A FENLANDER'S DIARY

PUBLISHED: 12:21 25 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:07 28 May 2010

AS management trainer Dale Carnegie once said: Don t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Well one woman has done just that. Step up Tina Varney, who says she tried every day for three weeks to persuade Fenland District Council

AS management trainer Dale Carnegie once said: "Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs."

Well one woman has done just that.

Step up Tina Varney, who says she tried every day for three weeks to persuade Fenland District Council to collect her wheelie bins.

She moved into her new home with boyfriend David Connolly and daughter Leah in Barclay Court, Manea, just four weeks ago. And the dustmen kept missing her bins in the village's weekly collection.

So daily phone calls to the council followed by Miss Varney to get the rubbish moved and, finally on Friday, success. Bin men stopped and took all their rubbish away.

So let that be a lesson to anyone else who's thinking of giving up on anything soon.

I DID ponder whether a distant relative was penning their press releases after receiving this delightful flight of fancy from organisers of this weekend's hot air balloon championships at Pidley.

Thousands of visitors to the Fens are being greeted with this helpful information for the Lakeside Lodge event.

"Please don't pick up anything dropped from a hot air balloon," say organisers. "Leave it exactly where it lands as this provides vital information for the competition organisers and is crucial in determining who will win the competition."

They add: "Finally, hot air balloons sometimes land in an undignified manner. Please don't assume that a balloon has just crashed and call the emergency services. Chances are the pilot has just landed exactly where he meant to."

IT'S been some months since I last reported progress, but a kindly inspector from the Government's Planning Inspectorate, Terence Povey, sends me news of Apple Crumble Cottage.

Those with a half-decent memory will recall my attachment to this Parson Drove retreat, not only because the name evokes such quintessentially English nostalgia but because of the improvements proposed.

The cottage is 200 years old and the owner's latest plan was rejected by Fenland planners and their refusal has now been upheld on appeal. The intention was to remove half the masonry within the bathroom chimney breast to accommodate a shower cubicle.

The scheme "would serve to destroy, rather than preserve, part of the listed building's intrinsic character" says Mr Povey.

Back to the drawing board, then, for cottage owner Jeremy Askey.

GYPSY author Tony Price tells me he has released an educational DVD to inform people of what he calls "a dying way of life".

Gypsy Arts and Crafts explains how to make traditional gypsy items such as pegs and flowers. It also features sing-alongs around campfires.

The enterprising Mr Price, of Sutton Bridge, is not new to the world of publishing. Four years ago he published a biography, 'A Gypsy Upbringing'.

Mr Price, 45, told me: "You don't see many of these things happen any more. They used to do them to survive but now I make them for fun. The gypsy way is a dying way of life."

The 40-minute DVD was filmed over two days in July by media group Wildfish Media and the initial run is 400 copies.

Mr Price said: "I had written the book and just wanted to go one step further.

"I thought it would be nice to do the DVD. My book only shows diagrams but my DVD shows a step-by-step guide of how to make the items."

- 'Gypsy Arts and Crafts' is out now and costs £20. To purchase a copy, contact 07867 964090.

A QUESTION for yesterday's successful GCSE students. When is an hour not 60 minutes?

The Griffin Hotel at March is happily providing the answer by advertising a 'happy hour' in its bar from Monday to Friday, only the 'hour' lasts from 2pm to 7pm daily.

Part of me thinks its a reckless, damaging act that will create social mayhem and unrest.

The journalist in me welcomes it.

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