A Fenlander's Diary

PUBLISHED: 08:07 27 January 2006 | UPDATED: 21:39 28 May 2010

NOT that there is anything wrong with being a small, independent, family-owned company . Indeed one commends such virtue. But why that quintessential English piece of schmaltz should matter in the case of Joe Jennings bookmakers is beyond me. The company

NOT that there is anything wrong with being a "small, independent, family-owned company". Indeed one commends such virtue.

But why that quintessential English piece of schmaltz should matter in the case of Joe Jennings bookmakers is beyond me.

The company has applied to Fenland District Council for permission to convert a shop in High Street, Wisbech - nothing wrong with that - but quite why it felt the need to lace its application with cosy family background is beyond me.

The company's spokesman who briefed councillors also suggested that the High Street "is not in the primary retail area due to the number of vacant shops".

He felt the proposal "would bring vitality to the town and would have a modern and attractive retail frontage and would generate a high visitation rate, which would be likely to benefit other retail outlets in the town through increased trade".

Seriously, readers, you just couldn't make this stuff up.

For the record Joe Jennings Bookmakers was set up 45 years ago when off-course betting was legalised by the Government.

Still privately owned, The Jennings group as a whole trades from 95 branches throughout the UK.

Still small, though.

IT seems that Asian restaurants have fallen out of love with the British onion. While supermarkets say domestic customers still prefer home grown onions, Asian customers "prefer the Dutch onions because they apparently make better curries".

Chinese restaurants, however, seem to prefer Spanish onions although G's , the Fenland company behind many onions, happily waves the flag for UK.

"I have never heard of anyone requesting Dutch over British," says a spokesman.

AS Manea prepares for next Thursday's by-election for the vacancy on Fenland District Council, Brakespeare's mind has been diverted to another, equally riveting campaign.

That is to see who becomes the new deputy leader on the Tory group at Fenland Hall, replacing the pugnacious Pop Jolley, whose fall from grace prompted this vacancy.

Cabinet sources reckon former March mayor Councillor Kit Owen to be hot favourite, and it is believed he has already been proffered support from within some of the council's upper echelons.

Councillor Fred Yeulett, also of March, must also fancy his chances, but the dark horse, should he stand, might well be Councillor Simon King, the urbane councillor from Wisbech.

There's no likelihood, however, of former leader Councillor Alan Melton springing a surprise. He's reportedly told colleagues to expect nothing of consequence from him until after the 2007 local elections.

YOU could be forgiven for thinking a top job with the BBC would be the pinnacle of any journalist's career.

David Martin, until recently the head of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, has opted to cross sides, as it were, to become the corporate communications manager at EEDA, the east of England Development Agency.

Apart from now working for an organisation with four letters instead of three, I did enjoy EEDA's press release heralding his appointment which referred to the fact that during his time at the BBC, David was "responsible for record listening figures".

Tough job that, jotting down who has been listening to what.

ALL 700 employees of Fenland District Council are to be updated, I discover, on the management of stress.

The council is keen to ensure its workers understand the difference between stress and pressure: they are not the same.

"Pressure can be motivating and challenging and improve performance," says the new policy document.

"Stress is deemed as something that is negative and poses a risk to health and well-being, a response to too much pressure or too many demands which the person finds difficulty coping with."

The council is doing its best to cope with stress, offering workers a confidential telephone hotline, counselling, and workshops on stress awareness.

"The council will also have awareness weeks to promote positive mental health and wellbeing, and good work-life balance," notes the report.

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