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fens THE

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens


Issue 16 | September 2017

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HOG ROAST at Whittlesey Festival See p.31


The Local Vintage Trail




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The Fens | September 2017 Visit our new website at

ED’S letter

Where has the month gone? It seems like only five minutes ago that we were talking about the start of summer, and now it’s September! We’ve had a busy month here in FENS HQ, starting with the amazing news that the magazine has been shortlisted for an award! Fenland Enterprise Business Awards are designed to celebrate local business and business people in the area, and we are thrilled to be finalists in the New Business category. In addition, and to my complete surprise, I am also a finalist for the Commercial Business Person category. We find out the results in a ceremony later this month, and regardless of the results, I think it’s an amazing achievement for not only us but everyone who writes, contributes and supports this publication. Good luck to everyone else nominated this year - we’re all winners already! There are lots of reasons to be happy this month, aside from awards. September sees the return of the Heritage Open Days, which celebrate national historical sites. Up and down the country, many local sites will be opening their doors and letting visitors explore for free. You can find out pick of some local Heritage sites on page 10. Don’t miss our what’s on guide for even more local events, and we will see you again next month.


THIS month 10 Heritage Open Days

28 The wonder of the crane

15 New season fashion

30 Whittlesey Festival is here

16 The secret to finding the right accessories for your home

32 A spooky encounter in Whittlesey

20 NEW travel column - find some late summer sun

38 A fresh look at the New Crown

23 Take our fun fitness quiz and find the best sport for you!

40 Exploring Chatteris Museum

fens THE

A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens


Issue 16 | September 2017


On the Vintage Trail



45 On the vintage trail 48 Walk of the month 50 Independent of the month Aspect Fires 52 What’s on guide

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

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

ISSUE 16 | SEPTEMBER 2017 A Fenland field by Chris Brudenell

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

The Fens | September 2017


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Come and try this all inclusive sport - for free Venue: Sir Harry Smith Community College, Eastrea Road Whittlesey PE7 1XB You are invited to Fenland Archery Club “Have a go session” On Saturday 16th September 2017 10.00am to 2.00pm

If you are looking to get into a sport, Minimum Age Archery could well be for you. Archery is an inclusive and accessible sport which 10 years can be enjoyed by the whole family, We have archery young or old. We are a friendly club equipment and which shoots the full range of bows. We experienced have a full programme of competitions coaches available and fun shoots throughout the year. to gently introduce We encourage personal fulfilment and you to the sport. friendly competition.

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HEREWARD SPONSORED SLEEPOVER COMMUNITY AT ST. MARY’S CHURCH RAIL PARTNERSHIP MEETING Do you know what the CRP and local railway projects are? Interested to find out more? The CRP is a Community Rail Partnership which aims to establish greater community involvement in the railway and its stations. The CRP is about developing a local voice to help deliver local priorities for the railway. The Hereward Community Rail Partnership will focus on the railway line between Peterborough and Ely with a specific focus on the stations in North Cambridgeshire at Manea, March and Whittlesea. If you are interested to find out more, there will be a Hereward Community Rail Paternship (CRP) meeting on Monday 11th September from 6pm - 8pm at Fenland Hall, County Road, March. The meeting is open to everyone, and there will be a chance to find out more about the CRP and local railway projects, over a cup of tea or coffee. The meeting will also feature a short presentation at 6pm, otherwise it will be an informal event. There’s no need to book for this event, but if you would like to find out more about the CRP or Hereward Community Rail Partnership, please visit:

St. Mary’s Church, Whittlesey, is in need of funds for essential maintenance work to fix a leaking roof and remove a rather large amount of pigeon poo from the spire and bell tower. A small group from The Friends of St. Mary’s Church committee decided to raise some additional money with a sponsored sleepover. Jenny Parker, the Chairman, decided it was fitting that they should spend the night in the church! After much discussion, the group met on the evening of the 28th July, with their air beds, blankets, funny costumes, essential supplies of tea, coffee and lots of biscuits, and of course teddy bears! Eventually, after a number of discussions, they team settled down for the night, although sleep was not easy for some due to the strange noises from other members of the

group. They lasted from 9pm to 8am, at which point they de-camped and celebrated with a cooked breakfast. The brave few taking part were: Rev Nigel Whitehouse - as himself; Richard Dunham - as himself; Jan Sharman - as a spotty onesie; Jenny Parker - as a Dalmatian; and Jacque Baldrey - as The Spirit of the Night. The committee would like to thank the many people who sponsored them, and especially to Councillor Mrs Julie Windle, Deputy Mayor of Whittlesey, who came to tuck them in for the night and to her husband Robert, who kindly took the photographs. The Friends were exceptionally pleased to raise over £820. Donations can still be accepted, please contact Jenny Parker on 01733 351005, or Jacque Baldrey on 01733 204539. Photo courtesy of RTW Photography.


Dr Batul Dungarwalla - Chief Executive Officer and Mrs Margaret Goldthorpe – Advice Service Leader - Citizens Advice Rural Cambs receiving the Cheque from Cllr Ralph Butcher on behalf of Whittlesey Town Council, other people in the picture are staff from Fenland District Council and Whittlesey Library.

Citizens Advice Rural Cambs is delighted to announce that Whittlesey Town Council has agreed to fund the outreach we offer in Whittlesey on a Friday, so this vital service can continue to operate and benefit the residents of Whittlesey, Eastrea, Coates, Turves and Pondersbridge. We would also like to take this opportunity of thanking the Town Council publicly for their commitment to supporting the service allowing the residents of Whittlesey parish to continue having access to a face-to-face Citizens Advice service. The Citizens Advice outreach service in Whittlesey operates on a Friday morning from 9.30 till 12.30 at the library, offering information, support, help and advice in a variety of subjects including benefits, debt, employment and housing. We also have access to specialists in other areas that we can utilise for further or more in depth advice. Follow up advice appointments can be arranged where necessary. Our Adviceline telephone service operates Monday to Friday 09.30 – 15.30. You can contact our assessors on 0344 245 1292 giving an alternative means to access our service if you do not have transport or access to the service at the library. The Fens | September 2017



WHITTLESEA MOTOR CYCLE CLUB The Whittlesea Motor Cycle club recently held its Festival on the Green event on 30th of July in Coates, which again proved to be a resounding success. This annual event, now in its fourth year in Coates, continues to grow from strength to strength and attracts not only motorcyclists, but many enthusiasts and local families as well. This year saw an attendance of over 100 machines, ranging from vintage, classics and trikes to modern day super bikes. It again was well supported by local charities, clubs and trades, the Vine Public House, the local Women’s Institute and the village people from surrounding areas. There was an ice cream van in attendance, not just for the kids, and a burger stall run by the club selling more than 200 burgers. “The Whittlesea Motorcycle Club would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in making this a successful and enjoyable day, and we look forward in seeing everyone again next year,” a spokesperson for the club added. Whittlesea Motorcycle Club is based in the Fenland market town of Whittlesey,

FLU VACCINATIONS Cambridgeshire, with members from the town and surrounding area. The club was formed in 2001 to enable like-minded motorcyclists to get together for rides and social events. There is a cross section of motorcycles owned from the latest sports bikes to old classics. FIND OUT MORE... If own a motorcycle and want to meet other like-minded individuals, the club would love to hear from you. The Whittlesea Motorcycle Club meet every other week at the Vine Public House in Coates on Tuesdays at 7.30pm. Their next meeting will be 12th September. Find out more at

The small, self-funding social club, run meetings on every other Monday from 2-4pm at St. Johns Ambulance Rooms, Whittlesey. Members enjoy playing cards and dominoes, bingo and chatting with friends. They also run a raffle which is drawn whilst the members are enjoying tea and cakes. Occasionally they serve a cooked lunch, which is followed by live entertainment. The group also organise coach trips throughout the year to shows, garden centres, shopping and meals out. The Fens | September 2017

Councillor surgeries will be held in Grosvenor House, Whittlesey, from 9:30am to 10:30am on the first Saturday of every month throughout 2017. SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 2ND COUNCILLORS PRESENT WILL BE: Councillor David Mason (District, and Town Councillor) Councillor Alan Bristow (Town Councillor) If you have any matters of concern and wish to discuss with a Councillor, then please come along and let us know.





New Queen Street Surgery will be holding their Flu vaccinations this year on Saturday 23rd and Saturday 30th September between 8.30am and 11.00am.



COULD YOU BE THE NEXT ROBIN HOOD OR MAID MARION? Fenland Archery Club are hosting a “Have a go session” on Saturday 16th September, between 10am and 2pm. And the best bit is that you can try something new, and it’s absolutely free for the day! Hosted at Sir Harry Smith Community College, Eastrea Road, Whittlesey PE7 1XB, Fenland Archery Club will have archery equipment and experienced coaches available to gently introduce new people to the sport. Archery is an inclusive and accessible sport which can be enjoyed by the whole family, young or old. “We are a friendly club which shoots the full range of bows,” a spokesperson added. “We have a full programme of competitions and fun shoots throughout the year and we encourage personal fulfilment and friendly competition.” Interested? Why not come along and have a go and who knows, you could be the next Robin Hood or Maid Marion! To find out more about Fenland Archery Club, please visit

The Coates Village Show, which took place on the 15th July, was a great success and raised around £450. The show culminated with the 2017 Citizen of the Year award. The show has been running in its current format for over 10 years, has a village show competition in the morning and a family fun day in the afternoon. This year, over 200 items were entered, from cakes to cross-stitch, photographs to potatoes, and all were scrutinised and judged until the winners of each category were decided. The overall winner for 2017 was announced as Sharon Weston – for the second year in a row. The family fun in the afternoon was organised by a team of people from the Friends of Holy Trinity, Coates and KingsGate Church, Peterborough. This partnership meant that the show was expanded from previous years and took over most of North Green as well as Holy Trinity and its grounds. The free bouncy castle and face painting were very popular with the children, the falconry display, kindly donated by Ye Olde Redtail Falconry Display, was one of the highlights of the afternoon. As well as all of this there were plenty of stalls, tombolas, raffles and competitions and other activities suitable for all. After the show, the final award of the day was presented – the Citizen of the Year. Over previous years this

award has been presented to a range of people in the village for their contribution to others and this year was no different. In recognition of her selfless commitment to others and her charity fundraising efforts, the Coates Citizen of the Year 2017 was awarded to Yazmin Hills. Yazmin wanted to get her hair cut, so that it could be sent to the Little Princess Trust to make real hair wigs for children who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment. But she decided to go one step further and get the remaining hair shaved off to help raise money for a close family friend, Cody, who had been very ill shortly after birth and now has a very rare condition which means he cannot talk or eat solid foods. Yazmin had her hair shaved at school in front of hundreds of other students. She raised £3,210.81 which was used to buy a specialist pushchair whilst the remainder is being put towards converting the family’s back garden so that Cody can have some independence. If you feel that you could help the family, either financially or by supplying specialist equipment, please contact Kelly Green at kel36@ The next Coates Village Show will be held on Saturday 14th July 2018, and nominations for the 2018 Citizen of the Year can be emailed to The Fens | September 2017


Heritage OPEN DAYS

England’s favourite heritage festival, the Heritage Open Days sees some 40,000 volunteers across England organise 5,000 events to celebrate our fantastic history and culture in September. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are FREE to explore As England’s largest and most diverse festival of history, this year Heritage Open Days (HODs) are focusing on hidden stories and historical secrets from thousands of towns, villages and regions across the country. From artists’ studios to nuclear bunkers, volunteers are revealing hidden gardens and historic houses, and telling the stories of those who lived, built, worked and died in them. “This is a landmark year for us,” explained Annie Reilly, Manager of 10 The Fens | September 2017

Heritage Open Days. “We have artists looking at Alan Turing with a fresh lens and uncovering the love story of WWII soldiers Gilbert and Gordon, as well as the story of the first mosque in England, and the opening of secret tunnels used by mill workers in Shipley. History is stories, all our stories, and this year, more than ever before, Heritage Open Days is a celebration of that.” HODs has now been running for 23 years and is the biggest free to

access grass roots celebration of heritage and culture in the UK, with over 5,000 events happening across England. We took a look at some of the participating places closer to home and were surprised by the range and diversity in such a small radius. If you aim to do something this month, why not take a visit to a new Heritage centre and see what piece of history you can unearth.


Ely has a wonderful selection of buildings open over the Heritage Open Days weekend. Here’s our pick of just a few of them, but you can find out more at Ely Tourist Information Centre (01353 662062 or by visiting

Oliver Cromwell’s House

Peckover House & Garden

One of our favourite places to visit in the Fens is Peckover House and Garden. Set in the heart of Wisbech, this splendid house and two-acre Victorian garden will be open free of charge for non-NT members on Saturday 9th September as part of the HODs. So whether you’re a veteran visitor or a Peckover virgin, come and explore the history of the house and see the wonderful garden for yourself. There will even be the chance to see a brand new project which the Trust is working on, in partnership with the Arts Council, called Trust New Art - an exciting new presentation of the house in 2018. The artists - Sarah Evans and David Kefford (Aid and Abet) - will be on site to tell visitors more about the project. OPENING TIMES: Saturday 9th September between 11am-4pm BOOKING: N/A EXTRA INFO: Peckover House, North Brink, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, PE13 1JR

Peterborough Energy Recovery Centre

Thorney Abbey

Meeting for a short talk on the history of the Abbey, visitors will enjoy the atmosphere of the Norman interior of Thorney Abbey, before enjoying a walk through the village and park to look at how the area was changed and improved by the Dukes of Bedford. Thorney Heritage Museum will also be open for the Heritage Open day. OPENING TIMES: Sunday 10th September at 2pm BOOKING: N/A EXTRA INFO: Thorney Abbey, Abbey Place, Thorney, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE6 0QD

The team at Peterborough Energy Recovery Facility in Fengate will be opening its doors to members of the public in September to explore the stateof-the-art facility which turns residual waste into energy. Making a significant step towards the city’s zero waste to landfill ambitions, Peterborough City Council is now able to divert up to 95% of its non-recyclable waste from landfill. This is your chance to lift the lid and see the science behind what happens when you take out your rubbish bin. From behind a glass panel, look down on a bunker filled with hundreds of tonnes of waste. See two giant grabs lift 3 tonnes of waste in the air before dropping it into the energy recovery process and generate enough electricity for 16,000 homes. Guided tours will give visitors the opportunity to learn about the technology and processes involved in energy recovery. Visitors will discover the control room operations, steam generation process and electricity production.

Visit this impressive historic house at dusk and experience domestic life in the 17th century is the recreated period rooms. Play with toys of the times and venture into the haunted bedroom - if you dare! 􀆵􀆌􀄞􀀃􀅝􀅶􀆚􀅽􀀃􀆚􀅚􀄞􀀃􀀬􀄂􀆵􀅶􀆚􀄞􀄚􀀃􀀑􀄞􀄚 OPENING TIMES: Friday 8th September between 5pm-8pm BOOKING: N/A

Ely Cathedral

One of the most magnificent examples of medieval architecture in Europe, Ely Cathedral is steeped in history, which dates back to the 11th century. The Cathedral will be offering twilight tours of either the historical West Tower or the world famous Octagon Tower. There’s another chance for a tour of the West Tower on Saturday at 10am. Places for the tours are limited to two tickets per person and must be pre-booked. OPENING TIMES: Friday 8th September between 6:30pm-8:30pm or Saturday 9th September at 10am BOOKING: 01353 660359 EXTRA INFO:

Ely’s Architectural Walking Tour

What better way of discovering the wealth of architecture of some of Ely’s period, historical buildings during this walk with an informed guide. Departing from Ely Tourist Information Centre at Oliver Cromwell’s House. Places must be pre-booked.􀆵􀆌􀄞􀀃􀅝 OPENING TIMES: Saturday 9th September at 11:30am BOOKING:

OPENING TIMES: Thursday 7th at 2pm Friday 8th at 10am Saturday 9th September at 10am BOOKING: Must be pre-booked, visit visiting/event/peterborough-energyrecovery-centre1 The Fens | September 2017 11

Heritage Open Days

Eight heritage sites open in Ramsey

FAMILY FUN: The Ramsey “rammies” will be hiding around the heritage sites again this year and there’ll be a prize draw for those who find 7 of the 9 that are waiting to meet you! Children will love the stories that are being told and can look around a Fen cottage which was moved lock, stock and barrel to the Rural Museum. OPENING TIMES: Sunday September 10th between 11am – 5pm EXTRA INFO: or call 07762 710257

Find out more about this year’s Heritage Open Days by visiting: 12 The Fens | September 2017

Ramsey has heritage and history in spades, from the medieval glory of the Abbey to the recent Spitfire excavation on the Great Fen and all the sites are open for free on Sunday September 10th. A free vintage bus leaves on the hour from the library on the Great Whyte (PE26 1HG) and stops at the Abbey Green, the Rural Museum, the 1940s Camp and the Fenland Light Railway. From these stops you can also visit the Abbey Gatehouse, the Abbey House & Lady Chapel, the Walled Kitchen Garden and the Mortuary Chapels. The Rural Museum covers 200 years of agricultural and local history and is opposite the unique Victorian Mortuary Chapels building. From there you can stroll to the National Trust’s medieval gatehouse and on to the Abbey House where you’ll find an original chapel or refectory from the days of the Abbey itself. The Abbey House is a magnificent building and the library will be open as well as its restored walled kitchen garden. Continuing on to the Abbey Green you can also catch up with the Warboys Archaeology Project who will be giving updates on the work they’ve been doing to detect exactly where the prestigious Abbey once stood. More recent archaeology has unearthed a Spitfire on the Great Fen and this project aroused national interest - an excellent film on this will be shown all day at the 1940s Camp – something not to be missed.

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MAC Bold and Bad Lash Mascara; £19.50 MAC Burgundy Lip Pencil; £13 MAC Mineralised Skin Finish, Soft and Gentle; £24.50 MAC Rollerwheel Liquid Eyeliner, Black; £16.50 MAC Diva and Velvet Teddy Lipsticks; £16.50 each

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The Fens | September 2017 15

Home & garden

ACCESSORISE “The only thing that separates us from animals is our ability to accessorise” Olympia Dukakis Olympia Dukakis once said the “thing that separates us from animals is our ability to accessorise”, and she was right! More now than ever, we have access to a vast array of inexpensive accessories for our homes; there are some pretty expensive ones as well, but they don’t suit everyone’s pockets. They can help us to bring seasons into our living room, draw a specific colour forward from our curtains or upholstery, or simply inject some life into what could otherwise be a lackluster scheme. We can even use our accessories to bring a theme to a room, such as a beach house look for example.

We’ve all picked up sea shells when visiting the beach, or pebbles when sitting by a babbling brook, fir cones from the forest etc. These basic things that we collect say something of ourselves and our personality. They are a perfect way to allow our personality into our home. The fir cones, arranged in a fireplace or in a large bowl on a hall table, along with

some candles, scrolls of bark etc, is a great way to start dressing your home. Likewise, images of things that interest you, framed and hanged collectively, can be a great inspiration for colour coding accessories, such as lamps and cushions. When you are looking for a subtle injection of colour and texture, this can be found in ceramic pots and vases. Try to group your accessories for greater impact. Not only will they look better, but leaving some areas free allows the illusion of space. Don’t think that accessorising needs to be expensive – this collection of glass bottles has been displayed simply with a frond of a fern in each. The bottles don’t need to be anything special, just shapes and colours that you like. You could then introduce the colour of the glass with scatter cushions on your sofa or maybe a fabric depicting ferns.


H&M Vase; £19.99

q Next Cutlery Caddy; £12

q M&S Wooden Round Mirror; £55

p John Lewis Faro Cushion; £45

You could even use a childhood toy as the centre of your accessorising – the great thing, is that you can use virtually anything that pleases you and add more or less to suit your taste. As always, try to have some fun with it, if it makes you smile on a day when you are feeling a little down, it might do the same for those that come to visit you!

Simon Parr-Black is an interior designer. You can contact him on 01733 688235 or email him at 16 The Fens | September 2017

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Summer is coming to an end with the month of September generally being a cooler month than August. The days are becoming noticeably shorter, but the weather is, however, usually warm and calm, giving us the ideal conditions to plant trees and shrubs. It’s a great time of the year to appreciate those long lasting plants that flower into autumn and if you have a fruit or vegetable patch you’ll be busy reaping the rewards of a hopefully successful harvest. Don’t forget - if you look forward to a great spring display of colour then now is the time to buy and plant your bulbs. Whatever you’re doing in your garden this month, be sure to make the most of the remaining warmth while you can.


Hebe ‘Bowles’s Variety’



Hebe ‘Bowles’s Variety’ is an evergreen, rounded shrub with ovate, glossy green leaves that makes a very attractive plant for borders or containers. Easy to care for, this Hebe is drought tolerant and flowers prolifically in summer.



September is a good month to lift and divide summer-flowering herbaceous perennials. Most perennials need to be divided every three to five years as the plants can become too big for the border and become congested. Dividing will invigorate the plant and help to improve flowering and overall shape for next year. Gently dig out the plant you want to divide, being careful not to damage the roots. Use a garden fork to separate the plant into two then shake of any excess soil and replant in your chosen spot a soon as possible.

some strong growth that hasn’t flowered this year and cut a 5-10cm stem just below a leaf joint. Strip the leaves from the lower stem and leave one or two pairs at the top. Dip the end in hormone rooting powder and plant in pots of compost mixed with grit. Leave the pots somewhere bright and warm until rooted then re-pot into larger containers. Overwinter in the greenhouse or conservatory.


Take cuttings of tender perennials such as fuchsia, salvia, verbena, penstemon and chrysanthemum. It’s a great way to increase the number of plants you have for your summer display and there’s something really satisfying about seeing plants grow that you’ve created yourself. Find


Bulbs make a fine display planted

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This variety of Hebe flowers best when planted in full sun. The addition of a good quality compost when planting is essential to prevent the roots becoming too dry. After flowering, sheer back dead flower stems to keep the plant looking full. in containers or borders, especially Tulips, Snowdrops and Daffodils. They are one of the easiest and most rewarding plants to grow and are great for adding colour to spring borders. Tulips come in a huge variety of colours and bloom at a time of year when there is very little colour in the garden. Snowdrops, appearing before the tulips, are one of the earliest flowering plants in the garden. When the snowdrops begin to fade, the daffodil begins to appear, with its cheery shades of yellow brightening the borders. Enjoy your garden!

• Shrubs • Conifers • Roses • Bedding/Basket Plants • Perennials • Alpines • Compost • Turf • Bark • Wide Selection of Pots • Bagged Aggregates • Slabs

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The Fens | September 2017 19

Catching some

SUMMER SUN New columnist, JADE HAWKINS, takes a look at some of her favourite places to catch some last-minute summer sun Summer is drawing to a close and the sunshine we had has all but gone. For many, like me, your attention might be turning to where you can get some last-minute sun without the price tag. Trust me when I say there are so many places that you can go to that will still be beautiful and drenched in glorious weather, right up until Christmas. So I am going to share with you my top five destinations to get your winter sun fix this year.

be the beautiful Indian ocean island of Mauritius, perfect for couples or families. With stunning white beaches and blue seas, this is definitely a destination not to be missed. Fancy spicing up your trip and visiting two places? Combine Mauritius with the Island of Reunion which is just an hour flight away, and enjoy an island which is less touristy and has lots on offer such as mountain climbing, canoeing and visiting the small towns and markets.



City breaks across Europe are still a great temperature in September and to steal a short weekend away may be all you need. But which city to choose? For me, I would head to the Italian city of Rome. In September, Rome has it all: culture, amazing food and wine plus great shops, what more could you want? The crowds are starting to disperse at this time of year, so you will certainly get more for your money too. A three night break in a 4* central property is around £325pp in September - maybe it’s time for me to pack my suitcase!


Fancy a longer break but not flying too far? A trip to the Canary Island of Tenerife might be just what you’re are looking for. Tenerife has it all and you can build a holiday to suit everyone. Whatever your needs are, they will be catered for whether you’re looking for 20 The Fens | September 2017

beaches, adventure theme parks or seeing some animals, there’s so much to see and do!


If you wanted an authentic experience without the hustle and bustle of lots of tourists about, September is the perfect month to head to some of the smaller Greek islands such as Kefalonia or Mykonos. Temperatures still average around 22/23 degrees at this time of year and all the tavernas will be open for you to enjoy the real Greek experience. With daily flights from a range of airports, what’s to stop you?


So what if you wanted to travel further afield? My top pick would

My final pick would be to visit Iceland and Reykjavik. Now is the time to see the Northern lights, which are most likely to be seen from September to April. However, Iceland has much more to offer than just the Northern lights, with amazing glaciers and waterfalls, as well as the opportunity to see whales and time to spend relaxing in the blue lagoon, it is definitely a bucket list destination. I hope you enjoyed what you’ve read and if it has sent your brain into overdrive thinking about your next holiday then I’d love to (if you’ll have me) help you plan the perfect holiday for you! Jade Hawkins is a Travel Counsellor, offering a personal service. 01406 308030 | 07923 279164 hawkins

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The Fens | September 2017 21



When we consider a human body we commonly see the skeletal (i.e. bones) as the structural core with all the other tissue surrounding it. But is this really the scaffolding which knits everything together?


You may have heard recently about a pending sugar tax that is coming to UK shelves in April 2018, and although increased taxes are generally not greeted pleasantly, this one has the potential to be a real win for our nation’s health overall. Financially it means you can expect to pay around 4p-8p more for a can of fizzy soft drink, and 18p-24p more for bigger bottles. It’s not a huge price increase, granted, but conservative estimates think it will add around £500million to our economy every year. What’s really interesting about this change, though, is the amount of money the soft drink giants have been spending to stop this tax increase. It’s in the billions and in America, despite a decade of campaigning, only eight cities, that’s cities not states, have added a tax to sugar-sweetened soft drinks. So why are Pepsi and Coca Cola, to name just the obvious two, burning through cash to stop you paying a few pence more for their product?


It may well be because this is the beginning of the end for them. Just like with ‘Big Tobacco’ in the 50s and 60s, hitting people in their wallets heightens the general public’s awareness to what they are consuming and will eventually lead, albeit a considerable time later, to huge declines in the products’ popularity and global consumption.

I discussed the dietary consequences of consuming sugary-sweetened drinks in February’s issue of THE FENS, find it online if you missed it. But to recap, a single 330ml can of Coca Cola contains 35g of sugar, that is 5g more than is recommended for your entire daily consumption! You will find other drinks branded or non-branded, ‘diet’ or not, to be at similar levels or worse. This seemingly insignificant factor of a person’s daily diet is having a direct and catastrophic effect on our national health. For example, 1 in 6 people in the UK are diabetic and this figure is ever increasing. It seems almost inevitable that the soft drink industry and the huge budgets they have for advertising and financial lobbying of governments, will have to buckle to the crippling effects that many of their products are having on public health.


Robert Bull is a boxing coach and self confessed food nerd, currently setting up a digital nutrition advice service. You can contact him on 22 The Fens | September 2017

If the bone were the scaffolding then should we not be able to recognise a person from their skeleton alone? The common person would find it difficult to differentiate a female from a male skeleton, whilst an expert would be able to identify an approximate age and gender but little more. However, if we were to remove every piece of tissue with the exception of our blood vessels, you would have enough detail to recognise your family member or friend. The same is true of our nerves. When we consider our development within the womb, the nervous system is the first to arrive on the scene in week two. The blood system (i.e. blood vessels and heart) and the embryonic tissue that will form our muscles / bones (termed mesoderm) arrives together in week four. The nervous system will dominate the growth of the embryo for the first six weeks, thereafter the other tissues grow outwards together influencing each other as they progress. In general we can describe this interaction as the mesodermal cells multiplying outwards and suck / drag the blood vessels and nerves with them. In this way, the [blood vessels and nerves] become embedded in the developing tissue to such an extent that no cell is a cell width away from a blood vessel or nerve! In addition, due to the tensile strength of the blood vessels and nerves, they provide resistance to the growth thus influence the overall shape of the muscle or bone. In this way the blood vessels and nerves form a scaffold throughout the body which give our muscles / bones a unified strength. When we consider the reach of our blood vessels and nerves, it begs the question: what are the consequences of dysfunction in these systems? In a world where stress and anxiety are high, can we be certain that these abnormalities are confined to the nervous system alone? In a world where blood pressure is commonly high, can we be certain that this is just a problem for the cardiovascular system alone?

Oi 01733

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


WHAT IS THE RIGHT SPORT FOR YOU? As the children go back to school, now is a great time to start a new sport or begin a regular fitness regime (whatever your age). But finding the right activity is proven to be the key to lifelong exercise. Try our fun questionnaire and see which activities is right for you HOW WOULD YOUR FRIENDS DESCRIBE YOU? A Focused and determined B Giving and caring, but lacking in confidence C Spontaneous and care-free D The life and soul of the party HOW DO YOU COPE WITH STRESSFUL DAYS? A Go out for a jog B Settle on the sofa with a cup of tea C Clear your head with an evening stroll D Head to the pub DO YOU SET NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS? A Yes, but I’m constantly setting new goals B Every year, then feel despondent by February C No. I’m happy with my life and don’t want to change it D I prefer to make a list of my goals and plans DID YOU ENJOY SPORT AT SCHOOL? A Yes, I was competitive and quite good B No, I was always picked last for teams C Preferred doing activities with my family D I liked team games such as hockey or netball WHAT’S YOUR IDEAL HOLIDAY? A Pack in as much as possible B Relaxing at a villa with a pool and a book C A walking holiday in the mountains or coastal paths D With friends. Maybe a cruise with nice restaurants and nightlife

MOSTLY A You like having goals, getting results, and need routine and rules to function at your best. You’re committed and disciplined. YOU NEED activity with a purpose, so try cycling, running, swimming or hiking. Work on setting achievable goals, such as a local 10k. AVOID sticking with the plan at all costs. Maintain perspective and allow yourself rest days when you’re tired or ill.

MOSTLY B You have good intentions, but struggle to get started. Finding the time to exercise is hard, as there’s always something better to do. A previous experience may have put you off and you can feel self-conscious. You feel uncomfortable getting out of breath, hot and sweaty. YOU NEED classes and sessions fixed in your diary. Don’t set your goals too high or try anything too tough - keep it fun and easy. Aerobics, Zumba, Nordic Walking, jogging or cycling in groups would be ideal. Arrange to meet a friend for tennis and don’t back out! AVOID home exercise DVDs or solo exercise, which just sets you up for failure. You need social interaction and pre-booked commitments. MOSTLY C You love nature, spontaneity and feeling the fresh air. You don’t like the gym or bootcamps. You like to exercise when you feel like it and you use exercise to relieve stress.

YOU NEED to focus on enjoyment and being at one with nature. You might enjoy pilates and yoga. Natural activities such as hiking, running, cycling and wild swimming will appeal to you. AVOID being alone all of the time. Social interaction is important. Once in a while, meet up with friends for a bike ride, or try joining a local jogging or walking group. MOSTLY D You enjoy the company of others. You’re sociable and full of life. You get bored exercising on your own and rely on the support of others to keep you motivated. YOU NEED social interaction. Choose exercise groups with other people, where you can catch up for a chat. You’ll enjoy many types of exercise with friends, so keep things fun and you’ll reap the rewards. AVOID putting pressure on yourself to achieve goals or targets, and try not to get too competitive with your friends. Just have fun and avoid going it alone.

There are plenty of exercise classes and fitness sessions on offer at New Vision Fitness that offer something for everyone. From dance-based exercise classes, to a great swimming timetable allowing you to be sociable or swim alone. If you’re not sure, just ask. So why not make this month the time you tried something new? Find out more about what your local leisure centre has to offer by visiting The Fens | September 2017 23

Working with Cambridgeshire County Council, we are offering free support that helps connect you to a range of services including:

Fenland Older People’s Outreach Service

• Money & benefit support • Free assessment to make sure your home suits your needs • Advice & access to technology which supports you in your home • Physical & mental wellbeing activities Working with Cambridgeshire County Council, offering free • Socialwe andare cultural events.

Free support for anyone 65 and over Fenland Older People’s Outreach Service

support that helps connect you to a range of services including: Anyone can refer into the Free for anyone • support Money & benefit support 65 and over service or we accept self• Free assessment to make sure your home suitsTo your needs referrals. begin a referral Working with Cambridgeshire County Council, we are offering free • Advice & access to technology which supports you in your home or for more information get in support that helps connect you to a range of services including: • Physical & mental wellbeing activitiestouch today. • Money & benefit support • assessment Social and cultural events. • Free to make sure your home suits your needs • Advice & access to technology which supports you in your home Anyone canwellbeing refer into the service or we accept self-referrals. • Physical & mental activities • Social cultural events. or for more information get in touch today. To and begin a referral

Fenland Older People’s Fenland Older People’s Outreach Service Fenland Older People’s Call Freephone: 0300 004 0349 Outreach Service Call Freephone: 0300 004 0349 Email: Outreach Service Free for anyone 65 and over Email:support Anyone can refer into the service or we accept self-referrals. To begin a referral or for more information get in touch today. Free support for anyone 65 and over Visit:Visit: Working with Cambridgeshire County Council, we are offering free Free support for anyone 65 and over support that helps connect you to a range of services including:


Working with Cambridgeshire County Council, we are offering free • Money & benefit support support that helps connect you to aCounty range Council, of services Working with Cambridgeshire weincluding: are offering free • Free assessment to make sure your home suits your needs support that helps connect you to a range of services including: • Money & benefit support • Advice & access to technology which supports you in your home • Free assessment to make sure your home suits your needs • Physical & mental wellbeing activities • Money & benefit support • Advice & assessment access to technology whichyour supports yourneeds home • Social and cultural events. • Free to make sure home you suitsinyour • Physical && mental wellbeing activities • Advice access to technology which supports you in your home Anyone can refer into the service or we accept self-referrals. • Social and cultural events. • Physical & mental wellbeing activities To begin a referral or for more information get in touch today. • Social and cultural events. Anyone can refer into the service or we accept self-referrals. To begin a referral or into for more information in touch today. Anyone can refer the service or we get accept self-referrals.

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24 The Fens | September 2017


Bridal SOS


Makeup Artist Tia Henderson reveals her top tips for a stress-free bride

A spooky encounter Carly Adams discovered a mysterious side to the Falcon Hotel...

Wedding planning can be very stressful. Booking in your hair and makeup appointment can sometimes be one of the last things on your check list! I recommend to book in your first trial/consultation six months prior to your wedding day. This gives you plenty of time to try out different ideas and choose your favourite, and also book in any hair cutting/colouring or facial treatments in accordance to your wedding day. Use your budget for a hair and makeup artist wisely, as whoever you choose will need to have a style that fits in perfectly with you. It’s always a good idea to have your hair stylist and makeup artist stay for the photographs at your wedding, as then they can touch up anything to make sure you look absolutely perfect in each picture. HAIR & SKIN TOP TIPS n Getting a regular facial once a month leading up to your big day will keep your skin in tip top condition so that your makeup sits flawlessly on the skin. Facials are especially great for anyone with problematic skin such a dry or oily areas. n A regular hair cut every six to eight weeks leading up to your big day is a great way to steer clear of any split ends on your photographs, and keeps your hair looking and feeling healthy. n Get your hair coloured the week before the wedding, as this allows your colour time to soften but keeps your roots at bay! I offer bespoke hair and makeup packages for brides and your wedding party. Contact me today to book in your FREE consultation. PHOTOS Jade Hicks Photography HAIR AND MAKEUP TIA Hair & Makeup Artist

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

Last month I was invited to attend a ghost hunt at The Falcon Hotel, Whittlesey. I was excited as not only do I have an interest in being spooked, but I’d only ever been to a Horror House previously. This was something completely different, run by a couple of people who live locally, but organise hunts all over the UK. The evening was an overnight event that started at 10:30pm and ended at 3:00am the following morning. Upon my arrival, I was assigned to a group of hunters, who had been on hunts previously – they were all very nice and welcoming. For the benefit of anyone who hadn’t ever been on a ghost hunt, we were all introduced to the various equipment and tools that we were able to use in our group vigils. Technical equipment included: EMF readers (which showed electromagnetic activity); vibration sensors; laser thermometers; the BooBear, which is a cuddly toy that detects movement, temperature change and has a recorded voice box that is designed to encourage spirits to interact with hunters; and my personal favourite - a Frank’s box. The Frank’s box works by sweeping through the AM radio frequency band. It was explained that the device allows spirits to interact with the device and therefore communicate through it. We were also introduced to “set and leave” equipment which means things that can be left and checked on later to see if they have been moved or disturbed, and trigger objects, such as Ouija boards, flashing objects (much like a dog toy, that lights up if disturbed), and crystals which can be moved by spirits. We conducted vigils in different areas of the hotel and found different levels of activity throughout. We found signs of activity in the function room - especially with the reflection of one of the women in my group who was looking in to the mirror. The dining room also gave a little activity and we got some feedback from Frank’s Box, where it clearly gave the name Paula. The most prominent place for activity was in the cellar, both on the EMF device and the vibration box! At the very end of the night and as I was just gathering my things, Colin and I witnessed an unusual experience for the leaders, where all of the equipment in their bags simultaneously turned on. Paula and Geoff (True Spirits Paranormal owners) have never experienced this before and could not explain why this happened… The evening was certainly different, as well as interesting and exciting. I have booked myself and a friend in for another hunt with True Spirits Paranormal. True Spirits Paranormal are returning to The Falcon Hotel for another hunt and a Christmas Dinner on 16th December. The evening will be £30 per person, which inclues the two-course dinner. You can book via www. The Fens | September 2017 25


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The Essence of Dunkirk Local author and mother of two EVA JORDAN shares her musings

Pop in and browse through our lovely clothes. We would love to help you find a perfect wedding outfit, stunning party or ball dress, chic hat for the races or stylish holiday and casual wear – all at a fraction of the original price. Brands include:- Coast, Dune, Hobbs, Jacques Vert, Mint Velvet, Frank Usher, Ted Baker and more.

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• We will be open for the Whittlesey Festival on Sunday 10th September from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. • Ladies call in and take part in our free Festival Draw • Visit our, one-day only, Festival Sale Room, next door We are now taking in stock for autumn, please ring for an appointment. Opening hours Wednesday & Thursday 12pm-7pm Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 10am-4pm For out of hours by appointment call 07791 944435 7 Broad Street, Whittlesey PE7 1HA



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As a keen enthusiast of history, with a Great Uncle who numbered one of the 330,000 safely evacuated from Dunkirk during WWII, I was curious to see film director, Christopher Nolan’s take on the subject. Nolan is famous for films such as The Dark Knight, Inception and Interstellar but Dunkirk is his first historical movie and with an all star cast including, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, not to mention boy band, One Direction’s very own Harry Styles, I was expecting a lot. I’m pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed. And, on the whole, the film appears to have been well received and has clocked up some rave reviews. However, as with music, art, and books, films are subjective. You can’t please everyone so naturally there have been a few negative reviews and some general criticisms, mostly aimed at some of the film’s general historical inaccuracies. For example, there are Messerschmitt Bf 109 planes featured in dogfights with British Spitfire planes. In the film, the German planes have yellow noses but in reality, the planes were not painted yellow until about a month after Dunkirk. The film also fails to include some of the Indian troops present at the time and there is also, which I must admit I am a bit miffed about, a general exclusion of women, save for the odd stereotypical role where they are providing tea for the homecoming menfolk. In real life, female Auxiliary Territorial Service telephonists (who received two-thirds of a male soldier’s pay) were some of the last military personnel to leave the beach. But, nonetheless, I can forgive Nolan and here’s why: Dunkirk is not a conventional war film; there is very little character development, limited dialogue and no love story. If you’re expecting context and historical accuracy, you will be disappointed. However, if you want a brief glimpse of how it must have ‘felt’ to be present on the beaches of Dunkirk in the north of France between 26 May - 4 June 1940, then this film is a must see. The nemesis of Dunkirk was time and through Nolan’s breath taking cinematography and the brilliant accompanying musical score by composer, Hans Zimmerman, cinemagoers experience the stomach-churning anticipation of attack, the waiting, the cold, the fear, the bravery, the hunger, and the loss. Nolan, if you like, captures the essence of the moment of Dunkirk.




§ Joe Ferridge is an occasional writer who noticed this morning a small hole in the wedding dress bag which may have been caused by me moving it. I’m now moving to Acapulco before she gets home.


Maybe this is sheer blind ignorance on my part and perhaps it will change as October 28th looms ever closer, but so far planning a wedding has been a piece of cake. Sure I found looking at countless, soulless venues irritating and the obsessively smiley, forcibly cheerful people that worked at them even more unpleasant but actually, as I theorize now, if we did nothing else and just let the date roll relentlessly towards us, then there would be a wedding, people would be fed and there would be music to dance to in the evening so all in all, everything is good. My biggest issue is the preservation of the wedding dress. You see, for whatever convoluted reasons, said wedding dress has ended up living in our house, in a bag, flitting between our bedroom and the spare room. Tradition dictates that it is ‘unlucky’ for me to see the dress before the wedding, which presumably is the same ethereal magic that dictates I can’t walk under a ladder or step on the cracks on the pavement without the imminent threat of a grand piano falling on my head. However, although I disregard these in the manner and disdain they deserve, I must uphold ‘wedding dress secrecy’ to the bitter end, which is I admit, tricky when said dress is always in every room I need to go in. Admittedly I can’t see through the bag and I genuinely have no intention of unzipping it to look, but I can’t help but feel we’re tempting an inevitable incident when my mates come round, we get drunk and in an ill-judged moment, we decide it would be a good idea for one of them to try it on just before a curry takeaway. My biggest irritation about the dress by far though, is its seemingly ability to absorb all the elements around it. The quarantine zone around this dress is bested only by Chernobyl, with all deodorising sprays banned from being used within its radius. But still it hangs, mocking me from within its fabric bag prison, almost like it senses that it currently has more importance in the house than I do. It hangs on the door to a cupboard with my coats in at the moment, and because I knew that the second I tried to open said door, it would fall off and crumple to the floor in a heap, meaning a week sleeping on the sofa for me, I went to work this morning in the rain without my coat rather than risk it!

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The Fens | September 2017 27



YOUR NECK! WORDS David White, RSPB IMAGE Dave Rogers I have said in these articles before that we are very fortunate in the Fens to have a wide range of rare nesting birds in the area. One of the most iconic species of bird that nests in the Fens is the common crane. Common cranes are not only one of our largest nesting birds, they are also one of our rarest. As they are such incredible birds, I thought I would dedicate this month’s article to them. If you are not familiar with common cranes, they are mainly grey with black and white markings on their heads. They stand almost five foot tall and have a whopping eight foot wingspan. This means that when they fly, they well and truly look massive. They nested in the Fens until the time of the Tudors, when they became extinct as a nesting bird due to habitat loss and the fact that they were hunted for the table. They were absent as a nesting bird

“Cranes continued to spread around the area and in 2010, a pair of cranes fledged one young at RSPB Nene Washes which is near Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire [...] the Fenland crane population has continued to increase steadily since then” 28 The Fens | September 2017

for around 400 years until a small population of cranes recolonised the Norfolk Broads in the early 1980s. Since then, the population has slowly increased and in 2009, one pair of cranes fledged (which means that the chick was able to fly) one young at RSPB Lakenheath Fen on the Suffolk/ Norfolk border. This was the first young crane to fledge in the Fens for over 400 years, which was absolutely wonderful news for all involved. Cranes continued to spread around the area and in 2010, a pair of cranes fledged one young at RSPB Nene Washes which is near Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire. I am pleased to say that the Fenland crane population has continued to increase steadily since then. As well as there being up to seven pairs nesting in the area in some years, there is now a wintering flock of up to 30 birds that can be seen roaming around the Fens. In terms of this year’s breeding season, we have had a fairly good year for cranes. At RSPB Nene Washes, three pairs nested on the reserve and at least two chicks are now flying. As I write in early August, there is even a possibility that another two chicks might fledge by the time you read this article.

At RSPB Lakenheath Fen, one pair of cranes fledged one young on July 7th. This particular pair has now fledged five young on the reserve in the last three years, which is a fantastic achievement. Although sadly, the other pair of cranes that usually nest on the reserve have not been seen since April, hopefully they will still be in the area and return ready for the 2018 breeding season! If you would like to see cranes in the Fens, at this time of year, you are probably best looking for groups starting to flock up at the winter. The best places to look for the wintering crane flock are either RSPB Nene Washes or on the Ouse Washes. On the Ouse Washes, you could try the RSPB reserve which is near Manea or the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) reserve at Welney. I hope this article has inspired you to go looking for cranes in the Fens this autumn or in the winter. If you would like to find out more about cranes, please ring the RSPB Lakenheath Fen office on 01842 863400 or e-mail: lakenheath@ Best of luck and we hope to see you soon!


As has been highlighted in a previous article, cats, with the exception of lions, are solitary animals. This means that even though most other cat species appear to form social groups, they hunt and feed alone. An exception to this rule occasionally is a group of young cheetah males. Our pet cats, the Felis catus species however, have shown to be remarkably adaptive with their social behaviours. Given the correct circumstances, they can adapt to group living by developing social structures, and this is why your cats may live happily in your household. WHAT CAN GO WRONG? Though many of our cats are very affectionate and seek our attention, they are largely independent animals and the introduction of a new cat to the household can bring with it many problems. There are many factors that combine to determine the development of a social structure, such as the number of other cats in the area, the availability of food sources and the compatibility of individual cats. If any of the cats in the household feel uneasy with any of these things, tension can build.

This issue, Whittlesey Veterinary Centre looks at the challenges with owning more than one cat

This tension can build to chronic stress, which in turn can lead to inappropriate behaviour, such as urine spraying and also stress-induced cystitis. Bullying and intimidation is common between cats if the social structure hasn’t developed properly, and in some cases it may lead to cats leaving home altogether, to set up a new territory. It is therefore very important to provide enough resources to fulfil your cats’ needs in a group environment. GENERAL RULES FOR A HAPPY MULTICAT HOUSEHOLD • One litter tray per cat, plus an extra one, all in quiet areas away from feeding stations. • One food bowl and one water bowl per cat, preferably in separate places. Cats also prefer to drink away from their food. • ”Hide-away” areas are good for cats, they also like high perches so that they can

look down and observe any potential competitors approaching. These need to be quite sturdy so that they don’t wobble when a cat jumps on it. • Scratch posts are useful in order to prevent your cat/s destroying your furniture, walls and woodwork, but these are only useful if the cat uses them! Scratching posts can also cause problems in a multi-cat household as they can be used by the more dominant cats as a place for marking territory. As with litter trays and food bowls, there needs to be plenty of ‘toys’ to go around, plus a few more in order to keep the peace. Many people will go through cat owning life seemingly without having any issues. This doesn’t mean that the cats are necessarily happy, it just means that they have learnt to accept the situation. The most important thing to do is to consider the cats’ individual needs and remember that not all people like each other, so why should we expect our pets to like each other?

SEVEN SIGNS OF DENTAL DISEASE IN DOGS AND CATS 1. Bad Breath 2. Loss of appetite or weight loss 3. Loose or discolored teeth 4. Drooling or dropping food 5. Bleeding from the mouth 6. Teeth covered in tartar 7. Discomfort when touched in mouth area



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Your pet’s our passion The Fens | September 2017 29


10 year celebrations FOR WHITTLESEY FESTIVAL

With just days to go before the Whittlesey Festival on Sunday September 10th, excitement is building as the Market Square and surrounding streets and buildings will be buzzing with fun and laughter. And this year is an extra special one, as they celebrate their 10th anniversary IMAGES Chris Brudenell Starting at 9.45am with a spectacular, colourful and musical parade from the Whittlesey Christian Church in Broad Street, the festival commitee would love as many people as possible to line the streets for the display. The parade will make its way to the Market Square for the official opening by the Deputy Mayor of Whittlesey at approximately 10.15am. The air will be filled with music song and dance as there is a full programme of activities throughout the day, Including the Cockney Pride Pearly King and Queen and their band from London, the Romford Drum and Trumpet Corp and Peterborough Highland Pipe Band, who will also do a combined band finale at 3.30pm just prior to the close of the Festival at 4pm. Children can enjoy free (or subsidised) rides and amusements, puppets shows and face painting and there are numerous stalls to visit. Take a walk back in time with a display of over 100 vintage vehicles with models ranging from the 1920s Morris Oxford Cabriolet, Austins and Fords from the 30s and 40s, together with more modern ‘specials’ (Hot Rods). Some of the vehicles are unique to this event and there’s the rare opportunity to see the Gilbern, which has been totally restored by retired racing mechanic David Nicholson. Visit the Schools’ Art Exhibition with students’ work from local schools on display at the Whittlesey Christian Church in Broad Street. With so much to see and do, here’s just a selection of some of the things being showcased at this year’s festival:

WORLD WAR II FLYPAST (Dakota and Hurricane timings to be confirmed) PETERBOROUGH HIGHLAND PIPE BAND ROMFORD DRUM AND TRUMPET CORPS PEARLY KING AND QUEEN VINTAGE VEHICLE DISPLAY (over 100 cars and motorcycles) PUPPET SHOWS (including puppet workshops for the Children) CRAFT FAIR (in Childers, Station Road) DANCE DISPLAYS – including Irish Dance, Lindy-hop, Flags and Rods, FAIRGROUND RIDES (some subsidised or free) FREE FACE PAINTING – Market Square (outside Whittlesey Christian Church marquee) NUMEROUS STALLS SINGERS AND MUSICIANS (full day programme in St Mary’s yard and Church) MAJORETTES Farcet Dance and Twirl SCHOOLS ART EXHIBITION Whittlesey Christian Church, Broad Street FOOTBALL SPEED CAGE Test your football skills CLIMBING WALLS, BUNGEE STOCKS, GLADIATOR CHALLENGE, PONY RIDES (for nominal charge)... ... plus so much more. The Festival committee really hope you can join them on the day - with so many people and groups from the local and surrounding communities coming together, we’re confident this will be an event not to be missed. If you would like more information about the Festival please contact Brian Smithyman on 01733 752093 or Jenny Parker on 01733 351005.

Don’t miss our 2 for 1 voucher for The Fenland Roaster’s Hog Roasts - only during the Whittlesey Festival at The Letter B pub 30 The Fens | September 2017







Manor Leisure Centre FIRST CLASS FREE! Tuesdays (ladies only) 8-9pm IDEAL FOR BEGINNERS Thursdays (Juniors) 7-8pm NON CONTACT (Adults) 8-9pm FOR MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN AGED 6+

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call 07892 459626 PROJECT FEST FOUNDER We spoke to DJ Danny Burch ahead of the launch his brand new music festival, Project Fest What inspired you to become a DJ? It was my Uncle Tony who used to do discos and he used to let me pass him the vinyl and CDs to play next. I got my first set of decks at 10 years old and knew from there I wanted to be a DJ and play in clubs. To anybody thinking 'Is he just pushing play?' What do you really do? And how much practice and preparation goes into a night? Not at all, there’s a lot more than just pushing buttons and playing track after track. Beat matching, track selection, effects you use at the correct times, bootlegs and entertaining crowds. I try to practice two to three times a week, up to an hour at a time. My preparations before gigs are normally few hours in the decks room sorting tracks to play, practising intros/track edits and tricks etc. What advice could you offer to any budding DJs wanting to get onto ‘the scene’? Never stop trying and practise as much as possible, and support your local events. Promoters love to see DJs supporting their events, and are more likely to listen to your mix CDs if given in person. Where can we see you next? And how do we find you? My next gig is at the Pams House Arena at Project Fest 23rd September, at Peterborough Arena. What gave you the idea for Project Fest? It has always been a dream of mine to put a festival on, but it was my fiancée Clair who said ‘I don’t want you saying what if’, and Project Fest was born. What can we expect from the new festival? And what makes it different from the others? Project Fest will have 80+ DJs across five arenas, top tents and an outdoor stage, state-of-the-art lighting and sound, bars, food stalls. We have booked some of the biggest UK acts/DJs: Kutski, Andy Whitby, Alex P (Ibiza legend), Craig Connelly, Joey Riot, MC Storm and so many more. More information can be found on: facebook/projectfest Tickets You can contact Danny at Or find him on facebook/djdannyburch 32 The Fens | September 2017


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Times of change Paul Kosciecha of Whittlesey Baptist Church explores the different feelings of change and how he overcomes them

SEPTEMBER ALWAYS SEEMS to me to be a month of change. Summer turns into Autumn, the temperature drops, the evenings draw in and the leaves begin to change colour. Schools, Colleges and Universities start back which brings with it new classes and new experiences. Looking back, this time of year marks other significant changes for me such as starting new jobs and moving to a new home. As I sit at my computer thinking about what to write for the

September issue, my first column for The Fens magazine, it’s the subject of change that’s on my mind. Some changes are positive. They come with doorways of opportunity and the excitement of adventure. They mark progress and achievement and we embrace them willingly. Yet, other changes are not so welcome. These changes can hit us hard. The onset of illness or tragedy come with pain and heartache. Loneliness can become a companion as we lose a friend or loved one from our lives. There is that pit in the stomach feeling that comes when things begin to crumble around us. Uncertainty can dominate as we look at the shifting scene of our nation and the world around us. Fear can replace confidence as we see more and more terror attacks. Despair can replace hope as we lose trust in the systems and people who govern us. Economic, political, cultural, community and personal change impact our lives and set us off balance.

How do you deal with this? As a Christian, when I see and experience these changes, I am thankful that the Bible teaches me there is someone who never changes. It says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). What does that mean? Well, it means that no matter the circumstances I face, I can know that Jesus is just as loving, kind, gracious, merciful, just and right as he always has been and always will be. No matter how the world changes, Jesus is still the Son of God who died for sin and rose from the dead and promises to be with me. He is 100% stable and a rock that will not crumble. As I sit here and think of change, I find myself wondering what changes the next 12 months might hold. Do any of us know? Not really. Yet, I do know I can face them with confidence because Jesus never changes.

ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE For Parents and Toddlers - Seedlings Monday & Wednesday 10:00 am 

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The Fens Fens | | September September 2017 2017 45 33 The


RAMSEY’S CRAFT FESTIVAL Saturday September 23rd

The street market Festival of Crafts is back by popular demand on Saturday September 23rd. Ramsey will be bustling with stalls lining the Great Whyte (PE26 1HG) from 9am until 2pm. Handouts listing the stalls and all the shops selling gifts and crafts in town will be available on the day. Last year it was a really busy day in Ramsey so come and take a look. There’ll be stalls from last year as well as some new ones. The Garden Classics, Fenland Preserves, Sparkly Bluebells and the Candy and Curiosities van will all be back as well as ceramics, textiles and gifts from some fantastic local crafters. You

can stop for tea and cake at Belles Vintage Tea Room before lunch at the Jolly Sailor, Wild Frost, The Angel, Rendezvous, Great Whyte Coffee or the Sandwich Bar. On Sunday there will be different crafts stalls at the Rural Museum’s Plough Sunday so there really is no excuse not to get a head start on all your Christmas shopping in Ramsey this year! If you would like a stall at the Street Craft Festival in September then please contact me by email ann. or call 07762 710257


Whittlesey & District Childminding Group, who run Little Treasures toddler group from St. Andrews Hall on a Friday morning (term time only), arranged for a fire engine to visit over the summer - and it came with a fire support vehicle with eight firemen! The children were all introduced to fire fighters Callum Hodgkin, Dan Barsby, Sean Dunthorne, Aaron Dunmore, Dean Johnson, and Phil Thacker from Whittlesey Fire Station, and Fire Fighters Dave Frickleton and Kev Turner from Huntingdon Fire Station. The children enjoyed talking to the fire fighters, climbing aboard the fire engine, making the lights flash, trying 34 The Fens | September 2017

on the hats and clothes and having fun squirting the fire hose (thankfully it was a hot sunny day). Finley, aged three, was keen to tell fire fighters Dave and Kev that he wanted to be a fireman when he was big and asked if they rescued people. He was most interested to hear they rescued animals. Weeks later the children were still excited as they talked about the fire engine visit, and are looking forward to a visit from the police soon too. If you would like to find out more about Little Treasures playgroup, please email melschildcare@


Peterborough Referees' Association has been successful in its application for funding to assist referee development in Fenland. The training and Development arm of Peterborough RA which is the Peterborough & Fenland Referee Development Scheme has been awarded potentially up to £4,200 to go towards equipment and coaching time in five local schools ending with mini festivals for its players with referees drawn from that area. The fund accessed is the Burnt House Wind Farm Fund which is near Turves which is managed by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation . An initial down payment of £2,100 has been received with the other half in October if the project proves successful. The emphasis is on Fair Play, Respect and Sportsmanship. Each participating school will now receive a bag of 10 footballs , bibs and cones and will get regular visits from PRA members starting in September. Other equipment such as pull up goals, first aid equipment and a PA system will complement the sessions, giving the students the best experience possible and raising the profile of the role of the match official. Chairman Rob was delighted that they have been successful and that the trial scheme last year swayed the judges’ views and that this serious money will benefit the Fenland and refereeing Community. The photo shows students from New Road School, Whittlesey with Mayor Cllr Ralph Butcher, Peterborough RA Vice Chairman Stewart Francis and Executive Deputy Head Teacher Mrs Rachel Bains Photo courtesy RWT Photography



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The Fens | September 2017 35


{ The twist - you can add fresh mussels with the prawns for a more authentic version. Or for a Spanish country version, omit the prawns and add rabbit pieces with the chicken

Chicken, Chorizo and Prawn Paella


• 1 tbsp olive oil • 2 onions, finely chopped • 6 chicken thighs, boned, skinned, cut in half • 150g cooking chorizo, skinned and cut into 5mm/¼inch. slices • 4 garlic cloves, crushed • 1tbls tomato puree • 1tsp sweet smoked paprika • 12 baby plum tomatoes, halved • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges • 1 glass of white wine • 1.5 litres/2½ pints hot chicken stock • 3 bay leaves • 2 sprigs thyme • 500g/1lb 2oz paella rice • 1tsp saffron threads, soaked in a little warm water • A couple of handfuls of live mussels, cleaned, de-bearded and rinsed (discard any mussels that do not snap shut when tapped) • 12 raw king prawns • Chopped flat leaf parsley • Salt and freshly ground black pepper This paella dish is appearing on Dog in a Doublet’s menu over the summer months 36 The Fens | September 2017


1. Heat the oil in a 36cm paella pan or a very large frying pan set over a medium heat. Add onions and begin to sweat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and freshly ground black pepper and fry, turning regularly until lightly coloured. Add the chorizo and tomato puree and cook for a further minute or two, so the tomato begins to darken. 2. Add the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes, then push everything to one side. Add the tomatoes and lemon wedges, and fry for a few minutes. Mix everything together and sprinkle in the paprika. Pour in the wine and all but a large ladleful of the chicken stock and return to the boil. Add the bay leaves and thyme, and season with salt. 3. When the chicken stock has

returned to the boil, turn down to a simmer and sprinkle in the rice, trying to get it as even as possible. Pour in the saffron and stir – this is the only time you should stir your paella once the rice has been added! If you’re unsure of burning or sticking, give it all a little nudge around. Bring to the boil again, then simmer for 5 minutes. 3. Turn the heat down and leave the rice to simmer slowly – this should take between 12–15 minutes. If it is getting dry, taste – if still a little too firm (crunchy), add a little more stock. When you are satisfied the rice is al dente, arrange the prawns over the paella. Cover with a damp teacloth or a lid if you have one, and wait for the mussels to steam open and the prawns to turn pink. Serve with some parsley sprinkled.

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 The Fens | September 2017 37

Food and drink

A fresh look

AT THE NEW CROWN Now in her third year as licensee, Tracy Lock has a lot to feel pleased about. The New Crown in Whittlesey has brand new flooring, tables and chairs and looks set to be a popular traditional pub for many years to come

WORDS Natasha Shiels IMAGES Chris Brudenell

The New Crown pub is no stranger to me or Chris, in fact it has seen me grow older, housed my surprise engagement party and been the place of many enjoyable nights (most of which I can remember). But it has never looked so well loved as it does to this day, under the care of Tracy Lock. We popped by just as the traditional country pub had a brand new wooden floor to show off. The new flooring complements the other changes Tracy has implemented, including a fresh interior with new wallpaper, seating and decor. There is now a separation between the more formal dining area, and the relaxed social side with further seating. The refurbishment is done perfectly in keeping with its age, meanwhile the kitchen’s reputation for food is growing. Mostly serving homemade food, the New Crown offers a great selection of traditional country pub food from steak and ale pies to ribs, curry and fish pie. There’s also a children’s menu, vegeterian options and a menu which changes seasonally twice a year. “We also try to use local produce wherever possible,” Tracy explained, “and our Sunday lunches are really popular!”

38 The Fens | September 2017

“I love running my own business, and being behind the bar and in the kitchen, but the social life and seeing our supportive regulars is what makes it for me.” So what’s the best part of running the New Crown? “It’s got to be the regulars,” added Tracy. “I love running my own business, and being behind the bar and in the kitchen, but the social life and seeing our supportive regulars is what makes it for me.” There’s usually something happening most nights at the New Crown. From petanque, darts and poker three nights a week, to brand new regular music nights on Saturdays starting from September. This family-friendly pub is also available for private hire for small groups such as birthday parties and weddings. The front of the pub also offers extra

outside seating, ideal for late summer evenings and the letting rooms upstairs offer accommodation from just £30 a night. The New Crown are offering £5 off a meal for two, valid until the end of October, so there’s no better time to sample their menu and enjoy a meal for two in this lovely, traditional pub. Don’t forget to take your voucher with you (found on their advert). The New Crown can be found on High Causeway, Whittlesey. Booking is advisable for Sunday lunches, please call 01733 205134 or visit www. for more information.

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The Fens | September 2017 39


keeps them breathing!

Knowing this means we really have no choice but to screen as many of our 14-35 year olds as possible IN THE UK, BETWEEN 12 AND 19 YOUNG PEOPLE DIE EACH WEEK AS A RESULT OF AN UNDIAGNOSED HEART CONDITION WHICH CAUSES THEM TO GO INTO SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST. “You may be aware we recently held a screening weekend for 200 young people,” says Deborah Slator of Defibrillators For All. “We expected to have two referrals (the average in other areas) but we actually had 25 referrals from Whittlesey.” Defibrillators For All is committed to making Whittlesey as heart-safe as 40 The Fens | September 2017

possible. “We have already placed 40 defibrillators into the town and surrounding villages. Now our immediate plan is to raise £30,000 to place two echo cardiograms into our GP surgeries; these can then also be used for other patients. We are in negotiations with both surgeries and things are progressing well. If we are unable to secure the equipment or this plan cannot take place for any other reason, we will host the screening days in the same way we have before.” “If you see an event we have planned, we really need YOU to support it in any way you can to help us to achieve this

for our town. Thank you.” Deborah Slator, Defibrillators For All Reg. charity number 1159261 311 Eastrea Road, Whittlesey, PE7 2AP

Get in touch

07843 383368 defibrillatorsforall

Get involved

You can support the charity by supporting their next event which will be a music night on Friday 6th October at Childers. Tickets cost £10 and are available from Deborah.

Exploring the Fens

Discover & Interact AT CHATTERIS MUSEUM Discover over 600,000 years of human occupation at Chatteris Museum, and why interactive museums are an excellent way to get the family involved

WORDS Natasha Shiels IMAGES Chris Brudenell

Our penultimate visit to the Fenland five museums was Chatteris Museum. Driving through the town on a bleak day in August, I noticed how quaint this market town was, even in the rain. Because of course that is just one of the many wonderful things about museums, they can be enjoyed despite the weather. And since the British weather seems unreliable and changeable, a day out at the museum seems like a great thing to do. You might think once you have seen one museum in Fenland, you’ve seen them all. And whilst it’s true that there are some crossovers, and of course similar periods depicted with objects, images and exhibitions, every place we have visited has offered something different and managed to surprise us. And Chatteris Museum was no different. What is slightly different is that I saw a more modern take on the traditional museum layout. There were fewer glass cabinets, hiding objects from touch. Instead many items were exhibited in a way that you could get

a real sense of how they were made, felt and looked. We’re not suggesting that you pick up a Bronze Age sword, but there is a replica rapier so that children and adults can get closer to something which was originally made in 1,500 BC to 1,150 BC. The idea of replicating some of the important finds in the area, such as the Bronze Age Chatteris Shield, not only allows visitors the chance to get closer to objects, but it also highlights how incredible the original pieces are. Despite their age, their craftsmanship shines. Like the Rapier, the Shield has been in various other museums before returning to Chatteris. Found in Langwood Fen in Chatteris, the bronze shield was in great condition, despite being in three pieces. There are only 26 of this specific pattern in shield, which dates from 1200-800 BC, found across Britain and Ireland. The Chatteris Shield was made by hand and would have been made as a statement piece for an individual of high social status, rather than in battle. Its survival is down to it being offered as a gift to the gods,

and subsequently immersed in the Fenland water. Beyond the Bronze Age, visitors to Chatteris Museum will find dinosaur fossils, parts of Chatteris Abbey (including stone) and a wonderful reconstruction with wooden doors that allow you to find out more about its history and how it came to disappear from the landscape. As you explore further, you find a reconstructed Fen cottage, a rebuilt barn with agricultural tools and a fascinating story about the history of farming carrots. Over 600,000 years of human occupation history is found in the building, right up to a reconstructed general store, an assortment of vintage radios, clothing and an under-construction railway exhibition, complete with model railway well underway. The interactive element of the museum is really evident on the first floor, however, where a specialised touch-screen kiosk displays over 9,000 photographs and documents and allows you to search for a particular keyword and request copies to keep. The Fens | September 2017 41

There are also other interactive units, bringing to life the history of pottery as well as stained glass, and puzzles for children to get their hands on. There is a real sense of the museum working hard to make it a fun and interesting place for the whole family to visit. As well as clothes to dress up, children can take part in a free trail sheet, which encourages them to look around the exhibitions and complete the questions. I came away from Chatteris Museum with a genuine desire to bring my own children here. To encourage them to engage with the exhibitions and learn about the great history of our Fens. It doesn’t have to be a rainy day to visit a museum, and newcomers to Chatteris will discover a lovely tea room just around the corner called The Old Bakery. So why not make a day of it and visit somewhere new? Chatteris Museum might just surprise you too.

CHATTERIS MUSEUM 14 Church Lane, Chatteris PE16 6JA Admission: Free but chargable for group visits outside of normal opening hours Opening times: Tues and Thurs 2pm - 4:30pm, Saturdays 10am-1pm. Groups at other times by appointment Find out more: 01354 696319 or visit

vTo discover more about enjoying the Cambridgeshire Fens and ideas for great days out, please visit 42 The Fens | September 2017 Find us on Twitter: @CambridgeshireF

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Vintage Trail Jumping into a red Triumph on a slightly grey day in August, The Fens team began their vintage trail, celebrating the gems of yesteryear and appreciating the people who bring these treasures back to life WORDS Natasha Shiels IMAGES Chris Brudenell The Fens | September 2017 45


Our tour of all things vintage took us to Bob’s Records, situated on Broad Street in Whittlesey. Opened just last year, but having been a collector and dealer in records for many years, Bob Athow knows a thing or two about vintage music. So why buy vintage records? “They’re great quality, often cheaper than re-issued vinyl, and most importantly they sound better,” Bob explained. And you can’t argue with that! GREAT FOR... ...a musical journey through time. Bob also buys records, so if you have a hidden gem, give Bob a call! FIND OUT MORE Bob’s Independent Record Shop, 2b Broad Street, Whittlesey PE7 1HA. 07802 354220 or 07711 873435


We couldn’t take part in our vintage trail without a look at THE FENS’ own Amy’s business, which she shares with her mum. Acorn Vintage was born after the duo decided to focus more on pop-up vintage stalls and online, rather than having a static shop, allowing them to be more accessible to customers. “Vintage clothing lets people find their own style rather than following fashion and the latest trends,” added Debs Corney. Acorn Vintage sell all eras of vintage items that deserve a second chance. Good clothing should be recycled after all.

Okay, so not entirely necessary, but our journey through the vintage era meant that we definitely needed tea and cake to refuel our journey back to The Fens HQ. We stopped off at Wildfrost in Ramsey for a tasty homemade cake. The tearoom is somewhat quirky in that its owner operates her florist business from the same premises. The result is a beautifully decorated, pretty tea room with a modern take on the vintage classic. Thanks girls, we loved it! GREAT FOR... ...a bite to eat with friends in a beautiful setting. FIND OUT MORE Wildfrost, 18 Great Whyte, Ramsey PE26 1HF. Open Monday to Saturday between 9am-5pm. Visit www. or call 01487 813339.

GREAT FOR... ...getting the vintage look! See Acorn Vintage at Stamford Vintage Fair on Saturday 28th October between 11am-4pm. FIND OUT MORE Acorn Vintage runs pop up shops throughout the year, mainly at Vintage events. You can find their Etsy shop by searching ‘acornvintageshop’, plus find them on Facebook @acornvintage or by emailing


Classic and Vintage Vehicle Show, Saturday 2nd - Sunday 3rd September Taking place at Peterborough’s Embankment, this is the fourth year for the organisers and promises to be the best one yet. Find out more at Stamford Vintage Fair, Saturday 28th October Open between 11am-4pm, entry is £1 at the Arts Centre, 27 St. Mary’s Street, Stamford. Find out more by calling 07827 228747 ‘Life on the Holme Front’ 1940s Weekend, Saturday 7th October - Sunday 8th October 2017. Open 10:00am to 4:00pm, this event is free (although there is a £2 car parking fee which includes a complimentary event programme). Find out more at 46 The Fens | September 2017


No tour would be complete without a visit to an antique shop, and Abbey Antiques and Collectables was something quite special. Run by husband-and-wife team Rita and John Smith, the Ramseybased shop was as quaint outside as inside. Every corner of the shop had something intriguing, from vintage jewellery, clothes and accessories, to old teddies, pictures and china. A real vintage-lover’s paradise, Abbey

the 1940s, she explained it was her husband’s passion. “If you can’t beat them,” Rita explained, “join them!”

Antiques is clearly the product of a great love of the past. So how did Rita end up running an antique shop? Aside from her love of

GREAT FOR... ...finding hidden treasures. Abbey Antiques also houses the only Mabel Lucie Attwell collection. FIND OUT MORE Abbey Antiques, 63 Great Whyte, Ramsey, PE26 1HL. 01487 814753. Please call before planning a visit as the shop is family-run and therefore sometimes closes during their normal opening hours.


Nothing says nostalgia for the past like an afternoon tea served in bone china tea cups and eating homemade cakes. Belle’s Vintage Room is just as cute and quirky as owner Sharon Howard herself. Running from her home in Ramsey St. Mary, Sharon can travel the area thanks to Belle, her beautiful 1970s vintage caravan. “I worked in recruitment for 20 years, commuting to London,” Sharon explained, “but I have always had a passion for all things vintage. This year I decided to put my passion for baking cakes and vintage together and launched Belle’s Vintage Tea Room.” In just a few short months, Sharon and her crowd-pleasing caravan have attended events, weddings and birthday parties. For a really reasonable price, customers can hire Belle and enjoy a vintage afternoon tea in their own back garden if they want. Sharon herself can seat 20 people, but can serve afternoon tea for much larger groups for any occasion. “I make everything myself,” she added, “from the jam to the scones, cakes, decorations and even pastry.” And if you haven’t got an event coming up but still want a taste of Sharon’s cakes, you can order her vintage cupcakes from £10 for six (with free delivery within 10 miles of Ramsey). GREAT FOR... ...a nostalgic experience. See Belle’s Vintage Tea Room at Ramsey’s Craft Fair on September 23rd. FIND OUT MORE Belle’s Vintage Tea Room is a home-based business at present. Find out more by visiting her Facebook page @bellesvintagetearoom or you can contact her on 07500 774304 or via

The Fens | September 2017 47

Walk of the month

Late summer at Clare Cottage

Nestled amongst rolling hills and rustic towns a few miles west of Fenland lies the sleepy railway village of Helpston. With a population of less than a thousand, its tree lined streets could seem all but inconsequential - only, this town has a secret. These quiet lanes were once home to one of England’s most celebrated countryside poets, and today I’ll be exploring the beautiful surrounds which inspired some of his most famous work

WORDS AND IMAGES LEANNE HYLAND John Clare was a resident of Helpston for the best part of 40 years and traces of his past are scattered across the Fenland region, with a theatre, library and school sharing his name. My walk begins at Clare’s former home, a charming thatched cottage on Woodgate where the poet lived from 1793 to 1832. Restored by the John Clare Trust, using traditional building methods, the cottage now plays home to a centre for learning to demonstrate how rural villagers lived in the early 19th century and encourages visitors to share Clare’s passion for the great outdoors. From here I head south past ivy covered homes, pretty trellised gardens and white picket fences. Colourful orchids grow tall afront latticed windows and heavy wooden doors with iron knockers looking out onto the street. I turn left and scurry over a concealed stile in the hedgerow where I come face to face with two stocky white horses. Fields of wheat stretch out ahead, crackling and popping in the strong midday sun. I weave through, feeling the rough crops reaching up past my knees. The son of a farm labourer and a keen environmentalist, Clare took the most enjoyment in observing and recording the minutiae of rural life. Growing up, he saw vast transformation of the landscape around him, living through both the industrial and agricultural revolutions, and the segregated fields in which I now stand would once have given way to open land. I venture on, crossing a field filled with sugar beets before arriving on a rural backstreet lined with historic red brick railway cottages. Rose gardens 48 The Fens | September 2017

and orchards are tucked away on either side. I spot apples with reddish hues, signalling that autumn may not be too far around the corner. Crop fields give way to grassy tracks and as I stick to the tree-line and skirt around a large forest the views really begin to open up. At the next crossroads, a rusting sign nailed to an oak tree tells me there’s a farm shop just ahead, and I can’t help but make a quick diversion for some homemade scotch eggs and preserves. Chickens surround the great barn in which the shop is housed, and cows peer out from nearby paddocks. Everything’s locally grown here and there’s even a restaurant on site. It’s clear that nothing goes to waste either, there’s a wide selection of liver and offal for sale, but it’s a little early in the day for such cuisine. Rejoining the road, I take a right towards Swaddywell Pits, a nature reserve comprised of limestone grassland which provides a vitally important habitat for wildlife especially butterflies. Beyond lie miles of unspoilt countryside and quiet back roads, with only the odd family of cyclists speeding past - but turning my attention to the skies, there’s much more going on. I see red kites circling high above, their iconic silhouettes sending fear into the hearts of much smaller prey. Arriving back in Helpston I explore the village further, heading first for St Botolphs. In the churchyard, plum trees bearing deep red fruits hang low over grey slate walls and below a small pile has formed as the ripened fruit smashes onto the ground. Berries have also been plentiful throughout the day and I’ve been plucking giant

handfuls of juicy blackberries at every opportunity, stashing a few extra for a cheeky pie. Lavender lines the archway to the church and venturing inside it quickly becomes clear just how integral Clare is to the town’s heritage - the walls are adorned with interesting facts and stories about his life and works. Just outside his grave is clearly marked, and surrounded by midsummer cushions, decorative plants and flowers laid here by the village schoolchildren on his birthday each year. Amid the wildflowers and long grass, a plaque simply reads ‘A poet is born, not made’.


Easy 6.5 miles Grassland, field, forest The Clare Cottage cafe is open Friday, Saturday and Monday from 11am - 4pm

The Fens | September 2017 49



Aspect Fires

Aspect Fires is the family-run fireplace shop in Whittlesey. Established in 1977, husband-and-wife team Nick and Lisa Corney, along with their daughter Alice, now run the business. With a big anniversary approaching, we popped by to speak to Nick about the shop’s past and their future plans


WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF ASPECT FIRES AND HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE BUSINESS? Aspect Fires was opened by my father, Arthur Corney, in 1977 and it started out life as a home improvements store. We used to sell wall insulation, double glazing and fireplaces but it was the fireplaces that proved to be most popular, so we kept expanding that range until we became solely a fireplace centre. I joined the business when I was 15 and started my career by labouring and fitting fireplaces. It was 20 years ago that I took over the business after my father’s retirement.

50 The Fens | September 2017

HOW HAVE FIREPLACES CHANGED? When I started in the trade, brick and stone fireplaces were popular, with reproduction Victorian and Edwardian styles being fashionable. Now there is a much wider range of styles and contemporary neutral fireplaces have come to the forefront of design. WHAT TYPE OF FIREPLACE IS CURRENTLY YOUR MOST POPULAR? There has been a big resurgence of gas fireplaces as modern products are designed to be much more energy efficient and cheaper to run. Glass fronted fires are more in demand than the traditional open baskets with logs or coal. Our showroom currently features 12 live gas fires alongside electric fires and stoves. I would recommend choosing a fireplace that will suit your home, have a high energy efficiency rating and be futureproof. Fireplaces are the third most popular feature people look at when buying a new home, so they’re a worthwhile investment. ASPECT FIRES CELEBRATES ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY THIS MONTH, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST

ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR? I am extremely proud of my team and that we have survived two recessions and still have a thriving business. I am happy that we have remained on the high street for 40 years and that is thanks to wonderful customers. DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS FOR EXPANSION AND WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU? We are currently extending our store room so we will have space for more stock and can expand our ranges. I am proud that our daughter, Alice, is now our showroom manager and I am hopeful that one day in the future she will take over the business. WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT LIVING AND WORKING IN THE FENS? I was born and bred in Whittlesey and don’t have any intentions of ever moving. Whittlesey is a brilliant traditional market town with lots of great businesses and amenities. It has a great community spirit and I really enjoy meeting everyone who steps into our shop. ASPECT FIRES have been on the local high street for 40 years. You can visit them at 37 Market Street, Whittlesey PE7 1BA. You can speak to the team on 01733 202220 or visit the website: Please check opening hours before visiting the showroom.

This month’s book review What we’re


Shtum by Jem Lester; Orion Shtum is definitely a book I will not be keeping shtum about. At times heartbreakingly sad, at others wonderfully witty, although the humour would be best described as dark, this is a candid tale about three generations of the Jewell family and what it really means to live with, and care for, an extremely autistic child. Married couple, Ben and Emma, agree to do whatever it takes to give their autistic son, Jonah, the opportunity of a better life. Jonah is offered a place at a specialist residential school but Ben and Emma have a fight on their hands with the local authority. To strengthen their case, Ben and Emma pretend to split up, after all, it’s difficult enough to care for a severely autistic child, without the added problem of single parenting. Ben and Jonah move out and take up residence with Georg, Ben’s father and Jonah’s grandfather. The three main protagonists throughout are Jonah, Ben and Georg, and all three are brilliantly drawn and flawed. Ben is immature and never really wants to take responsibility for anything, using alcohol to anesthetise himself. Georg, who clearly adores Jonah, is, at times, overly harsh and judgemental of Ben. However, it is ten-year-old Jonah, who sometimes kicks and bites that I really fell in love with. Unable to talk, Jonah is central to the storyline and, as the blurb says, “lives in a world of his own.

He likes colours and feathers and the feel of fresh air on his skin. He dislikes sudden loud noises and any change to his daily routine.” Be warned though, this is not a sugar-coated tale of triumph over adversity, or of amazing parents coping with superhuman qualities. This is a story of heartbreak, pity, and self-blame. However, it is also a story about love, of family and secrets, and a story about fathers and sons, and forgiveness. It is tragically real but also warm, insightful and full of compassion. And, as the story unfolds, what becomes painfully obvious and wonderfully ironic is that, although he has no voice, Jonah speaks much louder and more eloquently than either his father or his grandfather. Our verdict… Clearly based on the author’s own experience, Shtum is a remarkable story that shines a “no holds barred” light on the everyday reality and struggles some families of autistic children experience. Gritty, funny and poignant, it is a marvellous portrayal of ordinary people managing extraordinary difficulties during day-today life, and one that will stay with me for a very long time.

By Eva Jordan, author of 183 Times A Year

EQUITY RELEASE WHAT IS IT? For example, they might fully own a property but have modest income in retirement. It might be appropriate to draw on equity in the main residence to generate additional income, lump sums or a combination of the two. HOW DOES IT WORK? An Equity Release (E.R.) provider could either purchase all or a share of your property giving the right to remain living there for the rest of their life (lives). Then selling their share off when the occupants are no longer alive – this is called a home reversion (because ownership reverts to the ER company). Another arrangement is the Lifetime Mortgage: An amount is loaned by the ER company based on age and the property value. It is effectively an ‘Interest Only Mortgage’ usually a fixed interest rate, where the borrower can either pay the interest, or let the interest accumulate. WHY MIGHT ER BE WORTH CONSIDERING? If lifestyle is no longer affordable and returning to work is not an option. If a lump sum is needed to provide care for the occupant but they do not wish to sell the property. If the needs of the home owner(s) are more important than a financial legacy. WHAT PROTECTION IS PROVIDED? Advisers working in this market must be fully qualified, an IFA will select from the entire market place those that comply with the Equity Release Council http://www. including a ‘No Negative Equity Guarantee’ and the right to transfer an arrangement to another acceptable property. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF INTERESTED? Discuss the matter with anyone that might be affected e.g. children. Some individuals might wish to keep the matter confidential. I would be reluctant to deal with a vulnerable person without having someone in attendance. If after an initial discussion ER looks to be a valid option, a solicitor will be involved with conveyancing and checking understanding of the process. The occupier still needs to maintain buildings insurance and needs to keep maintenance up to scratch. WHAT IS A TYPICAL INTEREST RATE? In the past interest rates of 7% - 8% prevailed. Nowadays rates are much lower, at the time of writing* there are 36 offerings with rates from below 4% to almost 7%. Some have setting up fees, others provide ‘cash back’. A good adviser will establish what the owner wants to achieve, the time scale and affordability. Speak to a qualified Independent Financial Adviser:

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

The Fens | September 2017 51


CLASSIC AND VINTAGE VEHICLE SHOW Saturday 2nd - Sunday 3rd September Taking place at Peterborough’s Embankment, this is the fourth year of the Classic and Vintage Vehicle Show. Come and see a wide range of vehicles on display with stalls to browse too. Find out more at: www. leisure-and-culture/classic-andvintage-vehicle-show/

AUCTION Saturday 2nd September

Local auction with a great selection of items at the Falcon Hotel, London Street, Whittlesey Times: 10:30am start

FILM MUSIC GALA Saturday 2nd September

BBC Concert Orchestra present Film Music Gala at The Broadway Theatre, Peterborough. Tickets are £18 and available from the Peterborough Visitor Centre, from or by calling 0333 666 3366 Times: 7:30pm


volunteers across England organise 5,000 events to celebrate our fantastic history and culture. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are FREE to explore. We’ve picked a selection of places to visit in this area earlier in the magazine, but you can search for particular areas by visiting:

Whittlesey. With a huge selection of stalls, classic cars, rides for children (some free or at a reduced cost), food stalls, entertainment and music, there’s really something for everyone. Times: Starting at 9:45


Find out more about the Community Rail Partnership and the Hereward Community Rail Partnership, which aims to focus on the railway line between Peterborough and Ely, with a specific focus on the stations in North Cambs at Manea, March and Whittlesey. The meeting is open to everyone and will include a presentation at 6pm with refreshments. The event is being held at Fenland Hall, County Road, March. Times: 6pm - 8pm

Join Artisan felter Eve Marshall on this needle felting workshop at Ferry Meadows Country Park to make woodland animals. There will be an opportunity to make a couple of animals (morning session) and birds (afternoon session) under Eve’s expert tuition to take home Times: 10am – 12:30pm & 1:30pm 4pm Meet at: Discovery Den Cost: £25 per session Booking: Essential. to book a place or telephone 01733 234193 for more information

FAMILY VOLUNTEERING Sunday 10th September

Make a difference by helping the Rangers out in Ferry Meadows Country Park. Children, couples, grandparents, friends - everybody welcome. All tools and training will be provided, you just need to bring along lots of enthusiasm! Free car parking for all participants. Times: 10:00am-12:00noon Cost: Free. Suggested donation £2 Please call 01733 234193 for further details. Booking: Essential. Please visit www.

Every September some 40,000 52 The Fens | September 2017

WHITTLESEY LADIES WHO LATTE NETWORKING EVENT Tuesday 12th September Ladies Who Latte are a group of business women who support each other through monthly meetings. The events are free to attend and have a guest speaker, as well as the chance to network to other business women during the meetings. Find us on Facebook and pop along - you will be made most welcome Times: 7:30pm The event is held at the Falcon Hotel, London Street, Whittlesey in the function room/restaurant side


Benwick in Bloom invites you to coffee and cakes at Five Alls Pub between 11am and 1pm. Admission is free

Whittlesey & District Lions Club invite you to a free music event, featuring The Fedz - to celebrate 100 years of Lions Clubs International. Whittlesey Market Square Times: 2-5pm Bring your picnic and deck chairs suncream or Kagool - It will go ahead rain or shine!

HERITAGE OPEN DAYS Thursday 7th - Sunday 10th September


HAMPTON FESTIVAL Saturday 16th September

WHITTLESEY FESTIVAL Saturday 10th September

Whittlesey Festival is a huge, familyfriendly festival in the heart of

To celebrate Hampton’s 20th birthday, there will be festival for family and friends to enjoy. Held on the Silver Green Field (the field by the walkway of Serpentine Green and Silver Hill), there will be an afternoon and evening of arts, music, dog shows and cake competitions. Times: 2pm - 9pm


Have you ever fancied trying archery? Fenland Archery Club, which is based in Whittlesey, is holding an open day at Sir Harry Smith Community College, Eastrea Road. Come and try it for free! No previous experience or equipment needed. Times: 10am - 2pm Info:

FESTIVAL OF CRAFTS Saturday 23rd September

Don’t miss the Festival of Crafts at the Craft Street Market, Great Whyte, Ramsey. There will be a wide range of stalls including jewellery, textiles, paintings, ceramics, photography, garden ornaments, felt craft, preserves, dog toys and much more. Times: 9am - 2pm More info:

PROJECT FEST 2017 Saturday 23rd September

Your end-of-summer party starts right here. Being held at Peterborough Arena, this brand new dance music festival features five arenas, food tents and camping! Tickets are available from Peterborough Visitor Information Centre, 01733 452366 Times: 11am - 11pm


The Falcon Hotel, London Street, will be holding the annual charity night in aid of Cancer Research. Times: 7:30pm


Defibrillators For All are hosting a music night to raise money for the charity. The music night will be held in Childers, Whittlesey and will feature The Fedz plus Dale Diamond and Lisa Collier. Tickets are £10 and available from Deborah Slator on 07843 383368 Times: 7:30pm - 12am

WHITTLESEY AND DISTRICT U3A DATES Each month, on the 3rd Thursday, The Whittlesey and District U3A hold an open meeting at Childers, Station Road, at 2pm. Non-members are always welcome to come along and join us on one of these afternoons to have a look at what we offer. Each month we have a guest speaker or entertainment. In July we were visited by a member of the Alzheimer’s Society, who gave a very interesting talk on the work of the society. At the August meeting entertainment will be provided by Andy Smith, Music Man. Guests for the rest of the year are listed below: September - Liz Wright, talk on Donkey Sanctuary October - Cheese and Wine tasting November - Ian Dorling, talk on Wills December - Christmas party We hope you will be able to join us. Further details are available on our web-site, find us on Facebook, or email us at whittleseyu3a@gmail. com Wendy Fletcher, Publicity Officer

NOTICE The September Whittlesey & District meeting will be on the 20th September at 6pm for a 6:30pm start at the usual place, the Falcon Hotel, London Street, Whittlesey. This month’s speaker will be Gary Johannes of Inspired for Change, an expert on ‘Business Motivation’. It promises to be very interesting. In the meantime, make sure you have a look at the website ( and Facebook page for an update on the Forum. See you there. Steve Hodson, 01733 203064.

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


Saturday 9th September Marty Wilson

Saturday 16th September Waddo

Saturday 23rd September Ryan

Saturday 30th September Charlie Chaplin

The Fens | September 2017 53


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Simply pop along to our Whittlesey Showroom on Station Road with this advert during September and receive a 10% discount* Come at theand meet Festiv Whittles us 10th al on Sun ey da Se Mark ptember i y et Sq n uare

Call into our showroom today or phone Peterborough 01733 286931

148 Station Road, Whittlesey, PE7 1UF  Open 7.30am till 5.30pm Monday to Friday | Saturday 7.30am till 12 noon | The Fens | September 2017 55



New Vision Fitness










56 The Fens | September 2017

The Fens September 2017