Fens Issue 6 | November 2016
A FREE lifestyle magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
Win Pa nt o T ick et s p. 7
Emma Vallis History | Food | Home & garden | Nature | Whatâ€™s on | Places to visit | Media The Fens | November 2016 1
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DISTRIBUTION 7,000 copies printed monthly. Delivered to Whittlesey, Eastrea, Coates, Turves and Pondersbridge. Available to pick up from the following places (email or call for a full list): The George Pub, Whittlesey Library, Whittlesey Town Council office, The Manor Lesiure Centre, The Co-op Whittlesey, Pigeon’s Farm, Rose and Crown Pub - Thorney
Ed’s letter Wow! This issue is already our sixth, and it’s gone so fast! From a humble 32-page magazine, we’re now 48 pages strong, and print over 1,000 extra copies to keep up with the demand. There’s no stopping us now, we’re here to stay! I’m afraid to say we have gone a little bit festive this month - but it is November, so I think we can be forgiven. There’s information on this year’s pantomine, a round-up of some of the best festive fairs, and a guide to family-fun this Christmas. We were also delighted to interview a very talented artist (who designed our beautiful front cover this month), and enjoy a tour around the Kings Dyke Nature Reserve. It never ceases to amaze me what resources we have right on our doorstep - one of which was the nature reserve. And in our new series, Leanne Hyland joins our team of contributors to share just that - the wonders of the Fenland landscape. Every few issues she will be taking us on a wild walk in the countryside, and documenting it with her camera. Let us know what you think, or if you have a favourite walk. We’d love to hear from you. Finally, November is an important month for all those military and service men and women who served our country. You can find details about the various remembrance parades and services on page 25.
Publisher, THE FENS
November contributors 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. co.uk. Registered office: 40 London Street, Whittlesey, Peterborough, PE7 1BT. Barley Media Limited accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.
Leanne Hyland is an
is a mum and full time artist and illustrator, specialising in watercolour
outdoor writer who loves to ﬁnd the extraordinary on her doorstep
p.23 The Fens | November 2016
8 16 6
Fens Issue 6 | November 2016
A FREE lifestyle magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
Win Pant o Tick ets
6 WIN tickets to see Dick Whittington at the Key Theatre
19 Take a stroll through the great Fen landscape
32 Festive inspiration for family days out this month
8 Our round-up of local Christmas fairs
23 Five reasons to join a fitness class - plus money-off coupon
35 Spotlight on Ace Tones
10 Try your hand at this month’s recipe EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Emma Vallis History | Food | Home & garden | Nature | What’s on | Places to visit | Media The Fens | November 2016 1
Issue 6 | November 2016
Front cover - Scarecrow, Emma Vallis
13 Your garden in November 14 Simon looks at flooring options
26-29 Local news and stories,including a look at gothic Fenland
16 Exploring Kings Dyke Nature Reserve
30 Hugh Crane clean up at their launch
From couple shoots to your wedding day, the birth of your ﬁrst child to a family group shot - we can help you keep those memories forever Tel: 01733 202694 firstname.lastname@example.org www.chrisbrudenellphotography.com The Fens | November 2016
36 Who are the Middle Level Commissioners? 37 Farming news with Philip Bradshaw 42 An interview with Emma Vallis 46 This month’s events ng di es ed ag 0 W ck £80 pa m fro
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25 Dates and times for the Remembrance Parade
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A Purr-fect Pantomime
(Oh yes it is!)
November is finally here, which means that Christmas is just round the corner and tickets for the Key Theatre’s brand new pantomime, Dick Whittington, are already selling faster than ever The story of Dick Whittington, the poor boy who finds fame and fortune thanks to his feline friend, promises to build on the successes of three consecutive, record-breaking, sell-out pantos at the Key – Cinderella (2013), Jack and the Beanstalk (2014) and Aladdin (2015). A side-splitting production genuinely like no other, with jokes and songs geared directly at Peterborough patrons, features a ‘purr-fect’ original script from acclaimed theatremaker Brad Fitt. We are also thrilled to welcome back composer Simon Egerton, who will not only write original music and lyrics for the fourth year in a row but, once again, occupies the director’s chair. This year's Panto will be filled with some of the UK's most talented actor musicians, where the onstage cast are also the 10 piece swing band! Dick Whittington promises a foot tapping, swinging style of comedy that has proved so popular since Cinderella (2013).
6 The Fens | November 2016
In the cast - Darren Machin returns as the dame Sarah the Cook. In stark contrast to his TV appearances in Downton Abbey and New Tricks, Darren was in the West End with Privates on Parade and has worked with legendary dame Terry Scott as well as comedy greats Eric Sykes, Ray Cooney and Carry On's Bernard Bresslaw.
This year's Panto will be filled with some of the UK's most talented actor musicians, where the onstage cast are also the 10 piece swing band! Meet the actors
Familiar faces to the Key; James Peake and Robin Johnson (Jack and the Beanstalk and Aladdin) are back as comical Idle Jack and the evil King Rat. Plus Helen Power (Aladdin) returns as the bubbly fairy Bowbells and Emma-Jane Morton (Aladdin) swaps her clarinet playing panda for an equally impressive multi-instrumentalist Tommy the Cat, adding to this year’s talented cast. Newcomers: Ros Steele and Robert Hazle are no strangers to the Key having toured here with the hit Peterborough-based musical Parkway Dreams plus Edward York spent his first 28 years around Peterborough only to find himself drawn back by the promise of Panto sparkle. Lewis Hall returns as Musical Director - "The music is spot on!" Peterborough Today - Cinderella and is a veteran of the Key panto pit! The real star of the show though is, as ever, the Key’s intimate 360 seat auditorium. With comfortable tiered seating, wrapped around a thrust
WIN A FAMILY TICKET
With comfortable tiered seating, wrapped around a thrust stage and not a pillar in sight, every mu m, dad, child or even scout leader can have an unobstructed view of the hilarity live on stage stage and not a pillar in sight, every mum, dad, child or even scout Darren Machin has appeared in leader can have an unobstructed Downtown Abbey and New Tricks view of the hilarity live on stage and even those at the back will be THE DETAILS close enough to feel truly part of the Dick Whittington magic. is at the Key Theatre We start our journey from Thursday on December 1st to 1 December – Sunday 8 January, with 70 shows to choose from and January 8th. Beat the box tickets are already selling for this ofﬁce rush for this magical year’s fantastic production faster musical marvel and call than ever. Excellent discounts are the Key now on and 2 You have won aTheatre family ticket (2 adults available throughout the run, so now 01733 207239 or visit www. children) to the Key Theatre’s Purr-fect is your chance to beat the crowd vivacity-peterborough.com family pantomime – Dick Whittington and get the best seats before they to book your tickets early. sell out!
To celebrate Dick Whittington coming to the Key Theatre, THE FENS is giving away a family ticket (two adults and two children). For your chance to be picked, all you have to do is email hello@thefensmag. co.uk before November 10th. One winner be will be chosen at random. Good luck!
This is the story of Dick Whittington – the poor boy who finds fame and fortune with his feline friend. Magic, adventure and excitement are always a major part of panto at the Key – together with an abundance of slapstick, humour, music and spectacle and this story has it all. Key Theatre pantomimes are renowned throughout the region for their quality and traditional sense of good, clean, family fun. The Fens | November 2016
Places to visit
Christmas Fairs all Wrapped up
Christmas is only next month (shhh, did I just say that?), so why not get into the festivities early and visit a Christmas fair? Here’s our pick of some great local events coming up
CHRISTMAS GIFT & FOOD FAIR When: Friday 18th November 2016 (10am - 9pm) Saturday 19th November 2016 (9:30am - 4:30pm) Where: Ely Cathedral Details: Beautiful and affordable items you’ll rarely find on the high street, Ely Cathedral Christmas Gift & Food Fair makes a perfect day out. This event will include popular exhibitors and an extended Festive Food Hall to make accessing all the 100s of stalls much easier. The heated ‘Café Marquee’ offers the perfect location to sit down for a rest and enjoy a selection of refreshments and light lunches. New for 2016 is an outdoor ‘Street Food Fest’, which will be open to visitors on Friday evening and Saturday.On Saturday there will be plenty of attractions for children, including the ever popular traditional carousel, plus the reindeer and some very special Christmas elves. An interesting programme of demonstrations will feature throughout the two days. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Cathedral Choristers and other local performers. On Friday 18 November between 9am 10am, there is exclusive entry for users of prams, wheelchairs and disability scooters only. Further info: Due to the popularity of the event pre-booking is essential as only a limited number of tickets will be available to purchase on the day. To book tickets visit tickets.elycathedral. org or contact the Cathedral Box Office on 01353 660349 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas Fayre at Block Fen When: Saturday 26th November at 11am - 3.30pm Where: RSPCA Block Fen, Wimblington, March PE15 0FB Details: Block Fen are holding a Christmas Fayre to raise funds for the animals in their care. Father Christmas will be here for children and dogs, as well as carol singers. There will be stalls, as well as tombolas, a BBQ, tea, coffee and of course cake. Entrance is free. Further info: Facebook
The Fens | November 2016
Closer to home
When: Friday 11th November 2016, from 7:30pm Where: Falcon Hotel, London Street, Whittlesey Details: Come and enjoy a Christmas Shopping Evening at the Falcon Hotel from 7:30pm. Various stalls will be selling ideal gifts from makeup to perfume, and plenty more between. Further info: No need to book, just turn up and shop!
When: Saturday 19th November 2016, 1pm - 4pm Where: St. Andrew’s Hall, Parkinsons Lane, Whittlesey Details: Christmas Musical Fayre raising funds for St. Andrew’s Hall. A mixture of music and interesting stalls to tempt you, come along and enjoy this festive craft afternoon. Further info: Find out more on Facebook There’s lots more happening In Whittlesey on the Whittlesey Extravaganza evening on December 9th from 5pm. Watch this space for more details!
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www.peachwillow.co.uk | E-mail: email@example.com The Fens | November 2016
Spice up your Bonfire
Acorn squash stuffed with Jamaican black bean hot pot and confit sausages
By John McGinn, Dog in a Doublet
The twist - Any one of these individual components work well with other dishes. We serve the hot pot as a vegetarian dish, or with jerk chicken, and the sausages are part of our sausage and mash
Serves 6 Prepare 30 mins (plus overnight soaking) Cook 3 hours
Ingredients The hot pot
• 225g dried black beans, soaked overnight • 2 tbls veg oil • 1 large onion sliced • 1 red pepper deseeded and diced • 1 green pepper deseeded and diced • 1 yellow pepper deseeded and diced • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed • A walnut sized piece of root ginger peeled and grated • ½ tsp ground cinnamon • ½ tsp ground allspice • 1 tsp paprika • 500ml veg stock • A pinch of dried red chilli ﬂakes • 1x225g can of chopped plum tomatoes • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme • Salt and pepper • 500g butternut squash • 40g butter • 55g soft dark brown sugar
The confit sausages • 6 sausages • 1ltr duck fat • 2 star anise • 2 bay leaves • 1tsp sea salt
The baked acorn squash
• 6 acorn squashes (or any other squash small enough to serve one per person) • Walnut oil • Salt and pepper 10 The Fens | November 2016
1. Rinse and drain the beans. 2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and fry over a low heat until softened and golden brown. Stir in the peppers and cook until starting to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and paprika, and stir over the heat for a further 2-3 mins. 3. Pour in the stock and stir to remove any sticky sediment on the bottom of the pan. Add the chilli ﬂakes, tomatoes and thyme. Stir in the beans and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for an hour or so until the beans are tender. 4. Peel the butternut squash and remove the seeds and ﬁbres, using a teaspoon. Cut the ﬂesh into 2cm cubes. Heat the butter in a sauté pan, add the squash and fry until starting to brown. Add the sugar and shake over the heat until it has melted. Spoon the squash into the beans pot. Deglaze the pan with a little stock and add the beans. 5. Simmer for a further 30 mins until the squash is cooked, the beans are
very tender and the liquid is syrupy and well ﬂavoured. Adjust seasoning if necessary and remove the sprigs of thyme.
1. Choose a saucepan that will ﬁt the sausages in snuggly. 2. Pour in the duck fat, star anise, bay and salt. Put an extra twist in each sausage to turn into balls and add to pan. Cook on a very low heat for around 3-4 hours. This method not only adds ﬂavour to your favourite butchers’ sausage, but also gives them a new, very tender texture. They will come out quite pale, so you may want to colour them a little in a frying pan after.
1. Carefully cut the top off the Acorn squash and remove seeds. Brush with oil and season. Bake at 170c for around 15 mins, or until tender.
Fill baked squash with hot pot and top with sausages.
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November Opening Times 9-4 Mon - Sat. 10-4 Sun
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
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12 The Fens | November 2016
Home & Garden
Your garden in November
The garden begins to wind down in November as deciduous plants enter dormancy. Leaves are falling rapidly and wind and rain are on the increase. Whilst most of nature is hibernating in the colder months, winter is the ideal time to get new trees into the ground. Trees are best planted in the late autumn when the soil is still warm but not too dry, giving roots time to acclimatise before the harsher temperatures of winter arrive. Whatever you plan to do outside in November, take time to enjoy the garden as it fades leaving structural plants and evergreens to take centre stage.
Plant of the Month:
Why should you plant them?
Three Essential Gardening Jobs for November Lift and Store Corms and Tubers
Lift and store plants such as dahlias and tuberous bedding begonias that have been hit by bad weather. Store in a dry, frost-free dark place ideally in a layer of sawdust. Check occasionally over winter to ensure they are dry and rot free. Remove any that look suspicious to prevent the risk of further infection.
Tie in Tall Plants and Secure Structures
Protect Tender Plants
The weather is turning so its time to get those plants protected – frosts can do serious damage to tender plants. Frost tender plants in pots should be moved to the greenhouse, conservatory or porch. Exotic plants such as palms or tree ferns should be wrapped up for the winter with frost protection material.
Trees add structure to gardens and landscapes. As well as being used as a focal point for the garden they also make good hedges and screens. They come in a huge number of varieties, shapes and sizes and there is one to suit every taste and position. While most trees are grown for their foliage or flower, some are praised for their bark and branch shapes. Some trees look fantastic in spring while full of flower and others burst into vibrant colour in the autumn.
How should you plant them?
Young trees should be staked diagonally. This protects them from strong winds and ensures the roots do not get damaged. Most varieties of tree will have specific planting instructions. There is a tree that will thrive in all soil types from wet soil to poor dry land and everything in between. The best advice is to check the plant label or look it up in an online plant directory.
An important winter job is to stake tall plants, climbers and young trees to protect against strong winds. Check that existing ties are not cutting into stems of plants that have grown over the summer. Structures such as arches, pergolas and fences should also be checked and ideally treated with a preservative. If repaired now there is less potential for damage in high winds. Enjoy your garden!
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The Fens | November 2016 13
Home & garden
NEW GENERATION FLOORING Time to update your flooring? Simon Parr-Black looks at the newest trends and why you shouldn’t overlook synthetic fibres
Over the years, I have always been a staunch advocate for good quality woollen carpets. I would handpaint a design, then transfer that to graph paper, work out repeats, tracking etc, select the tufts of wool it was to be produced in and then send that off to one of the main carpet manufacturers for them to produce a hand trial for me. When I was happy with this trial sample, we would then go to production with a bespoke design that would be woven specifically for a client. It’s part of the design process that I have always loved, and when the new generation of synthetic carpets came to the market, I always stayed with my origins of wool... until now! Sustainability has become a buzzword used by many companies in their marketing and communication. A new breed of carpet manufacturers are taking this on board, and it’s about assuming responsibility. Endorsing the UN guidelines, working for a higher degree of sustainability, the Global Compact consists of principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. These companies are willing to find new ways of making production more sustainable – by focussing on recycling materials, cleaner manufacturing processes and alternative sources of energy. The product that is now coming to the market is surprising and shall 14 The Fens | November 2016
come to your home, or business, with a sense that you did something toward our fragile world. One of these manufacturers has been working with the renowned fashion designer, Mr Christian Lacroix, for more than a decade. Reaping the benefits of each other’s skills, Lacroix has tailored a number of impressive wall-to-wall carpets. Together, they have achieved a degree of detail in patterns and colours, making them a natural choice for this extravagant designer. From the traditional tiles or linoleum in a kitchen or bathroom, there has been an emergence for polished concrete and the like. Polished lime is now becoming more available and gives a similar appearance, but has a greener footprint. The process of manufacturing hydraulic lime releases greenhouse gases, however, unlike concrete, lime reabsorbs CO2 as it sets. As the market for this product increases, its green credentials will continue to improve, as production of lime becomes more efficient. Another manufacturer offers a unique collection of dye-infused strands of woven bamboo flooring in a range of colors. Made from sustainably-harvested bamboo manufactured to the toughest standards of durability and environmental responsibility, they bring to the table an engineered cross-ply construction of strand bamboo on top and bottom, with a regular bamboo core that ensures extra stability — especially when glued to or floated over sub-floors or in damp climates. It’s rated on the Janka hardness scale as 3271, which is in the top 1% of all hardwoods, and means it will handle just about any wear and tear. It also contains
no added urea formaldehyde in its adhesive, and uses a zero VOC finish which will not off-gas any toxic chemicals.
Other green flooring is available and is non-toxic, environmentallyfriendly and made from sustainably harvested, recycled or reclaimed sources. My eyes have been opened; I never thought I would see the day when I would happily promote synthetics alongside natural fibres. In today’s world, the idea of being able to recycle products that would otherwise be discarded, is just one way we can make this world a little greener and reduce our carbon footprint. If you are looking for new flooring options that look great and will last the test of time, you might find yourself equally surprised.
For further help and inspiration, visit a local shop for expert advice. Try Grosvenor Flooring, 16 Queen Street, Whittlesey for an informal chat, or call them on 01733 208484.
Simon Parr-Black is an interior designer. You can contact him on 01733 688235 or email him at email@example.com
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MORE THAN JUST BRICKS AND MORTAR One of the biggest manufacturers in the area, Whittleseyâ€™s brickworks is still to this day making bricks, but there have been many changes over the years. Most notably is the addition of an impressive nature reserve. THE FENS took a tour of Kings Dyke to discover the hidden world behind the clay site One beautifully sunny, autumn day we were honoured to be given a guided tour of the Kings Dyke Nature Reserve, which sits behind the entrance to Forterra Sales Office (just before the railway line in Whittlesey on the A605). How many times have you driven past on your way to work and not realised it is there? You could be forgiven for thinking that thereâ€™s not much to see, except for a working quarry and brickworks which still produces millions of bricks a week. But you would be very much mistaken. There is in fact a whole world of wildlife preservation, acres of land, multiple ponds, lakes, plants, birds, insects, reptiles, in fact the list goes on and on. But before we delve into the world of nature reserves, let us first take a step back.
16 The Fens | November 2016
A HISTORY OF BRICKS Brick making has taken place in Whittlesey since the end of the 19th Century, utilising the band of Oxford clay which runs from Yorkshire to Dorset. Originally undertaken by hand, the clay was removed from the nature reserve site as early as 1920 and taken via a tramway to the central brickworks. In subsequent years, the task of collecting the clay became mechanised using large shale planers and more recently draglines. In 1995 the owners (now Forterra) decided that the best use for part of the redundant quarry would be to turn it into a nature reserve. After discussions with local school teachers it was agreed that the site should have facilities aimed at children.
Therefore, pond dipping and birdwatching areas were planned, along with an area to dig for fossils. BIODIVERSITY After five years, the area was transformed into what can be seen today. And whilst you can still see the Fletton bricks being made, underneath the imposing chimneys, on the other side of the site is a biodiverse nature reserve. Whilst its initial design was created to enable the community to enjoy the wildlife, the key purpose was to preserve the existing habitat and develop it in such a way that it could be enhanced. Kings Dyke has carefully thought out routes which are gravelled to allow for easy access, whilst snaking beside the current brickworks to allow visitors to catch a glimpse of its industrial past. Walking through the reserve, you might just spot one of 163 species of birds, including the kingfisher or bearded tit; 24 species of mammals including water voles, otters, bats and deer; 26 species of butterflies and 21 species of dragonflies; 318 species of moths; over 300 species of plants including several rare types; three species of reptiles including grass snakes; four species of amphibians including possibly the second largest population of great crested newts in the country and many rare and scarce species of invertebrates. Nature lovers can enjoy bird watching in one of the reserveâ€™s bird hides. Here
EXTRACTION IN THE NATURE RESERVE, WHICH WAS KNOWN AS CENTRAL NO. 1 PIT, STARTED BY HAND IN THE 1920S WITH CLAY BEING LOADED INTO CHAIN HAULED WAGGONS AT THE BASE OF THE PIT, BEFORE BEING TRANSFERRED INTO TRUCKS AT THE TOP AND TAKEN BY TRAMWAY TO THE CENTRAL BRICKWORKS (WHICH WAS LOCATED TO THE SOUTH OF THE A605 PETERBOROUGH ROAD).
The Fens | November 2016 17
keen photographers can capture the wildlife in all its glory. There are also mounds of fossils to be discovered by adults and children alike, large reed beds to explore, and acres of paths to walk. So whether you are a keen walker, or you just want to get your children out exploring nature (and a bit of fossil hunting), why not visit Kings Dyke Nature Reserve?
THE DETAILS Kings Dyke Nature Reserve isn’t an open access site. This means that dogs unfortunately aren’t invited, but it allows the volunteers to protect the site, and its inhabitants. Anybody can visit the reserve with a valid permit, however. These permits last a year and are completely free. Once you’ve signed up, you will be given a key to access the hide, and can visit the reserve 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if you wish. Find out more at www.kingsdykenaturereserve.com or you can join the Facebook page and share your pictures with others. Alternatively you can call 01553 630842. Special thanks to Philip Parker. IMAGES: Historic images courtesy of Andrew Mortlock; common blue butterfly by Georgette Taylor; grass snake by Terry McKenna; kingsfisher by Terry McKenna. All other images with thanks to Chris Brudenell
18 The Fens | November 2016
Walk of the month
Upwood Meadows to Lady's Wood Following on from last month’s popular piece on the benefits of walking, writer, keen photographer, and avid fan of the great outdoors, Leanne Hyland, will be taking us on a wild walk in this new series. This month, she tackled a short 2.5 mile trek around Upwood
This ancient woodland is home to tawny owls and woodpeckers A squirrel broke the silence as I wandered through the wood. Sunlight shone in strips through the trees, crickets singing in the long grass and brightly coloured dragonflies humming as they darted through the air, inches from my face. I’m in Lady’s Wood, part of Upwood Meadows Nature Reserve in the westernmost part of the Fens. It’s a hazy September evening and apart from a group of locals collecting blackberries and the odd dog walker, there are few people around. Often overlooked due to its size, Upwood has a lot to offer. In Summer, wildflowers spread across the three distinct meadows which form the reserve, while Autumn provides a
multitude of fresh berries and wild fruits including sloes, haws, rosehips and apples. Grassland fungi and waxcap mushrooms can also be found at this time of year. My 2.5 mile circular walk begins in Upwood Car Park and continues to Lady’s Wood, a forested area approximately 600 metres away. - though there’s plenty of scope to stretch this out or cut it short if you have little ones in tow. The trail begins immediately. Walking through the gate into the first meadow I spot a herd of friendly dairy cows, munching their way around the field, at ease and very unconcerned by my presence.
I walk through the long grass, the air is still and I’m surrounded on all sides by freshly harvested fields with the smell of onion and leek hanging in the air. I turn right through a second gate and spot hundreds of strangely shaped mounds nestled in the grass, which I later learn are yellow meadow ant hills. Farm buildings and hay bales stacked high, line the horizon while rushes and long swathes of grass whimper gently in the breeze. I pass a pond and turn another corner before I spot a bridge ahead, hidden in a tunnel of trees. I pass the cows for a second time and creep through the tunnel. These large grazing animals play a very important role in maintaining the meadows and can be seen from late April all the way through until November. Their continual chomping allows wildflowers to thrive and controls the growth of competitive grasses. Pushing on through open farm-land I can see unobstructed views for miles around. Despite the unquestionably flat nature of the Fens compared with other parts of the UK - they’re one of the best places to spot wide open vistas and big skies. I notice the sun beating down on me and breathe a sigh of relief as I reach the relative shade of Lady’s Wood 15 minutes later.
Freshly dug ﬁelds signal the end of the harvest The Fens | November 2016 19
Walk of the month Inside the forest the temperature drops. Towering oak trees form the canopy and I follow the clearly marked path through the undergrowth, resting a while on a carved bench in the clearing ahead while listening to lively birdsong above. I head further into the forest before coming to the central clearing where a second pond and former bird watchers hide stands. Rotted logs covered in bright green moss and large fungi growing high on tree trunks line the tiny clearing. Continuing through, I pass squirrels and pheasants as they dart through bushes desperate not to be seen, before emerging at the edge of the forest. Wandering back to the meadows as the sun begins to set, an orange glow hovers over the fields and I take a moment to soak up the calm before retracing my steps to the tunnel, pausing to pick blackberries along the way. As I drive off, I watch as the cows with their large fluffy heads drink hungrily from a rusting water trough, refreshing themselves in preparation for another long day munching away on the reserve.
Difficulty Level: Easy. Distance: 2.5 miles. Time: 50 minutes for the full circular walk. Nearest pub: Cross Keys in Upwood, a twominute drive away. Cows drink between 30 to 50 gallons of water every day
20 The Fens | November 2016
Watch out for bright yellow arrows which mark the trail to Ladyâ€™s Wood
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5 REASONS TO
JOIN A CLASS For some of us, finding the right exercise class could be the key to getting fit and having fun - at the same time! This month we look at five reasons why you should consider joining one today
Most importantly, exercise classes are fun! New Vision Fitness in Whittlesey, have a great range of fun classes which are designed to be really enjoyable, so you hardly notice that you’re actually getting fit in the process! For example, classes such as Clubbercise and Zumba are perfect for anyone who enjoys dancing!
Not everyone has an encyclopaedic knowledge of health and fitness, and for those of us who are unsure what’s the best way to exercise, joining a class ensures you have a trained professional to lead the group, and offer one-on-one support. Ask at your local New Vision centre, and they will be able to suggest which class would be most suitable, depending on your age, fitness and personal goals.
From BODYPUMP™ to Clubbercise, Mature Movers to Yoga, there’s a fitness class for everyone. So why should we mix up our exercise regime and fit in a class at a leisure centre?
Let’s face it, training for a particular event or exercising on your own can be pretty lonely. Unless you have a group to train with, solitary runs, bike rides, or walks can start to seem less appealing as the weather turns and you’ve covered the same five-mile
roundtrip a dozen times. We’ve said it before, but exercising with others is a great way to stay motivated, and there’s no better place for ensuring you’ll stay motivated than at your local leisure facility. Meeting the same group of people each week, means there’s always plenty of likeminded individuals who can help to encourage and support you. And if your motivation is really dwindling, knowing there’s a supportive class who is expecting you, will mean you’re less likely to find an excuse.
It doesn’t matter your gender, age, fitness level, or work commitments, there will be a class for you! Gentle classes, such as Healthy Hearts or Yoga, are an ideal group for those wanting to tone up or build up fitness in a low impact way. At the other end of the spectrum, Group Cycle and Abs or Insanity, are more intense classes for quicker results. And from full-time workers to stay-at-home parents, there are classes, times and four different centres to choose from, Monday to Sunday. So there really is no excuse!
AND FINALLY, GET FIT!
Of course the key to any fitness class is to combine all of the positives above with the main result of getting fitter in the long run. Each class is designed to improve your fitness and well-being. So why not start your New Year’s Resolutions early, and find an exercise class to suit you today?
You can find a list of fitness classes at New Vision Fitness, including a timetable. Please visit www.newvisionfitness.co.uk/classes or call 01354 622399
22 The Fens | November 2016
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Out in the Fens
Every month, we explore the Fens to bring you news of the people, places and exciting goings-on that are worth knowing about in our area - PLACES - EVENTS - PEOPLE - NEWS - WILDLIFE - COMMUNITY
Image Chris Brudenell
ACTS OF REMEMBRANCE Friday 11th November at 11.00am Act of Remembrance at Whittlesey War Memorial Friday 11th November at 11.00am Act of Remembrance at Coates War Memorial. Sunday 13th November at 9.30am Holy Communion with Act of Remembrance – St Andrew’s Church Sunday 13th November at 10.45am Coates War Memorial with Act of Remembrance, followed by Civic Service in Holy Trinity Church.
Sunday 13th November 11.00am Morning Service with Act of Remembrance – St Thomas’ Sunday 13th November at Midday Turves War Memorial Act of Remembrance Sunday 13th November 12.15pm Eastrea War Memorial with Act of Remembrance
REMEMBRANCE PARADE Sunday 13th November The Royal British Legion and Whittlesey Town Council welcome everyone to attend the Parade and Service. If you wish to take part in the parade, please ensure you are at the Ivy Leaf for 1.15. The parade will leave the Ivy leaf at 2.00, the Act of Remembrance at the Whittlesey Memorial on Queen Street is at 2.30, this is followed by a Civic Service at 3.00pm in St Marys’. For further information on any of the above please contact Sue Piergianni – Town Clerk on 01733 351296 or via email email@example.com
The The Fens Fens | | Novemer November 2016 2016 25
WHITTLESEY IN BLOOM WILL CONTIN-
Must Farm on the move The team at Must Farm took their finds and archaeological knowledge on the road last month, visiting museums and schools. Sir Harry Smith Community College and Park Lane Primary School were just some of the places visited. We popped along to join the Whittlesey primary school children at Park Lane, to find out a little more. During the day, the excited children took part in a range of activities which enabled them to see not only what had been found at the site, but also understand what life would have been
like if they were living at that time. Peter Ingham, Head of upper school added, “We were delighted when we were contacted by the people at Must Farm as we knew this would be an exciting learning opportunity for our children. As a result of the visit, children had been engaged in a project which has huge significance for this area. It is important for us that children learn about what life would have been like all those years ago. We’d like to thank the people at
WHITTLESEY STREET PRIDE Members of the Whittlesey Street Pride volunteer group were present at the recent "Celebration Evening 2016" event, held at the Braza Club in March. Certificates were issued to local Fenland volunteer groups by Cllr. Peter Murphy and Rebecca Robinett, the FDC co-ordinator for volunteer groups in Fenland, hosted the event. Certificates were awarded to ‘Friends of Whittlesey Cemetery’, which were received on this occasion by R. Exton (left of picture). Whittlesey Street Pride certificate was collected by F. Mills (centre of picture), and the ‘Whittlesey in Bloom’ certificate was collected by B. Gray-Esson (right of picture) for the contributions made by these volunteer groups in Whittlesey. The evening concluded with a presentation by James McAdie about the work of Froglife. Photography was courtesy of John Carey, and after an enjoyable buffet, everone expressed that a good evening had been enjoyed by one and all. Street Pride have continued with their regular litter picking programme in 26 The Fens | November 2016 26 The Fens | November 2016
Must Farm for enabling this to happen.” Children took part in activities that involved handling real life objects and then reconstructing them in drawings, as well as sieving soil taken from the site which revealed many secrets about the time. Images by Chris Brudenell
WHITTLESEY TRAVEL PICKS UP RETAILER OF THE YEAR AT THE 2016 FENLAND BUSINESS AWARDS
recent weeks, and have been joined by some new volunteer members, for which we are delighted with their help. The group are pleased to report a significantly less amount of litter lately, although fly tipping continues to be a problem. Our planting for winter at our gateway sites is now under way. If any new volunteers wish to join us, they would be made most welcome, please see details below. Next month we invite our members to the annual Christmas party.
Last month we attended the Fenland Business Awards, and were delighted to witness Whittlesey-based businesses picking up nominations and awards. Congratulations go to Hugh Crane and Lawgistics for being nominated, and particularly to Whittlesey Travel who won Retailer of the Year 2016. Sarah Langford, director at Whittlesey Travel, added: “We have been open nearly six years, and to win this is fantastic. We have a great team and we have all worked extremely hard, so this makes it all worthwhile. It gives us tremendous satisfaction to be Retailer of the Year, and it is an honour to be recognised for our efforts. Not forgetting our wonderful customers, because without them, it wouldn’t have happened. “We look forward to the years ahead, and continuing to succeed and being the best at what we do.”
Contact: Chairman on 01733 202874; or Secretary on 01733 204041.
• For more information about Whittlesey Travel, visit www.whittleseytravel.com
JASON COMPLETES HIS EPIC WALK Jason Osborne, a local electrician from Whittlesey who we featured in the September issue of THE FENS, successfully completed his walk from the west coast of the UK across to the east coast. The 200 miles took 14 days, a remarkable achievement given that his feet suffered with massive blisters on day two and three, due to the wet conditions. Jason started his walk by collecting a stone from the beach and dipping his toes in the sea. When he eventually arrived at the east coast, he placed the same stone on the beach and again dipped his toes in the sea. He then celebrated with a well-earned pint. Jason finished his mammoth walk on 24th September. During his journey, Jason travelled over some steep and unforgiving routes. His journey was more difficult than usual as he camped in the wild every night. He ate pre-packed dried food. He also gave up his family holiday to undertake the walk, and managed to raise in excess of £2,200 for Defibrillators For All. Next year, the aim of the charity is to screen as many young people as possible for undiagnosed heart conditions. Thanks to Jason’s efforts,
another 44 young people can be screened (at a cost of £50 per day). It costs £5,000 for each full day of screening, and 100 young people can be screened in a day. After completing, Jason added: “So my adventure is over and mission accomplished, I want to thank each and everyone who donated. To everyone who supported me by commenting daily and wishing me luck throughout, it’s your comments that kept me going. I especially want to thank William Boardman and GCE, because they provided all the extra kit I needed to do this epic trek. My advice to everyone is to get out and explore this beautiful country we have, I truly have seen places that I never thought existed, met some amazing people, and made some great friends along the way. What a great country we live in! And as they say in Lancashire, ‘GRAND AS OWT LAD.’” Deborah Slator, chair of Defibrillators For All, added: “We are so grateful to Jason for taking on this gigantic task to support the people of Whittlesey, and help us to raise much needed funds.
B2B Cyclists raise an impressive total for local charities THE FENS reported previously about the Letter Bs annual charity bike ride (of which editor Natasha Shiels was thrilled to have joined this year). Last month some of the cyclists, along with the two chosen charities, took part in a presentation evening. Cheques were handed over to Louise Nicholls of NGNPUK, and Whittlesey Young People’s Counselling Service. In total, an incredible £4,775 was raised. Thanks to the team’s efforts, Louise added: “We will be able to purchase three more syringe drivers for the Whittlesey area with our donation, which is amazing! We would like to say a massive thank you to Bruce and everyone involved!” NGNPUK also handed over a total of 8 syringe drivers to Jenner Health Centre in October. Good work all round I’d say.
BROWNIES CELEBRATE 40 YEARS! On November 23rd, the Brownie Unit (3rd Whittlesey) will be celebrating its 40th birthday! To celebrate, the group are arranging a special meeting that night, and would like to
welcome any ex-leaders to join them. The group meets at 6:307:45pm and plan on having lots of messy, silly fun, including singing and getting hyper (so they told us!). It certainly
sounds like one not to miss. So if you have been involved in the Brownies in the past, come along, and join in the fun!
The Fens | November 2016 27 The Fens | November 2016 27
Exploring the FENS
Gothic Fenland Gothic is perhaps not something that you would usually associate with Fenland. The term ‘gothic’ is more often related to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Bram Stoker’s Dracula; dark novels representing a genre of Victorian horror. Even the gothic architectural style is more readily thought of in terms of the grand cathedrals of Europe: Notre-Dame in Paris, York Minster, or even closer to home Peterborough and Ely Cathedrals. But in medieval times, Gothic became the architecture of churches, with a revival of the style in Victorian England. Many places of worship in Fenland are fine, smaller scale examples of this fabulous building style, including the church of St. Mary in Whittlesey. With its tall, imposing spire, St. Mary represents all that is great about original Gothic architecture. Its light, bright windows and airy interior make it a classic example of a revolution in medieval design that enabled structures to be built higher than ever before, with spires reaching, quite literally, to the heavens. With pointed arches and crocketed spire (crockets are the knobbly bits that decorate the upright edges), St. Mary is simply stunning. Visible for miles in all directions, the spire dominates
the Fenland landscape surrounding Whittlesey. But it is not the only gothic inspiration in Fenland. St. Wendreda in March, St. Leonard in Leverington, and All Saints in Walsoken represent fine examples, whilst smaller churches built in this style abound across Fenland towns and villages.
One of the most notable features of gothic architecture is the gargoyle. Gargoyles are decorative, monstrous little creatures perched along the roofs and battlements of gothic buildings, including churches. Gargoyles have a practical purpose: they are water spouts, enabling rainwater to drain off the roof through their mouths. But they also had another intention - leering down from on high with exaggerated, evil features or threatening poses, they would strike fear into the hearts of medieval peasants, scaring them into the church or cathedral to seek solace and safety. So next time you are out in Fenland, why not look beyond the modern and get a glimpse into the sheer spectacle that is a gothic church, and be in-spired.
YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LOCAL CHURCHES AT: visitcambridgeshirefens.org
'Gothic' is not a term that medieval builders and architects would have used. The style itself became popular around 1150 and continued until 1450 or so, when it began to go out of fashion to be replaced by Renaissance architecture. It is renaissance architects who coined the term 'gothic', and retrospectively applied it to this earlier style. Thinking it old-fashioned and uncouth, the name alludes to the Goths, barbarians who wreaked havoc across Europe centuries earlier. To discover more about enjoying the Cambridgeshire Fens and ideas for great days out, please visit
www.visitcambridgeshirefens.org 28 The Fens | November 2016
www.facebook.com/ visitcambridgeshirefens.org Find us on Twitter: @CambridgeshireF
Appreciating Art with U3A A successful U3A stand in Market St. for this year’s Festival resulted in lots of enquiries and several newcomers joining – we are now approaching 200 members, a marvellous achievement in less than two years of existence! At October’s open meeting, Citizens Advice Bureau gave a talk about working in rural areas, and her experiences. This month we are to be entertained by a jazz band, so why not come along at 1.45pm on November 20th to Childers in Station Road, to be entertained and to find out what the U3A has to offer you? This month I introduce you to another of our “Interest Groups” – ART APP - which is run by Michele Burgess, who incidentally is a “glutton for punishment” and a saint by also running the Italian Language & Culture and French groups! I think you will find, like me, her article below fascinating in its detail, and may well whet your appetite to learn more! Tony Wright, Publicity Officer, Whittlesey U3A, Tel 01733 701628
Are you interested in learning about art? Then why not come along to our monthly Art App meetings? We have studied some interesting characters in the last two sessions. In August we looked at the work of Caravaggio (real name Michelangelo Merisi from Caravaggio), who as well as being a dramatic almost cinematic artist with striking and violent paintings, had an eventful life. He mainly lived in Rome and Naples and was always getting into fights - he once threw a plate of artichokes over a waiter who had insulted him! He was accused of libel and several assaults, and then he murdered a man and had to flee Rome for Naples, Malta and Sicily. He became a Knight of St. John in Malta, got into a brawl and was held in an underground prison carved out of the rock - he escaped using a rope ladder and sailed to Sicily, then back to Naples. He was sailing back to Rome to receive a pardon from the Pope when he went ashore while the ship was picking up cargo and insulted a garrison captain, he was jailed for two days! When he got out of jail, the boat had disappeared along with three of his paintings. He commandeered a horse and rode 50 miles in one day in the searing July heat to meet the boat at its next stop. He arrived before the boat, but unfortunately he had fallen ill and he died of a fever aged 38 in a small town where no one knew him, a sad end for an intriguing and talented man. How many famous female painters do you know? At our Art App in September we learned about one female painter with the wonderful name of Artemisia Gentileschi, who struggled against 17th century Roman conventions. The restrictions of being female with no legal rights at that time, an assault and a resulting trial at the age of 17, marriage to a husband who gambled away her earnings and then disappeared, a domineering and neglectful father, motherhood and the loss of three of her five children, travelling on her own (almost unheard of at that time), moving to Naples, Venice and Florence and setting up her own workshop. She also worked in England with her father at the court of Charles I in 1639, and had to flee as the Civil War broke out - she was an Italian Catholic which was a dangerous combination at the time. She lived her last years in Naples and died in the devastating plague of 1656 at the age of 60. She painted mainly biblical scenes depicting strong women such as Susanna, Judith and Mary Magdalen and also painted portraits of the leading people of Rome, Florence and Naples. An admirable and inspiring woman! Michele Burgess
W&D Business Forum Do come along and join us for the November meeting of the Business Forum on Wednesday the 30th. We meet at the Falcon Hotel at 6pm, for a 6:30pm start. The speaker this week will be advising on the Christmas Lights planned for the Town. There will also be details of the Forum’s own CHRISTMAS WINDOW COMPETITION, which is open to all businesses in the area. See you there, Steve Hodson 01733 203064 Chair W&D Business Forum
COUNCILLOR SURGERIES This month’s councillor surgeries will be held in Grosvenor House from 09:30 to 10:30 on Saturday November 12th and Saturday November 26th. Saturday November 12th Councillors present will be: Councillor Ralph Butcher (District, and Town Councillor); Councillor Rita Jolley (Town Councillor). Saturday November 26th Councillors present will be: Councillor Kay Mayor (District, and Town Councillor); Councillor Bob Wicks (Town Councillor). If you have any matters of concern and wish to discuss with a Councillor, then please come along and let us know.
TOUR OF CAMBRIDGESHIRE
UPDATE Early this year, Whittlesey Town Council carried out a residents survey to find out if residents would like to route this cycle race through Whittlesey. The people of Whittlesey voted in favour of this. We have been working with the race organisers since then to try and make this happen in 2017. Unfortunately, due to other changes imposed on them, a lot of the budget set aside for Whittlesey has had to be used elsewhere. This means that the organisers do not have enough cash for the race to come through Whittlesey in 2017. I know that this will disappoint many people. The organisers remain committed to Whittlesey, and will now work to try and make this happen in 2018.
TheFens Fens||November November2016 2016 29 29 The
Hugh Crane “Clean Up” at their NEW Showroom and National Training Facility Hugh Crane (Cleaning Equipment) Ltd held their open day last month at their refurbished site at 148 Station Road in Whittlesey. The multi-million pound investment sees the business strategically placed to meet the ever increasing demands from customers along the A1 corridor. The new showroom and national training centre was officially opened by Steve Barclay MP for North East Cambridgshire. Steve praised the re-investment in the business and thanked the company for their continued support and expansion of the site, where they have built a loyal client base over so many years. Jim Saunders, manager of the branch near Peterborough explained: “We have been operating from the site since October 2001, and when the option of acquiring the site next door became available in 2014, we decided that strategically it was the right time to expand.
30 The Fens | November 2016
“Over the last few years we have seen a large increase in companies investing in the area to make the most of the excellent transport links. The central location and the demand for warehousing has seen an increase in the demand for state of the art cleaning equipment.” Clearly our previous facilities didn’t allow us to cope with this demand, so the investment was essential for the long term growth of the business. Over the last two years a large amount of investment has been made in the site and we now have one of the largest Cleaning Equipment showrooms in East Anglia, along with a dedicated National Training Centre. Customers can now visit the site and demo the equipment before purchasing which we see as a major advantage. Hugh Crane supplies a large range of cleaning equipment, chemicals and supplies from some of the industry’s leading manufacturers, as well as having their own range of specialist manufacturing facility. All of their major suppliers held demonstrations during the day on
their range of specialist equipment which gave clients the opportunity to view the latest developments within the sector. Manufacturers demonstrating their equipment included Commando Pressure Washers, MAC International, Kranzle, Karcher, Nilfisk Alto, Numatic P Wave IVO, Meguiars, IPC Gansow and G&S Services from Penrith. The event was well attended and suppliers also gave prices for a raffle where money was raised for Sue Ryder at Thorpe Hall in Peterborough. You can find Hugh Crane (Cleaning Equipment) Ltd at 148 Station Road, Whittlesey. 01733 206991 www.hughcrane.co.uk
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FB: www.facebook.com/ fandgskiphire/ The Fens | November 2016 31
Festive Fun for the Family Looking for something a bit different to entertain the troops this month? We’ve got a round-up of some particularly festive ideas to keep even the fussiest of family members happy this season
Only £9 per child!
Visit Santa's Grotto Skylark’s Santa’s Grotto is open the 26th and 27th November, the first three weekends in December, and the 19th 24th December. To save lengthly queues, you can book a time slot every hour from 9am, with the last entry at 3pm! And anyone with small children understands the pain of waiting in a long queue with small children! For £9 per child, your little ones can have their picture taken with Santa, see Skylark’s REAL nativity, do some Christmas colouring and make some reindeer food. Each child is greeted by the charming elf, and can choose their own gift from Santa’s toy shop. Book early to avoid disappointment. Early bird bookings can save up to £2. For more information please visit www.skylarkgardencentre.co.uk • Skylark Garden Centre, Manea Road, Wimblington, March PE15 0PE
A festive shopping evening
Great for train fans!
Santa Specials at Nene Valley Railway returns this month. Starting on November 26th right up to and including Christmas Eve, you can travel on Thomas the Tank Engine and enjoy a memorable Christmas experience for the whole family. All aboard! The Santa experience starts with a welcome from the NVR station staff and badge team. This is followed by an exciting visit to Santa’s log cabin where each child receives a special present. Families then join the steam hauled, decorated train for a 50-minute ride to Peterborough and return. During the journey children receive a drink and chocolates. Parents and other adults are not forgotten, with a mince pie and either an alcoholic miniature, wine or a hot drink. There’s even a final visit from Santa as he walks through the train. You can choose different packages to suit your budget and taste, but all must be pre-booked in advance online. You must also print your own e-ticket (or pay an extra £1 for it to be posted). All the trains depart from, and return to, Wansford. For information visit www.nvr.org.uk/events/santa-specials • Nene Valley Railway Ltd, Wansford Station, Stibbington, Peterborough PE8 6LR
See a Christmas Light Display
For a truly magical experience, there’s nothing quite like a big Christmas light display, and it doesn’t get much better (or closer!) than Willow House in Turves. Lighting up his house from 5pm until 9pm, and kicking off on Thursday December 1st, Robert Dempsey is hoping for an even bigger display this year. Raising over £12,000 in 2015 for his chosen charity, Cancer Research UK, Willow House Christmas Lights is an impressive display with a nativity, snow machine, and plenty of parking to the rear of the property. Donations to the same charity are collected on site. Follow the Facebook page to keep updated with the big switch on. • Willow House, Duncombes Road, Turves, PE7 2DS
For the Grown-ups! A Taste of Christmas is coming to Van Hage on November 17th between 6pm and 8pm. The magical evening is fit for the whole family (though possibly not for small children). The store will be holding a late night experience where there will be free mince pies, wine tasting, hog roast, Westwood Musical Society Choir, butchery demonstrations, exclusive discounts and a grand raffle. There will also be 100 free goodie bags given away. The Taste of Christmas is a great opportunity to buy some Christmas gifts, or to treat yourself. Find out more at www.vanhage.events • Van Hage, Peterborough Garden Park PE1 4YZ
32 The Fens | November 2016
Raising money for charity
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The Writer's Corner Local author and mother of two
Jordan shares her musings
Mothers & teenage Daughters: the amusing facts and ﬁgures
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As both a mother and stepmother of teenage daughters, I had plenty of inspiration to draw from at home when writing my debut novel, 183 Times A Year – a humorous observation of contemporary family life. However, like most writers, I also carried out a great deal of research. These are just some of the interesting and amusing facts I discovered about mothers and their teenage daughters.
About teen girls and power
It is suggested that the mother-daughter relationship is so powerful it affects everything from a woman’s health to her self-esteem. Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of the book Mother-Daughter Wisdom (Hay House), says,
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“The mother-daughter relationship is the most powerful bond in the world, for better or for worse. It sets the stage for all other relationships.”
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Their need to separate
While most 5 year-old girls love their mothers with an unshakeable conviction, it’s often a different story by the time they reach their teens. The once-adored mother, who rarely put a foot wrong,is suddenly always doing or saying embarrassing things. Teenage daughters often feel torn between wanting to remain close to their mothers and wanting to separate.
The facts and figures
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According to a survey posted in The Telegraph in May 2013, studying the relationship between teenage daughters and their mothers, the Facebook/Tweeting, selfie-taking, music and mobile phone-obsessed teenage girl will, during a year:
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Cry over boys 123 times Slam 164 doors Have 257 fights with brothers and sisters Fall out with their friends 127 times despite spending 274 hours on the phone to them. Guess what they do 183 times a year! Hang on in there!
205310 or 0784 (No Sundayon: opening) Telephone Wayne01733 Fisher 2 Barnes Way, Whittlesey, Peterbo 01733 205310 or 07847 533570 Telephone Wayne Fisher on:
It is estimated that by the time a woman reaches the age of 23, she finally starts to acknowledge and appreciate everything her mother did for her. Most daughters are grateful for their mother’s guidance throughout the tough times, even though they failed to realise it at the time.
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By Eva Jordan, author of 183 Times A Year 2 Barnes Way, Whittlesey, Peterborough PE7 1LE 34 The Fens | November 2016
up their sleeves Husband and wife team, Lewis and Natalie Slack, have more than one reason to celebrate. For starters their Whittlesey-based business, Ace Tones, is going from strength to strength, and secondly they’ve got everything they could possibly need to throw the party of the century Step into the hub of Ace Tones, and you could be forgiven for thinking you are in some Hollywood dressing room, or have found yourself an extra in a James Bond film. There are props, casino tables, photo booths and cocktail tables galore. And after meeting Lewis, it is pretty clear that Ace Tones is a business that prides itself in making events first class.
SO WHO ARE ACE TONES?
Lewis started the business as an entertainment agency, which led a few years later into events. “After being asked many times,” Natalie explained, “we decided to start a new aspect of the business with marquees, a range of furniture, dance floors, staging, lighting and much more. It enabled us to provide everything for an event, wedding or party.” And with clients such as Waitrose, John Lewis and Channel 4, in just 10 years the company has grown into an impressive business. Working for corporate clients, Ace Tones’ trusted and experienced team hire out a range of themed party props and equipment to ensure every event is methodically planned and executed. So whether you want a Casino Royale themed party with a matching table, or a glamorous awards ceremony with a Hollywood backdrop, the sky really is the limit. The family-run company also caters for private parties and weddings. Offering a range of marquees, table and chair hire, to sophisticated lighting, live music, catering, and much more, you can be certain that you will have a day for you and your guests to remember.
Ace Tones have an extensive range of activities, many of which are a huge hit at family fun days. Providing something for everyone from Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting, Photo booths, Batak Walls, Rodeo Bull, Bungee Run, Bouncy Castles and unlimited candy floss and popcorn, to name a few!
With over 70-80% of their bookings being repeat business, Ace Tones have a great reputation. “We take pride in our service from beginning to end. We provide prompt, efficient and friendly customer service and work with each client to provide them with their exact requirements to ensure that everything runs smoothly.” Ace Tones methodically organise each element, ensuring guests have the most fun possible.
Of course when THE FENS was invited down, we just had to test the photo booth. Between picking wigs and comedy glasses, I can honestly say that I haven’t laughed that hard in a really long time! It’s not often you can point a gun at your husband, or swim with sharks! But isn’t that the point really? Ace Tones can liven up any event, corporate or private. They’re based in Whittlesey and have built their success on the basis of trust and hard work. So next time you’re looking to hire a marquee, prop or activity, pull out your ace and give them a call. • Find out more at www.acetonesgroup.com, www.hirecaprimarquees.co.uk or call 01733 442025.
The Fens | November 2016 35
What are the Middle Level Commissioners? The Middle Level Commissioners are a statutory corporation, constituted in their present form in 1862, and are responsible for flood defence and navigation within the Middle Level area. Their members consist of landowners and representatives of local authorities, and the majority of their income is raised through local drainage rates on agricultural properties and levies on such authorities. Their entire area is at flood risk and is classed as a “defended flood plain.”
The Middle Level area lies between the main River Nene to the north-west and the Great Ouse The Middle Level area lies between the main River Nene to the northwest and the Great Ouse (Old Bedford) River to the east, and comprises about 170,000 acres (70,000ha). It contains settlements such as Chatteris, March, Ramsey and Whittlesey. It is the largest single pumped drainage catchment in the United Kingdom, with the whole river system discharging through St. Germans Pumping Station near Kings Lynn, into the River Great Ouse. Within the Middle Level, there are also a number of independent local internal drainage districts, each of which discharge their excess surface water, normally by pumping, into the 36 The Fens | November 2016
Middle Level rivers. At the beginning of the 17th century, the population was growing, there was a greater need for food production and the fertile nature of the Fens was recognised as making them potentially very productive. One of the major landowners in the Fens at this time was the Earl of Bedford, and he and a group of 13 other ‘Adventurers’, agreed on a project to ‘drain the Fens’ to enable farming to take place. The Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden was employed to undertake the work. His first scheme, undertaken in the 1630s, employed the principle that the most effective way to evacuate excess flows was through a network of long straight cuts which would get water quicker to the sea, and locally he constructed the Old Bedford River from Earith to Salters Lode, which cut off the meandering course of the Ouse. A further, more extensive scheme, was carried out in the 1650s following the Civil War and, in the Middle Level area, watercourses such as the Forty Foot, Sixteen Foot and Twenty Foot were cut as well as the New Bedford, or Hundred Foot River, running parallel to the Old Bedford. In addition, since at times the rivers would not be able to contain the flows coming down them, the Ouse or Hundred Foot Washes were constructed between the two Bedford rivers, to contain these flows. These ‘Ouse Washes’
are still used as a flood storage reservoir, when the local river system cannot cope with flows. They are filled via gates opening at Earith, and discharge their water into the tidal river, at Welmore Lake Sluice. The Washes are classified as a large raised reservoir and subject to regular engineering inspections. Between the main land area of the washes and the Middle Level area, is the Middle Level Barrier Bank, there to prevent water from the Washes overtopping into the Middle Level. However, by the end of the 17th century, problems with the drainage were occurring. Localised gravity drainage was becoming more difficult, and it soon became clear that the land was shrinking. The soil mainly consisted of peat and within a matter of forty years, the peat had begun to shrink alarmingly, as it was drained. The continued peat shrinkage is most obviously seen at Holme Fen near Peterborough, where a post was sunk into the ground in 1848 so that its very top was at ground level. By the end of the 19th century alone, a further 12 feet 6 inches (3.8 metres) of peat had disappeared, leaving much of the post well above the shrunken ground level. The post was not of course even placed into the ground until nearly 200 years after the main drainage scheme was completed. Originally, the majority of the Middle Level area drained by gravity to the River Ouse at Salters Lode, via
Well Creek, with excess flows being diverted into a washland, Tongs Wash, linked to Well Creek at Nordelph, where they could be stored until falling river levels allowed the water to be let back into the system or directly into the tidal river. The remainder of the area drained to the Old Bedford via the Forty Foot River and Welches Dam. By the early years of the 19th century however, gravity drainage at these locations was proving less efficient and, a new watercourse, the Middle Level Main Drain, was constructed from Three Holes to Wiggenhall St. Germans, near Kings Lynn, where tide levels were up to 7 feet (2.2 metres) lower. The new Main Drain discharged to the River Ouse through sluices at Eau Brink. Continued shrinkage led, however, to the construction of the first St. Germans pumping station in 1934 at Wiggenhall, about half a mile upstream of the former sluices, to become the primary discharge mechanism. This station had a discharge capacity of 40 cumecs and originally had three diesel powered pumps. It was improved in 1951 with the installation of a fourth diesel pump and again in the 1970s when two pumps were electrified. In the early 2000s however, work began to replace the station and the present station was opened in 2010, at a cost of £40 million. It protects 26,000 properties as well as high grade agricultural land, transport systems and utilities, and has six pumps powered by electricity, but each with a diesel powered generator. The station has a discharge capacity of 100 cumecs, or 7830 tonnes per minute, and could empty an Olympic swimming pool in a little over 20 seconds. To find out more about the Middle Level Commissioners and the work they do, please visit: www.middlelevel.gov.uk Images by Chris Brudenell
AUTUMN ON THE FARM Words by Philip Bradshaw
As autumn moves into winter, it is a good time to look back at the past season farming here in the Cambridgeshire Fens. The cereal harvest started back in July, and as we eagerly awaited results of crop yields, the results for Winter Barley and Oilseed crops were sadly disappointing with yields well below average. With the wet and cold early summer, this was not a surprise, and we feared for a very poor harvest. Happily, the late summer weather was very good, harvest progressed, and while yields for the wheat crop were below average, it was great to get it harvested on time and without having to spend a fortune on drying the crop. Wheat should be only 15% moisture for storage and use, and some summers the weather means it just doesn’t get it that dry in the field… Sunshine is much cheaper than gas or diesel used to dry the harvested crop, so a useful cost saving for harvest 2016. Prices however are still fairly low, although up on last year due to currency changes. Our prices have long been much more influenced by global factors rather than local issues. Happily, we generally had good quality which means, for instance, that more of our wheat will be used for bread rather than for animal feed. As the combine harvesters finished their task, the onion and potato harvest got into swing. Early indications suggest below average yields, but hopefully decent ex-farm prices to reflect the risk,
investment and sheer hard work that goes into producing such crops. It is worth remembering that the farmer unfortunately only gets a very small slice of the final price of what they produce, so an increase in the farm gate price should hardly affect the final retail price for the consumer! Sugar beet harvest is also now well under way, and the contractor’s machines are moving around the county lifting large quantities in a very short time. When we moved to Whittlesey in 1991, like most growers, we had our own little single row beet harvesting machine, and I would spend much of the autumn harvesting one row of beet at a time. Now, however, almost every grower uses a specialist contractor that will bring in a big multi row harvester and supporting trailers to harvest and haul the beet. This has made the sugar beet harvest more efficient, and the big flotation tyres on the modern machines are gentle to the soil structure below. With looking after soils in mind, we have invested on a new cereal drill for sowing our crops with no tillage, straight into the stubble from the previous crop with little or no cultivation, like ploughing. As well as saving money, this technique should protect and improve our soils by increasing organic matter, and improving worm activity which will improve soil structure. This change in the way we establish new crops should save money, and in time, increase yields. The drawback is that the new drill was very expensive, but is so far doing an excellent job. The Fens | November 2016 37
Our experts answer your questions. Send in your questions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on
I WANT A NEW
COMPUTER, BUT WHAT SHOULD I BUY?
Shopping for a new computer can be a headache, with all these gigabytes and terabytes. The most important thing when buying a new computer is to make sure you get the right hardware inside. Just because a computer looks nice and has appealing colours, it doesn’t mean that it is the one you should buy. The most important part of the computer you should look for is the processor. The processor is the brain of the computer; every time you open a program or turn it on, it is the processor that is doing all the work. If you have ever wondered why your computer is a bit slow, and your friend’s computer seems to be much faster, usually this is because they have a more powerful processor. When looking at processors, there are two main things you should look out for: CLOCK SPEED: Clock speed is how many cycles per second the processor can operate at, and this is measured in Megahertz and Gigahertz. (Modern entry level CPU’s normally have a clock speed in excess of 2GHz, anything less might not be adequate) CPU CORES: CPU Cores are independent processing units within the processor that allow the processor to do multiple instructions at the same time, within the same cycle. There are two main processor manufacturers: Intel and AMD. Both of these companies have a wide range of processors, from cheaper budget slower processors, to high end gaming and server processors. We recommend the following processors, depending what computer you are looking for: Budget: Intel Pentium & AMD Athlon X2 Entry Level: Intel Core i3 & AMD A4 High End: Intel Core i5 & AMD A6 Gaming: Intel Core i7 & AMD A10 Memory, sometimes called RAM, and hard-drives, sometimes called HDDs, can usually be upgraded, but CPU normally cannot be upgraded, especially in laptops. Desktops are easier to upgrade, so when buying a laptop the first question you should always ask is: ‘What CPU does this laptop contain?’ If the salesman doesn’t know, walk away, and if he says it’s an Intel or AMD, your next question should be how many cores and what is the clock speed? If he looks like he’s lost, then he probably is just a salesman trying to maximise his profit! And finally, stay away from Atom Celeron and E series CPUs, these are underpowered for modern applications.
SG Computing, 01733 202152 34 High Causeway, Whittlesey PE7 1AJ 38 The Fens | November 2016
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF FAT? It is always a controversial topic, but let’s forget our animosity towards fat for a moment and consider a) why it exists, and b) why does its location vary between genders?
WHY DOES IT EXIST?
Fat has to have a purpose, otherwise why have it? There are four main reasons: 1) Storage of energy and nutrients to help us during times of hardship. 2) Protection - by creating a soft coating around our organs, it absorbs shock associated with our everyday impacts (e.g. missing a step, bumping into a wall, etc), as well as the extraordinary events such as falls or blows. 3) Buoyancy to help keep us afloat in water. Humans have always lived near water, and therefore swimming/fishing has always been a part of our life. This is why most professional swimmers do not look as muscular as other athletes, because they have, and need more fat to help them float. 4) Insulation, due to its location immediately under our skin (called subcutaneous fat), and its poor conduction of heat. In the modern world however, its insulating role is becoming more redundant with the development of clothes, central heating, air condition, etc.
WHY DOES IT EXIST WHERE IT DOES?
There is no definitive answer, however all current theories relate back to our ancestry. This is because our modern existence makes up a very small percentage of our life on this planet. Thus our bodies are still programmed for the “old way” of living.
THE MALE POT BELLY
Humans used to live as hunter-gathers, and it was the job of the males to hunt, climb and fight. Hence, the chance for an impact was much higher (be it a fall, a blow from a tree, or a fight with an animal or another human). The abdomen, chest and pelvis are all areas that contain our organs, thus they need protection. The chest and pelvis have that via our skeleton, i.e. the ribs and pelvic bones respectively. The abdomen, however, is relatively exposed. Therefore it makes protective sense for men to grow fat in this area, as it acts as a pseudo-shield around our abdominal organs. Another advantage of abdominal fat is that it’s very close to our body’s centre of gravity. As hunters, fighters and climbers, it was important that males were mobile and nimble. By placing fat near our centre of gravity, dramatically reduces its impact on our mobility and positivity influences our stability.
FEMALE THIGHS AND BUM
So why not use the same approach with females? Well, it all comes down to perception and looks. If females were to have fat predominantly stored in their abdomen, it may give the impression they were pregnant. This, for obvious reasons, would put off a potential mate. Females still needed to store fat and be nimble. Therefore, the location of the fat still needed to be close to their centre of gravity. The answer was the next closest place, i.e. the buttocks and thighs. Again, this had the added benefit of acting as a stabiliser. So there you have it, who is to say that fat is all bad? Evolution certainly doesn’t!
Mayur and Ubhi at Whittlesey Osteopaths, 01733 785214
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I specialise in providing help to individuals and their families when faced with the prospect of funding care in a home or care delivered to the patient in their own home. Reasons for needing care are many, including physical and mental health issues. There are few of us that do not know someone living with what may be thought of as an age related illness, although long term care can strike at any time to anyone. Firstly, an assessment of need is carried out independently of the financial aspect. Having established the most suitable package of care for that individual, a financial assessment will be conducted. If funding is to be provided by the local authority, or the NHS, it will be made clear. When funding is to be made by the individual, it is important to know your rights and options, which is where a specialist such as myself comes in. Sometimes legal help is also required, again I can assist by introducing the right help. When the local authority pays for care, they may decide how and where the care package will be delivered. This may not suit everyone, so knowing what options are available is important because moving a patient from place to place is seldom a suitable solution. Sometimes my work is about preserving the value of an estate to ensure the money does not run out, sometimes it is to preserve as much as possible so that a legacy can be passed on. A good website to locate a suitable financial adviser is http://societyoﬂaterlifeadvisers.co.uk/findan-adviser/ - just enter the postcode for the patient or the attorney to find an adviser to help – locally, that is likely to be me. If you wish to discuss a simple way forward, contact me for a free initial consultation.
Eamonn Dorling Dip PFS, Senior Independent Financial Adviser. Brooks Wealth Management Tel: 01733 314553 Mob: 07767 795816 Email: Eamonn@brookswealth.co.uk 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 are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 684319
The Fens | November 2016 39
LIONS INTERNATIONAL TO CELEBRATE CENTENARY NEXT YEAR Next year, Lions International celebrates 100 years. Lions Clubs all over the country and abroad will be marking the occasion with special centenary events, along with their usual fundraising and service activities. In addition to this milestone, Whittlesey and District Lions Club is 25 years old. The club is one of the smallest, with 11 members whose ages range from 38 to 78! Each member has busy lives with work or family commitments, “but it’s nice to get together to do a few things throughout the year, that you know is going to make a significant difference to the lives of people in our town,” explains Lion President Louise. Every penny raised goes back into the community. “We are ‘ordinary people doing amazing things’,” she added. The group also have successful partnerships with other clubs and groups, one of which is Whittlesey Cricket Club, without whom they would struggle to keep up with Santa around Whittlesey, Eastrea, Coates and Turves for three weeks in December! “Our annual golf competition at Ramsey Bowls & Golf Club is always well attended,” Louise explained. “The shops and businesses in Whittlesey and District supported us by sponsoring holes and donating prizes. It really wouldn’t be the success that it is without their kind generosity.” Each year the Club President chooses a different charity to benefit from ‘Golf Day’. This year they presented Peterborough Association for the Blind with £1,250 in recognition of the work that they do for blind and partially sighted people living in our area. The The ‘President’s Charity’ for next year’s ‘Golf Day’ will be NGNPUK. “We were thrilled to hear that customers at Co-op had nominated us as one of 40 The Fens | November 2016
the charities to benefit from their latest initiative.” This summer we were invited to take our stall to the Forterra Fun Day, that they hold each year for their staff and families to enjoy. So what else does Whittlesey Lions do? “We attend fetes and organise race nights,” Louise explained. “We help at the Extravaganza and run an annual shop window competition for the local children at Christmas (watch out in the December issue for more info on this). Recent donations have been made to the Little Princess Trust, Cancer charities, Acorn House Trust, and we are pleased to have helped local families of children with life threatening conditions who require medical equipment and/or respite care.” Lions isn’t all about making money though, service to the community is just as important. The group have been involved with musical sessions at care homes and every year, a few lend a hand at the Straw Bear Festival. “We recognise that people don’t have time to join in with everything we do. Our members help out with events that fit in with their already hectic schedules, and choose activities that most appeal to them. We do ask people to try and make the monthly planning meeting at The Letter B pub, but other than that, there is no pressure – you just help out when you can,” added Louise. If you would like to come to a meeting, just to see what it’s like, please contact the Club Secretary, Lynn Palmer, on 07767 373264 or whittlesey. firstname.lastname@example.org We meet at The Letter B pub on the second Monday of every month at 7.45 pm. Come along and join them!
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Friday 2 December 7pm-9pm Defibrillators For All are holding an awareness session to show the community how easy the defibrillators are to use. Please come along for information, we would love to share this with you. Tea & Coffee will be provided.
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AUTO SERVICES BRIGGATE SERVICE GARAGE, 01733 202543, briggateservicegarage. co.uk
IVY LEAF CLUB, 01733 202579
QUINN’S CLUB, 01733 351657
BUILDING SERVICES MORLEY BUILDING SERVICES LTD, 01733 223304, morleybuildingservices@ yahoo.com
COMPUTERS SG COMPUTING, 01733 202152, sgcomputing.com
FITNESS/GROUPS KICKBOXING FOR BEGINNERS, 07899 938390
EPD INSULATION GROUP, 01733 202996, firstname.lastname@example.org BUSINESS COACH/ HEALTH & WELL-BEING REACH FOR THE STARS, email@example.com CARPENTRY/BUILDERS LILY ROSE CONSTRUCTION LTD, 01733 590121, lilyroseconstruction.co.uk CATERING/HOG ROASTS THE FENLAND ROASTER, 07930 494076, thefenlandroaster.co.uk OCCASIONS CATERING, 07979 497257 occasionscatering andevents.co.uk CHIMNEY SWEEPS SOOT BUSTERS, 01487 814185 soot-busters.co.uk CLUBS WHITTLESEY CONSERVATIVE CLUB, 01733 202381
CYCLE REPAIRS THE GREEN WHEEL CYCLE CO, 01733 205310, 2 Barnes Way, Whittlesey PE7 1LE DATING/MATCHMAKING HARVEST DATING, harvestdating.co.uk, harvestseniors.co.uk
NEW VISION FITNESS, 01354 622399, newvisionfitness. co.uk FINANCIAL ADVISER EAMONN DORLING, 01733 314553, eamonn@ brookswealth.co.uk FIREPLACE SPECIALISTS ASPECT FIRES, 01733 202220, aspectfires.co.uk
DENTIST WHITTLESEY DENTAL, 01733 202587, whittleseydental.com
FLOORING GROSVENOR FLOORING, 01733 390411, grosvenorflooring.com
DRY-CLEANERS/PRINT GOLDCREST, 01733 350655, 30 Market Street, Whittlesey
GARDENING WESTFIELD NURSERIES, 01733 206688, Station Road, Whittlesey PE7 2EX
ELECTRICAL & PLUMBING G’S ELECTRICAL, Part P Register Electrician, 07969 880551, Whittlesey EVENT HIRE/PLANNING ACE TONES, 01733 442025, acetonesgroup.com CARLY ADAMS EVENTS MANAGEMENT, 07943 146907, carlyadams eventmanagement.com FIRST AID FENLAND FIRST AID, 01733
LANDSCAPING AND GARDEN SPECIALISTS, 07774 310915, landscapingand gardenspecialists.com GIFT SHOP FOR THE MIND, BODY & SOUL (REIKI HEAL) HIDDEN GEMS, 01733 686220, hiddengemswhittlesey.co.uk JEWELLERY/WATCH REPAIRS THE MENDERS, 01733 685899, Unit 3 Lovells Court, Whittlesey PE7 1BW
OPTICIANS J NEVILLE OPTICIANS, 01733 208578, jnevilleopticians.co.uk OSTEOPATHS WHITTLESEY OSTEOPATHS, 01733 785214, whittlesey-osteopaths.com PUBLIC HOUSES FALCON HOTEL, 01733 351001, London Street, Whittlesey REFLEXOLOGY SUSAN BURGESS FOR REFLEXOLOGY, 01733 840102, susanburgessforreflexology@ gmail.com RESTAURANT/CAFE VESUVIO, 01733 204599, vesuviowhittlesey.com DOG IN A DOUBLET, 01733 202256, doginad.co.uk SHOPPING PEACH WILLOW, 07590 505398, peachwillow.co.uk SKIP HIRE F&G SKIP HIRE, 07415 440330, firstname.lastname@example.org WINDOWS, DOORS, CONSERVATORIES PRESTIGE HOME IMPROVEMENTS, 01733 785125, prestigepeterborough.co.uk VIKING, CONSERVATORIES, WINDOWS, DOORS, 01733 840051, matt. vikingconservatories@hotmail. co.uk
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Call us on 07774 310915 www.landscapingandgardenspecialists.com The TheFens Fens| |November November2016 2016 41 41
Emma’s Tiny Gallery Designing beautiful bespoke pictures, we spoke to Emma Vallis on what inspires her to create such evoking characters
Emma is a mum to three girls, Maddie (18), Bella (16), and Rosa (13). She lives with her husband Alan and works full time as a freelance artist and illustrator, specialising in watercolour. Emma can usually be found with a large mug of tea and the radio on, while she scribbles away in her garden studio. “My work,” explained Emma, “is largely private commissions, based mostly on several formats I have developed over time, including children's names paintings and themed initials. I suppose my niche is really working individually with clients to produce highly personalised work. I spend a lot of time communicating with clients, often working through their hastily scribbled notes and emails to pull out themes and information that I think will work well together.” What was it that attracted you to the life of an artist? I started to rediscover my childhood love of drawing when my children were small. I became inspired to paint mermaids and fairies for their rooms, and as the colours flowed, so did my imagination! I carried on producing small artworks for friends’ children as gifts. My customer base grew and grew, helped hugely by attending lots of local fairs and events. The explosion of social media really changed things for me, from working part-time as an artist selling to local clients, to a full-time career working with clients all over the country and abroad. Initially I spent a lot of time networking online with other crafters on Facebook and Twitter, but this has really paid off for me, and as a result I really do have some wonderful clients that have been with me for years. I feel lucky to be part of this amazing online crafting community, which offers so much
support, especially when you are working on your own a lot of the time! I have been developing my skills as an artist for about 10 years now. How do you find new inspiration? I find that creativity breeds more creativity, and I don't usually find myself stuck for ideas. I do find inspiration in clutter of all kinds, and the chaos and jumble of family life - a discarded sock, an abandoned toy car, washing blowing on the line! I love enriching my work with this kind of detail, to give a wealth of things to spot. In natural scenes, I'll draw tiny leaves, flower heads, bees and birds to add that same level of detail. Your style is often to depict animals for characters. Is this a conscious decision? Animals feature in almost all of my illustrations! I love to bring them to life and 'humanise' them with expressions and accents that make them feel friendly and warm. People seem to ask me for animals all the time, particularly mice, bunnies and bears. All the British woodland animals are popular too. Tell us about a typical day for you? A typical day begins with me updating my social media with any new pieces of work, or sharing a photo of something I'm working on. Chatting to ‘likers’ and followers is
42 The Fens | November 2016
a fun part of my work, and it's great to engage with people online, especially when you work at home. Feedback and comments are very inspiring! I'll usually work on three to four smaller illustrations throughout the day, from sketching them out to finishing, framing and packing. You'll then see me fill my backpack with parcels and dash off to catch the post. Walking helps me to clarify my thoughts and ideas. In the evening we sit down to family meal and have a good chat about our day. There's always a LOT of talking! What are the positives and negatives of working in the industry? One of the most difficult things about my job is that it is just me doing it! When you are self employed you have to do pretty much everything yourself. Ordering supplies, responding to enquiries, working social media, framing, photographing, packaging, posting and cleaning are all unseen aspects of what I do, as well as the fun part of creating.
“I do f ind inspiration in clutter of all kinds, and the chaos and jumble of family life” I was delighted with a commission piece that you completed for me earlier this year. What’s been your favourite commission you’ve been requested to do? I am delighted to hear that! It's really lovely to hear how my artwork has been received. There's usually a story behind every piece I am asked to work on, and I feel very lucky that these stories are shared with me. Every couple of months I take part in an event with a group of artists and makers I have met through Facebook. We put on an online marketplace (search Sparkle Showcases), challenging ourselves with a new group theme every month. A recent artwork I created for the 'Best of British' themed event was my 'Great British Street Party' scene, full of detail with street performers and maypole dancers, a golden carriage and queen, a tea table laden with cakes. I really enjoyed working on that. What advice would you give to somebody thinking of taking on the same career? Because I was able to start building
my career when I was at home with toddlers, things have progressed gradually. It is never easy working around the demands of a family, but I do have a lot of flexibility in the way that I work. I often think that I have made my own way into doing this due to not being an art graduate. I created my own way of working and trading, rather than a formal route through education. My advice to an aspiring artist would just be keep creating! I definitely feel that determination to keep on drawing and painting over a long period of time has allowed a style to naturally develop. Building great relationships with customers keeps your work flowing too, and interactions on social media are key to this. Be yourself, people are not just buying your work, but buying into you as a person and an artist. If you could do anything differently, would you and why? Building my career from 'kitchen table' level, there are definitely gaps in my skill set business wise, and mistakes have been made at times.
I have to push myself out of my comfort zone at times, for instance, producing wall stickers was something that felt a bit scary, but I am so happy with the results, and the team at Stickerscape have been wonderful at guiding me through what's required for designs. Finally, if painting hadn’t worked out, what do you think would have been your career? That's tricky! I am not one of life's planners, more of an opportunist I guess. Years ago, before I had my children, I worked as a window dresser for a fashion retail company which was a wonderful job, being paid to play with clothes and accessories was brilliant, and in fact I learned a lot about colour and composition which benefits me even now. You can find Emma on Facebook www.facebook.com/mytinygallery/ or visit her Etsy shop at www.etsy. com/shop/emmavallisart The Fens | November 2016 43
Books, music, ﬁlms, games What we’re
The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin; Black Swan The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes is exactly that – the last days of Rabbit (real name Mia) Hayes after a four-year battle with breast cancer. But don’t let that put you off. Although heart-breaking at times, this is also a wonderfully funny, poignant and heartfelt story about family, friends, love and life. The story begins at the end – so to speak. Rabbit is dying and there is nothing to be done, despite the best efforts of Rabbit’s parents, Jack and Molly, who never give up hope of finding a cure. However, that said, this is in no way a morbid or morose tale, but rather a celebration of Rabbit’s life. For the most part Rabbit remains upbeat, headstrong and admirably honest, especially via her blog, a tool that proves to be cathartic and helps her cope with the inevitability of her situation. The narration glides beautifully between past and present, and as the story unfolds, we discover Rabbit the girl maturing into Mia the woman. Like most individuals, Rabbit has aspirations, hopes and dreams, some she fulfils and some she doesn’t. Aside from Rabbit, we are introduced to many other wonderful, colourful characters including Juliet, Rabbit’s feisty young daughter. As a mother myself, I deeply identified with the sadness Rabbit felt at having to leave her lovely daughter behind. Then there’s Jack, Rabbit’s dad, a man who clearly dotes on all his children; and Rabbit’s mum, Molly, the resolute Irish Mammy – the big hearted, hilariously funny, swearing matriarch of the family who keeps everything and everyone going. Then of course there’s Johnny Faye…the love of Rabbit’s life.
Our verdict... The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes is beautifully written, beautifully funny but also beautifully sad. It is not particularly informative about Rabbit’s illness, but rather a story about how terminal illness can affect a family – including the fact that life goes on. There is no doubt you will need to have your hankies at the ready when reading this book however, although this is a story addressing death, there can be no doubting the fact it is also about life. A life-affirming story about an ordinary life filled with love, laughter, music and some extraordinary relationships. Definitely one I’d recommend.
By Eva Jordan, author of 183 Times A Year
Heavy Entertainment Show , Robbie Williams Release date: November 4th 44 The Fens | November 2016
As a fairly recent homeowner, I find myself with a long list of jobs to do, one of which was to paint my shed. What follows is what happened when I tried to complete this simple task one Sunday morning. 9:45am: The plan was to use some existing old paint I had from my previous house. A combination of time and seriously congealed paint means that I would require multiple screwdrivers to open the lid. 9:55am: I remember all the screwdrivers are in my toolbox in the shed. I go to where the shed key is kept. The key is not there. I phone my girlfriend to see if she knows where the key is. She doesn’t answer. I continue to look for the key. 10:37am: My girlfriend returns and instantly finds the key which was located ever so slightly to the left of where I initially looked. 11:05am: I have the shed open and screwdrivers located. 11:10am: Applying too much force I hit myself in the face with one of the screwdrivers and some very runny, unusable paint covers my clothing. I spend the next 20 minutes shouting profanities. 1:11pm: Having gone to the hardware shop to buy more paint, I proceeded with the painting. 1:52pm: While painting near the window of the shed, a spider the size of a melon crawls from a crevice, along my brush and up my arm. I scream like a little girl and declare I am going nowhere near the shed again. 4:35pm: Having returned to the shed after my girlfriend promises the spider has gone, I finish painting. I need it to not rain for two hours to allow the paint to dry. 4:47pm: It begins to rain. 5:30pm: I stand outside in the rain and watch the paint wash off my shed. The rain hides my tears of frustration. So now I am left with a sort of half painted shed that I can do nothing with because I need to wait for the wood to be dry and guaranteed nice weather. I also have a big puddle of brownish paint staining my lawn. All in all, painting the shed did not go well.
§ Joe Ferridge is an occasional writer and and is open to suggestions as to how best to remove paint from jeans.
Featuring three amazing singer songwriters from the local area
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 11TH @ THE CONSERVATIVE CLUB, WHITTLESEY
❋Michael Keithson ❋Richard Groom (aka Claude Domino) ❋Hayden Gigner DOORS AT 19:30 FIRST ACT 20:00
IVY LEAF CLUB
Admission payable on the door. All money raised goes towards supporting the artists in creating new and original music
For further details call in or ring the Ivy Leaf on
NOVEMBER 11th Karaoke in the Bar 13th Remembrance Sunday Parade 19th Men in Shorts (German Night) 27th Car Boot & Xmas Fayre Coming soon DECEMBER Open Mic Nights starting 2nd Soul & Motown Night Jan 2017 4th Military Fair 7th Senior Members Xmas Dinner 9th RBL Xmas Party 11th Strong Man Event 23rd Children’s Xmas Party 26th Singer in the Function Room 31st Rock & Roll New Years Party Members Bingo starts at 7.30pm every Sun, Mon & Thurs Deaf/Hard of Hearing Club twice a month Rock & Roll Club 6.30pm every Wednesday 1 Gracious Street, Whittlesey | ivyleafwhittlesey.co.uk
BO PRE ES OK -� SE ING NT IAL � !
Inspire. Evoke. Celebrate. The
Fens Issue 5 | October 2016
A FREE lifestyle magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
Spooky Halloween Special p17-19
LOCAL MUSIC LEGEND
DAVID JAMES SMITH
History | Food | Home & garden | Nature | What’s on | Places to visit | Media The Fens | October 2016
Fens Issue 4 | September 2016
A FREE lifestyle magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
EXCLUSIVE Behind the scenes at Must Farm
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WIN cinema tickets
Visiting Peckover House
History | Food | Home & garden | Nature | What’s on | Places to visit | Media The Fens | September 2016
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What’s on GUIDE FAMILY-FRIENDLY
A Taste of Christmas event at Van Hage. Shop for Christmas gifts and enjoy some mulled wine, mince pies and a hog roast, plus music from Westwood Musical Society Choir
Christmas Shopping Evening at Falcon Hotel from 7:30pm. Come and enjoy a stress-free shopping experience, with stalls from makeup to perfume, and plenty more between
Car Boot and Christmas Fayre at the Ivy Leaf Club
Christmas Light switch on in Turves. Willow House, Duncombes Road, Turves will be switching on their impressive Christmas light display at 5pm until 9pm. But don’t worry if you can’t make the 1st, as they will be switching them on every night in the lead up to Christmas, raising money for Cancer Research UK
Alison at Conservative Club
Boat Inn Whittlesey Open Mic with Dave & Phil 8.45pm
Various services to remember the service men and women. See page 25 for a full listing of places and times
Karl at Conservative Club
Maureen James ‘Moles Feet, Black Dogs and Grey Goose Feathers’ Meeting at 7.30pm in the Town Hall. Whittlesey Society
Whittlesey’s Brownie Unit will be celebrating their 40th birthday. Any ex-leaders are welcome to join the group at their Brownie Unit from 6:30pm for lots of fun and giggles
Defibrillators for All awareness session. Come along to hear all about the defibrillators, and how to use them. Tea and coffee will be provided. St. Andrew’s Hall from 7pm-9pm. For more information see page 40
December 4th Military Fair Ivy
Men in Shorts (German Night) Ivy Leaf Railway Ramsey acoustic sessions with the Boatmen 8pm
Cliff & Hank Tribute Band £6 pp Buffet included at Conservative Club
Artists supporting Shine - Album launch Stamford Corn Exchange 7.30pm
Michael Knight at Conservative Club
Whisky Bar acoustic sessions the Boat Inn Whittlesey with the Boatmen 8.30pm
Soul & Motown Night Ivy Leaf
Whittlesey Business Forum’s next meeting is Nov 30th at the Falcon Hotel, London Street. Meet at 6pm for a 6:30pm start.
Graham James at Conservative Club
Acoustic Showcase at Conservative Club from 7:30pm. Watch David James Smith, Richard Groom and Hayden Gigner for only £4 a ticket. For more information see page 45
Act of Remembrance at Whittlesey War Memorial at 11am. There will be an Act of Remembrance at Coates War Memorial
Skylark’s Santa’s Grotto opens. Book your slot with Santa to avoid long queues. See page 32 for more information
Voodoo Lounge Mama Liz’s, Stamford acoustic sessions with Dave B 8pm
Karaoke in the Bar Ivy Leaf
Christmas Musical Fayre at St. Andrew’s Hall, 1-4pm. Live music along with a Christmas craft fayre Keneydon House Christmas Bazaar at Childers, Station Road, Whittlesey. 11am - 2pm, lots of stalls, everybody welcome
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, 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
Painting group, we meet in the Eastrea Centre every Tuesday 1pm to 4pm all are welcome, for details contact Sue on 01733 205241 Jim’s Bingo, every Tuesday and Thursday. Doors open at 7pm. Eyes down at 7.30pm at Conservative Club Hot Food every Friday lunchtime. at Conservative Club Whittlesea Society meet on the second Monday of each month at 7.30pm in the Town Hall and always have a speaker Members Bingo starts at 7.30pm every Sunday, Monday & Thursday at the Ivy Leaf Club
Email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in our events guide. Information is correct at time of printing. Please check with the venue/organiser directly. 46 The Fens | November 2016
THE KEY THEATRE PRESENTS
Written by Brad Fitt
Additional material by Simon Egerton Music & lyrics and directed by Simon Egerton
1 Dec 2016 - 8 Jan 2017 Peterboroughâ€™s original and best, traditional family pantomime - plus a 10 piece show band!
The purr-fect Christmas treat for all the family
Book your seats NOW on 01733 207 239 or visit vivacity-peterborough.com The Fens | November 2016 47
GAIN CONFIDENCE L VE SWIMMING
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@newv 48 The Fens | November 2016