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fens THE

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens



Issue 18 | November 2017




Written and directed by

Simon Egerton

The Key Theatre’s traditional family panto

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The Fens | November 2017

CMYK / .eps

ED’S letter

Well, what a month!

Firstly we’d like to say a big thank you to each and every one of our contributors and advertisers. Last month we were absolutely thrilled to walk away from the Fenland Enterprise Business Awards with two awards. I always knew we had a winning team, but it’s pretty satisfying to see that other people can see it too. Our publication has grown and blossomed in the short time we’ve been operating, and the best is yet to come! So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being a part of that. And the achievements don’t stop there. I was just one of a lots of runners taking part in the Perkins Great Eastern Run at the start of October. Alongside friends, we took part in the half marathon and fun run and came away with big grins and beautiful medals. You can see more about our experience on page 42 and hopefully we might be able to inspire you to join in next year. Finally I should mention our brilliant November issue, which has a bit of Christmas sprinkled inside. We’ve got local markets to visit, inspiring artists and a winning short story inside to enjoy. Plus there’s a super family pantomime ticket to be won inside. So make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy this month’s THE FENS magazine.


THIS month 10 Round-up of the best local Christmas Markets

15 WIN tickets to Sleeping Beauty at The Key Theatre 19 Jobs for this month in the garden

GP practice 28 Meeting Hannah Gilbert, local Fen artist 30 Walk of the month 32 November in the Fens

20 Why you should use a Travel Counsellor

34 Finding out about Oundle Candles

23 Behind the scenes at a local

36 Recipe of the month


46 ‘Bird’s Nest’ winning short story

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens


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

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

40 Remembrance Parade




Issue 18 | November 2017


52 What’s on guide


54 Independent of the month Chris Brudenell Photography @thefensmag thefensmag




Hannah Gilbert Creates by Chris Brudenell

THE FENS is published by Barley Media Limited. Care is taken to ensure that the content and information is correct, however we cannot take any responsibility for loss, damage or omission caused by any errors. Permission must be granted to reproduce, copy or scan anything from this publication. For a copy of our contributors’ guidelines please email Barley Media Limited accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.

The Fens | November 2017



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SMILES AT THE FENLAND ENTERPRISE BUSINESS AWARDS There was lots to celebrate at this year’s award ceremony held in March, not least because THE FENS team managed to scoop two awards Hosted by BBC East Journalist Jozef Hall, sponsored by the Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard, and organised by parent company Archant, The Fenland Enterprise Business Awards are an annual event to celebrate and recognise businesses and business people in the region. Once again the Braza Club in March, was packed to the rafters with guests that included sponsors and representatives and owners from a wide range of companies that had made their way through to the final. They were joined by civic dignitaries from the four Fenland towns to celebrate success. There was a wonderful mix of small, medium and large businesses from across the region, including local independent company Kelly Vision, who won Retailer of the Year. We were also thrilled to have been nominated, and delighted to say that we won both categories we were entered into: New Business of the Year and Commercial Business Person of the Year. The evening was a huge success, not only for the winning businesses and individuals, but the night also raised nearly £1,100 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Well done to everyone involved, and to all of the finalists and winners on the night. Watch out next year for nominations for the 2018 awards. Pictured above: the 2017 FEBA awards. Left: Natasha Shiels collected her award. Bottom: Kelly Vision, winners of Retailer of the Year

Photos by Fenland Enterprise Business Awards

The Fens | November 2017



WHAT WILL BE THE NUMBER 1 TOY THIS CHRISTMAS? It’s the list that children will be talking about and parents eager to get their hands on; what will be this year’s top toys for Christmas at Queensgate Shopping Centre? The Queensgate Toy Testing event returns for another year, and this time it’s on for two fun-packed days. On Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November, children in Peterborough can become Santa’s ‘testers’ as John Lewis, Menkind, Game, Argos, Tiger and other retailers bring out their new gadgets and gizmos for 2017. Located in a giant snow dome in

North Square, the free event gives little ones the chance to try, test, play and score each toy, which will ultimately decide which ones make the top 10 for 2017. From 11am on each day, enter the elves’ magical dome, put on the scientist’s cloak and goggles and let Queensgate bring Christmas to life. Tinkerbell, Moana and Cinderella have confirmed they will be joining in the festive fun, bringing sparkle and treats for all to enjoy. Alice Watkinson, Marketing Manager at Queensgate Shopping

Centre, said: “This is a great chance to enjoy the countdown to Christmas, get in the festive spirit and bring the children in to try the hottest toys this year.” Follow Queensgate’s social media as the centre reveals which toys will be in this year’s Toy Testing event. This event will be filmed and photographed. Parents must remain with their children at all times.


GET READY FOR BLACK FRIDAY Black Friday is back and the date for bargain shoppers to pop in their diary is Friday 24 November, when shutters at Queensgate Shopping Centre go up at 8am! For the past few years, Black Friday has seen incredible bargains with up to 80% off in some retailers in the regional shopping centre, and this year is set to be just as competitive. Brands such as John Lewis, Topshop, River Island, Body Shop and more are expected to take part, but details of their discounts are kept a closelyguarded secret until nearer the date. Also, with many stores extending 8

The Fens | November 2017

their sales across the weekend, the ‘Black Friday Weekend’ gives more shoppers the chance to get their hands on a pre-Christmas bargain. Opening before Christmas in Queensgate Shopping Centre is Yankee Candle, Smiggle and Joules. Keep an eye out on the Queensgate social media pages for the latest updates leading up to and throughout Black Friday. Queensgate Shopping Centre will be open from 8am until 8pm. Parking is free after 5.30pm.

On Saturday 25th November the popular City of Peterborough Concert Band are giving a concert to celebrate their 30th birthday. The programme will include selections from all the genres and will be an evening to remember for all concerned. Everyone is welcome to join the audience at 7.00pm at St. Andrew’s Church, Ledbury Road, Netherton, Peterborough, PE3 9RF. Tickets are £8 each, free for accompanied under 16s, and available from Hilary Lewis on 01733 265877 or emai: petconcertband@ During the afternoon, all past members who have ever played with the band, are invited to bring their instruments and join in an afternoon of relaxed music making followed by a celebratory tea. If you are a past member and would like to get involved please contact petconcertband@, via www. cityofpeterboroughconcertband. org or facebook page.


BIG HELP FOR NGNPUK Local charity, NGNPUK, have lots of reasons to feel grateful these last few months, as local businesses and kind donations have given them a welcome boost. “We would like to say a massive thank you to Bruce, Denise and everyone at the Letter B pub in Whittlesey for their continued support. “Thank you to everyone who organised and took part in the B2B 54-mile charity bike ride on 15th July, as well as all the other fund raising events which raised in total a whopping £4,420. “We would also like to thank the Whittlesey 41 Club, who donated £621.42, and the Whittlesey Round Table, with fund matching from Forterra, who donated a further £1,000. “These donations will make a huge difference to patients, families and nurses in our local community. “We would also like to say a big thank you to Alan and Janet Smith, and everyone who attended the party in memory of their son Ian, who would have been 40 this year. Ian’s party raised a massive £1200 and this was further boosted by a very generous donation from Jamie and Anish Keshwara at Nisa of £800.” Team NGNPUK were also presented with a cheque at John Lewis, after £660 was collected at the cafe.

The annual Christmas Tree Festival, oragnised by The Friends of St. Mary’s Church, Whittlesey, will take place on the following dates and times: Friday 8th December, 10am until 8pm. Saturday 9th December, 10am until 5pm. Sunday 10th December, 10am until 4pm. Entrance is £2 for adults, and under 16s are free. All profits go to help maintain and restore the local church. If any individual, business or organisation would like to enter a tree, please contact Jan Sharman, on 01733 202782

FANCY AN ALLOTMENT? The allotment site on New Road, Whittlesey has flourished since the redevelopment in 2010. There are now 70 full allotments and 38 half allotments. The site boasts a compostable toilet, which was obtained by the ‘Whittlesey Allotment & Garden Society’ through grant funding, along with a substantial amount of new hedging. There is also a community allotment which is being set up by the Allotment Society. If you are interested in becoming an allotment holder, please Sue, the town clerk, for further information on 01733 351296 or email whittleseytowncouncil@btconnect. com. Alternatively you can pop into the office at Grosvenor House, Grosvenor Road, Whittlesey, PE7 1AQ.

PREMIER LEAGUE REFEREE TO VISIT LOCAL SCHOOL Park Lane School have been in training for a very special day. Thursday mornings have heard the shrill of a whistle and seen the waving of flags as the pupils have been learning about Sportsmanship, Respect and Fair Play and the role of the match official . The sessions have been supplied by FA Referee Tutor and Chairman of Peterborough Referees' Association Robert Windle who applied for funds from the the Burnt House Wind Farm Fund to give the local schools a great fun experience as well as top quality football equipment. The big day in November is on Thursday 16th where

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS FOR SALE John and Gina Ferridge are well known in Whittlesey, having decorated their house in Arnold’s Lane for Christmas. The beautifully decorated home, with snow machine, saw its final Christmas Light Switch On in 2015. The ‘Big Switch On’ became an event in the diary for the local people, who in turn gave their full support and donated generously to the charity ‘Children with Cancer UK’. Over the years, the couple raised £34,890.85, just £109.15 short of £35,000! In order to raise this shortfall, Gina and John have decided to sell off their Christmas Lights and invite


anybody to come along to Arnold’s Lane on Saturday 11th November, when from 10am onwards, the lights will be available to be purchased. The couple hope the money raised will go towards reaching their final goal for their charity. Good luck John and Gina!

Premier League Referee Mike Jones will be visiting the school to enable the pupils to have a chance to meet one of England’s top referees before he then goes to Sir Harry Smith Community College to be part of Primary schools festival. Photo courtesy RWT Photography

70 YEAR OLD TANDEM PARAMOTOR FLIGHT 70-year-old Brian Gregory is taking part in a Tandem Paramotor Flight over Lincolnshire to raise funds for residents of Sudbury Court. The flight will last approximately 30 minutes at a height of between 2,000 and 5,000 ft, depending on weather conditions. Organisers have said that Brian will be the oldest person to date to fly with them. He is currently looking for sponsors to offset the cost of the flight and insurance. If you think you can help, please contact Brian on 07956 073780 or email briangregory52@ The Fens | November 2017


‘TIS THE SEASON... be jolly

Christmas is but a month away, but don’t fret, we’ve got a round-up of some brilliant fairs to get you all set

10 The Fens | November 2017


ELY CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS GIFT & FOOD FAIR FRIDAY 17 - SATURDAY 18 NOVEMBER This event, now in its sixth year, is widely acknowledged as one of East Anglia's exceptional Christmas shopping experiences. In 2017 Ely Cathedral Christmas Fair has an appealing selection of new trade stalls alongside popular previous exhibitors. Whatever you are looking for, whether a special gift, distinctive homeware and accessories, or seasonal produce, this fair promises to satisfy. This high profile event, inside one of Cambridgeshire's most iconic venues, makes Ely Cathedral Christmas Gift & Food Fair a perfect day out. An interesting programme of live demonstrations will feature throughout the two days to include festive cake decorating and seasonal floral arrangements. On the Saturday there will be plenty of attractions for families, including a traditional carousel, plus some very special elves with their friendly reindeer. A wide selection of food traders will be on site during the event. The heated 'Café Marquee' provides the perfect spot to sit down and enjoy some delicious festive fayre. FRIDAY 17 NOVEMBER 9am-10am (Exclusive entry for ‘shoppers with wheels’) 10am-1pm / 1pm-4.30pm / 6.30pm-9pm SATURDAY 18 NOVEMBER 9.30am-1pm / 1pm-4.30pm TICKETS Due to the popularity of the event, prebooking is essential as only a limited number of tickets will be available to purchase on the day. Tickets are available from tickets. or box office: 01353 660349 (Mon-Sat 9.30am-4pm). Thursday preview evening - £6.50 (to include a glass of mulled wine). Friday & Saturday shoppers - £4. Children under 16 FREE (when accompanied by an adult). TRAVEL & PARKING A Park and ride service will be operating from the Cheffins machine sale ground on the outskirts of Ely. This service will be available on Friday and Saturday (daytime) only. Ely Railway Station is close the city centre and has direct train connections from all major routes. Coaches and groups welcome. Please call 01353 660359 for further information, email, or visit

After a successful last year, the March Christmas Fair is back! The market celebrations will once again take place in the town centre, with the Christmas parade running between the market to the fountain along to Georges. There will be a mixture of stalls with homemade crafted gifts, a fun fair for children and a Santa’s Grotto. The town centre will be closed to traffic, so visitors can wander around safely between 9.30am3.30pm.


Building on the success of previous years, the new Committee are working hard to ensure that the Whittlesey Christmas Extravaganza will be an evening of family fun in and around the Market Square between 5-8pm. A new wristband system will allow wearers to use all the rides and side attractions at a cost of £5 per person. This, however, will not include Santa’s Grotto, food stalls and the charity stalls. This year, in addition to all the usual rides, there will be a circus workshop, mini crazy golf, tin-can alley, hook a duck and a photo booth. Hot Dogs, Burgers, Tea and Coffee will be on sale. Find out more by visiting the Facebook page: Whittlesey Christmas Extravaganza. The Fens | November 2017 11

CHRISTMAS FAIR AT FERRY MEADOWS SATURDAY 25 - SUNDAY 26 NOVEMBER Nene Park Trust are feeling extra festive this month, and are holding their own Christmas Fair at the end of November. There will be plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy including a variety of craft stalls to purchase gifts, Christmas crafts for all ages, cake decorating, tree themed activities and lots more. They have also taken on visitors’ feedback and are holding a festive ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, which will be taking place throughout the two days. Children will be able to learn the story, enjoy a walk, meet Barney the Bear in his Christmas finery and receive a present. In addition to all of this festive fun, the usual favourites will sparkle with a dusting of Christmas magic including the miniature railway, Christmas shopping at the Gift Shop and festive treats from Meadow Brown Restaurant. Plus a dropin children’s craft area where you can make something festive to take home, the Salvation Army band playing on Saturday and Peterborough Young Singers and the Peterborough Choral Society will be singing on Sunday. The festive fun all takes place around the Visitor centre between 11am and 4pm. For more information about the event and to secure a place on bookable events, visit or call 01733 234193.

SACREWELL’S FIRST CHRISTMAS MARKET SATURDAY 2 - SUNDAY 3 DECEMBER Make sure you visit the very first Sacrewell Christmas Market on the 2nd and 3rd of December. Drawing inspiration from Small Business Saturday, the market will have over 20 stall holders, ranging from local craft people such as CakesbyLaurel and Wicked Wick, to tasters from Two Birds gin and James Ingram wines. The gift shop is the perfect addition to the market, with a range of toys and treats including Breyer horses and an assortment of American style sweets. Whilst you’re browsing, children can play with our puppet theatre and train set. Combine some queue-free Christmas shopping with a visit to the farm, meet Father Christmas and enjoy the incredible seasonal atmosphere for our opening Christmas weekend. To find see a full list of stall holders, please visit

ANGEL FAIR AT ELTON HALL WEDNESDAY 29 - THURSDAY 30 NOVEMBER For the last two days in November the grounds of Elton Hall in Peterborough will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland hosting a wide variety of high-end Christmas stalls to inspire and complete your seasonal shopping list. This year, the Angel Fair will take place in the beautiful grounds of Elton Hall, a Gothic house built between Peterborough and Oundle. Organised by Lady Victoria Leatham for the second year running, the event promises to be the place to buy everything you need for the festive period, including gifts ranging from luxury jewellery, leather bags and cashmere to stocking 12 The Fens | November 2017

fillers, children's toys and decorations. You can also buy food to feast on and treat yourself to a bottle of something special. All profits from the Angel Fair will be split between three local charities: The British Heart Foundation, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and Sue Ryder, Thorpe Hall. Refreshments will be available throughout and there is even a present wrapping service, so you can put your feet up and enjoy a warming Winter drink while the angels do the hard work for you. The event will take place on

Wednesday from 11am to 8pm and Thursday from 10am to 3pm. Admission is £5 per person and children under 12 get in free. For more information visit www.theangelfair. Pictured above: Last year’s Angel Fair at Thorpe Hall. Right: Lady V

Christmas Gift & Food Fair 2017

Friday 17 November 9am – 10am Exclusive Entry for ‘shoppers with wheels’ Friday 17 November 10am – 1pm / 1pm – 4.30pm / 6.30pm – 9pm Saturday 18 November 9.30am – 1pm / 1pm – 4.30pm Box Office: 01353 660349 / Entry price: £4.00 / Children under 16 FREE (when accompanied by an adult) Ticket numbers are limited – advanced booking is advised



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


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Sleeping Beauty Pantomime season is upon us, and the Key Theatre are delighted to introduce a brand new magical story to their portfolio welcome Sleeping Beauty

The Fens | November 2017 15




leeping Beauty, new and original for the Key Theatre, follows the story of a young girl, Aurora, who gets cursed by the evil witch Carabosse. Narrowly avoiding the deathly curse, she is sent into a deep sleep and can only be woken up by her betrothed. This magical story is bound to hook you in with love, laughter and always a happy ever after. Simon Egerton returns again this year as the director, writer, composer and lyricist. Simon is now a regular fixture at the Key having worked on pantos since Cinderella back in 2013. Rob Hazle also returns as the musical director and plays the part of Potty the Chamberlain, following his role as Uncle Billy in Dick Whittington last year. The main lady in this year’s pantomime, Aurora, is being played 16 The Fens | November 2017

by Rebecca Levy who has previously been on stage in Legally Blonde, Kiss me Kate and First Lady Suite. Carabosse, Aurora’s worst nightmare and the evil witch that cursed her is being played by Lauren Storer, fresh from appearing in the national tour of Footloose to come and be a part of this year’s pantomime. Two faces returning to the Key Theatre stage are Lizzie Franks and Katie Pritchard. Lizzie played Fairy Liquid in Jack and the Beanstalk in 2015 and has since been on the stage in productions such as Cinderella, The Tale of Mr Tumble and The Snow Queen. Lizzie has also appeared in Cbeebies shows such as Mister Maker’s Arty Party and Grandpa in my Pocket. Katie was last on stage at the Key Theatre in 2013 as the pocket-sized Dandini in Cinderella. Katie is also a renowned comedienne and has won many awards including the Hilarity Bites New Act of the Year 2016. Lizzie and Katie are taking part in this year’s panto as two of the three fairies. The magical trio is completed by Sara Whittuck who is a newcomer to the Key Theatre. She has previously been on stage in Peter Pan and Puss in Boots and on TV in Marigold and The Bill.

Other newcomers include Kate Baxter, who will don the knee high boots of thigh slapping Prince Florian, and Sam Pay who is crowned as the unfortunately named King Donald Trumpet, Aurora’s father. Pantomime isn’t a pantomime without a dame and this year it is played by the man of countless faces – Fred Broom. He will be donning the many frocks of Aurora’s mother, Queen Iona Trumpet. Fred is no stranger to the stage (or frocks) as the multi-talented, funny man has played dame and drag as well as appearing in Wind in the Willows, Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd. As ever, the real star of the show is the 360 seat auditorium which offers comfortable seating in an intimate setting. The tiered seating wrapped around the stage with no pillars to get in your way allows you to have a great experience from wherever you sit. The panto begins this year on Thursday 7 December and runs to Sunday 7 January. In total there are 60 shows with many shows already getting full. To book tickets for this magical event, please call the Key Theatre on 01733 207239 or visit to secure your tickets. To celebrate, we’re giving away 4 tickets to Sleeping Beauty at The Key Theatre. To enter, simply email ‘Sleeping Beauty’ to win@ before November 20th. Good luck!

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Home & garden

YOUR GARDEN IN November The garden begins to wind down in November as deciduous plants enter dormancy. Leaves are falling rapidly and wind and rain are on the increase. Whilst most of nature is hibernating in the colder months, winter is the ideal time to get new trees into the ground. Trees are best planted in the late autumn when the soil is still warm but not too dry, giving roots time to acclimatise before the harsher temperatures of winter arrive. Whatever you plan to do outside in November, take time to enjoy the garden as it fades, leaving structural plants and evergreens to take centre stage.


Trees add structure to gardens and landscapes. As well as being used as a focal point for the garden they also make good hedges and screens. They come in a huge number of varieties, shapes and sizes and there is one to suit every taste and position. While most trees are grown for their foliage or flower, some are praised for their bark and branch shapes. Some trees look fantastic in spring while full of flower and others burst into vibrant colour in the autumn.


The weather is turning so its time to get those plants protected – frosts can do serious damage to tender plants. Frost tender plants in pots should be moved to the greenhouse, conservatory or porch. Exotic plants such as palms or tree ferns should be wrapped up for the winter with frost protection material.


Lift and store plants such as dahlias and tuberous bedding begonias that

have been hit by bad weather. Store in a dry, frost-free dark place ideally in a layer of sawdust. Check occasionally over winter to ensure they are dry and rot free. Remove any that look suspicious to prevent the risk of further infection.


HOW SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? Young trees should be staked diagonally. This protects them from strong winds and ensures the roots do not get damaged. Most varieties of tree will have specific planting instructions. There is a tree that will thrive in all soil types from wet soil to poor dry land and everything in between. The best advice is to check the plant label or look it up in an online plant directory.

An important winter job is to stake tall plants, climbers and young trees to protect against strong winds. Check that existing ties are not cutting into stems of plants that have grown over the summer. Structures such as arches, pergolas and fences should also be checked and ideally treated with a preservative. If repaired now there is less potential for damage in high winds. Enjoy your garden!

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The Fens | November 2017 19

The benefits of

TRAVEL COUNSELLORS With the collapse of Monarch Airlines last month, JADE HAWKINS, looks at why having your own travel agent can be reassuring as well as helpful

With all that has happened in the travel industry in the last month, I have decided to bring you something a little different. There are a million and one reasons why I would recommend using a travel agent to book your holidays, and I expect most of you will know these. However, it is at times like these when we remember that having someone in your corner and dealing with your booking is a real advantage. For example, if you were a Travel Counsellors’ customer and had a booking with Monarch Airlines, we were would be immediately on the case. Even before the news broke, our company were aware that Monarch could go into administration. This meant we knew what other options were available to our customers and were able to transfer many of them onto new flights and even holidays within hours of the collapse. This meant we could turn to our understandably panicked customers as they were waking up to the news, that we were already in the process of sorting their holiday. Travel agents have knowledge of these situations. Instead of trying to get through to an online company who are fielding thousands of calls, wouldn’t it be ideal if you could pick 20 The Fens | November 2017

up the phone and ring your personal travel agent, if they haven’t already contacted you? You know that they would listen, help and sort out any issues without any hassle or worry on your part. At Travel Counsellors, we pride ourselves on our ability to be personal with our clients and to ensure that at all times, their Travel Counsellor is there to turn to. As a travel company, Travel Counsellors offers the very best in financial protection as well as having ATOL protection. This means that, if and when you book with us, you can be sure that every single element is 100% protected. Now to the good stuff... As a Travel Counsellor, I have access to unlimited

knowledge through the other 1500 Travel Counsellors around the world, who are all willing to share their own experiences to ensure that all of our customers find the perfect holiday. Just imagine trying to plan a trip to somewhere you’ve never been on your own. Now imagine having your travel agent turn to you and say, “I know someone that went there, let me just get their opinions for you.” That’s exactly what we do. I can’t confess to knowing everything, but there will be someone I can turn to for help and advice! Having your own travel agent is a bit like a beautician or hairdresser, something no-one should go without. Choosing and booking a holiday should be relaxing and enjoyable, not the complete opposite. I hope you enjoyed what you’ve read and it hasn’t been too heavy. If you are in need of help planning a holiday then please do get in touch.

Jade Hawkins is a Travel Counsellor, offering a personal service. 01406 308030 | 07923 279164 hawkins

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The Fens | November 2017 21


We catch up with Matt Sumner, Managing Director at local home care provider, Midas Care for an insight into his vision for the company and the importance of a strong, happy team. When you took over at Midas Care what was your main aim for the future? “My parents, when they created Midas Care, did so with the sole thought of providing the necessary local care needed. Although social care continues to evolve, our essence remains for the business to retain the values upon which it was founded: To provide the highest quality of care to our service users, helping them retain their independence in their own homes – it’s that simple” How have you set about achieving this? “By building a dedicated, committed and passionate team, who believe and espouse the ethos of Midas Care. For many of our service users, our care workers are extensions of their own families, which is exactly how it should be. We also work closely with the local authorities to ensure we are reaching the right people and that collaboration is vitally important in achieving our goals.” What do you believe is your most important asset?

“Without a doubt, our teams of care workers and our large administration team that support them. One interlinks with the other and everyone, whichever department they work in, impacts everyone else. Our care workers are our front line ambassadors, taking the reputation of Midas Care into the community. Without them, we would not be able to provide the service we do.” How do you ensure high standards are always maintained? “All staff go through a rigorous interview process prior to being accepted and all are trained to the same standard. Training takes place over a minimum of two weeks of classroom training before they commence their field-based shadowing. Only once they have been observed and passed their care certificate are they assigned their regular service users. “We communicate daily to all staff

in the field and our co-ordinators are in constant contact to respond and assist whenever required. We are very fortunate to have some amazing care workers, who are dedicated to their service users.” How do you look after your team? “We do everything we can to make sure our team know just how fantastic we think they are. We provide them with a long list of benefits including high rates of pay, free training, childcare vouchers, high street discounts and even their birthday off, paid! We hope this lets them know just how much their hard work is appreciated.” Why choose a career in care? “If you love working with people, helping them to live productive, healthy lives in their own homes, and seeing how you can make a huge difference to someone’s life, then a career in care is the right one.”    Would you like to find out more? Whether you’d like to care or be cared for, get in touch with Midas Care today by calling 01223 666899, emailing, or visiting their website at

Imagine being the centre of someone’s world by being the person they can’t wait to see each week. In return Midas Care offers you support, recognition and a host of benefits with great rates of pay.

Give our recruitment team a call and take the first step to great benefits including: Exceptional rates of pay | fully paid Induction training, | Fast-track to the community for experienced carers | Guaranteed hours | Childcare vouchers | Flexible shifts to suit you | Free uniforms | Breakdown cover | High street discounts | Mobile phone with free minutes and data | Earn up to £9.05 per hour - plus enhanced rates for weekends and bank holidays | Your birthday off, paid

Telephone: 01223 666899 or visit

22 The Fens | November 2017


WHY CAN’T I SEE MY DOCTOR? In an ever-increasingly time-pressured and over-stretched NHS environment, we went behind the scenes at one local GP practice to find out the daily challenges they face to ensure patients are treated It’s a Monday morning, and the team at New Queen Street Surgery are sat with The Fens, discussing their plan to solve one issue which causes a lot of concern for a lot of people - the difficulty to book an appointment to see your doctor. Downstairs, on the frontline, the care navigators (you might call them receptionists, although they are much more than that) are managing the vast amount of calls that are coming into the surgery. There’s a real problem in the primary care sector, and one that isn’t unique to a Fenland town. In a society where we are visiting the doctor more than twice as often as we previously did, there are less available appointments. Hands up if you’ve called your local surgery for an appointment, only to be greeted with a reply that there aren’t any left? Frustrating, isn’t it? But did you know that in any one day, that surgery could take up to 914 calls, and that doctors are limited to just six appointments every hour? Did you know at New Queen Street Surgery alone, there are almost 10,500 patients registered, who might all decide on that morning that they need to see a doctor? Did you know that instead of seeing a doctor, a highly skilled nurse could see you? Or that a newly appointed pharmacist could give you a repeat prescription? Hands up if you knew that we have access to the GP Hub in Peterborough for out-of-hours appointments, where you can be seen during the week from 6.30pm – 8.30pm and all day Saturday and Sunday until lunchtime for routine prebookable GP appointments. They also have full access to patient records. Please don’t be offended if you’re asked to explain your reason for calling your local surgery; the Care Navigators have been trained to place patients with the best person able to help with your enquiry. With such a vast medical team, that might mean seeing a highly experienced nurse or even a phlebotomist.

Next month we’ ll meet the medical tea m MYTH

“I HAVE TO SEE A DOCTOR - I NEED MY PRESCRIPTION/BLOOD TEST/ ANTIBIOTICS, ETC” FALSE - There’s a highly skilled team who can see you. Reserve that doctor’s appointment for somebody who needs a diagnosis or has a complex illness.


“THERE ARE NEVER ANY FREE APPOINTMENTS” FALSE - If you call with an urgent matter, the on-call nurse or on-call doctor that day can call you back and if required, can fit you in for an emergency appointment that day.


“YOU CAN’T TREAT ME OVER THE PHONE - I NEED TO SEE A DOCTOR” FALSE - Around 65% of patients’ enquiries can be dealt with over the phone or by booking an online appointment, such as giving blood test results. An appointment can always be booked as a follow-up after this consultation

Since June, New Queen Street Surgery have operated a system where an oncall doctor and nurse begin their day without any pre-booked appointments. This ensures that a patient who struggles to get an appointment but has something urgent to discuss or requires treatment, will always be able to talk to a member of the team and be seen if necessary.


All the figures below came from a single day recorded at New Queen Street Surgery: • Incoming – handled calls = 914 • Outgoing calls by staff and doctors = 256 • Abandoned calls (those who usually call before 8am) = 281 • Current registered patients at New Queen street = 10,464 On this particular day, the surgery had: • 203 face-to-face appointments in total for the day • 97 telephone consultations • 6 home visits The team: • Doctors = 7 practice partners, 5 salaried doctors, 3 doctors in training (usually 4) • Nursing team at New Queen Street alone = 4 x Senior Nurses, 3 x Treatment Room Nurses, 3 Health Care Assistants (HCA’s), and 1 Phlebotomist • Reception team = 9, plus 2 Dispensers, 2 Secretaries and 4 Administrators • 1 Manager and 1 Deputy (who both work across the Stanground and Whittlesey site) • 1 Pharmacist (who is joining the team early December) The Fens | November 2017 23


FORGET CALORIES, IT’S ALL ABOUT INSULIN It seems an almost flawless logic, burn more calories than you consume and you will lose weight. Historically this is what has been taught as the ideal method for decreasing body fat, so why does it fail so often? It’s because the logic is completely wrong.

WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO ASK IS WHAT CAUSES OUR BODY TO STORE FAT IN THE FIRST PLACE Calories are units of energy, and even though in their simplest form calories are all the same, the foods and drinks in which we consume them shifts the whole idea of the ‘calories in vs calories out’ theory. What we really need to ask is what causes our body to store fat in the first place, and what stops these fat cells from releasing the fat as energy later. The answer to both questions is the hormone insulin. Certain foods require higher levels of insulin as it is the regulator of glucose in the blood, insulin also stimulates the hormones LPL and HSL, which are both gatekeeper hormones to the fat cells.


Imagine this whole system as an old corrupt prison. The food we eat is the board of directors, insulin is the warden, LPL are the guards, the fat cells are the prison cells and fats are the prisoners. The directors demand more action from the warden, in return the warden orders more prisoners to be harshly locked up 24 hours a day, so the guards go out and start locking up prisoners in the cells. Then on top of this we have HSL, which is like the strictest parole board known to man, no ones getting out.


We all understand breathing involves taking in oxygen, but is that its only role? Interestingly the answer is no. REMOVING CARBON DIOXIDE Our breathing rate is determined by our need to remove carbon dioxide from our bodies not our need for oxygen. Our blood always contains excess oxygen such that we only use a small proportion during our daily activities. However the accumulation of waste gases produced by our cells (e.g. carbon dioxide) is something we can not tolerate as it makes our blood more acidic. Breathing removes carbon dioxide thus our breathing rate is dependent on how much we need to remove. RETURNING BLOOD BACK TO OUR HEARTS Interestingly breathing is the second most important reason (the first is obviously the heart) for our blood flow. If it was not for breathing our blood would form pools in our legs! The heart pushes the blood around the body, whilst breathing sucks the blood back up. Breathing achieves this by creating pressure differentials in the body, in a similar fashion to how we suck fluid up through a straw.

In more factual terms, we know certain foods stimulate higher levels of insulin, which then stimulates more LPL to store fat in the fat cells and as a double effect increases HSL which doesn’t allow the fat cells to be easily released.

STRENGTHENING HEART BEATS The heart is securely fastened within the ribcage via various attachments to the surrounding skeletal and muscular structures. One of these structures is the diaphragm. When the diaphragm moves (i.e. descends during breathing) it pulls the bottom part of the heart with it. Therefore the chambers of the heart get stretched which makes the contraction stronger.

So it is not the amount of calories we consume, our bodies are fantastic at dealing with unwanted calories, it’s how we consume them that should be our primary concern. High carbohydrate and sugary foods cause insulin spikes far greater than anything else, and this is directly encouraging the storage of body fat as well as a failure to release it as fuel.

MOBILISING OUR ORGANS Directly beneath our diaphragm are our abdominal organs (e.g. stomach, liver, etc). Therefore if our diaphragm descends and rises at a set frequency (i.e. breathing) it creates a rhythmical wave which travels through our organs. This motion maintains our organs’ mobility and hence health.

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

24 The Fens | November 2017

EMOTION Behavioural breathing is how our breathing responds to changes in our emotions, e.g. when we are nervous, angry, etc. The reverse is also true, i.e. breathing can alter our emotions. A good example is when parents instruct their upset children to take deep breaths in an attempt to calm them down. It is this link between breathing and emotion which the parents are using.

Oi 01733

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

Autumn hair fix


Makeup Artist Tia reveals her three top tips to save your hair As trends come and go, healthy luscious locks will always be on the top of anyone’s hair dreams! Here are my three professional tips to keep your hair healthy all year round, no matter what hair type you have. 1 – Have a hair cut! I know it can sounds scary, but a hair cut is one of the best remedies for life-lacking locks! It doesn’t have to be a huge amount, but getting rid of those split ends early on, can make a HUGE difference. 2 – Over-heating of your hair! Hair straighteners, curling wands and hairdryers can do great things for our hair, but they can be so damaging without us even realising! Most appliances can heat up to 220oC! The best way to protect your hair is using heat protecting products. These can come in a form of spray or cream and can be used on both wet and dry hair. 3 – Use hydrating and repairing hair products! These types of products are great for any hair type as they give you an amazing silky soft feel to the hair and can help to revive dull hair back to life! Invest in good quality products like shampoo, conditioners and treatment masks as in-between your visits to your hairdresser, they will help keep your hair healthy, shiny and feeling amazing! Is your makeup bag crying for help? Stuck in a rut with your makeup and not sure what to do next? I offer makeup masterclasses in the comfort of your own home, where I show you how to revive your makeup bag, learn new tricks and tips, and feel more confident using makeup that’s right for YOU! Book in a makeup masterclass for one person and get another one FREE! Why not enjoy your Masterclass with a friend? A special offer only for THE FENS readers, quote “THEFENS” when booking in a makeup masterclass. Image by Jade Hicks Photography

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

Health & beauty

All I want for Christmas is Jouve... This month I am pleased to introduce you to a fabulous product that is now part of my everyday skincare routine. Jouve Night Cream is as luscious as the packaging suggests. The benefits are real and satisfying! After only three days I could see the texture and tone of my skin start to change and the pot lasted me two months. The Night Cream hydrates and soothes the skin and replenishes it with potent extracts and smart plant stem cells-so skin looks brighter and firmer. You may feel tired but you won’t look it! This rose gold product is made with the highest quality ingredients clinically proven to reduce the signs of ageing. All Jouve products are certified by PETA as they are not tested on animals and carry the Leaping Bunny mark. The Jouve products are also safe in pregnancy and while breast feeding- as the cleanest ingredients are used. The products use natural ingredients and no nasty chemicals that are potentially damaging to health or are more likely to cause irritation.

their skin appeared visibly younger and healthierlooking and 90% observed visibly firmer skin. Onehundred percent of participants said not only would they purchase the product, but they would also recommend it to a friend! These results speak for themselves! All I want for Christmas is Jouve! Xx


During a clinical trial over a six-week period, 100% of participants observed visible reduction of crow’s feet and fine lines, 100% experienced softer, smoother skin, 100% felt

Special introductory trial price of £65 this month! Quote The Fens magazine! This product is usually £102 full price and with a 30% regular customer discount £73! Katy Huett, Ariix Representative Email: Tel: 07847 517343 More information about the Jouve range that also includes a tightening serum plus brightening cream and dark spot corrector is available on my Facebook page: Healthy and Happy with Katy The Fens | November 2017 25

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26 The Fens | November 2017

So, it’s November already, the shops are stocked for Christmas and in less than eight weeks time, those that do, will be celebrating Christmas. However, before we all get too festive there is one more tradition many will be celebrating across the country, mostly with a huge crackling bonfire and an explosion of colourful fireworks, which dates back to the 17th century, otherwise known as Bonfire Night. On 5th November every year, the effigy of Guy Fawkes is still burned on bonfires across England in recognition of his part in the failed ‘Gunpowder Plot’ of 1605. However, what’s interesting, and perhaps not widely known, is, Fawkes didn’t devise or lead the plot to assassinate the then King, James I, so why is he still singled out as one of British history’s greatest villains more than 400 years after his death? Born in April 1570 in York, Guy Fawkes’s immediate family were Protestants, in keeping with religious practice at the time, however his maternal grandparents were ‘recusant’ Catholics, who refused to attend Protestant services. When Guy’s father died when he was eight-years-old, his widowed mother then married a Catholic, suggesting it was these early influences that forged Fawkes’ convictions as an adult. By the time he was 21 Fawkes travelled to Europe to fight for Catholic Spain against the Protestant Dutch and his military career flourished. Later, when fighting for Spain in Flanders, Fawkes was approached by Thomas Wintour, one of a number plotting against the Protestant King James I. Wintour asked Fawkes to join what would become known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ under the leadership of Robert Catesby. Fawkes was an expert with gunpowder, which gave him a key, and very dangerous role, in the conspiracy. However, despite months of careful planning, the King’s Spymaster, Robert Cecil, foiled the plot with just hours to go, and Fawkes was arrested at midnight on 4 November 1605 beneath the House of Lords. Thirty-six barrels of gunpowder were found stacked in the cellar immediately below where the king would have been sitting for the opening of parliament the next day.  Fawkes withstood two days of excruciating torture before he confessed all. However, his fortitude impressed James I, who said he admired Fawkes’ “Roman resolution”. Fawkes was sentenced to the traditional traitors’ death, which meant he would be hanged, drawn and quartered. However, he jumped from the gallows, breaking his own neck, avoiding the horror of being cut down while still alive. His body was then hacked into quarters and his remains sent to “the four corners of the kingdom” as a warning to others. Ringleader Catesby, on the other hand, was killed evading capture. Guy Fawkes instantly became a national bogeyman and by the 19th Century it was his effigy that was being placed on the bonfires that were lit annually to commemorate the failure of the plot.

Accounting for your success

Making Tax Digital – Are You Ready? Asks Daniel Coleman The project ‘Making Tax Digital’, MTD, embodies radical revisions to the UK’s taxation system including the submission by all businesses of quarterly returns detailing their tax positions. Driven by HM Revenue & Customs, it is widereaching and ambitious. This year’s snap election led to the programme’s deceleration and MTD’s introduction is now scheduled from April 2019 rather than April 2018 onwards. As accountants, we recognised, with fellow professionals, that the system needed modification but we were concerned over the pace and scope of HMRC’s aims. Businesses with a turnover above the present VAT £85k threshold will be required to keep digital records. Below that ceiling it will be voluntary. HMRC is developing a free platform to record and submit business information and we are taking the opportunity to pilot the platform with some of our clients to evaluate it.

Whiting & Partners offers core accounting services with specialist expertise in: • • • • • • • •

Agriculture Construction Contractors Manufacturing Property Retail Road Haulage Technology

Digital accounting on tried and tested cloud software offers opportunities for improvements in bookkeeping time and efficiency, while producing accessible management information which will satisfy MTD rules. There are many software packages, including Xero, Quickbooks and other programmes for specialist fields.

March Office The Old School House, Dartford Road, March, Cambridgeshire. PE15 8AE Telephone: 01354 652304

A conversation with a Whiting & Partners adviser for assistance on what to consider as your ‘cloud software package’ would be worthwhile but here are five pointers to take into account:

Ramsey Office 108 High Street, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire. PE26 1BS Telephone: 01487 812441

Direct bank feeds - download bank statement lines with built in transaction detail. Quotes & invoicing - sends out fully tailored documents to customers. Real time reporting - Payroll, VAT, profit & loss with secure access anytime/where. File storage & sharing - reducing boxes of paperwork through paperless records. A mobile App - which can be used on the go. Changes and adopting new technologies can often seem daunting but there can be benefits too. Quarterly tax filing, driven by the appropriate software, could lessen your workload. By updating your accounts more often you’ll also be able to react more quickly to opportunities and threats in the business environment.

Wisbech Office 12 & 13 The Crescent, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. PE13 1EH Telephone: 01945 584113

Information on which this article is based is correct at the time of publishing. Any updates are available on our website Bury St. Edmunds | Ely | Huntingdon | King’s Lynn | March | Mildenhall | Peterborough | RamseyThe | St.Fens Ives|| St. Neots | Wisbech November 2017 27

The hare, the polar bear and

Hannah Gilbert

Local artist Hannah Gilbert has built her small business around her love of Fenland animals and with Christmas around the corner, her creations make the ideal gift WORDS NATASHA SHIELS IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL Part-time art teacher and mother of two, Hannah Gilbert, is a busy lady. When she’s not inspiring her students or being a busy mum to her son and daughter, Hannah is the lady behind the beautiful Fenland animal sculptures that are growing in popularity on Instagram and 28 The Fens | November 2017

Facebook. Based in Ramsey, we spent a morning with this local artist to find out how she came to create such beautiful little characters. Made from papier-mâché or clay, the foxes, hares, bears and reindeers have intricate detail, hand-painted and often made from old paper,

books or vintage material. So how did Hannah find herself surrounded by so many cute animals? “I have a degree in painting,” she explained, “my whole family are creative and I was aways artistic. I love teaching art, but I suddenly realised I was giving away all my best ideas and not doing

much for me. So I made a little animal head as a gift about six years, and my business kicked off from there.” As well as selling her creations, Hannah also takes commissions from customers. She’s made giant cow’s heads, to small and intricate robins and polar bears. But it’s not just Fenland animals that Hannah creates, she can also create custom paintings of children’s keepsakes, such as an old snuggle or teddy, as well as paint furniture. Thanks to social media, Hannah’s work reaches customers all over the world, and some of her clients collect her work from as far as Canada. With her smallest animals costing from just £30, Hannah produces the kind of art that most people can afford and her creations make wonderful gifts, whether for Christmas, birthdays, or a thank you to a favourite teacher. With most work taking at least six hours to produce, customers can own a real piece of artistic wonder. During the next few months, watch out for little robins, reindeers and polar bears which Hannah will be making as ideal Christmas gifts. So why not buy something unique this year, and check out Hannah Gilbert Creates on Facebook or Instagram. Find Hannah on Instagram: @hannahgilbertcreating Facebook: Hannahgilbertcreating Email:

The Fens | November 2017 29

Warmington Mill is one of 28 listed buildings in the village

Walk of the month

Autumn beckons

Beat the blues with a scenic stroll through the finest villages in East Northamptonshire WORDS AND IMAGES LEANNE HYLAND Autumn is my favourite time of the year. Not only are the colours of our changing landscape at their most dramatic, with the countryside cloaked in a sea of deep reds and amber, but there’s something just a little bit satisfying about the crunching sound my wellies make on a blanket of crisp autumn leaves. It’s the season to wrap up toasty warm, protected from the cooler temperatures and to make the most of the fading sun before the nights fully close in. Today I’ve returned to the tiny village in which I grew up. Warmington in East Northamptonshire is perfectly positioned as a starting point from which to discover three of the finest villages in the county. The first, a 30 The Fens | November 2017

sleepy, rural retreat boasting the best roast dinners I’ve ever tasted, the second, a historically significant settlement filled with castle ruins and bloody tales of beheadings, and finally, a village set amongst the sweeping grounds and oak tree lined meadows of a baronial hall. Warmington itself is a mish mash of grade listed buildings and modern housing estates, with a 13th century church tower fixed firmly at the heart. A mixture of red brick cottages and older thatched homes line the main street, from which the local butcher sells game and venison. Across the road, a telephone box doubles up as a miniature library. It’s a sedate village surrounded by open farmland,

trickling streams and plenty of nosy livestock. It’s Sunday lunchtime and the unmistakable smell of roast potatoes billows out from The Red Lion pub as I head towards Eaglesthorpe - a small hamlet and site of archaeological interest following the discovery of a 1500-year-old skeleton in 2002. I follow a curve in the road, dodging falling conkers and swirling amber leaves as they fall from vast horse chestnut trees. The canopies high above are a riot of colour. Warmington mill is just ahead and the sound of fast flowing water signals I’m on the right track. At the fork in the road there’s a choice to be

fishermen brave the cold and cast their lines from the far bank. In the village itself, rusting lanterns hang from doorways adorned with period features and there’s a real sense of having stepped back in time. I could happily spend an afternoon wandering down the aged streets, but the weather’s drawing in and before I know it I’m back in open countryside. Thistle Home Meadow lies between the mill stream and the main course of the Nene

It’s a further two miles through muddy potato fields, past abandoned farm buildings and around sweet smelling bales of hay to Elton. The small community has less than a thousand inhabitants, but is somewhat overshadowed by Elton Hall and the 3,800 acre estate in which it stands. Straddling the borders of Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, the Gothic house and landscaped parklands are owned by the Proby family who oversee a number of events here each year, most notably Elton’s Sausage and Cider Music Festival.

Fishermen cast their lines into the Nene hoping for a catch

I pass the estate and emerge onto a rolling hillside, stopping to look back towards the grand hall and the flock of sheep grazing gently at my feet.

Over 14,000 types of wild mushroom exist in the UK

Sheep graze in front of the Elton Hall Estate

Homes in Fotheringhay are adorned with period features

made, right will take me to a stone Dovecote - a circular building with a conical roof built to house doves or pigeons, but I follow the Nene Way, heading left past the restored water mill and a streak of houseboats rippling gently on the river. It’s about a mile across the Nene floodplains until I glimpse the silhouette of Fotheringhay Church on the horizon, and in its shadow, the spot where a grand keep once stood. Most notably the birthplace of Richard III in 1452 and the site at which Mary, Queen of Scots was tried and executed in 1587, all that’s left of the once famed motte-and-bailey castle is a giant earthwork. It’s a steep and windy climb to the top for views over the snaking river. I watch as two

The sun has finally disappeared, but around me still there’s a rainbow of colour, my own rosy cheeks adding to the palette. Despite the shorter days and darkening skies, I remain sure that a long walk and a big dose of fresh air is by far the best way to greet the new season.

THE STATS DIFFICULTY: Moderate DISTANCE: 5.5 miles TERRAIN: Floodplains,

footpaths and forest FACILITIES: Plenty of pubs, but a hot roast at The Red Lion can’t be beaten The Fens | November 2017 31


November Rain?! WORDS David White, RSPB IMAGE Dave Rogers

If you know me, I make no secret of the fact that I am really into rock and heavy metal music. This means that whenever I think of November, a certain song always comes into my head: November Rain by Guns ‘n’ Roses. As I now find myself singing this epic ballad in my head, I thought I would dedicate this article to the importance of “November Rain” at our RSPB nature reserves in the Fens! As all of the RSPB reserves in the Fens are wetland reserves in one way, shape or form, rainfall is very important in shaping their respective landscapes. I am going to focus on two reserves in this article: RSPB Ouse Washes and RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes. Both of these reserves are linked to the River Great Ouse and are important areas for wintering birds. RSPB Ouse Washes is unsurprisingly part of the Ouse Washes which run from Earith in Cambridgeshire to Denver Sluice in Norfolk. They are a giant water storage area for the Ouse Valley and if it rains a lot in places such as Bedford and Northampton, this rain water is then pumped onto the Ouse Washes. This is good news for the ducks, geese and swans 32 The Fens | November 2017

that winter on the washes. This is especially important for the so called “wild swans”. These are the whooper swans from Iceland and the Bewick’s swans from Russia. Although numbers fluctuate from year to year, nowadays around 5,000 whooper swans and around 1,000 Bewick’s swans winter on the Ouse Washes. Although these two species look rather similar as they are both white with yellowish and black beaks, there are ways of telling them apart. Whooper swans are larger and tend to be a lot noisier than their smaller cousins. They are also a lot more brazen than Bewick’s swans, as Bewick’s are notoriously shy. The swans roost on the washes overnight and most of them tend to feed out in the surrounding farmland during the day, mainly on left over potatoes that sympathetic farmers have left for them. RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes are a complex of flooded gravel pits alongside the River Great Ouse. Some of the lakes are quite deep so they are attractive to a variety of species of ducks. As well as dabbling ducks such as wigeons and teals, good

numbers of diving ducks winter on the reserve. These include tufted ducks and pochards. Tufted ducks are black and white and are almost reminiscent of rubber ducks as they dive under the water. Pochards have grey bodies and dome shaped heads. Males have iron red heads and females have brown heads. What is incredible about pochards is that some of the birds that winter in Britain come from as far away as Mongolia, which is quite a journey! Although I have barely scratched the surface, I hope this article has provided you with a small indication of what benefits some “November Rain” can provide to our local wildlife. If you are interested in visiting the reserves that feature in this article. RSPB Ouse Washes is near the village of Manea. RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes is near St Ives. It is easily accessible via the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway and the reserve even has its very own request stop. It is also easily accessible from Cambridge by car and by bike. We hope to see you on some of our RSPB reserves in the Fens soon!


This issue, Whittlesey Veterinary Centre looks at the implications of fireworks on our pets

NEUTERING There are many lines of thought regarding the neutering of animals, some academics think that the pet should be afforded one season before they are neutered, some think that they should be allowed to have one litter prior to neutering. Other pieces of research say to neuter as soon as possible, whereas other people say that it shouldn’t be carried out at all due to ‘ethical’ reasons. Leaving aside the ethics debate, as this is an absolute minefield and a whole topic of its own, there are data sheets available outlining the benefits of neutering, from a reduction in the incidence of mammary tumours and

male reproductive system cancers, to totally eliminating the occurrence of a *pyometra, and to the obvious more external benefits such as females not coming into season twice per year, and males generally not being so attracted to females, or having the urge to wander. Dogs usually come into season twice per year, but queens can come into season at any time. Queens are what is known as ‘induced ovulators’, which means that they ovulate when they are mated by a tom. Therefore, it is impossible to predict when they can fall pregnant. With an un-neutered dog, you can just keep them close at hand and on a lead when on walks for the time that they are in season. But this is not possible for a cat. You may be sitting there thinking: “Well... whats the problem? It’s entirely natural for animals to procreate!” Yes of course it is – but who is thinking about all of the lovely animals running around the streets making puppies and kittens, or the unwanted pets in rescue centres

because people have a litter of puppies or kittens thinking that they might make some quick money and then people suddenly realise how much they cost to look after, or the cost of medical treatment if they are ill. Neutering has its pros and cons, but there are more veterinary related pros that makes neutering better for their health. If you would like to discuss neutering, please talk to one of our nurses at the practice. *Pus in the womb


discount in Neutering Valid in November 2017 * Terms and conditions apply


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

Your pet’s our passion The Fens | November 2017 33

Creating Candles The smell of Christmas filled the little studio, home of Oundle Candles, as Rebecca Holder showed us the art of making beautiful candles, homemade with love WORDS NATASHA SHIELS IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL You might be mistaken for thinking that candles contain a lot of chemicals, and whilst it’s true that some do, there are people out there that make more natural alternatives. Made from soy wax, and using as natural scents as possible, Oundle Candles burn cleaner, put less soot 34 The Fens | November 2017

and smoke in the air, and don’t contain paraffin. But most importantly, they’re pretty and they smell wonderful! Rebecca started Oundle Candles after friends and work colleagues wanted to buy her hobby candles. Having taught herself the basic

principles, Rebecca learnt the careful art of making beautifully scented candles, which wouldn’t look out of place in high-end shops. Learning through mistakes, she is now able to create her own scents, mould her own decorations to adorn the tops of her candles, and can even

OUNDLE CANDLES SOY WAX FACTS • All the candles are made from vegan and vegetarian 100% eco friendly, soy wax. • The soy wax is made from soy beans grown in a 100% GM free way, with no pesticides or herbicides used at any stage. It’s also naturally biodegradable. • Soy wax candles burn cleaner than paraffin wax. Paraffin wax creates petrol-carbon soot that can release toxic carcinogens in to the air. • If you spill any wax, it can be easily cleaned up with soap and hot water. make bespoke labels. Her degree in illustration has been a big help, as Rebecca is able to make every element of the candle, making them a true handmade gift. There’s a scented candle for everyone - from gin and Prosecco, to a Christmas blend, something for chocolate lovers, and even a Unicorn Fart (yes, I’ve been assured that is what unicorns smell like!). But these bespoke little gifts don’t come with

a hefty price tag. Her smallest tin is priced at just £4.95, and the largest £7.50. The pretty glass jars are a little more at £19.95, but they all provide a slow and gentle burn which will keep your home smelling sweet for hours and hours. Customers can get their hands on an Oundle Candle from Warmington Post Office, or via Rebecca’s online shop, where you can get free delivery for orders over £25. These

great candles would make super Christmas gifts for friends and happy - or something lovely for your own home. I know what I’m putting on my Christmas list this year… Find out more about Oundle Candles, and to order online, please visit or email

The Fens | November 2017 35



Umami is the fifth taste after sweet, salty, sour and bitter. This dish is full of the more-ish flavours that it represents. Fusilli is a good pasta to use for this type of sauce as it is very sticky… do not use spaghetti or linguine as it will just end up in a big ball! Black garlic is a great cupboard staple - it’s garlic that has been allowed to age and ferment in exacting conditions (you will need to order it online, but is worth the effort). This dish is John McGinn’s take on the favourite dish that this mum, Mo, would cook him when she was in a rush (it was just pasta, puree, garlic and cheese)… in fact, it is called Mo’s Pasta on Dog in a Doublet’s menu! PREPARATION TIME - 5 MINS COOKING TIME - 10 MINS MAKES ENOUGH FOR 4 PEOPLE INGREDIENTS

1. Firstly boil the pasta in plenty of salted water for the time indicated on the packet (the earlier time is al dente, which is good). 2. While it’s boiling, start softening your shallots in a little olive oil until soft and translucent. Then add the tomato puree and allow to cook until darkening in the pan, then add the garlic, sundried tomato paste, salt and pepper and remove from the heat. 3. When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss in a little oil to stop it from sticking together. Add it to the tomato sauce, place back on a medium heat and toss in (you can add a little water at this point if you feel it is too sticky). When coated in sauce, add the cheddar and stir in. You want the

cheese not only to melt but to start to develop a toastie flavour in the pan (sorry about the washing up!). To serve, place in a bowl and finish with fresh basil and grated parmesan.


• 400g pasta • 1tbls olive oil • 4 shallots (finely diced) • 4tsp tomato puree • 4 cloves of garlic (crushed) • 4tsp sundried tomato paste or 12 sundried tomatoes (chopped) • 4 cloves of black garlic (squished) • 1/2tsp sea salt • 1/2tsp black pepper • 400g vintage cheddar grated • Parmesan to finish • Handful of basil leaf


THE TWIST Take it back to the original for a very cheap umami bomb. Add pepperdew peppers, chillies, capers or olives for a flavour variation.

This dish is now appearing on Dog in a Doublet’s new autumn menu

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This month’s book review What we’re


All the Colours in Between by Eva Jordan; Urbane Publications This month’s book review is a little different, because instead of our wonderful local author, and THE FENS magazine columnist Eva Jordan writing it, we are instead reviewing her latest book: All the Colours in Between. I first read Eva’s debut novel, 183 Times A Year, as a review for this very magazine, and so it seems very fitting that we have the honour of reviewing the follow-up to that wonderful first novel. All the Colours in Between begins a little after we leave Lizzie and her blended family in the first book, and finds our heroine a successful author heading towards 50. On paper she has it all, stability, a loving partner Simon, beautiful children and best friend Ruby. But all is not as it first appears. There’s something troubling daughter Cassie, son Connor is discovering the trials of adolescence, and all is not well with Salocin. The family are quickly discovering that things are no longer black and white... Our verdict… Fans of the first novel will be as thrilled as I was to meet favourite characters from Eva’s debut novel. And I was thrilled to get a glimpse inside the head of Grandad, aka Salocin. It’s always refreshing and intriguing to hear different narratives and viewpoints, and Eva has a wonderful way of getting to grips with the different voices; from Connor’s

By Natasha Shiels

youthful and very masculine thoughts, to Cassie’s troubled and complex troubles. Readers are taken on a rollarcoaster ride of a journey following this tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayal, of truth and the very real 21st century tribulations. Not afraid to tackle heavy subjects or explore raw emotions, Eva captures joy, horror, sadness and humour in her second novel (with the odd swear word here and there). I can’t wait to see where Eva will take us next in her third novel, but I know one thing, it will be a brilliant journey. You can order All the Colours In Between from all good bookshops or from Amazon at http://amzn. eu/2NcwAqx

PENSION FLEXIBLE DRAWDOWN I am frequently asked to explain the risks and advantages associated with taking benefits from a pension. Regular readers will know that there are two main types of pension, those that are linked to; Final Salary - and the period of service with that employment (called Final Salary or Defined Benefit schemes), and those that create a fund from which benefits are ultimately purchased (called Money Purchase or Defined Contribution). In the past both schemes aimed to provide a lifetime income in retirement. Usually the Defined Benefit arrangement gave most generous benefits which is why they cost more and have largely been replaced with Defined Contribution schemes that cost the employer less. Then came a change that had been lobbied for over many years – access to the pot of money when and how the plan owner wanted – this is Flexible Drawdown. Once the value of a pension pot is known the beneficiary can access any amount between nothing and 100%. There were, and still are, fears that some individuals will strip out all the funds then have nothing left to provide financial security later. Many individuals did not understand the tax implications and some got duped in to investing in ‘opportunities’ that were ‘made of straw’. There is a risk of running out of money with Flexible Drawdown. Flexible access can be a life changing opportunity, it takes skill to understand what may be achieved. Some existing pension arrangements cannot cope with flexible drawdown so they need to be switched to a plan that has been designed to deliver modern requirements. The use of an annuity might still be the best solution in some cases, however, the level of income these plans provide is lower than it has ever been in most cases. Death benefits and estate planning may also be significant considerations. It is not a simple subject but remember this truth: If you make the wrong decision, you must live with it for the rest of your retirement. Seek Independent Financial Advice from someone that delivers Simple Financial Advice that really works.

Eamonn Dorling Dip PFS, Senior Independent Financial Adviser. Brooks Wealth Management Tel: 01733 314553 Mob: 07767 795816 Email: Brooks Wealth Management is a trading style of Ampris Limited who are an appointed representative of Wealthline Limited, Registered in England 08761632 (Registered office: 8a Cowgate, Peterborough) Wealthline Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 684319 * 20170808 ERC LLA current deals 8th August 2017 ‘This may involve a lifetime mortgage, the actual rate available will depend upon your circumstances. Ask for a personalised illustration.’

The Fens | November 2017 39

RESTART A HEART DAY 179 local students taught CPR

16th October was European Restart a Heart Day, and a multidisciplinary team from Defibrillators For All, St John Ambulance, Fenland First Aid, NHS First Responders and Clarian First Aid taught 179 year 7 students in two sittings, and nine sixth formers at Sir Harry Smith Community College in Whittlesey. This was part of the UK’s plan to train more than 150,000! Deborah Slator, of Defibrillators For All, said: "We were not allowed to take pictures of the children during the training, but it was well received by them and quite emotional to watch them all performing CPR so well. It is so important that we teach our young people the skills to save lives. “We have made mistakes and missed opportunities in the past but hopefully now we have initiated this training, it will continue in future years."

The first session saw 90 young people, and each had a manikin to practice on. The hall was filled with a total of 122 manikins on site, just in case more were needed. “The trainers had all given up a day of their time to support the training,” Deborah added, “and I am thankful

to them all, as I am sure the young people were.” Pictured above: The team (from left to right, back row) Alan Sharkey, Ady Slack, Melissa Long, Sandra Stout, Di Ahearne, Elizabeth Shelley, Gemma Higham. (Front row) Jeff Baker, Deborah Slator, Hannah Giddings.

REMEMBRANCE PARADE Sunday 12th November 2017

Remembrance Day is always a very poignant day for all Service and ExService men and women who have served Queen and Country. The Parade in Whittlesey will leave the Ivy Leaf at 2.00pm and march to the memorial on Queen Street for a Service of Remembrance, followed by a Church Service at St. Mary’s Church. The Royal British Legion and Whittlesey Town Council welcome everyone to attend the Parade and Service. If you wish to take part in the parade please ensure you are at the Ivy Leaf for 1.15pm. For further information, please contact either Ray Thrower on 07850 680785, Judy Darby on 07724 081024 or the Town Clerk - Sue Piergianni on 01733 351296.

40 The Fens | November 2017

ACTS OF REMEMBRANCE Sat 11th November at 11.00am - Act of Remembrance at Whittlesey War Memorial Sat 11th November at 11.00am - Act of Remembrance at Coates War Memorial Sun 12th November at 9.30am - Holy Communion with Act of Remembrance – St. Andrews Sun 12th November at 10.45 - Coates War Memorial with Act of Remembrance, followed by Civic Service in Holy Trinity Church. Sun 12th November 11.00 am - Morning Service with Act of Remembrance – St. Thomas’ Pondersbridge Sun 12th November at Midday - Turves War Memorial - Act of Remembrance Sun 12th November 12.15pm - Eastrea War Memorial with Act of Remembrance

REMEMBRANCE PARADE Sun 12th November - The parade leaves the Ivy Leaf at 2.00, the Act of Remembrance at the Whittlesey Memorial on Queen Street is at 2.30, this is followed by a Civic Service at 3.00pm in St Marys’ For further information on any of the above please contact Sue Piergianni – Town Clerk on 01733 351296 or via email whittleseytowncouncil@btconnect. com


We need to raise £30,000 Heart screening keeps them breathing! Knowing this means we really have no choice but to screen as many of our 14-35 year olds as possible

IN THE UK, BETWEEN 12 AND 19 YOUNG PEOPLE DIE EACH WEEK AS A RESULT OF AN UNDIAGNOSED HEART CONDITION WHICH CAUSES THEM TO GO INTO SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST. “You may be aware we recently held a screening weekend for 200 young people,” says Deborah Slator of Defibrillators For All. “We expected to have two referrals (the average in other areas)

but we actually had 25 referrals from Whittlesey.” Defibrillators For All is committed to making Whittlesey as heartsafe as possible. “We have already placed 40 defibrillators into the town and surrounding villages. Now our immediate plan is to raise £30,000 to place two echo cardiograms into our GP surgeries; these can then also be used for other patients. We are in negotiations with both surgeries and things are progressing well. If we are unable to

secure the equipment or this plan cannot take place for any other reason, we will host the screening days in the same way we have before.” “If you see an event we have planned, we really need YOU to support it in any way you can to help us to achieve this for our town. Thank you.”

Deborah Slator, Defibrillators For All

Reg. charity number 1159261

Share your ideas with us at 311 Eastrea Road, Whittlesey, PE7 2AP T: 07843 383368 E:

Defibrillators For All

The Fens | November 2017 41


Ran the Perkins Great Eastern Run This year’s PGER saw a record breaking number of entries (5,383 for the half marathon and 1,401 for the Anna's Hope Fun Run), and lots of new runners to the course. Here’s how we got on running the distances in October...

NAME: Chris Brudenell AGE: Mind your own business (39) OCCUPATION: Freelance photographer ABILITY: Beginner HOW DID YOU FIND THE EVENT? My friend Carly and I took part in the Anna’s Hope Fun Run. The event was fantastic. Well organised and the atmosphere was amazing. HOW DID YOU GET ON? Very well - I got my personal best! WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? We’ve already pre-registered for the half marathon. WHY ENTER THIS EVENT? We wanted a target and a challenge! Something to focus our training on.

NAME: Natasha Shiels AGE: 31 OCCUPATION: Publisher ABILITY: Average HOW DID YOU FIND THE EVENT? I was really impressed with the organisation and support from volunteers. Although there was a bit of a queue for the loo! HOW DID YOU GET ON? As my first proper ‘big’ race, I was surprised how relaxed I felt. As soon as I started running, I absorbed the sounds and atmsophere. Although 13.1 miles felt very tough! WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? Yes, definitely! I was proud of my time, but my competitive edge means I’ve now got to try and achieve a sub 2 hours next year. WHY ENTER THIS EVENT? It’s local, fun and an amazing challenge. The sense of relief and achievment at the end of the run means you quickly forget the pain. Bring on 2018!

NAME: Joe Ferridge AGE: 34 OCCUPATION: Funeral Director ABILITY: Casual Runner HOW DID YOU FIND THE EVENT? I found the event very well organised. The information received in the pack sent prior to the event helped with practical advice regarding parking and route information. The queue for the toilet facilities is something I will factor in for next time. HOW DID YOU GET ON? The 13.1 miles was a real learning curve and proved more difficult than I thought. This was my first half marathon and I feel I’ve learnt some valuable lessons. I greatly underestimated the need to sufficiently fuel my body prior to and during the run and this affected my performance enormously. WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? Despite the struggle towards the end, I’d do it again tomorrow. Once the initial tiredness subsided I really did feel great. All being well, I’ll be there again next year.

The Perkins Great Eastern Run is a half marathon through the streets in Peterborough. Known to be one of the fastest and flattest around, it’s a great course for beginner or experienced runners. There’s also a great 5k fun run which is great for all abilities. NEXT YEAR’S PERKINS GREAT EASTERN RUN will take place in October 2018. You can register your interest by visiting and be the first to find out when entries open. 42 The Fens | November 2017

Variety Performance It didn’t matter, all were LAST MONTH WE TRIED tremendous. Some were SOMETHING NEW AS A young, others were older. CHURCH. We had an It was a real mix, but the evening of music on a blend worked. Saturday night. It was an The evening reminded informal concert put on by me of one of the things I people in the church. love about being part of I remember announcing a church. If you were to it a few months back and come along on a Sunday asking if anybody wanted you’d see that same to take part. I had no idea sense of variety. We’re who would put themselves not a group of younger forward or what the people or a group of older evening would be like. It people. We aren’t a group turned out to be a fantastic of children or a group of time. adults. We are a mix of all The thing that stood out Paul Kosciecha, kinds of people. to me was the variety of Whittlesey Baptist Church Some have lived in the performances. There Whittlesey all their lives, was music new and old. others have moved here later. The We had classical, jazz and music from age gap between the youngest and the shows; film music, Christian songs oldest in the congregation is almost and more. There were instrumental solos, 100 years and there are many in singing solos, duets and even a band. between. It’s not just variety in age There wasn’t just variety in the or where we were brought up. We performances, but also in the performers. are a group of people from different We had beginners, one had been backgrounds and with completely playing only 6 months, and those more different interests. A right mix. accomplished and used to performing.


So why do we meet together? What is it that we all share? It isn’t a love for a building and a desire to see it remain open. It isn’t a love of ‘Christian’ services or of religious ritual. It isn’t because this is something we’ve always done and therefore always will do. No, the thing that we share is a love for the Lord Jesus Christ. We meet together because of Jesus. That might sound strange because Jesus lived a long time ago and he only lived for approximately 33 years. Yet, the Bible tells us those years have an impact that is unimaginable. His birth, life and death have a significance for every generation. More than that, Jesus is bigger than those 33 years. 3 days after being killed on the cross the Bible tells us he rose from the dead and is alive today. In many ways that sounds fanciful, yet it has never been disproven. This month we have some special services on Sunday mornings, the 5th, 12th and 19th. We’re going to be looking at some of the amazing claims the Bible tells us about Jesus. It would be a good time to come along and find out what we’re all about. All are welcome.

The Fens | November 2017 43


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T: 0800 028 2942 or 01733 840258 The Fens | November 2017 45

THE BIRD’S NEST BOOKS SHORT STORY COMPETITION 2017 For our short story competition this year the challenge was simply to write a story with a maximum of 1000 words, in any genre and on any theme Jon Lawrence

Sue Welfare

WHAT THE JUDGES THOUGHT... We had some wonderful, inspiring entries; a short list was created and sent to the judges, authors Sue Welfare and Jon Lawrence. They had to admit they found it very difficult to choose as the standard was so high but, after deliberation, the winner was announced as ‘Real French Lavender’ by Jon Clynch from Peterborough. The judges thought Jon’s story was ‘atmospheric and poignant...this story manages to convey a great deal in relatively few words...The dialogue is a skilfully handled and gives a real sense of character’. ‘I could not believe my eyes when I saw the email saying I had won!’ said Jon. ‘Thank you Bird’s Nest Books, for this fantastic opportunity!’ Many congratulations to Jon please now enjoy his story! Jane Levicki, Publisher 46 The Fens | November 2017

“this story manages to convey a great deal in relatively few words”


Madelaine Avery gazed through the attic room window at the sun-baked front garden. A blackbird, wings fanned downwards, beak gaping, basked in the glare. The air was dry, the lawn parched and flowers wilted in their beds, yearning for rain. How many days had she spent like this? Watching, waiting for his promised return. She never doubted him, ever. He said he would return, and return he would. One day. She imagined once again his cheeky, lopsided smile. Black ‘raven's wing’ hair, uniform impossibly clean and sharp as he waved, jumping onto the truck that had cruelly driven off, leaving her heart fractured. She’d waited for his homecoming ever since. His last letter said he would be home soon. In her mind she saw it; he’d be standing outside the low, wrought iron gate, waving madly, face beaming, cigarette jutting from the side of his mouth. He’d leap the gate impetuously, jog up the gravel path towards the house. She would wave, then sprint down the staircase to beat him to the front door, flinging it wide to embrace him in a flood of tears, laughter and overwhelming joy. Not today, but soon, she sighed. Her mother and father hadn't been too keen on the young man. “Not seriousminded enough, that fellow!” her father had admonished, emphasising his point by rapping his pipe on the table. “Mind you, couple of months on the front line’ll knock some sense into him!” Her mother just worried. It's what she did best. It wasn't that she had any real concerns about James; she would have fussed over whomever Madelaine had brought home.

French Lavender “Is his family respectable enough, Maddie?” she enquired, with an expression of concern. “Cynthia at number thirty said that his mother cleans down the dance hall and at some of the “big houses” on the other side of town. Do you really want a charwoman as a mother in law?” “Oh, mother, you are such a snob at times!” Madelaine had protested. Whatever his background, James was a gentleman. They would marry as soon as they could when he was back, once this stupid war was over. She had made him promise to bring her some real French lavender to put in her wedding bouquet. She loved lavender, but had a special liking for the French variety. Oddly, she couldn't say why, but it meant a lot to her. Maybe it was something to do with her ancestry, as her grandmother had told her one day that the name Avery was French in origin, but Madelaine wasn't sure if that was the reason. Anyway, she liked it and that was good enough for James – he would bring her some! She had lost count of the days. Each one rolled into the next and still she was disappointed, yet hopeful. Each passing season brought fresh changes to the garden. The trees were so big now. Days had rolled on into weeks, then months and years. Her heart was heavy with missing her love, especially as no word came. But she would never give up hope! It could be today. A movement at the gate made her heart leap, only to be crushed

again. A smartly dressed man, but not James. Official looking, though, a box tucked under his arm. Her heart raced again, in fear this time. Please don't be bringing bad news! Not like before...but they were wrong...he isn't dead, he is coming home! She heard droning voices below, in the depths of the house, but she did not dare investigate. She waited in dread. Breathless, she stood by the window, tears streaking her cheek. Sniffing back tears, she was suddenly aware of an aroma. Lavender! Wheeling round in a blaze of hope and confusion she saw him, standing there, arms outstretched...clutching a spray of real French lavender. “James! b...but, how? When did...?” She struggled for the words, overcome with emotion. His smile broadened to a huge grin “Does it matter? I'm here, and, look, I got it, just as I promised!” waving the sweet smelling plant. All questions forgotten, she threw herself into his arms and they hugged, tears soaking his uniform. The world faded around them, nothing was as important as this moment. At last, they were together.... The man from the MoD made his goodbyes. David Rosetti glanced at his wife, Alice. “Well, that's a tragic tale!” He studied the box the man had left with them. It contained a bundle of faded letters and a cigarette case. The messages were between Madelaine

by Jon Clynch Avery and James Hastings, written during World War II. They were clearly in love, James promising to come home and marry his sweetheart. The case had been a gift from ‘Maddie’ to her future husband and was worn smooth by a thumb that had obviously treasured the object. The objects had been unearthed during an archaeological dig at Caen in France, sealed in a tin, alongside human remains. The latter were to be interred at a military cemetery, but it was thought best that the personal effects should be returned home. Sadly, no living relatives of James could be traced, so the MoD used the address on the letters in the hope that they would find a home for the items. David and Alice willingly took them, especially as Alice was distantly related to Madeleine. She had heard that the poor lady had lived here alone after her parents passed away. She had taken news of her fiancé’s death badly, refusing to accept it. Almost a recluse, she confined herself to the attic room until she herself passed away and was discovered gazing out of the attic window as if watching for someone. David frowned, “There's that noise again from the attic! I'll go check. I'm sure there’s rats or something.” He returned several minutes later, looking perplexed. “Anything?” enquired Alice. “ sign of rats. But, funny thing, there's an overpowering scent of lavender...” The Fens | November 2017 47

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WIN FREE TICKETS BEATEN BY A RUBIK’S CUBE This month, this article may come across as a little incoherent since I am writing it a few hours after getting home from my first half marathon which I completed with a certain Natasha Shiels. Since Natasha’s time was comprehensively faster than mine, I’m going to declare it’s the taking part that counts and congratulations to anyone who ran in what was a very well organised event. Special thanks to the firemen, who had presumably opened up a water main around mile 11, because when I was really hot, running through that cold water really was heaven. Not as heavenly as the bacon sandwich I scoffed on the way home though! My biggest regret is being beaten by a gentleman dressed as a rubik’s cube but fair play to him, and I’ll be back next year. As I sit here in a semi-comatose state in front of the television, pondering if it would be appropriate for me to go and get myself a bucket with which to ‘make water’ in order to save my ever stiffening legs the journey up the stairs, I unfortunately have the England football game on. I dare say the tedium of this match (Lithuania vs. England) would make even Stephen Hawking leap into the air if the battery on his wheelchair had run flat in an effort to escape what is, even for a fairly enthusiastic football fan, an epically dull example of the ‘beautiful game’. Unlike many, I wasn’t expecting loads of goals. Nothing in any previous recent England match has given me the expectation that’s any more realistic than Jimmy Hendrix appearing on the pitch with a peg leg, claiming he’s been resurrected as a world class striker having been approved by the FA to play for England. Long gone is the excitement and emotion I remember as a child, watching a young Gareth Southgate miss his penalty to see us eliminated from Euro 1996. In contrast, 20 years later I watched as England were eliminated by Iceland in Euro 2016 sat in a bar in Mallorca, in which I had agreed with a random Icelandic guy that every time either England or Iceland scored, we would get a shot in. I half expected to have to be carried out of there but alas, it was a cheap night for us both.

Two great acts, all the way from London’s West End, are making their way to the Fens in the new year. Take This and Jersey Boys will be performing at the Ivy Leaf Club in Whittlesey on Saturday 6th January, and tickets are already selling out fast. You can save money by buying your ticket in advance (£10 or £12 on the night) but you might risk being disaapointed as sales for the night are flying off the shelves. Tickets are available from the box office on 01733 204353 or you can pop into Bob’s Records on Broad Street, Whittlesey or The Ivy Leaf Club itself. To celebrate, we’re giving away one lucky reader the chance to win:

2 TICKETS RESERVED SEATING 1 BOTTLE OF WINE To be in the chance of winning, all you have to do is email by November 20th, marking the subject ‘Great Acts’ and telling us who you would share your ticket with and why. One winner will be selected and notified by email. Good luck!

Alas, I can only assume by the time this is published we will have qualified for next year’s World Cup, and ‘fans’ will already be prepping the better ways to cause mayhem in Russia. Now I can run more than 20 yards without the need of an aspirator, maybe it’s not too late for me to become a footballer. If only I could kick a ball in a straight line, I might have half a chance.

§ Joe Ferridge is an occasional writer and isn’t going to remove his medal from his half marathon for at least a week! The Fens | November 2017 49



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Get your Christmas Shopping done early with over 30 stalls to choose from, raffle and tea/coffee and cake being sold. All proceeds from the event to NPNGUK. The event will be taking place at The Eastrea Centre, Eastrea from 12.00 to 15.30

A chance for local business women to network, share ideas and build their contacts. This free session is held at the Falcon Hotel in Whittlesey. No need to book, just pop along for a 9:30am start. This month there will be a speaker giving advice to plan your marketing for 2018.

CHILDREN IN NEED Friday 10th November

A Children in Need variety concert will be held in Holy Trinity Church, Coates at 7p.m. Refreshments/wine/tea will be available. Free admission - retiring collection only ALL MONIES TO CHILDREN IN NEED

LOU LOU’S PETERBOROUGH VINTAGE FAIR Saturday 11th November from 11am to 4pm Award-winning Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair brings a selection of the UK’s best vintage traders to Peterborough in a one-stop shopping experience. Enjoy fashion, homeware and collectables alongside a pop-up beauty parlour, live entertainment and more. Entry £2.50 (Under 12’s free). www.

REMEMBRANCE PARADE Sunday 12th November

Peterborough Cathedral will be holding a service at 10.45am, with representatives of the armed forces, to which all are welcome. Find out further services in the area on page 40

LADIES WHO LATTE Tuesday 14th November - 9:30am 52 The Fens | November 2017

ELY CHRISTMAS GIFT & FOOD FAIR Friday 17th - Saturday 18th November

This popular gift and food fair is held in the beautiful Ely Cathedral. Entry is £4 and children under 16 can go free. Tickets are limited however, so early booking is essential. Find out more on page 11

Tickets are £10 from Steve Ambler on 01733 242156 or on the door. Come and enjoy a variety of music from the 40s era, from Glenn Miller to Dame Vera Lynn.


Don’t miss Peterborough’s big Christmas light switch on, when Queensgate Shopping Centre will join in. The countdown will start at the Cathedral Square just before 5pm. Afterwards, Queensgate will be entertaining families with music, entertainment and the chance to win a dream trip to Lapland. To enter, make sure you’re in Queensgate, just outside the John Lewis entrance, at 5:15pm. Their Sant’s Grotto will also be open from this day right up to the 24th December.

CHRISTMAS FAIR Saturday and Sunday 25-26 November Craft and gift stalls, music entertainment from local choirs and bands, a children’s craft area, Ferry Meadows Miniature Railway and festive refreshments. Between 11:00 – 16:00. Find out more on page 12

WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Saturday and Sunday 25-26 November GIN FESTIVAL FRIDAY Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th November Friday 6.30pm – 11.00pm. Saturday 12.30pm – 5.00pm and 6.30pm – 11.00pm The UK’s biggest and oldest Gin Festival visits Peterborough’s Cathedral. There will be new gins, exclusive gins, gin masterclasses, the opportunity to meet gin distillers, a gin cocktail bar, live music and food. For booking details please visit www.

GB HOME GUARD BAND CONCERT Saturday 18th November - 3pm

The GB Home Guard Band Concert will be held at the Stilton Pavilion, High Street, Stiliton PE7 3RA.

Join the team at Nene Park Trust for a walk around Ferry Meadows to find Barney the Bear. Times are TBC (so check their website beforehand) and will cost £2. You must pre-book for this event by visiting www.neneparktrust. or telephone 01733 234193

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

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

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

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

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

MESSY CHURCH Saturday 2nd December - 10.00 am – 11.30 am

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


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


Featuring all your festive favourites and more, including Walking in the Air, Driving Home for Christmas, Little St Nick, Silent Night, Carol of the Bells, White Christmas and many more - as well as some specially-commissioned new arrangements - there will be something for everyone young and old, so bring the family and get your Christmas off to a flying start!


Whittlesey and District U3A continues to grow and offer members the opportunity to join new groups. Open meetings are held at Childers, Whittlesey on the third Thursday of each month. Entertainment at these meetings is as follows:

Thursday November 16th - Wills, Independent Financial Matters Thursday December 21st Annual

Christmas Party with Keith Downs, magician.

Thursday January 18th

- A talk on


Thursday February 15th

- Great Ormond Street Hospital with Speaker Martin Harris

Thursday March 15th

- Dee Laws on Dr Barnado’s The U3A is also jointly hosting a Barn Dance on November 4th with the Whittlesey Indoor Bowls Club at Sports Centre, WIBC, Station Rd. Contact the Bowls Club for remaining tickets. Wendy Fletcher Publicity Officer

NOTICE Whittlesey and District Business Forum are delighted to advise that Krista Webb of Calm Accounting will be the speaker on Wednesday November 22nd at the Falcon Hotel, Whittlesey, starting at 6pm for a 6:30pm start. Krista will talk about changes in Data Protection that will affect all Businesses. Come along and get some important information. In the meantime, have a look at the Forum’s Facebook page and website. See you on the 22nd. Steve Hodson, 01733 203064

REGULARS Hatha Yoga, for all levels, £7 each, some mats available. Monday - 6pm Wednesday - 6.30pm, Thursday 9.30am. St Andrew’s Parish Room, Parkinsons Lane, Whittlesey Power Yoga, lively music, intended to raise your heart rate & increase your flexibility & fitness. £7 to non members, bring water & small towel. Wednesday - 8pm. New Vision Fitness, Manor Leisure Centre, Whittlesey Painting group, we meet in the Eastrea Centre every Tuesday 1pm to 4pm all are welcome, for details contact Sue on 01733 205241 Jim’s Bingo, Tuesday and Thursday. Doors open at 7pm. Eyes down at 7.30pm at the rear of the Conservative Club. No membership required Hot Food Friday lunchtime. at Conservative Club Whittlesea Society meet on the second Monday of each month at 7.30pm in the Town Hall and always have a speaker Members Bingo starts at 7.30pm every Sun, Mon & Thursday at the Ivy Leaf Club Ukulele ‘strum for fun’ first and third Tuesday, at the Ram, Whittlesey 7-9pm. Call Chris on 07960 316724 for info Weekly meditation class in March Fridays 10.30am - 11.30am. £5 per class. March Podiatry Practice, High Street, March, Whittlesey Mud Walls Group Meet upstairs at the Whittlesey Museum on the first Wednesday of the month at 10:30am


Sunday 5th November Sunday Lunch

Saturday 11th November Travis

Saturday 18th November Mikki Jons

Saturday 25th November Johnny Lodge

The Fens | November 2017 53



Chris Brudenell Photography Our November independent business is our own photographer, Chris Brudenell, whose photos have been gracing this magazine since the very start! Chris runs his own photography business capturing all your important life events, but he is always on hand to take photos for us despite what madcap ideas we have!

WORDS AMY CORNEY IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL working on THE FENS, one day I could be photographing rescue animals and the next I’m in a brewery cellar! WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SUBJECT TO PHOTOGRAPH? I would have to say taking wedding photographs is my favourite as it is such a special event in people’s lives. Everyone is enjoying themselves and having a brilliant time, so to be able to capture that emotion in an everlasting image is a real privilege.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER? For me, becoming a professional photographer was always an ambition. Growing up my father had a career as an engineer but took wedding photographs as a side business, so I was always surrounded by photography. I actually ended up becoming an electrician but found myself wanting to have a more creative career. When my daughter was born I was lucky enough to stay at home and look after her, which gave me the opportunity to take my photography more seriously. With my wife Alison’s encouragement, I retrained and for the last eight years I have been running my own business. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? I am incredibly lucky to be able to say I love my job and I really enjoy working with the public and meeting new people. Every day is different, and there is always a new challenge which keeps me motivated. When

54 The Fens | November 2017

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE AND APPROACH? I have a relaxed, informal style; I always like to chat to people and put them at ease. Not many people like having their photograph taken, so I like to make the experience fun. DO YOU HAVE A FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPHER WHOSE WORK YOU ADMIRE? I am a huge fan of the work of Ed Godden and Gavin Hoey, they are both contemporary photographers with their own style. I have been lucky enough to meet and work alongside Gavin, and it was brilliant to get advice and feedback from him. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PERSONAL CAREER HIGHLIGHT? Photographing The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Windsor, when she opened Peterborough City Hospital in 2012 has to be a highlight. Becoming a professional photographer has opened up so many doors for me and I have met and photographed some famous and interesting people. IS THERE AN EVENT THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO PHOTOGRAPH? I would love to photograph

Glastonbury Festival as the atmosphere looks amazing! WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO AN AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER LOOKING TO IMPROVE? Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as with photography you are continually learning and improving. Take the time to experiment and don’t worry about the equipment you are using, try to go beyond the limitations of your camera. CHRIS BRUDENELL PHOTOGRAPHY is a local photographer with experience in weddings, family shoots, christenings as well as commercial work. Find out more by visiting or call 01733 202694. He can also be found on Facebook.




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