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fens THE

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens



Issue 19 | December 2017






The Fenland Roaster


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The Fens | December 2017

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ED’S letter December is here, whether we’re ready or not! And with it, the start of our advent calendars, the build-up towards the Christmas break and the likelihood that we’re going to be consuming too much food and drink. As you might expect, our December issue is packed full of Christmas cheer, from a step-by-step guide to making your own wreath, to our review of Trapp’d (note the photo above), experience of Peterborough Cathedral by Candlelight, and of course our own gift guide which features many of the local crafts people we have met this year. You might notice that this issue is in fact bigger than ever, which means more of your favourite magazine to enjoy. We love a competition at Fens HQ and this month is no exception. You can win a free game at Trapp’d, get your hands on our Christmas gift hamper, or win a £100 Amazon gift card by completing a short survey. So if you haven’t started your Christmas shopping (and frankly, I’m included in that group) then get entering our competitions and you might win some ideal gifts for loved ones! I’d like to finish my column this month by wishing our readers a magical Christmas and a wonderful start to the New Year.


THIS month 7 Local artist exhibits in the city 11 Visiting Peterborough Cathedral in candlelight 14 Festive fashion from Queensgate Shopping Centre

22 Your chance to win a £100 Amazon gift voucher 26 Top tips for surviving the festive season 28 Learn how to make a wreath

19 All you need to know about real Christmas trees

32 Columnist Leanne ventures to Jersey

20 This month’s recipe

36 Find out what happens when we get Trapp’d....

fens A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens


PUBLISHER / EDITOR Natasha Shiels EDITORIAL/SALES ASSISTANT Amy Corney SUB EDITOR Valerie Matthews/Theresa Shiels PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Brudenell ADVERTISING SALES 01733 202049 | 07927 192854 ACCOUNTS 01733 202049 SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe for just £12 for 6 issues, contact us at CONTRIBUTORS Simon Parr-Black | Joe Ferridge | Eamonn Dorling | John McGinn | Westfield Nurseries | Anthony Austin | Mayur and Ubhi Mistry | Eva Jordan | Leanne Hyland | Robert Bull | Whittlesey Veterinary Centre | David White | Tia Henderson | Kerry Smith DISTRIBUTION

9,000 copies printed monthly. Delivered to Whittlesey, Eastrea, Coates, Turves, Pondersbridge, Benwick, plus copies in March, Wisbech, Ramsey and Queensgate Shopping Centre

40 Our selection of top Christmas gifts




Issue 19 | December 2017


51 What’s on guide 54 Independent of the month Johnsons of Old Hurst @thefensmag thefensmag




Wild Frost Cafe wreath by Chris Brudenell

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 Barley Media Limited accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.

The Fens | December 2017



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The Fens | December 2017 Visit our new website at


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Whitehall Farm, Ramsey Road, PE7 3DR

Fontanella’s We would like to wish our customers old and new a very merry christmas and a happy new year

Celebrate the festive season at Peckover this Christmas Saturday 9 to Sunday 17 December, 11am – 4pm Selected rooms of Peckover House will be decorated for Christmas with festive floral arrangements and trees decorated by the community - all to help you get into the festive spirit. There'll be music from local choirs and musicians, as well as mulled wine and homemade mince pies in the Reed Barn.

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© National Trust 2017. The National Trust is an independent registered charity, number 205846. Photography © National Trust Images\Paul Harris.


The Fens | December 2017

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LOCAL ARTIST EXHIBITS AT PETERBOROUGH CATHEDRAL Whittlesey based artist, David Lewis, who has lived in the area for 30 years and spent most of his working life as an animator helping to make programmes for TV, has an exhibition at Peterborough Cathedral. David, who was a teacher at Peterborough Regional College, has spent much of his time completing drawing workshops and murals in and around Whittlesey. His artwork has been exhibited at Peterborough Museum and Gallery Stamford, as well as at the annual St. Mary’s Church exhibitions in Whittlesey. The current exhibition at Peterborough Cathedral Visitors’ Centre includes many images of local interest, including St. Mary’s Church and the wonderful willows on Thorney

Road. Interestingly, many of the pictures were handdrawn on the iPad. Others are painted on canvas. Cathedral Images by David Lewis are being held at Peterborough Cathedral Visitor Centre between 4th November and 1st January 2018. The exhibition reflects his fascination with medieval architecture and the natural world. Open 10.00am - 5.00pm Mon Sat 11.00am - 4.00pm Sun. Admission is free (although donations are welcome).

The Whittlesey Womens Institute held their Annual General meeting in November. A strong turnout saw Mrs Anne Quincey relected President for a third year, with Mrs Sue Almond relected as Treasuer. Mrs Sandra Mina was relected as Secretary. A full and varied programme of events and talks has been formulated for 2018, but before then, they will be delighted to welcome any newcomers to the December meeting and Christmas Party on Tuesday 5th December 7.30pm start at St Andrews Hall, for further details contact committee member Mrs Julie Windle on 01733 204445 Photograph shows the membership after the AGM

The Fens | December 2017



WHITTLESEY REMEMBERED Every year in November, the nation marks the wars that have scarred our past and the bravery of the men and women who fought them. Once again the Fenland towns were lined with poppies and people, as we remembered those who gave their lives for their country. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them. Laurence Binyon

THE GIFT TREE RETURNS Images by Chris Brudenell

WHITTLESEY AND DISTRICT LIONS CAROL FLOAT DATE COLLECTING AREA Fri 1st Coates Village Sat 2nd Bellmans Road/ Sycamore/ Debdale Court etc. Sun 3rd Stonald Road etc. Mon 4th Turves Village Tues 5th Eastrea and New Larkfleet Estate Wed 6th Yarwells Headland etc Thurs 7th Snoots Road Est. Fri 8th No Collection Extravaganza Sat 9th Mill Rd/New Rd/ Eastrea Rd etc Sun 10th Teal Road/ Birds Estate Mon 11th Bassenhally Rd/ Cemetery Rd Tues 12th Station Road area Wed 13th Gracious Street area Thus 14th Avenues area Fri 15th Church Street, Ramsey Road area 8

The Fens | December 2017

LOCAL BAND RELEASE A CHRISTMAS SINGLE Fenland based The Candle Thieves, who have recently toured mainland China promoting their new album, ‘Details’, are set to release a Christmas single this month. ‘I’ll Be Your Waste Of Time’ is available from all digital outlets from December 1st, and the boys will be celebrating a successful 2017 with a headline performance on December 2nd at Mama Liz’s in Stamford, supported by Robert J. Bull and Michael Keithson. Find The Candle Thieves on Facebook, listen on Spotify, and buy the new CD at Bob’s Records, Broad St, Whittlesey or online at

The Queensgate Gift Tree, in partnership with Spurgeons Children’s Charity, is returning to the centre this year to ensure children across Peterborough receive a gift this Christmas. The Gift Tree, which invites shoppers to donate a present to a child that wouldn’t normally have a Christmas, receives thousands of donations each year and “every single present is warmly received,” says Ross Hendry, CEO of Spurgeons Children’s Charity. He added: “The level of support which we have received in the last four years from the Queensgate Gift Tree is amazing and invaluable. The Queensgate Gift Tree will be located at the Customer Information Desk (outside John Lewis) and, as with previous years, shoppers can choose a tag with a child’s name, age and gender and donate an unwrapped present. The Queensgate Gift Tree launches on Saturday 18 November and final donations will be accepted on Wednesday 20 December so that Spurgeons and, with the help of local delivery company APC, and of cause Santa himself, can ensure all gifts are beautifully wrapped and delivered to children in time for Christmas Day. Spurgeons Children’s Charity is a national children’s charity supporting children and their families for 150 years. The charity delivered over 80 projects in the last year to find long-lasting solutions to the challenges faced by children and families: including poverty, abuse problems, offending, and other social issues. Find out more at www.

Runners don’t despair - the great Perkins half marathon might be a distant memory, but another, much more serious run is on the horizon - the Santa Stroll! On Sunday 17 December, participants will get the opportunity to run (or stroll) the 5k course, starting from Serpentine Green in Peterborough. Everybody receives a FREE santa suit and medal and all funds go to the Mayor’s Charities

(Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, Peterborough Shopmobility and Peterborough Sea Cadets).


can enter the Santa Stroll online at SantaStroll

The stroll starts at 10am and entry is £15 for adults, £10 for youths (9 to 14 years), £7 for juniors (5 to 8 years), or a family entry (2 adults and 2 children) is £40. Entry forms are available from Serpentine Green Shopping Centre and the Visitor Information Centre, Bridge Street, Peterborough. Or you

PARK LANE REMEMBER WITH A GIANT POPPY Children at Park Lane Primary & Nursery School in Whittlesey spent Friday 10th November marking the Act of Remembrance with a giant poppy. Adam Pallister added, “The children have all had the opportunity to learn about poppies and Armistice Day appropriate to their age group. “When preparing the display the children were incredibly well behaved and showed a respect and understanding for the importance of this Act of Remembrance. “Following the display, children then looked at the picture during a twominute silence where they reflected

on the wonderful work of our armed forces.”

Image by Adam Pallister

Image by Chris Brudenell The Fens | December 2017



WWW.VE SUV IOWH ITTL E S E Y. C OM T: 01733 204599


10 The Fens | December 2017


by Candlelight

Take a look at this spectacular building in candlelight, and find out more about the stories the Cathedral holds within WORDS NATASHA SHIELS IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL Undoubtedly one of my many highlights whilst publishing THE FENS magazine, was being invited along to observe Peterborough Cathedral in candlelight. The evening couldn’t have been more atmospheric, tiny droplets of water hung in the air outside and glistened in the glow from the lampposts as we stepped inside the majestic building to be greeted only by the sound of the organist practising. It was an ethereal moment, and one I’ll never forget. We had heard that the Cathedral was opening its doors in the evenings during winter, to allow visitors the chance to see and hear about the history that has shaped the building. Our tour guide, Brian McDonnell, who was friendly and full of a wealth of knowledge, kindly showed us around. I learnt about Katharine of Aragon, who, in case you’ve forgotten your history lessons, was married to King Henry VIII. Katharine served as regent of England while Henry VIII was in France, and according to our guide, she did a remarkable job ensuring the English won the Battle of Flodden. But Henry VIII was infatuated with Anne Boleyn and dissatisfied that his marriage to Katharine had produced no surviving sons, leaving their daughter, the future Mary I of England, as heir presumptive at a time when there was no established precedent for a woman on the throne. He sought

to have his marriage to Katharine annulled, setting in motion a chain of events that led to England's schism with the Catholic Church. Katharine was sent into exile and eventually died at Kimbolton Castle. Her body, still to this day, lies beneath a grave in Peterborough Cathedral for visitors to see. Every January, the Cathedral hold a three day festival to celebrate Katharine’s life and her extraordinary past. We also discovered the Monk’s Stone, one of the oldest pieces of stone in the Cathedral, and the modest grave of Mary Queen of Scots, who was originally buried at

the Cathedral, before her son, James I, requested that she was moved to Westminster Abbey in 1612. Our guide explained the catastrophic effect Cromwell’s occupation had on the Cathedral, from damage to the ceiling to housing animals inside its walls. But an awful lot of time and patience has gone into renovating the building, from ceiling repair to cleaning the beautiful mosaic floor, tile by tile. There is so much history to be learnt during the Cathedral tour, and I must admit, I did come away realising that my own knowledge is somewhat lacking! Not only that, I realised The Fens | December 2017 11

There are many events currently being held at Peterborough Cathedral. Here’s a selection of just a few, but you can see many more by visiting

how important the building is. From the exquisite wooden painted ceiling, which is the only medieval ceiling of its kind in the UK, to the marble canopy over the high altar and the fascinating stories of the men who were involved in designing, financing and building it. How can you not come away with a new found sense of awe? After a truly enlightening tour of around 75 minutes, visitors can enjoy a glass of wine and the opportunity to chat to fellow visitors or ask further questions of your guide. What better way to spend an evening is there, than to discover an after-hours tour of arguably the most beautiful and important building in our city centre? Peterborough Cathedral candlelight tours are only available during the winter months. Tickets are £12 for adults, or £10 for concessions. You can book online at http:// candle or call Peterborough Information Centre on 01733 452336. Tours are currently available on the following dates: Wednesday 20th December at 7.00pm Saturday 23rd December at 7.00pm Wednesday 24th January at 7.00pm Saturday 27th January at 7.00pm Wednesday 21st February at 7.00pm Saturday 24th February at 7.00pm 12 The Fens | December 2017

The Military Wives Home for Christmas Cathedral Tour 2017 Saturday 9th December, at 7.30pm - The famous Military Wives choir bring their Christmas concert to Peterborough in a heart-warming seasonal performance. Tickets: £27.50 online via Ticketmaster, or from Peterborough Information Centre, Bridge Street, Peterborough on 01733 452336. The Cathedral Christmas Concert Friday 15th December at 7.30pm - The highlight of the Christmas musical calendar, this is a concert not to be missed! Peterborough Cathedral Choir, Youth Choir and Festival Chorus with orchestra and soloists. Conductor: Steven Grahl. Tickets: £25, £20, £15 (U18s half price). Book online or call 01832 274734 or 01733 452336. Ian Anderson with The Christmas Jethro Tull Saturday 16th December, at 7.30pm - Rock legend Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, with his band, will bring his Christmas concert to the Cathedral. Thanks to Ian’s generosity all proceeds go to the Cathedral. Tickets: £35.00, £27.50. Book online or call 01832 274734 or 01733 452336. Christmas Movie Nights Friday 29th - Saturday 30th December - A great way to entertain the family, enjoying much loved films in an unusual setting. Friday 29th: 2.30pm Arthur Christmas (U), 7:00pm It’s a Wonderful Life (U). Saturday 30th: 2.30pm Polar Express (U), 6.30pm Home Alone (PG). Tickets, per film: £6 adults, £4 children, £18 family. Book online or call 01832 274734 or 01733 452336.



est. 2003


Pre-loved high-end high street/designer fashion

Let us help you find a perfect party dress, dress for Christmas Day, or a wonderful winter warmer - all clothes and accessories are sold at a fraction of the original price. We wish to thank our customers for your support in our first year and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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E: T: 01487 479475 M: 07971 020171 The Fens | December 2017 13




With polar bears, penguins and Christmas sparkle, here’s our round-up of festive fashion for little ones from Queensgate Shopping Centre



14 The Fens | December 2017




1. CHRISTMAS BORDER DRESS; John Lewis from £15 2. POLAR BEAR PJS 2 PIECE SET; John Lewis from £22 3. POLAR BEAR KNITTED BLUE JUMPER; John Lewis from £20 4. RED CHECKERED SHIRT; Next from £11 4. GINGERBREAD HOUSE HANGING ORNAMENT; Monsoon from £7 5. GOLD METALLIC SS TOP; John Lewis from £12 6. PINK MOLESKIN TROUSERS; John Lewis from £15 7. BABY AVA STRIPE DRESS; Monsoon from £26


The Fens | December 2017 15

1. BLUE CORD TROUSERS; Next from £10 2. WINTER ANIMALS PJS 2 PIECE SET; John Lewis from £22 3. BOYS’ PAW SLIPPERS; Next from £12


4. GIRLS’ SHEEP SLIPPERS; Next from £9 5. RED CHECKERED SHIRT; Next from £11 6. UNDER THE STARS NIGHTWEAR 4 PIECE SET; Next from £20 With thanks to Chris Brudenell Photography, Luca and Gabriella Mezzatesta, and Archie Locke for modelling. Thank you to Aspect Fires, Whittlesey for providing our backdrop. All stockists found at Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough


2. 5.


3. 4.

16 The Fens | December 2017


Part of a 4 piece set

The Fens | December 2017 17

Westfield Nurseries

Fresh Christmas Trees

The tea m at Westfield Nurseries look forward to welcoming you and wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Y ear.

NOW IN STOCK Choose from: Our popular Non-Needle Drop Nordman (cut or blocked) Traditional Norway Spruce (cut or blocked) Nordman & Norway Spruce Pot Grown Rooted Trees All of our trees are great value PREMIUM GRADE CHRISTMAS TREES

ALSO AVAILABLE Wreaths, Poinsettias, Cyclamen, Christmas Planted Arrangements, HTA Garden Gift Vouchers and other Christmas gift ideas.


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Keep up to date by following our Facebook page – Westfield Nurseries Whittlesey

• Shrubs • Conifers • Roses • Bedding/Basket Plants • Perennials • Alpines • Compost • Turf • Bark • Wide Selection of Pots • Bagged Aggregates • Slabs Opening times: Mon-Sat 9am to 5pm; Sun 10am-4pm




N & J Specialists


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Block drives • Patios • Fencing • Turfing Power wash drives & patios

Council registered for drop kerbs & drainage HOME - OFFICE - BUSINESS - 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  KITCHENS  BATHROOMS  EXTENSIONS  CONSERVATORIES


Contact PAUL JAKES T: 01733 701612 | M: 07831 327691

Landscaping and Garden Specialists

“For all your gardening needs” Gravel Drives/Block Paving • Turf Supplied & Laid Patios/Decking • Fencing • Grass Cutting & Maintenance Garden Clearance • Pruning & Tree Work • Pergolas

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18 The Fens | December 2017

Rotavator plus operator - ideal for allotments, veg patches, etc

Call us on 07774 310915

Home & garden


Most gardeners tend to think that everything in the garden is dormant in December. While this does tend to be the case there are still crops, plants and wildlife to protect from any winter frosts. The lawn will need to be kept clear of any remaining leaves and patio containers will need raising to avoid them sitting in the wet. The beginning of the month, however, will probably be dedicated to decorating the Christmas tree. For many people this is an essential part of their festive traditions and there’s nothing quite like a real Christmas tree to decorate a room and fill the home with that nostalgic seasonal aroma…

Christmas tree facts you may not know

CHOOSING A CHRISTMAS TREE There are several types of Christmas tree to choose from and if you’ve never had one before it can be hard to decide which will be best. Nordmann Fir – this is the top choice for real indoor Christmas trees and has excellent needle retention. The lush, glossy, rich green needles are soft and dense making it easy to decorate and the strong branches will support your lights and decorations to create a stunning display. They quite often have a wide base, making a perfect place to hide presents! Norway Spruce – the ‘traditional’ Christmas tree. Strong branches make for easy decorating, although the needles can tend to

be fairly sharp. If you are choosing this tree it is best kept outside for as long as possible before bringing it into a cool room to help with needle retention. POTTED/POT GROWN TREES Most people buy cut Christmas trees, but it is possible to buy ‘potted’ or ‘pot grown’ trees. If you want to keep your tree after Christmas to pot on or plant in the garden always ask for a pot-grown tree. Potted Christmas trees have usually been grown in the ground and then dug up and potted with a few roots. They generally won’t last much longer than a well cared for cut tree, and usually won’t establish in the garden afterwards. Pot grown trees have been grown in the pot and so are more likely to be successful for growing on from year to year. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Westfield Nurseries Station Road, Whittlesey, PE7 2EX

Tel 01733 206688

• The first decorated tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510. • The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531. • The Christmas tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples and nuts. In the 18th century it began to be illuminated by candles. • The first use of the term ‘Christmas tree’ in English was in 1835. • England’s first Christmas tree was brought to Windsor by Charlotte, wife of George III, in 1800…. .... but it was the trees bought in the 1840s by Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, that led to their popularity throughout the UK. • Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882. • In 1900, large stores started to erect big illuminated Christmas trees. • Every year since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway have given a Christmas tree to the city of London as an expression of good will and gratitude for Britain’s help during World War II. • Growing Christmas trees provides a habitat for wildlife. • On average, three Christmas trees are planted to replace each one harvested. • A real Christmas tree can help to remove dust and pollen from the air. In the first week a tree in your home will consume as much as 2 pints of water per day. • The most common tree sold is the Nordmann Fir. • Father Christmas always has a Nordmann Fir.

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

Open 7 days a week including Bank Holidays

The Fens | December 2017 19


SANTA’S DICK A seasonal twist on Spotted Dick and Dog in a Doublet’s best selling Christmas dessert every year Preparation time 10 mins Cooking time 1 hour Serves 6-8 INGREDIENTS • 300g self raising flour • 10g baking powder • 150g shredded suet • 1tsp mixed spice • 75g caster sugar • 200g Bramley apple (diced) • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons • 200ml milk


• If you like traditional Spotted Dick, why not soak some currents in whiskey for a day or two before and serve on the side. • Make an apple compote with the remaining apple pieces after chopping, by frying in butter and sugar with a little cinnamon and then serve on top. • Add a bit of your favourite booze to the custard… Calvados Apple Brandy works particularly well.

THE METHOD 1. Mix together all the dry ingredients with the apple and lemon zest. Pour in 185ml of the milk and stir together, adding more of the milk if necessary to get the binding/dropping consistency. The wetter the mix, the lighter the sponge. Roll the mix into a 15-20x5cm diameter cylinder, wrap in buttered greaseproof paper with a fold to allow space for the sponge to rise, and tie the paper at both ends. Put in a hot steamer and cook for about one hour. 2. Remove the paper and slice the pudding into portions (around 1 inch is perfect). 3. Serve with custard.

Eat, drink, stay!

Pub gastronomic, farmhouse kitchen, boutique rooms This dessert is now appearing on Dog in a Doublet’s new menu 20 The Fens | December 2017

River Nene, between Thorney & Whittlesey |

01733 202256

Eat, drink, stay!


Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Pub gastronomic, farmhouse kitchen, boutique rooms

River Nene, between Thorney & Whittlesey | 01733 202256 The Fens | December 2017 21 WWW.DOGINAD.CO.UK | DOGINAD@GMAIL.COM


COME ON IN, THE WATER’S LOVELY WORDS Simon Bell, New Vision Fitness IMAGES Chris Brudenell

Did you know that Manor Leisure Centre in beautiful Whittlesey has not one, but two, great swimming pools? Yes, right on your doorstep we’ve got a 10-metre toddler pool for a safe, warm and fun session with mum, dad or one of our great teachers, and a superb 25 metre 6-lane pool for the older children, grown-ups and the more advanced learners. In the whole of Cambridgeshire it really is one of the best pools around. Our lifeguards are fullytrained, friendly and helpful and our water temperature in both pools is maintained at a comfortable 29.5 degrees. Add in a spacious seating area to watch your children compete in a gala or develop their water confidence, weekly Big Splash!! sessions with our massive pool inflatable, and a pool side sauna and steam room with their own relaxation area and the Manor at Whittlesey truly has the full package. For variety there’s a session for everyone. Lane swims, Parents and Toddler sessions, Fun sessions with floats, sessions for the disabled, Aqua fit, Schools, Private party hire and Open to All along with lessons from pre-school to veteran. Remember, you’re never too young (or old) to learn. WHY SWIM IN THE FIRST PLACE? Well, above all it’s incredibly healthy and a brilliant way to build corestrength and endurance and activate those long-forgotten muscle groups. 22 The Fens | December 2017

You can go at your own pace, it’s low-impact, safe, excellent for anyone overweight or pregnant in keeping pressure off your joints. And what child doesn’t enjoy their weekly splash about in the toddler pool with mum or dad and some new friends. Our regulars love our pool and the fun and benefits they get from swimming at the Manor. We also have a lot of locals who have never come at all. We’d like to know why. Is there anything stopping you from coming for a dip? Is there something that puts you off? Too expensive, too busy, just don’t want to? HAVE YOUR SAY - AND YOU COULD WIN A £100 VOUCHER We really would like to know and if you want to tell us, good or bad, why you do (or don’t swim) we’ll listen. To let us know, follow the link swimmingsurvey or scan the QR code for a brief survey into the Whittlesey’s swimming habits. All responses received by December 14th will go into a draw to win a fantastic £100 Amazon voucher – just in time for Christmas!



WE BELIEVE QUALITY HOME INSURANCE CAN’T BE RUSHED Relax this Christmas knowing we’ll invest the time to ensure you get the right cover for your home. Call us on 01733 203 274 for a quote or pop in NFU Mutual Office, 24 , Queen Street, Whittlesey, Peterborough PE7 1AY Agent of The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited.

FROG KIDS’ BIKES The Lightweight Kids’ Bike From £21 per month, with no deposit and 0% APR

Frog are a small British company dedicated to making cycling fun for children. The lighter the bike, the easier it is for children to learn to ride, enjoying it more as they progress!

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12 stores at: Peterborough | Rutland | Grafham | Pitsford | Fineshade | Cambridge | Nottingham RUTLAND CYCLING_THE FENS MAGAZINE_DECEMBER_2017_194mm X 135mm_V1_08-11-17.indd 1

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The Fens | December 2017 23

01733 351909

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Childers (function room), 1a Station Road, Whittlesey 9:30am and 11:30am Call Gemma on 01733 350091 or 07955 211027

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Childers (function room), 1a Station Road, Whittlesey 5:30pm and 7:30pm Call Charlene on 07931 313201


Whittlesey 0344 897 8000 24 The Fens | December 2017



Childers (function room), 1a Station Road, Whittlesey 5:30pm and 7:30pm Call Charlene on 07931 313201



Eastrea Village Hall, Coates Road, Eastrea. 9:30am Call Anna on 07539 229365

Health & beauty



Hair & Beauty


Makeup Artist Tia reveals her three top tips to save your hair With Christmas around the corner, I’m sure you have an event coming up soon. You’ve got your dress, picked matching heels and the perfect bag, but what about your hair and makeup? Christmas is the one time of the year where you are ALLOWED to go all out on yourself and look drop-dead gorgeous for that end of year event. Let me help you in deciding on the perfect hair and makeup look depending on your outfit choice. Daring, bold and sexy… Have you chosen a dress with a daring slit, low neck line or tight-fitted? Be bold with your hair and makeup! Deep red lips with a smokey eye will complement your dress just perfectly, team this with glamorous defined curls and your look is complete! More of a loose fitted dress with higher necklines and more detail? A loose wavy up-do, with soft golden brown or a shadow that matches your dress on the eyes and a nude/deep purple/pink for a look that’s sure to turn heads! Dresses aren’t your thing? Going for trousers or a skirt two-piece? A feminine but striking look is needed! A deep side parting with super sleek straight hair or big vintage waves with simple and soft makeup is a winner all round. Book an appointment for your Christmas event for hair styling and receive makeup FREE plus an amazing FREE goodie bag! Quote THE FENS CHRISTMAS when booking to redeem this offer.

n About the expert - Tia Henderson “I want you to look and feel the best you ever have” Specialist hair and makeup artistry for special occasions, couture bridal and prom, event and media. TIA Hair & Makeup Artist, 07495 784689

Calm is definitely my favourite essential oil blend - it takes me to a beautiful spa when my three year old is kicking off about someone else liking the colour pink apart from her or my husband tells me his shirt needs ironing…. and I am so much better at it as it needs to be really crease free… even though I am just about to go to bed and he has been home five hours…. This oil has real power to aid relaxation! Gentle lavender meets soothing oils of neroli, valerian and damask rose to ease restlessness and relieve feelings of anxiety in this beautiful blend. Priime

oils are different to many other blends as they use top-grade ingredients with no added fragrance or chemicals. They are also energetically infused so there are a greater number of energy patterns running through them for fast, effective benefits. This relaxing blend is perfect for all the family! It can be used for massage with our Fractionated Coconut Oil, applied directly to the body’s stress points, such as the temples, neck and wrists; it can be diffused throughout the home and can even be put on a cloth and put in the dryer to infuse clothing or towels. Calm can also be diluted with Priime Fractionated Coconut Oil and used on children. I like to put a drop on my pillow before bed to help me drift off peacefully x

What’s inside Calm Ingredients: Lavender, Neroli, Valerian, Damask Rose, Bergamot, Geranium Rose, Melissa Leaf, Vanilla, Coconut, Orange, Roman Chamomile, Marjoram, Vetiver

Price: £39.50 Sample size available

Get in touch Katy Huett, Ariix Representative Email: Tel: 07847 517343 Facebook page: Healthy and Happy with Katy The Fens | December 2017 25



TOP TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE FESTIVE SEASON Christmas is a time for parties, for food and alcohol, for boxes of chocolates on all available table surfaces and cheese boards on every fridge shelf. My advice....Enjoy! A healthy diet should allow for some indulgence and Christmas is a perfect example of a time when you should be able to relax and enjoy some of the tempting food and drink that surrounds you. If the thought of all this excess is a concern though, consider a few of these ideas...

and equivalent to about seven doughnuts. You will be far better off sticking to a normal coffee and having a small sweet treat along with it. Their Toffee Nut Coffee Frappuccino is a close second with 68.1g per serving! 25-30g of sugar a day is the average recommended intake.


Ever wondered why when people are exposed to an illness (let’s say somebody enters the work place with a cough) some people succumb and others do not? For decades our focus has been on eradicating the germ (or micro-organism). The term micro-organisms defines organisms that are too small to see with the naked eye e.g. bacteria, fungus, virus, etc. When we take antibiotics we are looking to kill the micro-organism to rid ourselves of the disease. If this is the case, why then do some people remain unaffected? If it is all about the micro-organism then surely everybody who is exposed will suffer. It is a valid argument to answer that the non-sufferers are already immune because they may have been exposed to the micro-organism before (learnt immunity). However this argument does not hold true when we consider new microorganisms. Recent examples would be the bird flu or ebola. Here nobody has learnt immunity as nobody has been exposed to it before. Therefore these outbreaks should be catastrophic affecting hundreds of millions of people. Yet they do not, why? Lets go back to basics and look at the definition of micro-organism disease. Wikipedia uses this very clear definition: “These small organisms, too small to see without magnification, invade humans, animals, and other living hosts. Their growth and reproduction within their hosts can cause a disease” We have highlighted the key phrase in the definition here; growth and reproduction. The micro-organisms not only have to invade but reach a critical mass before they can cause disease. Until then we are immune. Recent studies have shown many healthy nonsymptomatic people having the harmful E-coli strain within their gut flora. Yet they remain symptom free. So what dictates micro-organism growth and reproduction. The answer is favourable conditions. Each micro-organism will need a certain set of conditions to flourish. Our internal environment is composed of sugars, salts, fatty acids, amino acids, coenzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, white blood cells, waste products and toxins. Therefore alter the internal environment and it can turn the balance of power to another micro-organism. Diet, lifestyle, exercise, water intake, stress, emotional balance and sleep will affect the composition of our internal environment and thus which micro-organisms flourish.



KEEP EXERCISING - Busy schedules often mean exercise gets pushed down the pecking order, but keeping your routine going will go a long way towards counteracting the effects of the added consumption and will put the food to good use as well as keeping a healthy mentality. AVOID GIMMICKY SEASONAL DRINKS - For example, the Starbucks festive grande Gingerbread Frappuccino is loaded with 68.5g of sugar, that’s over 16 teaspoons

DRINK MORE WATER – Extra alcohol units can lead to dehydration over Christmas. A lack of fluid in the body can mean our muscles and vital organs don’t work efficiently and become less productive at removing toxins and burning fat. Drink a glass of water with every alcoholic drink, it can really limit the after effects of a heavy drinking session and usually alleviates a hangover. MANAGE STRESS - Christmas is apparently one of the most stressful times of the year for some people. There is a direct correlation between stress levels and both weight gain and a failure to lose weight. This is because stress raises the hormone Cortisol which impacts things such as appetite and other cravings. So plan well and above all else enjoy Christmas time.

For more information and further assistance with diet and nutrition, contact Rob via

26 The Fens | December 2017


Mayur and Ubhi can be found at Whittlesey Osteopaths, 14 Market Place, Whittlesey,PE7 1AB. You can contact them on 785214 or visit

It’s A Wrap! Local author and mother of two EVA JORDAN shares her musings Well, December is upon us and as Christmas approaches I can’t help but look forward to the New Year for a rest! The last few months have been a whirlwind and the countdown to Christmas is, as I’m sure it is for many, proving to be no less exhausting. However, despite being worn out, I am also extremely grateful and wouldn’t have it any other way. The reason behind my tumultuous couple of months is mainly down to two things; the first being the release and book launch of my second novel, All The Colours In Between, which took place during the latter part of October, and the second has been down to the recent revelries of a …ahem… certain milestone birthday which I celebrated in November. Both events have been amazing, commemorated and shared with many wonderful friends and family, however, my proudest moment was when I realised that as I enter a new decade of my life, I do so with two published novels to my name. This project is supported by

For more information and an application form please email: Or call Kerry Smith at NCT on: 0771 131 7555

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All The Colours In Between, was released on 19th October followed a week later by the official book launch at Waterstones in Peterborough. The lead up to both was manic, entailing weeks of planning, including a Book Blog Tour to coincide with the release, invites to the launch to be sent, a photographer to be booked, banners and bookmarks to be ordered, a thank you speech to be written and rehearsed, and last, but by no means least, there were the all important cupcakes to order. Thankfully all went well and during the first week of  Local family dentist  Dental plans available release I watched in amazement as the five star reviews started rolling in. The launch was a great success, too.  Dentures: Acrylic and Metal  Teeth whitening Old friends and new took time out of their busy schedules  Implant referrals accepted to attend, including several local authors, an ex-English  0% finance available  Clear braces for adults tutor, and, of course, our very own lovely editor, Natasha.  Anti-wrinkle treatment The cupcakes, truly scrumptious and baked by the fair  Guided implant surgery - less pain, more smile hands of a good friend, flew off the plates, and stock of my book dwindled as people formed an orderly queue to have their copies signed. Also, rather surprisingly, I wasn’t too nervous during my speech, either. A typical writer, I’m Mon: 8.30am-5pm | Tues: 11:30am-7pm | Wed: 8.30am-5pm a natural introvert at heart, but I’d even go as far to say I Thurs: 8.30am-5pm | Fri: 8.30am-4pm actually enjoyed it! We offer a maintenance plan for patients looking to General dentistry includ I always dreamed of becoming a writer and having my attend the practice on a regular basis. extractions, root canal fi T: 01733 202587 E: work published. Which only goes to prove, with a bit of hard worka and a lot of determination that•old saying is • Cover starts from just £8.33 month Teeth whitening from £2 Find us at: true – it’s too in late! really Whittlesey Dental Care, 1a Blunts Lane,• Whittlesey, Porcelain veneers All hygiene appointments arenever included theAnd, plan sometimes, •dreams do come true. Cambridgeshire PE7 1AH • Crown and bridge work • Payment by monthly Direct Debit Merry Christmas everyone. See you all again in 2018! xx • Dentures - acrylic/metal • No need for an assessment - join today The Fens | December 2017 27 • Facial aesthetics: Botox a • Discount on treatment fees

Step 1

Step 2


Festive Wreath


Step 3 Step 4

28 The Fens | December 2017

Homemade wreaths aren’t as tricky as they look and create a wonderful welcome for visitors. Soak your natural wreaths in water throughout the month, and they can last up to five or six weeks. Here’s our step-by-step guide to creating your own festive wreath.

Step 1 Submerge your oasis in water in advance, allow it to naturally soak up the water (do not try to plunge it in).

Step 2 Begin with your foliage. Starting from the outer edge, insert your foliage at an angle. Berried ivy, hardy foliage from your garden, eucalyptus and blue pine are perfect plants to use for the base of your wreath. Trim each piece to ensure it fits into the oasis nice and cleanly, around 3 inches is perfect. Keep turning as you place your foliage in so the base has an even coverage. And don’t forget to add it higher up the oasis and inside the circle too (but not too much, you should still be able to see the hole).

Step 3 Now it’s time to add some colour and texture. You can use dyed oak or any red leaves to start to build up colour in your wreath. Pick a filler, a plant which is between a foliage and a flower, to add some depth. Plants such as skimmias are ideal for this,

Step 5

but have a look in your own garden or local florist. Thistles are also good for adding a different dimension and texture - just remember to trim the plant first before inserting.

Step 4 Now it’s time to make your wreath individual. Add in berries for a festive touch, such as rose hip berries, or you can also use cinnamon and pine cones, which add an earthy and fragrant element to your wreath. To attach these, you’ll need some wire, scissors and a bit of careful work winding the two together. If the wire is on show, you can always use some raffia to cover it up. What you choose to place in your wreath is entirely up to you. Dried fruit and flowers can be easily picked up or made at home, and creates a really stylish wreath. Or you could

keep your design simple and elegant. All good florists and hobby craft shops sell an array of decorations if you have limited time to make your own.

Step 5 Finally, pick a ribbon to complement your wreath (we chose a classic red) and make sure you tie it securely. Find a gap to poke the ribbon through, taking care not to damage the carefully placed foliage, flowers and decorations. Take pride hanging your wreath on your front door (and rightly, rather smug, knowing you’ve created that little piece of art).

Louise’s Top Tip Refresh your wreath to ensure it lasts until Christmas day and beyond!

With thanks to Louise from Wild Frost Cafe in Ramsey. You can purchase wreaths from Wild Frost direct, or if you fancy having a go at making your own, Louise is running workshops this month. See a list of dates below, and make sure you book early to avoid disappointment.

WREATH WORKSHOP Ramsey 1940s Camp Thursday 30th Nov 6-8pm Saturday 2nd Dec 6-8pm Monday 4th Dec 6-8pm Pidley Village Hall Monday 11th Dec 6-8pm Tuesday 12th Dec 6-8pm

The cost of the workshop is £49.50 which includes all the materials you will need. A £25 deposit is required on booking. To book, call 01487 741700 The Fens | December 2017 29

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Good news for godwits and eels!


WORDS David White, RSPB IMAGE Andy Hay

I wrote an article in this magazine a couple of months ago about Project Godwit. This is an ambitious partnership project between the RSPB and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) to increase the breeding population of black-tailed godwits in Britain. As part of this project, 26 black-tailed godwits were hand reared at WWT Welney before being released into the wild. While these birds are spending the winter in warmer climates in sunny places like Spain and Portugal, Project Godwit continues and here is what has been going on recently: One of the major pieces of work that is now under way is the installation of a new pump at RSPB Nene Washes, near Whittlesey. The new pump removes floodwater from the March Farmers part of the nature reserve, in order to ensure that this area of the reserve is in tiptop condition for next spring, when blacktailed godwits will return to breed. As black-tailed godwits nest on the ground, the water levels need to be just right for them so this pump has a very important job to do! As you can see from the images that accompany this article, this pump is a serious piece of kit! It was built in the Netherlands and weighs a whopping one and a half tonnes. Once it is fully installed and operational, it will be able to pump 400 litres of water per second (or 1440 cubic metres of water an hour). As well as being able to pump a large amount of water, it also has another key asset: it is fish friendly. This is great news for eels. The European eel has a fascinating life-cycle. Mature eels congregate to breed in the Sargasso Sea (in the western Atlantic Ocean). Once the larvae reach coastal waters, they transform into small transparent eels known as “glass eels” and move into estuaries to begin their inland journey.  When they enter freshwater they become miniature versions of the adults, known as “elvers”. They grow into yellow eels and reach sexual maturity after six to 20 years when

they become silver eels. They then migrate back downstream to the sea and make the 4,000-mile journey back to the Sargasso Sea to breed. The Nene Washes are known to be an important habitat for eels but they can become trapped in March Farmers and the new eel-friendly pump is a means by which they can leave the farm and get back into the River Nene. We have also been working with UK Power Networks to underground 650 metres of power lines that cross March Farmers and create

a significant hazard for swans, cranes and ducks. Due to the undergrounding of the cables we will need new, much taller poles to span the River Nene. These will be arriving from Wales and are so long they require their own police escort! We’re very grateful to our partners Aquatic Control Engineering, Stirling Maynard, Natural England, the Environment Agency, UK Power Networks and the Childers Estate. This work has been supported by a £250,000 grant through the Landfill Communities Fund of Waste Recycling Group (WRG) administered by the Environmental Body WREN. Project Godwit is a partnership between RSPB and WWT with major funding from the EU LIFE Nature Programme, The HSBC 150th Anniversary Fund, Natural England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. If you would like to find out more about Project Godwit, please visit: As it is December, we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the RSPB. The Fens | December 2017 31

Walk of the month

Walking on Jersey We journey to the Channel Islands this month for a bracing walk along Jersey’s North-West Coast WORDS AND IMAGES LEANNE HYLAND

It’s a steep climb over the first headland from the bay at Greve de Lecq, a sheltered inlet on Jersey’s northern shore. The temperature’s a little on the low side, but the air is fresh and with my legs heavy from the ascent I warm up quickly. From my vantage point high on the cliff-top, I stand and watch as white tipped waves crash into the rocks below, sending salty sea spray rushing through the air. Despite its relatively sheltered position in the bay of St Malo - just 19 miles from the French coast - Jersey is still at the mercy of the elements. Walking here can require a little forethought, there are tide times to consider for example, but exploring this little island is definitely worth it. Today I’m heading towards the bay of St Ouen, a four mile stretch of golden coast known for its impressive Atlantic swell, making it a year round surfing hot spot. But there’s a respectable nine miles to cover first and plenty of beautiful scenery to get excited about. My path snakes through verdant valleys, peaceful woodland and opens up onto an exposed clifftop path, part of a 48.5 mile, 4 day coastal walk that encircles the entire island. Even in late autumn, bushes 32 The Fens | December 2017

of bright yellow gorse and heather cloak the craggy escarpments, complementing the island’s turquoise waters. At Plémont Bay, the smell of crispy bacon filters out from the family run beach café, perched precariously on the edge of a deep gorge complete with waterfall and littered with sea caves. This morning, however, it’s high tide so instead there’s a hair raising climb down to the water’s edge. The tidal ranges that surround Jersey are among the most dramatic in the world. In a matter of hours, the sea can recede by up to 40 vertical feet, leaving in its wake shingle banks, boulder fields and glistening seaweed, allowing visitors to explore the seabed. Though this works both ways, so if you’re ambling along a tidal causeway, be prepared to scuttle back to the mainland with some urgency should the tide change as the sea can surge back to shore at an alarming speed. From the waterfront I head up and inland, through lush fields and peaceful villages which portray an altogether different, sedate side to Jersey. Passing manor houses and huge farmsteads I stumble upon the remains of the 14th century Grosnez Castle. With its name originating

from the old norse term meaning ‘grey headland’, the castle stands imposingly on a cliff edge, 200 feet above the water. I pass through its ruined archway and head down steep steps, edging round the cliff for protection from the wind. It’s a remote spot, silent but for the steady stirring of the sea. Hugging the coast and heading south I spot a series of German Naval Towers peering out into the Channel. From here I can clearly make out Guernsey, Sark, Herm and Alderney too. The Channel Islands were the only part of Britain to have been invaded by German soldiers in WWII, with the five year long occupation leaving the islands coated in concrete defences, underground tunnels and fortifications after Hitler ordered they be turned into an impregnable fortress.

Jersey boasts over 40 miles of unspoilt coastline

St Ouen’s Bay is a prime year-round spot for surfing, with British and European Championships held here

Views from Grosnez Castle, a ruined 14th century fortification built on an imposing headland

The coast path weaves through craggy, uneven terrain onto the Grosnez Peninsula from where I glimpse my favourite view yet - it helps that the sun has finally made an appearance. The evening light grows steadily stronger, highlighting the colours of the ocean against the jagged edges of Jersey’s coast, before sending the last of its rays over the powdery white sands of St Ouen’s Bay. I climb down and walk slowly along the undisturbed shoreline. There’s not a pebble in sight, only dainty shells and dark, rich kelp. On the horizon, La Corbiere lighthouse marks the extreme south-western tip of the island. Cut off from the island by a dramatic tidal causeway, it’s a cracking spot from which to watch the sunset.

THE STATS DIFFICULTY: Challenging with plenty of ascent between headlands DISTANCE: Nine miles, allow a full day to complete the route TERRAIN: Exposed cliff-top paths, peaceful wooded valleys and

steep inclines FACILITIES: Try the family run Plémont Beach Café for an authentic taste of Jersey The Fens | December 2017 33

PET CORNER| It can be easy over the festive season to forget that our pets cannot always have what we have, and that we may need to be extra vigilant ensuring they are not getting in to festive mischief. CHOCOLATE Everyone loves chocolate and over Christmas it’s not uncommon for us to have a lot of it in the house. Some people give chocolate as gifts and even though they are wrapped under the tree, your dog can still smell and easily chew through it. The toxic part of chocolate is theobromine. The darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration of theobromine. Your pet only needs to ingest a small amount to become ill. Signs can include vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, loss of balance and seizures. In extreme cases, it can even cause death. If you think your pet has eaten chocolate, contact your vet immediately. DECORATIONS Decorations look so shiny and exciting and our pets can have a tendency to play and eat them. They may also be tempted to chew through Christmas lights, which can cause electrocution. Whilst often only a small shock, it can

This issue, Whittlesey Veterinary Centre looks at the dangers of Christmas for our pets

cause death to smaller animals. Tinsel, ribbons and tree decorations can be easily ingested, which may become stuck along the digestive tract. It’s rarely a simple procedure to remove, especially when a large amount has been swallowed and has started to make it way along intestines. Many pet owners have also reported cats climbing and then becoming entangled in lights, tinsel and other decorations, which can become tight around limbs causing deep lacerations and cutting off circulation. PLANTS We often like to bring plants into the house this time of year, in pots or in the form of attractive wreaths. Holly and mistletoe berries and leaves can cause vomiting, convulsions and even death. These are best kept well away from pets, and where possible, best for them to be artificial. Pine needles on real Christmas trees can cause nasty stomach upsets. Poinsettias are lovely, but if ingested can irritate the mouth and stomach. FOOD A lot of rich food is consumed over

the festive period, but a lot of what we eat, our pets cannot. It’s easy to forget that raisins and alcohol can be in Christmas puddings and mince pies, yet these are very toxic to our pets. Other festive nibbles such as nuts and grapes can be harmful, causing tremors, staggering and vomiting. Ingredients such as onions and garlic, often included in our Christmas dinners, can be toxic too. So if you’re planning to include your companions in the feast, be aware of what’s included! ALCOHOL As in humans, alcohol can cause intoxication. Even in small amounts it can affect the liver and brain, and lead to respiratory distress, tremors and even death. So ensure the merrymaking is reserved for us humans! Finally, from all the staff at Whittlesey Veterinary Centre, we would like to wish you a very merry Christmas!

The team wishes you all a very

M erry C hristm a s Telephone:

01733 685514

Find us: 27 Broad Street, Whittlesey, Peterborough, PE7 1HA Opening: Mon-Fri 8:30am - 6:30pm | Sat 9:30am - 12:30pm 34 The Fens | December 2017

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36 The Fens | December 2017


The latest puzzle-riddled themed rooms has opened in Peterborough. As you’re led in with a blindfold on, the clock starts ticking and you have just 60 minutes to escape. Did the FENS team escape, or remain Trapp’d forever? Opened at Peterborough Greyhounds, Trapp’d is the newest escape rooms in the city. Currently offering visitors the chance to beat the clock in Madame Curio’s Cirque Delirium or the wild west themed Red Rock, this is the third venue for Trapp’d. And for some reason, despite a fear of clowns, our team opted for the circus themed room.... Players are given a walkie-talkie, and once the blindfolds are removed, there are a set of puzzles, riddles and clues to solve in order to find your way out, but inevitably things aren’t quite as they seem. To add an extra element of excitement, players in the Cirque Delirum have red herrings and the occasional bump of an unexpected visitor to deal with. The end result, is a thrilling and frantic race to escape in 60 minutes, testing your skills and teamwork.

Having been to an escape room once before, I had some idea of the concept, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Trapp’d felt different, fresh and exciting. The room was quite large, and as always, there’s more than first meets the eye. Relying on working as a team, the rooms are perfect for bonding teaching you rule number one that working together solves a problem quicker than on your own. On the walls outside, past visitors had left messages and their escape times. Some had an impressively quick times written down, but don’t be fooled, it isn’t a walk in the park, and 60 minutes goes frighteningly quickly when you’re working out which key opens which lock, and what on earth those cryptic puzzles mean! Thankfully, in just under 56 minutes, The Fens | December 2017 37

team FENS escaped and we smugly held up our official time. We definitely didn’t need any help via our walkietalkie, I promise.... We also got a sneak preview of The Outlaws of Red Rock room, which is impressively authentic and suprising. There’s a real attention to detail and atmosphere in each room, from the background music to the decorations, props and puzzles. The guys clearly know what they’re doing, with Corby and Northampton already well

But don’t worry if you’re scared of clowns - tell the guys and they’ll remove all scares.... established, and a fourth city for Trapp’d in the horizon in Leicester. So who would Trapp’d appeal to? Escape games are great fun from anyone aged 10 and up! Whether that’s corporate groups, birthdays, hen and stag parties, get-togethers for friends or family, fans of escape

rooms who love solving puzzles…. the list is endless. It’s an exciting, thrilling (sometimes scary) rush of adrenaline and I can see how it can be really addictive. For something a bit different this month, take a visit and see if you can escape Trapp’d…. Find out more and to book an experience, please visit or email

WIN A FREE GAME We’re excited to be teaming up with Trapp’d to give away one free game for a team of six for either rooms. To enter, all you have to do is email win@thefensmag. with “Trapp’d” as your subject header, before December 13th. One winner will be selected at random after the closing date and notified via email. Good luck! 38 The Fens | December 2017

Accounting for your success

Self-Assessment Deadline Looms – Act Now By Donna Gidney They come in carrier bags, cardboard boxes, sometimes well-ordered but frequently not. I’m not writing about Christmas presents but receipts and records dropped on accountants’ desks to meet the Self-Assessment Tax Return deadline of January 31. If you haven’t previously completed a Tax Return but need to, you must register with HMRC as soon as possible. Although the deadline has passed, it’s not too late but you may get a late registration penalty of £100. If you met the following criteria in the last tax year you need to complete a tax return. • Self-employed • Received £2,500 or more in untaxed income, e.g. from tips or renting out a property • Income from savings, investments or dividends exceeded £10,000 or more pre-tax • Profits from the sale of shares, a second home or other chargeable assets and need to pay Capital Gains Tax • Company director • Lived abroad but had a UK income • Taxable income exceeded £100k This list is not exhaustive and there are other reasons to complete a tax return. If you are uncertain we can advise and guide you through the process before the deadline and avoid any penalties. In the same way that you make an early start with Christmas cards and shopping at this traditionally busy time, why not act now to avoid HMRC’s own seasonal ‘gift’ of incremental penalties for late filing. HMRC, always keen to demonstrate a sense of humour, has listed 10 unsuccessful appeals against penalties for late returns: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Tax papers were left in shed and eaten by a rat. I relied on my sister to complete my returns but we’ve now fallen out. My accountant has been ill. My dog ate my tax return. Abroad on deadline day with no internet access so will be unable to file. My laptop broke, so did my washing machine. My niece made the house so untidy I lost my on-line log-in details. Husband ran over my laptop. Argument with my wife and went to Italy for 5 years. Had a cold which took a long time to go.

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Information on which this article is based is correct at the time of publishing. Any updates are available on our website Bury St. Edmunds | Ely | Huntingdon | King’s Lynn | March | Mildenhall | Peterborough | RamseyThe | St.Fens Ives|| St. Neots | Wisbech December 2017 39


FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY From the trickiest family members, to your furry pets, we’ve got it covered with our pick of top Christmas gifts


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Available in seven different colours and various sizes, these bikes are among Rutland Cycling’s most popular kids’ bikes. They’re reliable - backed up by a 5 year warranty but also light weight PRICE: £250 From:


Hand-blown glass is unique and highly collectible. Local glassblower, Stewart Hearn’s pieces are not only beautiful, but make practical gifts too. You can view his glassware from his studio in Chatteris or by visiting his online shop. From wine glasses, candle holders, to plates, vases, bowls and lamps, there’s a gift to suit any taste and budget PRICE: Owl jug (pictured above) £115 From: For studio opening times, call 01354 278 084


Share the Christmas fun with your pets this year with some cute accessories. We loved these dog booties and bow tie from Accessorize PRICE: £5 (Bow Tie) £6.90 (Booties) From: Accessorize, Queensgate Shopping Centre

40 The Fens | December 2017

WIN see below


Who doesn’t love a good read over the Christmas period? Local authors Eva Jordan and Heidi Swain both have new books out (and we’ve reviewed them both), and if that’s not enough, we’ve also giving away a signed copy of each! Details below. PRICE: Various From: Waterstones, WH Smith and Amazon 49, High Street, Maxey, Peterborough PE6 9EF. Tel: 01778 342224 Fax: 01778 380378








These beautifully smelling and decorated soy wax candles last just as long, have fewer chemicals and are made locally in, yes you guessed it, Oundle. There are many different fragrances to pick from and you can also request gift bags. An ideal gift for a loved one, or even for yourself! PRICE: From £4.95 (small tin) £7.50 (larger tin) £19.95 (glass jar) From: or email


We’re giving away two Oundle Candles and a copy of Eva Jordan and Heidi Swain’s books to one lucky reader. You can either keep them or give them to your loved ones as perfect Christmas gifts - you choose, and we won’t judge! To enter, all you have to do is email us with the subject heading ‘Christmas goodies’ to before December 15th. Please include your address. One lucky entry will be picked at random


Shaws gift vouchers, available for any value of your choice and presented in an attractive wallet, make an ideal present. Many of their day trips (and holidays) make excellent presents too PRICE: Various From: Vouchers are available from 49 High Street, Maxey PE6 9EF or you can order them by calling 01778 342224 or email enquiries@


What little girl doesn’t dream of being a mermaid? And with the bang-ontrend unicorn decoarting this blanket, it’s a perfect stocking filler PRICE: £22 From: Next, Queensgate Shopping Centre


These wonderful oils are featured on our beauty page 25, and make great thoughtful gifts PRICE: £19-£40 (Priime Calm £39.50) From: or call 07847 517343 for info

JOUVE NIGHT CREAM A perfect gift for Christmas, the Jouve Night Cream was featured in the magazine last month, and features all natural yet effective ingredients PRICE: £65 (special price) From: or call 07847 517343 for info


Made from papier mache or clay, these cute animal heads made by local artist Hannah Gilbert, make wonderful gifts. You can even commission your own choice of animal. Visit her Facebook page for other gift ideas PRICE: From £30 From: Hannah Gilbert Creating. Visit her Facebook or Instagram for details or email her direct on

The Fens | December 2017 41

This month’s book review What we’re


Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain; Simon & Schuster UK I met author Heidi Swain earlier this year. Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair is the first of Heidi’s novels I’ve read and like the lady herself, it is absolutely charming. Whether you’re looking for something jovially celebratory to read in the run up to Christmas, or something to curl up to with a mince pie and glass of your favourite tipple over the holidays, I can thoroughly recommend this festive, feel good tale. There’s also the chance to win a signed, dedicated copy from the author herself (see gift guide). Set in the fictional Fenland town of Wynbridge (with it’s very own Market Place) this is the story of Anna, who, for reasons not at first obvious, isn’t particularly fond of Christmas. A bit of a nomad, she pulls out all the stops to make sure she works every Christmas, preferably in a position that will keep her both busy, and as far away from the holiday festivities as possible. Anna spots and applies for what appears to be the perfect occupation, as companion to Catherine Connolly, convalescing after an operation. Catherine, along with her husband Angus, is owner of the somewhat isolated Wynthorpe Hall, situated on the outskirts of Wynbridge, a remote town in the Fens, which sounds ideal to Anna. “Hunkering down in the barren and frosty Fenland landscape, without so much as a carol singer in sight, would be a much appreciated soothing balm to my troubled soul and I mulled it over with relish”. Only, as is often the case with most things in life, things are not quite as they seem. When the Connollys’ youngest son, Jamie, arrives home just before Christmas, after spending time abroad, he finds himself faced with some difficult decisions. Ones that will no doubt affect his future and that of Wynthorpe Hall, too. Disillusioned with the family home, can Anna help Jamie fall in love with it again, and, more importantly, can Jamie help Anna, after years of refusing to celebrate it, help her fall in love with Christmas again? Our verdict… Easy to read, the story is well paced, and, as one who lives in the Fens (like many of our readers), the setting feels heartwarmingly familiar. The characters are well rounded and believable, although it is the rather eccentric, not to mention slightly mischievous, Angus, who really captured my heart. Full of festive cheer, love, laughter and hope, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair is a pure joy to read, providing some light relief and pure escapism from, what at times, feels like a very troubled world. Definitely one I’d recommend.

By Eva Jordan 42 The Fens | December 2017

WHAT IS THE POINT OF A TRUST? Sometimes considered too complicated to be of any help to many – there are many situations where a Trust can handle assets much more effectively than common alternatives. Seek Independent Financial Advice from someone that delivers Simple Financial Advice that really works. Consider: • Managing Assets; If your beneficiaries are unwilling or unable (maybe due to age or aptitude) to distribute benefits in a proper way. • Efficiency; When someone dies unexpectedly, the survivors may suffer financial hardship, so a life policy that pays directly to a trust can provide the beneficiaries with funds much quicker than the probate process. • Protecting Assets; From creditors, marriage breakdown or from those with undue influence over your chosen beneficiaries. • Providing Privacy; A well drafted trust can prevent challenges that even a Will might not endure. • Preserving Disability benefits; Benefits within a trust can be excluded from means tested benefits. • Saving Taxes; Including, but not restricted to, placing assets outside of an estate that might otherwise be caught for Inheritance Tax. All manner of assets could become subject to a trust, commonly property, protection policies and investments can take advantage of a simple arrangement. In complex cases it may be advisable to take legal advice, otherwise an experienced Independent Financial Adviser will understand the most appropriate arrangement. Think about how assets would be managed if the person most able was the one who dies first. Not a nice thought, but good financial planning includes preparing for the worst.

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GROUP TRAVEL RIGHT Travelling with a group can be great fun, but as JADE HAWKINS explains, it can be tricky to organise....

Who wants to go on holiday surrounded by the people they love and still enjoy the special touches? This column is all about group travel, which can be more difficult to organise, especially when doing online. First of all, let me tell you about my experience with group travel. I have organised stag and hen weekends across Europe including, Birmingham, Prague and Ibiza, as well as a couples’ special day, or should I say week, when they tied the knot in Portugal. I have also helped to organise many large family trips, including a nine-day tour of Sri Lanka with an beach extension in the Maldives, as well as two-centre safari and beach trip in South Africa with flights from two different countries. Group travel can be hard to arrange with many people pitching in their ideas for the trip. A skilled travel agent can help you to do everything, from narrowing down to exact dates to picking a destination. For this reason, if you are planning a holiday with family or friends, you may want a travel agent, like me, who can speak to each person individually and take all the ideas and put together a trip suitable to all. From this, itineraries which suit the different needs can be produced and ideas laid out in a concise and clear way for all to understand. 46 The Fens | December 2017

Travelling in a large group does not have to limit you. It should, in fact, enrich your experience as you can travel all over the world surrounded by others, and therefore take in the sights and sounds they would like to see too. You can do anything, from a beach villa break to an extensive tour of India. I am able to work with lots of different types of groups including corporate, schools, sports clubs and families, and I can plan the whole trip from flights and accommodation, to excursions and activities. There are many benefits to booking your trip together when you are travelling as a group. These include being able to manage all of the airline seats in one place, helping

to ensure rooms are located close together (if this is what you want), and including larger transfers to enable everyone to travel together. All of this can make for a much smoother trip for everyone involved. I hope you enjoyed what you have read, and if you are in need of help planning a holiday or group trip, then please do get in touch.

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HAIR Truth be told, it’s been ‘a bit of a month’. As I write this, I should be in South Africa on my honeymoon having gotten married. However, me and my fiancee unfortunately had to cancel our wedding due to my future father-in-law becoming quite seriously ill two days before the big day. Fortunately two weeks later, he is on the mend although still in hospital and the wedding is rebooked for April. I mention this because I wish to offer a one off piece of consumer advice for anyone getting married. Get wedding insurance. It cost us roughly fifty quid, and without it, it would be many years until we could afford a wedding again. You really don’t know what’s around the corner. Anyway, as I sat in the waiting room at the hospital my mind randomly wandered, and on this occasion it was to my hair, or rather lack of it. You see, up until recently, I went to the barbers to get my hairs cut (and I meant to phrase it that way as there really are few left of any note). I found getting my hair cut a very awkward thing. I have always had, to be polite about it, really awful hair. My hair grows straight in the direction it grows from on my head, meaning that if left unattended, I end up looking like some sort of demented hedgehog with rather severe alopecia. I know people who look at pictures of celebrities and decide how they want their hair so they can ask the hairdresser to replicate it. If I were to do that, I’d have to get a copy of ‘Slightly hairy egg weekly’ to show them as to be honest, choices for my hair styles are rather limited these days. And then, for a procedure that takes roughly seven minutes from start to finish, I have the pleasure of paying the barbers a tenner. In order to eradicate this I purchased some electric clippers and now my fiancé cuts my hair, number three all round. However, rather than getting hair on my clothing, I remove my top during the cut. Once the cut is done I am covered in hair and I have to sit there while I am literally vacuumed with a Henry Hoover to clean up the surplus hair. It would seem dignity and me getting my hair cut just aren’t going to go together.

§ Joe Ferridge is an occasional writer and actually, the vacuum was a ‘step up’ from initially being brushed down with a ‘dust pan brush’ The Fens | December 2017 47

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It’s in the name

As I looked around the I CAN STILL REMEMBER room small seemed just THE FIRST TIME I FOUND about right. OUT THAT NAMES HAD As you read this article MEANINGS. It was one Christmas is just around the Sunday at Sunday School. corner. Christmas means all The teacher had asked kinds of different things to us if we knew what our all of us. For many, though, names meant. We must it is the time of year when have looked back with we remember the birth a confused expression of Jesus Christ over 2000 because she ploughed on years ago. Thinking of that, and began to tell us. I wonder if you’ve ever My friend Richard was asked the question, ‘what’s first. He waited with bated so special about the birth breath to find out that his of Jesus?’ The answer is name meant ‘strong ruler’. actually found in the Next up was Nicholas, Paul Kosciecha, name. ‘victory of the people’. By Whittlesey Baptist Church The name Jesus means the time it got to me I was ‘God saves’ or you could feeling fairly confident that put it like this, ‘a rescuer from God’. my name might mean something grand One night Joseph, who was engaged and important. to be married to Mary the mother of ‘What do you think your name means, Jesus, had a dream. In that dream Paul?’ I had no idea so I eagerly waited God sent an angel to tell Joseph for the reply. ‘It means small.’ That’s not about Jesus. The angel said, ‘you shall what I expected and I can still remember give him the name Jesus, for he will my 6 or 7-year-old self feeling so deflated.


save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:21). Recently we had some visitors to our church car park. The Air Ambulance had been called to Whittlesey to assist in a situation. Our car park was empty so they landed there and set out to help. Someone was in need, they had come to help. This is the type of picture the Bible paints for Jesus. The world was in need, he had come to help. God gave Jesus his name because it described who he was and what he would do. Jesus did many things in his life. He taught people about God and he did lots of miracles. Yet, neither of those were the reason he came. The Bible tells us he came to die to save people from their sin. That’s why his birth was such a special occasion. Over the Christmas period we’re having some special Christmas services. If you want to know more about the birth of Jesus and how he could make a difference in your life then these are a great place to start. All that remains now is to say I hope that you all have a very happy Christmas.

The Fens | December 2017 49

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Training also provided for: First Aid at Work, Paediatric First Aid, Emergency First Aid, all First Aid refreshers, AED, Manual Handling, Fire Safety / Wardens, Fire Extinguisher, IOSH Working and Managing Safely V.5, NEBOSH Award in Health & Safety, Risk Assessment, Food Safety at L1-3, Level 3 Award in Education & Training, Water Safety / Lifeguard.

Clarian House, Peterborough PE7 2AS T: 01733 204343 M: 07703 174288 50 The Fens | December 2017


Clarian Training was established in 1997. All our trainers have extensive experience and qualifications in all of the courses we run. Please call for more details. We won’t be beaten on price.

WHITTLESEY AND DISTRICT CHURCHES TOGETHER CHRISTMAS SERVICES FOR 2017 Roman Catholic Church, St Jude’s, 3, Station Road Whittlesey Father Michael Vulliamy Saturday December 23rd 6pm Mass at Sacred heart, Ramsey Sunday December 24th: 10am Mass at St Jude’s, Whittlesey 6.30pm Christmas Eve Mass at Sacred Heart, Ramsey (preceded by carols at 6.00pm). 9.30pm Christmas Eve Mass at St Jude’s, Whittlesey (preceded by carols at 9.00pm). Monday December 25th: 10am Christmas Day Mass at St Jude’s, Whittlesey. Methodist / United Reformed Church, Queen Street, Whittlesey Revd. L. Moseley 01733 751681 Sunday 3rd December 10.30am Advent Communion Sunday 10th December 6.30pm Blue Christmas Service (for people who are sad at Christmas) Sunday 17th December 4pm Messy Church

Sunday 24th December 6.30pm Carol Service Christmas Day 9.30am Christmas Family Service Salvation Army, Church Street, Whittlesey Captains Rob and Georgina Symons 01733 240130 Friday 8th December - Peterborough Citadel Band Playing Carols in The Marketplace – Whittlesey Christmas Extravaganza Saturday 9th December 10am -12pm - Christmas Coffee Morning incl. Display of Nativities Sunday 17th December 4pm - Corps Carol Service followed by Tea, Coffee and Mince Pies. Hall Open from 3-4pm for Display of Nativities Sunday 24th December 4pm Christmas ‘Candlelight’ Carol Service Church of England Revd. N. Whitehouse 01733 203676

St Andrew’s, Church St, Whittlesey Wednesday 20th December 7pm Carol Service Christmas Eve 11pm Holy Communion with Queen’s Street Congregation St Mary’s, Station Road, Whittlesey Friday 8th to Sunday 10th Christmas Tree Festival Sunday, 10th December 6pm Carol Service Christmas Eve 5pm Come and Sing Christmas Children’s Service Christmas Day 10.30am Holy Communion Holy Trinity, North Green, Coates Saturday, 16th December 4.30pm Carol Service Christmas Eve 5pm Crib and Christingle Service Christmas Day 9.30am Holy Communion St Thomas’, Oilmills Road, Pondersbridge Sunday, 17th December 4.30pm Carol Service Christmas Eve Communion 10pm Holy Communion.

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The Fens | December 2017 51

WHAT’S ON CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS MARKET Friday 1st December, preview 6.30pm to 9.00pm Saturday 2nd December, 10.00am to 4.30pm

Add a dash of wonder to your Christmas shopping! For the first time this year, Peterborough Cathedral is hosting a Christmas market in the Nave, featuring some wonderful present ideas and seasonal musical entertainment. Entry is £5 Friday preview with mulled wine. £2 (accompanied children free Saturday

TAKE THIS AT THE MANOR Saturday 2nd December

Kick your Christmas Festivities off with a bang and come join us at The Manor Leisure Centre Whittlesey on the 2nd December. We have a night of Take That performed by the cream of the West End with Take This. Exceptional vocals, energetic routines and tight harmonies all rolled in to one fantastic night. Come sing your heart away to some classic Take This song and kick start that festive buzz, this night you will “NEVER FORGET” Tickets £10, limited tickets available so give The Manor a call before we sell out on 01354 622399


Chatteris Christmas Light Switch On is regarded by many as one of the best local light displays. This year, they will be turned on at 4:30pm, but from 3pm the Town centre will be packed with stall holders, plenty of entertainment and even Santa himself. Find out more at

SACREWELL CHRISTMAS MARKET Saturday 2nd December - Sunday 3rd December

Sacrewell is hosting a Christmas market from 10am to 4:30pm. Find brilliant gifts for Christmas or shop for yourself. Find out more on page 12

MESSY CHURCH Saturday 2nd December - 10–11.30am 52 The Fens | December 2017

Holy Trinity Church Coates, Messy Church 10.00 am – 11.30 am. Arts, crafts songs and stories. Children with adults welcome. Free admission


Between 10am - 3pm the March Town Centre will be full of Christmas gifts, food and crafts, plus plenty of entertainment to keep everyone happy. Come along and see Santa


If you haven’t planned your Christmas Boogie yet then look no further, at The Manor Leisure Centre Whittlesey we are having our Christmas Boogie Nite on the 8th December. Come boogie away to some 80’s, 90’s and some cheeky 00’s with the help of our resident DJ, Starlite Roadshow. Tickets £6 in advance so give us a call @ The Manor on 01354 622399 or go online at starliteroadshow


Promising to be bigger and better than ever before, the Whittlesey Extravaganza has a new committee who have ensured there will be plenty of entertainment and stalls for adults and children alike. The festive fun kicks off at 5pm until 8pm. Find out more by following their Facebook page.


The famous Military Wives choir bring their Christmas concert to Peterborough in a heart-warming seasonal performance. Tickets: £27.50 online via Ticketmaster, or from Peterborough Information Centre, Bridge Street, Peterborough on 01733 452336.

CHRISTMAS BAZAAR Saturday 9th December

St Thomas Church, Pondersbridge, 10.00 am – 12.00. All things Christmassy available, homemade

Christmas cakes, puddings, pickles, preserves. Hand made crackers, fresh wreaths and door swags. Refreshments to enjoy whilst children can chat to Father Christmas. Free admission.

SOCIAL DANCE Saturday 9th December

Peterborough Theatre Organ Preservation Society are holding another Social Dance 7.30 pm – 10.30 pm. at The Peterborough Regional College, Park Crescent, PE1 4DZ. Nicholas Martin will play the Wurlitzer and his electronic organ. Admission on the door £5.00. for any other information contact Paul 01733 844 497.


Ladies Who Latte is a free networking group for women in business. Meeting once a month, they aim to help build confidence and allow business women to network in a friendly environment. This month they will be holding a special Christmas meeting. There will be no guest speaker, instead the night is open to current and new ladies who would like to come, socialise and network. The evening will cost £10 per person, which includes a free drink and Christmas buffet at The Falcon Hotel, London Street, Whittlesey. If you’d like to come, please either find us on Facebook or email hello@ We will need payment before the evening.

RESIDENTS MEETING Friday 15th December

There will be a Residents Meeting at 6pm at Whittlesey Town Council Offices Grosvenor House, Grosvenor Road Whittlesey to discuss traffic, parking and highways issues relating to Ramsey Road/ Church Street, Whittlesey. Your local Town, District and County Councillors will be present. For further details and to register your attendance contact the Town Clerk Mrs S Piergianni at Whittlesey Town Council 01733 351296 or email whittleseytowncouncil@

PHILHARMONIC CHOIR Saturday 16th December 4pm-6pm Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts

Centre PE29 3BN Huntingdonshire Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra with Huntingdonshire Community Youth Orchestra Family Christmas Concert. Seasonal choral favourites, carols for all and popular classics: Dvorak Slavonic Dances, Elgar Pomp and Circumstance No 4, Johann Strauss Pizzicato Polka Conductor Bjorn Bantock £14/12 (free admission for one child for every full price ticket) students £7/6. Box Office 01480 375 678

CAROL SERVICE AND NATIVITY TABLEAU Sunday 17th December St Thomas Church, Pondersbridge, PE26 2TR –Carol Service and Nativity Tableau - 4.30 pm followed by hot refreshments.


Christmas Magic will be at The Broadway at 7.30pm on Sunday 17th December. Tickets from £16 available from Peterborough Visitor Information Centre, by phone on 0333 666 3366 or at

CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATION MAKING Thursday 21st December Join Nene Park Rangers to make a Christmas Tree decoration from clay which can be taken home to hang on your tree. 10:00 – 12:00 at the Discovery Den. Free – suggested donation £1 per person. No need to pre-book.


Whittlesey and District U3A are always happy to welcome new members. On Thursday December 21st we will be holding our annual Christmas Party. Entertainment will be provided by Keith Downs, magician. Tickets for this event are £3 for members and £5 for non- members. Available from Treasurer on 01733 685019. In the new year our open meetings will continue to be held at Childers on the third Thursday of each month and anyone is welcome to come along and see what we do. Entertainment at these meetings is as follows: Thu Jan 18th - A talk on Defibrillators Thu Feb 15th - Great Ormond Street Hospital with Speaker Martin Harris Thu Mar 15th - Dee Laws on Dr Barnado’s Wendy Fletcher Publicity Officer Contact:

WHITTLESEY CONSERVATIVE CLUB ENTERTAINMENT Friday 1st December Abbey Road Five Inc. Buffet. Tickets available at the Bar Saturday 9th Dale Diamond Saturday 16th Mark Josef Sunday 24th Steve Jay Sunday 31st Steve Carmel £5 None Members

Sunday 17th December from 4-6pm

invites families

Buffet tea Arts & Crafts Story telling


At Queen St Church Hall, Whittlesey


BECOME A MEMBER FOR £20 PER ANNUM which includes FREE Saturday night live entertainment. Be part of a lively social calendar, including quiz and race nights and Sunday carvery once a month Smart-casual dress code. Football tops, baseball caps excluded

• Two full size snooker tables, December Events plus dominoes, darts and two • Fri 1st Abbey Road Five gaming machines Inc. Buffet (tickets at the bar) • Separate bar facility in the • Sat 9th Dale Diamond function room plus a small • Sat 16th Mark Josef dance floor in the lounge • Sun 24th Steve Jay • One of the best local • Sun 31st Steve Carmel venues to hire out for any £5 None Members occasion FRIDAY LUNCH Hot food served Fridays 12-2pm


Parties ~ Weddings Conferences ~ Funerals Birthdays ~ Christenings The Fens | December 2017 53

Local BUSINESS Johnsons of Old Hurst

Johnsons of Old Hurst is the family owned and run farm shop located in the Fenland countryside in the Village of Old Hurst. Now much more than just a farm shop, their site includes a tea room and a steakhouse, alongside a menagerie of exotic animals and a children’s play area. We caught up with Tracey and Andy Johnson to find out their plans for Christmas and the New year


WHEN DID JOHNSONS OF OLD HURST BEGIN? The farm originated with Andy’s Great Grandfather back in 1899, and over the last 118 years, it has evolved from a dairy farm into our existing business. In 2006 we opened up a butchers’ shop selling meat we have reared here on the farm. From there we have naturally progressed to opening a farm shop and selling our own products such as pork pies, to opening a tea room and finally our latest addition of the steakhouse.

54 The Fens | December 2017

WHAT FUTURE PLANS DO YOU HAVE? We have recently just purchased 13 acres of woodland which is adjacent to the farm, so next year we will be holding more events such as teddy bear picnics and Easter Egg hunts. We are developing the site into a nature reserve, with an aim to have more educational activities. The possibilities for this new area are endless, but we are passionate about educating children and young people about where our food comes from. Alongside this we are trying to reduce our plastic consumption, so our challenge for 2018 is to move towards more environmentally friendly options. WHAT MEAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST FOR CHRISTMAS DINNER? Turkey is the traditional meat for Christmas, and this year we have raised over 400 turkeys which we will be selling in our shop. If you are looking for something more unusual, then we would recommend Venison as it is a great alternative. The meat is rich in flavour but healthy as it is low in fat. If you have never tried Venison before we would suggest trying Fallow meat, but if you are unsure our butchers are on hand to give advice. ARE THERE ANY GIFTS IN YOUR SHOP THAT WOULD MAKE GREAT CHRISTMAS PRESENTS? This year we have made a conscious effort to stock items that are made and designed in England, and to expand our locally made goods. We have gifts from the English Pewter Company alongside local food and drink companies like Ely Gin. Other popular gifts include our mugs and kitchen accessories by Wrendale Designs, which are designed in Lincolnshire. This year we also have our Christmas Cabin which is a trove of Christmas decorations and baubles. HOW MANY MEMBERS OF STAFF DO YOU NOW HAVE IN YOUR TEAM? We are currently employing 72 members of staff and we are extremely grateful to every one of them as they all work so hard, particularly over the festive season.

WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND AT YOUR STEAKHOUSE? We would recommend the sirloin steak as the meat comes from our own beef cattle, which is reared and butchered here on the farm. Historically the sirloin steak is the only food product that carries a knighthood, James I thought it was so delicious that he knighted it in 1617 at Hoghton tower in Preston. WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT? Having our two sons join our business fulltime has been our greatest achievement. We are proud that we have created a business that is sustainable and will provide our sons with a future. Working together is a real privilege and it makes the sacrifices and long hours worthwhile. WHERE DO YOU HOPE YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE IN 20 YEARS? We will have been running for over 30 years then, so we hope our business will have continued to grow. We would love for our customers to be returning and bringing new generations of their families. JOHNSONS OF OLD HURST is situated at Church Farm, Oldhurst, Huntingdon PE28 3AF. For more information please visit or call 01487 824658

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The Fens | December 2017 55




56 The Fens | December 2017

The Fens December 2017