WISBECH & SURROUNDING
A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
Issue 12 | March 2019
WALK OF THE MONTH
Cambridge University Botanic Gardens
MEET THE WILDLIFE
Fens | March PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHATâ€™S ON |The PLACES TO 2019 VISIT 1
The Fens | March 2019
March is just around the corner, which means two things: 1. It’s nearly Mother’s Day, and 2. My half marathon is just around the corner and I’ve barely ran. And given the amount of cakes I’ve eaten, all in the name of research for this issue alone, I really ought to get out and run more! I blame the cold, dark, wet and rainy days we’ve had the last month or so... That said, there is definitely spring in the air and this issue celebrates a bit of it with new season fashion and gardening tips. The days are slowly getting longer and (fingers crossed) the threat of snow a distant past. So what have we been to up? Amy visited Cambridge’s Botantic Gardens as part of her monthly walk and we paid Unity Wildlife Rehabiliation & Welfare a visit to discover the hidden work a group of volunteers get up to in their spare time. We also, as previously mentioned, ate quite a lot of cake. This month also features some Mother’s Day inspired gift items and Richard discovers exactly how Rock’n’Roll the Fens really is. As usual, we also have our mix of events and news and plenty of interesting articles to enjoy. A quick final note that I did raise my target for the Cambridge Half (exceeded it actually) and will publish that finishing photo in the next issue - as promised!
NATASHA SHIELS, publisher
THIS month 11 Meeting Unity Wildlife Rehabilitation & Welfare
31 Vivacity’s Comedy Festival returns
15 Your garden in March
32 Mad March hares
16 Digging up the past
34 Exploring Cambridge with Amy
18 Mother’s Day gift ideas 24 Rockin’ the Fens with Richard Groom 28 Getting your family active
44 Recipe of the month - Lemon Meringue Pie 46 Spring fashion
WISBECH & SURROUNDING
A magazine with the heart and soul of the Fens
39 A spot of Afternoon Tea
Issue 12 | March 2019
WALK OF THE MONTH
Cambridge University Botanic Gardens
MEET THE WILDLIFE
Fens | March PEOPLE | FOOD | HOME & GARDEN | NATURE | WHAT’S ON |The PLACES TO 2019 VISIT 1
48 Events in your area 50 Independent of the month Easigrass
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ISSUE 12 | MARCH 2019 Wisbech Map by Brandon Mattess
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The Fens | March 2019
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FIND YOUR FENLAND ANCESTORS AS THEY WERE RECORDED DOWN THE CENTURIES Descendants worldwide can now trace their Fenland ancestors’ lives back to the 16th century online through the actual handwritten church registers which recorded them, thanks to a groundbreaking project. Cambridgeshire Family History Society (CFHS) has teamed up with the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, where the registers of 32 parishes are lodged for safe-keeping, to get them scanned and digitised for all the world to see. Classical history graduate Tristan Goodfellow, from Murrow, has been carrying out the painstaking work in the museum archives since last May, funded by the CFHS. In addition the CFHS, which will be paid by the public for each image of a page bearing specific names, has pledged through the museum’s re-founders scheme to contribute a substantial sum over five years to its everyday running costs. Tristan said: “This project will save
the church registers from damage through over-much handling. “A lot of the handwriting is oldfashioned or shaky and some of the records are in Latin, from the days when what the parish priest wrote could be the only record made of a person’s existence. “But they recorded the names and relationships of local people through christenings, marriages and funerals. They’re fascinating to historians but also and especially to people whose families came from the Fens.” So far, Tristan has fully or partially scanned and uploaded 29,000 register pages from Friday Bridge, Gorefield, Guyhirn, Marshland, Murrow, Newton, Outwell, Parson Drove, Southea, Terrington St Clement, Tydd St Giles, Upwell and Wisbech St Peter. There are roughly 21,000 more to go. He sends the pictures he has taken once he has uploaded each parish’s registers to the site where so far the names of 70,239 individuals have
been matched with transcriptions made by the family history society’s volunteers. Cambridgeshire Family History Society chairman David Copsey said: “We are excited about our partnership in this venture with Wisbech and Fenland Museum – it means for the first time we can offer people an online view of the actual pages their ancestors’ lives were recorded in. There are no nationally kept records before 1837 – so it really is a first.” The scanning machine Tristan uses is on loan from Cambridgeshire archives, which are being relocated from Cambridge to Ely. The Society is careful to ensure this that information about living people is not made available. Find more details about the project and how you can access the parish register records of your family if they’re held at Wisbech and Fenland Museum on www.cfhs.org.uk and/or www.wisbechmuseum.org.uk
HOMAGE TO HIGH RENAISSANCE ART A copy of a celebrated portrait painted by Wisbech-born Octavia Hill is being displayed in a new John Ruskin exhibition, which has opened in London to mark the bicentenary of the polymath’s birth. The show, ‘John Ruskin: the power of seeing’, marks the first time that Ruskin’s collection has been shown en masse outside Sheffield, where the leading English art critic of the Victorian era founded St George’s Museum as an educational resource to make art, books and cultural treasures available to all. Built on a hilltop to entice people out of the smoky city, the museum offered views of the Derbyshire landscape and a space to inspire creative thought. Recognizing the artistic abilities of a kindred spirit, who would go on to become a co-founder of the National Trust, Ruskin trained Octavia Hill as a copyist from 1855 to 1865 and she daily visited the National Gallery or Dulwich Art Gallery to explore the techniques of the masters. The portrait in the exhibition is Octavia Hill’s copy of a painting by the Renaissance artist, Giovanni Bellini, of the steely-eyed tactician, ‘The doge Leonardo Loredan’, one of the foremost chief magistrates and leaders of the Republic of Venice during the 1000-year history of the
city-state. Bellini’s original 1501 portrait showing the doge in his official state robes with ornate buttons and horn-shaped ducal cap hangs in the National Gallery, and Octavia’s copy forms part of the Guild of St George’s Ruskin Collection, which is showcased in the new exhibition curated by Museums Sheffield. Ruskin’s artistic connection with Octavia Hill subsequently branched out into social reform when he came into a large inheritance on the death of his father in 1864. That year, at Hill’s persuasion, Ruskin bought a trio of run-down properties in Paradise Place, Marylebone, a London slum known locally as ‘Little Hell’. Octavia Hill’s aim was to make ‘lives noble, homes happy and family life good’ and her approach, which was made possible by the connection she had established with Ruskin, became a model for housing associations around the world. Mr Peter Clayton, chairman of the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum Trust, said: “Once again Octavia Hill’s achievements can be seen as of national and international interest in this major exhibition. In our Birthplace House displays we have always shown reproductions of the two paintings – Bellini’s original and the
copy featured in the exhibition – side by side with a figure of Octavia at work as an artist in a room dedicated to her art.” ‘John Ruskin: the power of seeing’ is an unticketed exhibition being mounted at Two Temple Place, formerly known as Astor House, the London mansion of William Waldorf Astor, the American-born attorney, politician and newspaper publisher, on London’s Victoria Embankment. The show, which is free of charge, runs from January 26 to April 22 and is open each week on Monday and from Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 4.30pm. On Wednesdays the doors open from 10am to 9pm and on Sundays visitors are admitted from 11am to 4.30pm. The exhibition is closed on Tuesdays and on Easter Sunday. The Birthplace House at 7 South Brink, Wisbech, re-opens with a series of events centred on International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8. Image: Collection of the Guild of St George/Museums Sheffield. The Fens | March 2019
LOCAL ILLUSTRATOR LAUNCHES WISBECH MAP
Local illustrator, and friend of The Fens magazine, Brandon Mattless has launched a map celebrating the many beautiful buildings and iconic places of Wisbech. “I am an illustrator and designer,” Brandon explained, “and have recently moved back to Fenland after studying illustration at Norwich University of the Arts.” “I’ve always been interested in the idea of creating something new from existing things. A town like Wisbech is always changing with things like
culture, residential construction and lifestyle, so I find it interesting to capture Wisbech within a map that we can eventually look back on to compare against other maps or interpretations. Of course I have been influenced with other maps and with an interest in heritage and memories, I felt it was right to document Wisbech, as it being a well renowned historic market town.” He added: “I’d like to think that this map doesn’t just illustrate the landmarks of the town but
encourages people to to appreciate what Wisbech has to offer. Spending 5 years away from the town has made me see it differently upon my return. I’d also like to spread the message of shopping local and use our little independent businesses more often when we can.” You can buy Brandon’s striking maps directly from his website at www. brandonmattless.com. They cost just £20.
WISBECH LIONS CLUB PRESENTATION EVENING Wisbech Lions Club held a presentation evening on Thursday 10th January at Mendi’s to thank a number of local people for their support for the Lions over a number of years. The awards were part of Centennial Celebration of 100 years of Lions. Wisbech Lions Club honoured the recipients with Centennial Certificates of Appreciation signed by Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Each certificate was presented by the sponsor. Members of the club also chose one other person who had, in their view, provided ‘Outstanding Service to the Community' to receive a glass trophy. 8 The Fens | March 2019
Recipients of Certificates were - Maxine Woodhouse for her ongoing support of Lions and in recognition of her exceptional qualities in caring for older people at St. Augustine’s Day Centre and within the wider community. David O’Connell of the Rose Tavern, North Brink was recognised for his ongoing support for the Lions Big Easter Egg raffle when he traditionally raises the highest amounts of cash for the Lions Charity. Steve Jarvis, proprietor of The Jolly Fryer, 22 North End, Wisbech was presented with his certificate next day. His was in recognition of the
many years of support he and his family and staff have given to Lions. Every year, for example, he runs a raffle and gives meal prizes with all proceeds to Lions. Martin Holmes of J.S. Holmes our leading Nissan dealer, High Road, Wisbech St. Mary provides Wisbech Lions with an often new 4X4 vehicle, to be used to tow the Santa Sleigh every Christmas. The trophy for Outstanding Service to the Community’ was presented to Andy Maul, owner of The Bygones Cafe, Little Church Street. He collected the award with his long time partner Vikki Holmes.
LOVE YOUR OLD BUILDINGS, OR LOSE THEM! By Taleyna Fletcher, Townscape Heritage Officer, Fenland District Council A free and practical guide has been launched to help owners of historic properties to maintain their buildings and preserve them for years to come. When Fenland District Council was putting together the bid for the Wisbech High Street Project from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Conservation Officers asked how the project could help owners of listed buildings in the district. Wisbech has more than 250 listed buildings and discussions with FDC conservation team and other heritage professionals indicated that there was a need for more advice on simple maintenance and guidance about conservation for many owners and occupants of older and listed buildings. A lack of information and guidance can often result in the use of inappropriate techniques, materials and contractors being used to undertake works on older buildings which undermines their historic value and can impact adversely on their condition. So to address this issue, as part of the “Activity Plan” the High Street Project is delivering a series of workshops providing practical maintenance and conservation advice to owners and occupants of listed buildings. All owners were contacted last year inviting them to attend our first workshop on “Damp in Older Buildings” and our second workshop is planned for March 2019 on the topic of “Traditional Plastering”.
Alongside this we have produced a booklet called “Love it or Lose It”. This is designed to help property owners understand the importance of regular maintenance and what to look out for when carrying out inspections. It also explains the laws and regulations around altering properties which have a listed building status or are in a conservation area. We hope that this booklet will prove useful to many who have a responsibility for the repair and maintenance of older buildings, not just those buildings which are listed. Although the imagery used in the booklet mostly features buildings around Wisbech, the information contained within and the contact details are relevant to residents across all of Fenland. “Love it or Lose It” contains some great advice for owners of older properties, but it also has guidance which can relate to buildings of any age, especially tips on preventing damp. Carrying out routine maintenance helps to protect the fabric of our historic buildings and assures their longer term survival for future generations to enjoy. Copies of the booklet will be available at the project’s events and workshops. It can also be downloaded from the Wisbech High Street Project website : www.highstreetwisbech.org.uk in our “Downloads and Resources” section or on Fenland District Council’s website at: www.fenland.gov.uk/ heritage
Andy has a great local following in Wisbech and serves regular customers at his cafe. It is more like a meeting place. He has supported Wisbech Lions for many years, providing sweets for Santa and holding two meal raffles a year. In the past year he has encouraged a customer to join Lions and has jumped out of a plane to raise money for a youth Skate Park project. Along with Vikki he catered, free of charge, for 200 invited guests attending a Lions, Rotary, Tesco and Queen Mary Centre event to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. On Christmas Day, Andy and Vikki opened their cafe and served Christmas Dinner to 28 local people,
who would otherwise have been alone that day. He encouraged the Town Mayor Peter Human and his Mayoress Janet, to present small gifts to everyone. He also arranged a Father Christmas. He charged each customer £10 for the meal and many other local people seeing the event on Wisbech Lions Facebook page also gave him money, in case anyone could not afford it. After his own ceremony he presented Lions with a cheque for £515 being the total he raised. Andy was so impressed with Ellen Debney’s entry to the Lions WW1 competition to ‘bring back to life a soldier of the First World War’ that he provided half of the £100 prize money. Ellen, now Reading History
at University of East Anglia not only researched one person on the War Memorial at Gorefield but found out about all the names listed. These were all fitting tributes in Celebration of Lions 100 years. Image by Adam Fairbrother Photography. The Fens | March 2019
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REHABILITATORS Giving a second chance to injured wild animals, Unity Wildlife Rehabilitation and Welfare operate their not-for-profit enterprise from their home in Whittlesey. We went along to meet some of their current cases and a few resident friends they’ve made along the way…
WORDS NATASHA SHIELS IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL
The Fens | March 2019
I couldn’t believe it when we discovered that Unity Wildlife Rehabilitation and Welfare was based just around the corner from The Fens HQ. Rescuing anything from hedgehogs to birds, kingfishers to rabbits, foxes and deer, Unity uphold a zero discrimination policy. If you bring an injured wild animal to them, they will endeavour to help wherever (legally) possible. Made up of a team of around 15 volunteers, Unity is the group set up and run by partners Russ and Hannah. “We actually met when we were at school,” Hannah explained, “and we rescued our first wild animal when we were 16, it was a Great Tit.” Whilst they went on to find regular jobs, their shared passion for animals remained. For several years the couple volunteered with Fenland Animal Rescue, which fundamentally rescues wild and domestic animals. Last summer, Russ and Hannah decided to follow their passion for rehabilitating wild animals and decided to launch Unity, with the sole purpose of caring for injured wildlife before releasing them back. “We seldom rescue animals,” Russ explained, “We usually leave that to other services. Instead, along with our network of volunteers who live across Fenland, we take in injured wild animals and give them the time and treatment when needed, before releasing them.” The network of volunteers between them have a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and Since this allows Unity to launchi ng, place animals with Unity have had the best people to cases admitted. They took help. “For example, our injured waterfowl in orphans and had a go to a swan success rate rearing sanctuary and we and releasin g them. To have volunteers who date they’ve had specialise in raising orphan creatures,” hedgehogs in Russ added. There’s even a reptile expert in Gorefield!
Winter for Unity is usually a fairly quiet time, peaking in the spring for orphaned animals or autumn for hedgehogs. On our visit, there were just a few squirrels in the centre’s hospital and a sparrow hawk being treated for lead poisoning. Whilst Unity has only officially been running since August 2018, their reputation is quickly spreading. During our meeting one lady knocked at the door with an injured duck, 12 The Fens | March 2019
quickly got named Derek, with a swollen foot. Russ gave him an examination and
explained that this lucky duck just needed a few days’ worth of antiinflammatories before they would be able to return him to the river. Of course not all animals recover sufficiently to be released. The Animal Abandonment Act makes it illegal to release an animal into the wild if it’s not likely to survive. Some of the animals that Unity come across don’t make it, but the majority do after some specialist care. And then there are the few rare cases, such as Ruby the Red Kite. Ruby was only a few weeks old when Russ and
Hannah received a call to say her nest had been blown over and all the other chicks killed. After hand rearing her, Russ discovered an abnormality with Ruby’s feet which meant that she wouldn’t survive living in the wild. By this stage, Ruby had imprinted herself on Russ and saw him as her mother. The bond between them proved too strong, and six months later she is a permanent fixture at Unity HQ. “On the whole, we don’t allow wildlife to get attached or too used to humans,” he explained. “We handle them as little as possible to avoid stress and to prevent them thinking that humans are a source of food.” Though that’s easier said than done when you’re looking at a cute squirrel or hedgehog. CHANGING LEGISLATION As animals become endangered, others flourish. From March 29th it will be illegal to rehabilitate squirrels and muntjac deer. The new Invasive Alien Species Order 2019 means that no more licences for squirrels and muntjac deer will be issued, leaving groups unable to help them if a member of the pulic finds an injured one. It’s hard to understand laws like these when staring into the eyes of a beautiful squirrel, but the legislation devised in 2014 aims to control nonnative species that put natural plants and wildlife at risk. And whilst Unity and other groups have no choice but follow the law, their work nonetheless continues with other wildlife that need their help. SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU SEE AN ANIMAL INJURED? Calling organisations like Unity is the first step. If it’s safe to do so, they will usually advise you to try and contain
it and bring it to a centre where it can be rehabilitated and released back. “We can treat most injuries,” Hannah explained, “such as breaks or cuts. For cases where the animals require further treatment, we work with a number of specialists including local veterinary surgery, Whittlesey Vets. They don’t like to treat wild animals, but allow us to use their equipment.” Not-for-profit organisations survive on the generosity of others. Russ, Hannah and their team of volunteers don’t get paid to look after wildlife, but they do require money for specialist treatment, food and bedding. If you can help with donations of any kind, or would like to help with fundraising, please do get in touch. SO WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR UNITY WILDLIFE REHABILITATION AND WELFARE? Russ and Hannah would love to register the company with a charity status, but for now, they’re just hoping to spread their name so that they can help as many injured wild animals as possible. They’ve also started visiting groups such a Brownies, educating children about wildlife. They’re keen to get the community involved as much as possible, as without them, Unity wouldn’t be able to do what they do so well.
couple (and their beautiful rescue dog, Cookie). It’s not often you meet people who have a genuine passion for helping wildlife, without expectation of a thank you or praise. They are the silent heroes who you rarely get to meet and who genuinely leave an imprint. The world is a better place for having the likes of Russ, Hannah and their volunteers. If you see a wild animal in trouble, you can call Unity Wildlife Rehabilitation and Welfare on 07565 489462. You can also find them on Facebook by searching ‘Unity Wildlife’ or report a wildlife concern at unitywildlife. typeform.com/to/ron4mb
It was a real pleasure to meet the The Fens | March 2019
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YOUR GARDEN IN March Spring is finally here! The warmer and sunnier days during March provide the opportunity for an increasing range of gardening tasks. It’s a great time of the year as new life bursts forth and the garden begins to transform. Preparation of seed beds and borders should be well under way this month as well as cutting back winter shrubs and generally tidying up the mess that the winter has left behind. Whether you’re preparing for shrubs and bedding plants or sowing seed for vegetables, once all the tidying is done you’ll be in a better position to plan the seasons planting.
Looking good this month... Pansy/ Viola
3 ESSENTIAL JOBS FOR MARCH SOW SEED AND PLANT ONION SETS, SHALLOTS & POTATOES As the soil begins to warm you can start to sow broad beans, salads and sweet peas. If bad weather is forecast be sure to cover seedlings with cloches to protect them. March is also the time to plant out onion and shallot sets – cover with fleece or netting to protect from birds. Early varieties of potato such as ‘Rocket’ and ‘Swift’ can be planted in the early part of the month. If they have been kept in a light and frostfree environment they should be ‘chitting’ (a slight sprouting from the seed potato). Chitting before planting can encourage earlier and heavier cropping. FEED As the warmer weather promotes fresh growth a general garden fertiliser should be applied to help boost roots, green foliage and encourage more fruits and flowers
from your plants. It can be applied around the base of plants by scattering straight from the box and left to be watered in by the rain. Unfortunately the warm weather will also see weeds start to grow as well. Weeding isn’t the most popular of jobs but it is best to pull any that start to appear while they are young to prevent spreading. SCARIFY THE LAWN Do some lawn preparation this month before the growing season gets well and truly under way. Choose a dry day and give the lawn a thorough rake to remove the remnants of winter before giving a cut with the mower blades set at the highest position. Then aerate with a garden fork or aeration machine. This improves drainage and gets oxygen to the grass roots. Finally, apply a top dressing of spring lawn feed to add nutrients. Enjoy your garden!
WHY SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? One of the most popular bedding plants, pansies and violas are hardy annuals that have a stunning array of colours to choose from. Bringing the joy of spring to your garden during the colder months, they grow happily in borders or containers as well as providing great ground cover. HOW SHOULD YOU PLANT THEM? Plant them in moist, well-drained soil in a spot with good sunlight to encourage flowering. Tough little plants that are extremely hardy, they prefer cooler temperatures and need watering regularly. They are also very versatile – plant them in beds, borders, containers and hanging baskets.
The Fens | March 2019
DIGGING UP THE PAST WOAD IN THE FENS
WORDS GARRY MONGER IMAGES W&F MUSEUM It is not known when woad (Isatis tinctoria) was first grown in the Fens although the local Iceni tribes at Stonea would have been familiar with it. Woad is a well-known antiseptic so may have helped heal battle wounds. Excavations of other Iron Age sites including Dragonby, North Lincolnshire reveal some of the earliest recorded evidence of woad use. Evidence for the use of woad in pigments by illustrators of Lindisfarne Gospels (in the late 7th/8th century) and remains of woad plants in Viking age York (9th/10th centuries) demonstrates the continuation of its usage after the Roman withdrawal. The ‘Bayeaux Tapestry’ included embroidery material dyed with woad and these colours are the least-faded over nearly a thousand years. Woad was used for dying cloth and Lincoln in ancient times was reputed to produce the best green in England - the usage of ‘Lincoln Green’ is often recorded in literature. Geoffrey Chaucer’s (1343-1400) The Friar’s Tale features a corrupt summoner in a meeting with a devil disguised as a yeoman dressed in Lincoln Green. The expansion of the cloth industry and disputes over dock charges led to Norwich becoming a significant market for imported woad, as was Coventry in the early 15th century for the dying of ‘Coventry blue cloth’. The expressions ‘True Blue’ and ‘As true as Coventry Blue’ are claimed to have been derived from the town’s dyers reputation for producing a colour that did not fade with washing; ie it remained ‘fast’ or ‘true’. Lavenham, Suffolk had been a town specialising in cloth since medieval times and was famous for producing woad-dyed broadcloth known as ‘Lavenham Blues’. By 1524 it had become one of the richest towns in England. The rising demand for woad, coupled with concerns for food shortages, led Queen Elizabeth I to issue a Proclamation against the sowing of Woade in 1585 ( although this was overturned in 1601). Edmund Spenser (1552-1599) refers to Lincoln Green in his poem ‘The Faerie Queene’ - ‘All in a woodman’s jacket he was clad of Lincolne Greene, belay’d with silver lace’. Sir 16 The Fens | March 2019
Walter Scott (1771-1832) in his novel Ivanhoe refers to Lincoln Green and William Makepeace Thackeray’s (1811-1863) Vanity Fair mentions ‘Lincoln Green toxophilite hats and feathers’. Lincoln Green uniform was worn by the Lincolnshire Yeomanry (19011920) and may have been dyed with woad produced from that grown in the county at Algarkirk, Skirbeck or Wyberton, the last crops being recorded there in the 1930s. Wisbech and Fenland museum is helping to preserve the history of the woad industry and its mills in the area. Exhibits include a model of Parson Drove woad mill, pictures, photographs and samples of woad. The museum recently hosted a talk by Mia Hansson on her replica ‘Bayeaux Tapestry’ project. Mia’s ‘work in progress’ containing yarn dyed with woad, is a vibrantly-coloured and stunning project. There were two types of woad mill - portable and permanent. The last portable mill in England, at Parson Drove, was used to process locally grown woad and was taken down by 1914 but not before J.D. Penrose
(1864-1932) was able to paint a picture of woad workers in oil on canvas; this is now on display in Peckover House. Parson Drove woad mill had previously been used at Newton-in-the-Isle following periods in Lincolnshire locations. Parson Drove woad mill consisted of three wheels each about 7ft in diameter on one side, and 6 ft on the other and about 3 ft wide formed of wood and iron bars and each was harnessed to a horse. The circular path the wheels turned on was about 30 ft in diameter. The crop was labour intensive and required weeding and could be harvested at least twice a year, the leaves being taken to a mill where they were crushed, formed into balls and left to dry. After this they were ground, moistened and fermented. They were sent to cloth makers in England or exported. There are still local weavers who continue to grow woad on a small scale and the Woad Centre, Dereham is a commercial producer. Recently research has taken place into improving woad strains as a source of dye, using it in inkjet cartridges and using woad crops as a means to reduce nitrates leaching into water supplies. The fens may yet see the return of bright yellow fields of woad in flower. For further information see:www.thewoadcentre.co.uk www.wisbechmuseum.org.uk ABOUT THE AUTHOR Garry Monger BSc PGCE is a former local councillor, teacher and army reservist. He is a member of FenArch and other local groups working to promote community archaeology in the Fens.
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INDIGESTION OR HEART BURN? WORDS Ian Plested, Principal Osteopath
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We have all been familiar at one time or another with those feelings of indigestion, ‘heart burn’ or acid reflux, however I wanted to write about this condition because I see a common thread in my clinic. Firstly, lets look at the two most common presentations: Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) or acid reflux. This is a common condition, where stomach acid comes back up into your mouth and causes an unpleasant, sour taste. If this is happening regularly, your GP may suggest further investigations to see if you have a hiatus hernia - where part of your stomach moves up into your chest and this affects the natural retention of acid within the stomach.
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Indigestion and ‘heart burn’
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Assuming you are not suffering with a serious cardio vascular condition, this uncomfortable feeling can be caused by factors such as eating shortly before going to bed, stress, poor diet and alcohol. When I ask my patients what they drink before going to bed, a surprising number drink squash of some kind, tea or a fizzy drink. Lying on your back or side with these liquids washing around your stomach may well irritate your stomach lining and leave you more prone to Indigestion and ‘heart burn’. Commonly prescribed medications for acid reflux, Indigestion and ‘heart burn’ include Omeprazole and Lansoprazole which are called proton pump inhibitors. Mint - An alternative for Indigestion and ‘heart burn’? I have suggested the following simple, soothing night-time drink to many patients whose reaction ranges from ‘you must be joking’ to ‘is that like the herbal tea bags?’ – well, no, I’m not joking and its nothing like the herbal teabags, so why not give it a go! Put 4 leaves of fresh mint (not peppermint) into a cup Add freshly boiled water and bruise the leaves lightly with a teaspoon. Sip either hot or cold. And for breakfast... A small bowl of porridge (use porridge oats such as Flahavans etc.) Made with Soya or Almond milk and sweetened with honey depending on your sugar tolerance. Follow this for a week and see if that ‘heart burn’ feeling starts to ease. Contact us today on 01945 405007 or visit www.fenlandosteopaths.co.uk Based on Sutton Road, Wisbech The Fens | March 2019
Check the label on packaged foods
Use the Eatwell Guide to help you get a balance of healthier and more sustainable food. It shows how much of what you eat overall should come from each food group.
Each serving (150g) contains Energy 1046kJ 250kcal
3.0g 1.3g LOW
34g 0.9g HIGH
of an adult’s reference intake Typical values (as sold) per 100g: 697kJ/ 167kcal
Whole wheat pasta
Beans lower salt and s ugar
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Limit fruit juice and/or smoothies to a total of 150ml a day.
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Water, lower fat milk, sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee all count.
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Oil & spreads
Choose unsaturated oils and use in small amounts
2500kcal = ALL FOOD + ALL DRINKS © Crown copyright 2016
SPRING IS ON THE HORIZON! WORDS Kate Squires
Finally it feels like the days are getting warmer and longer, hopefully giving us all some more energy. If energy levels have been low recently and making it difficult to do day to day activities, perhaps focussing attention onto your diet will highlight food choices you may be able to change to give you a little more energy. Considering the amount of information around about Healthy Eating, I think it is safe to say that most people understand what is considered to be ‘nutritious food’ and ‘not so nutritious food’ (not using the terms ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods as we all like a slice of cake every now and then and this shouldn’t be considered bad!?) however there is a lot of misinformation in regards to new diets and superfoods that can lead some people onto a dangerous path! The best diet will always be a balanced one! The most informative and trustworthy place to find information regarding food is the NHS 22 The Fens | March 2019
Eat Well Website: www.nhs.uk/livewell/eat-well/?tabname=recipesand-tips#fruit-and-vegetables-areyou-getting-your-5-a-day To help give you energy, Carbohydrates are a must- but try opting for more ‘complex’ ones (these ones have calories that take longer to be used up!) such as Sweet Potatoes, Oats, all Wholegrain/WholeWheat foods and beans and lentils. As a bonus, all these foods are high in fibre too! To make the most of these fantastic carbohydrates, it’s extremely important to get all the right vitamins and minerals from your diet from fruit and vegetables, especially those leafy greens. Although they might not always be the most appetising foods, they can often be quiet easy to get into those every day meals, e.g. peas and carrots in your cottage pie, sweet peppers and onions in a quick curry or stir-fry (similar, easy and healthy recipes can be
found at: www.nhs.uk/live-well/eatwell/?tabname=recipes-and-tips# It is also important to remember to get enough fluid in each day, about 6-8 glasses is recommended by the NHS. This can be tea, coffee or squash evenbut water is recommended as the best option. By making healthier choices in these food groups, you’re sure to feel a lift in those energy levels! Another great way to keep that energy up is to do a little exercise every day, not only does this help with fitness levels but also gives you a lift in endorphins (those happy chemicals in your brain) - why not join a group to keep you active? Active Fenland have a wide range of activities to get involved in, why not check our Facebook page that is regularly updated @ActiveFenland or email email@example.com. uk for more information about what we do!
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WORDS Marianne Killick, Acupuncturist MBAcC, BMAS Stress is now recognised as a root cause behind many health problems. It leads to inflammation throughout the body (itself linked to heart attack and strokes), hormonal disruption (think heavy painful periods, irregular or absent cycles or severe menopausal symptoms), depletes your resistance to coughs and colds and can mess with your mental health (contributing to anxiety and depression). So what is stress? It’s not only being worried about a particular issue, such as your workload, it can be literally trying to juggle too many things at once. For example, looking after the children’s needs, whilst trying to run the household, stay on top of your tasks at work and support an elderly parent. It’s made worse by constant exposure to news of disaster around the world, worries over what political changes mean for our daily lives. It’s the constant alerts from our phones, the work emails pinging in late into the evening. It’s lack of support. It’s overload. If you load a bridge with a weight heavier than it can hold, eventually, it cracks. Many people don’t realise how stressed they are, until you ask them when they last felt relaxed, or how they are sleeping. But whether you realise it or not, the silent damage is being done. This is why when we see patients in our acupuncture clinic we always ask questions to establish levels of exhaustion and stress. Our bodies hold on to stress, and somehow it finds a way, usually to your weakest spot, of making itself felt. Some get headaches. Some get bowel trouble. Some get tight shoulders. And on it goes. As well as helping people relax, lowering inflammation and improving well being with our acupuncture needles (no thicker than a human hair), we spend time talking to our patients about simple practical steps they can build into the reality of their daily lives to help reduce the stress. Steps such as swapping a late evening scroll through their phone for 10minutes lying in bed with a book. Building in a ten minute walk away from their desk each lunchtime. Breathing exercises for relaxation. Making time for a relaxing bath with music and candles. It doesn’t have to be complicated. After all, that would be stressful. But crucially, if you are feeling like stress is getting the better of you, reach out and talk to someone, a loved one, a colleague, your doctor, just don’t suffer in silence. For more information contact us on 07790 036333 or info@ mariannekillick.co.uk or visit www.mariannekillick.co.uk The Fens | March 2019
ROCKIN’ THE FENS WORDS RICHARD GROOM Music from the 1950s is still very much alive in the Fens. It’s all about a rockin’ beat, cool cats, great fashion, big cars and music that gets you dancing and smiling. But you don’t need a Cadillac, polka dot dress or blue suede shoes to check out the local rock and roll scene Two familiar faces on local rock and roll dancefloors are Colin and Helen Larke. It all started for them when they learnt to ballroom dance 12 years ago. That led to taking up jiving and they have never looked back. Colin explains: “I inherited a love of fifties music from my father so it’s great to be so involved in the rock and roll scene today. As well as the dancing, what we love about the scene are the people. They are a great bunch and we’ve made so many friends. There’s a strong community and even when we’ve been to rock and roll events in Las Vegas we’ve bumped into lots of people from this area.” Watching Colin and Helen dance, along with other people on the scene who have developed amazing skills, will hopefully inspire others to have a go. Colin says that just about anyone 24 The Fens | March 2019
Colin and Helen Larke turn on the style
Facebook pages for all three clubs. March - March Jive, Wednesday evenings at March Braza Club
can do it: “If you come along to one of the local rock and roll clubs there will always be someone to show you the basics. By the end of the evening you’ll be dancing, even if you’ve never tried it before.”
A ROCKIN'’ TRIANGLE At least three established local rock and roll clubs give everyone a chance to find out just how much fun this type of music can be. A quick ‘Google’ will find websites and
You’ll always be encouraged to hit the dancefloor at this club, but look out especially for the monthly events with ‘Dancing Dave’ the DJ, who runs beginners’ sessions. The club features live bands, too, with the Retrobaits playing on 15 March. This is a trio with an authentic fifties sounds who play all over the UK. Whittlesey - Hit That Jive Jack, Wednesday evenings at the Ivy Leaf Club This ‘old school’ club offers everyone a warm welcome and a fun, friendly atmosphere. This club also prides itself on welcoming people new to the scene who would like to learn to dance. It has two resident DJs, plus
Just For Kicks Rock n Roll pictured by mr54club.com
Claire and Neil Seabrook of Boston Jive
regular guest spots from some of the best DJs on the rock and roll scene, as well as regular band nights. Yaxley - Just For Kicks Rock n Roll Club, Monday evenings at Yaxley Royal British Legion You’ll find everything ‘from Lindy Hop to Rockabilly Bop’ at this family friendly club who have recently celebrated their fifth birthday. Beginners are welcome and you’ll get lots of help and encouragement to dance. As well as record hops every week, there are regular live bands. Next up is the Accidents on 9 March.
Just For Kicks Rock n Roll pictured by mr54club.com
READY TO DANCE? As you can see from the club profiles above, you will be encouraged to get dancing wherever you go. Another option if you are serious about learning or improving your existing skills is to check out Boston Jive. Claire and Neil Seabrook run jive classes for beginners and improvers across six classes each week. The schedule is as follows: Sunday, Holbeach WI Hall; Monday, Boston Conservative Club; Tuesday, Cranwell Village Hall; Wednesday, St Hugh’s School, Woodhall Spa; Thursday and Friday, St Mary’s Church Hall, Pinchbeck. Private lessons are also available. Claire and Neil have over 30 years of jive dance experience between them. As well as their classes, they run jive events with top live bands. Check out their second annual Hot Rock n Boogie weekend in Spalding on 4-5 May. Claire says: “Jiving has been a huge part of my life since I was a teenager and Neil has shared my love of it since learning a few years ago. It’s such a wonderful feeling to run the classes together and see everyone progress, especially those who come in looking nervous and professing that they have two left feet. They don’t have two left feet for long, that’s for sure. “Everyone is welcome at our classes, no matter
their age, size or ability. It’s a very inclusive and nurturing environment where we take people through at their own pace. Our students just flourish and go on to share our love of jive, which is the best achievement for us!”
GO, CAT, GO! As well as its rock and roll clubs, the Fens also boasts several great bands playing music from the 1950s. I’m very lucky to play and sing in my own fiftiesinspired band, Rocket ’57 and urge you to check out local bands like the Hound Dogs, the the Glorious One Eyed Cats (pictured), the Broadcasters, Ramshackle Serenade and the Outsiders. The Fens | March 2019
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NEW SESSIONS TO HELP FAMILIES GET ACTIVE TOGETHER A series of free term-time sports and activity sessions aimed at getting Fenland’s families more active together have been launched
Families can now enjoy a new weekly family sports club in March and Wisbech, a weekly family bootcamp session in Chatteris, and a parent and teen Clubbercise class in Wisbech as part of the county’s Active Families initiative. An exciting new virtual treasure hunt game has also been launched to get families enjoying the outdoors together and help develop children’s literacy skills through fun challenges, questions and photo and video rounds. Using the same GPS-tracking as Pokémon Go, the free Mobile Adventures app by Wild Goose can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for Android and Apple’s App Store for the iPhone – with the first treasure hunt available to complete now in Wisbech Park, the activation code can be found on the Active Fenland website. The sessions are part of Active Families, a Sport England funded project between Fenland District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council, Cambridge City Council, Living Sport, Vivacity Leisure Trust and Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, to help low income families get active with their children. It is delivered in Fenland by Fenland District Council’s Active Fenland team and partners, with additional funding from Clarion Futures. Councillor Mark Buckton, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Young People,
28 The Fens | March 2019
said: “A recent report from Sport England showed that less than 1 in 5 children across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are meeting the guidelines of more than 60 minutes of physical activity every day which could lead to long-term health issues. “Active Families is a great way to help address this, and get parents more active too. Not only can families reap the health benefits of being more active regularly, but it also provides an opportunity for quality family time, away from screens, and helps with concentration and learning. The sessions are also a great way to de-stress, improving positive mental wellbeing, and allow families to motivate one another towards a healthier lifestyle.” Matt Parsonage, Head of Communities at Clarion Futures, said: “Children need to be encouraged to enjoy outdoor spaces more and this is a great and fun approach to helping families get fit together; we are delighted to be providing our support to this initiative.” The new term-time Active Families sessions are: • Family Sports Club A weekly turn up and play afterschool session for families. For children aged 5+, one participating adult per family minimum. Free. - Oasis Centre, Wisbech, Tuesdays, 4pm-5pm - Neale Wade Academy Sports Centre, March, Wednesdays, 5pm-6pm • Family Bootcamp A bootcamp class for families with
children aged 9+. Ideal for all abilities, including beginners. Cromwell Community College (gymnasium), Chatteris, Thursdays, 5pm-6pm, one participating adult per family minimum. Free. Advance booking required via email at: activefenlandbookings@ fenland.gov.uk • Parent and Teen Clubbercise The dance workout that feels like a party! Rosmini Centre, Wisbech, Fridays, 6.30pm-7.30pm, for children aged 11+. Free, no advance booking necessary but please check the Active Fenland website for upcoming dates. • Wild Goose treasure hunt. Ideal for children aged 4-10. New treasure hunts across Fenland coming soon! To find out more and download the app, visit: www.activefenland.org and look under the ‘Whats On’ section. Active Fenland has also organised two free Family Fun events for the school half-term next week. The first is being held at the Oasis Centre in Wisbech on Wednesday, February 20, 11am to 1pm, and the second is at Young People March in March on Thursday, February 21, also 11am to 1pm. The events will include the Wild Goose treasure hunt (weather permitting), free lunch and a National Reading Monththemed workshop. Booking is essential via: activefenlandbookings@fenland. gov.uk To keep up to date with all events, follow Active Fenland on Facebook or visit the website above. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SECRET WATERWAYS FREE Ramsey Heritage Day – Sunday April 7th WORDS Ann Cuthbert, Promoting Ramsey
THE LOST MERE & HIDDEN TUNNELS Ramsey’s main street, the Great Whyte, is unusually wide and many years ago a river ran right through the centre of the town. The waterways provided transport and a livelihood for many and also made the Isle of Ramsey important enough to be chosen as the site of a vast abbey. Cornelius Vermuyden, brought over from Holland to engineer the draining of the fens, is thought to have been based in Ramsey Forty Foot and his house still stands. It is this history of the waterways, and the stories of those who lived around them, that is being celebrated on Sunday April 7th when Ramsey’s heritage sites open their doors to the public. FREE GUIDED BUS RIDES! All the heritage sites are open with free entry so you can see the original gatehouse and Lady Chapel of the great Abbey as well as the Victorian Mortuary Chapels, an amazing hidden walled kitchen garden and St Thomas a Becket Church (once the “guest house” for visitors to the Abbey). Abbey House itself, originally built by Cromwell’s Uncle and lived in by the De Ramsey family will also be open. Ramsey’s heritage sites work together on Open Heritage Days to ensure that there’s plenty to see and do! There are free guided vintage bus tours leaving from the library on the Great Whyte from 11am. You will be
able to sit back and listen to tales of the past, from eel catchers to fen tigers and from monks to saints! You can picture the housewives holding up their aprons to catch the peat bricks thrown up from the barges along the fen drains and you can see where the fen skaters competed all those years ago. If you prefer your own driving tour, then you can pick up a leaflet at the library. If you would rather walk, there will be information for a self-guided walk along the covered river to the heritage hub, where you can visit the museum, walled garden, church, Gatehouse, Abbey House and Mortuary Chapels. At the sites you can discover interactive displays and artefacts relating to the drainage of the fens. The bus tour will include Whittlesea Mere, the tunnels, the windmills, the Forty Foot Drain and will give you lots of interesting stories about the area’s history. FOLLOW THE FEEKINS The Feekins are a local family who can trace their history back to those coming over from Holland to work on the draining of the Fens. At the Mortuary Chapels volunteers have put together a display and the family’s history is interwoven with the course of Ramsey’s waterways over the years. Maybe you have some stories about the area that you could share – we are always adding to the rich collection of family histories at the
heritage sites. FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY Activities for children are available in the library and at the heritage sites and everyone is welcome to search for the Ramsey ducks hiding all around the sites. There are plenty of places open for food and drink so you can make a day of it. Sunday April 7th is a chance to find out more about Ramsey and the history of the area – all for free. Just head to the library on the Great Whyte (PE26 1HG) or any of the heritage sites to start your journey through time.
For more information about this or any of the individual heritage sites please visit www.discoverramsey.co.uk Or social media @discoverramsey For further information please contact Ann Cuthbert on 07762 710257 or email email@example.com The Fens | March 2019
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VIVACITY’S COMEDY FESTIVAL AT KEY THEATRE RETURNS FOR 2019 Vivacity’s comedy festival at the Key Theatre is back in 2019 for its 7th side splitting year. The theatre’s popular festival plays host to big names on the British and International circuit as well serving as a platform for rising stars hotly tipped to be ‘the next big thing’. Take a look at some of the highlights below. The festival opens in the main house with Mock the Week and BBC Radio 4 regular Mark Watson (Thu 7 Mar 7.30pm). After being cluster-bombed with yoghurt on ‘Taskmaster’, Mark returns to what he’s best at: being indoors. As scrawny and impassioned as ever, Mark showcases his usual notoriously high joke-and-rantper-minute rate. ‘He sparkles with originality and verve’ - Chortle. Tickets are £20.50 (inc fees). One-liner merchant Gary Delaney (Sat 9 Mar, 7.30pm) also returns to the theatre with another onslaught of lean, expertly crafted gaggery. A Mock the Week regular, Gary’s shows are renowned in the business for a near unrivalled volume of high-class gags. **** ‘More quality jokes in one hour than most comics have in their entire careers...Quite brilliant’ The Scotsman. Tickets are £18.50 (inc fees). Another big name in the main house, Hal Cruttenden (Sun 10 Mar, 7.30pm), has literally filled our screens recently with appearances on Have I Got News for You, Back Off: Extra Slice, and Live at the Apollo. His daughters chose the title ‘Chubster’ for his new stand-up show. He’s now on a diet. ‘His finest hour to date’ - **** The Daily Telegraph. Tickets are £19.50 (inc fees).
Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer Nominee 2018 and Live at the Apollo star, Sindhu Vee (Fri 8 Mar, 7.30pm) brings her critically acclaimed and Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show, Sandhog. “Acerbic perspective and unapologetic delivery of less politically correct home truths”— The List. Tickets are £15.50, £13.50 Dave Joke of the Fringe Winner, Cambridge mathematics dropout and professional poker player Ken Cheng (Sat 9 Mar, 8pm) embarks on his UK-wide tour ‘Best Dad Ever’ following a sold-out, award nominated run at the Edinburgh Festival. Tickets are £13.50, £11.50 concessions. Plus, don’t miss Ahir Shah (Sun 10 Mar, 8pm) who returns to the Key with a brand new standup show about life and what comes after, death and what comes before, and Bohemian Rhapsody. ‘Smart, impressive and brilliantly funny tour-de-comedy’ Chortle.co.uk. Tickets are £13.50. The Festival runs from Thu 7 - Sun 10 March and all shows are recommended for ages 16+. To book for any of the shows above, head to vivacity.org/ comedyfest
In the Key studio, some award winning names also take to the Key’s more intimate auditorium. As a comedian, choirboy and host of Sky Sports’ Soccer AM Lloyd Griffith (Thu 7 Mar, 8pm) promises jokes, dubious impressions, jokes, a bit of choral singing, jokes, maybe a fact about a Cathedral and some more jokes. ‘Disarmingly good’ - Dominic Maxwell, The Times. Tickets are £15.50 (inc fees).
The Fens | March 2019
MAD MARCH HARES WORDS David White, RSPB IMAGES Chris Gommersall (rspb-images.com) Although we still get some wintry weather in March, there are definitely signs that spring is on its way. One of the most well-known signs of spring is the mad March hares that leap around in the fields and engage in the odd bit of fisty cuffs at this time of the year. As brown hares are one of my favourite animals, I thought I would dedicate this article to these fascinating creatures.
thing that amazed me the most about them was their sheer speed. It was almost like watching a cheetah chasing big game on the plains of Africa. They also kept me entertained when they were stationary, hunkered down in the grass with their ears tucked in. They were surprisingly difficult to spot and sometimes, I didn’t notice them until they started moving again.
To be honest, I only really started seeing hares just over 10 years ago when I moved up to the Fens. Although there were hares where I was bought up in Dorset, I very rarely used to see them as I didn’t tend to go to places where they were. This was mainly due to the fact that as I wasn’t driving at the time, I couldn’t just take myself off to the middle of the countryside to watch these amazing mammals doing their thing.
They are especially busy at this time of year as the males are busy pursuing the females in high speed chases in order to try and find a mate. Sometimes, two males will even chase a female in an exuberant pursuit. They do need to be a bit wary though, as if the female isn’t interested, she will just turn around and give one (or both!) of the males a right or left hook. That’ll teach the males for getting carried away!
Anyhow, that was then and this is now! I quickly found several good hare watching spots when I moved up here and spent many a happy evening watching them. I think the
Of course, one of the things about hares is that you don’t necessarily need to go to a nature reserve to find them. There are many fields out in the Fens with boxing hares at this
32 The Fens | March 2019
time of year. If you do happen to find some, all you need to do is watch quietly from a distance and watch the drama unfold. A vehicle can sometimes work as a useful hide. Just make sure that you are parked safely and legally while you are enjoying the activity. If you did want to visit an RSPB reserve to look for hares, you have several options. The two washland reserves, RSPB Ouse Washes and RSPB Nene Washes are both good places to start. The drier areas of grassland on these reserves are great places to look. If you visit RSPB Ouse Washes, you can even watch our long eared friends from the comfort of one of the reserve hides. I hope you have enjoyed my article about brown hares as much as I have enjoyed writing it. As I write this article at the end of January, there is snow on the ground so thinking about boxing hares reminds me that spring is definitely on its way! If you go looking for hares this March, best of luck and I hope you get great views of them.
BUYING OR SELLING LAND? CONSULT A SOLICITOR NOW! Eileanora Ni-Charthaig of Fraser Dawbarns LLP explains why land sales and purchases may not be as simple as you think...
essential to ensure the proposal The idea of buying a plot of land and precisely matches the actual land building a stunning property on it is in question – you’d be surprised how extremely attractive, and most people many people purchase a parcel of assume their first call should always be to land thinking it benefits from planning an estate agent - but that’s actually not only to discover that the plan used true. The first step of your journey should in conjunction the planning always be to a solicitor, and that advice is Are you Buying, Selling with or Remortgaging application does not marry up with the equally important to people selling land. title plan. At Fraser Dawbarns work to simplify and In fact, I’d advise that it’s we absolutely remove stress from your property If a certain plot of land doesn’t have crucial to have a solicitor at this stage transaction. to avoid serious (and costly) problems planning permission, then don’t We keep you updated with may all major developments asassume it will be granted at simply further down the line. There be lots they occur and our fixed fee service helps you keep some point in the future - or that the of land available for sale at the moment, of your costs. for development; its condition of the site makes it costbuttrack it’s not all suitable effective to build on. relation to the Local Development Plan is Our important lawyers canfactor. provide advice on a wide range of a very conveyancing matters including: Similarly, your title needs careful checking to see if it is ‘possessory’ From a seller’s point of view you’ll need • House Purchases and Sales rather than ‘absolute’ as there is a risk to ensure your land is fully ‘optimised’ • may Newhave Buildplanning Purchases that someone with a more secure title you permission for • property, Remortgaging and Releasing Equity could make a claim on the land in the one but would you still get future. compensated if a development • Buying a Retirement Home of six homes is builtaon the site? • Buying Shared Ownership Home Plans themselves are often very vague, • Transferring Ownership of a Home and if you don’t obtain a thorough And if you’ve set your sights on a piece • Buying a House as a Landlord and professional look at the various of land with planning permission, it is • Moving into a Rented Home
issues (such as access, utility supply and neighbouring land) before buying or selling land you may find yourself having to deal with serious legal problems further down the line. As you may have gathered by now, there is no such thing as a silly question when it your Home? comes to selling and buying land. Not consulting a solicitor at the initial stages of buying or selling land is an enormous risk, and that is not intended to be scaremongering. As a seller the last thing you’d want is the sale to fail because of some oversight that could have been remedied much earlier. And there can be few things worse than buying a plot of land and then discovering you can’t do anything with it - or even finishing your project and then be faced with the prospect of having to take it down. If you’re thinking of buying or selling land (or any other legal issue for that matter), please contact us today for an initial consultation.
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Walk of the month
Exploring the cobbled streets of Cambridge WORDS AND IMAGES AMY CORNEY With spring scents filling the air and the sky the most perfect shade of cerulean blue we headed to Cambridge to explore this historic city by foot. Our starting point was the Grand Arcade, trying to not get distracted by the busy shops we headed out onto St Andrewâ€™s Street to enjoy the picturesque architecture Cambridge has to offer. As the road transitions into Regent Street we passed by the historic Downing College, originally founded under the will of Sir George Downing in 1800, his grandfather also built 10 Downing Street! We stopped to check out some of the impressive buildings designed by the Georgian architect William Wilkins who was influenced by neoclassical design. The stunning Maitland Robinson library sits proudly in the landscaped grounds and members of the public can request in advance to view the interior and its splendid central staircase. There are 20 acres of grounds to explore at Downing College but having had our fill we left, heading back out towards Hills Road. Passing the Church of Our Lady & The English Martyrs we continued along this route with its numerous bars and restaurants and iconic red telephone boxes. Spotting the signs for Cambridge University Botanic Gardens we headed up the path to purchase our tickets and fill our grumbling 34 The Fens | March 2019
tummies with a spot of lunch. Swathes of luminescent snowdrops glistened in the sunshine and lined our pathway to the café. Stopping for a light lunch we checked out the map and picked out the areas we had to see. The Botanic Garden moved to its present site in the early 19th century and now covers a 40-acre landscape with over 8000 species in the living plant collection, so plenty to see! The Winter garden celebrates its 40th birthday this year and was the first botanic garden in the UK to have a dedicated area which celebrates plants with winter interest. So, we headed there to see what inspiration for our own garden we could find. Enjoying the spring like sunshine but not the wintry 4-degree temperature we looked for somewhere more sheltered. Spying the glasshouses, we headed towards them to escape the chill and enjoy the tropical splendour of the indoor jungle. Prickly cacti and desert style plants fill the first greenhouse and with the sun streaming in through the glass we could almost imagine we were somewhere much more exotic! Exploring the other jungle like rooms filled with unusual species such as the tropical Bird-of-paradise plant we left with thoughts of summer holidays and warmer weather. Leaving through Brookside Gate we walked
alongside Trumpington Road past pretty homes with a view of Hobsons Brook. In the distance the magnificent Fitzwilliam Museum appeared on the horizon, so we headed there. Unfortunately, we visited on a Monday when the museum is closed (should have checked in advance!) so we just enjoyed the building’s impressive exterior. Along from the museum is Corpus Christi College which was founded in 1352 and is one of Cambridge’s most stunning architectural areas as it sits alongside
Kings College. Passing by the iconic gold Corpus Clock we stopped to admire Kings College Chapel and watch the cyclists go by. Continuing down this road you can’t help but feel stimulated by the history of the place and see why so many authors cite this city as inspiration. We decided to end our walk on Bridge Street as we watched visitors glide past on the famous punts on the River Cam. With so much more to explore in Cambridge and with visits to the Fitzwilliam Museum and punting on the river on our to do lists another visit is a must- although perhaps when the weather is warmer!
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• A carry-back rule will be introduced so that investors will be able to set their relief against income tax liabilities in the year before the fund closes. The Government’s original aim of unlocking £20 billion of new growth capital over 10-years was very ambitious, yet the red tape and tax changes now being considered hardly seem significant enough to encourage any real change in behaviour.
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Time for Afternoon
A great British tradition, afternoon tea has never been so popular. And with Mothering Sunday just a few weeks away, we had a perfect excuse to indulge in our favourite pastime....
WORDS NATASHA SHIELS IMAGES CHRIS BRUDENELL The Fens | March 2019
here are fewer things better than a nice cup of tea and slice of cake. And it is perhaps this reason why we, as a nation, seem to love our afternoon teas. Apparently, we Brits drink 165 million cups of tea every single day - that’s 60.2 billion per year! Now that’s a lot of tea bags! Afternoon tea however, that most quintessential of English customs is, surprisingly, a relatively new tradition. Whilst tea itself dates back to the third millennium BC in China, it was not until the mid 19th century that the concept of ‘afternoon tea’ first appeared. Introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840, as a solution to her hunger at around four o’clock, the tradition of enjoying a sandwich, cake and tea quickly took off. Before long the afternoon tea became a fashionable social event - as it still does to this day. On official business, we took ourselves to Orton Hall Hotel & Spa in Peterborough. We were guided to The Huntley Restaurant, a splendid room with tall ceilings and picturesque 40 The Fens | March 2019
views of the impressive gardens. Served between noon and 6pm daily, the Afternoon Tea consists of finger sandwiches, assorted cakes, warm fruit scones and a choice of tea or coffee. There are ample portions and everything tasted fresh and homemade. Just as you’d hope for. The setting of the Hotel makes this Afternoon Tea truly impressive. Centrally located, you quickly forget you’re in Peterborough as you drive into the characterful hotel’s carpark. There are 20 acres of mature parkland sweeping around the building, as well as a spa, function rooms and pub onsite. Frankly, I could have moved in quite happily and never left. HOW TO EAT YOUR SCONE PROPERLY Halfway through our sandwiches we entered a lengthly debate about the correct way to adorn our scones with jam and cream. Which comes first? Is it jam or cream first? What about butter? And that’s without clarifying whether it’s scone (no pronouncing the ‘e’) or scone (rhymes with cone)!
We decided to leave that debate be! It appears the order to spread our scones does depend whether you’re making them the Cornish or Devon way. Cornwall traditions insist you put the jam on first, then cream. And yes, you’ve guessed, if you live in Devon, you’re supposed to do it the other way around.
Local tea rooms • Orton Hall Hotel & Spa, Orton Longueville, Peterborough PE2 7DN. Afternoon Tea is priced at just £14.95 per person. To book call 01733 391111 or email email@example.com. Advanced reservations required for parties of 6 or more. Perfect for: The whole package. • Sophie T’s Vintage Tea Shop, 183 Main Street, Yaxley. 07768 351227. sophiets. co.uk Perfect for: Traditional 1940s themed tea room • Peckover House (Reed Barn Tea Room), North Brink, Wisbech, PE13 1JR. nationaltrust.org.uk/peckover-house-and-garden Perfect for: Visiting a National Trust house and garden at the same time • Dog in a Doublet River Nene, between Thorney and Whittlesey. 01733 202256. Perfect for: Visiting somewhere local and independent. Don’t miss their special offer this month for Afternoon Tea for just £14.95pp including a glass of Prosecco. Prebooking essential. Quote Fens Mag. So which is it? We decided on a little experiment and tried both. It turns out, if you have really thick, delicious cream (like we did), it’s much easier to go cream first followed by jam. We managed to all agree this, however I’m less convinced that the taste is the same. One thing is for sure, I bet you’ll all have an opinion on it. SO WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER AN AFTERNOON TEA THIS MONTH? Notwithstanding that it is Mother’s Day, and frankly what mother wouldn’t want to be treated to tea and cake, places such as Orton Hall Hotel & Spa can also host special events such as weddings and parties, or just be a wonderful place to visit and leave your phone at home. As Henry James so perfectly
summarised: “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” With special thanks to Orton Hall Spa & Hotel for hosting us and feeding us so well and to Dog in a Doublet. If you’re looking for somewhere special this month, we would highly recommend paying either a visit (or better yet, both!).
Special Fens Offer Book afternoon tea for just £14.95pp at The Dog in a Doublet with free glass of bubbles (normal price £17.95)
The Fens | March 2019
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Recipe Smaller versions of this now appea r on Dog in a Doub let’s Afternoon Tea
LEMON MERINGUE PIE 1. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl then add the butter to the flour and then rub between your fingertips until a fine breadcrumb consistency is achieved. Add the sugar to the flour and butter then, using your hands, mix to a firm dough with the egg yolk and a splash of cold water. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before using.
PREPARATION TIME - 30 MINS TO 1 HOUR COOKING TIME - 1-2 HOURS
2. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and grease a 22cm/9in fluted loose-bottomed tin. Place the tin onto a baking tray.
INGREDIENTS SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY • 225g/8oz plain white flour pinch salt • 110g/4oz cold unsalted butter, cubed • 2 tsp caster sugar • 1 medium free-range egg yolk
3. Roll out the pastry until it’s big enough to generously fit the tin, leaving excess pastry falling over the sides of the tin onto the baking tray underneath the tin - don’t trim at this stage.
LEMON CURD • 100g/3½oz caster sugar • 7 tbsp cornflour • 4 large lemons, zest and juice only • 6 free-range egg yolks • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, melted MERINGUE • 6 medium free-range egg whites • 300g/10½oz caster sugar 44 The Fens | March 2019
4. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Now trim the excess pastry using a sharp knife. Bake the pastry case blind for about 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is pale golden and dried out - remove the paper and beans for the last five minutes. Lower the oven
heat to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
5. Meanwhile, for the lemon curd, mix together the sugar, cornflour and enough water to make a paste, in a large bowl. Bring 50ml/2fl oz water and the lemon zest to the boil in a small pan then gradually pour the hot liquid onto the cornflour and sugar, whisking all the time until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon juice and butter and return to the pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring all the time, until thickened. Pour into the pastry case and leave to cool slightly. 6. For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks. Whisk in the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well and at a high speed between each addition. Transfer the meringue into a piping bag and pipe the meringue on top of the lemon curd (if you don’t have a piping bag you can just dollop it on with a spoon. 7. Bake for about 35-45 minutes until the meringue is crisp on the outside and soft and marshmallow-like underneath. Serve warm or cold in slices.
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The Fens | March 2019
M&S TOP £35 ; TROUSERS £39.50
46 The Fens | March 2019
Most stockists found at Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough
Spring has hit the High Street and Sara Fontanella looks at some of the best trends currently emerging Is it just me, or are you getting excited at the fact that it’s staying lighter for longer? It’s currently 4pm and it’s STILL light outside! Finally we can slowly start to see a glimmer of hope, a beacon of light, the change in season! Can I get an ‘Amen’! We can start to put our hermit cardigans and coats to one side and concentrate on opening up our wardrobes and consider wearing colour and different fabrics. Linen? Cotton? Oh, it’s all so exciting and I have just the looks to kick start a spring wardrobe below. Head-to-toe neutrals Not a new thing, but definitely a trend we will see in Spring ‘19. Trench coat from last year? YES! Team it up with chinos and shirt for a light and casual look. Other highlights • Paisley/ scarf print patterns • Bows and Ruffles • Shorts/ Cullottes And finally I’d like to wish all the mums in and around the Fens a very happy Mothers Day (special shout out to my mummy!). So what do you get the most important lady? Try one of my style tips to see her into the new season...
TOPSHOP ORANGE DENIM SHORTS £30.00
FATFACE MEGAN STRIPE JUMPER IN GREEN TEA £45, OLIVIA STRIPE SHIRT IN ROSE PETAL £39.50, CARA CORD SKIRT IN NAVY, OAKE WEAVE DETAIL ANKLE BOOTS IN TAN £79
M&S COLLECTION SILK SCARF £22.50
M&S TRENCH COAT £99
M&S COLLECTION RICH CHINO SHORTS WITH STRETCH £15
Book a styling session with me, Style by Sara. Whether it’s an instant fix or a wardrobe makeover, I can help you on your way to a better version of yourself! Sara Fontanella – 07913 036896 | firstname.lastname@example.org | FB – Style by Sara | IG – Sara.Fontanella The Fens | March 2019
WHAT’S ON Include your event for free by emailing email@example.com Big Band who will play a variety of big band and swing music, both classic and modern. There is a fully licensed bar and hot food will be available to purchase throughout the evening. Ample free parking. Tickets are £10.00 available from The Camp office, ramsey1940s@gmail. com or call Jayne on 07881730047 or Rosie on 07834132936
MARCH AND DISTRICT MODEL RAILWAY EXHIBITION Saturday 2nd March, 10am-4:30pm
Held at Westwood Community Junior School, Maple Grove, March, this exhibition features 15 layouts, 9 trade stands, demonstrations, refreshments and live steam traction engine rides outside. There’s free parking and entrance is £4 adults, £2 for children and family tickets available. Find out more by contacting Steve on firstname.lastname@example.org
PETERBOROUGH SCALE MODEL CLUB Sunday March 3rd - 10am
trains. Meet Representatives from our local railways services and have your say about rail. Everyone is welcome! For more information please contact herewardCRP@fenland.gov.uk
Railway Drop in Event: Your Voice Matters!
Wed HARE WALK FenMARCH
Saturday 9th March - 10am to 12pm This month sees the return of The East Meet at the Great Fen Information of England Model show at the Queen Point, New Decoy Katharine Academy, Mountsteven Entrance Fee: £4 per person Avenue, Walton, Peterborough PE4 Join us for a spring guided walk 6HX, which will be the largest scale model show in our region. A vast array through the heart of the Great Fen. We’ll look for all kinds of spring wildlife, of scale models of Aircraft, Cars, ships the first wild flowers of the year and and military vehicles will be displayed Take a virtual reality tour of hopefully see some mad March hares by a host of model clubs from across Greater Anglia’s boxing in the fields.brand new trains the Midlands and East of England. Booking essential from email@example.com our local railway services There will also be many traders sellingMeet representatives Dogs on leads and assistance dogs and have your say about rail. the latest kits and equipment for welcome. modellers of all ages and abilities. This will be a great family day out and entrance is only £3 for adults NORWICH PUPPET and those under 15 get in free. All THEATRE COMPANY proceeds from the show will go to PRESENTS PIED PIPER AT ‘Anna’s Hope’, a local children’s brain tumour charity. There is free off RAMSEY LIBRARY street parking for all. Everyone is welcome! Saturday 23rd march at 3.30pm For more details visit www. Norwich Puppet Theatre bring a fresh For more information please contact: peterboroughscalemodels.co.uk twist to a well-loved fairy tale that will HerewardCRP@Fenland.gov.uk
RAMSEY 1940S CAMP (PE26 2XB) Saturday 2nd March - 7PM until midnight An evening of music and dancing held in the Drill Hall to The Umbrella
REGULARS FREE Glow in the Dark Table Tennis! New and exciting activity for ages 1019 years old Just drop in and play! Fridays 15.30-17.00, Rosmini Centre, Wisbech. Fenland Music Centre Association Orchestras, Bands and Ensembles. Open to all ages and abilities. Meets every Friday evening during Term time 6pm - 9pm, March Community Centre. Just come along or visit our website on http://www. fenlandmusiccentre.org.uk 48 The Fens | March 2019
Held at Fenland hall, Country Road, March PE15 8NQ. This is your opportunity to take a virtual reality tour of Greater Anglia’s brand new
enchant children and adults alike. When the Pied Piper plays his flute the rats run, the greedy mayor rubs his hands and the children dance in this funny and irresistible show. A skilful mix of puppetry, foot-tapping music and storytelling. Suitable for families with children 3 years. Refreshments available. Purchase tickets online or
pilates tues nights 6.30pm till 7.30pm Murrow Village Hall. Fenland Archaeological Society (FenArch) meet at 7:30pm in Mendi’s, Old Market, Wisbech on 4th Wednesday of the month. Young archaeologists The 8-16 Fenland Archaeology group meet 10am - 12pm at the museum, Museum Square, Wisbech on the 4th Saturday of each month. Wisbech Model Railway Club The group meet every Monday from 6:30pm to 9pm in Room 1 of The Institute, Hill Street, Wisbech. New members most welcome. Unfortunately there’s no wheelchair
access. Further details from 07707 885718. Walking Netball – Thursday 9:30am Hudson Wisbech £2 Walking Football – Tuesday 9:30am and Friday 8pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Back to Netball – Tuesday 7pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Ladies Badminton – Wednesday 7pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Adults Badminton – Monday 7pm Hudson Wisbech £2 Forever Fit – Tuesday 11:30am £2 (Short mat bowls, New Age Kurling and Table Tennis) Adults Table Tennis – Friday 1:30pm Wisbech Table Tennis Club £1
RAILWAY DROP IN EVENT: YOUR VOICE MATTERS! Wednesday 6th March - 6pm until 8pm
from Ramsey Library. Cost £4 per person or Family Saver ticket £14
A FENLAND YOUTH MUSICAL SHOWCASE Saturday 30th March - 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Fenland Music Centre Association presents their musical showcase at Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, High Street, Chatteris PE16 6BA. Soloists from Chatteris Schools and Fenland Music Centre will perform their favourite musical pieces, together with music from a youth
Beginners Running – Tuesday 9:30am Wisbech Park Free Yoga Oasis Centre – Tuesday 1:30pm Oasis Centre Free For more info on any of the above email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01354602116 Stitch Studio Sewing School Wisbech St Mary Come and learn with like-minded people and get creative, small friendly classes with qualified tutor – Jayne Walpole. To book and more info: email@example.com or www. stitchstudio.co.uk or 07584341160. Saturday 5 January 2019
music workshop, which is FREE to attend for all muscians under 21 between 4pm and 6pm on the Saturday. Soft drinks and biscuits will be provided for the workshop but please bring a packed lunch to eat before the concert. Tickets are £3 on the door. Further details can be found at www. fenlandmusiccentre.org.uk. The concert is kindly sponsored by Metalcraft.
WALPOLE ART & CRAFT CLUB Saturday 30th March - 10am - 4pm 9.30-4.30pm 1 Day workshop – Learn to Sew the Basics. Monday 7 January 1.30-4pm or 6.30-9pm 6 week course - Beginners dressmaking. Tuesday 8 January 9.30am-12 noon 6 week course. Dressmaking & sewing crafts. Wednesday 10 January 1:30-4pm or 6.30-9pm 6 week course - Improvers & Advanced dressmaking/pattern cutting. Saturday 12 January 9.30-4.00pm 1 Day workshop - Learn to love your overlocker. Sunday 13 January 9.30-4.30pm, 1
Those crafty ladies of the Walpole Art & Craft Club, who raise so much money for charity, are at it again. They will be holding a very special CRAFT FAYRE on Saturday 30th March in Walpole St Peter Village Hall 10a.m – 4p.m. They will have on sale all their lovely handcrafted items, including cards, jewellery, knitted, crocheted and needle worked items and so much more. There will also be refreshments and Tombola to enjoy. We look forward to seeing you there. If you would like a stall please contact Lynne 01945 780447 or Christine 01945 489953
Day workshop – Perfect Fit: Adjusting Sewing Patterns Saturday 19 January 9.30-4.30pm, 1 Day workshop Sew Saturday. Sunday 20 January 9.30-4.00pm, 1 Day workshop - Learn Pattern cutting techniques Play Bridge? Wisbech Mixed Bridge Club meet every Thursday 6.45pm at WWMCC, 29 Hill Street, Wisbech. No partner necessary. Call 01945 464608 for more details.
The Fens | March 2019
BUSINESS Clare Howard alongside her husband Nick are the owners of local business and franchise Easigrass Cambridgeshire & East Anglia, located in Chatteris, who supply and fit artificial grass in both domestic and commercial properties. We spoke to Clare to find out more about her and her family run business
WORDS AMY CORNEY the brand and roll out our new concept of artificial wall coverings in Cambridgeshire and East Anglia and share our successes with other agents up and down the country.
WHO MAKES UP THE EASIGRASS TEAM? I run the business alongside my husband, and we are proud to have our son Daniel work alongside us. The rest of our employees are made up of locals from Chatteris and the surrounding areas. HOW DOES IT STAND OUT AGAINST ITS COMPETITORS? Easigrass is a recognisable brand with a presence all over the UK and worldwide. Competition is primarily Landscapers sourcing artificial grass via Internet based companies whose products lack integrity. We offer an unbroken supply chain, be it supply only or supply to full installation. We offer a full site survey with design help and samples to choose from, we also have a portfolio of photos to compare and view and we have had well over 700 customer reviews on Trust a Trader. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT SO FAR? I would say that forming a relationship with John Lewis Stores in Cambridge, Peterborough, Norwich and Ipswich and for them to be happy with our products and more importantly service and attention to detail that they allow us to exhibit via their stores has been a brilliant accomplishment for us. We have also won Gold at RHS Chelsea which has been a particular highlight. WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FUTURE? We will continue to market and build 50 The Fens | March 2019
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT HAVING A BUSINESS IN THE FENS? Without a doubt it is the people, it is amazing how tightknit the local villages are and through word of mouth recommendations we have increased our business in both local villages and new housing developments. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? I would like to say freedom which I suppose is the case, but the hours can be long and tiring! There is real a sense of achievement when we reflect on what we have built as a business and the fact that we are able to provide employment locally. ARE YOU INVOLVED IN ANY COMMUNITY PROJECTS/LOCAL CHARITIES OR FUNDRAISING? We have provided installations to local schools ex gratia in projects and provide off cuts as sensory aids to schools etc. On a more personal level both of us raise monies for various causes in around Cambridgeshire including Arthur Rank in Cambridge and EACH in East Anglia. OUTSIDE OF WORK WHAT HOBBIES DO YOU ENJOY? At present we have to say DIY as we are renovating and extending our property in Chatteris. We also have a boat on the local river network which we can “escape” to and we like to enjoy a round of Golf. Plus, I really like making cakes for friends’ birthdays, but that is very time dependent! WHAT IS YOUR BEST KEPT SECRET IN
THE FENS? I really enjoy going for dinner at the Dog in a Doublet, but my favourite part of the fens is the beauty of the river system and the openness of the countryside with its “big skies.” To plan your outdoor space with Easigrass, simply call 0800 151 3351, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eastanglia.easigrass.com
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