Issue 50 | July 2020
A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
New look Same great magazine, less paper!
Inside this issue
Learn how to make a butterfly box Interviewing local wildlife photographer In search of a quiet walk The Fens | July 2020 PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHATâ€™S ON | PLACES TO VISIT REVIEWS
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The Fens | July 2020
WELCOME We’ve changed! Whilst I personally have popped on a few pounds since lockdown started in March (who didn’t turn to food for comfort?), we’ve been busily making our publication decidedly smaller. Why? This edition actually happens to be our 50th issue since we launched The Fens Magazine in June 2016. In those four years we have seen so many changes, but none so drastic as Covid-19. It has affected all businesses without prejudice or elitism. Whilst we were able to continue publishing digitally, we couldn’t at the time print our much-loved magazine. But every problem offers an opportunity, and our opportunity was to look at ways to relaunch with some big changes. We have decided to cut our paper usage and produce a ‘handy’ size publication which over the year will save 24 tonnes of paper (that’s equivalent to one full lorry load). Our new eco-friendlier size also enables us to reduce the costs for our advertisers, meaning during this difficult economic uncertainty, we can actively help our clients reach their customers. But don’t worry, we will still have the same quality, informative editorial that you are used to reading. The magazine might be smaller, but it is as mighty as ever. It has been a difficult few months, but I couldn’t be happier or more proud of the region we live in. This issue is a celebration of Fenland’s reserve, determination and character. Stay safe and please enjoy our July issue.
6 This month’s happy news 7 Community corner 11-13 Gardening tips and what’s good this month 16 Photographing Fenland wildlife 20 Meet the radio stars 24 Business tips to survive Covid 27 Going back to work? We can help 30 Discover some new Fen walks 34 Mad about butterflies 40 Great DVD releases Editor & design: Natasha Shiels email@example.com Assistant Editor: Richard Groom firstname.lastname@example.org Resident photogarpher: Chris Brudenell chrisbrudenellphotography.co.uk Sales & distribution: 07511 662566 email@example.com Cover: Jamie Corney @jamie_corney_photography
Issue 50 | July 2020
With thanks to our brilliant contributors
A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
New look Same great magazine, less paper!
Inside this issue
Find out how to make a hedgehog house Interviewing local wildlife photographer In search of a quiet walk The Fens | July 2020 PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHAT’S ON | PLACES TO VISIT REVIEWS
THE FENS is published by a local team. Care is taken to ensure that the content and information is correct, however we cannot take any responsibility for loss, damage or omission caused by any errors. Permission must be granted to reproduce, copy or scan anything from this publication. THE FENS accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties.
The Fens | July 2020
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The Fens | July 2020
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The Fens | July 2020
OUT AND ABOUT...
HAPPY NEWS DEBORAH SLATOR... ...for being the force behind Helping Whittlesey, without her organisation then so much wouldn’t get done. The love and compassion shown by this town over these last 10 weeks especially. I’m proud to be part of the Fens. Well done to everyone. - Anna Foster
We wanted to create a new page dedicated to sharing positive news or a place to thank somebody for doing something great. If you would like to share your happy news about someone or another business, email firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU FROM THE MUFFIN OVEN
THE FENS DIGITAL ISSUE
Thank you Andrew Roddham for volunteering to cycle our deliveries because I had to shield. He also helps with people’s prescriptions and shopping. There’s so many to thank but that’s a personal one from us.
Brilliant thank you so much, I can now read about my home area where I was born and bred, from where I am now in East Hertfordshire, where I have resided for 30+ years. Fantastic, thank you.
- Tracey McIntosh
- Maxine Wright
APPOINTMENT OF NEW MAYOR Cllr David Mason has been elected the new Whittlesey Town Council Mayor, this will be Cllr Mason’s second spell as Mayor, the first being 2013-2015. The Mayoress is his wife, Ann Mason. The Deputy Mayor will be Cllr Mrs Dee Laws, her consort being Cllr Mrs Kay Mayor. Previous Mayor, Cllr Mrs Julie Windle, offered Cllr Mason her congratulations as her successor.
SCRUBS AND MASKS
THANK YOU PARK LANE
I want to thank Shirley Short for spending endless hours making scrubs and masks for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall and local nursing staff. She has gone through two sewing machines!
Thank you to Kathryn Johnstone for playing her bagpipes and other instruments on a Thursday. And also for the lorry convoy that passed through Whittlesey.
I’d like to thank Park Lane Primary School for doing an amazing job keeping the school open for key workers, even in half-term. They have made it possible for me to work at hospital.
- Irene Lawrence
- Debbie Conner
- Laura Faulkner
The Fens | July 2020
Sellers: Why not join in and set up a stall at the front of your property? Buyers: Wander around Whittlesey stopping off at stalls near to your home address? Bring your own shopping bags.
WHITTLESEY’S GRAND CHARITY SALE Have you been having a clear-out during lockdown? This is your opportunity to sell your items, on your own property, to other Whittlesey folk who wish to wander around to buy. Your ‘rubbish’ may be ‘treasure’ to someone else! All stall holders will be asked to donate £10 online to deﬁbrillatorsforall.co.uk (charity no. 1156261) in advance and display their receipt of donation on their stall. Image Lara Blake Photography
+ THE BUZZ RATS
NEW EP ON THE BLOCK
IF I COULD PRAY EP
Nick Corney, owner of local shop Aspect Fires, swapped hot coal for microphones as he recorded his latest EP, ‘If I could Pray’. Nick Corney, together with his ‘Buzz Rats’ who comprise Keith Doe and James Taylor, were joined by Chris Moore and Ben
In line with the social distancing guidelines, sellers and buyers will be asked to be mindful of each other and keep 2m apart. Wear masks/gloves where appropriate, especially when handling cash, but most importantly, be kind. If you wish to hold a stall please email Sandra at email@example.com so we can advertise your location to buyers (please provide your name but it will not be used on the advertising). A list of participating addresses will be advertised nearer the time. Every household who emails me after donating will be entered into a raffle to be drawn on 2 August. We will be promoting this across Whittlesey so please tell your friends. Please be aware that should the pandemic become worse then this event will be cancelled. Whittlesey’s Grand Charity Sale will be on Sunday 2nd August at 9am at various front gardens, yards and garages. - Sandra Donnachie
Knight to record their latest offering. ‘If I could Pray’ is the group’s fourth EP and sees the band turn to an edgier sound, with strong guitar performances and Nick’s distinctive voice. “We've had good support from local radio and Tom Simkins at BBC Introducing for Cambs,” Nick added. “It's a really nice moment when you hear your music played on the air, especially by enthusiasts of new music.” And whilst music venues across the country are sadly having to keep their doors closed, the boys hope to be out soon, perhaps in a garden near you... Nick Corney and the Buzz Rats have come a long way from humble beginnings in 2014, when Nick was just a solo performer playing at open mics. “We've been lucky enough to be supported by many local venues who would normally only put on covers bands, I think this is partly down to our music being very accessible and having a few decent songs too.” ‘If I can Pray’ is available now from Bandcamp, iTunes and Spotify. CDs are also available. Find them at www.nickcorneymusic.com The Fens | July 2020
ALDERMAN JACOBS SCHOOL CELEBRATES 60 YEARS On 1st June 2020 Alderman Jacobs School in Whittlesey celebrated its Diamond Anniversary, marking 60 years of education, achievements and memories. Throughout this time, two or sometimes three generations of families have passed through its doors and the school has continued to grow as a key part of the local community. Due to the current situation, the school was unable to celebrate in a traditional way. Despite this, AJS invited all of its children and their families to celebrate from home instead and they did this in fantastic style! From cards and posters to baking and tea parties, they helped to give the school a wonderful birthday celebration! “It has been wonderful to see so many of our children and families getting involved and celebrating from home in lots of creative ways,” added Naomi York, Community Links Lead. “We are now planning a big celebration for when we are all back in school together and we are very excited to see what the school and its pupils can achieve in the next 60 years! “ Happy 60th Anniversary Alderman Jacobs!
THE MUFFIN OVEN RE-OPENS ITS DOORS Fans of The Muffin Oven will be delighted to hear that the popular Whittlesey bakery will be reopening on Friday 3rd July at 8am with revised opening hours. The Muffin Oven, which had been serving Whittlesey through a limited capacity during the lockdown, will continue to offer a delivery service on Tuesdays and Fridays for those customers that are still isolating in Whittlesey. “We would like to thank Andrew Rodham for his help with this,” added co-owner Adam McIntosh. “At his suggestion he restored a 1950s Hopper manufactured delivery bike in little over a week, having been in storage for 21 years. This included de-rusting, repainting, new bearings, building wheels from new components and fitting a rack and rear basket.” “He even had to reclaim the front basket from his living room where it had been used for storage for the past couple of decades,” Adam expalined. The Muffin Oven would also like to thank Frankie Rodham for joining her dad on the delivery round as numbers grew. It wouldn’t have happened without them. They also wanted to thank all the customers who are supporting them through this difficult time. - The Muffin Oven is at 12 Broad Street, Whittlesey. 8
The Fens | July 2020
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WHITTLESEY CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA UPDATE The committee of Whittlesey Christmas Extravaganza recently held a virtual meeting to discuss arrangements for this year’s Extravaganza. After taking into consideration social distancing, insurance issues and last but no means least sponsorship and fundraising, the committee came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to hold the event this year. This decision was not made lightly and we are all very sad that Extravaganza will not be taking place. As a direct result of the COVID 19 the committee felt that it would be unfair to ask sponsors and businesses for funds when they may well be struggling themselves after lockdown. The possibility of fundraising ourselves under the current restrictions is also nil. Putting on this type of event requires a great deal of forward planning and upfront costs, members of the committee felt that it would not be sensible to spend this money and risk losing it in such uncertain times. They also felt that this money would be better used for Extravaganza 2021. As soon as possible the committee will meet again to start planning a bigger and better event for next year. - Lynn Palmer, Chair Whittlesey Christmas
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YOUR GARDEN IN JULY Fling the doors open to the garden and head outside! Summer is here and if you’ve been making your outside space work for you while you’ve been at home then you should now be enjoying a beautiful, ﬂower filled garden. Keep plants looking good by regularly deadheading and you’ll enjoy a longer display of blooms. Make sure you keep new plants well watered to get them through those long, hot days and hoe oﬀ those pesky weeds, which can thrive in the sunshine. Although this can still be a busy time in the garden, don’t forget to find the time to sit back and relax so that you can enjoy all the hard work you’ve put in to achieve your beautiful display.
FEED, WEED & DEADHEAD
Adding a liquid feed to your weekly watering regime will give a much needed boost to hanging baskets, containers and borders helping them to produce more flowers and, in some cases, encouraging a second flush of flowers later in the season. Bedding plants, roses and many other perennials will also benefit from regular deadheading. This will prolong the flowering period, making the garden more attractive, and will also prevent the plants from putting their energy into seed heads. Simply pinch off the fading flowers, or for tougher branches use secateurs. Don’t forget to keep weeds down – they steal vital moisture and
nutrients. Kill them by regularly hoeing borders and vegetable patches. Larger weeds should be dug out or pulled up by hand.
There’s no science to watering! If you’ve got containers or plants in hanging baskets a bit of common sense goes a long way. Try lifting a container or basket, does it feel light or under watered? How does the compost look? Is it pale and shrunken away from the sides? Dig into the compost with your fingers. Does it feel dry? It should be moist but not dripping wet. During prolonged dry spells, water at least once a day.
SPEND SOME LAZY HOURS IN THE GARDEN
After all your hard work, enjoy the sunshine and laze in your garden.
LOOKING GOOD THIS MONTH... Salvia WHY SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? With flowers that are popular with wildlife, they not only deliver colour and fragrance but are also great at attracting bees and butterflies. Salvias are long flowering with the potential to put on a great show from June through much of the summer and into autumn. HOW SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? Plant in full sun, with very well drained soil, and water well when it’s dry. Trim in the spring to maintain shape and deadhead once the flowers start to fade.
Enjoy your garden!
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The Fens | July 2020 11
GOOD THIS MONTH...
WHAT’S HOT IN JULY Each season brings something lovely to spot or to taste. Here’s our round-up this month
Courgettes are really easy to grow and with regular picking while they are small, you will ensure a long cropping period. If you don’t have lots of space, courgettes, marrows and summer squashes can be grown in bags or containers, but give them plenty of water as they mature.
FORAGE FOR WILD STRAWBERRY Also known as Alpine or woodland strawberry, these distinctive fruits are tiny but full of flavour. Small woods can be dominated by wild strawberry plants but unless these populations are kept secret they can quickly become decimated by overpicking and uprooting of plants to transplant into gardens. Wild strawberries are small and it’s rare to be able to pick more than a handful. They are best eaten raw, on their own or with a slight sprinkling of sugar (and possibly a dollop of cream). Look for them in deciduous woods, along hedgerows, and on rough grassland on chalky soils. The fruits ripen between June and August. 12 The Fens | July 2020
WATCH THOSE TOMATOES
Although easy to grow and very rewarding, tomatoes can suffer from a range of easily preventable problems at the time of ripening. Keep yours looking lovely and tasting their best by avoiding erratic watering and feeding them regularly to maintain high soil fertility. Special tomato fertilisers have high levels of potassium to encourage good fruit development. This month your tomatoes should be ready to harvest. Enjoy them simply with a drizzle of olive oil. Yum.
This month, protect heavily-laden fruit trees against snapping under the weight. Use a stake or prop to keep them upright. If necessary, prune cherries straight after harvest. It’s also your last to sow French beans and runner beans.
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The wildlife whisperer Jamie Corney is a family man, living at home in Turves with his four dogs, one cat and five chickens. When he isnâ€™t running around after his two boys, Jamie can often be seen hidden behind bushes and trees hoping to catch a glimpse of the Fenland wildlife. His photos have been amazing fans on social media, so we caught up with him between shots to find out more about the man behind the lens WORDS NATASHA SHIELS IMAGES JAMIE CORNEY
16 The Fens | July 2020
When did you start taking photos? I'm a passionate nature fanatic and an amateur wildlife photographer, whether it be animals, plants, insects, sunsets/sunrises, drone photos, macro and landscapes or anything nature related. I've admired nature ever since I can remember and have been taking photos since I was a teenager, but in the last few years I have really taken more of an interest in photographing what I’m seeing. What subject did you start with? I started taking photos of local areas, such as the river running through Whittlesey and the fields down Black Bush. When I was a youngster I remember taking photos of the cows in the fields, flowers along the river and also ladybirds in my garden. Have you always had an interest in the local Fenland area? I love the Fens, I’m born and bred here! I lived in Whittlesey until I was in my mid 20s and then moved to Turves. It’s flat around here and a mountain or two wouldn't go amiss, but the dramatic sunrises and sunsets we get are unbeatable when they are at their best. We also
have a good variety of wildlife with plenty of good local nature reserves. I also love the history of the Fens, how it was drained and farmed. I find it amazing to think that it was all under water. What camera do you use and what would you advise a hobbiest to start with? My current camera is a Nikon D500 and I also have a Nikon D5300. I have three main lenses, depending on what style and subject I am shooting. A good starting camera would be something that has auto settings so the camera does all the work for you, then you can enjoy just taking photos. Once you have had a fair bit of practice, you can experiment with other settings, changing the effects by altering the shutter speeds, depth of fields and light. What’s been your highlight? Oooh that's a tough one… Every photo I decide to upload from a certain day out are all a highlight to me one way or another. But I think the recent photograph of the vixen was a real highlight, mainly because I had spent a few weeks leaving my
trail cameras out watching her closely and planning as to where I thought was best to set up one night. It all worked out nicely in the end and I was so happy. Wild foxes are very nervous, unlike their urban cousins who will sit in your garden quite happily not fazed by humans. So for me to get so close to a wild fox was so special. What wildlife have you seen most of? Any surprises? Definitely too many to name, but I’ve seen birds, mammals, insects etc. I was surprised to find cranes on the RSPB Nene Wash, and of course to see three types of deer (roe, muntjac and Chinese water deer). How has lockdown affected you? It has been an awful situation for everyone and my thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones. I think the one thing lockdown has taught me is that happiness and health is more important than any job or deadline, and that the smaller things in life are what’s more important. Even the simple walks with family or bike rides felt so good and cost nothing. It’s made me realise that if you want to achieve something in life then you should just go for it and try to see what happens. One wise person told me a little The Fens | July 2020 17
The public’s response has been amazing, it pushes me further knowing others enjoy the moments with me. I’ve had a lot of good feedback from my actual photography page too, which is growing in strength weekly.
while ago: "Fate favours the brave” (thanks Natasha), so I’ve been trying to stick to that motto ever since. Where do you see yourself in the next five years? I’d like to get a decent printer so I can start selling my photos. I plan on taking a lot more trips to places for landscape photography opportunities, hopefully once this virus is under control a bit more, so my online presence can grow from strength to strength and open up many more doors. I think in the current climate though, within the next five years, I just hope everything gets back to normal and everyone is safe again. How have the public reacted to your photos?
What are your top locations? Anywhere around the Fens with fields is a good place to start, or places with ponds etc. Even your back garden! But if you’re looking for actual nature reserves then we have plenty of choice. The best thing is to Google local wildlife parks in your area. Woodland Trust sites and Wildlife trust sites are useful too. My top sites are: Wood Walton Fen - near Ramsey RSPB NENE WASH - Eldernell in Coates
Holme Fen - Holme Kings Dyke Nature Reserve - Whittlesey (membership required) ... You can follow Jamie on social media by searching ‘Jamie Corney Photography’. He is a regular contributor to the ‘Nature of the Fens’ Facebook page. You can also follow Jamie on Instagram @Jamie_ Corney_Photography or get in touch by emailing jamie.corney. firstname.lastname@example.org
JAMIE’S TOP TIPS 1. Grab your camera and get out as much as possible. Take 1000 shots of one subject until you’re happy. 2. Watch as many videos on YouTube and read as many books as you can for tips and tricks. The internet is a blessing if you use it right. 3. Learn from your mistakes, if you’re getting angry because it’s not right then that means you’re passionate, but use your passion wisely and don’t give up. 4. Get familiar with certain areas. Often I will just go for a walk and sit still to see what appears. Have patience. Ideally you want to be able to get in and out unnoticed. Safety comes first. Let friends or family know where you’re going in case something happens. Always carry a mobile! 5. Have fun, any time spent outdoors is good for your mental and physical health.
18 The Fens | July 2020
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IN CASE YOU MISSED...
RADIO W H I T T L E S E Y
RADIO STARS WHILST THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK HAD A HUGE IMPACT ON MANY GROUPS, IT ALSO OPENED NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR OTHERS. WE CAUGHT UP WITH FENLAND YOUTH RADIO TO SEE HOW THEY LAUNCHED AND EVOLVED FOLLOWING IT The driving force behind Fenland Youth Radio are the Young Technicians CIC, a scheme created by Pino Soccio, which delivers lessons and practical experience for young people in lighting, sound, stage production and management. Since launching in Whittlesey, the scheme now operates in schools and centres across Fenland and Cambridgeshire. Recent successes include the graduation of the first Young Technician to an apprentice position within the BBC. BIRTH OF THE RADIO “We’re here to help our Young Technicians succeed in becoming the industry’s future,” Pino explained, “and part of this was the creation of the Fenland Youth Radio project!” The brand new radio station is run by the students for the local community with an aim to help to build an inclusive atmosphere. Radio is all about communication and running a radio show takes commitment and teamwork in order for it to be a success. “Our systems are easy enough to use so that all students and members of the community groups, regardless of age or ability, can get involved,” Pino explained. “The Young Technicians CIC scheme offer opportunities to gain experience in the practical skills required to stage events, pre and post production, health and safety and of course everything required to run a radio station!” Part of the station’s ambition is for the Young Technicians to work with Whittlesey Town Council to help promote local activities and the work of the council. 20 The Fens | July 2020
“We love introducing young people to the academic disciplines of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine), offering an alternative interest for those who might not be interested in more mainstream activities,” Pino added. “We offer a career path into the live events industry. “We know that by supporting the third sector, we can help delliver social value. Fenland Youth Radio will work with local voluntary sector organisations to promote their activities with shows produced by our Young Technicians.” A DIVERSE CHANNEL Even though the radio station is new, the team already have a variety of segments in their radio shows. “We recently launched a brand new, midweek radio show on Wednesdays. In particular, we are hoping to help young people gain skills, knowledge and experience which they can then hopefully transfer to industry in the future.” HOW TO TUNE IN Find out more by visiting fenlandyouthradio.com or download the free app. At the moment the station has two regular shows you can tune in to: SATURDAY SATURDAY SHOW 9am until 11am MIDWEEK MADNESS SHOW Wednesdays 7pm until 9pm You can also follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. Fenland Youth Radio is a project run for the local community. It is run entirely by volunteers. If you would like to get involved in any way please get in touch at email@example.com
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The Fens | July 2020 21
Responding to an uncertain world:
The Fenland I
Despite the challenge of operating in a world hit by COVID-19, a truly Fenland business has recently completed a fantastic first decade
WORDS RICHARD GROOM
n 2010 Richard Jones turned his love of cooking into a business, encouraged by friends and family who had tasted food he prepared for garden parties and the like. We’ve since become used to seeing ‘The Fenland Roaster’ serving food at events across our region. Initially Richard’s speciality of hog roasts and barbecues dominated, but he soon started to provide a wider range, including hot and cold buffets. Investment in premises and equipment including a £15,000 Rational combination oven soon followed. This enabled Richard to take on everything from corporate hospitality to weddings, and village fêtes to sporting events. Things were continuing in the same vein until quite recently. However, as so many other businesses in the catering and hospitality sector found, measures to combat COVOD-19 meant that everything changed. Thousands of events were cancelled, devastating the sector overnight. I asked Richard where the sector, and his business, will go from here: “In short, I don’t know. I don’t think anybody in the sector knows at the moment. The whole industry could be completely different for the next year or two. It’s certainly throwing a challenge for me in terms of how I take the business forward.” When Richard’s busy schedule of event catering suddenly came to an end in late March, he quickly rebooted the business as a local food delivery service. He has been bringing a range of bread, sausage rolls, pasties, homemade ready meals, pies and cakes to Whittlesey and surrounding villages. As well as parking up and setting his stall out at set locations on a regular schedule, he is also individually delivering food orders to people who are isolating. On the face of it, as the COVID-19 situation eases off, the need for such a service could tail off. But Richard isn’t so sure.
22 The Fens | July 2020
“It’s proved to be an invaluable service for many people and that could continue in some form,” he says. “It feels a bit like a return to the days when the grocer, butcher, baker and so on all had a delivery service. I have a feeling that people will still want a service like that, especially as many are steering clear of busy supermarkets for the foreseeable future.” CHANGING THE WAY WE SOCIALISE Virus restrictions are of course also affecting how people get together and caterers like Richard are responding. An example is very small garden parties for just a few people, within social distancing rules. “People are tired of always cooking for themselves,” Richard explains. “They welcome the option of having someone provide food for a handful of family or friends.” Business customers are also adapting: “A local firm recently asked me to provide breakfasts as a thankyou for its 20 key workers. Each breakfast was delivered individually wrapped. The same thing can be done for buffets, ploughman’s lunches and so on. I also expect to be
doing barbecues this summer for companies who have the available space.” The hog roast will hopefully remain Richard’s speciality as that can also adapt to the new situation: “I can roast and carve the pig at my premises and deliver everything in individual portions.” As a member of the Nationwide Caterers Association, Richard has access to their extensive COVID-19 resources such as best practice guides and risk assessments. These have enabled him to assess his facilities and systems, making the necessary changes to remain compliant with latest guidelines.
I’ve ever taken I’ve asked myself that question. When I started as The Fenland Roaster, I did feel that it would be a business for the long term, although I couldn’t have imagined the direction it took and how it’s grown.” The challenge now facing Richard and other businesses providing a food service shouldn’t be underestimated. There’s extra time and cost involved in the more It feels a bit like a return to individual service now required. Catering to the days when the grocer, smaller numbers of people butcher, baker and so on all also has a big impact on had a delivery service income. But I feel that whatever happens, in one way or another, Richard’s smiling face will be bringing good food to people across Fenland. - You can find out more about Richard’s TAKING THE LONG VIEW local delivery service and event catering at With his anniversary in mind, I asked Richard thefenlandroaster.co.uk/food-delivery-andwhether he thought he would still be in business in collections and his Facebook page. ten years when he started: “I think I did. Any job
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The Fens | July 2020 23
Marketing during Covid Small business expert Natalie Brannigan talks us through why it’s crucial to continue to promote your business
Your marketing is a longterm strategy and it needs to continue. By marketing your business, even during these uncertain times, you are keeping your business firmly in the minds of your target audience. Many businesses are cutting their marketing budgets. It makes sense, if your income has gone down you want your outgoings to go down too. However, there are two reasons you shouldn’t cut your marketing budget. Firstly, marketing has a long-term impact on your business. By stopping it you are damaging some of the marketing you have done and making it harder to restart in the future. Secondly, many other businesses are cutting their marketing budgets too, which means there is more room for your voice and more people that will see it while your competition are keeping quiet. More people are spending
time online. By marketing our business on social media and uploading new blogs, videos and good quality content to your website, you will give these people online something to look at. Those people with reduced hours or on furlough will be spending hours on the internet. Make sure it is your business they are seeing when they go online. BE CONSISTENT I always talk about consistency being key to marketing for your business. By stopping and starting your marketing you are not being consistent. Challenge yourself to marketing your business at least once a day. This could be a post on social media, an article in an online magazine, attending an online networking event, contributing to a business forum or uploading a new blog post for example. Have a plan in place as to what you are going to do.
Being consistent with your marketing will pay off. Consider ways to adapt your business to the current climate. I’ve had customers who run events take their events online via Zoom. Businesses who offer services have adapted their services to offer an online version. Another business took to a crowdfunding campaign and other catering company began offering a takeaway service. Hairdressers and beauty salons have offered gift vouchers and sold their products online. Although we see this as a short term solution, some businesses are now seeing this could really work long term too. STAY IN TOUCH Don’t forget your existing customers during this time. Stay focused and make sure you keep them updated during lockdown. Use the extra time to check in with your customers and this will help build better
relationships with them when you come out the other side. YOUR MARKETING Now is a great time to revisit your marketing strategy. This will help you stay one step ahead, you will be more focused and in control of your marketing and feel less overwhelmed. I have created a checklist, ‘10 steps to creating your marketing strategy’ to get you started. If you would like a FREE copy email info@ thelittlemarketingcompany. com Remember not to give up; focus on what you can control and think outside the box. As always, if you need any support with your marketing, whether it’s a launch to reopen, adapting a service, writing your marketing strategy and anything in between, I would be more than happy to help.
- Natalie Brannigan is the owner and founder of the Little Marketing Company. She’s an expert at helping small, medium and start-up businesses to grow, evolve, and reach their true potential through effective marketing strategies and activities. Find out more by visiting www.thelittlemarketingcompany.com or you can contact Natalie direct on 01733 204359 or firstname.lastname@example.org 24 The Fens | July 2020
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WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH INVESTMENTS? Investments are broadly divided into two if we exclude cash for the moment. One way is to ‘buy in’ to a company or organisation on the basis that they are making profits and that by investing in them you can enjoy sharing in their success, this could be the receipt of dividends or the increased value of shares – if you are lucky you get both. The potential risk is that investors tend to be further back in the line if a company fails and demands are made to get their money back, so there is risk. These are generally described as Equity Investments The other kind of investment is in the form of loans to organisations and businesses, for example the government will need money to support the NHS, education, and infrastructure, these are usually called Gilts. The risk is quite low because the probability of the country going bust is remote, but the returns are also low. Loans to commercial organisations (Corporate Bonds) can be riskier, but the returns can be higher. Lending funds usually involve an agreement to repay the loan over a time scale and at an agreed rate of interest. Institutional investors like pension funds have a collection of these ‘Fixed Interest’ arrangements to provide regular income and a collection of equities that are designed to provide growth when investment markets grow. A balanced portfolio is likely to include commercial property, commodities, cash and other instruments that are beyond the scope of this article – but usually only in small proportions. Having set out the basics, we have seen falls in Equity markets, that we have already agreed are more volatile and potentially riskier, Fixed Interest investments have stood up quite well, but some companies might struggle in a post COVID world, the ‘safer’ loans in the main are likely to continue repayments. Property will be a whole new issue if remote working and changes in commerce take shape, this will impact on domestic housing probably. Cash remains a poor investment with stubbornly low interest rates and the possibility of negative rates. Nobody knows how inflation is likely to affect us, but the golden rule is to at least aim to beat the rate of inflation after all charges.
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Scam Alert We have warned several times that unscrupulous criminals are using the Covid-19 pandemic to defraud businesses and individuals. Writes Chris Kelly. Among the most common examples, scammers claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs offering financial support as a result of Covid-19. Quite simply, if you receive an email, text or call claiming to be from HMRC that asks you to click on a link or give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it’s a scam.
There are many others: Doorstep crime: Criminals targeting older people on their doorsteps and offering to do their shopping. Thieves take the money and do not return. Doorstep cleansing services that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus. Online scams: E-mails designed to trick people into opening malicious attachments, so placing information, passwords, contacts and bank details at risk. Refund scams: Companies offering fake holiday refunds for people who have been forced to cancel their trips. If you’re seeking a reimbursement, be wary of fake websites set up to claim holiday refunds. Telephone scams: As more people self-isolate at home, there is an increasing risk that these scams will rise with criminals claiming to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.
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Going back to work? Are you faced with the uncertainty of returning to work during coronavirus? Mind have some really useful tips to help you manage If you have to leave your house to go into work during the coronavirus outbreak, it might feel like a difficult and stressful time. You may need to go into work during the coronavirus outbreak because you're on the Government's list of key workers (also known as critical workers), and you're continuing to do important work to help and support other people. Or it may not be possible to do your job at home, and your employer has asked you to continue going into work. When you're busy doing important work, it might not feel possible to take care of yourself. But even doing small things for yourself can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing, and there are lots of ideas you can try. UNDERSTANDING DIFFICULT FEELINGS
If you are going into work during the coronavirus outbreak, you might experience some difficult feelings. These may be new feelings, or things you've experienced in the past. These feelings might be hard to deal with if the people around you don't share your experiences of going into work. Or they might have different reactions to similar experiences. There is no right or wrong way to feel or react to your situation. But these are some common feelings that you might experience during this time: • Stress • Anxiety • Guilt • Anger TAKING CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING If you are going into work during the coronavirus outbreak, you may find it hard to take care of your
mental wellbeing. This may feel very difficult if you come into contact with people who may have coronavirus when you go to work. Or you may be struggling if you are working long hours or under a lot of pressure. And even though you are going into work, you may have people in your life who you can't see for now because they are staying at home. These are some tips to help support your wellbeing: • Connect with people • Use available support • Make time for yourself where possible • Try to keep active • Look after your physical health PRACTICAL GUIDANCE FOR GOING INTO WORK You may be worried about how coronavirus is going to affect your
work. Or you may have questions about what to do if you need to take sick leave or care for children or others who you support. These are some ways to find practical guidance and support about going into work during the coronavirus outbreak: • Find out your rights while going into work • Find out about social distancing while at work Remember you are not alone. If you need help or support please do reach out. Here are just a few helpful numbers:
Mind 0300 123 3393 Samaritans 116 123 Text SHOUT to 85258 Care Network 0330 094 57450 Help at Home 01223 714433 Fenland Community Navigators 01354 695208 The Fens | July 2020 27
Cortisol, the Stress Hormone
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Like most things cortisol in small doses is not a bad thing and can actually help to control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, reduce inflammation and help with memory formation, in fact we release a small amount of cortisol when we wake up in the morning and exercise. We have all experienced that surge of energy caused by an imminent threat, a near miss when driving or somebody running up behind you. The surge you feel is your body releasing hormones, including cortisol, to put you into ‘fight or flight’ preparing you to run or face battle. This is a normal response and has kept us safe for thousands of years. Cortisol only starts to cause health issues if you are living in a constant state of stress, your adrenal gland goes into overdrive and floods your bloodstream with cortisol, which can have the exact opposite effect as the positive impact a small amount has on your body. Too much cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, can cause increased blood sugar levels, weight gain, digestive problems, suppressed immune system and disease. There are lots of ways you can reduce stress, tapping, mediation, mindfulness, havening and exercise to name a few. My go to is tapping, not only are you dealing with whatever is causing you stress (removing the perceived threat) you are also aiding serotonin production with every tap. A study by Dawson Church, PhD revealed that one-hour of tapping can reduce cortisol by 25%. To find out more about how to reduce stress visit www.safehaven-therapy.com/inspiration Susie Munns can be found at Safe Haven Therapy & Coaching Mobile: 07915 073 013 www.safehaven-therapy.com www.facebook.com/ SafeHavenTherapy 28 The Fens | July 2020
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A Q&A With Award Winning Blogger, and Author, Noelle Holten Although we’ve never met in person, I’ve been an online friend of Noelle’s for over 5 years now, and like many bloggers and writers, I’ve found her to be both extremely supportive and encouraging to all those linked with the book world. Today we get to know her a little better…
I was in awe of their talent to pull a reader into a Welcome Noelle, thanks for chatting to me. story and I wanted to see if I could do the same. So Can you tell our readers a little bit about far, so good! yourself – I understand you used to be a probation ofﬁcer? How does writing compare to probation? Hi Eva! Thanks so much. A little about myself – The only murders I now have to deal with hmmm. By day I am the PR are those I create myself and Social Media Manager on the page! Probation at a leading digital publisher can be a very stressful and in the UK - Bookouture and by If you don't have a thick skin... emotionally draining job. night I write the DC Maggie develop one! You need to be Even though I left in 2017, I still Jamieson series for Harper able to accept constructive consider myself a probation Collins imprint, One More officer – albeit an ex one! Chapter and read/review on criticism, rejections as well What I love about writing my blog: CrimeBookJunkie. as negative reviews is I can still be 'involved' in Yes, I was a Senior Probation probation and other criminal Officer for nearly 18 years. I managed two teams of justice fields – without the stress. officers and one of the teams was based in a police station. I And ﬁnally, for anyone left in 2017 when my dream of thinking of starting a blog, working for a publisher came or becoming a writer, what true! advice would you offer? For starting a blog, I'd say – just go Did you always want for it! Be yourself, read and review to be a writer, and if so what you love and make it your what writers inspired you? own. There are no rules! The short answer to that is no! I always wanted to work in the In terms of writing, read as many criminal justice field. I used to books in the genre you want to write morbid, teenage poetry write about as you can. See how in my youth and a few short your favourite authors keep you stories in high school but I never turning those pages. I would also believed I could actually write a novel myself. I suggest, if you seek any advice, take it on board, was an avid reader from a young age and my but find what works for you. If you don't have a favourite genre has always been true crime/crime thick skin... develop one! You need to be able to fiction. My interest in writing came when I was accept constructive criticism, rejections as well as about 44/45 yrs. old and every crime author I read negative reviews. And finally, persevere! (there's been a lot) are the ones who inspired me.
- Eva Jordon is a mother of two and published local author of 183 Times a Year, All the Colours Between and Time Will Tell. You can find out more about her by visiting www.EvaJordanWriter.com or find her on Twitter and Facebook: @evajordanwriter The Fens | July 2020 29
EXPLORING THE FENS...
Searching Searchin for shade After baking (and maybe burning!) in spring’s record-breaking sunshine, some nature walks in shady woods could be a good idea this summer WORDS RICHARD GROOM
Lady’s Wood, Upwood courtesy of Amy Corney
Living out in the Fens means walking for me is mostly through open countryside. That’s fine, as I love the huge skies and far off horizon, but it’s good to mix things up sometimes. Thankfully, there is plenty of woodland left in the Fens so you can enjoy some relief from the sun. Even better, these are places to experience animals and plants that are rarely seen out in the open. And of course, for children they can be mysterious, magical hangouts for exploration and adventure. Four of my favourites are just a walk, bike ride or short drive away. So as lockdown restrictions hopefully continue to ease, why not make time for a woodland walk this month?
lucky you may also spot a water shrew or water vole. The reserve is just the right size for an hour or two’s exploration. Dogs are welcome but best kept on a lead. Just make sure you keep track of where you are walking as it is possible to get a little lost for a while among the many paths that crisscross through the woods. (I know this from experience!) - More info at wildlifebcn.org/nature-reserves/ lattersey and facebook.com/pages/LatterseyNature-Reserve
LATTERSEY NATURE RESERVE, WHITTLESEY
Make your way down New Road past the allotments and recycling centre, and you’ll find a real gem. Split into two parts by the road, Lattersey Nature Reserve is a disused quarry that’s a secret slice of woodland on the edge of open Fen. It’s a haven for wildlife. The ponds and trees attract many species of birds, including ducks, woodpeckers, reed bunting and tawny owls. Dragonflies and damselflies are plentiful. If you are 30 The Fens | July 2020
Lattersey Nature Reserve courtesy of Marian Dunham
LADY’S WOOD, UPWOOD
Great Fen courtesy of Wildlife Trust BCN
HOLME FEN, HOLME
A visit to Holme Fen - part of the Great Fen area gives you lots of options for a walk. Take the ‘Last of the Meres Trail’ and you’ll be out in the open for much of the eight miles. Alternatively, follow the ‘Lost Lake Discovery Trail’ for a pleasant mile exploring the silver birch woodland. Or you can just let your senses guide you around the miles of pathways that meander through the woods. The reserve features meres (lakes) with bird hides and is home to a variety of wildlife species. You’ll certainly see plenty of birds and dragonflies, and maybe even some deer. The woods are of course also home to shade-loving plants: huge ferns dominate for much of the year, while apparently there are more than 500 types of fungi to be found. While you are there, make a point of visiting the famous Holme Posts. At 2.75 metres below sea level, you will be standing at the lowest land point in Great Britain. Dogs are welcome but need to be kept under control, preferably on a lead when livestock are around and in the spring when there are ground nesting birds. - More info at greatfen.org.uk/ holme-fen and facebook.com/ GreatFen
Famous locally for its magnificent display of bluebells each April, Lady’s Wood is worthy of a visit at any time of the year. Once again, it provides shade on hot summer days, while in the autumn you can pick a few blackberries during your walk. The wood is home to tawny owls and woodpeckers, among others. Trees that were felled in the 1950s have been left lying in the wood, providing a perfect home for all kinds of insects and fungi. Dogs are welcome but need to be on a lead at all times. - More info at wildlifebcn.org/nature-reserves/ ladys-wood and visit upwood.org/index.php/walks for details of a six-mile ‘Upwood Ramble’ that also takes in the nature reserves of Upwood Meadows and Raveley Wood.
HINCHINGBROOKE COUNTRY PARK, HUNTINGDON
A wonderful 170 acres of grassland, woodland, wildflower meadows and lakes. The local wildlife includes otters and kingfishers, although you’ll need patience and luck to see them. Even if you don’t, it’s just a great place to walk with plenty to see. There are hard-surfaced paths, making it suitable for wheelchair and pushchair users. Some paths can become muddy or flooded in wet weather, so bring your wellies if we have a wet spell. My cocker spaniel loves it as there are large grass areas for tennis-ball fetch games, as well as plenty of places to have a good sniff. Please put your dog on a lead where appropriate, such as in the designated wildlife areas or wherever wildlife might be disturbed. - More info at huntingdonshire. gov.uk/leisure/parks-naturereserves-and-green-spaces/ hinchingbrooke-countrypark and facebook.com/ hinchingbrookecountrypark
IMPLICATIONS OF COVID-19
All the sites mentioned here were open at the time of writing. However, we suggest that you check before visiting as due to COVID-19 some sites may be closed or have limited access or parking. If you arrive at a site and find it especially busy, come back on another day to minimise crowding and the impact this can have on people and nature. Sites may also have a reduced workforce or volunteer presence, so please take your rubbish home as bins may not be emptied as often as usual.
The Fens | July 2020 31
OUT AND ABOUT...
SHARE THE LOVE
Fenland is an area rich with wildlife, beautiful landscape and wonderful skies. This month we asked you to share your favourite wildlife walks over the past month and you didnâ€™t disappoint.....
Photo by Amy Eagling at Lattersey Nature Reserve
Photo by Erika Harvey at Shouldham Warren
Photo by Becky Daines at Barnack Hills and Holes
Photo by James Cook
32 The Fens | July 2020
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www.mypethotel.co.uk The Fens | July 2020 33
Common blue butterfly, courtesy of seeing.org and Terry Longley
Beautiful butterflies Wildlife Trust’s Caroline Fitton looks at the wonder of butterflies and explains how we can all help play our part in ensuring their survival
Butterflies and moths are incredible creatures that instantly trigger memories of sunshine, flowers and long summer days. However, this might not always be the case: sadly, during the last century four butterfly species and more than 60 types of moth became extinct and 75% of British butterfly species are in decline. The main cause is the continued deterioration, fragmentation and loss of habitats in combination with changes in weather patterns, particularly in summer. Butterflies can also tell us a lot about what’s going on in an area, and the Wildlife Trust in Cambridgeshire monitor their presence at many nature reserves, as well as creating conditions that each species need to thrive. They are very sensitive to environmental change and react quickly due to their short life cycles, therefore they are valuable as what's called an 'indicator species', and by monitoring them the Trust can gain a better understanding of how native wildlife is likely to respond to environmental factors such as climate change (eg hotter, drier summers and wetter winters) and increased urban development. If butterflies are in trouble, there is a good chance that a wide range of other insect species will be struggling too, and this will have knock-on effects further up the food chain. To help halt the decline in butterflies and moths everyone can help restore their populations and for this to happen the wider countryside needs to be managed in a more butterfly-friendly way. 34 The Fens | July 2020
Helping butterflies in gardens can make a big difference, and by encouraging butterflies and moths into gardens there's a double bonus: colourful butterflies and moths, and a beautiful garden. Any garden, no matter the size, can easily attract butterflies and moths: just one vital ingredient: nectar, nectar and more nectar! By planting suitable nectar-rich plants, this will quickly attract up to 18 species of butterfly and many moths. PLANTING FOR BUTTERFLIES Butterflies can fly surprisingly long distances in their search for the right breeding site, and nectar provides essential sustenance at this time: they locate nectar flowers by following scent and colour. Generally, both native and non-native flowers are suitable as nectar sources, so there's lots of choice of what to plant. It is important that the nectar is accessible – simple, shallow flowers are best. Butterflies cannot reach the nectar in deep flowers such as foxgloves. Flowers can be grouped to create a ‘butterfly border’: butterflies like warmth, so go for sheltered, sunny spot sand try to pick a mixture of plants that flower throughout the year. Obviously, don't use any insecticides or pesticides as these will kill butterflies and many other important insects. For summer planting many flowers work well: especially bramble, Buddleia (butterfly bush),
Brown argus butterfly courtesy of .Martin Swannell
candytuft, dandelion, golden rod, heliotrope, hemp agrimony, knapweed, lavender, French marigold, marjoram, mint, nasturtiums, oxeye daisy, perennial wallflower, purple loosestrife, scabious, sweet rocket, sweet William, teasel, thyme, toadflax, valerian and yarrow. Looking into autumn go for alyssum, black-eyed Susan, buddleia (deadhead to prolong season), hebe, heliotrope, ivy, michaelmas daisy, scabious, verbena, yarrow. Butterflies will also feed on ripe and windfall fruit, root sap, tree trunks, cuckoo spit and even wine! Enjoy these wonderful pollinators for the next few months. Learn how to attract butterflies to your garden www.wildlifebcn.org/actions/ how-attract-butterﬂies-yourgarden
WILDLIFE TRUST RESERVES TO SPOT BUTTERFLIES The Great Fen – the Last of the Meres circular walk passes through meadows of wildflowers where butterflies feed on nectar and glide among the flower heads www.greatfen.org.uk/ www.greatfen.org.uk/explore/walks-trails/lastmeres Upwood Meadows, near Ramsey – three beautiful ancient wildflower meadows rich in species of wildflower – and the butterflies that love them www.wildlifebcn.org/nature-reserves/upwoodmeadows Chettisham Meadows, another ancient meadow full of wildflowers and butterflies - orangetip, holly blue, marbled white, brown argus and small copper to name but a few www.wildlifebcn.org/nature-reserves/ chettisham-meadow
The Fens | July 2020 35
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THIS MONTH’S RECIPE
John McGinn, head chef at Dog in a Doublet, shares his classic scone recipe INGREDIENTS 250g self-raising ﬂour good pinch of salt 50g caster sugar 50g unsalted butter, chilled and diced 1 medium egg 100ml buttermilk, plus extra if needed (you can use 2tbsp natural yoghurt made up to 100ml with milk)
THE TWISTS You could add some dried fruit to your scones such as figs or even some nuts. How abut filing your scone with buttercream (clotted cream can be hard to get hold of) and then adding some mashed bananas? The options are endless.
METHOD 1. Turn the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7 and line a baking sheet with baking paper. 2. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the pieces of butter to the bowl and toss them in the flour to separate and coat them. Rub the butter into the flour using just the tips of your fingers until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. 3. Beat the egg with the buttermilk and then stir this mixture into the crumbs using a palette knife to make a fairly soft but not wet dough. If there are dry crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, or the dough feels dry and seems difficult to bring together, add a little more buttermilk (or milk) a teaspoon at a time. The dough should look a bit rough so don’t overwork it and try to keep a light touch.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then knead the dough very gently for just a couple of seconds so it looks slightly smoother. Roll the dough out to about 3cm thick. 5. Using a cutter, stamp out rounds. Don’t twist the cutter as this will result in an uneven rise. Gather up the trimmings, press them together and stamp out more rounds. 6. Arrange the rounds on the lined baking sheet, giving them space to grow, then dust them lightly with flour. Bake for about 12 minutes or until a rich golden brown, then transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Eat warm from the oven, spread with clotted cream whipped lightly with vanilla essence and icing sugar, and some strawberries turned in some jam.
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An antidote to a terrible evil Paul Kosciecha, from Whittlesey Baptist Church, shares his thoughts this month...
To be honest, it’s made me sick to the stomach. The news channels have carried the accounts of the murder of George Floyd. We’ve been reminded that the evil of racism is still very much alive. It is easy to look on from a distance and think that this is an American problem. It’s not – racism is found all over the world. Yes, in one sense things have got better in recent years, but it’s clear that it is still a monster lying just beneath the surface. How will we defeat racism? I think the answer is to grasp a truth that the Bible teaches from beginning to end – that every human being, regardless of colour, ability or heritage, is precious. True, some have tried to use the Bible to justify
racist actions, but quite simply, they are wrong. The Bible begins by telling us that every human being is made in God’s image. Human life is to be respected and honoured. All are precious to God and we should treat them likewise. Origin, appearance, ability and personality all must take a secondary place to this. Yet that’s not all we’re told. The Bible is a book of God’s saving work through Jesus Christ. It tells us that we’ve sinned against God, but that he sent Jesus, his Son, to die so we could be forgiven if we trust in him. Who is this offer for? It is not just for a few; it is for all. God does not differentiate on skin colour or
heritage. He invites all to come and know him through Jesus. The only way to defeat racism is to see all people as equal and precious. As so many people have been posting in recent days, ‘Black lives matter’. The Bible both teaches me this and gives me a foundation for that belief. If you want to know more about God and life with him, why not visit our YouTube channel – www. whittleseybaptist.org.uk/ytchannel During these weeks where we are unable to meet we will be putting our services on this channel for people to watch. You are welcome to join us on a Sunday or whatever day works for you. Praying you all keep safe and well.
The Fens | July 2020 39
Nathan Smith from the Luxe cinema looks at a look at some of the best films money can buy
Back in March, we were all asked to remain indoors and films on disk made a comeback to pass the time, so I thought why not put my Blockbuster Video hat back on and pick out some fantastic films for you to enjoy from the comfort of your home. First up we have Dark Waters, a cracking thriller based on the real investigation into DuPont’s Teflon production by the lawyer Robert Bilott (played brilliantly by Mark Ruffalo) after a town was poisoned by unregulated chemicals. Directed by Todd Haynes, who directed 2015’s Carol, this brings the fascinating true story to life. Dark Waters is released on July 6th. When cinemas closed their doors, many were displaying posters for the sequel to the surprisingly cheerful Trolls and now you can own the movie that grabbed all the headlines as Universal took the decision to pull from cinemas all-together. Trolls: World Tour features an epic adventure to save their world from a tribe of Rock loving Trolls who seek 40 The Fens | July 2020
to destroy all other music. The home release will also include a new short film, ‘Tiny Diamond Goes Back to School’ when it releases on July 27th.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that most films, however outlandish or anachronistic are filmed in real locations and when Armando Ianucci’s adaptation of Dickens’ The Personal History of David Copperfield was filmed they utilised locations in Kings Lynn and Norfolk which makes for great fun playing ‘Spot the Town’. With a colour-blind cast including Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel, the film is a warm and self-aware feature which rewards those that know the original text, whilst not alienating newcomers and it is Out Now to buy. This year’s Academy Awards saw one film breaking new ground as Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite became the first film to win both the Best Picture and Best International Feature Film (as well as Best Director and Best Original Screenplay). Believe me, the fuss is entirely justified. The Kim family live in a small basement apartment at the end of a grotty street while the Park family live a
life of luxury at the top of the town. When the Kims see an opportunity to infiltrate the household by posing as various highly-qualified individuals, but something happens that turns the whole film on its head and elevates it from *a* foreign film to *THE* must-see foreign film. Parasite is Out Now. Finally, my Cult Classic pick is Flash Gordon which is getting a stunningly lavish special edition in time for its 40th Anniversary. Not only do you get the campclassic in stunningly remastered form, you also get the Queen soundtrack, booklets, art cards, a poster AND a sew-on patch! This exceptional boxed-set also includes extensive behind the scenes features including a look at the original plans for the film, back when Don’t Look Now director Nic Roeg was due to helm AND perhaps even more exciting a feature commentary from man/fog-horn hybrid Brian Blessed himself! Altogether now.... “GORDON’S ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIVVVVE!!!”. You can order your copy now ahead of its August 10th release date.
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“The crash at the bottom of the stairs woke me instantly… I didn’t want to move. I couldn’t, I was paralysed with fear. I had always accepted the verbal abuse that was thrown at me. I could take that. It was the physical abuse that filled me with shame.” Dead Inside is the first in the DC Maggie Jamieson Police Procedural Series and debut novel of writer, Noelle Holten. Written in the third person (except the prologue), the central theme of this fab debut is domestic abuse, a subject the writer handles with great sensitivity and professionalism. The cast of characters is large, so it’s important to keep up with who’s who; otherwise you run the risk of becoming a little confused. However, the chapters are short and snappy, which makes it easy to read and also adds to the pace of the storyline. There are, I would argue, two main protagonists in this killer thriller, namely Lucy Sherwood, who, based on Noelle’s own experience, is a probation officer, and DC Maggie Jamieson. In her professional life, Lucy comes across as a tough, no nonsense individual: a given for a probation officer speaking to offenders who have abused their partners. A fact that’s also rather ironic when juxtaposed to Lucy’s private life. Maggie too, is a strong individual. With the right balance of firm but fair, it’s her job to solve the recent murder of a man connected to a domestic abuse case. However, when another body turns up, followed by a third, all having been previously charged or linked to domestic abuse, it quickly becomes apparent there’s a serial killer on the loose. With the clock ticking will DC Maggie Jamieson and her team find their suspect and if so, is it who we think it is… The Fens | July 2020 41
The Fenland Mum
Our first escape, part one... New columnist Hazel Beecroft shares her journey of motherhood whilst living on the edge of the Fens (during lockdown)
have not left the property in over eight weeks, except for one stroll through the village to place a book on a doorstep. I have been marooned within the boundary of my home without a grudge, blessed with outside space and the ability to video call the people I love. I quite enjoy being a hermit. Only my husband has ventured out, in true (modern) hunter-gatherer style, to conduct socially distanced food shops (when he gets home I quiz him, fascinated by the outside world and strange new supermarket rules). When he leaves Verity stares out of the window in awe and asks “where’s daddy gone?” When restrictions relaxed, after the television told us we could reclaim a small portion of normality, and I announced it was time to go on an adventure, it struck me just how much lockdown affected my toddler. I thought she was protected from the change, and at least she is sheltered from the most terrifying parts – dreading the evening news, processing gut-wrenching statistics and worrying about the mortgage. Although the smallest person in our family, she is the most perceptive. She has been stuck at home away from friends, bored with her toys, watching television alone so we can crowbar in work around childcare, yet she’s still singing the ABC song and setting up teddy bear picnics with invisible tea and plastic macaroons. She has appeared to make do, a tiny little dot exhibiting admirable British spirit, but when I watch the swirl of emotion pass her face at the news of our imminent departure from her safe haven – her prison – it hits me that she’s masking uncertainty, just like me. We’re going out? Is the first reaction – shock, disbelief – and then there’s joy. She’s exhilarated at the thought of using the front door instead of the back. But then I see doubt, fear, and uncertainty creep in. 42 The Fens | July 2020
She grows quiet and fidgety as I dutifully pack our bag. She’s itching to go but also afraid I’m going to tell her it’s time to put on her wellies. There is a half-smile frozen on her lips, threatening to turn into a frown. The outside world is ABOUT THE AUTHOR Hazel Beecroft grew up around scary. At two years Cambridgeshire and lives with old, she had only her husband, daughter and just started to get two horses on the edge of The used to it before it Fens. She is a self-published was taken away author of equestrian fiction and became - complete with romance, mysterious once conflict and drama (to keep more. My face the protagonist busy) - all set in mirrors hers. I the Fens. Find her books online haven’t driven at Amazon.co.uk, available in in weeks. When both paperback and e-book. I pull out of Follow her on Facebook the driveway @HazelBeecroftAuthor or Instagram @hazel_beecroft for I discover I still remember what regular updates on her riding the pedals do. and writing. But the verges look different, I no longer recognise local roads because winter turned into spring; the grass is waist high and trees no longer bare. We wind our way to Holme Fen, with Verity asking “are we there yet” from the moment we leave our village, a coy smile on her face because she somehow already knows that joke. We bounce over the railway line then turn right, and as we cruise past the darkened pub I remember we’re not quite back to normal yet…
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