A Fen Diary

PUBLISHED: 16:30 18 January 2007 | UPDATED: 22:30 28 May 2010

FENLAND farmers have been as shrewd as any in diversifying into other industries, so I wonder what they will make of this request from Virgin. Virgin Balloon Flights is looking for a new home in the county for some hot air balloons as its current site is

FENLAND farmers have been as shrewd as any in diversifying into other industries, so I wonder what they will make of this request from Virgin.

Virgin Balloon Flights is looking for a new home in the county for some hot air balloons as its current site is overcrowded.

The company has a fleet of 25 balloons, or 'envelopes', which tower up to seven storeys high when inflated but pack away into bags which can be transported on trailers.

They need secure covered barns, anywhere between 5,000 and 7,000 square feet in size, to rent, lease or purchase. There must be some form of electricity and water supplies with a minimum of three surrounding acres for balloon testing and inflation.

"This is a rare opportunity for farmers to turn their available barn space into profit," says Vrigin Balloons flight chief Kenneth Karlstrom. If you have space to spare call Virgin on 07814 935334.

A REPORT from Cambridgeshire's director of public health notes reminds us we have many migrant and seasonal workers across the couunty.

"Very little is known about these groups but it is likely that some are living and working in poor conditions and are not accessing appropriate health care," says Dr Liz Robin.

Why do we presume anything such thing? As I reported some weeks ago one Fenland farmer now boasts state of the art leisure facilities for his migrant workers, and many other farms offer decent, if basic, accommodation to ensure a contented workforce.

NO wonder Cambs County Council leader Keith Walters looked so grumpy when I spotted him in the Fens this week.

Not only did only just nine members of the public turn up to debate the county council budget, but his Labour and Liberal Democrat colleagues had jumped ship even before they reached March.

One suspects this is a consultative strategy that has run its course.

AN NVQ in motorsport? Not in Brakespeare's day; but then this is the 21st century and good to see modern thinking at the Isle Campus in Wisbech, which is launching a new motorsport course from September and tutors will be on hand next Wednesday between 6pm and 8pm to meet wannabe recruits

"This is an exciting new course that will put Wisbech on the map with regards to the motorsport trade," course director Bob Whalley sais this week.

The college has even bought two single-seat racing cars, one for Wisbech and one for Lynn, and very exciting it all sounds.

Call the college on 01945 682561 for details.

THE indefatigable Jim Samuels of March discovered to his horror (and cost) the words that may appropriately be used in advancing an argument.

On Tuesday magistrates found him guilty of making racial comment and whacked him with £1,000 in fines, compensation and costs.

The one thing Brakespeare has appreciated about Mr Samuels is the forthright nature of his views, but perhaps on this occasion he should have exercised more care.

Mr Samuels has never been a shrinking violet when it comes to stirring up little controversies, for Brakespeare recalls fondly the time the same Mr Samuels played Santa Claus at the Christmas lights switch on.

All was going swimmingly, indeed for many years, until Mr Samuels effectively pulled the plug, claiming the fun had gone from Christmas and kids were just too greedy.

A three-year-old demanded a computer worth £1,200, while sitting on his knee, and he claimed to be getting more moans than merriment.

"I'm not a miserable Santa," he said at the time. "I think it's everyone else who must be miserable for them to celebrate Christmas in the way they do."

His final exit was assured when he added: "I don't believe in Santa Claus any more. It's just want, I want, I want, I want......"

IT seems telling that under a report from the new Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust about their 'Fitness for Purpose Project Progress' we should encounter Janet Leonard, described in the document as 'assisstant director, quality performance' (sic).

Brakespeare hopes the quality performance will include a spell checker on the trust's computer.

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