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Fens Issue 5 | October 2016

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

Sp o o k y H a llowe e n Spe cia l p17-19






History | Food | Home & garden | Nature | What’s on | Places to visit | Media The Fens | October 2016 1

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The Fens | October 2016

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

DESIGN Barley Media Limited

PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Brudenell

ADVERTISING SALES 01733 202049 | 07927 192854

ACCOUNTS 01733 202049

CONTRIBUTORS Simon Parr-Black | Joe Ferridge | Eamonn Dorling | John McGinn | Westfield Nurseries | Anthony Austin | Mayur and Ubhi Mistry | SG Computing | Eva Jordan

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 It certainly has been a busy month! And whilst the weather has had its ups and downs, we were spoilt with a beautiful day at the Whittlesey Festival on Sunday 11th. I’m sure you will all agree that the organisers and volunteers who helped on the day, deserve a massive thank you. I’ve always enjoyed attending, but this year felt really special. There was a wonderful atmosphere in the air and that was despite my smallest child developing a sickness bug (which quickly spread through THE FENS HQ). Bugs aside, we’re now into October which means it is time to get our pumpkin knives sharpened, and our little bags of sweeties bought, because that’s right - it’s halloween around the corner! We’ve found a few spooky-themed events to try and tempt you, and for the really brave, there’s an article about some of the most haunted places in Cambridgeshire.... It’s not all ghosts and ghouls this month however, Chris and I took a lovely trip along the Fenland Waterways and discovered that it’s easier than you would imagine to steer a narrowboat. We also spoke to a very special Pebble Pixie about her wonderful painted pebbles that have been hidden around Whittlesey. And if that’s not enough, how about an interview with the legend that is Dave Smith? Enjoy this month’s read.

Publisher, THE FENS

Natasha Shiels

October 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. Registered office: 40 London Street, Whittlesey, Peterborough, PE7 1BT. Barley Media Limited accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.

Anthony Shiels is a muscian, writes interviews and makes the occasional cup of tea


Joe Ferridge

is a regular columnist and shares his musings

p.33 The Fens | October 2016


Contents The


8 Out in the Fens

19 Halloween events

Issue 5 | October 2016

9 We chat to the Pebble Pixie


11 ’Whittlesey in Bloom’ update 13 Your garden in September






History | Food | Home & garden | Nature | What’s on | Places to visit | Media The Fens | October 2016


Issue 5 | October 2016

Front cover Pebbles of Love Whittlesey, Chris Brudenell

33 The Fens business listing 34 An interview with David James Smith

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

Spook y Halloween Speci al


21 Expert Q&A

14 Attending the Decorex Exhibition 17 Discover haunted Cambridgeshire 16 WIN A SIGNED BOOK

22 Walking fitness 24 Taking a trip down Fenland’s Waterways

38 What’s on guide

28 Recipe of the month 30 The history of Whittlesea Mere

live happy! with

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Childers (function room), 1a Station Road, Whittlesey 5:30pm and 7:30pm Call Tanya on 07713 595171

Childers (function room), 1a Station Road, Whittlesey 5:30pm and 7:30pm Call Jaimee on 07703 800270


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The Fens | October 2016




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The Fens | October 2016

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

Images Chris Brudenell


Thank you to the organisers, stallholders, visitors and to those who tidied up after us. We had a blast!

The Fens | October 2016


A week in the life of a U3A member During the end of the “Whittlesey Dark Ages”, as a small group, we got together to form what is now a very successful U3A, I had the feeling that several people were very unhappy and saw the new organisation as a potential threat to other organisations the town. Fortunately, I have not found this sentiment expressed lately and hope that the U3A is now seen as a very positive contribution to the middle-aged and elderly folk of Whittlesey. We have monthly meetings every third Thursday at Childers, Station Road, 2.00 – 4.00 pm with diverse topics. We have been entertained by the excellent “Upwood Ukuleles”, and on a more serious note, will be listening to Fenland Citizens Bureau this month. On average 80–90 members attend. We invite non-members to come along and to gain a flavour of U3A, and you are welcome to attend one meeting to help you make up your mind. There are already around 30 clubs catering for a very large range of interests. Most of the clubs will give you a “taster session”, but if you wish to continue, you must join the U3A - there’s a sliding scale reduction for those who join throughout the year. I have recently qualified for a free T.V. licence, so I am no “spring chicken”. I still stay active and take an interest in what is going on locally. Just to give you an idea of what my wife and I are doing on a weekly basis, see below:Played table tennis in the Yaxley Monday 7– 10pm. League r Summe 11–3 pitch & put at Peterborough, Tuesday and lunch at Granary with Men’s’ Group. 5.30pm took Jan (my beloved) to Slimming World. Could have played Table Tennis with U3A 7pm - didn’t. 10am walking cricket at Manor – Wednesday didn’t take place as I was the only person who turned up due to inadequate publicity. 2.30– 4.30 pm Table Tennis with U3A 2.15– 4.15 pm Jan Singing – 4.00 pm Jan Crafting 2.00 ay Thursd 7.00– 8.30 pm Executive U3A g – both of us attended Meetin ittee Comm 8.30pm – Couple of pints at the Ram I agreed to organise a Brewery Group. with the Men’s trip at Elgoods in Wisbech during the next few weeks. 2.00 – 4.00 pm Table Tennis. Friday

By the way, several people have claimed weight losses of over a stone since they took up table tennis last year, so look out local slimming clubs! As well as table tennis and the Men’s Club, we are also members of the Sunday lunch club where about 20 of us enjoy a variety of cuisines on a monthly basis. We have also recently been to Cambridge to see River Dance, and hope to go to the Albert Hall early next year to see the Circe de Soleil, courtesy of the Theatre Group. We are always looking for new members; people who can contribute by helping to get new groups started, and would also like to hear from those prepared to sit on the committee. As far as groups go, there are at least four with people wanting to join but with no-one volunteering to lead. Very importantly, we will need at least two new committee members for next year, including somebody willing to prepare newssheets and magazines. If you are able to help for groups, contact Val Chapman and Committee contact Val Matthews – contact details are in our magazine. Alternatively, contact our Publicity Officer, Tony Wright on 01733 701628 or, or find us on Facebook Bill Cunningham, Talks Organiser

Whittlesey 8 The Fens | October 2016

RAISING MONEY FOR THE CHILDREN’S SOCIETY COUNCILLOR SURGERIES Pop along on Saturday October 22nd at St. Andrew’s Hall, Parkinsons Lane, Whittlesey between 10.00 am and 12 noon, and make a difference to the lives of children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. As with previous years, the fundraising event will be a coffee morning with various stalls to tempt those in attendance. These will include cakes, jigsaws, handmade christmas cards, books, and the Children’s Society own range of christmas cards - all supported by a raffle on the day. As previously, the morning is being held on behalf of the Church of England’s Children’s Society, by our local supporters, representing both St. Andrew’s and St. Mary’s Churches. Anyone, wanting more information on the Children’s Society work, only need to spend a few moments by visiting www. Entrance is free.

THE CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA RETURNS All the festive fun is centred on the Market Square as usual and our Mayor, Councillor Miscandlon will open the event at 5pm on Friday 9th December. We have the children’s rides and snack bar booked, the Punch & Judy stall and Balloon modeller, plus our friends from the Christian Church will again be providing face painting. The Round Table, 41 Club, Ladies Circle and Tangent clubs are in negotiation with Father Christmas to come along and welcome children into his beautiful grotto (with thanks to Barry at Hubs). The Fire Engine, Steam Engine and Thursford organ are all on stand-by ready to come and join in the fun. We are looking forward to welcoming back the children of New Road Molly, Music and Theatre from 20Twenty Productions, and the Cambridgeshire Caledonian Pipe band. Also, lots of local Charities will have stalls with produce and raffles, so you can give to your favourites for Christmas. If you would like to have a local charity stall please contact me soon. Space is limited. We hope many of the local businesses will keep their doors open for the evening, to give you all a chance for a little extra browsing and shopping…and don’t forget, Lions will be doing their fabulous window competition! Please contact Roger on 01733 202884 or Shirley on 01733 203279 if you have any queries.

THE FLU CLINICS ARE OPEN The Jenner Health Centre will be running its annual seasonal Flu Vaccination Clinic on Saturday October 8th. The Clinic will start at 9:00am and will run through to 12 noon, and is open to patients who are registered with the Practice. The Clinic operates on a “walk-in” basis, so you do not need to make an appointment. Seasonal flu is a highly infectious illness caused by a flu virus. The virus infects your lungs and upper airways, causing a sudden high temperature and general aches and pains. You could also lose your appetite, feel nauseous and have a dry cough. Symptoms can last for up to a week. Thankfully most of us are not susceptible to this disease, but we do recommend that certain members of the community get immunised. You should seriously consider having the influenza vaccination if you can answer yes to one or more of the following questions:

Are you over 65 years of age? Do you have asthma that needs continuous use of Steroid Inhalers? Do you have Chronic Lung Disease? Do you suffer with heart problems? Have you got Kidney disease? Do you have liver disease? Have you had a stroke or a ‘mini stroke’ (TIA)? Do you have Diabetes? Do you have low immunity at the moment, e.g. chemotherapy or some drugs or a previous splenectomy? Are you a main carer for an elderly or disabled person? Are you pregnant? ALL healthy children who are aged 2, 3 and 4 years old on 31/8/16 are also eligible – this is in the form of a nasal spray.

Patients Participation Group (PPG)


This year’s flu clinics will be held on Saturday 8th and 15th October. Doors will be open to patients from 8.30 until 11.00 a.m. Access into the flu clinic will be via the fire exit double door at the car park end of the building. Members of the PPG will be in attendance to direct and assist. You will exit the building via the normal ‘IN’ door, adjacent to the Boots Pharmacy. At the same time, there will be an event in the waiting room with a cake stall run by our PPG, to raise funds towards the purchase of equipment required by the Surgery, for the benefit of all patients. Other organisations will also be in attendance, including Care Network, and the Smoking Cessation Team.

Do you believe in Pixies? Somewhere close to home lives a very special Pebble Pixie. Though wanting to remain anonoymous, she took some time away from painting pebbles to speak to THE FENS 1. Where did the idea of Pebbles of Love come from? And how many pebbles did you include in your first drop? I happened to be on Facebook one night when a friend liked a picture, confused by why there were so many likes on a picture of a pebble, I became intrigued. The page ‘Pebbles of Love Isle of Wight’ had commented on the picture. I liked the page and watched with amazement how people reacted to finding the painted pebbles. Chatting to my mum one afternoon, I showed her the page and she also commented what a lovely idea it was. I decided to contact the page owner and asked for advice starting ‘Pebbles of Love Whittlesey’, thinking it would only catch the attention of a few people. I wanted to show my children how a small act of kindness can brighten someone's day. I painted 30 pebbles for the first drop thinking they would be around for a while.

drop them? Do you have any pixie helpers? I pack the pebbles in a bag and with my children we go walking. My children have seen more of Whittlesey in the last few weeks than they had previously! I try to cover different areas and I have had many requests to go further. With children in mind, my own children make good pebble droppers as they see hiding spots from a different perspective. I currently do this alone, as I enjoy the time I spend with my children, walking and talking without the interference of technology. The children love hiding the pebbles. I managed to keep it from my husband for a week before I told him it was me.

2. How do you decide where to

4. When is your next big pebble

3.Does it take a lot of time to paint each pebble? Some take longer than others. Simple pebbles can take a couple of minutes, while others up to 10 minutes. The longest part is the drying.

drop? And will you continue all year long? October half term will be very busy for the Pebble Pixie, with lots of Halloween pebbles to find and some Bonfire night ones too. I will endeavour to continue dropping pebbles all year, and have lots of ideas for Christmas already. 5. And finally, any top tips for pebble hunters? Never stop looking, some pebbles are very obvious finds while others a little better hidden. Keep your eyes on the page for information on the drops.

The Pebble Pixie • You can find the Pebbles of Love Whittlesey on Facebook. Good luck pebble hunters!

The Fens | October 2016


Exploring the FENS

Dipping your feet

Wherever you are in the Cambridgeshire Fens, you are never far from water. The whole area is crisscrossed by rivers, drains and ditches of various sizes, all part of a larger scheme serving the same purpose: preventing flooding by taking water away when there is too much, and holding it back for agriculture when it is needed for irrigation The Fens have not always been dry. Because the land is flat, water does not naturally drain away. Until the 17th Century, the area we currently know as the Fens was no more than a large bog, more often than not covered with water, and completely unsuitable for growing crops. Life here for people was hard, eking out a meagre existence in a constant battle against water and disease malaria was once rife in the Fens. All this changed in the 17th Century when a massive project was undertaken to drain the Fens so that good use could be made of the rich fertile soil that lay under water for most of the time, creating the open farmland that is now so familiar to us all. But keeping it dry still involves huge technical effort, with pumping stations dotted across the landscape making sure that water is removed from the system and large swathes

of land serving as reservoirs - the Whittlesey and Manea washes - in the event that there is too much water for the rivers to cope with. What we have been left with is not only 6,000 square miles of fine arable land, but also many hundreds of miles of waterways that are rich in animal and plant life, and ideal for leisure pursuits. Fishing and birdwatching may be niche hobbies for some, but everybody can enjoy the occasional flash of a kingfisher, or the sight of fish lazily swimming beneath the surface, as you walk along the bank of a river or main drain, many of which have public footpaths running alongside them.

WE HAVE BEEN LEFT WITH IS NOT ONLY 6,000 SQUARE MILES OF FINE ARABLE LAND, BUT ALSO MANY HUNDREDS OF MILES OF WATERWAYS THAT ARE RICH IN ANIMAL AND PLANT LIFE are many other ways to enjoy them. From canoes and other small craft, to just sitting and watching the world go by with a picnic, this man made vista is a delight to behold.


Elsewhere in this issue of THE FENS magazine, we feature narrowboats as a way to enjoy the many waterways of the Cambridgeshire Fens, but there

ď śTo discover more about enjoying the Cambridgeshire Fens and ideas for great days out, please visit 10 The Fens | October 2016 Find us on Twitter: @CambridgeshireF

WHITTLESEY IN BLOOM WILL CONTINUE On Tuesday, September 6th, five representatives from Whittlesey travelled to Gorleston for the 20th anniversary ‘Anglia in Bloom Awards’ ceremony. There are various categories to enter, and this year Whittlesey was awarded a Silver Gilt – this is for a town with a population between 6,001 and 12,000. To win Silver Gilt in the same category as Halstead, who were the best overall entry and winners of ‘Anglia in Bloom 2016’, shows exactly what competition we were up against. Silver Gilt was also awarded to Whittlesey for the Garden of Rest in the ‘Small Parks (up to five acres) Category’, and also the cemetery in the ‘Large Cemetery (over 10 acres) Category’. Sir Harry Smith Community College was commended in the ‘Best Young Person Project’ (12 – 18 years of age), and received a certificate. The entry for the ‘Best Individual Floral Display’ was won this year by our very own Gill Lawrence for The Pound. Well done Gill – your hard work has been very well rewarded, and we are very proud of you.

Gill was also a winner in the Mike Ames Community Champion Award for long and voluntary service given by individuals to local ‘In Bloom’ communities. At the ceremony we spoke to representatives from other towns who, like us, are finding it more and more difficult to do the work required to enter ‘Anglia in Bloom’. It is not simply a matter of gardening and all the work that involves, but also all the paperwork that is required, and the pictorial evidence at every stage of a project, this cumulates into the production of a portfolio, and finally we have to ensure everything is immaculate for judging day. It can be a very stressful time. In the August edition of THE FENS we announced that at our meeting on June 21st, members voted unanimously that we would not enter the ‘Anglia in Bloom’ competition again. It is not a decision that we took lightly. ‘Whittlesey in Bloom’ will continue and we will strive to ensure the town always looks it best for residents and visitors. Once again, on behalf of the small dedicated ‘Whittlesey in Bloom’ team of volunteers, thank you for your support. • If you would like to help our town/ environment, and make new likeminded friends, everyone is welcome. Please contact Kay Mayor (Chairman of Whittlesey in Bloom; Friends of Whittlesey Cemetery) t: 01733 204944 e:

GRAPHIC NOVEL WORKSHOP Bird’s Nest Books is very excited to bring to Fenland an amazing opportunity to learn about creating graphic novels with illustrator and comic artist Jade Sarson, winner of the 2014 Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel competition. The workshop, for 15-25 year olds, will be held in March Town Hall, on October 24th, 25th and 26th. Participants will learn about storytelling, elements of a page, different comic styles, character design, creating a background, portraying emotions, the stages of comic design and more.

INDULGE IN THE NATION’S FAVOURITE SUPPER The North East Cambs Conservative Association Whittlesey Branch invite you to a QUIZ NIGHT with a fish and chip supper. Teams can be up to six people.


FRIDAY OCTOBER 7th CONSERVATIVE CLUB Whitmore Street, Whittlesey 7.00 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. prompt start Entry by ticket: £8.50 per person

TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM: Julie Windle - 01733 204445 or Kay Mayor - 01733 204944

? TENOR REQUIRED FOR QUARTET We are a local group and have just brought together three singers, and are now looking for a counter tenor (high voiced part), to complete the quartet. If anybody would like to try this out, please call Ron on 01733 208549. If you are interested, but cannot sing the high part, the group would consider swapping parts within the quartet.

No particular ability or previous experience is required, just an interest in comics and graphic novels. The genre combines both art and storytelling, so if your interest lies specifically with just one, this workshop is still for you. The workshop costs just £5.00 a day and places are limited, so find out more and book your place at www. This project is supported by the Market Place. Market Place is part of the Creative People and Places programme for Fenland and Forest Heath, initiated and funded by Arts Council England. Find out more at

The Fens | October 2016 11 11

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October Events

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• Sat 1st Waddo • Sat 8th Travis • Sat 15th Dave Logan • Sun 16th Sunday Lunch • Sat 22nd Steve Carmel • Sun 23rd Dale Diamond

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12 The Fens | October 2016

Home & Garden

Your garden in October September has given us some great weather but during October the change of season will be in full swing - the days are much shorter and cooler with an autumn chill in the air. Autumn does however bring with it some dramatic changes in the garden. Trees and shrubs are the stars of the season and although some leaves will begin to fall, those plants that manage to hang on to them will give a display of changing colours that can look fantastic against clear blue skies should we be lucky enough to get them.

Three Essential Gardening Jobs for October

Plant of the Month:

Clear up fallen autumn leaves

Why should you plant them?

It may seem pointless raking up fallen leaves when the wind will blow even more from the trees but it is important to keep the lawn clear. Fallen leaves will block light and air from the grass and can harbour disease that can harm your lawn. Rake up the leaves and dispose of them then apply a fertiliser to the grass. Choose an autumn fertiliser that will boost roots rather than a spring feed which promotes growth.

Cut back perennials that have died down

Summer perennials will be looking untidy now so give them a cut back. Over crowded clumps of perennials can also be lifted, divided and replanted this month – a great way of increasing the number of plants in your garden. Enjoy your garden!

Plant trees and shrubs

October is the ideal month to plant trees and shrubs. The ground is damp and still warm which gives perfect conditions to allow roots to become established before winter sets in. Any remaining summer bedding will be looking very tired by now and is best cleared and replaced for a fresher display. Autumn bedding such as pansy and primrose will give an instant lift to the garden and they look great planted between the shrubs in the border.

Westfield Nurseries Station Road, Whittlesey, PE7 2EX

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Conifers are hardy evergreen trees and shrubs that suit any garden. They come in a huge range of shapes, sizes and textures and the colour can be anything from yellow or light green through to dark green and blue. Easy to care for and long lasting, conifers are the ideal choice for any gardener looking for a low maintenance but high impact plant.

How should you plant them? Dwarf conifers are good for containers and larger shrubs and trees make good hedging or garden features. They are happy in any soil in sun or shade. Newly planted conifers will need watering until established but mature plants need little maintenance.

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The Fens | October 2016 13

Home & garden

DECOREX INTERNATIONAL The Interior design show for professionals This month, interior design expert Simon Parr-Black, travelled to the Decorex International exhibition held in London. Here’s what trends he spotted After an early start, we arrived at this year’s Decorex International. I always love this exhibition, and have my tickets booked as soon as the event is released. The show brings together cuttingedge manufacturers from all over the world who compete in the interior design market. Covering finishes, fabrics, furniture, lighting, accessories and outdoor products, there is so much to take in. And the awards have already been announced....

their heritage, whilst achieving a timeless aesthetic. Matching the most skilled Maya textile artists with the finest furniture makers in England, they achieve an unparalleled quality throughout their collections. They celebrate and support their incredible artisans by working direct and with weaving cooperatives and social enterprises.

Best New Exhibitor

The Sebastian Cox Workshop and Studio were founded in 2010 on the principle that this traditional approach could be radical, and that the past can be used to design and make the future. Without nostalgia or sentimentality, but with respectful inventiveness and new technology, using their chainsaw mill, they plank felled trees that are destined for the chipper. Skillfully and thoughtfully they continue the life of fallen trees by transforming them into beautiful pieces of furniture. Milled, kilned and made in London.

Best New Product Launch

A Rum Fellow, London based design studio, was founded by Caroline Lindsell and Dylan O’Shea. The partnership fuses a desire for beautifully crafted and well-travelled design befitting our contemporary lifestyles. They introduce collections inspired by their travels, taking in that region’s finest traditional design and translating it into their own uncommon style. Founded on three principals design, quality and integrity, their foremost intention is to design extraordinary products with unique qualities, at once sympathetic to 14 The Fens | October 2016

Best International Exhibitor

Christophe Delcourt is a demanding and daring designer, and a strong advocate of French craftsmanship. He launched his own publishing house in the late 1990s and soon became established through his work combining stylish and raw material lines. He likes to define a piece of furniture as “a long-term investment, a companion for life.” For him, each new furniture collection considers his craft from a slightly different viewpoint, but always with the same passion and creed, all part of the chosen material and gesture. His attention to detail reads in each of his creations, this blend of rigor and sensuality, in the choice of leather, stone or wood. To afford a piece of Christophe Delcourt, is to make the choice for excellence.

Best Stand

The Water Monopoly reproduce original bathrooms and also meticulously restore existing baths, basins and lavatory pans to the highest standard in their own in-house workshop. The highly skilled team, (some of whom have been with the company for over 20 years), includes engineers, plumbers, metal workers, polishers, marble and porcelain restorers. Each antique, once restored, is compatible with modern day plumbing and conforms to British standard pipe threads, which are used throughout the world; ensuring that customers have complete confidence in each salvaged piece that they purchase. Overall, the new trends emerging are slightly retrospective. Coloured bathroom suites are coming back – when most people have spent years changing over to white. Utilising discarded materials such as felled trees, show a strong favour to make the most of what we have about us, rather than to keep manufacturing our base materials. To incorporate design and style from our own individual travels to show more of our personality and individual tastes in our homes. Also look to invest in good hand-crafted furniture that will last a lifetime, rather than more disposable styles that have been the trend over recent years. It has often been said that nothing is original and this has never been more true as we look to reinvent items, upcycle, and introduce nostalgic items.



Simon Parr-Black is an interior designer. You can contact him on 01733 688235 or email him at

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The Writer's Corner Local author and mother of two

Jordan shares her musings


So you want to write a novel? Part 2 Last month I gave you the first five of my top 10 tips for those of you thinking about writing your first novel; now read my next five tips. Get early feedback. As soon as I had finished my manuscript I had several copies made and kindly asked likeminded friends and colleagues to read my novel and provide me with honest feedback. I was lucky in that some of my first reviewers included journalists, writers and editors. Accept constructive criticism. Reject destructive criticism. Not everyone will like your story or style of writing, but there will always be those who do. Study the constructive criticism and see if there is anything you agree with or had niggling doubts about, and decide if you need to make changes. Re-write. Accept that you will have to re-write your novel several times before you can honestly say it is finished. Early feedback will help highlight any weak points or indicate any links that can be strengthened within the story or between the characters. Edit and proofread. Get someone to edit and proofread your finished manuscript – I can’t stress how important this is. It doesn’t matter how good you are at proofreading the work of others, you are too close to your own work and you need fresh, expert eyes to pick up what you will miss, or in the case of an editor, what can be left out. Don’t give up. Get your first novel out there. Send it to a publisher or self-publish if you prefer. Accept it may not be a masterpiece and it may not be your best work. Some authors are embarrassed by their first book. But without that first novel, they never would have learned the lessons they did. So get it out there and move on to your next project. This is the only way you get good. You practice. Edgar Rice Burroughs said “If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favour.”




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novel, 183 Times a Year. The book will be personalised to the winner (for either themselves or a nominated recipient). All you have to do to enter is email the editor at hello@thefensmag. before the below date. Please include the name you would like to be written inside the book, and a postal address. Good luck! Competition closes on October 10th.

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16 The Fens | October 2016

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Haunted Cambridgeshire

Damien O’Dell Paranormal Cambridgeshire; Stuart Orme Haunted Peterborough

Do you believe in ghosts? Cambridgeshire has its fair share of ghostly stories and haunted houses, here are just a few that caught our eye

Conington Level Crossing

Peterborough Museum

Not far from us is Conington Level Crossing, which is said to be haunted with some people referring to it as The Crossing of Death! Back in the 1940s, the crossing gates were opened and closed by the road user, making it extremely dangerous. During this decade, two fatal accidents happened at the site. The first was on a foggy morning when a lorry, carrying German prisoners of war, was struck by a light engine. Six Germans lost their lives! On October 16th, 1948, Colonel Mellows and his pet Labrador were killed instantly when his black Chrysler car was hit by a speeding express train whilst attempting to cross. By the 1970s there was a signal box, and many men reported hearing the gates opening and closing on their own accord with the sound of car tyres on gravel. Upon further investigation, they never found any sign of car or people near the crossing. There has even been reports of an old 1940s style car near the site, only to disappear into thin air. So who haunts the crossing? The spirits of the German POWs, or the Colonel and his dog?

Did you know that Peterborough Museum was visited in 2005 by Most Haunted? The magnificent building actually dates back to 1816 when it was a private home. However, for much of its life the house was used as a city hospital before it was donated to the Peterborough Natural History, Scientific and Archaeological Society. In 1916, during the time the museum was a hospital, a young Australian soldier, Thomas Hunter, was wounded and died in the building. Today, his ghostly grey figure is often seen on the stairs or first floor of the museum. He isn’t however, the only ghost that has been seen. An apparition of a Roman soldier, a little girl, a maid, a lady in a Georgian dress and a shadowy figure of a man have all been seen by spooked visitors to the museum! Think you can survive a night at the “most haunted building in Peterborough”? Halloween Horror Night at Peterborough Museum allows adults and children to brave a candlelight dramatised tour of the building. Tours begin from 6:30pm (and it’s not advised for younger or nervous children). Tickets cost £5 for children, £6 for adults. You can book through Peterborough Museum, or call 01733 864663.

Woodcroft Castle

The Grade II listed castle dates back to the 13th century. During the English Civil War it was held by Royalists; at this time Woodcroft Castle was home to Dr. Michael Hudson who was chaplain to King Charles I. During one of Hudson’s attacks against Parliamentarian troops in the area, he and his men were chased back to the castle and were besieged. Hudson attempted to hide by hanging off the ramparts on the side of the roof, but was found. The Parliamentarians cut off his fingers and he plunged down into the castle moat. Some say he survived the fall but was finished off by musket fire! Either way, the castle is said to be haunted by his ghost. Phantom sounds of the musket fire and screams for mercy are heard on still nights, echoing around the castle walls! The Fens | October 2016 17 17


Falcon Hotel, London Street, Whittlesey PE7 1BH Function Room Available for all occasions

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Zach Cooper moves from the big city to a small town where he meets his neighbour Hannah and her mysterious father R.L. Stine (Jack Black), the famous author of the "Goosebumps" series. When Zach accidentally unleashes the monsters from the fantastic tales, it's up to Stine, his daughter and Cooper to return the beasts back to the books where they belong.

SATURDAY 29th OCTOBER Whittlesey Library Doors 2pm for 2.30pm start Tickets £1.50 (Child) / £2.50 (Adult) Wear fancy dress and be entered into a special prize draw! Available from: Whittlesey Library, 31—35 Market St, PE7 1BA Part of the ‘Arts Alive in Libraries’ scheme

t: 01733 351001 | e:


Sat 29th October, 2pm at Nene Park, Ferry Meadows, Peterborough Come join us for a colourful Halloween 5km fun run. Lots of Halloween Colour.

Enter soonest at:

18 The Fens | October 2016

Tour of Colour Warm Up Music and Colour all the way round 5km of colourful fun running Colour Tour starts from 16.00hrs After party with lots of Halloween Colour Halloween DJ Food and Bar Colour Fun for All

Days out

Halloween fun October is not just about the weather getting colder, so why not inject a bit of fun into your social calendar and plan some spooky activities

Goosebumps comes alive Whittlesey Library is hosting a film screening of ‘Goosebumps, The Stories are Alive’ on Saturday 29th October. Doors open at 2pm for this special screening, and tickets cost £1.50 for children or £2.50 for an adult. There’s a prize for the best fancy dress costume too! Tickets are available from Whittlesey Library.

Tour of Colour returns to Peterborough for Halloween The Tour of Colour had its inaugural running at the East of England Showground in June this year. It was staged as part of the Tour of Cambridgeshire international cycling festival and attracted over 700 participants. The promotion for the Tour of Colour was very light and word spread rapidly on social media. Reaction to the event was exceptionally positive. The organisers, Golazo Sports: Media: Entertainment group are staging a re-run for Halloween in Ferry Meadows at Nene Park, on the afternoon of Saturday 29th October. The event is a 5km fun run with colour and music and Halloween themes. After checking in, the Colour Tourists - as the participants are known - join in the warm up routines led by a local DJ and dance troupe. Once ready, the Colour Tourists will start the Tour of Colour amidst a blaze of colour and music, and over the next 5km, visit five more colour stations before returning to the Tour of Colour Party. Friends and family are welcome to watch and enjoy the Halloween food and drinks, and traditional Halloween games. The Tour of Colour is an inclusive event for all abilities. Grab your place on the Tour of Colour by visiting and entering today.

Spooky Funday Spooky Halloween Funday is being hosted by Kid of the Castle on Thursday, October 27th at 123:00pm. Ideally suited for children, this event takes place during half-term and should keep any demanding little trick’or’treater happy. Held at Focus Community Centre in Dogsthorpe, tickets are £7.00 per child, which includes fun games and inflatables. You can find out more and purchase tickets at

The Fens | October 2016 19 19

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Our experts answer your questions. Send in your questions to us at or on


DO I NEED ANTI-VIRUS? Many of our customers ask us if anti-virus is important. The answer to this questions is yes, very important. Anti-virus is the first program you should install and setup on your computer, it doesn’t matter if it’s new or secondhand. Let’s start with what a virus is. A virus is a type of malicious software that once has been executed, can do multiple tasks such as causing system stability problems, stealing your personal data, allowing remote control of your device, hijacking your web browser, using your device as a part of a botnet, and even locking your device or personal files, holding you to a ransom. These are just a few examples of what is lurking on the internet.

Your PC/laptop is not the only device that can get infected, your android tablets, mobiles and Macs can also get infected with the same sort of viruses. Just because your computer has anti-virus preinstalled, it does not mean you are protected. We see many internet enabled devices running anti-virus that was preinstalled by the manufacturer, that had expired because this normally is only a free trial. Just because an anti-virus product is preinstalled on your computer, it does not mean it is the best or only anti-virus you can use to keep yourself protected. Talk to your local tech guy to find out if your device is secure, and have an active subscription. Anti-virus companies also sell additional software called ‘Internet Security’. These normally contain anti-virus protection, Firewall and Parental Controls.

SG Computing, 01733 202152 34 High Causeway, Whittlesey PE7 1AJ



The best visual reference [apologies to all our vegetarian readers], is the shiny stringy film-like substance that is visible when preparing meat. All mammals have it, but why does it exist? Fascia is an exciting new area in medicine, and in particular, in manual therapy. Osteopaths have been working with it for many decades, however, research is only now appreciating its importance. Before, surgeons used to simply ignore it and cut through it with little regard for its relevance. However, this tissue plays an important role in the long term (termed chronic) aches and pains we feel. As the majority of our patients are long term sufferers of pain, it is something we have become accustomed to working with. Think of fascia as a continuous sheet of cling film that wraps around all our structures, (i.e. our bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and organs), starting at the head and working its way down to our feet. What does it do? Well, it provides a loose binding between all the structures keeping them together and in the same place. For example, it keeps the blood vessels close to the muscles, the nerves close to the blood vessels, the muscles close to the bones, etc. It works in a similar way to how we use cling film. Because the fascia is the connection between different structures, it also transmits forces between them, thus allowing the body to work as a unit rather than as individual parts. Each individual, dependent on their lifestyle, will have a different baseline fascial tension. In the event of injury, the fascia is guaranteed to be damaged because it is everywhere. Thus the fascial tension will increase. This will transmit tension throughout the body and is usually the culprit for distant [from the site of injury] pulling or stretching pains. The complex path of the fascia also means that it is difficult for the excess fascial tension to be resolved. In many cases, the fascial tension remains long after the structure (e.g. the muscle or nerve) has healed. In these patients we commonly see repeated episodes of symptoms, or very prolonged recoveries.

Mayur and Ubhi at Whittlesey Osteopaths, 01733 785214

The Fens | October 2016 21



As October hits and Christmas parties seem frighteningly close, many of us find there is little free time to hit the gym and get ‘little black dress’ ready. But there is a way to get active, lose weight and become healthier - and it’s free! It might sound too good to be true, but walking is a great way to exercise as you can easily build walks into a busy lifestyle - you can pretty much do it anywhere, at any time. So what are the benefits for us? Walking is a great way to reduce your risk of diabetes, it’s also a convenient exercise as you can do it at a time that suits you. Walking can be a really sociable activity - you can join friends, a local club or take a dog with you! Whilst running burns more calories, walking enables you to discover new areas and enjoy the scenery, without adding pollution to the air.


Walking certainly improves your fitness and helps to burn calories. Brisk walking that raises your heart rate and makes you warm and slightly breathless is a great form of aerobic exercise. The more you do, the fitter you will get. A brisk walk at about 6.4km per hour (4 miles per hour) for half an hour, you’ll use up around 150 calories. Whilst this figure depends on your body weight, age and fitness, there’s no denying that walking more is a good thing.


There’s also good news for the health conscious. According to Bupa, walking can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and stroke, high cholesterol, diabetes and coronary heart disease. In fact some research suggests that brisk walking is just as effective as running for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

The recommend activity targets suggest that you should aim to exercise at a moderate intensity for two and a half hours (150 minutes) a week. You can break this down into sessions of 10 minutes or more. Moderate intensity means: • Your breathing is faster • Your heart rate is faster • You feel warmer.

There’s lots of Apps available online to help you get started, plus a wealth of information on the internet. You can visit for some key information, or call 0207 339 8541. 22 The Fens | October 2016


There’s a lot of research into the mental health benefits of exercising, which suggests that activities such as walking can improve your mood, treat depression, reduce stress and anxiety, and build selfesteem. Releasing endorphins, exercising creates a ‘natural high’, helping you feel better and happier.


Whilst walking doesn’t involve buying lots of expensive equipment, you should definitely invest in getting some good quality clothing. A good pair or shoes or trainers is essential if you want to avoid blisters. Since the British weather can be rather temperamental, I’d also suggest some waterproofs, and a hat, suncream and water bottle (for the sunny days). There’s a brilliant six week walking plan available on the Bupa website, for anybody that likes a little structure when starting out on a new exercise regime. Visit www.bupa. directory/w/walking-health for more information.


“I couldnʼt have quit without CAMQUITʼs support.”

Your local Stop Smoking Service is here to help YOU. Call CAMQUIT on 0800 018 4304 or visit

CAMQUIT is supporting Public Health England’s 28-day stop smoking challenge, Stoptober, by going out into the local community to offer information, support, and advice. CAMQUIT, Cambridgeshire County Council’s stop smoking service will be in a location near you and advisors will be available to offer information, advice, and support on quitting smoking. The ‘ONE YOU’- Stoptober campaign encourages and supports smokers across the country towards quitting for good and is based on research that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to be able to stay quit for good. Stoptober itself officially runs from 1st to 28th October and provides a wide range of free quitting tools (like mobile app.), support, guidance and encouragement for smokers wishing to attempt to go smokefree for 28-days. Claire Mead, CAMQUIT co-ordinator, said: “There are over 300 expert advisors across the county who will support and guide you with quitting. These experts will also be able to support you with getting treatment medications on prescription which will increase your chances of success.” Stoptober 2016 kicks off on Saturday the 1st October and runs for 28 days. For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, register at or contact the CAMQUIT team on 0800 018 4304.

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Quality training at competitive prices! “I now feel confident enough to help others, thank you!” Brogan Rainey

The Fens | October 2016 23

Down by the riverside

The River Nene forms the border between Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, running through March and Whittlesey. Editor Natasha Shiels spent the day aboard a narrowboat to discover why it’s one of the best ways to appreciate the Fens Words Natasha Shiels Images Chris Brudenell 24 The Fens | October 2016

Spotlight on


hen Paula Syred, Fox Narrowboats, invited THE FENS to come and experience the Fenland Waterways on a boat, I hadn’t quite expected to be offered the opportunity to steer it ourselves! After a little confidence-boosting, Chris and I were led to one of the day boats called the Adventurer, and we were quickly cruising down through March. It didn’t take long before we were leaning back against the side of the boat and taking in the beautiful scenery.


As an ex-running editor, I’m not used to slowing down. In fact I spend much of my life rushing from place to place, rarely spending long enough to take note of where I have been. But if you think you can take that mindset afloat, you’d be mistaken. Within minutes we had all settled into a gentle hum, mimicking that of the quaint day boat, who gently and carefully led us along the river. In less than 60 minutes, we’d

past quintessentially English cottages, swans and their signets, fishermen and numerous pretty bridges. March was unrecognisable from our viewpoint along the water. And the everyday stresses just floated away.


Taking advantage of hiring a boat from places such as Fox Narrowboats, allows you to explore the tranquil Fenland Waterways through the town of March, eastwards towards the village of Upwell. Along the way, there’s the opportunity to stop at the Five Bells pub, before travelling on to Outwell. Alternatively you can head west and cross the Greenwich Meridian before arriving at Ashline Lock in Whittlesey. Here you can stop for a picnic in the Manor fields, before journeying back. For those wanting a longer break, why not consider hiring a narrowboat for a boating holiday? “The Fenland Waterways are relatively undiscovered which gives the opportunity to see various wildlife whilst exploring Fenland towns and villages,” Paula explained. “You are sure to see swans, ducks and herons. If you keep your eyes wide open you may see the azure flash of the elusive kingfisher as well. Everyone is amazed that you climb through two locks each way to reach sea level.”


Fox Narrowboats hire and boat building business was started by Charlie Fox in 1952. Today his The Fens | October 2016 25

daughter, Paula and her family are at its helm, and have continued to expand their marina, evolve the 5 star narrow boat builds, set up a narrowboat chandlery shop, and built a website to cater for the boat hire business and the local water users alike. Each boat in the fleet has been handbuilt onsite to the highest standard.

great experience at any time. “In the spring you see lots of baby waterfowl and the daffodils along Well Creek are a real treat, by summer the green foliage on the trees and bushes provides welcome shade, and in Autumn the colours are amazing,” Paula explained. “If you are out on a holiday, I recommend the sunrise and sunsets too.”



Tempted to take a stroll down the river? “Book early,” advises Paula, “as weekend boating is the most popular. Plan your route in advance, pack your picnic and some suncream, because even on a dull day you can get burnt from the reflection of the water. Lifejackets and tuition are provided, so the whole family can relax and enjoy the trip.” Paula assures me that everyone can have a go at steering the boats, from the smallest sailors to experienced shipmates.


Planning ahead is a great idea to ensure that there is availability. But a trip on the Fenland waterways is a



Narrowboat hire companies, such as Fox Narrowboats, typically give a 30-minute tuition session before you are free to take to the river at your own pace. Day hire boats are available between 9:30am and 6pm and prices start from £175. For those who haven’t had a meander down river, I would highly recommend it. Whether it’s for a family birthday, a romantic stroll for two, or a holiday with a difference, seeing our beautiful Fens in this unique way is without doubt a memory I will treasure. With special thanks for Paula and her team at Fox Narrowboats.

Fox Narrowboats runs between April and the end of September. They can be found at 10 Marina Drive, March. For more information call 01354 652770 or visit 26 The Fens | October 2016

Occasions Catering and Events

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Buffets starting from £3.75 Monthly payment scheme available £3.75 p/h Buffet

Selection of sandwiches Chicken nuggets Spring rolls Sausage rolls Pitta olive platter Quiche Pizza slices Sauces and chutneys Crisps

Don’t forget to quote “Fens” when enquiring

Occasions Catering Tel: 07979 497257 Find us on Facebook:




HOME - OFFICE - BUSINESS - COMMERCIAL CARPENTERS & BUILDERS - DOMESTIC & COMMERCIAL Lily Rose Construction Ltd is a family-run carpentry and building company that specialises in supplying all the different trades to complete any project for you • CARPENTRY • BUILDING • KITCHEN FITTING • BEDROOMS • BATHROOMS • EXTENSIONS


How to grow investments when interest rates are low The Bank of England has maintained low interest rates for several years – then reduced them further. At the time of writing the rate stands at 0.25%. It could be argued that this is substantially below the rate of inflation – if this is the case then funds left in Cash Deposits could be actually falling in their purchasing power because the average cost of goods is rising faster than the accumulated interest payment from a Bank or Building Society. This might be acceptable for the amount of cash held in an ‘emergency fund’ that is easily accessible to smooth out the ups and downs of regular expenditure – but not acceptable if the amount is substantial – I am often asked how to overcome this. There are funds that have greatly exceeded cash returns over recent years, some of them have featured volatility that may not be acceptable to everyone, however, there are well established funds that have also demonstrated lower volatility yet still exceeded the returns from cash deposits. Some individuals have benefitted from shifting cash deposits into pension arrangements where tax relief enhances the fund immediately and higher rate tax payers benefit from a further reduction in their tax liability. With the potential for flexible access to pension funds – this can in certain cases be a great way to increase the value of assets for later in life. Other individuals have made better use of their Cash ISA arrangements by transferring them to an investment that has a potentially higher rate of return. The cash deposits left as an emergency fund need not be ‘protected’ within an ISA because new legislation allows a basic rate tax payer to receive up to £1,000 interest from such accounts tax free. Incidentally, there are sound financial institutions offering higher interest rates than those available with main stream Banks and local Building Societies. At the time of writing this I was able to access 1.5% and 1.4% and 1.35% for a one-year fixed rate* – you just need to know where to look – these rates change frequently but once agreed the rate is guaranteed. A more widely diversified investment fund could provide other opportunities. If you wish to discuss a straightforward way forward, contact me for a Free initial consultation *Depositsense 17th August 2016

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

The Fens | October 2016 27


A Classic Pudding with a Twist Bread And Butter Pudding with Raspberries and White Chocolate Forget the Great British Bake Off and try your hand at this month’s recipe, which is sure to have Mary and Paul smiling.

Ingredients • 1 Brioche loaf • 250g unsalted butter • 5 egg yolks • 100g golden caster sugar • Half vanilla pod • 150ml milk • 150ml double cream • 100g fresh raspberries • 100g white chocolate

By John McGinn, Dog in a Doublet

Serves 4 Prepare Less than 15 mins (plus up to 30 mins soaking time) Cook 30mins

The Method

1. Slice the loaf, butter it and cut into triangles. 2. Put milk, cream, and vanilla seeds in a pan on a low heat (do not boil). Meanwhile whisk yolks with sugar together in a large bowl. When eggs are pail and creamy, gradually whisk in hot milk/cream until combined. 3. Butter a ceramic dish and arrange a layer of bread and butter. Top this layer with raspberries and white chocolate, then add another layer of bread and butter, followed by fruit and chocolate. Continue until all used up. 4. Pour over the custard to the top and allow to soak for 30 minutes covered. 5. Uncover and top up again if necessary. 6. To cook, place dish in a baking tray and ¾ fill with water and bake at 180oc for 30 minutes. Finish by removing from oven, sprinkling with caster sugar and grilling until golden.

The Twist

This is an old favourite when made with sultanas and white bread, but you can really let your imagination run away. How about banana and toffee? Or marmalade and dark chocolate?



This dish makes regular appearances on Dog in a Doublet’s menu throughout the year

28 The Fens | October 2016

Eat, drink, stay!

Pub gastronomic, farmhouse kitchen, boutique rooms

River Nene, between Thorney & Whittlesey |

01733 202256

On the river Nene between Whittlesey and Thorney. 017330202 256.

Christmas Menu Out Now Celebrate your Christmas with family, friends and colleagues at Peterboroughs favourite Gastro Pub. Visit today to see-

Menus- including Christmas & New Year New Autumn menu, improved Kids menu and Tasting

Offers– Christmas early bird discount and freebies/ BOGOF Burgers and new Focaccia pizzas.

On the river Nene between Thorney and Whittlesey (PE6 0RW). Tel (01733) 202 256. Email– The Fens | October 2016 29


Whittlesea Mere Y

ou’ve recently read about the wonders discovered at the Must Farm site, and there’s the exciting adventure that’s the Great Fen Project. Such a wealth of information about not only our historical legacy, but also how it informs our region for the present and the future. So this month let’s take a look at what was the largest freshwater lake in Southern Britain, untl it was drained for agriculture in the mid-19th Century, Whittlesea Mere. Celia Fiennes, upon seeing it in 1697, wrote a beautiful description of the experience: “We came in sight of a great water, looked like some sea it being so high and of great length. It was 3 miles broad and 6 miles long. In the midst there is a little island where a great store of wildfowl breeds. When you enter the mouth of the Mere it looks formidable and is very often dangerous by reason of sudden winds that rise like Hurricanes, but at other times people boat it round the Mere with pleasure, there is an abundance of good fish in it.” It is thought that the Mere first formed around 500 BC owing to the silting up of the Rivers Nene and Welland, and it varied in size dramatically according to the seasons from about 1800 acres in summer, to more than 3000 acres in winter. Around the edges were vast acres of reed beds, and that combined with the fish and huge numbers of wildfowl, made it immensely productive for the local population and the Abbeys of Peterborough, Thorney and Ramsey

30 The Fens | October 2016

Words by Anthony Austin

who, between them, owned boatgates (sites that their fishermen operated from). The Mere wasn’t very deep, from 2 feet to 6 feet, and this accounts for the ease that high waves could be created by the wind. As Celia has already pointed out, by the beginning of the 18th Century the Mere was proving popular for sailing and yachting and regattas were held, particularly by the Earl of Sandwich from a base on the northern edge at Point Sandwich. In the winter, famous ice skating races drew hundreds to see the champions test their prowess. One onlooker, Professor Sedgewick from

Cambridge, described it thus: “From Ely I went to Whittlesea, and saw thousands, I think, tens of thousands, twirling on the ice. There were certainly tens of thousands assembled one day to see a match on Whittlesea Mere.” Although there were plenty of ways to make a living, life was harsh and the population was fairly thinly scattered up until the 1800s. Census returns show the biggest increase being between 1841 and 1851. Many people who had made their living from the natural riches of the Mere, bitterly resented its drainage and the disappearance of their way of life. More people moved into the area as drained land became available for farming. Local parishes were split, and the new parishes of Holme and Ramsey St Marys established. The villages expanded, but many of the cottages were very damp and flooded in winter, and the fen droves were nearly impassable in wet weather. Families could be cut off for months at a time and reaching help or a doctor was very difficult. By the 19th Century, the Mere had shrunk in size, indeed on a few occasions drying out completely and the availability of new steam pumps made its drainage possible. In 1851 the local landowners set about the end of the Mere and the conversion to agriculture. Following this the peat subsided (and still is), the level of the land being measured by the famous Holme Post. “So passed away one of the great wonders of England”, wrote one who had seen the old Mere turned to wheat and barley.



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The Fens | October 2016 31

Local Businesses

New local business sweeping across the Fens Soot Buster (Sweeps) Ltd is the latest new business covering the area. Its founder, Stuart Greenwood, was born and raised in the Cambridgeshire Fens, and has always worked here, having previously been employed as a farm worker in Ramsey Heights


o why the change of career to become a chimney sweep? “Having a multi fuel burner myself, with my own experience of waiting for an appointment with a sweep,” Stuart explained, “and knowing the delay others were facing, I decided to make a difference. My aim is to serve the local community, by offering a professional, reliable and friendly service to keep residents and their homes safe from the affects of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.” He added, “I understand the importance of having confidence in the tradesperson that you invite into your home, so I have been trained by the National Association of Chimney Sweeps.”


As with all professions, there have been advances in technology in chimney sweeping. “Although I do still use the traditional sweeping brush that most people will recognise, I also use the latest in Rodtech power sweeping techniques, combined with a high power vacuum, leaving the chimney and house clean.”

IS YOUR CHIMNEY READY FOR THE COOLER NIGHTS? As the temperatures start to drop, many people will begin lighting their stoves and fires to warm their home and enjoy the flicker of a real coal or wood fire. However, lighting an unswept chimney could lead to serious problems. “Open fires

can be cosy and a cheaper way to stay warm, but a chimney fire is a chilling and expensive experience.” If you have an open fire or solid fuel burner, it is vital your chimney is swept at least once a year, keeping your chimney clean and free of soot and tar. During the summer, when chimneys aren’t used much, they can become home to birds’ nests and other debris. These block the flue which means smoke and deadly carbon monoxide gas, released during burning, can seep back into the house, poisoning the occupants. “We recommend that you have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room with solid fuel appliance, (we always carry stock with us and can advise on the best place to install them). Even chimneys that have been lined still require regular sweeping.” Sweeping your chimney is only part of the service offered by Soot Buster (Sweeps), the team also offer advice on ventilation and fire safety, and help maintain solid fuel burners by supplying replacement glass and fire bricks to order. They always carry a wide range of door sealing fire rope, vital to stop fumes escaping, which can be easily fitted. So, when you need a sweep, who ya gonna call?...Soot Busters!


You can contact the team on 01487 814185, 07917 165458 or Alternatively visit their website

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 32 The Fens | October 2016

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Power saving

I have been known over the years to have a somewhat obsessive nature. When at school I had to win the best marbles and I had to collect all the rarest Pogs. (People my age will remember them). My obsessions it seems have rather moved with the times and my most recent one started when me, and my extremely patient girlfriend, recently purchased a house with solar panels on the roof. Genuinely, the first few days we lived here, I set up a primitive camp next to the electricity meter making note every time the kettle went on, or the washing machine was run, to see how much power we were using verses how much energy the panels were producing. Over the course of a few days inevitably, the novelty wore off, and I went back to my old habits of leaving everything on standby and having every light in the house on, regardless of anyone being in the room or not. This week though, my obsession has been sparked once more as I invited our newly chosen power provider to install a ‘smart meter’ which, the best I can tell, gets its title of ‘smart’ simply because it does the same job as the meter in the cupboard, but it’s small and portable. I will forget that the man who installed it was scheduled to arrive between 12:00noon and 4:00pm, and arrived at 5:15pm, and I will forgive that he abused our toilet in such a way that if I were to send a canary in there, I would have received it’s resignation notice stating it would rather go back to working down the mines than spend another second in my lavatory. Neither of these do I care because I now have twenty-four hour, easy to view, access to the amount of electricity we use. Consequently, I am carrying this small meter around on my belt like some sort of voltage obsessed madman, insisting that lights go on only if absolutely necessary. For instance, sit down wee, lights off, stand up wee, lights on. As you can imagine, these new ‘house rules’ are proving ‘unpopular’ and since there has been much stumbling in the dark recently, I fear if my new ‘lights off regime’ doesn’t end soon my new meter friend may be inserted somewhere I may not be able to see it anymore.

§ Joe Ferridge is an occasional writer and it’s cost me 2.8 pence to write this on my laptop





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FLORIST LUCY’S FLOWERS, 07595 336610, 6 Angel House, Eastgate, Whittlesey PE7 1SE

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GARDENING WESTFIELD NURSERIES, 01733 206688, Station Road, Whittlesey PE7 2EX


LANDSCAPING AND GARDEN SPECIALISTS, 07774 310915, landscapingand



33 The Fens | October 2016 33

A day in the life of...


David James Smith, father, guitarist, singer, front man, teacher, and all-round nice guy, took some time out between gigging to speak to Anthony Shiels IMAGES Olivia Johnston Photography

When did you first find your passion for music and what led you to the guitar? Well, even as a young kid I was drawn to music. I was harmonising Christmas carols with family at the age of three. I played recorder and piano at four, and would question Beatles chord arrangements. Just by the mood they created, my ears were twitching! I started playing my dad’s acoustic around 10 years old, and he bought my first electric at 12 I think. I was obsessed with the guitar from that day on. Still am. You're very likely the most actively gigging musician I know. How many gigs have you played in the last 12 months and what's been the highlight? I've played close to 100 gigs this year alone and 70 plus the 34 The Fens | October 2016

last half of the previous year, and they vary so much. From my original band AUSTIN GOLD (AG), to covers/ function gigs with CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION (Rev), drumming with the CHILIS tribute, to solo acoustic gigs. I have a 'suitcase of hats!' It's demanding to remember the material and arrangements, but I love the variety. Rev have had some great moments this year, playing all over the country, including being part of a small UK tour with some friends from California, but I'd say AUSTIN GOLD playing the Peterborough Beerfest was a big highlight. The other huge highlight was being presented with my VANQUISH signature guitar. Adrian Hardman hand-crafted my DS model with a brief of my specific requirements. I exclusively used it to record the AG album, hundreds of hours of gigs, tuition and rehearsals. She has my DNA running through her! The best guitar I've ever owned.

As well as a full time musician, you're also a prolific songwriter. Where do you draw your inspiration from and do you have a process? Writing is a compulsion. It's arguably my favourite part of the process to compose, rehearse, record and perform. I've written songs from the moment I could play guitar. With previous bands, ACER and FALLEN BREAKS, I've written from a dark place. It's very image provoking. Writing positively is harder. And I've found with AG I can write from a brighter corner! To cite Eagles, Beatles, Elo, Bowie, Gerry Rafferty, ZZ Top is a good starting point. Your band Austin Gold have just completed the recording of your debut album. What can we look forward to hearing and when can we expect it to be released? Yes, our album 'Before Dark Clouds'

“Writing is a compulsion. It's arguably my favourite part of the process to compose, rehearse, record and perform” is now finished. It's been a bit mad really. We were extremely fortunate to have three investors on board which enabled us to record at The Nave Studios in Leeds, with my old pal Andy Hawkins, as producer. It’s such a great space to get vibes flying, and Hawkins' superb production has resulted in an album we're extremely proud of. It's a real 'band' effort - everyone's got their corner. It's been described as a “country rock, blues, Floyd workout”. Fairly accurate, I guess! We're currently in talks with some industry, labels and PR, so we aim for a release later this year. The top 5 guitarists of all time are... Andy Timmons, Dave Gilmour, Gary Moore, Hendrix and Billy Gibbons. I remember watching you play on stage when you were around 16 years of age. You inspired me to perform. I'm still in awe of your ability, but how do you think that age has shaped the way you play? Wow! Cheers man, that's very humbling. Well, I always work on new techniques or tones which will inspire new avenues of play. Particularly, as a guitar tutor, I have to show new ways to my pupils. In terms of playing live, as a lead singer and lead guitarist, the balance is something you

can't quantify. I'm fortunate to be in, and have been in, some great bands. When you’re surrounded by the rumble of a band, it's often involuntary to raise the performance. It's primal. Can you offer any advice or pearls of wisdom to young and upcoming musicians? Get professional tuition, form a solid nucleus of a band, and rehearse like mad. Book some local gigs or even play open mic nights, and just get out and play. It's the best buzz. What are your plans for the next 12 months?

CHILDREN OF THE REV are booking up for next year, and there’s more recording with FALLEN BREAKS. We've also got a lot in the pipeline with AG. Release the album and once we've secured a label, get on a tour, radio, etc. We've been invited to play L.A. next year which will be sweet! Busy times.... Want to find out more? Below are several links to Dave’s guitar tuition page, plus band links: davefallenbreaks77 The Fens | October 2016 35


Books, music, films, games What we’re


A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza by Pete Adams; Urbane Publications Limited How is it possible to read a book placed within the crime genre but spend most of your time laughing whilst reading it? Although filled with spooks, villains and a larger than life main protagonist, this clever crime story never failed to show the humorous side of life – even amongst the tragedy and loss one might expect from such a tale. Throw in some brutally honest political satire and I can safely say A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza is three genres rolled into one. I can also safely say I have never read a book quite like it and the author should congratulate himself on his clever writing style and apparent ease and ability to mingle and cross genres. Although this is book three of the Kind Hearts and Martinet series I have not, as yet, read the other two, and although I hope to do so in the near future, this book works perfectly well as a stand-alone. The principle setting is Portsmouth and having visited there myself a couple of times; the author does a great job of describing this historic port and Naval dockyard as well as some of its popular watering holes. As with all great stories the main protagonist, the ageing DCI Jack Austin (Jane to his friends), is wonderfully flawed but delightfully funny at the same time. Jack often talks to himself – out loud. He also has the unusual propensity to dish out rather amusing nicknames to all and sundry including Mandy, his long-suffering partner, often referred to as Mandy Pumps and Mandy Lifeboats but rather affectionately by her real name Amanda, during their more intimate moments. There is also Hissing Sid the desk sergeant, Jo Jums who is in fact Detective Inspector Josephine Wild and Colonel Horrocks nicknamed The General, just to name a few of the colourful but well-drawn supporting characters.

Our verdict...

The storyline has great pace and although this novel sits perfectly well within the crime genre, the plot is delivered with warmth and affection and a generous dose of farcical humour as well as some very poignant political commentary. Highly recommended to fans of comedy and crime alike.

By Eva Jordan, author of 183 Times A Year

Flowe all occars for sions

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6 Angel House, East Gate, Whittlesey PE7 1SE

07595 336610

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“For all your gardening needs” Gravel Drives/Block Paving • Turf Supplied & Laid Patios/Decking • Fencing • Grass Cutting & Maintenance Garden Clearance • Pruning & Tree Work • Pergolas Rotavator plus operator - ideal for allotments, veg patches, etc

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Hello, my name is Anthony and...

i teach piano Whittlesey Piano/Keyboard Tuition

New releases


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Release date: September 30th 36 The Fens | October 2016

i teach students of all ages i am DBS accredited i am competitively priced i have a 100% exam pass rate

Call Anthony on 07505 688612

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

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

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

Your local defibrillators No Address Saxon Autopoint, 1

No Address 9 Chippy Sue’s,

No Address 16 Childers,

No Address No Address 23 4 Yarwells Head- 31 3 Lakeside


311 Eastrea Rd PE7 2AP


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


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


Boons Transport, Stonald Road PE7 1QS


The Railway Pub, 139 Station Rd PE1 1UF


Eastrea Centre, 2 Roman Gardens, Eastrea PE7 2BB


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


The Scout Hut, Inhams Rd


Westfield Nurseries, Station Rd PE7 2EX


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


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


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

Abbey Way


Nisa Shop, Victory Ave PE7 1XU


Town Hall, Market St PE7 1BD


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


Whittlesey Fire Station, Cemetery Rd PE7 1RU

Palmers Court


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


Grosvenor House, Eastgate PE7 1GH


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


The Nags Head, 402 Eastrea Rd, Eastrea PE7 2AR

Care Homes


Ivy Leaf Club, 1 Gracious St PE7 1AP


Grosvenor House, Eastgate PE7 1GH


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


30 Teal Road, Whittlesey PE7 1YE


The 3 Horseshoes, 344 March Rd, Turves PE7 2DN


Pondersbridge Vill Hall, Oilmills Rd PE7 2LT


The Little Hair Shop, 34 Bellmans Rd, PE7 1TY


The Dog in a Doublet, North Side PE6 0RW

Peterborough Rd PE7 1NJ

14 The Delph PE7 1QH

1A Station Rd PE7 1SA

lands PE7 1RF

Gardens, Coates PE7 2DA


West End Stores 30 West End, Whittlesey PE7 1LS COMING SOON

Visit our new website:

The Fens | October 2016 37


October 22nd



October 1st

October 2nd

Coffee morning in aid of the Church of England’s Children’s Society at St Andrew’s Church Hall, Parkinsons Lane. Free Admission – 10.00 am to 12.00 noon. Various stalls including cakes, jigsaws, handmade cards, etc.

Charity quiz night at Falcon Hotel

October 28th

October 21st

Special Olympic Rock ’n’ Roll Dance featuring The Houndogs & the City Sounds Disco at The Parkway Club, Peterborough at 7pm-11:30pm. Tickets are £12 pp including sausage and chips supper. All proceeds go towards Peterborough Special Olympics attendance at the 2017 National Summer Games in Sheffield. Tickets are available from Denise at the Club on 07963 214349, Rob Goodwin 01733 261162, or Inspire Peterborough 01733 330815

REGULARS Hatha yoga, for all levels, £6 each, some mats available. Monday - 6pm Wednesday - 6.30pm, Thursday 9.30am. St Andrew’s Parish Room, Parkinsons Lane, Whittlesey Power Yoga, 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

Whittlesey Business Forum’s next meeting is Oct 19th at the Falcon Hotel, London Street. Meet at 6pm for a 6:30pm start.

October 11th

Antiques and Collectibles Buttercross Auction viewing at Falcon Hotel

October 14th

Waddo at Conservative Club

October 3rd

Open Mic Weatsheaf P/H Eastfield Rd Peterborough 8pm with James Edmonds

October 8th

Folk Club at Falcon Hotel

Travis at Conservative Club

Race Night £3 entry Inc light Buffet at Conservative Club

October 26th

Hidden Gems evening at Falcon Hotel

October 29th

Peterborough Horticultural Society will be holding their late Chrysanthemum Show at St. John Hall, Plough Road, Whittlesey. Classes to include vegetable, floral art, handicraft, cookery and junior classes. For more information contact Jim Osborne on 01733 202980

November 4th

Back to the 80s acoustic live music at Vesuvio, Whittlesey. Book early for a night of great food and retro music

November 11th

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

November 19th

Christmas Musical Fayre at St. Andrews Hall, 1-4pm. Live music along with a christmas craft fayre

October 12th

Acoustic Sessions Railway P/H Ramsey 8pm with The Boatmen

October 15th

Dave Logan at Conservative Club

October 18th

The Boat Inn Open Mic Whittlesey 8.45pm with Dave & Phil

October 22nd

Steve Carmel at Conservative Club October 28th Whisky Bar Acoustic Sessions The Boat Inn Whittlesey 8.30pm with the Boatmen

October 28th

Karaoke at Falcon Hotel

October 29th

Dale Diamond at Conservative Club

October 29th

“The Magic of Soul, Motown and More 60’s 70’s and 80’s Disco Halloween Party Themed Evening at Ivy Leaf Club. Dressing for the occasion is optional, but prizes on the night will be given. Tickets £6 in advance from Larry’s Heel Bar, Broad St. Whittlesey, or club direct on 01733 202579; or £8 on the door.



CHARITABLE TRUST Rescuing animals for over 20 years

Sunday 23rd October 2016 11am to 4pm St Andrews Parish Hall, Whittlesey Dog show entries, £3 per class: Come and join in the fun. Handsome boyPrettiest girl Best cross breedBest Pedigree Meet some of the Best puppy under 9 months Merrylegs Animals. Best rescueBest trick New judge. Join in the fun Best child handler dog show, tombola, name Golden oldie (dogs over 10 years) the bunny, refreshments Dog judge would like to take home & much, much more Most unlikely pairBest condition

{ { Entries from 11am, classes start at 12 noon, championship to all 1st place winners. Rosettes 1st to 5th place - official photographer J & K Photographer


FRIDAY�NOVEMBER�4TH �hits� Book�a�table�and�enjoy�your�favourite from�the�80s�with�acoustic�duo� Small�Town�Boys�-�Music�from�8pm

Fancy�dress�optional�- PRIZE�for�best�outfit!


Registered charity: 1155405

Email the team at to be included in our events guide. Information is correct at time of printing. Please check with the venue/organiser directly. 38 The Fens | October 2016

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Written by Brad Fitt

Additional material by Simon Egerton Music & lyrics and directed by Simon Egerton

1 Dec 2016 - 8 Jan 2017 Peterborough’s original and best, traditional family pantomime - plus a 10 piece show band!

The purr-fect Christmas treat for all the family

40 The Fens | October 2016

Book your seats NOW on 01733 207 239 or visit

The Fens October 2016  
The Fens October 2016