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Issue 49 | June 2020


A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens

Inside this issue

Meet the Fenland Youth Radio team Banana bread recipe inside

Growing through the lockdown


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The Fens | June 2020

ED’S letter Last month we published our first ever digital-only edition of The Fens magazine and you loved it. We had so many positive emails and comments that it definitely lifted our spirits. At the time of writing, we’re still being asked to stay at home as much as possible, so in keeping with that guidline, we’re bringing you another digital issue for June. We have lots more articles about enjoying Fenland from the comfort and safety of your home. We also have health and fitness articles which we hope you will find useful plus more tasty recipes. And now for some good news. We are planning on printing our July issue. I know this will be a huge relief to many of our readers, especially those who haven’t been able to read our online editions. With so much uncertainty, it’s a really difficult decision for us but ultimately we know how valued our magazine is to the community, as well as its important role in providing a cost effective solution to allow our partners to communicate with their customers. Businesses need your support more than ever and they are going to need our help in delivering that message. So for now, please do enjoy this issue. Tell everyone about it, share it with your friends, neighbours and family and most importantly, stay safe. We will all get through this by working together and sharing resources. For the latest advice, please either visit 111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-forthe-public


THIS month 5 Kids’ colouring page

7 Your Neighbourhood News pages 13 Your garden in June 14 The mind struggle



15 Staying fit with Active Fenland 18 A look at future films coming to the cinema 20 Growing through the lockdown 26 Father’s Day gift ideas

THE TEAM PUBLISHER / EDITOR Natasha Shiels hello@thefensmag.co.uk ASSISTANT EDITOR Richard Groom richard@pcbonline.co.uk EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Amy Corney amy@thefensmag.co.uk PROOF-READER Theresa Shiels PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Brudenell chrisbrudenellphotography.co.uk ADVERTISING SALES sales@thefensmag.co.uk 07511 662566 SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe for just £12 for 6 issues, contact us at hello@thefensmag.co.uk CONTRIBUTORS Joe Ferridge | Eamonn Dorling | John McGinn | Westfield Nurseries | Eva Jordan Whittlesey Veterinary Centre | Caroline Fitton Nathan Smith |Bill Watt | Hazel Beecroft DISTRIBUTION 9,000 copies printed monthly. Delivered to Whittlesey, Eastrea, Coates, Pondersbridge, plus copies in Queensgate Shopping Centre

Issue 49 | June 2020


A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens

Inside this issue

Meet the Fenland Youth Radio team Banana bread recipe inside

30 Discover Fenland Youth Radio 34 Back garden bird watching 38 Spring recipes

Growing through the lockdown

www.thefensmag.co.uk facebook.com/thefensmag @thefensmag thefensmag

41 The Fenland mum


ISSUE 49 | JUNE 2020 Yellow mustard flowers

THE FENS is published by a local team. 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@thefensmag.co.uk. THE FENS accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.

The Fens | June 2020


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Culture from the comfort of the sofa with The Library Presents Following the cancellation of the Spring programme of events due to COVID-19, ‘The Library Presents’ is now online for residents to enjoy and to make the most of during quarantine. Launched by Cambridgeshire County Council, ‘The Library Presents… in your house’ is a new service which will allow residents to watch, and participate in high quality arts and culture performances and workshops. ‘The Library Presents…in your house’ provides something for everyone, regardless of age and interests. It includes music, storytelling and poetry performances, theatre and animation shows, radio drama, visual art and magic extravaganzas and arts and craft workshops. Over the coming weeks, there will be a mixture of live streamed performances, live workshops, videos, downloads for families and a series of collaborative activities where everyone can participate. Councillor Steve Criswell, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Chair of Communities and Partnership Committee said: “It’s wonderful that our Library Presents programme is supporting our residents and creative industries through this difficult time. While we are all at home and trying to find activities and events to keep us busy, keep a look out for the exciting, fun and interesting arts that can be enjoyed from home in our new digital programme.” Not just accessible to the technology savvy, some of the activities will use radio and postal deliveries. A key highlight of the programme includes the new audio drama adaptation of Greyhounds, by Time and Again Theatre Company. Working in collaboration with Yorkshire Air Museum, the company will be distributing its 1940s adventures across the country, in celebration of VE day. A musical highlight is the Discover Florence Nightingale workshop, where musician and songwriter, Louise Jordan, invites attendees into the world of Florence Nightingale through song-writing. Children can also enjoy the programme, with fun and interactive workshops, including one from Scoop Magic, which teaches simple magic tricks using everyday objects around the home. In addition to this, a number of the events are inclusive and will be signed or subtitled, all clearly marked on the website. These offerings include inclusive storytelling for young children and those with complex needs, with sensory musical theatre company, Collar and Cuffs. Joanne Gray, Head of The Library Presents team and Partnerships, Projects and Funding Manager said: “With usual work postponed or cancelled, like many others, artists are struggling. Through our digital programme we have been able to offer the opportunity for 6

The Fens | June 2020

paid work and artists have said that the opportunity to do something creative for an audience is extremely valuable at the moment. We were amazed by the number of artists who put forward fantastic offers for this programme. We look forward to being able to visit our network of local libraries and host events in them again in the future and hope to keep a version of this new digital offer for audiences to enjoy too.” ‘The Library Presents’ is run by Cambridgeshire County Council working with Babylon ARTS and funded by Arts Council England. Hedley Swain, Area Director, South

East, Arts Council England, said: “I’m really pleased to see that the Library Presents has launched ‘In your house’. As well as providing people with an essential opportunity to access arts and culture from their homes, it also offers incredibly important paid opportunities for artists that have been deeply affected by these challenging times.” To find out more about The Library Presents…in your house programme, visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/arts or Facebook @TheLibraryPresents. The timetable will be updated weekly with events from the digital programme.


So many people are doing so many fantastic things to support local people.

We want to say a great big than-you to all the local businesses that have kept going throughout this crisis. Your help and patience has been noticed. THANK-YOU. Once again, many thanks to all of you who have volunteered. We know some of you are slowly getting back to work and we hope that your experience of helping others

will encourage you to carry on volunteering in the future. There are so many great voluntary opportunities right here in Ramsey and groups that would welcome you with open arms. Thank-you to Ramsey Rotary and Huntingdonshire District Council who have separately awarded Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust grants to do more to support the isolated - more about that later. To all of you – THANK-YOU!

CONTACT US Telephone or Text: 07562 379472 Email: ramsey.covid19@gmail.com Ramsey Foodbank Vouchers: 07548 048471 Facebook: Ramsey.Covid19

RECORD YOUR MEMORIES History is recorded by the people who are living through it. Join in with our project of recording your memories of this time so that future generations can understand this unprecedented time period. You can record it in any way you feel comfortable with. Take photos, write a diary or video blog, create a piece of art, a scrapbook or write a poem. Then send them to Gill at chair.ramseymillion@gmail.com for her to collate and create a history for Ramsey. The Fens | June 2020


RAMSEY FOODBANK Ramsey Foodbank are continuing to provide emergency food packages for those suffering financial hardship. Leo and his team at Thomas a Becket Church are always here to help on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 10am – 12pm. It’s been really busy over the last few weeks with lots of donations. Even in these challenging times the team are astounded by the generosity of people who are willing to help. Thank you so much Tesco, British Gas, G’s Group, Ramsey Army Cadets, Warboys Community, local churches and not forgetting

the many kind personal donations. If you would like to register for a food

voucher in advance, please call 07548 048 471. Delivery is available for those in isolation.

RAMSEY MAKES THE NATIONAL PRESS! David Rose, a Daily Telegraph photographer, contacted us for VE Day photo opportunities in Ramsey last week. Very excitedly, we gathered up the Mayor Steve Corney, Veteran Les Taylor, musician Richard Batty and local photographer, Adrian James, who had generously filmed the National Toast for social media in Ramsey the day before. David Rose soon had us mocking up the scene at Church Green again and untying bunting to hold it up high at the front of the picture. Those natural shots you see in the papers are anything but! His photo appeared in the Telegraph online with a report on the Friday and

the additional photos that he took here on VE Day itself appeared on page 4 in the Saturday Telegraph. It was a very special moment on VE Day when Ramsey residents were able to join the Mayor via Facebook to remember those that gave so

Lily’s Marathon Month One of our wonderful Sparks Club members, Lily, has decided to walk a 26-mile marathon over the course of May, to fundraise for Sparks Club. She has been walking 1 mile a day around her village of Upwood with her walker and her Mum and hopes to complete the challenge on the 26th May! Our Sparks Club members have all received a goody bag this week to help keep them busy whilst at home and the club continues to run online. If you would like to sponsor Lily and 8

The Fens | June 2020

encourage her on her final stretch, please go to our JustGiving page. This is a huge personal challenge for Lily and if you would like to sponsor her please go to our just giving page. www.justgiving.com/Lilys-SPARKSMarathon

much for us all seventy-five years ago. The post has received over 2,000 views. A fitting way to commemorate such an important anniversary. By - Ann Cuthbert, Promoting Ramsey

Remember we are Here to Help We continue to offer support to anyone who needs help due to COVID-19. Just phone or message us on our Facebook page and we will see what we can do. We have now completed over 200 different tasks for local people. We have also been busy chatting to those who are feeling lonely after so many weeks in isolation. They tell us it is great to hear a friendly voice on the end of the phone. It’s amazing what a difference just a phone call can make.

KEEPING OUR YOUNGEST RESIDENTS OCCUPIED The BOSH live youth club sessions continue to pull in a large audience every Thursday at 4.30pm. The sessions have been somewhat varied, ranging from erupting volcanoes to a more gentle story time. Thanks to Ramsey Rotary BOSH will soon be distributing activity packs, as well as posting lots of things to do online. BOSH youth workers been busy painting stones to look like snake heads to hide around Ramsey. Why not get creative and decorate a pebble, then find one of our snake heads when you’re taking your daily exercise, and then add it to the body! Let’s try and make some really long snakes for everyone to spot! Take a photo too and send it in to the BOSH Facebook page #Boshsnake

Contact Us JOB SEARCH IS STILL OPEN! Looking for a job, advice or support when applying for work, Job Search in Ramsey is still open to everyone, whether unemployed or looking to further your career Job Search aims to help people at all stages of their job search from preparing a CV and filling in application forms through to interview techniques. Come and give it a try! Social distancing respected. Online support given. Please contact Alison on 07562 379472 or email rntprojectmanager@gmail. com, for further information COMING SOON - Keep an eye out for our online courses. We are partnering with a professional training company to offer FREE online courses that you will be able to put on your CV or help you in your current employment.

Neighbourhood Office, Ramsey Library, 25 Great Whyte, Ramsey, PE26 1HG Tel: 01487 814897 Email: Phoenix & SPARKS : Alison Seery rntprojectmanager@gmail.com Ramsey Million : Anna Bradley-Dorman office.ramseymillion@gmail.com Discover Ramsey & A Journey Through Time : Ann Cuthbert promotingramsey@gmail.com Activities for Families and Young People : Val Fendley val.rntoffice@gmail.com Ramsey Community Market : Carol Aston market.rntoffice@gmail.com Websites : www.ramseyneighbourhoodstrust.org www.ramseymillion.org www.discoverramsey.co.uk Facebook : Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust Ramsey Million – Big Local Crunch - Ramsey BOSH -Ramsey SPARKS Club Ramsey Timebank The Dog’s Meet Jobsearch Ramsey Ramsey Phoenix Project Discover Ramsey Twitter : @RamseyTrust @RamseyMillionBL @RamseyTimebank @discover_ramsey The Fens | June 2020


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Doctors across Cambridgeshire are now enrolling patients into the first clinical trial testing potential COVID-19 treatments to take place in GP practices. The Platform Randomised trial of INterventions against COVID-19 in older peoPLE (PRINCIPLE) trial is one of a growing number of clinical trials investigating treatments for COVID-19 taking place across the country. However, unlike many other clinical trials for COVID-19, which are mostly focussed on providing treatment to those who are admitted to hospital (Nowith Sunday opening) severe symptoms, the PRINCIPLE trial looks to identify treatments that can slow or halt the progression of the disease, preventing the need for hospitalisation. The PRINCIPLE trial aims to, in the first instance, test a drug called hydroxychloroquine which is already used within the NHS to treat patients with malaria and some types of arthritis. The goal is to prevent the coronavirus symptoms progressing, helping those affected to recover sooner and, critically, avoid the need for hospital admission. Researchers aim to recruit over 3,000 people aged 65 and above, or aged 50-64 with an underlying health condition, who are most risk of complications from COVID-19. Volunteers will be invited to join the trial via participating GP surgeries. As well as testing hydroxychloroquine, the trial design allows for new treatments arms to be added as researchers gather more information. Dr Sharon Woods, a GP who is leading the trial at the Granta Medical Practice in Sawston, Cambridge, said: “We are passionate about providing the best care possible for our patients. Without evidence from research trials the effectiveness of treatments for Covid 19 will be unknown. To be able to continue to contribute to research, particularly concerning COVID-19 at such a critical time is a privilege.” PRINCIPLE is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Dr Amrit Takhar, Primary Care lead for the NIHR’s regional Clinical Research Network and GP at the Wansford Surgery, Peterborough, said, “It is incredible to see how our network of GP practices has worked to get this trial set up and delivered to our patients so rapidly. Without research, and without those who take part in it, we simply can’t identify the best ways to treat patients with this diagnosis, so we are extremely grateful to all those involved.”

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The NIHR is funding and supporting a growing number of COVID-19 studies taking place in the NHS. These include those testing existing and new medications to treat patients with COVID-19 related symptoms. The results of all studies prioritised by the UK Government and the NIHR are essential to the future treatment of UK and global patients. To find out more about taking part in NIHR research visit www.BePartofResearch.uk and for wider information about the NIHR visit www.nihr.ac.uk

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THOMAS CLARKSON ACADEMY’S 5K CHALLENGE FOR THE NHS Thomas Clarkson Academy has challenged students and staff to walk, run or cycle 5k to raise money for the local hospital. The PE department, which launched the challenge this week, has set an initial target of raising £1,500 for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn. With a number of TCA students already showing their support for the NHS with various individual challenges, this will be an opportunity for the academy to come together and raise money as a team. Head of PE James Hooper said: “We are challenging our students to walk, bike or run 5k to raise money for our local hospital to support the ongoing battle against COVID-19. I have no doubt our students will rise to the challenge and help support this great local cause." Students and staff completing the 5k challenge can ask friends and family to make a donation in support of their efforts via the Just Giving website: https://www.justgiving.com/ fundraising/tca1 TCA’s 5k Challenge is part of a collaborative effort by a number of Isle of Ely schools keen to support their local hospitals. Amy Anderson, Second in PE, added: “We all know the super work that the NHS are doing on the frontline, and the funds raised will support this work. Students and staff taking part will feel a sense of achievement having completed the challenge and also a feeling of togetherness, knowing that they are part of something bigger in terms of TCA’s team effort.”

Fenland firms which are open for business during the coronavirus pandemic are being offered a new online platform to spread the word. Fenland District Council has launched Fenland Open for Business to help link people with local businesses and tradespeople who are still operating in the face of the outbreak. Around 100 businesses have already registered for the service, which will help potential customers know where they can go for goods and services across the district. The platform has been launched on the Council’s Fenland for Business website. To sign up for free, or find out more about which local companies are still open, visit: www. fenlandforbusiness.co.uk/coronavirus Businesses can also use the site to advertise any job vacancies they have. Councillor Ian Benney, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is having a profound impact on local businesses, which are the lifeblood of our economy. Business owners and selfemployed people are soldiering on despite the uncertainty, thinking of new ways to reach their customers in the light of the unprecedented precautions we all have to take. “The new Fenland Open for Business platform makes it quick and easy for people to find out which businesses in Fenland are still open. It’s free for businesses to sign up and get listed, so I’d urge as many as possible to get registered and make the most of the platform.” Cllr Benney also urged residents to try and shop local where possible. “As a Council, we want to encourage people to think first and foremost about buying goods and services from our Fenland based businesses before going to large internet retailers. The vast majority of Fenland businesses are owned and run by

people who live locally and are also valued members of the community.” The Council is also working hard to distribute the Government’s business support grants in Fenland to help businesses through the coronavirus crisis. So far more than £13.8million in grants of £10,000 and £25,000 has been paid to over 1,240 businesses. However, around 350 businesses in Fenland have yet to claim the grant they are entitled to. Council Leader, Cllr Chris Boden, said: “The Government’s business grant scheme has provided much needed financial support to many of our businesses. However, many businesses we have contacted have still not responded. I would urge small businesses, community building and village hall committees, and those in retail, hospitality and leisure to claim these grants. They are there to help and do not have to be repaid.” If you think your business might be eligible for a grant, don’t delay – you can complete a declaration form online at: www.fenland.gov. uk/coronavirusbusinessgrants. Any businesses needing advice to complete their declarations can contact the Council for help on 01354 654321 or email: covid19. businessgrants@fenland.gov.uk To find out more about the support available for businesses, visit: www.fenland.gov.uk/ coronavirusbusinessadvice The Fens | June 2020


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YOUR GARDEN IN June By the time that June arrives it’s pretty safe to say that the risk of frost is behind us – summer is on its way and it’s time to make sure the garden is in good shape for the summer months. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the garden is bursting into life. This makes June a particularly busy month for the green-fingered among us with lots of planting, pruning, maintenance and weeding to be done. All our hard work is sure to be worth the effort, though, as we sit back and admire the onset of summer in our garden.

Looking good this month... Rose

ESSENTIAL JOBS FOR JUNE PLANT BASKETS AND CONTAINERS Now the risk of morning frost has passed, its time to plant up your containers, hanging baskets and planters. If you already had them growing in the greenhouse, or hardening off outside during the day, then it’s now safe to move them out to their summer position – choosing a sunny spot will ensure you get the best from them. Trim any excess growth to maintain shape and dead head regularly to encourage flower growth. Water at least once a day or more frequently when it’s hot, dry and windy. Regular feeding – once per week in the summer – will also help your plants to thrive. MOW LAWNS AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK The lawn will be growing fast now and will continue to do so throughout the summer so a good weekly cut is essential to keep it looking neat and tidy. To make sure your lawn looks its best for the summer, apply a spring fertiliser onto established lawns now. A good feed

and a regular close cut will encourage extra growth making your lawn thick and lush. Don’t forget to reduce cutting frequency and raise mower blades if we have a drought. CARE FOR YOUR ROSES June is traditionally the month when roses are at their peak. You will need to keep an eye out for black spot and aphid attacks. Both of these will need treating immediately to ensure that too much damage doesn’t occur. Black spot is a serious disease for roses caused by a fungus which infects the leaves and reduces plant vigour and should be treated at first sign of infection with a fungicide. Green fly are sap-sucking creatures that can alter the growth of roses, also decreasing their vigour. Treat roses that are being attacked by aphids with an insecticide. Dead head any faded rose blooms to encourage fresh buds to grow and apply a rose fertiliser after the first flowering. Enjoy your garden!

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THE MIND STRUGGLE For some people the coronavirus has been a welcome break from everyday life. It’s given families a chance to spend more time with their children, to learn new skills or pick up a new hobby. But not all of us have enjoyed the isolation and for some, every hour is a battle. We spoke to Mind, to get some top tips for helping you through the next few weeks and months “We know that coronavirus and its impact are causing stress and worry for lots of people,” explained Simon Jones, Head of Policy at Mind, “and being told to stay indoors and avoid others can be a very daunting prospect. If you have a mental health problem, this might be impacting how you’re coping with your day to day life. But there are lots of things people can try to help with their wellbeing during the outbreak.” HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR WELLBEING • Establish a new routine for yourself, including being active and taking breaks if you are working. Planning how you are going to use your time will give structure to your day • Try breathing exercises or meditation if you are feeling particularly anxious • Eat well and stay hydrated: Make sure you are eating regularly and drinking enough water. Think about getting food delivered or asking someone else to drop food off for you. Being at home might impact your routine, which can affect your appetite and when you drink water. It can help to create a new routine to make sure you are looking after yourself • Try to keep active: If you can, build physical activity into your daily routine. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities

ask your pharmacy about getting your medication delivered or asking someone to collect it for you, the NHS website has information on how to pick up a prescription for someone else • Keep your mind stimulated: Keep your brain occupied and challenged. Set aside time in your routine for this. Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films and do puzzles.

• Continue accessing treatment and support if possible: If you are receiving ongoing treatment for a physical or mental health problem and don’t feel you need to be seen face to face, some GP services are available via online or telephone consultations. Check with your GP to see what they offer

“Connecting with other people is another vital way of maintaining wellbeing, so try to do that however you can,” Simon added. “Make plans to have regular chats with friends and family over the phone or on Skype. You could explore whether there are any helplines that might be useful to you or any online friendship groups you can join.

• Keep taking your medication: If you have a repeat prescription you might be able to order it by phone, online or using an app. Check to see if you can download the free NHS App and search for your surgery. You can also

If you’re worried about a mental health problem and are seeking information and support, you can call Mind’s information line 0300 123 3393 from 9am till 6pm Monday to Friday.

14 The Fens | June 2020

Coronavirus useful contacts • If you’re struggling and need to talk to someone urgently - If you don’t feel you can keep yourself safe right now, call 999 for an ambulance. - If you want to talk to someone at any time about how you’re feeling, call Samaritans on 116 123. - Shout also offers a free 24/7 crisis text service. Text SHOUT to 85258. • gov.uk/coronavirus UK government information about coronavirus. Includes guidance on testing, financial support and housing. Also provides support for anyone classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. • nhs.uk/conditions/coronaviruscovid-19 NHS UK coronavirus information. Includes guidance on staying at home, checking symptoms and supporting others. • 111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19 Online NHS 111 service to check if you have coronavirus symptoms. Includes information on getting an isolation note if you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms.

STAY ACTIVE IN FENLAND As we start to get used to a new sense of normal, we spoke to Active Fenland about ways to stay healthy

Now, more than ever it is important for us to become and stay active. Being active can have a big impact on how you feel physically, emotionally and mentally. At challenging times like this being active can: 1. Give us a boost by lifting our mood and helping our mental wellbeing 2. Help us continue to be mobile where we are now facing more confines than usual 3. Be used as a good break, now that, for most, work is part of our home life too 4. Help us sleep better 5. Help us manage stress 6. As part of a healthy lifestyle can help boost our immune system Active Fenland is creating online activities including video workouts such as bootcamp, HIIT, yoga and dance to help you be active in your home. As well as sharing lots of other external content and resources to get involved in. The workouts are free to use and require very little equipment (only things from your home) or none

at all. You can stream content on many types of devices- phones, tablets, TVs or computers via social media or Youtube. ADULTS Active Fenland’s weekly online workouts include a bootcamp, HIIT, dance and yoga. You can also find lots of other workouts are available on the NHS Live Well website including dance workouts, pilates and 10 minute workouts to follow. Or from other online resources such as the Joe Wicks workouts. OLDER ADULTS Active Fenland have an online gentle yoga session which can be done in a chair. Or the NHS has several types of exercise routines on their Live Well website- https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/ exercise/physical-activity-guidelinesolder-adults/. Look out for seated exercises, or for the more able easy exercises based around strength, flexibility and balance. FAMILIES/CHILDREN Active Fenland’s weekly online workouts such as the HIIT workouts or the dance routines are great for children and families to follow. There are also lots of other resources available with lots of games, activities

and challenges to try such as Joe Wicks daily PE lessons, Change4Life Disney shake ups, cosmic yoga, dance routines to learn to your favourite Disney tunes and cricket challenges. Don’t forget activity can be a wonderful thing to do together! Ensure that with any activity you decide to take part in you warm up thoroughly and make sure that the activity is the right level for you. Ensure you have a safe space around you with no trip or slip hazards or anything you can bump into. Have some water ready to hydrate during and after, and then do a cool down too. Things are constantly changing so to stay up to date with the resources available please follow the Active Fenland social media pages @ActiveFenland on Facebook and Instagram to get involved. The Active Fenland workouts can also be found on the Active Fenland Youtube channel. For further information you can also email activefenlandbookings@fenland. gov.uk With thanks to Heidi from Active Fenland.

The Fens | June 2020



Staying active whilst sheltering at home? Kate Squires from Active Fenland has some great suggestions to maintain your mental and physical health Below is a range of simple, exercise routines to have a go at, whether you’re a complete beginner, trying to fit new activity into your day or already a very active person; these exercises can help to lift your mood, mobilise your body or even give you some mental space and calm to

16 The Fens | June 2020

relax. These Routines have been taken from the NHS website, please visit: www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise for more information and workouts. DISCLAIMER - any participation in any exercise or activity is done at your

own risk. If you have an injury or any medical condition that might make taking part detrimental to your health you should consult your doctor health professional before undertaking. These are only provided as a guide, please choose a routine that would suit your abilities.


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24hr Emergency Service: 01480 52222 The Fens | June 2020


The Cinematic Crystal Ball WORDS Nathan Smith, Luxe Cinema Film expert Nathan Smith returns with part 2 of the Lockdown Cinema Feature and this month looks deep into his crystal ball to bring you his predictions for the next few months ahead


hen it comes to predicting the future of film, it is usually helped by the major studios deploying what are known as ‘Tent-Pole’ releases. These major titles are often given a date before filming has even commenced, and this makes it easier for studios distributing smaller titles to avoid clashing with a superhero title or another film in which a bald man drives a car really fast, while he is suitable furious. But then Covid-19 arrived on the scene and the tent-poles came crashing down. The impact on the movie industry was much like a set of dominos. The first to fall was the release of the latest Bond movie, No Time to Die. This set into motion a series of delays which took with it a whole slew of releases. Cinemas closed soon after as public gatherings were restricted and the rest of the slate was wiped (almost) clean. But now there is a glimmer of light on the horizon as the Government has suggested that if things keep improving, cinemas – along with other social businesses – may be able to open up, which begs the question...

18 The Fens | June 2020

with all the delays, what will be available to watch? Well, while the only similarity I have to Russell Grant is general physique, I’ve polished up my Cinematic Crystal Ball (another Lockdown purchase from eBay) and I’m going to peer in and see what I can see... Those of you still scratching your heads and trying to work out what Inception was *really* about will be delighted to know that in July the latest from Christopher Nolan is due to release, and this time you can throw time-travel, rebirth and evolution into the mix! John David Washington (son of Denzel) stars in this mind-bending espionage thriller that has echoes of both The Matrix and Mission: Impossible. Nolan never disappoints and I can safely say that I sincerely hope this isn’t delayed. Disney continue their assault on cinemas with another live action remake of an animated classic, but this time it comes with some sweeping changes that – according to early reports – have made the film far more grown up and has secured the first BBFC 12A rating for their remakes so far. Mulan tells the tale of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place when he is called up to join the army against a dangerous threat. More akin to Crouching Tiger/ Hidden Dragon than

The Lion King, it could be a surprise to many. Now, it is fairly safe to say that the biggest genre on the planet right now is still the Comic Book Movie, and the latest from the DC Universe is due this summer as Diana Price returns in Wonder Woman 1984. Set in – yes that’s right – 1984, Price comes up against a new threat and is reunited with someone she thought was lost forever... with a fantastic retro soundtrack and a slice of eighties Americana too it is great to see Wonder Woman back on the screen following her fantastic soloadventure back in 2017. Director Patty Jenkins is back at the helm and The Mandalorian star, Pedro Pascal

features as the villainous Max Lord. It’s time to face the music as Alex Winter reunites with Keanu Reeves as Bill S Preston Esq and Ted Theodore Logan III! Yes! That’s right! Bill & Ted are back, and just in time too. Which is appropriate, given that they have access to a time-travelling telephone box. Unlike Doctor Who though, it is reassuringly cramped inside. It has been almost thirty years since the duo were on the big screen and this time around, they have just seventyeight minutes to save the world, whilst juggling advancing years and their daughters. Bill & Ted Face the Music is due in August *air guitar*. Looking further ahead cinephiles can also look forward to the follow-up to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile – with Kenneth Branagh back in front (and behind) the camera, with that magnificent moustache and so-so Belgian accent. An all-star cast, including French and Saunders – who may have wandered onto the set thinking they were shooting one of their spoofs for all I know – end up wrapped up in the murder of a young heiress in the adaptation of the much-loved Agatha Christie classic. Now, I must confess to being a massive fan of giant monster movies and the promise of Godzilla vs Kong has me pacing up and down excitedly. Following on from Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, we are finally going to see the two square up to one another for – hopefully – an almighty ruckus. The last time they faced each other was 1962, so the rematch has been a long time coming. Fun Fact! The original King Kong vs Godzilla had two different endings so that both Japanese and American audiences could see ‘their’ monster win. Wes Anderson has been responsible

for some of the most quirky and charming titles to ever grace a cinema screen and he is back with an ensemble cast for The French Dispatch. You may not know Anderson by name, but his films have a quirky look that is immediately recognisable. Films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou make up part of his world along with animated greats such as Isle of Dogs and Fantastic Mr Fox. Elizabeth Moss, Timothee Chalamet, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Christoph Waltz and Saoirse Ronan are just *part* of the phenomenal cast. Keep an eye out for it. Finally we have – later in the year – the two biggest titles of the Easter period finally (hopefully) coming to screens, No Time to Die and Peter Rabbit 2. No Time to Die is Daniel Craig’s last run as Ian Fleming’s James Bond, picking up after his retirement at the end of SPECTRE and being faced with secrets and lies that will tear his world apart. Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek stars as the mysterious and villainous Safin, who is armed with a dangerous new technology. This was a huge move to delay the release – and quite right – so when it finally is open to audiences, it will be the biggest film of the year in the UK. Peter Rabbit was a sort-of surprise hit given that it took Potter’s beloved character and gave it a new twist and a more contemporary

setting. Luckily naughty rabbits are universally popular and the original was a huge hit, guaranteeing a sequel, and it is now scheduled for a Christmas release, perfect for the family crowd to enjoy together while Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story also runs. What a pairing, eh? Naturally, this whole situation is constantly evolving and while we all obviously hope that things can get back to normal (or the new normal) as quickly as possible, there is also the chance that the plan will change again. I just hope I can get a refund on this Crystal Ball now... perhaps I could tell the eBay seller that I was hoping for a *Systematic* Crystal Ball? I need the money to buy more ingredients for banana bread...

The Fens | June 2020


Growing through the lockdown WORDS RICHARD GROOM

One area of life mostly untouched by the lockdown has been the world of allotment gardening Last September in THE FENS I wrote about how my brother Paul had taken on an allotment earlier in the year, inviting me to get involved. By then we had cleared most of the weeds and made a start on creating the first of a dozen vegetable beds. We even had time to get a few veggies planted in our first season. In the autumn of 2019 I wasn’t able to help much, so Paul worked mostly alone, building the wooden frames for more beds, laying paths, erecting a 30-foot fence from old pallets, organising the compost heaps and, of course, doing lots more weeding. This spring, the planting started in earnest. We were set for a great year of fun and hard work on our plot. But it suddenly looked in jeopardy on 23

March when the stay at home order was given. Thankfully, the next day, Michael Gove (Minister for the Cabinet Office) gave the green light to allotment holders: “It’s perfectly sensible for people to go to an allotment. It’s in the very nature of allotments that there is a safe distance between people who are working on an individual allotment.” It is indeed quite natural for people to work on their own allotment without getting close to their neighbour. The main change in behaviour is to make sure that ‘over the fence’ chats are done with proper social distancing. It also made practical sense for

Su mmer 2019 - shabby but weed-free

Spring 2020 looking like an allotment! 20 The Fens | June 2020

allotment gardening to carry on. Local authorities continued to maintain parks and other green spaces, recognising that it would not be in anyone’s interest to let them become overgrown. Likewise, leaving allotments unattended for even just a few weeks would have let the weeds take over. Plus, with supermarkets quickly running out of many foods in the early days of the stay at home order, it was perhaps felt that letting people grow their own produce was in the nation’s interest. SPRINGING INTO LIFE So, with the green light given to allotment holders, we carried on the work to transform our weedy patch

into a productive allotment. Well, I say ‘we’. In fact, Paul did most of the work, with help from his daughter, Caitlin, when her second year at university was cut short by the virus. The hard work is paying off. What was once a patch of earth is now thriving. Potatoes, leeks, broad beans, runner beans and radishes are the stars of the show, living up to their reputations as being easy to grow. The turnips are doing well too, although I’m not too excited about eating them to be honest, maybe due to the association with Baldrick from Blackadder. This summer will also hopefully see our lettuces make their way into our salads. Blackberries, raspberries and gooseberries will be harvested later in the year for pies and crumbles. We have great expectations for our strawberries, onions, beetroot, garlic, courgettes and chicory. THE HEALING POWER OF GARDENING This may all sound like a run-ofthe-mill gardening story. A bit of weeding, planting some spuds, building a fence and laying a path. No big deal, right? But I should perhaps let you know that Paul has done all of this despite living with pretty awful side effects of a stroke he had in 2016. It left him paralysed down one side, with no use of his right arm or leg, and unable to talk. Gradually he has battled his way back, although his mobility is still restricted and he has very little use of his right hand. The fact that despite this he took on the allotment and transformed it into a wonderful productive space is amazing. He has even taken on the role of Chair of the Allotment Association. I’m sure that having the allotment has been great for his ongoing

recovery, both physically and mentally. Many others have found that gardening – whether it’s a few plants on a windowsill or several acres to look after – has been invaluable in helping them cope with the stress and strain of the past few months. Robert, who like us has had an allotment in Whittlesey for about a year, says: “It’s been great to get out of the house and have somewhere to go. Looking after an allotment takes your mind off things. There is always something to do. It’s like spinning plates – once an area is done you move on to something else, but you soon have to go back to where you started.” INTO THE SUMMER Now that summer is here, there are still plenty of jobs to do. The weeding will continue, alongside planting of cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower and peas. We’ll also be planting flower seedlings I’ve raised at home into beds bordering the allotment. These will bloom soon, adding colour to the plot and encouraging bees in so they can do their wonderful job of pollinating our crops. To carry on the wildlifefriendly theme, we have kept the plot free from weed killer. Chicken manure is the only form of fertiliser. A bird feeder is kept well stocked, with a friendly robin and others visiting it throughout the day.

Whittlesey’s allotment holders love their sheds!

Sharing our space with wildlife is one of the reasons the allotment has been a lovely place to get away from the stress of the lockdown. We know how lucky we are to have this in our lives and will never take it for granted.

The Fens | June 2020



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WINNER OF QUEENSGATE’S ‘HAPPY ME’ POEM ANNOUNCED The winner of Queensgate Shopping Centre’s ‘Happy Me’ competition has been announced as Angela Syddell & Family Their joint family poem, titled ‘Happy Me’ reads: HAPPY ME So here we are, dealing with Covid-19 All coming together as a wonderful team We’re sticking together and staying inside FaceTime and phone calls, enduring the ride. Stay positive and strong, this won’t be too long Patience and love we’ll get this gone Bake a cake, or learn something new We’ll look back, and see how we grew. Make the most of your day and time together We’ll soon be outside, it’s not forever Homeschooling the children may drive you mad Keep smiling, be grateful, it’s not all bad. The strength of the country as we all unite We’re stronger together, we’ll win this fight The sun is warm and keeps us glowing Day by day this virus is slowing. We’re sharing our thanks with the workers that are key Their commitment and strength, so we can be free The day will come and we’ll drive to the sea Oh what an amazing day that will be. Be happy, be thankful, share a household cuddle We’ll come through this, get out of this muddle Be thoughtful, keep busy and think of others Pick up the phone to our sisters and brothers. Keep going when it’s the darkest of days The other side we’ll come, and have changed our ways When is this over? I hear people say It’s just our journey to a brighter day. So enjoy your moments, whilst we all endure Scientists working to find us a cure Find something inside to keep boredom at bay Freedom is coming, we’ll find a way. In total, Queensgate received over 30 entries, and it was Angela and her family’s words that captured the judges’ attention overall. Mark Broadhead, Centre Director at Queensgate said: “It was an absolute joy to read through each and every poem, we have some incredible people in Peterborough and they should be very proud of their work. Thank you to everyone that entered, we will be sharing the entries online for all to enjoy.” Angela and her family will receive a £150 Queensgate gift card to use once the centre opens again. Find out more about Queensgate Shopping Centre at www.queensgateshopping.co.uk

Up and down the country we are seeing valiant efforts of individuals who want to raise money for local and national causes. 12-yearold Connor Rickard is no exception. Whittleseybased Connor, a swimmer who is used to training every week, turned to a new fitness challenge during lockdown - to run a half marathon. Connor took on the challenge at the start of May and completed the gruelling 13.1 miles in just 2 hours and 22 minutes. Family and friends generously donated to Connor’s chosen cause, Whittlesey Emergency Food Aid. Well done Connor!

A message from Julie Jeffryes Senior Co-ordinator Healthy Fenland Team If anybody would like a Wellbeing phone call from Care Network. They can offer a weekly Check & Chat call or a more supportive Wellbeing call where they can talk in more depth about emotional wellbeing with trained support staff. They know that just talking to somebody different can lift people’s mood enormously. Their Help at Home team are also able to help support with essential shopping or prescription pick-ups, and their Community Navigators can help connect to other support available in local communities. Wellbeing support: 0330 094 57450 Also, just a quick reminder of the contact details of their other services: Help at Home: 01223 714433 Fenland Community Navigators: 01354 695208 Their support is available 7 days a week, Monday – Friday 9.00am5.00pm and Saturdays and Sundays 10.00am-4.00pm.

The Fens | June 2020


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Anyway, the last year has concluded, many unused allowances might be lost for ever, some can be retrieved, but not many. Going forward we need to make best use of the allowances a new tax year provides, most of us know that the personal income tax allowance (£12,500), then 20% tax applies up to £50,000 at which point higher rates can apply. What some people are not aware of is that if you are married or in a civil partnership you may be entitled to a £1,188 tax break called the marriage tax allowance – something 2.4 million qualifying couples miss out on.  Other allowances are available for tax efficient savings & investments (£20,000 Individual Savings Accounts), Capital Gains Tax allowance (£12,300) and a variety of pension allowances that depend on your circumstances, to name but a few. A full financial review with an Independent Financial Adviser will reveal the opportunities available to limit the impact of taxation, and consequently the potential financial advantage in managing your finances in the most effective way. Tax planning is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For financial planning advice on investments, retirement and estate planning, seek out an Independent Financial Adviser with a good record of delivering simple financial advice that really works.

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Spoil dad

THIS FATHER’S DAY Sunday, 21st June is this year’s Father’s Day. We might not be able to spend time with them this year, so why not choose them a gift to cheer them up? Here’s our top picks from Queensgate Shopping Centre’s retailers

Marks & Spencer Linen Striped Shorts £29 marksandspencer.com

John Lewis & Partners Yamazaki Bautes Headphone Stand, £18 johnlewis.com

FatFace Burcott Suede Flip Flop in Tan Style £22 fatface.com

John Lewis & Partners Wooden 6-in-1 Games Compendium £35 johnlewis.com

John Lewis & Partners Marble-Effect Garden Bar Table, £499 johnlewis.com

Paperchase Running Journal £12 paperchase.com

TOPMAN Light Blue Tiger Print Slim Shirt £24.99 topman.com 26 The Fens | June 2020

Vision Express Ted Baker Men’s Sunglasses £75 visionexpress.com

M&S Collection Quick Dry Abstract Print Swim Shorts £17.50 marksandspencer.com

New Look Men ‘Thank you’ T-shirt £8.99 newlook.com/uk

MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR OF WHITTLESEY I cannot believe it is over 2 years since fellow Councillors bestowed on me the great honour of becoming Mayor of Whittlesey. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Mayor and it has been a great privilege to represent the town and the surrounding villages. Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me during my term of office and made these years very special. During April we sadly lost Alan Bristow who was both a Town and District Councillor. Alan was not only a councillor and colleague but a true friend. He was one of a kind and will be very much missed. Alan worked tirelessly for Whittlesey and for Lattersey Ward which he represented, he championed improvements for Whittlesea Station and as a previous Chairman of Governors at New Road School he put the needs and development of primary school children at the forefront of local politics. There will be a memorial service for Alan in Whittlesey when we get back to normal. Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with Alan's wife Sandra, his son Paul and his grandchildren. The 75th Anniversary of VE Day celebrations in Whittlesey had to be changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we were still able pay tribute and commemorate the sacrifice of all those locally, who served, fought and died during the 2nd World War. I had the honour of laying a wreath on Friday 8th May at 11am at Whittlesey War Memorial, when a 2 minute silence was observed. After the wreath laying I witnessed community help and sport working together as the Helping Whittlesey Group teamed up with Whittlesea Wheelers Cycling Club to provide and deliver over 200 Fish and Chip meals cooked by Sue Harrison of Chippy

Sue’s to the elderly and most in need residents. Absolutely tremendous!!! In the late afternoon my husband Robert and I drove around Whittlesey to say hello and experience the VE Day atmosphere across Whittlesey (Allowing for social distancing). The celebrations were fantastic and very innovative and the memories from that day will live with me forever. Unfortunately due the current situation I had to take the decision to cancel my three Mayor's charity events planned for this year. I however would still like to support my Mayor's charities, which are Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall, Army Cadets Whittlesey Branch and the Young Technicians and hope to plan something in the future in order to help these good causes. There are many volunteers in Whittlesey and the villages who are deserving of a big thank you, especially those who go that extra mile to make a real difference to people's lives. It has been a real honour and privilege that as Mayor I have been able to meet and in some cases work with these individuals and groups and I would like to salute you all. We are very fortunate here in Whittlesey to have these amazing people who volunteer and contribute so much to the fabric of our local community – thank you. I have been greatly supported in my role as Mayor by my husband and Consort Robert. He has also been my chauffeur, photographer and speech writer. Thank you Robert and I have been very proud that you have been by my side during the journey. One of the highlights of the last year was the opening of the new Town Council offices Peel House in Queen Street on 29th September 2019 by His Honour Neil McKittrick, JP, DL, High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire. The project

to relocate the offices of Whittlesey Town Council had been 3 years in the planning after the purchase of the old Police Station, and I am sure Peel House will become a significant community asset for the Town for many years to come. I wish to thank Cllr. David Mason who has been a tower of strength as my Deputy and his experience as a former Town Mayor has been enormous, his work on the move to the new Town Council offices at Peel House has been invaluable. Special mention also to Sue Piergianni, the Town Clerk who has been a great help and support to me as Mayor, she has been a constant source of good advice and knowledge and a very efficient organiser. Thank you to both David and Sue for all you have done to make my term as Mayor run successfully and smoothly. The most inspiring project that Robert and I have achieved during my term as Mayor is the formation of The Whittlesey Sports Association, bringing many sports clubs and groups in the Whittlesey area together and promoting sport, participation for all and well being. The Association in June of last year organised an It's a Knockout Tournament and Try It Sports Day at Whittlesey Juniors Football Club, which proved very successful. I wish my successor as Mayor of Whittlesey many congratulations and all the best for the future. Stay safe and we will come through the current coronavirus pandemic and we will meet again soon. Kind regards, Cllr. Julie Windle, Mayor of Whittlesey

Council parks remain open to the public

Fenland’s parks and open spaces continue to be accessible to the public as the Government encourages communities to enjoy them but remain vigilant. The Government’s new coronavirus guidance, which came into effect on Wednesday May 13, encourages “unlimited exercise” and invites residents to enjoy the sunshine in their local parks, but asks that the public continues to adhere to social distancing guidance. Members of the public using open spaces are asked to continue to observe the Government’s guidelines, which include keeping 2 metres away from those not in your household and avoiding any large gatherings. Those who do not adhere to social distancing guidelines are still liable to face fines and the police will still ask large

gatherings to disperse. Cllr Peter Murphy, the Council's Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “Over the past months our parks and open spaces have become increasingly important to the health and well-being of our local communities.” “Daily exercise is one of the key factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and, in light of the Government’s new

guidance, I encourage local residents to get out in the sunshine and enjoy their local green spaces in a responsible manner.” Fenland District Council’s grounds maintenance contractor, Tivoli, has been working hard throughout the lockdown to ensure that local green spaces are well maintained and ready for the public to enjoy as part of their daily exercise. Residents are also now permitted by the updated guidance to travel to other destinations to enjoy green spaces, rather than being limited to only their closest available spaces. In the interest of safety and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, play areas and skate parks within Fenland’s parks and open spaces will remain closed until further notice.

The Fens | June 2020


Wild Thing Local author and mother of two EVA JORDAN shares her musings Recent events and restrictions have, as I’m sure they have for many others, affected my ability to do ‘normal’ things of late and stick to a routine. Some of my family are working from home, while others are furloughed, which means the house is often awash with noise. The sleeping and working patterns of some family members have therefore changed, which means someone is always pottering about, often at all hours of the day and night. Our cat was most disgruntled by this intrusion to his routine at first, because, except for the tap, tap, tapping of my computer keyboard, he is generally used to the peace and quiet of our house during weekdays. Now our house is full of noise–all day, every day. Like a lot of us though, the cat has adapted. However, unfortunately for me, as someone who needs a certain amount of peace and quiet to write, these remarkable circumstances have left me barren, suffering from writer’s block. I’m not particularly worried. I’m sure the desire to put pen to paper will return when it’s meant to. But what it has done has brought me closer to nature. I’ve always loved walking, and as my other half is a keen amateur photographer, we’ve made the most of our extended time together to explore some beautiful local wildlife areas close by. We’ve seen countless distinct birds, not to mention squirrels, butterflies, bumblebees, deer, foxes, rabbits and hares. Sometimes we’ve spotted certain animals or birds when I’ve been feeling particularly worried, or low, or confused–emotions I’m sure we can all relate to at the moment. So, when home again, I researched these animals, read about their spiritual meaning, and often derived comfort from my findings. I may even use such findings in some of my future writing projects.

Who is Susie Munns? For years I ran programs that had me believe I wasn’t good enough, my negative thought patterns were exacerbated when I was mugged outside my home in my 20’s, I started feeling anxious 6 months after the event so had no idea the 2 were linked. It turns out that years of self-bullying topped with a traumatic event are the perfect recipe for a breakdown. I was exhausted. I quit my very successful career took a break, got some “traditional therapy” and decided to become a PA, at the time I had no idea this new path would lead me to discover EFT and NLP. After just 2 days of learning these techniques I really saw myself for the first time, it was like I had woken from a sad dream and could now see my potential. It changed my life so dramatically that I knew I wanted to share these techniques with the world and help others in the way I had been able to help myself.

For now though, here’s a few I’d like to share a few with you. Fox – the fox reveals itself during a great and unpredictable change and compels you to turn up your own senses. Cuckoo – provides the message to listen with your heart as well as your head, learn ways to unfold the fate coming your way. Owl – known for its sharp vision and keen observation, the owl totem means you can see beyond the masks that people wear. Kite – symbolic for releasing pain and going with the flow. She will help you make decisions and bring about truths and wisdom. Deer – emphasizes softness, kindness and gentleness, even during the toughest and most challenging times of your life. You can find out more about Eva by visiting www.EvaJordanWriter. com or find her on Twitter and Facebook: @evajordanwriter www.facebook.com/ EvaJordanWriter/ 28 The Fens | June 2020

I am now an experienced therapist and coach; I am qualified in a number of solution-focused therapies and techniques, I like to teach my clients the techniques I use as we work together, so they can continue to use them to live their best life. I like to think of myself as a Freedom Coach, I have freed hundreds of adults, teens and children from trauma, anxiety, phobias and depression to name a few. It is my mission to help as many people as possible to realise their true beauty and potential. Visit my website to find out more.

Susie Munns can be found at Safe Haven Therapy & Coaching Mobile: 07915 073 013 www.safehaven-therapy.com www.facebook.com/ SafeHavenTherapy

THIS MONTH’S BOOK REVIEW The Railway Carriage Child By Wendy Fletcher; Published by Whittlesey Wordsmiths

A NEW ARRIVAL I think we could all agree, lockdown has made us all a little mad. Lives altered, routines changed and all of a sudden there aren’t enough jobs to do around the house to fill your day. Throughout I’ve heard stories of imaginative ways people have been entertaining themselves but so far none have come close to how my wife has done just that. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I received a very random message at work from my wife, asking if I could pick up some kitten milk on my way home. I can’t deny, when I heard the words ‘kitten milk’ a shiver went down my spine like I’d fallen into a vat of ice. I’m avoiding shops where possible after work. Long queues and social distancing nightmares are two problems I can do without on my way home. But also, and most importantly, I have three house rabbits and not a single cat. So, questions followed. Many questions, resulting in the following story ... My wife’s sister’s cat, being a cat, often brings ‘gifts’ into the house. Sometimes dead, sometimes living. This time living, and this time a tiny unidentified rodent. Having caught said rodent, my wife’s sister not knowing what to do with it as cats were amassing as word of an easy and vulnerable meal spread, decided to bring it to my wife because being married to me presumably means she’s used to taking in unwanted creatures. So I get home to find a tiny, tiny rodent in a takeaway box with air holes in the lid in my kitchen. The kitten milk is taken from me and I watch as my wife tries to feed said rodent the milk through a pipette. Turns out she has decided to rehabilitate what has been identified as a mouse, before setting it free. What followed, has been two weeks of ‘night feeds’ (yes, I’ve been getting up at 2am to feed a mouse and change a hot water bottle to keep it warm) and the inevitable realisation that this mouse will never be ready to be released because what wild mouse can survive in ‘the wild’ when it’s been hand fed ‘Special K’ and berries. So it was a funny day for that mouse. Looked pretty bad at one point but actually he’s rather lucked out and I’d imagine next month I’ll be writing about our new ‘one mouse circus’ business venture.

Joe Clarke-Ferridge is an occasional writer who quickly discovered it is not easy to get a mouse to sit still in front of a mug for a picture. Find me @LifeofanOrdina1

In last month’s magazine I interviewed local writer, Wendy Fletcher. We discussed, among other things, her memoir The Railway Carriage Child; my choice for this month’s book review. Wendy was born in the small fenland market town of Whittlesey, which, as mentioned in the foreword, includes two medieval churches, a 19th century Butter Cross and rare examples of 18th century mud boundary walls. Less well known is a pair of Victorian railway carriages, which stand just outside the town. These Great Eastern Railway carriages, built in 1887, later converted to living accommodation in the 1920s, were Wendy’s childhood home, and are still home to Wendy’s family to the present day. Starting around the mid-twentieth century, Wendy introduces us to a life that seems a million miles away from our present one– “the ‘web’ was where the spiders lived [and] ‘Broadband’ was something that kept your hair tidy.” She paints a picture of a time that, although arguably physically harder than for most people today, was mostly, a much simpler one, closer to nature and one that, with none of the gadgets and technology used today, also had a wonderful innocence about it. “I look back on a child’s lifetime of listening to the gentle sounds of dawn through the changing seasons. Each morning as I woke, I was bathed in the early light, spreading from the blurred patches that were the windows above my bed… It seemed that there was always plenty of time. I knew mother wouldn’t allow me out to play too early. She would say ‘Wait ‘til the day’s got up proper,’ as I pleaded to be released from the kitchen door.” Our verdict… Filled with memories of scorching summers and coach trips to the seaside, and of bitter winters wearing knitted shawls and woolly hats, huddled round the hearth for heat, The Railway Carriage Child is a warm and evocative, easy to read but beautifully written memoir. A heartfelt, and at times humorous account of a childhood that, although unconventional, also felt reassuringly familiar, especially when, like me, I discovered that, as a child, Wendy also developed a keen love of books and reading. However, if this review leaves you with one burning question, namely how, or why, Wendy’s family came to live in two Victorian railway carriages… well… I suggest you read the book and therein find your answer. By Eva Jordan

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Whilst the COVID-19 outbreak has had a huge impact on many groups, it has also opened new opportunities for others. During a time when we are all spending much more time at home, the use of technology has never been more important. Fenland Youth Radio is a great example of this The driving force behind Fenland Youth Radio are the Young Technicians CIC. The Young Technicians is a scheme that delivers lessons and practical experience for young people in lighting, sound, stage production and management. The man driving this scheme forward is Pino Soccio. Pino has worked in the industry both on stage, in touring bands, and off stage, in lighting and sound production, for over 20 years; and as a Music and Performing Arts technician in a secondary school for 7 years. Pino originally launched the scheme in Whittlesey, but now operates in schools and centres across Peterborough, Sawtry, Whittlesey, Ramsey, Chatteris, Fenland, and Cambridgeshire. His ambition is to roll the scheme out across Cambridgeshire. Recent successes include the graduation of the first Young Technician to an apprentice position with the BBC. THE BIRTH OF THE RADIO “Our team of experienced industry professionals are dedicated to providing exciting and refreshingly pro-active training to our Young Technicians,” Pino explained. “We take the time to research, teach and deliver in completely new and innovative ways.” So how did the Fenland Youth Radio come about? “We’re here to help our 30 The Fens | June 2020

Young Technicians succeed in becoming the industry’s future,” Pino added, “and part of this was the creation of the Fenland Youth Radio project!” The brand new radio station is run by the students, for the students and the community with an aim to help to build an inclusive atmosphere in Whittlesey. Radio is all about communication and running a radio show takes commitment and teamwork in order for it to be a success. “Our systems are easy enough to use that all students and members of the community groups, regardless of age or ability can get involved.” The Young Technicians CIC scheme is not only all about

“We know that by supporting the third sector, we can help delliver social value. Fenland Youth Radio will work with local voluntary sector organisations to promote their activities with shows produced by our Young Technicians.”

lasers, speakers and lights. We offer opportunities to gain experience in the practical skills required to stage events, pre and post production, health and safety and of course everything required to run a radio station! Part of the station’s ambition is for the Young Technicians to work with Whittlesey Town Council to help spread the message of activities and make the younger generation more aware of what’s happening in their town and the work of the council. “We love introducing young people to the academic disciplines of STEM, offering an alternative interest for those who might not be interested in more mainstream activities such as sports,” Pino explained. “We offer real world skills and a career path into the live events industry.

A DIVERSE AND INFORMATIVE CHANNEL Even though the radio station is relatively new, the team already have a variety of segments in their radio shows. For example, on the regular Saturday morning slot, there’s a regular ‘ask the expert’ where local people come on and talk about their field of interest. In addition, there’s also weekly head to head quizzes, a guess the sound quiz, plus lots of great music and banter. To date, the station have already had some great experts on talking about cycling, gardening and crafting. Most recently, they had a secondary school teacher giving parents her top tips for home schooling. “We recently launched a brand new, midweek radio show on Wednesdays called ‘midweek madness’. This show is run by local young people. In particular, we are hoping to help young people gain skills, knowledge and experience which they

can then hopefully transfer to industry in the future. “Our 3 young stars leading our Wednesday have had a flying start already. They have created a jam packed show full of music and fun; including their brain teasing quiz: truth or lie.” Tune in to listen to them 6pm-8pm on Wednesday evenings. In addition to regular weekly shows, Fenland Youth Radio held a special VE celebration day! The team kicked off their VE celebrations with a 1940s dance bands show, hosted by Dave Turner, as well as segments from their Saturday and midweek madness crews, plus lots of guest hosts throughout the day. HOW TO TUNE IN If you would like to tune in to Fenland Youth Radio please visit www.fenlandyouthradio.com or download the free app. Just search ‘Fenland Youth Radio’ at the Apple Store or Google Play Store. If you have to access to Amazon Alexa you can also add the skill to it and ask Alexa to play Fenland Youth Radio! At the moment the station has two regular shows you can tune in to: SATURDAY SATURDAY SHOW Saturdays 9am until 11am MIDWEEK MADNESS SHOW Wednesdays 7pm until 9pm In addition to the website you can also follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. Fenland Youth Radio is a project run for the local community. It is run entirely by volunteers.




They would love to hear from any local people who would be happy to come on air and talk about their interests and skills in any area. If you would like to get involved in anyway at all please get in touch at hello@ fenlandyouthradio.com

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LOCAL BUSINESS STEPS UP TO SUPPLY FABRIC FOR SCRUBS help protect their ears. Jon and Kellie said: ‘When we heard about the local hubs we wanted to get involved and do our bit to help. We have been making up the packs, donating and offering materials at cost to several local groups to do our bit and support our key workers during these unprecedented times. This week we have another 500 metres coming in for the Cambridgeshire Scrub Hub to make scrubs for Magpas Air Ambulance, a GP Surgery in March and individuals at Addenbrookes Hospital. We are now also offering discounted polycotton fabrics to the public so more people can have access and get involved. You don’t need to be a professional seamstress. There is a need for scrubs, laundry bags, ear-saver headbands and also volunteer drivers. You can also donate to the cause through Go Fund Me to help the group purchase more supplies’

Plush Addict has come to the rescue providing fabric and sewing notions for the sewing community who are making clothing and PPE for key workers following the national shortage. Husband and wife team Jon and Kellie Rose were forced to close their store to the public and furlough their employees, leaving the website live for online orders. They are now busier than ever and looking at ways to bring some staff back following government guidelines to keep up with demand. Plush Addict started eight years ago as a bedroom business selling fabric and haberdashery. Initially they began selling supplies to make cloth nappies, they grew rapidly to now sell all kinds of fabrics through their Peterborough store and online shop. Plush Addict is putting together and supplying scrub packs to the Cambridgeshire Scrub Hub and other local communities. The kits include suitable fabrics for scrubs cut into appropriate lengths, the threads and drawcords. Fabrics and notions 32 The Fens | June 2020

are also being provided for creating headbands and laundry bags. The headbands are “ear savers” and help ease the tension from the masks, and the scrubs can go into the laundry bag, taken home and put straight in the washing machine to wash safely. ‘For the Love of Scrubs’ is an army of home sewers who have come together to sew plain clothes worn by NHS and other front-liners who are coming into contact with the public. Central hubs have been set up in local areas across the country to coordinate people wanting to offer their help and also a place for medical professionals to put in requests if they are in short supply. The group now has over 50,000 members on Facebook and was set up by a nurse. Jon and Kellie Rose heard about the local group ‘Cambridgeshire Scrub Hub’ and wanted to help by donating fabric for such a worthy cause. Jon and Kellie are also supporting ‘Helping with Headbands’ who are two local art/ textile teachers on a mission making headbands for those on the frontline. The headbands are used to hook the mask elastic around the headband to

If you would like to support in any way you can donate to the Cambridgeshire Scrub Hub and Helping Headbands to help raise more money for these groups of volunteers who are making a difference:

Cambridgeshire Scrub Hub fundraising page: www.gofundme.com/f/ cambridgeshire- scrubhubmakingscrubs-for-the-nhs

Helping with Headbands fundraising page: www.gofundme. com/f/helpingwithheadbands

A time for questions She took me by the hand and passed me back to my mum. With an exhausted sigh she uttered, ‘never again!’ It’s a memory seared into my mother’s mind and one she loves to embarrass me with.

the Corona virus? Times like this often prompt us to ask the big questions of life. As our normal pattern is disrupted, we find it unsettling. As the flow of life is altered, we begin to ask what living is all about. What are the most important things? As the suffering grows, we ask why? Why is this happening? Whose fault is it? Why doesn’t it just go away?

I was only a toddler and a family friend had thought it would be a nice treat to take me into London for the day. I don’t have any recollection of the day, Last week, the results of a Paul Kosciecha, but evidently, I talked survey were released that I Whittlesey Baptist Church non-stop. All the time found fascinating. It showed I hammered her with that around a quarter of questions. What? Why? When? By the the UK population had watched or end of the day, she was shattered. listened to a religious service since lockdown. That’s a huge difference Are you someone who likes to ask to normal in a country where weekly questions? Are you naturally inquisitive attendance at church is much less and always want to know the why’s and (under 5% in England in 2015). what’s of the things and events around you? Or are you normally more laid Why is that? I think it’s because people back and just let things go by? Has that are asking questions and wanting changed in the last few weeks as our lives to know if religion, if God has any have been turned upside down through answers. Have you found yourself

asking that question? As you search for answers, have you wondered if God has any? Over the last few weeks I’ve found myself asking many questions. Yet, I can also say that I’ve found the Bible is full of answers. I’ll be honest, they’re not always the answers I want to hear, but they are real answers that I’m finding are relevant for today. On our YouTube channel - www. whittleseybaptist.org.uk/ytchannel I’m going to be sharing some of these answers in a series called ‘Short Answers to Big Questions’. Each video is just a few minutes long and the plan is to answer some of the big questions of our day. If you want to know what the Bible has to say at a time like this, these are a good place to start. If you have any questions that you’d like me to answer, please leave a comment on the video or contact us through our website – www.whittleseybaptist.org.uk Praying you all keep safe and well.

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Back garden birdwatching Share your garden bird sightings to contribute to a national survey. Here’s how… This spring we will have spent most of our time in our homes and gardens and so, by now, we may also be familiar with the regular wild visitors. Chances are you’ve been taking pleasure in putting seed onto a bird table and watching the different birds arriving through the day. Perhaps it has piqued your interest to know more about the familiar and unusual birds that you might have seen. If that’s the case, why not contribute to an ongoing survey on garden birds? Each week, all year round, for the past 25 years, ‘citizen scientists’ have recorded the birds and other wildlife visiting their gardens, enabling researchers at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to answer important questions about garden wildlife.

The BTO Garden BirdWatch offers an opportunity to learn more about garden birds and other wildlife while contributing directly to BTO’s important scientific research on the value of gardens for wildlife. The organisation say: “The more we know about how wildlife uses our gardens, the more we can make our cities, towns, villages and individual gardens better for nature.” The survey involves simply keeping a list of the birds you see visiting your garden over the course of a week, and then entering this into the BTO’s online recording system. You can also record other garden wildlife, such as butterflies and mammals. GET INVOLVED! The Garden BirdWatch is normally run as a membership, with an annual fee of £17, that entitles 34 The Fens | June 2020

you to a helpful book and regular magazines. The generous financial support of participants is what allows BTO to carry out its work monitoring garden wildlife and its scientific research. Membership also entitles you to access to the online recording system, a regular e-newsletter with information on recording and identifying garden wildlife, as well as access to the BTO’s team of wildlife experts, to answer your questions. Kate Risely, Garden BirdWatch Organiser at the BTO says: “A connection to nature is so important to our well-being, and the easiest place to watch and learn about wildlife is in our own gardens. We hope that this opportunity to join the Garden BirdWatch community will help people across the UK find new meaning in their garden birdwatching, to learn new things and to play a part in national research into our garden wildlife.”  To take part in Garden BirdWatch, visit the website  www.bto.org/join-gbw

The BTO is the UK’s leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the organisation’s surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO’s work is funded by supporters, government trusts, industry and conservation organisations. At its offices in Suffolk, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, staff analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. www.bto.org


Create a nature journal this June WORDS Caroline Fitton, The Wildlife Trust Wine ropes and mini soundscapes anyone? Become immersed in the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild – it’s great for your health Be inspired by artist Sharon Williamson who immerses herself in nature each year during the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild annual initiative. Sharon works in ink and watercolour creating stunningly detailed annotated images of her encounters with nature - the birds, insects and plants which she finds in her garden or visits outdoors. Sharon has always been a ‘nature nut’ who loves drawing and first took part in 30 Days Wild three years ago, using it as a great excuse to explore some of the nearby nature reserves that she hadn’t visited before, recording wildlife which “kickstarted” her nature journaling. Sharon has taken part every year since and continues to record nature throughout the year – she has held workshops with the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust helping others enjoy and develop their own approach, and had just run her first fully-booked nature journaling session at nearby Paxton Pits education centre when the Covid19 restrictions began. Enjoying the mindfulness of spending time with nature, Sharon says: “Just looking and listening helps us to pay

a little more attention to the world around, and take time to appreciate the everyday natural world.” She takes her A5 journal and records notes on nature or captures the moment on camera to be written about on return, adding: “It’s a very mindful activity – the more carefully you look, the more you can draw and write, and the more you draw and write, the more you notice. Recording nature in a journal helps us to see more, to look at things differently and to connect with the natural world; it’s a good habit to acquire.” This year Sharon will be exploring the habitats in her garden – from the compost bin, to veg patch and lawn, and is also going to try using wine ropes to attract moths – strips of fabric soaked in sugar and red wine hung outside to attract night time flying feeders, and will inspect these by torchlight to see which moths enjoy the feast.

(c) Matthew Roberts

be aiming to create a soundscape a week by listening and noting the various sounds I can hear from the garden, at different times of the day.” WHY TAKE PART? Since it started back in 2015, more than a million people countrywide have taken part in the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild, and this June, as the UK battles social restrictions, people are looking for ways to keep spirits up and entertain young families. While time spent outside may be limited, daily nature activities – even at home – can open a door to a world of sensory delights, from listening to birdsong or growing a pot of wildflowers on a windowsill.

She’s also interested in journaling the sounds she hears and creating a series of mini soundscapes. “If we slow our mind and tune in, it’s amazing what we can hear. I’ll

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Vice President Ellie Harrison - (C) Jon Cartwright Nature feels good (c) Matthew Roberts

A new review has shown that a longlasting feel-good factor comes from taking part in the annual initiative. The University of Derby has evaluated survey responses from more than 1,000 people over five years and discovered the enduring effects on wellbeing from participation – the positive effects are still felt two months after the challenge is over. People were asked to rate their health, nature connectedness, happiness and pro-nature behaviour before beginning the challenge, again at the beginning of July when the challenge had finished, and then for a third time in September, two months after the challenge had finished. All positive increases were maintained both immediately after the challenge and also two months later. Ellie Harrison, TV presenter and Vice President of The Wildlife Trusts, says: “We are all, but for 200 years of industrialisation, creatures of the land. It’s why nature looks beautiful to us; why we know how to be in

36 The Fens | June 2020

nature; and why nature makes us feel content. 30 Days Wild reminds us to notice nature in small moments every day. The stillness of even a few seconds changes our relationship with the planet and connects us with the truth of who we are.” Professor Miles Richardson, Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness at the University of Derby, says: “This five-year evaluation of 30 Days Wild has produced remarkable results – it shows the positive power of simple engagement with nature. We were thrilled to see that the significant increases in people’s health and happiness were still felt even two months after the challenge was over. “The Wildlife Trusts have shown the importance of doing simple things to enjoy everyday nature and that it can bring considerable benefits. What really stood out was how the people who didn’t feel a connection with nature at the outset were the ones who benefitted most from taking part.”

HOW TO DO IT This year the campaign is 100% digital and everyone can download materials for FREE: sign-up and download fun ideas, wallcharts, activity sheets and inspiration for going wild in nature during June. Sign-up, download the inspiration here www.wildlifebcn. org/30DaysWild WT Sharon Williamson (C) Sharon Williamson











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30 DAys WilD

Feeling inspired?





Find out more about your Wildlife Trust and how you can continue to act for wildlife wildlifetrusts.org/get-involved

Stay wild with your Wildlife Trust









What Random Acts of Wildness will you try this 30 Days Wild? Note what you did and how it made you feel.Â

Big Wild Weekend

All our lives are better if they’re a bit wild





Make up your own wild activities or be inspired by our Random Acts of Wildness at wildifetrusts.org/30DaysWild


share your daily Random Acts of Wildness photos and wild places using

Recipes of the month

Flourless spinach and egg muffins STRUGGLING TO FIND FLOUR? TRY THESE DELICIOUS MUFFINS TO APPEASE YOUR SAVOURY CRAVINGS FEEDS 6 READY IN 30 MINUTES INGREDIENTS • 125g Co-op baby spinach • 6 Co-op British eggs • 25ml Co-op semi-skimmed milk • 40g Co-op Somerset vintage mature Cheddar, grated

METHOD 1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/ Gas 6

5 Line a muffin tray with 6 muffin cases and divide the mixture between them

2 Cook the spinach in a pan with 1 tbsp water for 4 mins, until wilted

6 Bake for 15-20 mins, until just risen and cooked through

3 Leave to cool, then squeeze out any excess water

7 Allow to cool before eating

4 Whisk the eggs and milk, season, then add the spinach and cheese and mix again

8 These will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days


FEEDS 2 • READY IN 1 HOUR 20 MINUTES INGREDIENTS • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing • 75g Co-op fat free Greek style yogurt • 3 and a half tbsp Co-op clear honey • 50g light brown soft sugar • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 2 Co-op British eggs • 2 Co-op Fairtrade bananas, mashed, plus 1/2 banana, sliced • 50g walnuts, chopped, plus 5 halves reserved • 50g raisins • 75g Co-op porridge oats • 150g Co-op self raising flour 38 The Fens | June 2020

METHOD 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4 2 Grease and line a 900g loaf tin with greaseproof paper 3 Whisk the oil, yogurt, honey, sugar, vanilla extract and eggs together, then stir in the mashed bananas 4 Add the walnuts, raisins, oats and flour and beat together with a wooden spoon 5 Pour into the loaf tin and top with the banana slices and reserved walnut halves

6 Cook for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean 7 Remove from the oven 8 Cool on a wire rack for 10 mins before turning out and allowing to cool fully


Frozen yogurt bark

INGREDIENTS • 40g bread, crust removed (we used Co-op Irresistible sourdough bloomer) • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, leaves only • 30g Co-op Parmesan wedge, finely grated • 1 garlic clove • 3 sheets filo pastry • 40g Co-op unsalted butter, melted • 12 spears Co-op British asparagus • 1 tbsp balsamic Co-op glaze • 5 tbsp Co-op reduced fat mayonnaise METHOD 1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6


2 Blitz the bread, flat leaf parsley, grated Parmesan and the garlic in a food processor until you have a fine crumb


3 Cut the filo sheets into quarters and cover with a damp cloth, so they don’t dry out

INGREDIENTS • 227g pack Co-op British strawberries, sliced • 500g Co-op Greek style natural yogurt • 4 tbsp Co-op clear honey • ½ tsp vanilla extract • 2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, finely chopped METHOD 1 Blend or mash half the strawberries in a bowl, until you have a purée 2 In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt, honey and vanilla extract 3 Spread out in an even layer on a 20cm x 30cm baking tray lined with greaseproof paper 4 Dollop over the strawberry purée and swirl into the yogurt using a knife

4 Brush one piece with some butter and scatter over a thin, even layer of the crumb mixture 5 Position an asparagus spear at an angle on the bottom corner of the filo square and roll it up 6 Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with a little more of the butter 7 Repeat for the remaining filo and asparagus 8 Bake for 20 mins, or until the pastry is golden and crisp 9 Meanwhile, put the balsamic glaze in a small bowl and stir through the mayonnaise 10 Serve with the asparagus wraps for dipping

5 Scatter over the remaining berries, along with the pistachios, then freeze the bark for 2-3 hours, until firm 6 Cut into shards to serve. Store any remaining bark in the freezer for 2-3 months

Recipes provided with thanks from Co-op. To find ou more please visit www.coop.co.uk

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WHITTLESEY ORGANISE A FRY PAST As the country remembers VE Day, Whittlesey had its own Fry past, organised by the Helping Whittlesey Group. Thanks to many companies and individuals fish and chip dinners and a VE day cake were distributed around the town and local villages to the elderly and vulnerable

Thanks to Sue Harrison of Chippy Sue’s who volunteered to prepare the 208 meals and Whittlesea CC Wheelers who had a team of cyclists who went far and wide to deliver the hot food, it was a resounding success. Deborah Slator thanked again those who helped out on the day “We wanted to do something special to celebrate the day and Fish and Chips is typically British, we are grateful to our growing band of supporters who have either helped us financially or in kind and those who were able

to lend a hand / bike . There are so many but special mention goes not only to Sue but to McCains who are supplying us the potato chips on an ongoing basis, Whittlesey Lions, Rotary, The Roundtable, St Andrews Church and Hall, Keelan Barnes and anonymous donations and Whittlesey Town Council who have either given or pledged money to keep us going. Freemans, NISA and St Andrews Church Hall and local farmers have all done their bit as well as Tracy from the Muffin Oven with her Union Jack

cake, Suzanne Gostic (Chef at SHSCC) and of course Colin Wilson. A special mention must go also to David Edis of Whittlesea CC Wheelers who is doing a 24 hour cycling session which is also raising valuable funds and those top notch cyclists who delivered something special on VE Day and finally to the Mayor of Whittlesey Cllr Julie Windle who came down to support our work” For more details of their work go to Facebook Helping Whittlesey. Photos (top and bottom) courtesy of Robert Windle.

Whittlesey feeds the community It was week three and it was sausage and mash, peas and onion gravy on the menu at the Falcon Hotel on London Street as the owner Colin Wilson cooks and serves 165 meals for the elderly and those in greatest need thanks to the generosity of local businesses and establishments. Deborah Slator, Chair of the Whittlesey and District Business Forum, has co-ordinated this fantastic initiative. It has doubled the number of hot meals in the three weeks of operation and is delivered to those Whittlesey residents by a team of 12 dedicated volunteers. Some of last month’s food was sponsored by St Andrews Church Hall, who themselves rely on financial support. They have dipped into their coffers to ensure this project gets the quality food and backing to benefit the local community. 400 Sausages, 100kg of potatoes, 20kg of peas and a sack of onions have been provided, Colin, who had an early start to the day, thanked Sue Harrison of Chippy Sue’s who helped by peeling the potatoes in 40 The Fens | June 2020

her specialised rumbling machine. Volunteers also made the brownies and from next week Tracy McIntosh from The Muffin Oven will be making a little treat every week to go with the meal. At 4pm the team of volunteer drivers arrive and in military precision collect their destination ticket, hot food and out they go ensuring those in need are being supported. Deborah has been delighted with the success of the scheme so far “These are tough times but to see the local community rally around and for those businesses also lending a hand shows what a great town Whittlesey is. I would like to thank Freemans who supported our first week of cottage pies followed by NISA who sponsored the chicken casserole in week 2. We have plans in the pipeline for other days including Fish and Chips on Fridays.”

Despite the current tough times in the pub and hotel industry Colin who has been in charge for 9 years has arranged a takeaway service for Sunday lunch where customers can call the Falcon Hotel on 01733 351001 on the Saturday evening, they then can collect their dinner between noon and 2pm on the Sunday for a bargain £8.50 a head. Those who have benefitted by the free meals on Wednesdays have either been nominated as those who would benefit the most or you can make direct contact with Deborah on 07843 383368.

The Fenland Mum New columnist Hazel Beecroft shares her journey of motherhood whilst living on the edge of the Fens (during lockdown)


s I turn on my laptop to write this article the idea of doing “actual” work instead, as in “day job, pays the bills” work, crosses my mind. That’s the first problem with my lockdown; there’s no definition between work life or home life anymore. Today is Saturday, but it may as well be Tuesday. I choose to park “actual” work because it’s the weekend, my toddler is enjoying a rare lie-in and I really want to share my lockdown story. It’s something we’ll discuss forever. It’s our generation’s “when I was in the war” epic opener. We can well-hone it for years and never bore of relaying the toilet roll obsession, the wild animals wandering empty streets or the personification of togetherness that was Captain Tom Moore. The youth of tomorrow will roll their eyes and never fully appreciate how bizarre 2020 turned out to be despite learning all about it at school. Even our PM added a twist – struck down himself, survived the battle and then became a lockdown father – I mean, you couldn’t write it. But as unreal as it seems, it really is happening and, whilst there’s satire (we’ve all seen the memes) and joy (rainbows in windows, clapping on a Thursday evening, quizzes on Zoom and montages of stitched together video calls that make me cry), it’s also truly scary on many different fronts. We’re scared we might get ill, that the people we love could die, that our economy will crumble or our child’s development will suffer. We’re scared the status quo has changed, our livelihoods have diminished and we might forget what a hug from someone outside our household feels like. We’re scared because we can’t see the end yet. It’s hard to write about because it deserves the utmost respect, and experiences differ so wildly. But there is one common denominator; we’re in this together. To protect ourselves we need to remain united, keep communicating and share our stories. We might not all be key worker heroes (and I’m loving the new definition of hero), but if we aren’t directly fighting the cause or suffering from the virus, we’re doing so indirectly, because we save lives by following guidelines, and that means enduring lockdown. Isolation is an experience we’re so entrenched in that every now and then we forget it’s happening, absorbed in something nice and normal, and then remember, panic and feel ashamed for enjoying ourselves. It’s a difficult topic to tackle because any complaint I have about being over-stretched or anxious pales into insignificance when compared to the heartache, loneliness, fear and uncertainty faced by so many others. I am trying to find the silver lining to the crisis. I’m working full time remotely. I’m attending meetings (in leggings), and my commute is the time it takes to descend the stairs. I eat far too much, because the fridge is so close, but working from home is the future (shouldn’t we have switched twenty years ago?). I hope employers who spent fortunes on fancy offices and asked employees to commute for miles in their own time, and pollute the environment in the process, just to sit behind a desk, change their minds. This would free up the transport system for workers who have to leave the house, those heroes who are still doing it now – some without vital PPE - and at least have a quiet transport route open to them. The world outside our doors, waiting for us


Hazel Beecroft grew up around Cambridgeshire, England, and lives with her husband, daughter and two horses on the edge of The Fens. She is a self-published author of equestrian fiction - complete with romance, conflict and drama (to keep the protagonist busy) - all set in the Fens. Find her books online at Amazon. co.uk, available in both paperback and e-book. Follow her on Facebook @HazelBeecroftAuthor or Instagram @hazel_beecroft for regular updates on her riding and writing.

to be allowed back out to explore, will be cleaner and happier as a result. Some people think being furloughed is a luxury, but for others it is a sentence, and whether working or not, job losses and salary cuts are happening. Not every business will be able to bounce back. Some people don’t have a garden to enjoy or the ability to connect with others. I didn’t even know the phrase “furlough” before March but now I hear it every day. What a strange new normal. I’ve also been promoted to stay-at-home mum; I now have two full time jobs. It’s exhausting. Verity used to go to a childminder all week for ten hours a day, and the mum guilt was crippling. I say I work because I have to, but there is an element of choice. I chose a bigger mortgage and an expensive hobby. I wanted to keep my career, and as hard as it is to leave your favourite person every day, I was always coming back, and Verity was having a ball without me. Is it any better now we’re squished together all day? No. Because I’m not really there, I’m working, and Verity doesn’t understand why I can’t play. The mum guilt is officially worse. I worry Verity is becoming lonely, and it’s unnerving that her vocabulary is based largely around phrases from Peppa Pig. But there’s still a silver lining. I get to see her little face every morning, I don’t have to creep out of the house to catch a train before she wakes, and we have lunch together, laughing over jam sandwiches, and – this is our greatest achievement – we’ve used the time to potty train. Freeing landfill of a chunk of nappies lifts my soul. My lockdown story isn’t overly dramatic, but I appreciate that is a good thing, and I can always embellish it over the years to come, with a wide-eyed grandchild on my knee. Please stay safe, share your lockdown stories, and look out for silver linings.

The Fens | June 2020


Wisbech History


WISBECH WORDS AND WALKS (PART 2) WORDS GARRY MONGER Wandering Wisbech as part of our Lockdown exercise provides us with an opportunity to learn more about the town’s heritage. Arthur A. Oldham’s The Inns & Taverns of Wisbech, published in 1950, names numerous licenced premises of the past. Until water was piped from Marham, beer was safer to drink than water. Unfortunately the combination of strong drink and the open waters of the river and canal could lead to tragic consequences. On many occasions after closing time, the landlord’s next sight of his customer might be when the body was fished out and brought back to the same inn to meet the coroner. Public houses, particularly those close to the waterways, were convenient locations for inquests. Nowadays the town has little more than a baker’s dozen of hotels, inns and public houses. A pub crawl would not be a long-distance event. Starting at the Rose and Crown in the Market Place, walk through the High Street and turn right into Bridge Street turning left at the Clarkson Memorial. Having passed the Angel Inn on the corner of Alexandra Road and South Brink, you will see the White Lion Hotel. Crossing the Town Bridge to face Cornhill, turn left and you will soon pass the Hare and Hounds on North Brink. The Red Lion is further down. Cross the junction with Chapel Road and walk on until you reach The Rose Tavern. Further down is Elgood’s Brewery. Return along the brink and to the Old Market, and you’ll see the King’s Head. Progress along North End and turn right to cross Freedom Bridge to Lynn Road. A walk of about a mile brings you to The Locomotive. Crossing Lynn Road to the other side and a short walk along Old Lynn Road brings you to the Black Bear. A large bear once stood outside the entrance. Turn right along Kirkgate Street and carry on to Norwich Road where you will find The Three Tuns. Cross the dual carriageway and turn right, then sharp left and right along Church Terrace which brings you to the Dukes 42 The Fens | June 2020

Head. Return to the Market Place and The Globe (formerly The Muppet Inn). Cross the Market Place to the Coyote Bar & Diner in New Inn Yard, the end of the tour. A trawl of the town’s records produces over two hundred hotels, inns, taverns and beerhouses. This is not surprising as at any one time there were more than seventy licensed premises. The names of pubs changed, sometimes with the proprietor. The survivors are easily listed: The Angel, Black Bear, Dukes Head, The Globe, The King’s Head, Hare & Hounds, The Locomotive, The Red Lion, Rose, Rose & Crown Hotel, Three Tuns, The Wheatsheaf Inn and White Lion Hotel. Recent closures included The Five Bells, The Horsefair Tavern and The Case. Other premises now converted include the Bowling Green (a children’s nursery), Clarkson Arms (residential), Engineers Tavern (residential), The Flowerpot (residential), the George (retail), the Lathrenders Arms (restaurant), The Bell (residential), the Railway Tavern (residential), The Royal Standard (funeral directors), The Mermaid (retail), The Spread Eagle Hotel (retail), The Turnpike (residential), White Hart (partly-demolished), West End (now Blues restaurant) and The Wisbech Arms (a hairdressers). Competition between rival landlords could be intense and when the railways arrived landlords would run omnibuses to pick up potential customers from the stations. In earlier times passengers would book their tickets for stagecoaches or river traffic at a hotel. Former pub names also give clues to the port of Wisbech’s maritime

heritage and those trades and industries thriving in the town. The British Rifleman, Corn Metre, Custom House Tavern, Ferry Boat, Harbour Hotel, Ropers Arms, Royal Sailor, Sailors Return, Shipwrights Arms and Soldiers Return all link to the Port of Wisbech. The Brewers Arms, Three Jolly Butchers, Three Horse Shoes, Horse and Groom, Masons Arms, Porters Arms, Printers Arms and Windmill are reminders of other trades.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Garry Monger BSc PGCE is a former local councillor, teacher and army reservist. He is a member of FenArch and other local groups working to promote community archaeology in the Fens.

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