A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
Issue 44 | January 2020
Inside this issue Visiting Fen Drayton Lakes
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT Discover Fused Glass Fens | January 2020 1 PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHATâ€™S ON |The PLACES TO VISIT
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The Fens | January 2020(*Offer doesn’t apply to discounted or promotional items or for on-line orders.)
ED’S letter A new year and a new issue. January is that time when many of us make New Year Resolutions, I often try to. Eat less, exercise more, work harder or be more successful. Whatever happened to just being content with what we have or striving for happiness. Eating less won’t make me feel happier, spending more time doing things I love or being with the people I love will keep me happy. So this year, I’m going to do just that. What will yours be? Kicking off the first issue of 2020, we have a great round-up of events happening at the Straw Bear Festival, plus a great suggestion for a New Year’s day walk at Fen Drayton Lakes. There’s also a great recipe from John McGinn to spice up any leftover meat from Christmas Day. We’ve really enjoyed all the people and places we’ve discovered over the year at Fens HQ and with a busy schedule already in place for 2020, we’re excited to bring you many more interesting things over the coming months. I hope in what ever way we inspire you, you continue to enjoy the magazine and continue supporting our advertisers.
NATASHA SHIELS, publisher
THIS month 9 Short story competition winner announced
23 A look at Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
11 Your garden in January
30 Here comes the bear....
12 Visiting Fen Drayton Lakes
32 A look back at the Romans
16 This month’s recipe of the month
36 Spotlight on kingfishers
20 Inspired by fused glass
38 Amy’s walk of the month 40 Events diary 50 Independent of the month Parsons Consulting Engineers
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
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Issue 44 | January 2020
Inside this issue Visiting Fen Drayton Lakes
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT Discover Fused Glass Fens | January 2020 1 PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHAT’S ON |The PLACES TO VISIT
ISSUE 44 | JANUARY 2020 Kingfisher by Robert Grice
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 | January 2020
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The Eastrea Centre, 2 Roman Gardens, Eastrea PE7 2DF Tel: 01733 202442 firstname.lastname@example.org The Fens | January 2020
Holiday Show 2020 We would like to invite you to our Holiday Show. Join the Whittlesey Travel team along with representatives from a selection of our travel partners, to find out what exciting things are in store for the next holiday season. So why not come along and talk to the experts whilst enjoying drinks and canapes and get some inspiration for your next break away.
6-9pm on Wednesday 22 January 2020 at The Ivy Leaf Club, 1 Gracious Street, Whittlesey, PE7 1AP We look forward to seeing you!
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The Fens | January 2020
Slimming World supports their local food bank appeal Members of Whittlesey PM and Eastrea Slimming World groups have taken part in a reverse advent, where they have been bringing in items for the past month to help local families in need. Anna who runs the Eastrea groups says: “I am passionate about fundraising for our local community and I am so proud of every one who has donated.” Anna also ran a raffle in her groups where she raised £70 to buy items not normally donated like sanitary items, toiletries and cleaning products. The groups have donated for several years after Christmas to encourage members to gift highly synned foods to more needy folks of the town, but this year is a first for the Whittlesey PM & Eastrea groups, who have given a vast amount before Christmas has hit! Charlene, who runs the Whittlesey PM groups, also had a collection and
had already taken some chocolate advent calendars before this haul. Brian, the church leader and one of the cocoordinators for the Whittlesey Food Bank, was overwhelmed with all the items donated and stated it would go a long way in helping families in need. He wanted to pass on his thanks and gratitude to every single person who made this possible. To find out more information on
Anna and Charlene’s Slimming World groups visit www.slimmingworld. co.uk. For more information on the food bank, contact Brain Smithyman who runs the food bank from the Whittlesey Christian Church at www.whittlesey.cc
CONTRACTOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST Whittlesey Town Council seek expressions of interest from suitably qualified contractors for the following: 1. Grass cutting of the B1040 along with litter pick, this action is carried out twice a year. 2. Hedge cutting at the Allotment Site on New Road, there are two hedges that will require yearly maintenance. 3. Hanging basket maintenance to include the collection, hanging of the baskets and removal at the
end of season, plus daily watering throughout the season. Please send your expression of interest to the Town Clerk. Mrs Susan Piergianni Peel House 8 Queen Street Whittlesey PE7 1AY Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. uk Closing Date is Friday 17th January 2020
MACMILLAN NURSES THANKED Whittlesey Indoor Bowls Club, Station Road, Whittlesey held a coffee morning and bowls roll up and collected an impressive £750 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Fifty members attended and had a great morning in support of Macmillan nurses. Well done to everyone involved! Photo courtesy of Frederick Ayley.
THE FMCA WARMS UP THINGS UP WHEN THE HEATING BREAKS DOWN! The FMCA would like to warmly thank the generous support shown by the audience, at our annual Christmas Concert held on December 7th. A generous £574 was raised on the night, every penny of which, will help our volunteers continue to bring music and educational opportunities to the local community. A packed St. Peter's Church in March, saw the FMCA put on one of their best performances to date. Conductors Ceri Griffin and Beth Letts created the perfect festive atmosphere with their choice of repertoire that was performed by no less than 3 Orchestras, a Concert Band, Swing Band and String, Wind 6
The Fens | January 2020
and Recorder Ensembles. Their spokesman was quoted as saying "A well attended Christmas Concert is vital to our charity and it is heart warming to see such generous support shown each year for our concerts - so heart warming in fact, that hardly anybody noticed the fact that the boiler had decided to give up the ghost and join 3 other well known festive spirits - Scrooge certainly would have felt at home tonight! The FMCA welcomes musicians of any age or ability and looks forward to welcoming new members in the New Year, when we kick-off rehearsing again on Friday
10th January. Please check out our website on fenlandmusciccentre. org.uk for more details. We would like to thank all the volunteers, musicians and most importantly the public, that made tonight's concert possible and wish them all, a very happy New Year!
Working with you to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover your waste Ever wondered what happens to your waste, or how you could help to reduce your impact on the environment? Find out more about the 4Rs of waste – how to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover!
WhaT happEns To your wasTE?
Your recyclables are delivered to the Waterbeach Waste Management Park and the ‘Materials Recycling Facility’ at the site separates out the paper, card, plastics and cans ready for reprocessing into new products. When your rubbish is collected, it is delivered to the Waterbeach Waste Management Park in Cambridgeshire. Your rubbish is put through a ‘Mechanical and Biological Treatment’ process which separates out recyclable materials that may have been missed and reduces the organic fraction of the waste through a composting process before it is landfilled.
So whaT can you do To
REDUCE: We can all help by
reducing our waste – say no to single use plastic, get creative with leftover food, buy quality items that last! REUSE: A lot of things can be reused – take a refillable bottle or cup with you, re-cover an old chair, sell unwanted clothes or give them to charity!
Your food and garden waste is composted at the Waterbeach Waste Management Park to create a soil improver which residents can collect for free from the site. It is a rich source of nutrients and is used by gardeners, allotment holders, landscapers and farmers.
However, the landfill site will be full in the next 10-15 years. The material currently being landfilled is a rich source of energy, and in future could be used to generate electricity and heat.
– wel RECYCLE: We can all recycle more incl uding
over half of your waste is recyclable recycled food waste, and remember to buy le plastics clab products, too! Some of your recy right here are made back into new products in Cambridgeshire! of RECOVER: We can make the most out energy that waste if we recover materials or the and heating is in our leftover waste – powering 4th R! the is s homes and businesses. Thi
The proposed Energy from Waste facility Recovering energy from leftover waste rather than landfilling it at Waterbeach could generate enough electricity to power 63,000 homes, supply heat to local homes and businesses and help to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 35,000 tonnes per year. The new facility will create 35 new jobs and add 10% to the Waterbeach Waste Management Park’s £27m per annum contribution to the local economy.
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The Fens | January 2020
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The Fens | January 2020
THE EYRIE PRESS SHORT STORY COMPETITION 2019 The annual Eyrie Press Short Story Competition is specifically for writers in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire, and we are very happy to run it in partnership with The Fens Magazine. The challenge is to write a story in any genre and on any theme, but with a maximum of 1000 words. We were absolutely delighted to have had a record-breaking number of entries this year – a massive thank you to everyone who entered! This made it much harder for us to create a shortlist for the judges, authors Sue Welfare and Jon Lawrence, and a much harder job for them to decide!
However, they finally made their choice, and we are happy to announce that the winner is Mai Black from Suffolk, with her story The Smuggler’s Sweetheart. Our judges loved the pacing, the imagery, the atmosphere, and the lovely symbolism with the lamp. They felt it was extremely well written and presented and demonstrated real understanding of story structure. We run this competition because we feel that the short story format has so much character to offer its readers and can often evoke so much emotion and warmth in so few words. We want to encourage writers in our region to explore the unique challenges
and opportunities the format presents, and we were especially happy this year to hear from writers who had never entered a competition before. We are over the moon that you took a chance with us – you are all to be congratulated on your fantastic achievements and we really hope you enter again next year! Please now enjoy Mai’s story, The Smuggler’s Sweetheart. Jane Spencer Publisher, Eyrie Press www.eyiepress.co.uk
THE SMUGGLER’S SWEETHEART Short story by Mai Black
Mary stood on the chalk cliff top watching Jack’s boat disappear over the horizon. An hour passed, then two, whilst the waves lashed the rocks and the stars pinned themselves one by one to the darkening sky. All too soon, it was time for work. She followed the ragged path back to her father’s inn, and there they all were: the grizzle-faced men with soup-stained moustaches and bulging bellies who leered and cursed and grabbed at her skirts with their filthy hands. Until Jack, that was all she’d known – grime and stink and coarse laughter. But then, one day, the door flew open and in he came with his shiny, black leather boots, his navy, goldtrimmed jacket and his pale grey eyes, bright and cool as the dawn.
stand by, bitter, envious, and alone. For it was she, Mary, who kept the lamp lit for him, she who kept his secret. Jack was no common sailor. He was far more valiant, more resolute, a man in charge of his own destiny. Smuggler. That was the word he’d whispered on their third meeting, when he’d taken her outside, away where no one else could hear, when he’d brushed his thumb against the softness of her hand and asked for her help. ‘Can you do it?’ he’d asked. ‘Light the lamp and guide me safely.’
Since that day, every waking hour was filled with thoughts of him; every dream was of the two of them together, collecting shells or wandering through meadows of tall rippling grasses as they shaded their eyes from the dying sun. She was sure he felt the same. So what if he flirted with her older sister, Rose? So what if some nights Rose sat on his lap whilst he played with her ringlets? Men never married girls like that. When she was old enough, she and Jack would be wed. She would plait her hair with lilacs and honeysuckle, and Rose would
morning, however, after Jack left, Mary fell ill. When she tried to leave her bed, she fell heavy against her pillow and could eat nothing all day, save a single spoonful of broth. Even so, that evening she staggered in her nightgown to light the lamp at her window in case Jack should choose that night to return.
Just as he was losing hope, he saw a glimmer. ‘Good girl,’ he whispered and followed where it led. Soon he would have his lips pressed to a foaming mug of ale with Rose sitting on his knee.
The next day, her fever was worse, and the pain was so great she clasped her head in her hands. Yet, as the window darkened, she peeled back her sweat-soaked sheet, held the matchbox in her trembling hand, struck the blue flame and lit the lamp.
A gust of wind parted the clouds and the moon appeared. Too late, he realised he was headed straight for the cliffs. He pulled hard on the oars, trying to hold the boat steady, but another wave came crashing, smashing, driving him forward.
And so it went on until the seventh evening, the evening Jack had chosen to sail home. ‘The lamp,’ she whispered.
What had gone wrong? Had the lamp been moved? Had he been looking in the wrong window?
‘Hush!’ her mother said.
A wave, higher and more powerful than all the others, thrust him forward. There was nothing he could do. It slammed his boat hard on to the rocks, splintering the hull. The foaming water rushed in, but, he told himself, he was a good swimmer; he might yet survive.
*** A mile from the English coast, lightning ripped the sky and thunder rolled barrel-heavy as Jack battled against the waves. It’s not worth it, he thought, sea salt pricking his face, his jacket sodden and clinging icy-cold to his chest. This will be my last crossing.
She’d nodded, and he’d left her in the moonlight, his faint kiss still drying on her cheek. For three seasons the trick had worked, and each time Jack found land safely. One
light? Why hadn’t she lit the lamp? The creature was half in love with him. So where was it?
Now all he wanted was to reach dry land and stay there. Peering into the darkness, he searched for the light. But there was none to be seen. The stupid girl had promised, he thought. So where was the
He pushed himself away from the rocks and kicked his legs hard. It was then that he saw the light. All the strength went out of him as the light drew him down and down, deeper and deeper, to where Mary was waiting for him, lilacs and honeysuckle plaited in her hair, and with the lamp from the window clutched tightly in one frozen hand.
Image courtesy of Lisa Runnels pixabay.com/users/greyerbaby-2323/ The Fens | January 2020
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What’s on at the 2020 Straw Bear Festival? Saturday Daytime - Around Town 18TH JANUARY
10:30am - 3:30pm
THE BEARS and Various Dance Sides
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Methodist United Reformed Church, Queen Street
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Home & garden
YOUR GARDEN IN January
The garden in January needs to be prepared for all sorts of weather and if you’ve been following our advice over the last few months your hard work is done for now. Most plants are dormant this month as they sleep through the cold weather, but there are still a few things to do in the garden. Spring is just around the corner and work can be done to prepare for the warmth of the new season. When its not too cold beds and borders can be dug over and lawn edges can be repaired and re-shaped. Don’t forget to keep feeding the birds, as food is scarce for them over the winter.
Looking good this month... Helleborus WHY SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? Popular because they flower in cold winter and early spring, Hellebores herald the start of the New Year bringing a touch of colour to the garden. Commonly known as ‘Christmas Roses’ they are easy to grow and very hardy. They produce attractive flowers and their leaves create a perfect evergreen backdrop to spring flowering bulbs.
ESSENTIAL JOBS FOR JANUARY PROTECT PLANTS January is known for cold frosts and bitter winds so plants will need protecting. If you haven’t already done so, ensure protective fleece is in place on tender plants over-wintering outdoors. Lift containers up onto pot feet – if water isn’t draining away the soil can become waterlogged. Wet compost can rot roots and cause pots to crack in frost. Remove snow from tree and shrub branches by knocking with a broom. Even a small amount of snow can add a lot of weight to branches, causing them to snap.
aerate – getting air into the soil is important because plant roots need oxygen. Choose a dry day when the soil isn’t too wet. Don’t break your back breaking down large lumps of soil. Keeping them large can help air circulate and any later frosts will break them up.
DIG OVER BARE GROUND Run a fork through your vegetable patch or flowerbeds. This will help to
Enjoy your garden!
HOW SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? Plant in shady herbaceous borders and the areas between deciduous shrubs to give an early splash of colour. Happy in dappled shade they should be planted in rich, heavy soil that won’t dry out in the summer. Ideal planting companions include Snowdrops, Primrose, Cornus and Mahonia.
FEED THE BIRDS Natural food sources for birds are in short supply during the winter. Give them a helping hand by putting food out for them. Keep food topped up but not full all the time – little and often is best.
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The Fens | January 2020
Image by Simon Shore
Fen Drayton Lakes WORDS NATASHA SHIELS IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL Fen Drayton Lakes began life as a flooded sand and gravel quarry next to riverside meadows. Now a huge variety of wildlife is drawn to the area, including otters, dragonflies, ducks, swans and geese. There’s something to see (and hear) all year round Fen Drayton Lakes is one of the reserves looked after by the RSPB. Linked to the River Great Ouse, this area is really important for wintering birds. RSPB Ouse Washes is part of the washes that run from Earith in Cambridgeshire to Denver Sluice in Norfolk. They are a giant water storage area for the Ouse Valley and if it rains a lot in places such as Bedford and Northampton, the water flows by gravity onto the Ouse Washes. This is good news for the ducks, geese and swans that winter on the washes - and let’s face it, we’ve had plenty of rain these last few months, but not so good in 12 The Fens | January 2020
Fen Drayton Lakes’ large area of former flooded gravel pits is not only an excellent place to explore, but it is also an easy place to get to by public transport. It has its own dedicated stop on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, as well as a free car park within the reserve. So why should you make a date this month to pay it a visit?
summer when breeding birds’ nests get flooded out.
UNIQUE HABITAT RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes are a complex of flooded gravel pits. Their previous life as working pits can still be seen in the gravel areas and manmade hills, giving this area quite
the birds that winter in Britain come from as far away as Mongolia - which is quite a journey! a unique feel. Many of the lakes are also manmade and quite deep, which means they attract a variety of species of ducks. As well as dabbling ducks such as wigeons and teals, a good numbers of diving ducks winter on the reserve. These include tufted ducks and pochards. Tufted ducks are black and white and are almost reminiscent of rubber ducks as they dive under the water. Pochards have grey bodies and dome shaped heads. Males have iron red heads and females have brown heads. What is incredible about the lakes is that some of
Perfect for a New Year’s Day walk
The reserve changes appearances drastically over the seasons, so if you’ve visited before it’s sure to look different at this time of year. Nevertheless, even on a wet and chilly day, we met several walkers (including those with dogs) who enjoyed the tranquility and peacefulness the reserve offers.
something for different abilities. You could walk for hours or just take a shortened loop visiting just a couple of the lakes. Our guide explained that runners, as well as cyclists, also make the most of the great landscape. He’s even known
The various walkways, which we found to be fairly accessible (although wellington boots were definitely needed on our visit), offered
The Fens | January 2020
organised swims in the surrounding waters. Rather them than me… CONSERVATION Whilst the wetlands are ideal for a number of birds, the RSPB has an ongoing job and responsibility to maintain and where necessary, alter the landscape. The RSPB have been looking after Fen Drayton Lakes since 2007. Since then, they’ve been transforming the lakes and meadows into an even better home for nature by creating more wildlife-friendly features, such as sheltered bays around the lake edges and shallow pools or “scrapes” in the wetland margins, to allow ducks and other waterbirds to rest and feed. Where there was once just bare sand and gravel, visitors can now hear the sounds of nature again, and watch great crested grebes performing their astonishing courtship dances against the backdrop of blue lakes and the wooded fringes of the river valley. At Fen Drayton Lakes you’re never far from water or wildlife. Whether you want to explore the woods and catch glimpses of secluded bays and pools, or try and catch the majestic mute swans on the lakes, you’ll always find something interesting. During the summer months the riverside meadows are alive with nature, but
my personal favourite is the colder months where you can wrap up warm and enjoy a long walk before taking stock in a local pub and cosying up by a roaring fire. Please visit www.rspb.org. uk/fendraytonlakes for more information on the reserve or call 01954 233260. RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes, Fen Drayton Road, Cambridge, CB24 4RB.
Wednesday Wanders at Fen Drayton Lakes Wednesday 8 January (plus monthly throughout the year) 10.15am-12.45pm Price: Adults £4 (non-members) Adults £3 (RSPB members) Join fellow walkers for an amble, with knowledgeable volunteers to take in the sights and sounds of the wildlife that calls Fen Drayton 14 The Fens | January 2020
Lakes home. Depending on the time of year, these walks will focus on what particular wildlife highlights can be seen on the reserve. No need to book. Please pay by cash on the day. Meeting point is the reserve car park (closest postcode CB24 4RB).
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The Fens | January 2020
Tempura Egg with Katsu Sauce Katsu sauce is great with many meats, so how about serving it with tempura leftover turkey? Or serve cold stirred into mayo for coronation turkey sandwiches? You can swap the Chinese curry for any of your favourite pastes or powders to create a different flavour. For the ultimate nostalgia, serve hot on top of chips with some salt and vinegar!
FOR THE SAUCE
1tsp sesame oil 1 onion chopped finely 2 cloves of garlic crushed 1 inch piece of ginger grated 1 tbls Chinese curry paste 1 tin of coconut milk 1 tbls mango chutney 1 tbls tamarind sauce Salt and pepper 1 handful of fresh coriander chopped
FOR THE EGG
1 egg per person 1 cup of seasoned plain flour 1 Beaten egg 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs Oil for deep fat frying
THE METHOD The Katsu Sauce
Gently cook the onions in the oil until soft, then add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the curry paste, coconut milk, mango chutney and tamarind. Cook out the sauce until you get the correct consistency which should be just thick enough to still pour easily. Season. Finish with the coriander.
The Tempura Egg
Poach the egg in boiling water for 3 mins so the yolk is still nice and runny ( the key to great poached eggs is very fresh eggs and add a little white vinegar to the boiling water! But do rinse when cooked). When ready to serve roll the egg in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg and lastly in the breadcrumbs before placing carefully in the fryer on a high heat and cook till its golden. Drain the egg for a minute then serve on a little salad or rice and top with the katsu sauce. Great as a starter or a snack and the sauce will keep for a good week in the fridge. John, Della and all the staff would like to wish all The Fens readers a a Happy New Year. We hope to see you soon at Dog in a Doublet.
Eat, drink, stay!
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www.greenstairlifts.co.uk 18 The Fens | January 2020
Happy Birthday to
January 2020 marks our 1 year of being open for business! As with any new business making the decision to set up is a scary one but we would like to thank all of our readers and clients for their support in our first year.
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Our aim at Heartland is to be our clients’ all-in-one home buying solution throughout the home buying and selling process and to be a friendly voice in their corner throughout to make the journey a stress free experience.
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Once again thank you to our clients and readers for the support in 2019 and here is to helping many more clients on their home buying journey.
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We love discovering new crafts and craftspeople based in and around the Fens. This month we got inspired by fused glass as we delved into the world of Blue Design Shed Established by Bex Burston in 2014, Blue Design Shed Ltd is an Aladdin’s cave of all kinds of beautiful glass. Hanging from the wooden beams and on almost every surface, coloured glass glimmers and shines in the light. But it’s not just a gallery of beautiful art, this studio is a working space and the blue kiln sits triumphantly in the corner. So how did it evolve into the business it is today? 20 The Fens | January 2020
Growing up in Kent, Bex gained her BTec Art Foundation at the Kent Institute of Art and Design, her BA (Hons) Applied Arts Practice at University of Hertfordshire and her PGDip Arts Management at Anglia Ruskin University. She
went on to work in the publishing industry before working for a charity teaching adults with learning disabilities. Like a lot of artists we’ve met, Bex’s other responsibilities meant that she had to take evening classes to master the art of stained glass. From here she caught the bug and began to make
different pieces of glass at high temperatures. The heat from the kiln melts the pieces of glass and enables them to stick together but still retain their individual shapes. Getting the temperature just right is part of the skill; a little too hot or too long in the kiln, and the individual glass shapes will be lost. For Bex, it all begins in her little blue shed. “I sketch my ideas, cut fabrics, copper and glass and paint my work in my shed, accompanied and sometimes assisted by my cockapoo, Monty.” Bex’s designs often feature multiple layers of glass, with many pieces needing several blasts in the kiln overnight. But before each piece is placed in the kiln, Bex first has to draw, cut, grind and carefully layer each design. “Most pieces take several days to complete,” she added, “so I usually would create a few similar designs at once.” By the very nature of the art, each piece created in the studio is totally unique.
a few designs of her own. “I actually taught myself fused glass,” she explained, “but it wasn’t until a house fire in our old house that I really sat down and spent a lot of time creating different pieces.” After some initial success at craft markets and fairs, Bex found her work selling in galleries and online. “It was a natural step to create my own business,” she added. THE ART OF FUSED GLASS Unlike a single sheet of glass, fused glass has been joined together with
RETRO INSPIRATION Colour and nature heavily influence Bex. Her popular botanical creations are colourful and capture the artist’s admiration of 1970s design. “I get inspired by 70s wallpaper and fabrics,” Bex explained, “I love how vibrant they are and the retro patterns to me are timeless.” To complement her collection, Blue Design Shed also have a range of coasters with various designs, such as the heart motif created with glass bubble paint, and various large and small pieces. You can pick up a Blue Design Shed necklace, keyring or even a wall-mounted framed piece of glass. Whatever your budget or taste, there’s something for you.
STOCKISTS Cambridge Contemporary Crafts 5 Bene't St, Cambridge CB2 3QN www.cambridgecrafts.co.uk Cambridge Botanic Gardens Shop 1 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE www.botanic.cam.ac.uk The Makers' Shelf 8a Old Station Road, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 8DN www.themakersshelf.co.uk Darryl Nantais Gallery 59 High Street, Linton, Cambridgeshire CB21 5HS www.nantais-gallery.co.uk The Robin's Nest Gallery 72 High Sreet, Wargrave, Berkshire RG10 8BY www.therobinsnestgallery.com Serena Hall Gallery 16 Queen Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6EQ www.serenahallgallery.co.uk Blue Tree Gallery 23 Bootham, York, North Yorkshire YO30 7BW www.bluetreegallery.co.uk
If you fancy having a try at fused glass, there are starter kits you get online or courses you can join. If like me, you would rather enjoy some beautiful, handcrafted glassware without the worry of making your own, you can purchase Bex’s work online at www.bluedesignshed.co.uk or commission a bespoke piece. The Fens | January 2020
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Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat The New Theatre in Peterborough has seen a fantastic range of shows since its relaunch last year, but this month will see its most colourful yet as Joseph arrives to brighten January
publicly. Seen by an estimated 26 million people, and counting, Joseph continues to enthral audiences around the world.
Peterborough’s New Theatre has had a wonderful reception, not least to its high quality plays and muscals. And it doesn’t look as though the West End quality performances are going to stop anytime soon, kicking off 2020 with a bang is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Mark McMullan. Mark will don the Technicolor Dreamcoat in his first major musical role in Bill Kenwright’s production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much-loved family favourite, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Prior to competing on Britain’s Got Talent, Mark had given up on his dream of being a singer in favour of becoming an architect, all to ensure that he could be around to support and care for his beloved brother. When he finally auditioned for the show, Declan served as a source of inspiration for Mark who dedicated the song to him. His performances earned him a place in the semi-finals of the show. Mark will now be donning the Technicolor coat of his dreams in this exciting role and continue to bring both joy and comfort to his brother, whilst pursuing what he loves.
“Being cast as Joseph in Bill Kenwright’s record-breaking production is absolutely amazing! I grew up performing musical theatre and it really helped me find my voice as a singer and gave me the drive to pursue my passion. Unfortunately, due to my brother’s illness, my hopes of making a career as a performer had to be put on hold - until my appearance on Britain’s Got Talent changed everything for me. Joseph is the role that I have always wanted to play and now I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do so at theatres all around the country.” Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is the first of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals to be performed
Full of life and colour, the magical musical features the unforgettable and timeless songs including Go, Go, Go Joseph, Any Dream Will Do, Jacob and Sons and Close Every Door To Me. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be at the New Theatre from January 7th - 11th. Don’t miss out, book your tickets now by calling 01733 852992 or visit www.newtheatre-peterborough.com The Fens | January 2020
Book Reviews – And How To Get Some
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AND DATE SUITSonYOU AS AWHEN COMPANY THE TIME AND DATE SUITSonYOU AS A COMPANY and reviewers and eventually reach out to those you think We won’t be beaten on price. Clarian House, Peterborough Clarian PE7 2AS House, Peterborough PE7 2AS Clarian Training was established in 1997. All our trainers Clarian Training have extensive was established experience in and 1997. All our trainers have extensive experience and might be interested in reading and reviewing your book. YOUR LOCAL, EXPERT TRAINING PROVIDER FOR YOUR 20 LOCAL, YEARS EXPERT TRAINING PROVIDER FOR 20 YEARS www.clariantraining.com www.clariantraining.com WE CAN COME YOU AND TRAIN ON YOUR SITE qualiﬁcations in all of theTO courses we run. Please qualiﬁcations call for more in details. all of the courses we run. Please call for more details.
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requests so I cannot stress how important it is to do this! Follow the link on my website to read editor Emma Mitchell’s useful www.clariantraining.com www.clariantraining.com guide to approaching Book Bloggers). However, although you’ll have to pay for a Book Blog Tour, it’s important to www.clariantraining.com remember that the book bloggers that take part in them don’t get paid – they do it for one reason, and one reason only – the sheer love of books. So always be polite, and don’t forget to 18 Broad Street, Whittlesey PE7 1HA say thanks.
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ARC Groups. Local crime writer Tony Forder suggests, “forming your own ARC (Advance Reader Copy) group works well. If you can get 30-40 interested readers who will provide an honest review on Amazon in exchange for the ARC then it can really give your book an early boost. All you need to do is create a locked group on Facebook and invite people, explaining how it works”. Others: I haven’t actually tried all of these myself (so there may be some pitfalls) but some of my writing buddies suggest taking a look at the following: GoodReads, BookBub, Reedsy, Kindlepreneur and NetGalley. Good luck. I hope this helps. You can find out more about Eva by visiting www.EvaJordanWriter. com or find her on Twitter and Facebook: @evajordanwriter www.facebook.com/ EvaJordanWriter/
TOP TIPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH GOALS IN 2020 A new year often brings new resolutions and after an indulgent Christmas period these are usually heavily centred on improvements in nutrition. It’s easy to adopt positive changes but difficult to maintain them – most people give up on new year’s resolutions within a week, so here are a few tips to build your health goals for a roaring start to the 20s! Be realistic with your time frames and the extent of what you change in your diet. Drastic alterations in lifestyle will normally bring about some form of positive change, but usually only in the short term and in most cases any benefits are often very quickly undone and reversed when an unfeasible diet becomes unmaintainable. The most successful approach is always to make small positive changes over a long period of time, monitoring and adjusting and allowing for small setbacks along the way. Be aware of sugar and sugar substitutes. Often when I discuss sugar with people their first response is always ‘Well I only put one sugar in my coffee’, but we need to be aware that sugar is a primary ingredient in almost everything we consume from obvious things like sweets and chocolate to deceptive products such as pasta sauces and
low fat yoghurts. Sugar causes insulin spikes in the blood, which cause the body to store fat and restrict the fat we already have from being used as energy. Being aware of just how much sugar you are consuming is an attainable and simple goal to have. Always do your research, for example with items that are labelled as ‘Low Fat’ or ‘Sugar Free’. Fat free generally means that healthy fats, that in recent history have been incorrectly given a bad name, are removed and replaced with sugars to make the product palatable again. While sugar molecules can be modified ever so slightly in many products so that although they do exactly the same job as sugar and have the same impact on the body, they are called something else, allowing the label ‘Sugar Free’ to be deceptively used. Eat food and not ‘food like’ products. This is one of my favourite sayings and one that rings very true in modern society. Any products that include amalgamations of unpronounceable additives and ingredients should cause alarm bells to ring. Nutrition can be a minefield so keep it simple and realistic and build further improvements as you progress. Feel free to email me any questions and Happy New Year!
For more information and further assistance with diet and nutrition, contact Rob via escapethediettrap@ outlook.com
Tapping in Schools What if there was a self-help tool that teachers could use to activate engagement in learning, increase concentration and help students retain information? What if this tool could also be used to help our children selfregulate and reduce stress and anxiety? What if teachers could use it to reduce their own stress level and increase motivation? In a society where schools are rightly moving towards a more therapeutic way of teaching, and working with students who have learning differences or demonstrate disruptive behaviours, a tool like Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as Tapping, could prove invaluable. EFT is very effective for reducing stress, anxiety and other emotional issues; it significantly increases positive emotions, self-esteem and resilience. EFT is a combination of tapping on acupressure points and talk therapy. It is easy to learn and apply; it works quickly, with today’s jam-packed curriculum this is valuable. I strongly believe that EFT is a vital tool for children to learn, even from a very young age. The positive impact EFT can have on a person’s life is far reaching. Imagine a world filled with people who have the tools to better deal with anger, hurt, grief, trauma, stress and fear to name a few. I am so passionate about this I am willing to give my time and expertise for free and come to your school and give you a free introduction session. Get in touch to find out more.
Susie Munns can be found at Safe Haven Therapy & Coaching Mobile: 07915 073 013 www.safehaven-therapy.com www.facebook.com/ SafeHavenTherapy The Fens | January 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:
beyond the call of duty. Should you wish to submit a nomination, please give details of the individual: Name, Address and reason for nomination and send to: -
Susan Piergianni Town Clerk & RFO Whittlesey Town Council Peel House 8 Queen Street Whittlesey, PE7 1AY
• 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.
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
Please mark the envelope: ‘Citizen of the Year’ or ‘Young Citizen of the Year’. The closing date for nominations is Friday 28th February 2020.
WHITTLESEY CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA ANOTHER BIG SUCCESS Whittlesey Christmas Extravaganza took place on Saturday 7th December. The weather was fantastic for the time of the year and local residents and their families turned out in force to support it. This year there were more stalls selling Christmas goodies as well as the usual charity stalls. For the first time we had an additional attraction of the simulator ride which proved very popular with the older children and adults. As you can imagine to put this event on it costs money and would not have been possible without donations and sponsorship from local businesses and organisations. We would like to thank Whittlesey Town Council, Fenland District Council, Malcolm James, Graham Abblittt, Whittlesey Business Forum, J Jones Butchers, Lucy’s Flowers, Homme Nouveau, Gym UK, Vesuvio, Ben Burgess, The Falcon Hotel, The Black Bull, Ability, Krog and Whitehead, Forterra, RWS Windows, Kellyvision. I hope I have remembered everyone, if I have missed 26 The Fens | January 2020
you I apologise. Thanks also go to Parkers newsagents for selling the wristbands on our behalf, Whittlesey Round Table and Tangent for suppling Santa’s Grotto. The committee will begin fundraising in the New Year ready for Extravaganza 2020, please support us wherever you can. Thank you, Lynn Palmer (Chair). Image courtesy of RWT Photography.
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Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, and I move from the bedroom to the bathroom, stepping over a rabbit as I do because she often sleeps on the landing, and then I go down the stairs, and sit in the living room, listening to the scrambling sound of another rabbit trying to move swiftly on a laminate floor as I open the door, and finally trip over a third rabbit as I make my way to the drawer where I keep their food, I do ponder, ‘how the hell have I ended up with three house rabbits’? Long time readers will recall the first rabbit was a ‘done deal’ as my wife called me to Pets at Home to ‘look’ at a rabbit she had seen in there. I obliged and agreed that if she wanted her, we’d get her as not being dog or cat lovers we had been discussing getting a house rabbit. Turns out, she had already purchased the rabbit’s home, blanket and anything else it could need. Time passed, and we began to feel sorry for Binxy, the lone rabbit. We discussed getting her a friend to live with, and so we went and found a male rabbit to adopt. We called him Richard and brought him home to bond with Binxy. This, did not go well. You see, it turned out quite unknown to us, that Binxy quite literally despises all other forms of life. She tolerates me and my wife, probably because her instincts tell her without us she won’t be fed. Sadly, when we put Binxy and Richard together, she quite literally ‘ripped him a new one’. However, despite her trying to ensure most of Richard’s insides were on his outside he survived (accompanied by a large vet’s bill) and so they lived their lives, our house now separated by barriers to keep them apart. Cue a month ago, when during a trip to Pets at Home my wife discovered a rabbit for adoption who would ‘make a lovely partner for Richard’. I’d learnt from my mistakes, having heard something very similar before which had ended in what seemed like a gladiator battle for rabbits. None the less, Luna the rabbit made her way home with us and against all the odds she and Richard struck up a relationship that isn’t perfect, but doesn’t involve me clearing up bits of rabbit with a dustpan and brush. My life is now consumed with rabbits. Even as I write this, Richard is edging ever closer to the wire powering my laptop because if that rabbit has one characteristic, it’s a love for chewing through wires. And so now I live my life like I’m stuck in a live action version of Watership Down. But like any pet, I admit, they are all lovely. Plus Richard loves to eat herbs. It’s like i’m seasoning him from the inside ... Joe Clarke-Ferridge is an occasional writer and so far Richard has gone through: my Xbox cable, my iphone charger, 2 Virgin Media power cables and 2 TV power cables. Find me @LifeofanOrdina1 The Fens | January 2020
THIS MONTH’S BOOK REVIEW Silence and Songbirds by Jon Lawrence Published by Eyrie Press Silence and Songbirds is a thought provoking tale that transports the reader across the sea to the beautiful islands of the Marlborough Sounds, an extensive network of sea-drowned valleys at the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand. Tane, the story’s narrator, is an indigenous islander whose name means ‘man’ in Maori culture. He shares his name with the god of forests and light who, the Maori believe, is also responsible for creating the tui bird. Tui, like most songbirds have two voice boxes which enables their complex variety of songs and calls. Early European colonists called them mockingbirds, and for good reason. Like parrots, the tui bird has the ability to clearly imitate human speech. The story begins with Tane heading towards the end of his life. “My ancestors’ voices are sounding. When I close my eyes at night, I can hear them calling me in my native tongue… It is a little unnerving, yet beautiful. There are shifting rhythms that sway and swirl like sand in the wind, while the lilting melodies of their voices slide and glide through the lulling lows and haunting highs… Soon I shall take a final voyage, this time into the mysterious underworld. I am not afraid of death.” Tane reflects on his long life, and in particular, his formative years when, after a terrible accident that resulted in the loss of those closest to him, he not only suffered great pain and sorrow but also his ability to speak. However, by striking up a carefully nurtured and mutually respectful friendship with a local tui, plus a chance encounter with a young English girl called Emily, Tane once again discovers his voice, enabled by the healing power of love and friendship. Our verdict… Silence and Songbirds is a novella that, less than a hundred pages long, can easily be read in one sitting. Beautifully written, it is a story everyone can relate to. An evocative tale of love and loss but also a coming of age story that demonstrates the positive power of friendship, in whatever guise it manifests itself. Sad and joyous, Tane’s thoughts and feelings are as complex and colourful as his surroundings, “where the dolphins play and the orca hunt, where the plates of the earth rise up in thunderous earthquakes, and, of course, where the tui sings.” By Eva Jordan
28 The Fens | January 2020
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Avoid Phishing… Warns Mark Burrows ‘Gone Fishin’ was the title of a late 90’s light-hearted film about bumbling friends who won an angling trip which went hilariously wrong. Today, with the spelling changed to ‘phishing’ there is no comedy. We’re in the countdown to January 31, the Self-Assessment tax return deadline, and HM Revenue & Customs has warned that ‘phishing’ fraudsters flourish at this time. HMRC says it’s received nearly 900,000 reports of suspicious phone calls, texts or e-mails from scammers pretending to be the tax authority. We’ve all been there! Most of these were about fake tax refunds which ask the victim to visit a bogus website where bank details would be stolen. In other cases, people are threatened with owing made-up tax liabilities which, if not paid immediately, have serious consequences – bailiffs and imprisonment! The fear this creates is intended to rush you into paying the swindler’s demands without thinking it through. Get savvy is HMRC’s advice. Identify the signs of these scams and avoid becoming a victim. Genuine phone calls and messages will never ask for your PIN, passwords or bank details. If you are not expecting a text or e-mail do not reply, click on any links or download any attachments. Fishing was once the UK’s most popular sport and we have a few anglers in our offices. Although they know about rods and reels, floats and spinners, they are seriously good at spotting ‘phishermen’. There are numerous examples beyond fake tax refunds. Take the phone calls from a global software house; the e-mails from a major phone company advising that unless you correct your account details, the service will be disconnected. My favourite - a demand for money to extend your TV ‘license’.
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Here comes the Bear! WORDS RICHARD GROOM IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL
Whittlesey is getting ready to welcome visitors from near and far for the 41st Straw Bear Festival If you haven’t experienced Straw Bear before, you are in for a treat. From mid-morning until late afternoon, Whittlesey’s streets are packed with crowds enjoying dozens of superb folk dance and music groups. It’s a great example of people coming together to keep old folk traditions alive, and having some fun of course.
The tradition dates back at least a hundred years. Local farmworkers used to take someone dressed as the Straw Bear around the town, entertaining townsfolk in exchange for a few pennies and maybe some food. Farmhands were often without work in the winter, so as well as being fun this was a way to get some 30 The Fens | January 2020
much-needed income. The tradition died early in the 20th century, but was revived in the 1980s and is now firmly established. The main event starts on the morning of Saturday 18 January with a parade through the town from 10.30am. It finishes with a Grand Finale on the Market Place at 3.00pm. The burning of the Bear, with more music and dancing, brings the Festival to a close at noon on Sunday 19 January at Sir Harry Smith Community College. AROUND THE FESTIVAL As well as what’s happening on the streets of Whittlesey, you’ll find music, dance, poetry and storytelling at venues around the town. The Festival opens on the evening of Friday 17 January
with two established folk acts performing at the Ivy Leaf Club. Kicking things off are Penni McLaren Walker and Bryan Causton. Penni’s strong voice and acoustic guitar playing is complemented nicely by Bryan’s superb mandolin accompaniment. Penni and Bryan will then
The Boxwood Chessman have performed all over the country
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come back to the stage as one half of the Boxwood Chessman, who blend “folk, Americana, Angliana, hokum and a light dusting of swing” to good effect. The band have played at folk clubs and festivals across the country, building a reputation as highly entertaining as well as musically talented. Doors open at 7.30pm and the music runs from 8.00pm to 11.00pm. Tickets are £12.00, available from strawbear.org.uk or by calling 07857 357 970. On the Saturday, why not drop into the free acoustic sessions at the Town Hall? These blend poetry and music, with Peterborough-based Poets United performing at 12.30pm and 3.30pm, and award-winning singer-songwriter Sunjay at 2.00pm. Poets United have performed at numerous local venues and festivals, including entertaining us at the Straw Bear Festival for the past few years. Sunjay is a wonderful exponent of the fingerpicking guitar style, in addition to having written some great songs. He is a former BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards finalist and has toured with Steeleye Span, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman. Also on Saturday, there’s something for children at the Methodist / United Reformed Church. Hannah Brailsford’s free ‘Tiny Tales Storytellers’ sessions are at 12.30pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm. Bring your kids along for interactive sessions that combine fairy tales and folk tales, often with puppets joining in the fun. Rounding things off is Saturday night’s barn dance at Sir Harry Smith Community College. Providing the music this year is The News of the Victory. This six-piece electric ceilidh band boasts some fine musicians among its members and has performed widely at folk and dance festivals. Doors open at 7.30pm and the event itself runs from 8.00pm to 11.30pm. Tickets are £15.00, available from strawbear.org.uk or by calling 07857 357 970.
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LOCAL HISTORY BY BILL WATT
Roman Britain and Post Roman Peterborough
ood day readers, I hope that you all had an enjoyable Christmas and let us hope that 2020 brings us a little more certainty back into our lives. Inevitably you will find that the concluding paragraphs of this months History piece will stray into eras that I have already mentioned in earlier articles. Please excuse that, it is all part of trying to create a continuity of our history. ROME Rome, in its very early days was a “Kingdom” and then in 508 BC it became a Republic which continued until 27BC. At this point it became an Empire, with an Emperor. Structure of the Roman Army: 30 Legions with an average of 5500 men = 165,000 highly trained men called Legionnaires. For every Legionnaire there was also an Auxiliary. Each Legion was broken down into 10 Cohorts. The First Cohort consisted of approximately 800 men, divided into 5 Centuries – led by a Centurion, who was the First Centurion (Senior Centurion) of the complete Legion. Remaining 9 Cohorts composed of approx. 480 men. Those men were then divided into Centuries of about 80 men, each led by a Centurion of a lower rank than First Centurion. ROME AND BRITAIN Firstly, even before Julius Caesar’s failed, first attempt to invade in 55BC, the Romans had been aware of the Island of Britain for quite some time. In fact, quite a degree of trade between Britain and Roman Europe had been taking place. The Southern tribes of Britain had already absorbed quite a degree of Roman culture
32 The Fens | January 2020
and Tribal leaders had begun to show trappings of Roman wealth. During this period the Romans referred to Britain as “Britannia”. Oddly enough, When Caesar launched his two invasions, followed by Pauliniu’s successful invasion in May 43AD, the only motive driving these actions was personal advancement by Caesar, for Caesar, and the same for Paulinius. And, strangely enough, in the beginning of the Roman occupation there was never any intention to conquer the whole of the Island of Britain. However, like everything in life, an action is taken with particular aim and then that action takes on a life of its own and ceases to be under control of the person/ persons who initiated it and then eventually, they find themselves reacting to events that they did not fore see happening. Also, prior to the Roman invasion Britain had a coin system, of its own, which was tribal based. In 60 – 61 AD Boudicca led the Iceni and Trimovante tribes in a revolt against Rome and we all know the outcome of that rebellion. If you happen to visit the Norwich Castle Museum you will find a recreation of an Iceni chariot and your children can get into it to find out what it was like to ride and drive one. Fifteen years later, between 75 – 77AD the Romans defeated the last of the resistant tribes in the north, making all of Britain, Roman. The one place where Roman hold was tenuous was Scotland. In 79AD, the Governor of Britain, Agricola, attempted to conquer Scotland by force, but failed. This led to the building of Hadrian’s Wall in 122AD and then, in 142AD, the building of the Antonine Wall in Southern Scotland; between the Firth of Forth in the East and the River Clyde in the west. This wall was
subsequently abandoned 38 years later. Unlike Hadrian’s Wall, this wall was an earthen construction – topped by timber palisade fencing. However, traces of this wall can still be seen. Between 1/8 and 1/9 of the Roman Army was based in Britain. The 20th Legion was based in Chester; the 9th based in York and the 2nd legion was based in South Wales. This base was called Isca Silurum (Roman), Caerlon-on-Usk now. POST ROMAN BRITAIN Prior to the final and complete Roman abandonment, Britain had left the Empire three times. During this period Britain even had its own Britain based Emperor who even took an Army from Britain to take over control of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful and was killed in this futile attempt. Roman culture was always largely urban and as an urban society it followed that it needed agricultural support. Nor did the Romans like a belief system that did not have multiple idols. During the third century the monolithic structure of the Empire started to fragment. The Roman Emperor Constantine created a new capital in the East called Constantinople, which lasted from 330 – 1204 AD. This become the new Roman Eastern Empire. At the same time, during the 3rd – 4th centuries, Saxon pirates began to raid Southern England and what is now France (Gaul) If you look at an Ordnance Survey map of Peterborough, you will notice on the banks of the River Nene, just beyond Ferry Meadows, indications of the sites of Roman era pottery ovens. Most of us know of the recent discovery of a Roman Villa, in what is now known as
Itter Park. St. Kyneburgha’s Church in Castor is built over a very large Roman Praetorium. There is also the existence of Carr Dyke. This is an 80-mile artificial channel that runs from the River Witham, south of Lincoln all the way to Cambridge. Stretches of which are now protected as Scheduled Ancient Monuments. There are three schools of thought for its existence:- 1) to provide drainage for the area through which it runs. 2) as a defensible boundary and 3) as a canal in which to transport goods. Of course, it also possible that it performed all three of those things. Originally it was 13 metres wide and 3.6 metres deep and the water in it was fast flowing. Emperor Hadrian visited Britain in 120AD, and sections dated this period may be associated with plans to settle the Fens; which supported the drainage theory. At the Whitepost end the Carr Dyke is some 29 metres wide and that narrows down to 16 metres at the Peterborough end. Excavations in Waterbeach in the mid 1990’s revealed what seemed to be the remains of a Roman era boat and a cargo of pottery. Archaeological investigations have found coal from the Midlands in use at a cluster of Roman era, coal burning forges sited between Cambridge and the Wash. This provides evidence of trade and transport along the Carr Dyke; and Car Dyke has been accepted as an extension of the Foss Dyke. From the early 5th century onwards peoples from mainland Europe began to arrive in England and we began our long transition from Roman Britannia to Anglo Saxon England.
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ETHICAL INVESTING There is no doubt that the buzz word ‘Sustainable’ is becoming popular in everyday conversations. It is generally defined as ‘the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance’. In respect of investing it normally involves projects that promote the use of sustainable energy and materials, so a good example might be energy from the sun or wind combined with materials that grow naturally like plants and trees that can be replaced. A bad example might be the use of fossil fuels for energy and single use plastics as materials. If there is an overarching view that sustainable provision of energy and/or products is a good thing, it might also be viewed that the opposite will decrease which in turn could result in lower demand of ‘bad’ products and services and consequential reduction in profits which in turn makes them less attractive to invest in. It is not guaranteed that positive sustainable industries will thrive, their costs might be greater, the expertise might lag behind and other complications over the life of a product could have unforeseen consequences. Investments require skilled analysis and sometimes a bit of good fortune to become profitable. Individual and corporate investors are more sophisticated and tend to challenge more than in the past. There are investment funds that invest almost exclusively in sustainable projects and companies that demonstrate good practice. There are investment funds that have a large proportion of sustainable and additionally other topical content that may be viewed as Ethical, Green or Environmentally Friendly. Investing in ethically sound, socially responsible or ‘moral’ ways now has a new set of letters: Environmental, Social and Governance - ESG. Sometimes ‘doing the right thing’ can come at a cost. I can recall times when few options were available and fund performance was ‘a bit lively’. With a significantly greater choice of fund managers who know what they are doing, a wider range of investment options and greater clarity in terms of company management and responsibility – there is a wide choice that requires expertise when it comes to selecting the funds that tick all the boxes that the investor considers to be important. Some funds actively reject certain industries and practices known as Negative screening. Positive screening sets out to search out environmentally friendly products and/or socially responsible business practices. 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 | January 2020
This issue, Whittlesey Veterinary Centre looks at the benefits of a laboratory
THE BENEFITS OF IN-HOUSE DIAGNOSTICS WHEN YOUR PET IS UNWELL
Veterinary Surgeons often have to run tests to help diagnose an illness and to check how your pet is doing if they have a long term illness or are on long term medications. Here at Whittlesey Veterinary Centre, we have our own in house fully equipped laboratory facilities. This means we can offer our clients a quick turn around for initial test results, with results normally available the same day. We are then able to deal with emergencies and start any necessary treatment sooner, improving our patients’ well being and it can often be life saving.
our patients’ vital organs e.g. liver and kidneys are functioning.
Thyroid blood test, to check their thyroid gland is functioning normally.
Haematology, where we can check our patients’ blood cells e.g. how well the red blood cells are carrying oxygen around the body, if the white blood cells are indicating any infection present and if their blood can clot sufficiently to stop bleeding.
Cortisol blood test, to check if they have a disease known as Cushings.
LABORATORY TESTS AVAILABLE FOR YOUR PET:
Pre-anaesthetic blood tests, especially important for elderly patients to check how their organs are functioning before we give them an anaesthetic. Signs are not necessarily seen until later on in the decline of the function of your pet’s organs.
Biochemistry, where we can check how
Pancreatitis blood test, which will tell us if there is a problem with their pancreas. Bile acid blood test, to check if their liver is functioning normally. Fructosamine blood test, where we can check for diabetes. Microscopy work, looking at blood, urine, faeces, samples from lumps, swabs from ears and parasites under the microscope.
Urine tests, where we can check for inflammation or infection of the bladder, crystals and help to indicate diabetes or kidney disease.
If we need confirmation of any results obtained in house or need to perform more in-depth tests, we have access to an external laboratory.
Feline Leukaemia and Feline Immunodificiency Virus blood tests.
We also have a Veterinarian who can issue passports, complete export paperwork and take bloods for rabies titre tests which is performed at an external laboratory.
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34 The Fens | January 2020
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Image Robert Grice
Kingfishers – jewels of winter WORDS Caroline Fitton, The Wildlife Trust
The unmistakable iridescent flash of a kingfisher adds a vibrant enhancement to a walk by any river or waterway on a winter’s day. Incomparable with any other bird seen along a riverbank, these brilliant jewel-bright birds add a touch of magic to the muted hues of winter Usually seen by still or slow flowing water such as lakes, canals and rivers in lowland areas, and blessed with very keen eyesight, the kingfisher has monocular vision - each eye used separately - in the air, and binocular vision, both eyes used together, in water. Their underwater vision is not as a sharp as in the air, however, the ability to judge the distance of moving prey is more important than the sharpness of the image. They feed on aquatic insects such as dragonfly larvae, water beetles and small fish such as sticklebacks, minnows, trout plus small roach and pike. In winter, kingfishers often feed on crustaceans including freshwater shrimps, hunting from perches several feet above the water, from a branch, post or riverbank, beak pointing downwards searching for prey. Kingfishers nest in burrows in banks, choosing a vertical bank clear of vegetation to excavate; the Wildlife Trust help ensure that suitable nest sites on rivers and streams are kept clear and undisturbed. As a method of improving river habitat which benefits kingfishers by ensuring adequate food sources, on certain stretches of water the Trust have introduced
FASCINATING FISHER FACTS • When the male kingfisher wants to impress a female he offers her fish - if the female accepts they form a bond and courtship begins. • There are 87 different species of kingfisher in the world, but only one, Alcedo atthis, breeds in Europe. • Few British kingfishers ever move 36 The Fens | January 2020
gravel where appropriate to help vary river depths, creating areas of fast and slow water flow. This diversity provides a wider variety of habitats for the invertebrates and aquatic insects which fish feed on - gravel also is essential to some fish for spawning, so helping providing a richer food source for kingfishers. Restoration work by the Trust is vital to keep river beds clean, especially those areas which accumulate silt. Invasive plants such as Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed die back in winter, leaving the banks bare and vulnerable to erosion which silts up watercourses, so the Trust clear them away from riverbanks, for instance, along the Bourn Brook in Cambridge. Refuge areas for fish are created with the use of brushwood bundles for bank stabilisation or woody debris in the channel - clearer water makes it easier for a kingfisher to see its prey. Kingfishers can be spotted at the Trust’s expansive reserve the Great Fen, most especially along the waterways at Woodwalton Fen www.greatfen.org.uk www.greatfen.org.uk/woodwaltonfen
more than 250km, though freezing weather will prompt them to move to the coast. • Severe winters can lead to as many as 90% of Britain’s kingfishers perishing. • Though fish form the main part of the kingfisher’s diet, it also eats many aquatic insects, ranging from dragonfly nymphs to water beetles. • Because of the high mortality of
JANUARY SALES Did you know the Wildlife Trust is offering half-price membership throughout January? By joining the Trust every member receives a membership magazine, Local Wildlife (the children’s version is Wildlife Watch) three times a year, information on events, local groups, walks, talks via newsletters – but the biggest benefit of all is knowing that local wildlife in the area, and all the conservation work involved, will be helped and maintained. Children’s membership includes Wildlife Watcher badge, Wildlife Watcher’s Handbook, full of activities, competitions, amazing photographs, info on UK wildlife and ideas for things to do. Plus a big UK wildlife poster bursting with amazing animals with wildlife stickers. The Trust’s work supports local wildlife in the area from protecting habitats on nature reserves and in the wider countryside, along with all the species which depend on these places. There are a variety of memberships, visit www.wildlifebcn. org/support-us for more information.
young, kingfishers usually have two or three broods a year, with as many as 10 in a brood. • The brilliant blue of the kingfisher’s back feathers are not the result of pigment, but the result of light striking specially modified layers of feather cells. • Kingfishers fly at only one pace: fast and straight, but can hover when fishing.
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Walk of the month
Take a walk on the quintessentially English side! WORDS AND IMAGES AMY CORNEY England is known for its chocolate box charming villages brimming with history and character, so we headed to one of the prettiest in our area, the village of Barnack, near to Stamford. Starting our walk at the Church of St John the Baptist, we explored the pretty church, which is built of
38 The Fens | January 2020
Barnack Rag, a durable Jurassic limestone quarried in the village. The same stone was used to build Peterborough and Ely Cathedral and the Abbeys at Crowland, Thorney, Ramsey and Sawtry. In the mid-11th century Ramsey paid Peterborough Abbey 4000 eels a year for the Barnack stone. Heading up the road we passed picturesque stone houses with date plaques nested in their walls and ornate door knockers on the ancient oak front doors. Stopping at an unusual building with hand painted panels on the façade, we realised the home was once the village butchers. This is the village square and was once a thriving location in the village with a bakehouse, a pub, the butchers and the maltings but now the buildings have been converted into residential homes. In the centre of the village is a map with interesting facts on the village and architectural hot spots to look out for. Following the road, we spotted friend of the magazine BBC Gardener’s World presenter Adam Frost’s wonderful Garden school, shop and home. Walking along School Road we took the turning off, going
down Millstone Lane and passing the Millstone Inn pub. Knowing we would be back at the end of our walk for refreshments we continued along Walcot Road and headed to the nature reserve. Barnack Hills and Holes Nature Reserve is on the site of the old
medieval quarry, from which the Barnack Rag was excavated. The area is only 57 acres but is one of the most interesting sites we have visited thanks to its unusual typography. Dramatic drops and rising hills make up the landscape and the quirky landscape is not the easiest to navigate! Following the path along the tops of the mini hills and dips we admired the stunning views from the heights. The undulating landscape is all thanks to the moulds of limestone rubble which were left when the quarry was abandoned in the late 1500s. Thanks to the rich limestone, the area has become an important wildlife site and in 2002 it was designated a special area of conservation. The grassy slopes are home to a plethora of wildflowers including several species of wild orchids, pasque flowers, and
common rockrose. In the summer months the area is home to a wide variety of butterflies including chalkhill blue and marbled whites. In the late summer evenings glow worms can even be spotted lighting up the grassland here! To maintain the rich diversity of the meadows, up to 300 sheep are grazed here every autumn, naturally removing the coarse grass and debris, thus allowing the rare flowers to survive. As we looped back round the reserve, we decided we had earned our lunch so made our way back to the village pub for a well-earned rest! We will definitely be back in the summer months to check out the flora and fauna on this interesting site and next time we will bring our dog too as she would love to run up and down the hills, not something she gets to do much living in the very flat 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 January 4th Councillors present will be: Councillor Dee Laws (District, and Town Councillor) Councillor Gary Munns (Town Councillor). If you have any matters of concern and wish to discuss with a Councillor, then please come along and let us know.
January sees the return of the annual Straw Bear Festival in Whittlesey. Watch as the town comes alive to the sound of music and dancing. Various events are planned during this folkthemed weekend. Please visit www. strawbear.org.uk for further details and information. Please note some events require pre-booking.
EASTREA CENTRE Sunday 26th January, 11am - 2:30pm
WHITTLESEY TRAVEL HOLIDAY SHOW 2020 Wednesday 22nd January, 6-9pm
CROWNS AND GOWNS - AN EXHIBITION Saturday 1st February - Sunday 15th March
Join Whittlesey Travel at The Ivy leaf Club, Gracious Street Whittlesey for their 2020 Holiday Show. Meet representatives from some of their travel partners to find out what exciting things are in store for the next holiday season. The event is free and there will be refreshments available
NICK SHARRATT’S: PIRATES, PANTS AND WELLYPHANTS EXHIBITION Saturday 11 January - Sunday 29th March 2020; 10am-5pm
Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery - Free entry (except for special event days). Meet Nick Sharratt himself on Saturday 11th January - 10.30am 4pm
STRAW BEAR FESTIVAL 2019 Friaday 17th - Sunday 19th January
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
40 The Fens | January 2020
Free parking and welcome drinks on arrival, don’t miss the opportunity to meet lots of different wedding professionals at this Bridal Fayre. You also get a free bag and free entry. Find out more at The Eastrea Centre, 2 Roman Gardens, Eastrea.
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
BRIDAL FAYRE AT THE
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: January 16th Morris Dancers and Straw Bear with Mike Grant February 20th Mark Homan/Wayne Arbon, The Gauntlet Auto Project March 19th Upwood Ukuleles April 16th Bramble Lodge Alpacas We now offer members a choice of over thirty interest groups, something for everyone, so why not take up a new hobby for the new 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. Please feel free to join us or 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
AT HOME WITH THE TUDORS Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th January, 10.00am - 3.00pm
Travel back in time to the 1500s with Peterborough Museum, with a chance to meet Tudor characters such as the Barber Surgeon with his gruesome cures. Mind your manners with a Tudor lady, handle arms and armour with our soldiers and try some period food. Take part in family activities and crafts with a Tudor theme. Tickets: £3 children, £4 adult, £12 family. Book online at vivacity.org or call 01733 864663.
Stay up or go to bed? time to take stock of That’s the question that that. And what about us rings around my head personally? What were every New Year’s Eve. the disappointments and Get a good night’s the joys? Where were the sleep and be fresh in successes and the failures the morning, or see the of the last year? As the New Year in with friends days go by it is so easy to and family? I have to forget what’s happened. admit, sleep generally It’s helpful to spend a little wins, but we’ll have to time remembering. see how this year pans The New Year doesn’t out. just give us a prompt to Whether you look backwards, it’s also celebrate it or not, the an occasion where we move from New Year’s can look forward. The Eve to New Year’s Day next twelve months are a Paul Kosciecha, has a significance in our blank canvas that hasn’t Whittlesey Baptist Church calendar. It marks the been painted on yet. end of an old year and What will the picture look the beginning of a new one. As the like at the end? How different do we bells strike twelve, a chapter in our life want it to be from last year, or are we closes and a new one opens. It stands happy to copy and paste? Where will as a pivot between the past and the the high points be and what about the future. low points? What are our hopes? What The New Year gives us an opportunity are our fears? to look back and reflect. What has January 1st can be a day of happened in the last twelve months? anticipation. Yet, over time I’ve The world around us is constantly learned that the year rarely works out changing and this can be a good just as we expect it to. Loss, tragedy
and heartache seem to lurk around the corner and can strike at any moment. As much as we plan, hope and dream, the future is far from certain. As a Christian, facing up to this uncertainty, I am thankful for a promise from God that we find in the Bible. It says: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 To me that is such a comfort. I do not know what the next year will bring. I cannot be certain of the joys I will experience or the difficulties that I will have to endure. I am not able to predict the heights or the depths that the next twelve months will take me to. Yet, I can know that God, who is infinitely capable, will be with me every step of the way, for that is what he has promised to me. In the uncertainty of life, that makes all the difference. 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 | January 2020
Parsons Consulting Engineers Terry Parsons owns and runs Parsons Consulting Engineers which is located in central Whittlesey. With over 30 years’ experience in the industry we spoke to Terry to find out more about his business
WORDS AMY CORNEY HOW DID IT GET STARTED? Parsons Consulting Engineers has been trading for almost three years. After many years of working for large consultancies, I started the business to provide civil and structural design in a way that focuses on providing our clients with what they really want. This means listening to their needs, being reactive to their problems and being reliable. Ultimately, we want to be a company that is trusted and recommended to others. We started as a small business and soon found that our clients enjoyed working with us and our workload grew. We now employ seven staff members and can deliver a wide range of civil and structural design services, including surveys preplanning application and full design post planning. WHO MAKES UP YOUR TEAM? I am the Director of the business, but I am also a Chartered Engineer with over 30-years’ experience of designing a wide range of schemes from house alterations, extensions, residential developments and industrial schemes. I take responsibility for all matters in respect to the design of the schemes and am the primary point of contact for all clients. We also employ four fantastic degree qualified engineers to assist in the everyday design of projects. WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY? On a day-to-day basis we regularly work with clients, architects and developers to assist in securing Planning Applications and provision of design information for submission to Building Control. Our services include provision of Flood Risk Assessments, Drainage solutions, Roads designs, Structural Surveys and Structural Design. HOW DO YOU STAND OUT? In the region we are now one of the leading providers of civil and structural design services. Our key differentiator is our reactivity and our willingness to listen to our clients to find solutions that meet their aspirations and fall within budget. 42 The Fens | January 2020
HAVE YOU HAD ANY UNUSUAL JOBS? All of our projects have unique challenges. We recently worked on a project to renovate and convert a disused (and dilapidated) public house into a large private residence. The building has Grade II Listed status and required considerable works to stabilise and make habitable. During the renovation works the history of the building became evident and every element gave a fascinating insight into how the building had evolved over its 200-year life to date and through our work we are hopeful that it will have a further significant life ahead of it. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST? The most enjoyable part of the work is the variety of challenges that arise.
Every client has a different knowledge and approach to their project, which means that they each need different advice to help them succeed. We try really hard to provide clear information to guide our clients and very much enjoy seeing the end results come together. WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT HAVING A BUSINESS IN THE FENS? The Fens is a very friendly place to work. Despite its central location, the towns are all very spread out and have their own distinct characters, which are reflected in the style and details of the projects we undertake. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW BUSINESSES? Starting your own business is challenging, but extremely rewarding. The key to success is to value your clients and make sure that you always deliver what you say. Reputation is essential and the best clients are those that will recommend you to others. We’re pleased to report that almost 95% of our work comes from such recommendations. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? Receiving an award for Best Design Service was a great moment and came as a surprise. Beyond that, I really enjoy seeing my team develop. I have set an objective to make our Engineers the best they can possibly be and totally support the idea that staff should be treated how you would like to be treated. OUTSIDE OF WORK WHAT CAN WE FIND YOU DOING? Playing trains! After many years I have finally found the opportunity to start building a model railway. Parsons Consulting Engineers Ltd are based at 4 Angel House, Eastgate, Whittlesey PE7 1SE. To find out more call 07961 783825 or email email@example.com or visit www.parsonsengineers.co.uk
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DERMOT MCLAUGHLIN PRODUCTIONS, CHARLES H DUGGAN & BRIAN ZUCKER in association with FARCES GALORE present THE EXETER NORTHCOTT THEATRE PRODUCTION of
TUE 25 – SAT 29 FEB 2020 44 The Fens | January 2020
BOX OFFICE: 01733 852 992 ONLINE: newtheatre-peterborough.com