Issue 45 | February 2020
A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
Inside this issue Falling for the Fens
Discover local fishing Valentine’s Day gift ideas Fens | February 2020 1 PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHAT’S ON The | PLACES TO VISIT
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The Fens | February 2020
A lot has changed over the years since we launched this publication. I remember walking through our local area with a blank piece of paper, telling businesses and friends that with a little imagination, this piece of paper was going to be a new magazine. Now, almost four years on, we have made several changes in response to the growing need to recycle more and be more enviromentally friendly. Towards the end of last year we decided to request that our magazines weren’t delivered to us wrapped in plastic - this made a huge difference to our own plastic waste. Did you know that you can recycle our magazines after you have enjoyed reading it? For magazines, you don’t need to remove anything from inside them, such as the staples. You can also leave the cover and binding. Here’s a couple of other interesting facts you might not know... 1. It takes just six days to turn old newspapers, books, and magazines into new ones. 2. If every person in the UK recycled just 10% more paper, we would save approximately five million trees each year. So when your new copy of THE FENS arrives, if you’re not going to keep it on your coffee table, make sure you pop it in your recycling bin...
NATASHA SHIELS, publisher
THIS month 9 Calling all men...
29 Valentine’s Day gift ideas
11 Your garden in February
30 Walking the Fen Edge Trail
12 The Fenland landscape through the lens of a camera
32 Peterborough and the poor
16 This month’s recipe 20 Fishing in the Fens 23 Have a go at Table Tennis
36 Fame for the Great Fen 38 Amy’s walk of the month 42 Half-term activities 44 Events diary
Issue 45 | February 2020
46 Theatre previews
THE TEAM PUBLISHER / EDITOR Natasha Shiels firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Amy Corney email@example.com PROOF-READER Theresa Shiels PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Brudenell chrisbrudenellphotography.co.uk ADVERTISING SALES firstname.lastname@example.org 07511 662566 ACCOUNTS email@example.com 07511 662566 SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe for just £12 for 6 issues, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS Joe Ferridge | Eamonn Dorling | John McGinn | Westfield Nurseries | Eva Jordan Robert Bull | Whittlesey Veterinary Centre Caroline Fitton | Sara Fontanella | Richard Groom | Molly Day-Coombes |Bill Watt DISTRIBUTION
9,000 copies printed monthly. Delivered to Whittlesey, Eastrea, Coates, Turves, Pondersbridge, Benwick, plus copies in March, Wisbech, Ramsey and Queensgate Shopping Centre
A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
facebook.com/thefensmag @thefensmag thefensmag
Inside this issue Falling for the Fens
Discover local fishing Valentine’s Day gift ideas Fens | February 2020 1 PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHAT’S ON The | PLACES TO VISIT
ISSUE 45 | FEBRUARY 2020 Frosty Berries
THE FENS is published by Barley Media. 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 email@example.com. Barley Media accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.
The Fens | February 2020
WHITTLESEY CITIZENSHIP AWARD
It has come to the time of year where Whittlesey Council wishes to find the Whittlesey Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year. The eligibility criteria are as follows: Whittlesey Citizen: • Over 18 years old • A resident of either Whittlesey, Coates, Eastrea, Turves or Pondersbridge. Whittlesey Young Citizen: • Up to and including 18 years old • A resident of either Whittlesey,
Coates, Eastrea, Turves or Pondersbridge.
individual: Name, Address and reason for nomination and send to: -
We would welcome nominations for people of all abilities for either or both categories. They may have helped in the community, undertaken charity work, fundraising or achieved outstanding results in any discipline or anything else you feel is above and beyond the call of duty.
Susan Piergianni, Town Clerk & RFO Whittlesey Town Council, Peel House, 8 Queen Street, Whittlesey, PE7 1AY
Should you wish to submit a nomination, please give details of the
The closing date for nominations is Friday 28th February 2020.
to announce that Whittlesey Concert Band and Peterborough Society of Magicians will be performing at this very special and exciting event. Tickets will be £7.50 per person and will be on sale from the Town Council Offices, Peel House, Whittlesey PE7 1AY from the beginning of February. For information this year my chosen Mayor's charities are:
Young Technicians Army Cadet Force - Whittlesey Branch Sue Ryder - Thorpe Hall Also a reminder that the deadline for nominations for Whittlesey's Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year is Friday 28th February 2020 (see details above).
Please mark the envelope: ‘Citizen of the Year’ or ‘Young Citizen of the Year’.
2020 started with the fantastic 41st Straw Bear Festival. It was lovely to see the Town packed and busy with many residents and visitors for a brilliant weekend of entertainment and fun. Many congratulations and thanks to Straw Bear Festival Director Roger Boon and his organising committee for their tireless work and planning of such a showpiece event for the Town. A very big thank you to all the volunteers, helpers and sponsors who make the Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival such a success. A few dates for the diary for 2020. The Mayor's Charity Duck Race will take place on Easter Monday 13th April 2020 at 2pm from Briggate Bridge over The Bower. Further details about Duck Race tickets will be published next month. I will also be hosting an Evening of Music and Magic for The Mayor's Charities on Friday 20th March 2020 at Whittlesey Christian Church, Broad Street, Whittlesey. I am very pleased
Image by Chris Brudenell
A WORD FROM WHITTLESEY’S MAYOR
BUSINESSES THANKED The Fun for Funds Group at Coates Primary School would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part and volunteered to make our Christmas event happen in December… with an extra special thank you to all the local businesses who kindly donated raffle prizes. With the help of their generous donation we raised an incredible £1,427.25; every single penny raised will be used by the school to purchase items for the benefit of the children and their education. Please help us to say thank you by supporting the businesses listed below: B-Elite, Whittlesey; Black Bull, Whittlesey; Boome, Whittlesey; Enhanced Beauty, Whittlesey; Friar Tuck's Fish & Chips, Whittlesey; Gifts Galore, Whittlesey; Jason's Barbers, Whittlesey; Larry's Heel Bar, Whittlesey; Muffin Oven, Whittlesey Phil's Mart, Whittlesey; TLC, Whittlesey; Touch of Class, Whittlesey; Unique, Whittlesey; Vesuvio, Whittlesey; Tesco, March; The Original Factory Shop, March; Clancy's of Eye Fish & Chips, Eye; Activity World, Peterborough; Escape Rooms, Peterborough; Middleton's Steakhouse, Peterborough; Orange Plant, Peterborough; Turtle Bay, Peterborough; The Mulberry Tree, Peterborough. 4
The Fens | February 2020
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The Fens | February 2020
HOSPICE FAYRE RAISES £20,000 FOR LOCAL FAMILIES NEEDING ITS CARE
WHITTLESEY EMERGENCY FOOD AID (WEFA) THANKS THE COMMUNITY If you‘ve recently been in either of the two local Nisa Stores in Broad Street and Victory Avenue, or the Co-op in Whittlesey you may have noticed the new food donation containers for the Whittlesey Emergency Food Aid (WEFA). The items are collected on a regular basis and distributed by the WEFA team to people in the local community who are experiencing Food Poverty. The purchase of the food containers was made possible by a grant from the Glassmoor Local Environment Fund which covered the entire cost of the project. As mentioned before three containers have already been allocated locally with plans for the fourth to be confirmed in due course. Brian Smithyman who is part of the WEFA team said “ We are really grateful for the support from the Glassmoor Fund as this has enabled us to heighten our profile in the local community. The new containers are bright orange in colour and have the WEFA logo on the front which means they are easily identifiable in the stores.” The team at WEFA also want to take this opportunity to thank the many businesses, schools, shops, community groups, families and individuals for their overwhelming support in the run up to Christmas. The generous donations of food items, gifts and financial contributions given enabled WEFA to provide up to 50 Food Hampers to those who would have otherwise struggled over the Christmas period. We would also like to say a special thank you the Whittlesey Round Table who funded the purchase of two brand new upright freezers. 6
The Fens | February 2020
This meant that WEFA was able to store frozen items ready for distribution over the Christmas period but going forward enables us to store food safely all year round. All those that supported us are too numerous to mention in this article but here are a selection: Jamie Keshwara on behalf of the local Nisa stores gave generous supplies of tinned and packet items for the Christmas Hampers, Sir Harry Smith Community College, Alderman Jacobs school, Slimming World ( Whittlesey), Ladysmith WI, McCain Foods, Smurfit Kappa, Gas Design Utilities Ltd, U3A, Manor Packaging ( who gave the boxes for the Hampers) Stuart Potts Potato Merchant, Whittlesey Table Tennis Club, Freemasons (Whittlesey division), Tangent group and Deborah Slater who provided gifts to accompany the food hampers through her separate Christmas Appeal. If you would like to know more about WEFA please contact Brian or Marija at the Whittlesey Christian Church in Broad Street which is the storage, admin and distribution centre on 01733 752093 or email email@example.com or pop in. Pictured above: Volunteers who helped with the Christmas hampers. Pictured middle: One of the new food donation bins and food donated by Nisa.
A local hospice has announced its Christmas Fayre has raised over £20,000 of vital funds. Staff and volunteers at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice organised the festive event in their own time to raise funds for the families they care for. Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, which is the only specialist palliative care inpatient unit in Peterborough, provides care and support for people living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families. Martin Russell, Head of Support Services at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, said: “Thank you so much to everyone involved with our Christmas Fayre – not only was it wonderful to see the local community come together, but it raised over £20,000. As a charity, all our care is given for free to those who need it, however we need to raise £2.4 million this year to keep our services running. “We are now looking ahead to this year’s Christmas Fayre and asking people if they have any unwanted Christmas gifts they could donate to it. Items such as unwanted toiletries, gift packs of candles, decorations, crackers, toys, jigsaws, slippers, scarves and jewellery would be gratefully received.” People are asked to drop their unwanted Christmas gifts off in the hospice’s reception. Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice is located on Thorpe Road, Longthorpe, Peterborough, PE3 6LW. For more information please call the hospice on 01733 225 900 and ask to speak to Martin Russell. You can find out more about Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice at: www.sueryder.org/thorpehall
CSSG Annual Potato Day Cambridgeshire Self Sufficiency Group 11th Annual Potato Day 1st February 2020 All Saints Church Market Square Huntingdon PE29 3NR Doors open to the public at 10-30am. We will have 50 varieties of potato plus a seed swap, onion sets and shallots. Price for potatoes will again be £1.30 a kilo £1.00 to members. Refreshments will be on sale so you can relax and plan your potato growing in this wonderful historic church which is a central part of the Huntingdon community. Why not come along to this value for money potato day, and at the same time, find out more about the Cambridgeshire Self Sufficiency Group. Find out more at www. cambsselfsufficiencygroup.co.uk
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL UP FOR NATIONAL AWARD Fenland District Council is in the running for a prestigious national award recognising its multisector partnership approach to strengthening and supporting local communities. The Council has been shortlisted in the coveted 2020 Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards, which celebrate the best of local government innovation and service delivery. A finalist in the Community Involvement category, the Council has been recognised for its work with the Diverse Communities Forum, a cross-sector partnership aimed at supporting local areas facing challenges linked with migration such as poor housing conditions, exploitation, language barriers and discrimination. Community involvement has been crucial in engaging hard-to-reach groups and delivering projects improving the quality of life for both
current and future communities. Fenland District Council Leader, Cllr Chris Boden, said: “The LGC received over 700 entries for this year’s awards, so to be shortlisted is a truly remarkable achievement. It is fantastic recognition for the work being carried out across Fenland, and testament to the continued hard work of colleagues and partners to support all our residents. “The Diverse Communities Forum recognises the importance of empowering communities to bring about social change. Using this approach, it has undertaken a number of successful projects that are designed and delivered with the people they are intended to help.” Projects, funded with nearly £2.2million of funding secured by Fenland District Council from Government’s Controlling Migration Fund since February 2017, have tackled migration challenges from all angles, focusing on enforcement,
A Memorial Concert for Edward Storey I was privileged to be invited recently to the memorial concert for Edward Storey.
In the fading light of a November afternoon, which I’m sure he would have found inspirational in itself, ninety friends, relatives and colleagues gathered at the Peterborough School to remember Edward.
Musicians; Ruth Watson, Oboe, Peter Fisher, violin and Peter Hewitt, piano, contributed to an outstanding performance. Edward would have been proud of them.
WHITTLESEA SOCIETY The Whittlesea Society was formed about 45 years ago with the aim of taking an interest in the conservation of the town and surrounding area. Planning applications, alterations, new buildings and developments are discussed and members of the society are consulted by councillors and The Civic Group of Fenland District council. There is always a speaker and the topics are varied but mainly cover social history.
As a lot of readers will know, Edward was born in Whittlesey. He attended school and grew up in the town. His writing, both poetry and prose, and the music he composed, was greatly inspired by the Fens.
We were welcomed by his wife, Angela, and enjoyed a programme of music and poetry reading. Some of the material was Edward’s own composition. Some were his favourite pieces by other writers and composers.
pastoral care, cohesion and integration as well as research to enable the DCF prepare and adapt to future needs. The local authorities shortlisted for awards will now complete presentations and interviews to a specific judging panel made up of senior and influential figures within local government. LGC editor Nick Golding said: “The Councils that have been shortlisted for an LGC Award are among the most innovative – and their innovation helps provide the best services for residents, despite local government facing ongoing financial constraint. “The officers and councillors of shortlisted Councils deserve enormous credit for thinking of new ways to deliver the best services, ensuring vital services thrive, benefiting everyone who uses them.” The winners of the LGC Awards will be announced at a ceremony on March 18 in London.
At the January meeting, local auctioneer, Lawrence Seaton spoke about being an auctioneer and tested our knowledge of antiques. The speaker for February is Mr Don Chiswell who will talk about William Shakespeare. This was followed by tea, cakes, and the opportunity to exchange memories with those who had shared Edward in one way or another. These are the people who will keep his spirit alive. Thanks to Angela for organising the event, a fitting tribute to a wonderful man. By Wendy Fletcher
The speaker for March is Rev. David Bond who will tell us about 'War Memorials'. The group meets at The Town Hall, Market Street, Whittlesey on the second Monday of the month at 7:30pm and new members are welcome. There is a small membership fee of £2 for visitors. Contact Maureen Watson 01733 203767. The Fens | February 2020
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The Fens | February 2020
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MEN UNITED IN SONG 2020: SUPPORTING PROSTATE CANCER UK
New Year, new you? Looking for a fresh challenge, new skills and a great social scene to boot? Then look no further… Following its phenomenal success over the last few years, Men United in Song is back for 2020, once again raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. Launching in February, the project will sign up 40 local men with a range of previous singing experience (including none) to rehearse over 10 weeks for a charity concert at the Cresset Theatre on Saturday 9th May. To date the project has engaged hundreds of local men, raising many thousands of pounds for the charity, as well as inspiring similar projects across the country – a fantastic result! “While I'd sung karaoke before I knew that this would be very different!” says James from Market Deeping. “I learned so much in just a few weeks and made some really great friendships too. The time flew by and I didn’t think much at first about our performance but as the weeks went past the nervousness started to build! It was great to see my family in the audience and I know they enjoyed it just as much as I did…they knew most of the songs by heart as I was consciously and unconsciously singing all the time! A fantastic experience, thoroughly recommended!” “The whole experience was extremely rewarding and exciting” says Stuart from Bourne. “You get to see what
your voice is really capable of and to share a few pints with a great bunch of guys from all walks of life, who you might not normally meet. The sense of achievement when you finally get to perform in front of an audience in the concert is amazing. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.” Patrick, from Peterborough says “I was handed a leaflet outside the train station and decided I would give it a go - something different from the day to day! It was an amazing journey and the progress we made in such a short amount of time was way beyond my expectations! Doing something good for a fantastic charity while also learning to sing some really great pieces of music was a brilliant experience! Don’t hesitate, sign up today!” Men United In Song is not all about the singing or even about the fundraising, there’s a fantastic social scene too! Ultimately, it’s about a group of men getting together in a shared enterprise, which of course is the idea behind Prostate Cancer UK’s Men United campaign, and why the charity seemed such a good fit for the project. William Prideaux, director of Men United in Song, says “Year on year,
we see men of all ages from all walks of life get stuck into this project, producing fantastic results over a relatively short period of time both in terms of the progress they make and the sound they produce in the final concert and in terms of raising money for this very important charity. It’s always a real pleasure to work with them, and great fun too!” Men United In Song kicks off with introduction sessions on 27th and 29th February at the John Mansfield Campus in Peterborough. Absolutely no previous experience is required to join, just a willingness to get involved and give it your best shot! “We’re not looking for 100 percent in musicality, but 100 percent in enthusiasm” says William. “Why not give it a go, it just might be the best thing you’ve done in a very long time!” For further information contact Jo on 01733 425194 or email menunited@ peterboroughsings.org.uk Introduction sessions will be at the John Mansfield Campus PE1 4HX on Thursday 27th February (6-10pm) and Saturday 29th February (26pm). Please call/email to register. Rehearsals will be on Thursday evenings from 7.45pm-9.45pm at the John Mansfield Campus, Western Avenue, Peterborough PE1 4HX. The Fens | February 2020
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YOUR GARDEN IN February If you’re a keen gardener February is a month filled with anticipation. The first signs of life are beginning to emerge as plants shake off their winter dormancy and wildlife begins to wake. Light levels are increasing, temperatures are rising and splashes of colour are beginning to creep back into the garden. Spring is on its way and there is plenty of preparation to do.
Looking good this month... Camellia
WHY SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? Welcome in the spring with Camellias – these hardy shrubs have glossy evergreen leaves and display flowers that brighten up the winter garden and herald the end of winter. An early riser in terms of plants waking up from the winter snooze, Camellias burst into flower in February just as the rest of the garden is starting to blink its eyes at the sunshine.
ESSENTIAL JOBS FOR FEBRUARY PRUNE LATE FLOWERING PLANTS Prune late flowering shrubs such as fuchsia, hydrangea, buddleja and ceanothus. Using sharp secateurs, cut just above an outward pointing bud. Aim to remove about a third of the height of the shrub and try to maintain an even shape. Check other shrubs and remove any dead, diseased or damaged branches to keep the plant healthy. Try to avoid pruning early flowering shrubs until after they have flowered. GIVE THE LAWN A LIGHT MOW If the weather is warm you may need to start mowing. Set the cutting height on your mower to its maximum and only mow when it’s dry. Re-cutting lawn edges will also give an instant lift to the appearance of the garden.
PLANT SHRUBS AND TREES February is the ideal time to plant new shrubs and trees while they are still in their dormant state. Make sure the ground is not frozen or water logged before planting. Stakes and rabbit guards should be put in place at the time of planting to prevent damage to the root ball or bark. It’s also a good idea to check ties and stakes on existing plants and replace, tighten or slacken where necessary.
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The Fens | February 2020
Falling for the Fen Landscape A photographer for over 30 years, it wasn’t until Jamie discovered the Fen landscape that he found his deep passion for capturing it behind the lens
WORDS AND IMAGES JAMIE OVERLAND The Fens can be a desolate place. A 15,000 sq mile expanse of flat reclaimed wetlands from Lincoln in the North to Cambridge in the South, some would say it’s not the most photogenic of landscapes But the Fens also has real character, especially in the early morning mist and fog, or under dark stormy skies. In fact, it’s famous for its uninterrupted 360 degree big sky panoramas. Trying to capture the beauty in this landscape is a challenge I relish. I was born in the capital of the Fens, Wisbech, and spent my childhood helping my parents on their farm in Outwell, which is where I probably got my love for the great outdoors. I remember hiding in the dykes with my father, duck calling, on dark cold winter evenings and pike fishing in the sixteen foot drain, sitting for hours in all weathers, miles from anywhere waiting in anticipation for some movement in the float or bobbin 12 The Fens | February 2020
to disturb the eerie silence. These memories created the feeling that I now try to capture in a photograph. In Landscape photography they teach you to look for leading lines, shapes, textures, contrasts in light, mood and atmosphere. The Fens has these in abundance. What better leading lines than the long straight fenland tracks, the dykes, the drains and rivers, the plough lines or rows of newly planted potatoes. The textures of the reed beds in the marshes, the shapes of the old farm buildings sitting alone in a field, or even the World War II pill boxes now mostly overgrown and being absorbed by the Fen. We even have our own seascapes at the wash where instead of beaches and rocks, we have the mud flats revealing shapes and textures in the marshland looking out towards the vast open skies of the east. Today, there isn’t much of the original marshland fen remaining,
however, some areas do still exist and are preserved and maintained as National Nature Reserves and SSSI’s. One such place which I have visited a few times with my camera is Holme Fen, near Peterborough. Holme Fen, part of the Great Fen, is the largest silver birch forest in lowland Britain, 2.75m below sea level. Silver birch trees are very photogenic and there are plenty of compositions to find in this Fen woodland. However, the best time I have found to visit is in the early morning mist or fog. I was lucky enough to experience a lovely foggy morning in Holme Fen, where the woodland turns into an ethereal wilderness. The maintained paths and tracks aid your compositions providing great leading lines into the disappearing mist Another nearby remaining fragment of the ancient wild fen is Woodwalton Fen, also part of the Great Fen. A visit here is like entering a lost world.
Charles Rothschild, known as the ‘Father of modern conservation’, acquired this Fen and nearby Wicken Fen and established the first nature reserves in Britain. He sold Wicken Fen to the National Trust in 1899, but kept Woodwalton and it’s still kept today as a natural fen marsh and woodland. Again early morning mist and fog is perfect to capture atmospheric
one morning which depicted the tranquility of the place perfectly.
images here with a mixture of marshes, drains, lakes and natural woodland providing plenty of great compositions. It’s also full of wetland wildlife, birds and insects - I spotted this lonely swan appear from the mist
Nearby Wicken Fen, owned by the National Trust, is a haven for birdwatchers but also for landscape photographers. The iconic wind pump provides a great subject to shoot amongst the reed beds and the nearby Fens are home to a family of Konick ponies. On a frosty winter morning compositions are plentiful in this peaceful wilderness. The golden hours of sunrise and sunset create a beautiful transition from dark to light, and from cold to warmth.
JAMIE’S TOP TIPS Here’s five tips to help you take better images in the landscape. 1. Find an interesting composition Rather than just taking a snap of something that catches your eye, try to create a composition that leads the viewers eye to the subject of your shot. Whatever your subject is - a tree, bridge, building or even just and interesting sky - compose your shot so you have a leading line to it. A plough line or Fen dyke is ideal. Using shapes and angles is also a good technique.
The Fens | February 2020
2. Use the light One of the most important elements in landscape photography is light. Make sure you use the light to your advantage to enhance your shot. Look for sidelight on buildings, backlight on trees or even look for the light creating shadows. The best light is normally in the ‘golden hour’, i.e. around sunrise and sunset as it’s generally softer. That said, on a partly cloudy day lightrays over the Fen during the day can be very effective. 3. Use weather apps for predicting the best conditions In my opinion, the best conditions for good photography in the Fens are mist, fog, snow, frost or storms. These conditions can really enhance your compositions and create mood and atmosphere. As we all know, predicting the weather can be difficult but there are plenty of good weather apps to predict these conditions, as well as predicting the levels of cloud cover (for sunrise or sunset). 4. Use our big skies The Fens is famous for its big skies so use them to your advantage in your image. Taking on board tip one about finding a good composition or focal subject, use the big sky to create some mood and drama on a cloudy day. An incoming storm cloud across 14 The Fens | February 2020
the better you will get. With modern cameras you can take as many pictures as your memory card will hold so get out, take pictures and enjoy it!
the Fen can make a really dramatic and unique shot. 5. Get out, practice and enjoy the landscape The most important tip is to just get out and enjoy yourself. Walking in the landscape has so many benefits and after a hard week at work there’s nothing better than getting out with your camera and exploring the countryside. The more opportunities you can find to get out and practice,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jamie Overland now lives on the edge of the Lincolnshire Fens. Having been a keen photographer for the last 30 years, in the last four years he has discovered a real passion for landscape photography. He now tries to visit as many locations in the Fens or up on the coast of North Norfolk, sharing his journey and experiences on his YouTube channel. You can subscribe to Jamie’s channel for inspiration. Find out more at YouTube. com/jamieoverland or follow him on Facebook at Jamie Overland Photography
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The Fens | February 2020
Vietnamese belly pork For a twist you could experiment with different textures or, if time is against you, try cooking the pork at 135oC for 4.5 hours or even 200oC for one hour. Itâ€™s also great with chicken (just donâ€™t cook it until the finishing stage). Fish would also work well (think whole seabass!). Why not make the dipping sauce for spring rolls!
1kg belly pork cut into 1inc cubes Marinade: 1 bulb of garlic peeled and crushed 2inch piece of root ginger grated finely juice of two lime 100g soft brown sugar 100ml light soy sauce 20g salt
6 shallots finely chopped 4 cloves of garlic chopped 1 inch root ginger chopped 1 tbls caster sugar 4 spring onions finely sliced 1tbls sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic crushed 2 chillies of your choice sliced 2tbls caster sugar 2 tbls lime juice 3 tbls fish sauce 3 tbls rice vinegar Fresh mint to finish 16 The Fens | February 2020
1. Mix the pork in with all the marinade
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HOOK, LINE AND SINKER
Fishing in the Fens
WORDS ANDY PAGE Fishing in Fenland is a popular sport which goes back centuries. Keen hobbyist and author of Podcast, ‘Tales from the Tackle Shop’, Andy shares his favourite places to catch a fish or two across the region Fenland for over two centuries has had a network of drains and connecting ditches that have effectively controlled the surrounding land from flooding. This network of water courses has become over time one of the meccas for the UK’s coarse fishermen. Sadly, over recent years, the illegal mass removal of pike has occurred mainly unchecked. The introduction of an apex predator, the otter, has caused even more complications to these fragile ecosystems. This however, has not deterred some of the main drains from showing a remarkable resilience and the angling potential on these waters is currently reaching a zenith. In this article we will introduce some of the fantastic fishing to be had in Fenland and where to find the information required to access these waters, for both local and visiting anglers alike. FISHING GEMS So let’s start our round-up of venues, and where better to start than seven miles north of Wisbech. North Level Drain is leased by Tydd Gote Angling 20 The Fens | February 2020
Club. It is a relatively shallow water that runs from Tydd Gote to Parson Drove, where it splits off into two smaller ditches. The water contains a good head of roach, bream, perch and tench. It fishes extremely well in the summer and autumn and then more localised areas during the winter months. Methods that score well on here include ledgering for the bream and tench in the summer and autumn. Brown crumb in a swim feeder with maggots, dendrobaena (a type of earth worm) and, or, sweetcorn will all work. Early morning is the best time, but please be aware that there is no night fishing on this water. The Controlling Club have a facebook page and more details can be found there. Next we head North West towards Spalding on our fishing tour. The River Welland has taken a bit of a battering by illegal fish removal over last 10 years, however it is now showing a resurgence with its roach population. The town centre of Spalding is producing some large bags of roach to pleasure anglers and I hear on the grapevine that there are a couple
of matches scheduled this winter. The roach really respond to a bread punch approach with liquidised bread as ground bait. Depending on the strength of flow on the river you may need to use fine gravel in the liquidised bread to get the ground bait down to your intended quarry. Hemp and tares can also be deadly on this water. The fishing around the town centre is free. The river fishes really well from October through to February. We are blessed to have another river packed full of roach currently, in fact it is probably the best winter natural match venue in the whole of the country. The venue is the Old Course of the River Nene, March. The river has attracted the attention of the match anglers and they hold several opens on the town stretch over the winter months. Most of these matches host up to 100 anglers at at
time. Target species are roach, Perch, skimmer bream and a sub species called silver bream (or pommies or gustos as the locals call them). Bread again scores well here, but a more precise approach of pinkies and squats (small maggots for the uninitiated), fished with a pole, is the main weapon of choice for the match anglers. Hook size needs to small size 20 or 22. Therefore, hook links need to be of a fine diameter, around 0.08-0.1mm. For us oldies, that’s around 1lb to 1lb 8oz breaking strain. Pole floats with a fine bristle need to be employed to show up bites from the hoards of small fish that inhabit this stretch. This river fishes best from October through to March. Anywhere near the town centre and the Ship Inn is worth a dabble. Just be careful as the banks are quite steep and difficult to navigate after a heavy rain, again the fishing is free. During the spring and summer months the commercial venues are well worth a visit. There is a close season on all the drains (no fishing from March 15 to June 15th inclusive). However, angling is allowed on lakes. Several man-made puddles and ponds have sprung up over the years in Fenland. Two in particular are head and shoulders above the rest.
Decoy lakes can be found between Coates and Whittlesey. It has a huge head of small to medium sized carp plus tench and even barbel. It now has 11 lakes and caters for all levels of angling ability. It has a tackle shop on site, cafeteria and if you get bored, a licensed bar. Angling rules and prices can be found on decoylakes.co.uk If you want a more relaxed,
secluded venue then Rookery Waters at Pidley is the ideal place to visit. It has four lakes to fish; each lake has completely different character. Again the main species here are carp, but they tend to be in the 1-5lb category. Each lake has a slightly different stocking, with different sizes of fish. In order to maximise your day at Pidley you need to speak to the onsite staff. Alex Bates runs his own extensively stocked tackle shop called ‘Tackle and Bates’. Alex and his father Tim will provide you with the most current information as to which lake to fish and what tactics to employ. More information about the fishery can be found on rookerywaters.co.uk ANDY’S TOP TIPS Methods on commercials are varied and dependent upon the individual fishery rules. However, a few basic principles apply to all these types of water. Firstly location is vital; the biggest feature on all lakes is the margin. Carp and tench will hug the margins, particularly if it has a reed/weed bed. The simplest tactic is to spray 20 or so maggots and/or pellets regularly to a spot tight to the margin. Make sure to feed directly to the same spot every time. Smaller fish will probably home straight onto your baited area. Do not give up, keep the bait going in and very soon the bigger species will arrive and push out the smaller stuff. Keep feeding and the bigger fish will start competing with each other. When this happens the fishing is very easy and it is a fish-a-cast. I would recommend using micro pellets bought from the venue’s tackle shop. The fish will be used to this feed and view it as a natural food source. Float fishing with a rod or margin pole is ideal. When the fish start to compete you can catch them very high up in the water, do not be afraid to shallow up and fish on the drop. Make sure you use lines strong enough to get the carp away from any snags. Again speak to
the staff at the tackle shops, they will advise you accordingly. If commercial fishing is not your thing, in the summer months then you could always attempt to catch a ‘bar of gold’. The rudd fishing in the Fens is exceptional. These beautiful creatures have grown exponentially over the last few years. A two pound rudd is now common and a three pound rudd not beyond expectations. Most, if not all, of the local drains have these specimens in them. The best approach is a float set up on a 1215ft float rod. Line of breaking strain around 4-5lb is ideal and a relatively large hook of around size 8-12 will be perfect. You will need to fish very shallow, around a foot deep with no shot on the hook link. Use bread flake as bait and bread crumb or even the crusts off the loaf are used as free offerings. You will need a pair of sunglasses, a bottle of water and great stamina as you walk the banks of some secluded drain in pursuit of this incredible fish. When fish are spotted, catapult out a few free offerings of crust. If rudd are there they will probably have a look at the offerings and if you are lucky they will start to feed. This is the time to have a speculative cast with the breadflake. If the fishing gods are smiling on you, a rudd of your dreams may just decide to make your day. Find out more For further information subscribe to ‘Tales from the Tackle shop’. This is a weekly podcast which can be found on Apple podcasts, or by searching on the podbean app. Andy Page and Alex Bates do a monthly feature on local venues and announce the local match results weekly. The podcast also has related facebook and instagram pages under the same name. Additionally, you can find more at Fenland Fishing Tv, a Youtube channel publicised by the same anglers provides videos on the different tactics and techniques needed to be continually successful on these varied waterways. Pictured above: Rookery Waters at Pidley. Middle: Andy Page with a large Fenland pike weighing 26lb 2oz The Fens | February 2020
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New Year, new you? Why not try something different this month. We caught up with Dr. Peter Hau, Whittlesey Table Tennis Club Chairman to find out why this sport is a lot of fun number of youngsters, keen to play.” WTTC encompasses all ages of all abilities.
Whittlesey Table Tennis Club (WTTC), led by Dr. Peter Hau, has a long, long history. Its venue has moved over the years considerably, from Rock Road in Peterborough, Sir Harry Smith School, St. Andrews Church Hall, Pondersbridge Village Hall, Scaldgate and now at Whittlesey Indoor Bowls Club in Station Road (a fantastic venue). The club has always had one or more competitive teams in the local league but has been restricted in its membership to just those teams. How things have changed. From perhaps 12 members five years ago, they now have over 70 members. Whittlesey U3A members played a great part in this development with a group forming to play at Pondersbridge. There was already the existing WTTC playing there also, with two teams in the league. Only two tables were available. Numbers of U3A members increased and the Scaldgate venue was chosen as a better option, with three tables now available. As it happened, another club was playing at Scalgate, Fenland Table Tennis Club. After some time and discussion, a consensus of future ambitions materialised with the three groups of players and extensive moves were made to relocate and more importantly, merge together, resources and all, to create a new WTTC. The venue found was Whittlesey Indoor Bowls Sports
Complex, which is where they are today.
TABLE TENNIS BENEFITS What other sport can you play a competitive game with a nonagenarian (a 90 year old) and a child of five or six, as an opponent, on equal terms? With this game you can! “Youngsters have become a significant part of our plans for the future,” Peter added. “Only recently did the club host: ‘TT Kidz’ (a new Table Tennis England initiative targeting 7-11 year olds to try this Olympic sport). We now have three of our youngsters playing in one of our eight Peterborough League teams and we are hoping for more. Our team of qualified coaches have been out and about in all the local schools and have attracted a
Table Tennis, according to medical research, has many health benefits, increasing physical and mental fitness, encouraging decision making (strengthening mental wellbeing) and is a lot of fun. One of its greatest strengths is the social aspect to the game. During play, loud noises emanate from a table, play has to stop, intense laughter ensues, play resumes and it happens again! All have a great time. Tea/coffee/ drinking chocolate and biscuits at half time occurs in at least two of the four three hour sessions in the week.
So what should you do if you’d like to give it a try? The group’s website has plenty of information. Your first session is always free. If you remember playing it at school then why not try again? You’ll enjoy yourself, make new friends and feel the physical and mental benefits. Sessions are £3 for three hours or £2 for under 18s once you are a member. Membership to the club is £15 (£10 for under 18s) per annum. The group provide all the equipment. Just bring yourself - you’ll get a warm welcome. For more information please visit www.whittlesey-table-tennis-club. co.uk The Fens | February 2020
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A Q&A With Local Author Jon Lawrence Local author and mother of two EVA JORDAN shares her musings Last month I reviewed the beautiful novella Silence and Songbirds, a thought provoking tale that transports the reader across the sea to the beautiful islands of the Marlborough Sounds, written by author Jon Lawrence. This month we get to know him a little better… 1. Hi Jon, thanks for agreeing to chat with me. Can you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself? I understand you used to be a singer-songwriter? Yes, I trained as a musician and ethnomusicologist (which has fed quite nicely into my writing). I was lucky enough to perform all over the country and Europe as singersongwriter. I released a number of albums, then my literature work started to take over. However, I still teach music and I enjoy writing musicals every year for the school I work with.
2. You’ve recently completed a touring show called “Good Grief” – can you tell us what S3300 OHH Huntlywww.clariantraining.com Fens Magazine v1.qxp_Layout 1 06/03/2018 13:33 Page 1that was about? My father died of cancer just over two years ago. Before he died I promised him that I would do five 100k treks on five deserts on five continents to raise money for a cancer charity. So, between August 2018 and April 2019 I walked the Atacama in Chile, the Sahara in Morocco, the Rangipo in New Zealand, the Wadi Rum in Jordan and finally, the Mojave in America. My journey gave me a lot of time to think about my father and the sometimes-difficult relationship we had. It afforded me a little time and space to work through my grief. I documented each part of the trip and published a book Fine dining in a wonderful setting . . . last year called Good Grief. To promote the book, I have been performing a one-man show around the country telling my story and how the journey helped me to come to terms with things. The show contains video footage from my trips, photographs, anecdotes and music specially written for the show. It’s light-hearted, informative but also moving (I hope). I resume the tour in Stamford Arts Centre on February 4th with the tour visiting Diss, Bungay, Wells-next-the-sea, Doncaster, Birnam in Scotland, before concluding in Auckland, New Zealand in April. We won’t be beaten on price.
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3. And finally, what advice would you offer anyone thinking of becoming a writer? My view is that everyone is a writer; some people just have a go, some people never do it for fear of what others might say. In the first instance, write for yourself. Just have a go!
You can find out more about Eva by visiting www.EvaJordanWriter. com or find her on Twitter and Facebook: @evajordanwriter www.facebook.com/ EvaJordanWriter/
A BALANCED LOOK AT VEGANISM Veganuary has come and gone, how did you get on? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Veganuary is essentially the concept of going without meat for the entire month of January. Veganism is growing, supermarkets now stock a large quantity of meatfree products and most have even developed their own product lines, so is it the way forward for everyone? Many of you may have come across the ‘The Game Changers’ documentary on Netflix recently - it has certainly been referenced a lot on my social media. It argues that a vegan diet not only ticks all the dietary boxes but can offer greater improvements in areas such as fitness, health, resistance to disease and even sexual performance! Despite being someone that rarely eats meat, there was actually a lot I disagreed with in the documentary (I don’t like results that are based on such small and quick studies and some of the bolder claims have since been publicly challenged). It has however brought the concept of living a life without meat to a greater audience and highlighted some of the real benefits eating a plant-based diet can deliver. But we must also consider that there are some potential health
related pitfalls associated with Veganism and it’s not something that you should go into without a bit of research and further reading. For example vegans can become deficient in some key nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12, which can lead to a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, rashes and fatigue. Ensuring you get enough protein and monitoring iron intake is also a challenge and one that a lot of vegans solve by using supplements, but again this is something that must be considered on a daily basis when not eating animal protein. A vegan diet isn’t for everyone, and, although it is getting easier with more options available than ever before, it’s still a very difficult diet to maintain in a world that is so dominated by animal based foods. The real truth is that there is no concrete or definitive answer as to whether we should or shouldn’t eat meat. There just haven’t been enough strict and tightly controlled tests over a prolonged period of time to prove one way or the other, but there is no harm in adopting new healthy approaches to eating and being open to new ideas, so I encourage you to try things like Veganuary and see what benefits it may bring to your health.
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The late great Louise Hay said that all disease (dis EASE) comes from a state of unforgiveness. By holding on to resentment from past events that have hurt you and not forgiving the person who caused you pain is only hurting you, on both an emotional and physical level. If you have an event or a person that you still have negative thoughts and emotions attached to, forgiveness is the key to release you from the hold that person still has on you. You can convince others that they no longer have an impact on your life, but if they are still popping up, however infrequently, I am here to tell you they are having an impact on you. A great place to start to move you towards forgiveness is to dissolve the resentment you are holding onto. This exercise by Emmet Fox works wonders at dissolving resentment, do it once a day for three weeks, with the same or different people and notice how much lighter you feel. DISSOLVING RESENTMENT Sit quietly, close your eyes and allow your mind and body to relax. Then, imagine yourself sitting in a darkened theatre, and in front of you is a small stage. Place the person you resent the most on that stage. It can be someone from the past, present, living or dead. When you see the person clearly, visualise good things happening to this person, things that would be meaningful to him /or her. See them smiling and happy. Hold this image for a few minutes, then let it fade away.
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You’d think since I work in the funeral industry that when a death occurs in my own family I’d have all the answers, but in truth, I don’t. My nan, Phyllis Oakley passed away shortly after her 100th birthday and her death has caused mixed feelings, probably for all my family. You see, Nan suffered from Alzheimer’s and Dementia and has done so for many years. There will be countless others of you that will know the feeling that actually the person you knew died many years before their actual death, with the terrible illness robbing them of everything, including their dignity, leaving behind only a shell for a poisoned brain to operate. There will be people reading this that would have seen my nan. My parents for many years put up Christmas lights in Arnold’s Lane and nan would be there to see it. She was the person looking suspiciously at the ‘drag character’ and who would disappear into the house shortly after the big switch on. That elderly, frail woman she would become was actually born shortly after the First World War, and she worked in the munitions factories during the second. When she was born, there was no tv, no computers (how we see them today anyway) and certainly no mobile phones. There was only just a phone! Nan was an ordinary woman, through and through. She lived a perfectly ordinary life. She had the values of a person who enjoyed her life for what she had. She enjoyed and appreciated the simple things life gave you. Gardening with her husband. The cinema or theatre with her daughter, her family being around her. I feel there’s a lot to learn these days from someone like my nan. Sure, certainly in her later coherent days conversations would invariably be mostly about her wish ‘for the Lord to take her’ and if she was in a room with similar aged people it was like a live version of ‘Top Trumps’ for the elderly, with each trying to best the other with whatever aches and pains they had. For a person who lived for 100 years, whose idea of ‘five a day’ consisted of not buying 4 fruit and veg and eating a block of cheese instead, nan had a good, healthy life. If, as I think she believed, there is an afterlife I hope she made it back to her husband as she always wanted. What she became isn’t how I choose or how she’d want to be remembered. Rather I remember her laying conkers in the corners of her flat to get rid of spiders and hiding in the toilet during thunder storms. We’ll all miss you, but truth be told, I think we have for a long while now. Joe Clarke-Ferridge is an occasional writer. Phyllis Oakley 1919 - 2019 Find me @LifeofanOrdina1 The Fens | February 2020
THIS MONTH’S BOOK REVIEW Wham! George & Me by Andrew Ridgeley Published by Penguin Given to me as a gift for my birthday late last year, this book has proved to be an absolute joy to read. Taking me straight back to my formative years, I was reminded of a more innocent time in my life, including dancing with my girlfriends around our handbags to the latest pop songs at the school disco, to Thursday night’s viewing of the much anticipated Top of the Pops, and Sunday evening’s listen-in to the Top 40 countdown. Perhaps I’m biased, my memories tinged with nostalgia, viewed through the lenses of rose-tinted glasses, but whatever your thoughts of the 1980s, including the fashion, the big hair, the movies and the mix tapes, it was undoubtedly one of the best and most diverse times in popular music history. Some of my favourite singers ranged from Madonna, Kate Bush, Cindi Lauper to Prince, and some of my favourite bands included Duran Duran, U2, Spandau Ballet, and New Order (to name just a few), and of course, Wham! The pop duo singing sensation comprising George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. Sadly, George passed away in 2016. However, this is not a story about George Michael per se. It is a fascinating account of one of the UK’s most iconic pop bands seen through the eyes of Andrew Ridgeley, former band mate and lifetime friend of George. Like all good stories, this one starts at the end—28th June 1986, Wembley Stadium, and seventy-two thousand screaming fans all gathered together for Wham! ‘The Final’ otherwise known as the farewell concert. From there Andrew takes us back in time, introducing the reader to his home-life and, of course, the moment he first met a rather shy, bespectacled, frizzy haired lad called Georgios Panayiotou. From boyhood friendship to fame, Andrew, who was both self-assured and outgoing, explains how he and his friend, who was rather studious and introvert, were “two sides of the same coin… joined at the hip through a shared love of music”. Our verdict… After Wham! George Michael embarked on a solo career, becoming one of the best-selling music artists of all time. This is the prequel to that story. A tale of childhood friendship, forged from a passion for music, maintained by mutual love and respect. Filled with sensitive reflection, plus an array of wonderful photographs, it is both an entertaining and fascinating read. By Eva Jordan 28 The Fens | February 2020
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The Fens | February 2020
Exploring the edge of the Fens
WORDS RICHARD GROOM IMAGES RICHARD GROOM Volunteers are hard at work mapping out a 300-mile walk that circles the Cambridgeshire Fens, taking you on a unique journey across landscapes, geology and human history LIFE ON THE EDGE As the name suggests, the Trail skirts the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens; places where low-lying Fenland meets land of approximately five metres above current sea level. It takes you along what was once the edge of extensive wetlands, long since lost as a result of centuries of drainage and land reclamation.
The Fen Edge Trail is the brainchild of the Cambridgeshire Geological Society, working in partnership with several local organisations including the Fenland Trust, the Great Fen and the Wildlife Trust. The Trail is a huge loop running all the way from Peakirk in the north west of the county to Isleham in the south east. It connects existing public rights of way to create a new long-distance route, broken down into manageable walks of about five miles each. Maps and descriptions for six walks are already available, with many more being developed by a team of enthusiastic volunteers. Eventually, walks along all 300 miles of the Trail will be published. Of course, you can choose to combine two or more walks in a day for a longer challenge, or just walk a mile or two if you are looking for a relaxing stroll. But the Trail is about much more than giving us a guide for pleasant country walks. The underlying concept is to provide a journey through the Fens’ unique landscape history: “From floods and glaciers to deep seas, tropical lagoons and even 30 The Fens | February 2020
Chris Donnelly of the Cambridgeshire Geological Society says: “We recognised that the Fen Edge is a place where two very different landscapes intersect, so it would be perfect as a walking route as well as the basis for studying and explaining the area’s geology.
volcanoes!” The Fen Edge Trail website also provides information about places of interest that can be visited along the Trail, and links to organisations that can help you learn more about the area.
“Whenever you visit the edge of the Fens you are likely to be near a place where the dryer, higher ground attracted settlers. The same is true of the many islands that also provided a dry place to live, such as Ely, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey, so the Fen Edge Trail includes loops around
these islands too.” These settlers wanted to be close to the wetlands so they could fish and travel around by boat, while living above the water (they didn’t have wellies in the Bronze Age). It means that as well as exploring areas of geological significance, you will be walking in the footsteps of your ancestors. Along the way you’ll see evidence of how people lived and worked hundreds or even thousands of years ago.
Hillshade map showing the sea level, 5-metre and 10-metre contours
DISCOVERING A UNIQUE LANDSCAPE I walked a six-mile section of the Trail between Wistow and Warboys one January afternoon. The ground was muddy so I wore my wellies, but the fresh winter air and mostly sunny weather made up for it. Tagging along was my five-year-old cocker spaniel, who isn’t into geology but always welcomes the chance to sniff around for rabbits and game birds. Guiding me was the route description I downloaded for free from the fenedgetrail.org website. The instructions were detailed and clear. I only got slightly lost once, which is a record for me. The accompanying four-page leaflet describes places of interest along the route, while a geology and contours map explains how the landscape was created. The information provided is much more extensive than I’ve found in most commercially-produced walking books. The Fen Edge Trail volunteers are clearly investing a huge amount of time into their work. Within a few minutes it was clear why exploring the edge of the Fens makes so much sense for walkers. To my left the fields sloped away down a slight valley, while to my right the land rose upwards to higher ground. The undulating landscape is quite different from the totally flat view you experience walking deep within the Fens. Don’t get me wrong; I love miles of flat scenery and the amazing skies that the Fens are famous for. But it’s nice to
have a slightly hilly landscape to experience so close to home. The Wistow to Warboys walk is just one section of a route being mapped out from Ramsey to St. Ives. Three walks have been published so far, taking you from Ramsey to Somersham, with the remaining sections under development. Also available for download are walks near Cambridge covering the stretch from Stow cum Quy to Reach, and from Witcham to Sutton on the Isle of Ely. As more walks are published, what’s being created is a wonderful resource for anyone with an interest in local history, or those who just want to get out and enjoy a great day walking on the edge of the Fens.
BE PART OF THE TRAIL! Individuals and groups are invited to help with the Fen Edge Trail. As well as providing information about the Fens’ history, landscape, farming, wildlife or culture, you could help with designing one of the walks. Please get in touch via fenedgetrail.org if you’d like to be involved or follow them on Twitter: @fenedgetrail The Fens | February 2020
LOCAL HISTORY BY BILL WATT
Peterborough and the Poor Part One
his month I thought I would try to give a voice to the people we rarely here from in history; the poor and dispossessed. Of course, their story can only be told in generalities; in their collective experiences and lives. Not as particular individuals like Kings, Queens, Noblemen, Senior Courtiers and very, very wealthy Merchants. Not withstanding the limitations imposed by the simple fact that the poor and serfs have no individual history,
3-7 million, with a general consensus towards the higher figure. Most historians agree that the Black Death killed between 30-45% of the population. A truly shattering event due to its effect on the availability of manpower, which came from the serf class. And the serfs were largest, single population group in medieval society.
their story is as important to history and the slow development of our society as is the afore- mentioned “Big Players”. In this, the first story, I will try to give an idea of the general life conditions of that group in that day’s society. To do so I will tell their story in episodes; as there is quite a bit of story to tell.
the production, sale and taxation of various items in Medieval England. It is a unit of measurement still used in different parts of the world, including South Australia and the Northern Territory.
The one event in mediaeval times, prior to the Reformation and dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, that had an earthshattering effect on society, was the Black Death. This event effectively marked the beginning of the end for serfdom. Prior to the Black Death the estimates for the population are 32 The Fens | February 2020
In this piece you will note that I refer to a “Hundred”. This was an English unit of measurement used in
The origins of organised Parochial Poor Relief extend as far back as the 15th century. With the decline and final dissolution of the monasteries in 1536 and the breakdown of the medieval social structure, also caused by HenryVIII’s momentous break with the Roman Catholic Church. The dissolution of the monasteries and the seizure of their wealth by Henry enabled him to create a totally new wealthy,
monied class who were bound to support Henry. After the Black Death several acts were passed aimed at forcing able bodied men to work and keep wages at their old levels. These steps were counter productive as it encouraged labourers to move around the country looking for work in places where wages were higher, and the labour laws were less strictly enforced. Some took to begging under the pretence of being too ill to work or being crippled. In 1349 the “Ordinance of Labourers” prohibited private individuals from giving relief to able bodied beggars. In 1388 the Statute of Cambridge introduced regulations restricting the movement of all Labourers and Beggars. Each county “Hundred” became responsible for relieving its own “Impotent” poor. Servants wishing to move out of their own “Hundred” needed a letter of authority from their local Justice of The Peace, allowing them to do so. Failure to provide this risked being put into the stocks. The consequences being that beggars could not pretend to be labourers, nor to be invalids; both of whom needed
permission to wander. This 1388 Act is often regarded as the first English Poor Law. However, due to a lack of enforcement it had limited impact and effect. Over the next two centuries further legislation followed. In 1494 the “Vagabonds and Beggars Act” was passed. This determined that “Vagabonds, idle and suspected persons shall be set in stocks for three days. Their only sustenance being bread and water; then being put out of town. Every beggar suitable to work shall resort to the “Hundred” where he last dwelled, if known; or was born and there remain. Worse was to follow – in 1547 the “Statute of Legal Settlement” declared a beggar could be branded or made a slave for two years. If he or she absconded and was then caught – slavery for life awaited. “Foolish pity and mercy” towards vagrants were also condemned. However, on a more positive note, cottages were to be erected for the impotent poor and they were to be relieved or cured. To be continued...
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GETTING ORGANISED The new tax year will soon be with us, a good time to get organised because if you reduce tax there is more money for you. Tax comes in many disguises, most of us expect to have our earnings taxed and to pay VAT when we buy many goods and services, but some of the taxes can legitimately be reduced or erased completely. A good example being to put surplus funds held ‘for a rainy day’ in an ISA where the interest earned is paid tax free. If saving a lump sum for later times a pension arrangement might be even more tax efficient because for every £80 you put in tax relief at 20% boosts the investment to £100 – there are limits and you might even find that if your employer makes the payment you don’t have to pay National Insurance (another tax) on those contributions. If you run your own business, have you considered whether changing to a limited company could save you money? A limited liability company may also protect you in the event of legal action against you, so there are many aspects to consider – get your accountant and independent financial adviser speaking to each other. Many families have created wealth over their working lives and might have inherited some along the way, if your estate is worth over £325,000 you might have an Inheritance Tax (IHT) issue for your beneficiaries to sort out, the obvious starting point is to ensure your Wills are valid and up to date. A couple could have two IHT allowances to use – provided the executors make application. If your estate is likely to exceed £650,000, and if you own your main residence – you really should get some professional advice while there is time to make plans that will allow access to the assets you might require later and safeguarding other assets to ensure your chosen beneficiaries get more than the tax man! Pensions can provide up to 25% of the fund value as a tax free lump sum, the remaining fund can generate income that is taxed. If you cash in more than the 25% tax free allowance that lump sum is taxable – if you are not careful this could be at 40% or even 45%, a well structured approach can reduce exposure to taxation so there is more to spend on retirement. Free Initial Review If you have financial concerns and you are looking for some advice, why not have an initial consultation at no cost to you by arranging a meeting with me? The value of an investment can go down as well as up, you may not get back as much as you put in, past performance is not an indicator of future returns. Tax planning is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Tax treatment varies according to individual circumstances and is subject to change. For financial planning advice on investments, retirement and estate planning, seek out an Independent Financial Adviser with a good record of delivering simple financial advice that really works.
Eamonn Dorling Dip PFS, Senior Independent Financial Adviser. Brooks Wealth Management Tel: 01733 314553 Mob: 07767 795816 Email: Eamonn@brookswealth.co.uk Brooks Wealth Management is a trading style of Ampris Limited who are an appointed representative of Wealthline Limited, registered in England 08761632 (Registered office: 8a Cowgate, Peterborough) Wealthline Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 684319 The Fens | February 2020 33
This issue, Whittlesey Veterinary Centre looks at preventative care
IMPORTANCE OF PREVENTATIVE CARE We all want our pets to be healthy and happy and to enjoy a good quality of life. By having regular health check ups you will be doing everything you can to ensure this, even if you feel your pet is well, helping to reduce the chances of disease or illness. Sometimes something small may be picked up before it becomes a bigger problem making it easier to treat successfully. Most pets will have a yearly physical examination when they have their vaccinations, but we also recommend at least another check up during the year. Examination of their eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, skin and coat etc. can tell us a lot about your pet’s health. Advice can also be given on how you can prevent future problems occurring, e.g. looking after their teeth, keeping them at a healthy bodyweight, providing them with the correct amount of exercise, treating them for parasites and keeping their claws in good health. Whittlesey Veterinary Centre now offer a Pet Health Plan, allowing you to provide your pet with the preventative care they require at a reduced cost, plus an added bonus of being able to spread the cost. By joining our new Pet Health Plan your pet will benefit from preventative treatments and services at discounted prices that are payable via a monthly direct debit, spreading the costs over the year for you.
What treatments and services are included in the Pet Health Plan? DOGS AND CATS • Annual vaccinations, including Kennel Cough for dogs and Feline Leukaemia for cats. • Flea and worm treatments. • Microchipping or a £10 discount on any diet if already microchipped. • Claw clipping. • Emptying anal glands. • Biannual Veterinary Nurse health examination. • 10% off dentistry or neutering. • 5% off Vetsure Pet Insurance. RABBITS • Annual vaccinations, including Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease. Excluding VHD2. • Fly strike preventative product provided once annually. • Microchipping or £10 discount on any diet if already microchipped. • Claw clipping. • Biannual Veterinary Nurse health examination. • 10% off dentistry or neutering. For more information or to sign up contact us at the surgery via telephone: 01733 685514 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Images Caroline Fitton and Wildlife Trust
Starring role for the Great Fen WORDS Caroline Fitton, The Wildlife Trust
Did anyone spot the Great Fen on television last month? Popular BBC1 programme ‘Antiques Road Trip’ came to the region in early January, and, as well as trawling antiques emporiums and outlets across the region, also visited places of national interest and importance along the way.
Lorna Parker and they filmed at Rymes Reedbed where Jules heard about all the species which can be seen from this double-height bird hide, from short eared owls to myriad butterflies and dragonflies. They travelled on to film at the Rothschild bungalow, where Jules joked that this could be the final ‘mystery house/property’ on the programme! Look out for the new series (which this episode is part of) to be broadcast later in the year. See Antiques Road Trip at www.bbc. co.uk/programmes/m000d2rm (Gt Fen section 24 mins in). And read about Rothschild’s legacy at www. wildlifetrusts.org/about-us/ourhistory
So it was that on Friday 10 January antiques expert James Braxton visited the Great Fen and learned all about the history of British conservation through the vision of philanthropist and conservationist Charles Rothschild. Rothschild bought the fragment of fen, Woodwalton Fen, now at the heart of the Great Fen, back in 1910 in an act of far reaching vision when he realised that this habitat was fast disappearing. The society he founded in 1912 became the forerunner of The Wildlife Trusts movement we know today. He met up with research and monitoring officer Henry Stanier who talked him through all the work at the Great Fen – and they had time for spot of pond dipping. Earlier last year BBC1’s ‘Escape to the Country’ also came to the Great Fen to learn all about the rich heritage of conservation and the ongoing fenland restoration. Presenter Jules Hudson met restoration manager
36 The Fens | February 2020
NEW BOOK ABOUT THE GREAT FEN An enthralling new read about the Great Fen is just out, exploring how this Cambridgeshire fenland has evolved through population growth, war, drainage and cultivation to the landscape of today. The Great Fen: A Journey Through Time, by Alan Bowley (retired Natural England senior reserves manager, Woodwalton Fen), traces stories of people and wildlife and shows how we can learn from the past and asks what future do we want for ourselves and the non-human world. Alan Bowley writes: “After almost three years intensive research it is great to see this book published - both a celebration of the achievements of our ancestors as well as a cautionary tale of the consequences of our fractured relationship with the natural world. For 8,000 years successive generations on the fenland have met the challenges of their time, resulting in a skilful use of the reeds and water until drainage. As technology led to
more intensive use of the land and loss of wetland, champions emerged who warned of the pressures faced by wildlife, soil and people themselves, as the close connection between them became eroded. Throughout the 20th century, protected sites have striven to protect our wildlife but with limited success. The vision of Great Fen is a beacon both for the future of some of Britain’s most unique wildlife but also the changes which modern societies need to make if we are to continue to live in a world rich in natural resources. Bitterns and business can live together and this book provides the background as to how this can be achieved.” Wildlife Trust BCN chief executive Brian Eversham says: “The Fens have changed dramatically since the ice age, from tundra to high forest to raised bogs and to intensive farmland. This important book explores the impacts of the changes on the wildlife and people who have lived in the Fens, and provides deep insights into the outstanding nature reserve of Woodwalton Fen. It looks forward to a new and wildlife-rich future for this corner of the Fens; future changes are likely to be as dramatic, and much more ecologically rewarding, than the recent past.” Order at www.naturebureau.co.uk/thegreat-fen-a-journey-through-time Get Mindful at the Great Fen, Friday 21 February, 10am-3pm Participants will be led through Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy techniques whilst enjoying the beauty and serenity of the surroundings in the Great Fen. £3 per person; for info and booking please contact 01487 815524 or firstname.lastname@example.org www.wildlifebcn.org/events/2020-0221-mindfulness-walks-great-fen
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Walk of the month
In the Bleak Mid-Winter WORDS AND IMAGES AMY CORNEY As January merges into February, the thought of Spring peeking just around the corner is enough to warm our hands and hearts. Unfortunately, Spring was a distant dream when we ventured on our next walk on a rather chilly January morning. This time we popped to Hinchingbrooke Country Park to explore more of the vast 180 acres of parkland and to seek out nature’s Winter delights. Thanks to the very wet Winter we have been experiencing most of our favourite walks require wellies and this walk was no exception. Taking a right-hand turn from the car park we entered Bob’s Wood which is dominated by Hornbeam trees with the occasional Oak and Fir tree popping up. The trees stand tall and proud dwarfing the landscape which was surrounded with a carpet of slowly decaying Autumn leaves, giving off the most wonderful earthy scent. The wood is approximately 100 years old but the majority of the original Oak trees were felled for boat building during the first World War so it likely looks very different now than it did when it was first 38 The Fens | February 2020
established. Twiggy our dog revelled in the freedom the wood offers and thoroughly enjoyed carrying fallen branches and large twigs around. Fallen and cut wood are stacked in piles which make a great habitat for invertebrates and small mammals.
Heading out of Bob’s Wood we followed the very muddy footpath into the wildlife area where dogs must be kept on leads! Here we spotted more of the friendly Grey Squirrels that inhabit the area, their cheeky spirits running high above our heads and moving much quicker than I can take a photo! Despite the gloomy weather,
there is still lots to see in the park and I particularly enjoyed the spikey Teasels and dried seed heads that dipped and bobbed in the chilly winds. On a frosty morning these would look particularly pretty. As we exited the nature area, we
Moorhens and Swans enjoying the water amongst Bulrushes, which fill the wash and make the perfect cover for the inhabitants of the park. The boggy washes sum up the ancient Fen landscape we all know and love and makes the perfect spot for our pup to paddle.
Beyond the wash mounds appear and this is a specially designed course for mountain bikers. Families were enjoying the fresh air and making the most of splashing in the muddy puddles in their wellies. Venturing on we headed through the Orchard, following the path through the hedgerows we came across an old stone bridge which leads you down to the bigger lakes. Trying to avoid our dog taking a full-on dip we turned left instead and continued the path through the woodlands. Catkins dripped from the Birch trees and despite the grey day we spotted some cheerful colour with red and white berries on bushes still providing a food source for the birds. As we neared the end of the walk the lure of a fry up came drifting from the cafĂŠ, so we decided to stop for a cheeky breakfast. The park is a lovely place to visit whether young or old and will only get more picturesque as Spring arrives and everything bursts into life. followed the path between the wash and the wildlife lake. The wetlands at the park are made up of two large lakes totalling 36 acres as well as smaller ponds, lakes and a brook. The
wash was dug around 1997 as a shallow water body perfect for Dragonfly and Damselflies. Here the wash is brimming with bird life activity and we spotted
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Charities Must Step Up Financial Security Last summer we stressed the importance for charities to meet prescribed levels of assurance over their financial statements from 2020 onwards. The Charity Commission has now called on charities to take steps to prevent fraud after fresh research shows many are not protecting themselves against biggest risks. Writes Jason Jones Registered charities are numerous across Fenland. There are hundreds in the market towns. In addition to the household names with high street presence, dozens of smaller charities support local people and causes. The Commission’s research, their largest ever focused on fraud and cybercrime, reveals that over half of charities affected by fraud during the past two years knew the perpetrator. It suggests that over a third of those committing fraud were the charity’s own staff members. Trustees and volunteers together were responsible for 28% and beneficiaries were identified in 13% of known frauds. However, the study shows that charities are not always recognising how vulnerable their own organisations are, and are not consistently putting basic checks and balances in place. The Commission is concerned about this gap between awareness and practical action because it poses a threat to a charity’s ability to deliver for beneficiaries if donors cannot be confident in charities’ stewardship of the money they receive. It recommends simple steps around basic financial controls; tightening the oversight or control of financial arrangements; encouraging staff, volunteers and trustees to speak out when they see something they feel uncomfortable about. The new research indicates that charities are increasingly aware of the risks of cybercrime, which is a term that describes crimes that exploit or attack a charity’s digital presence, data or systems, such as phishing and malicious emails, hacking and extortion.
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Space cadets, get ready for half-term blast off at Queensgate!
Queensgate Shopping Centre is ready to moon-rock your world this February half term, with a FREE intergalactic event just perfect for your curious little astronaut wannabes! The space-themed event, called ‘A World Of Imagination’, will give kids the chance to see the solar system in a giant dome, experience space using virtual reality masks, handle meteorites and even have a taste of space food too! Little ones will get to dress up in astronaut costumes to take part in 30-minute workshops inside the space dome which will be in North Square,
Nene Park Survival Challenge
outside John Lewis & Partners and Superdry. It will take place on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February from 11am4pm. There’s no need to book, you can just turn up on the day – and every child will receive a space certificate before they leave! Rebecca Keefe, Marketing Manager at Queensgate Shopping Centre said: “If you’re wondering how we manage to put on events like these, it’s quite simple really … we just planet! These free events are a great way to bring families together and we hope you all enjoy this one, it’s going to be a blast!” To find out more, visit www.queensgate-shopping.co.uk
Come along and try a mix of bushcraft activities and find out how to survive outside on February 17th at 10am to 1pm at Ferry Meadows in Peterborough. The session will be based around the of elements of survival, shelter, water, fire and food. Learn how to keep yourself dry and warm by building a natural shelter, making a fire and cooking on the fire. The cost is £14 per child and it is open to over 8s. Pre-booking is essential. Find out more by visiting www.nenepark.org.uk or telephone 01733 234193.
Hunt for clues
If survival isn’t your thing, the park is also holding a holiday trail on February 15th between 10am and 3pm. Collect a trail sheet from the Visitor Centre and then hunt for clues as you walk around Ferry Meadows. Return to the Visitor Centre to claim your prize. The trail sheet costs £1.
What is a Wellyphant? at Peterborough Museum What is a Wellyphant you ask? Find out as you join in with the creation of a story inspired by Nick Sharratt (the man behind the instantly recognisable illustrations for Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker books). Get kids jotting, doodling, scribbling as they make the characters come alive and discover new ones along the way! The ‘Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants’ exhibition gives visitors the chance to immerse themselves in Nick’s world, find out about his childhood and what inspired him to become an illustrator, and meet a host of the characters that he has created throughout his career. The exhibition at Peterborugh Museum is free but during half-term there are charges for the Wellyphant activities. The ‘What’s a Wellyphant?’ activities 42 The Fens | February 2020
runs from Monday 17th to Friday 21st February. Entry for this is £3 children, £4 adults, £12 families (2 adults up to 3 children), various times. Book online at www.vivacity.org or call 01733 864663. Exhibition opening times: Tues - Sun (incl. Mondays on Bank Holidays and during school holidays) 10am - 5pm (last admission 4.30pm)
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Fens A magazine with the heart and soul of the
A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
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WHAT’S ON Include your event for free by emailing email@example.com COUNCILLOR SURGERIES
Will be held in Peel House at 8 Queen Street from 09:30 to 10:30 on the first Saturday of every month throughout 2020. Saturday February 1st Councillors present will be: Councillor Kay Mayor (District, and Town Councillor); Councillor Victoria Lang-Whiston (Town Councillor). If you have any matters of concern and wish to discuss with a Councillor, then please come along and let us know.
cocktails and you’ll know it’s not a night to miss! Get your tickets from: · The Ivy Leaf Club, Gracious Street, Whittlesey · Larry’s Heel Bar, Broad St, Whittlesey · Bob’s Records 16 Broad St, Whittlesey For info contact Ivy Leaf Club 01733 202579; Andy 07941 629660; or Bob’s Records 07802 354220. Tickets £6 in advance or £8 on the door. See the Facebook page for more details
CROWNS AND GOWNS - AN EXHIBITION Saturday 1st February - Sunday 15th March
WHITTLESEY CONSERVATIVE RACE NIGHT Friday 28th February, 7pm for a 7:30pm start
A fabulous collection of costumes, jewels, props, behind the scenes footage and memorabilia from some of the major Hollywood movies filmed at Ely Cathedral. Exhibition Opening Times Monday to Saturday: 9.30am to 4.00pm Sunday: Midday to 3.45pm Box Office: 01353 660349 www.elycathedral.org
SEE HALF-TERM ACTIVITIES IDEAS ON PAGE 42 “GREAT NIGHTS & WHITTLESEY RE-UNITED FOR VALENTINES! Saturday 15th February
The very best of floor-filling soul and Motown tracks from the classic years of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Make it a date at the Ivy Leaf Club, Whittlesey and bop, glide and step in the themed decor, with three top DJs Ian Gray, John Bradley and Andy Coulson, spinning absolutely cracking tunes. Dress up if you fancy it..... how about coming as your favourite iconic celebrity from the era, or even dressing just like you did back in your glitzy disco days? Add in real ale and
Painting group, Eastrea Centre every Tues 1pm - 4pm all are welcome, for details contact Sue on 01733 205241 Jim’s Bingo, Tues and Thurs. Doors open at 7pm. Eyes down at 7.30pm at the rear of the Conservative Club. Whittlesea Society meet on the second Monday of each month at 7.30pm in the Town Hall Whittlesey Mud Walls Group Meet upstairs at the Whittlesey Museum on the first Wed of the month at 10:30am
44 The Fens | February 2020
about how wildlife can benefit from our garden activities. During an incredible 40 year RSPB career, Peter has co-authored more than a dozen books, appeared on Blue Peter and Springwatch, run the RSPB’s junior membership programme, and devised the Big Garden Birdwatch. The evening will also include: - A chance to buy Peter’s book on garden wildlife - An intermission with tea, coffee and snacks - A raffle and items for sale St Ives Free Church, PE27 5AL £4 entry (free to local group members)
GARDEN WILDLIFE TALK Wednesday 25th March at 7:30pm
Whittlesey U3A Open Meetings take place at Childers, Station Road, on the third Thursday of each month at 2pm. Main speakers for the coming months are: February 20th Mark Homan/Wayne Arbon, The Gauntlet Auto Project March 19th Upwood Ukuleles April 16th Bramble Lodge Alpacas May 21st AGM and Singchronicity NEW FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE We now have members of this group at every open meeting to meet and greet any first time visitors. They will be there to welcome you in, show you where everything is, provide tea or coffee and introduce you to present members, so no fear of confronting a room full of strangers. We now offer members a choice of over thirty interest groups, something for everyone, so why not take up a new hobby this year? Members of these groups will provide samples of what they do at open meetings throughout the year. Each month, our meetings offer a Jigsaw Exchange, a book Exchange and a Raffle. There is also a notice board where members can advertise items for sale to other members Further info contact Wendy Fletcher, Publicity Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just for Kicks Rock n Roll Club - Record Hop. Every Monday. Yaxley British Legion. 07718 511640 TAI CHI & SABRE Eastrea Village Hall Every Thurs evening. 7.30pm - 9pm Contact Jan or Jeff on 07842 090506 Music Makers Whittlesey meet on the first Thursday of every month. A singing group for older people. Persons with memory challenges very welcome. Venue: The Wesley Room, Queen Street Church, Whittlesey at 2:30pm. £1 per person, includes refreshments. For further info contact Kathryn Gray on 01733 351594.
Whittlesey Rocks. Come and join the fun every Wednesday night at The Falcon Hotel, Whittlesey at 7:30pm. Just £2 each (accompanied under 16s free). Learn to jive and stroll with Rock’n’Roll music. Sudbury Court coffee mornings Monday & Thursday 9.30-10.30 and Bingo Tuesday evenings from 7.00pm. The Whittlesea Motorcycle Club all makes of bikes welcome. We meet every other Tuesday from 7.30 pm at The Vine Public House on the Green in Coates PE7 2BJ. Facebook search ‘’Whittlesea Motorcycle Club
The race night will be held at St. Andrew’s Parish Hall, Parkinsons Lane, Whittlesey. Tickets are £8.50 each which includes a Sausage and Mash Supper. Doors open at 7pm and Races start at 7.30pm. Horses can purchased for £3 each and Race sponsorship is £10 per race. These can be booked and purchased prior to the evening. Tickets and further details of the event are available from Julie Windle Tel. 01733 204445
MODEL RAILWAY EXHIBITION Saturday 14th March, 10am - 4:30pm
March & District Model Railway Club present their exhibition at Westwood Community Junior & Infant School, Maple Grove, March, Cambs, PE15 8JT. Layouts in many gauges, Trade stands, Demonstrations, External steam traction rides. Refreshments etc. Free Parking available. Entrance: Adults £5.00, Children: £2.00, Family (2 Adults + 3 Children) £10.00. Info at www.mdmrc.co.uk
The RSPB Huntingdonshire local group welcomes Peter Holden MBE to talk
Thinking Climate Change On November 22nd Over the last few months 2018 the US was I’ve been thinking through experiencing a major how I should respond to cold snap. Donald this as a Christian. As I’ve Trump signed off one looked at the Bible, I’ve of his many tweets found the following four with the sarcastic principles that have been retort, ‘whatever helpful. happened to Global The Bible teaches that the Warming?’ world does not belong to Just eleven months us. It was made by God and later, in over 60 cities we were put here to look around the world, after it. We are not free to thousands of people treat the world as we want, from all walks of life but to manage it well. For gathered in protest me, that means I shouldn’t seeking to raise the be uncaring about the Paul Kosciecha, profile of the issues of state of the world. Whittlesey Baptist Church climate change and Central in the Bible is the campaign for action. command to love; love Whether you are a believer or a God and love others. To love someone doubter, there can be no denying is to desire and work for their good. It that climate change is one of the live seems to me that the biggest barrier issues of our day. Today many are to positive change is the cost that it raising concerns of the future and will bring, whether economic or to our issuing a call to change how we live lifestyle. If my focus is on the good of and function. They are urging us to others, then I should be willing to pay act in ways that lessen our impact that cost. on the planet and preserve it for the What’s the problem with the world? generations to come. The Bible tells me that the answer to
that question is always human sin – our disobedience to God. Now, I accept that’s not the most popular of the Bible’s teachings. It’s not nice to be told that we are the problem in the world. Yet, if it’s true, fixing climate change fixes a symptom, not the problem itself. Lastly, the Bible teaches that this world will not last forever. We’re told about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus and it ends with a promise that Jesus will return one day. On that day the world, as we know it, will end. If it’s true, think of the implications. The state of our planet is definitely important, but should it be our first priority. As Jesus said, ‘what good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?’ As a Christian, these principles help me to respond in what I think is a balanced and helpful way. Do you agree or disagree? If you want to get in contact to talk about God or what the Bible has to say you can contact us at the church or through our website at www.whittleseybaptist.org.uk or email email@example.com
Whittlesey Baptist Church, 32 Gracious Street, Whittlesey Website: www.whittleseybaptist.org.uk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fens | February 2020
The New Theatre has some great plays lined up this month, including an absolute favourite, Friendsical.... Get ready for some cracking new shows coming to the New Theatre in Peterborough this month. Starting things off with a ‘Bang’ is John Cleese’s writing debut. Bang Bang is delicious blend of ‘French Farce’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’, and looks set to be a hilarious new adaptation of the classic comedy. When Leontine, a respectable society lady, discovers that she’s been hoodwinked by her husband, Duchotel, who’s always pretending to go hunting but really chasing after other ‘prey’, she vows to take revenge on the philanderer! But while Duchotel’s away, his lifelong friend comes calling – and he’s on the hunt too. Will Leontine get caught in his sights, or instead set a trap of her own?
Bang Bang stars Tessa Peake-Jones who became a household name with her role as Raquel in the iconic comedy ‘Only Fools and Horses’. 46 The Fens | February 2020
Tony Gardner first made his name in comedy as part of the awardwinning comedy duo Struck off and Die. Wendi Peters is most widely known for her role as Cilla Battersby in Coronation Street and is currently appearing in the West End smash-hit musical BIG. Continuing with the comedy, the theatre will then host the 2019 Edinburgh Festival smashhit, Friendsical. The original and unique musical is a loving parody of the iconic TV show, ‘Friends’. With updates to the script and further developments to the design, Friendsical returns bigger and funnier than ever before. When Ross’ wife leaves him for another woman, he fears he will never find love again. But then Rachel runs back into his life... will he end up with his one true love? Featuring original songs such as ‘(He’s her) Lobster!’, ‘Richard’s Moustache’ and ‘You’re Over Me, When Were You Under Me?’ The gang take on naked Thursdays, a power cut, and a dinosaur convention! What could possibly go wrong? Friendsical stars Thomas Mitchells as Chandler (The Buddy Holly Story on UK Tour, Big Girls Don’t Cry on UK Tour) and Ally Retberg as Phoebe (Fame on Italian Tour), who will reprise their acclaimed roles in the hilarious show, and will be joined by a new set of friends for the 2020 tour. The new cast
consists of Ewan Gillies as Ross (Soho Cinders at Charing Cross Theatre, Normality and Sunshine, both at The Other Palace), Alexandra Robinson as Rachel (American Idiot on UK Tour, La Cage Aux Folles on UK Tour), Tanya Shields as Monica (Guys and Dolls for The Prison Project, Fantastic Mr Fox at the Lyric Hammersmith and UK Tour) and Joshua Steel as Joey (Fame on UK Tour, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium). They will be joined by Calum Gulvin (Ensemble) and Stephanie MacGaraidh (Ensemble). Bang Bang will be at the New Theatre Peterborough from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 February. Friendsical will be at the New Theatre from Tuesday 3 - Saturday 7 March. Tickets can be booked online at www.newtheatrepeterborough.com or at the box office on 01733 852 992.
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