as the train passes, she sees something shocking, filling her with rage. The next day, she wakes up with a horrible hangover, various wounds and bruises, and no memory of the night before. She has only a feeling: something bad happened. Then come the TV reports: Megan Hipwell is missing. Rachel becomes involved in the case and trying to find out what happened to Megan, where she is, and what exactly she herself was up to that same night Megan went missing. The novel itself is gripping and easy to read, with enough twists along the way to keep the reader guessing. It’s also a superb debut for Hawkins, who sought inspiration from her own commutes to work.

Our verdict... Whilst the film boasts performances by Emily Blunt and Justin Theroux, I’d recommend giving the book a try first. It’s a fun read, perfect for a poolside escapism. 26 The Fens | June 2016

New releases

literature Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I & II, JK Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany; Little Brown Transworld Publishers Not exactly what Harry Potter fans had hoped for, but this book, due for release on July 31st, prints the official script of Rowling’s new story, which was made into a play by Jack Thorne.

New releases

music Last Year Was Complicated, Nick Jonas; £12.99 Release date: June 10th

New releases

film Me Before You Release date: June 3rd Based on the popular novel by Jojo Moyes, the film tells the story of Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke), who becomes the carer of Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a man paralised from the waist down after an accident. It’s a love-story for the modern age.

Help to save a life If you find someone: • With chest pain? • With breathing difficulties? • Having a seizure? • Who has collapsed? • Has stopped breathing?

• Call 999 • Collect the nearest defibrillator quickly (or get someone else to) You may not need to use the defibrillator but it is better to have it close by just in case. You can always take it back later if it is not used!

During the last two years we have provided Whittlesey with more public access defibrillators than any other town in the country. Yet people still seem afraid to collect them. They can cause no harm and talk to you telling you what to do. Early defibrillation and CPR saves lives. Just waiting for the ambulance to arrive costs lives. Remember 999, and grab and go!

Your local defibrillators No Address Saxon Autopoint, 1

No Address No Address The 3 Horseshoes, 15 Pondersbridge Vill 8

No Address 22 The Little Hair Shop,


311 Eastrea Rd PE7 2AP


Chippy Sue’s, 14 The Delph PE7 1QH


Childers, 1A Station Rd PE7 1SA


4 Yarwells Headlands PE7 1RF


The Railway Pub, 139 Station Rd PE1 1UF


Carpenters Arms, 1 North Green, Coates, PE7 2BQ


Whittlesey Bowls Club, 194-198 Station Rd PE7 2HA (during opening times)


Boons Transport, Stonald Rd PE7 1QS


Westfield Nurseries, Station Rd PE7 2EX


Eastrea Centre, 2 Roman Gardens, Eastrea PE7 2BB


Decoy Fishing Lakes, Drybread Rd PE7 2AD (during opening times)


The Scout Hut, Inhams Rd


Nisa Shop, Victory Ave PE7 1XU


Coates Primary School, The Fold, Coates, PE7 2BP


AJS, Drybread Rd PE7 1JB (during school hours)


SHSCC (Sports Hall), Eastrea Rd (during school hours)


The Letter B, 53-57 Church St PE7 1DE


Town Hall, Market St PE7 1BD


Park Ln Sch, Park Lane PE7 1JB (during school hours)


Whittlesey Fire Station, Cemetery Rd PE7 1RU


Ivy Leaf Club, 1 Gracious St PE7 1AP


Grosvenor House, Eastgate PE7 1GH


New Rd Sch, New Rd PE7 1SZ (during school hours)


The Nags Head, 402 Eastrea Rd, TheEastrea Fens | June PE7 2016 2AR 27

Peterborough Rd PE7 1NJ

344 March Rd, Turves PE7 2DN

Hall, Oilmills Rd PE7 2LT

34 Bellmans Rd, PE7 1TY


Paul, no job too small Gardening Handyman Carpentry Carpentry work Painting/decorating decorating Light Light household maintenance For a FREE no obligation quotation, contact Paul:

T: 01733 688537 E:



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Window Cleaner Traditional mop & blade, est. 2002

All frames and sills included in price UPVC facia boards, gutterings, gable ends and conservatory roofs

For a free quote call

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T: 01733 709348 M: 07429 542614




TEL: 01733 202488 JUNE SPECIAL OFFER Beers from £2 a pint


Licensed Bar All Welcome

Open from 12:00pm daily DRY-CLEANING

Goldcrest Dry-Cleaners & Garment Printing

30 Market Street, Whittlesey PE7 1BD

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42A High Street, March PE15 9JR

01354 661145

28 The Fens | June 2016

Regular dar ts and pool knockouts with cash prizes

Charity fundraising facilities available

Sky Sports/BT Sports shown and occasional LIVE music Good range of real Ales constantly changing

24 Market Street (above Ostlers), Whittlesey

T 01733 351657 or 202488

What’s on guide CHARITY June 28th CPR and Defibrillator awareness - 7-9pm - Ramsey Mereside Village Hall July 9th Thorpe Hall Summer Fete - Thorpe Road - 11am-4pm Entrance £2

FAMILY-FRIENDLY June 3rd Tour Of Colour - 5k run Peterborough Arena

Whittlesey & District



Whittlesey Business Forum’s next meeting is June 29th at the Falcon Hotel, London Street. Meet at 6pm for a 6:30pm start.

June 4th

White Buffalo Country Music Club - Darren Busby - At Ramsey Forty Foot Village Hall - 8 pm - £5.50

June 9th

The Manfred's - Key Theatre - Peterborough

June 11th


June 1st Pinocchio (Ballet) - The Key Theatre key-theatre June 4th Bill Bailey - Peterborough Arena June 13th Grumpy Old Women - The Cresset June 16th Jive Talkin' The Story Of The Bee Gees - The Key Theatre June 18th Outdoor Theatre Sherlock Holmes - Sacrewell Farm


June 5th Open Farm - Pigeon’s Farm, Thorney - 10am to 5pm Entrance £1 June 6th Rotary Club Open Evening 7pm - The Falcon - Whittlesey June 9th Free garden talk Shakespeare’s garden - Rose Landscapes June 19th Forest Crafts For Kids - Ferry Meadows - Peterborough June 25th Park Lane School Summer Fayre - 2-4pm June 25th & 26th Rail Mail Weekend - Nene Valley Steam Railway

FESTIVALS June 11th Dragon Boat Festival - Thorpe Meadows - Peterborough June 30th Charters Annual Cider Festival Charters - Peterborough

Great Nights presents The Magic of Soul, Motown & more. 60s-80s - Ivy Leaf Club - Tickets Andy on 07941 629660

June 11th

White Buffalo Country Music Club - Tall Guy - At Conservative Club, function room - 8 pm - £5.50

June 11th

Bryan Ferry - Burghley House Stamford

June 11th

The Bobcats - Tickets £6 adv. £8 on the door - Yaxley British Legion

June 12th

Music on the Square - Whittlesey Market Place - 2pm

June 16th

Aled Jones - Ely Cathedral

June 21st

Open Mic - The Boat Inn Whittlesey

June 25th

White Buffalo Country Music Club - Tom Collins - At Conservative Club, function room - 8pm - £5.50

REGULARS Hatha yoga, for all levels, £6 each, some mats available. Monday - 6pm Wednesday - 6.30pm, Thursday - 9.30am. St Andrew’s Parish Room, Parkinsons Lane, Whittlesey Power Yoga, based around traditional Sun Salutations, lively music, intended to raise your heart rate & increase your flexibility & fitness - you don't have to be a gym member to attend! £6.10 to non members, bring water & small towel. Wednesday - 8pm. New Vision Fitness, Manor Leisure Centre, Whittlesey

Email the team at to be included in our events guide. Information is correct at time of printing. Please check with the venue/organiser directly.

The Fens | June 2016


A day in the life of a...

Philip Bradshaw and his wife, Jayne Bradshaw, are farmers based in the Cambridgeshire Fens, just south of Whittlesey. Together they have two grown-up sons. The farm is all arable crops, and other than a labrador called Tetley, there aren’t any livestock. As well as farming, Phil does some consultancy work and occasional writing. He’s a family man, who loves a bit of cycling and music (and can often be found playing guitar and piano).

Fenla nd fa rmer

1. What was it that attracted you to the life of farming?

as our social life will have to go on hold for nearly two months. We work all year for the harvest – so it has to be the priority in late summer.

I was fortunate to grow up on a farm, and from the age of about ten, I always wanted to be a farmer. (Up to age ten, I wanted to be a cowboy!) I think the combination of enjoying the tractors and machinery, the potential for being in the great outdoors, and the variation in work with the seasons attracted me to it.

5. What advice would you give to somebody thinking of taking on the same career?

Think carefully! Times are difficult financially at the moment with cereal prices being so low, and the work is hard, often with long and unsocial hours. That said, we need food, and the work is enjoyable and varied, so for some it can be a fantastic career.

2. How did you get into it?

After school I went away to Agricultural college, and then came back to work on my family’s farm at Newborough. I always wanted to have my own business, and eventually, aged 25, Jayne and I got our first farm, rented from the Cambridgeshire County Farms estate. It was 82 acres and a challenge to start from scratch. We now farm 550 acres, split over three farms up to 15 miles apart.

3. Tell us about a typical day?

I work single-handed most days, and therefore I have perfected flexi–time! If we are really busy, I might start at 6am to travel to another farm, sometimes with a pack-up lunch for a long day. On other occasions I might start later, and have a shorter day. In harvest I will often do 100 hours 30 The Fens | June 2016

work in a week, but conversely in winter I might only do 30 or so, and catch up with some music or gym activities! The duties are very varied and seasonal; in a typical week I might spend a day or more in the office, a day or two on a tractor, and the remainder in the workshop, loading or unloading lorries, and inspecting crops.

4. What are the positives and negatives of working in the farming industry?

I’m lucky to be my own boss which is good, and I love the outdoors on a nice day. As I get older I find the harvest period increasingly frustrating,

6. If you could do anything differently, would you and why?

I would dearly love all my land in one location. Two of our small farms are 15 miles from our base, which causes lots of travelling and logistical challenges, and adds cost to our work.

7. And finally, if farming hadn’t worked out, what do you think would have been your career?

I have done some sales work and consultancy as a sideline over the years so possibly something like that, especially the consultancy aspect which I really enjoyed. Ideally I would have become a successful rock musician but I probably had a better chance of becoming a cowboy!

Find us on 

Dr. Gali, Whittlesey Dental’s new owner & principal dentist

We offer a maintenance plan for patients looking to attend the practice on a regular basis.

General dentistry including white fillings, extractions, root canal fillings

• Cover starts from just £8.33 a month

• Teeth whitening from £295

• All hygiene appointments are included in the plan

• Porcelain veneers

• Payment by monthly Direct Debit

• Crown and bridge work

• No need for an assessment - join today

• Dentures - acrylic/metal

• Discount on treatment fees

• Facial aesthetics: Botox and Dermal fillers

Please phone reception to find out about the care plan

Now taking on new patients Six months to a perfect smile Six Month Smiles is for adults who are unhappy with or embarrassed of their smile. The system fits into your lifestyle - without the hassle of spending two or more years in traditional metal braces

Unhappy with dentures? Try implants • The modern standard of care for missing teeth • 0% finance that can be spread across 12 months • FREE consultation for implants

• Clear braces • Quick results - on average just six months • FREE post treatment teeth whitening • Safe & Comfortable

The best care for all your dental needs! tel: 01733

202587 |


Whittlesey Dental Care, 1a Blunts Lane, Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, PE7 1AH The Fens | June 2016


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Jazz, Blues & Motown

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WWW.VE SUV IOWH ITTLE S E Y. C OM 32 The Fens | June 2016

T: 01733 204599


The Fens Magazine June 2016  

A free monthly magazine, with the heart and the soul of the Fens.

The Fens Magazine June 2016  

A free monthly magazine, with the heart and the soul of the Fens.