Fen Diary - Week 12

IT S good to talk, so Brakespeare was always told, but you have to feel some sorrow for those at the King Edward Centre, Chatteris, who organised a hand of friendship day for newcomers to the town and only four turned up. Which is twice the number, as i

IT'S good to talk, so Brakespeare was always told, but you have to feel some sorrow for those at the King Edward Centre, Chatteris, who organised a "hand of friendship" day for newcomers to the town and only four turned up.

Which is twice the number, as it happens, of members of the public who turned up for a public meeting organised by health chiefs to debate the future of Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

"We really want to engage with the public," says Maureen Donnelly, Primary Care Trust chairman, who is, no doubt, busy scratching her head to find out how best to do just that.

BUSY times for Peter Carter, one of our greatest authorities on that most traditional of Fenland pursuits, eel trapping.

BBC Countryfile has been filming his comings and goings around his home village of Outwell, showing how he makes and sets the traps.

Brakespeare looks forward to encountering Peter in Ely at the end of April when the town is celebrating its annual Eel Day.

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The day sounds quite riveting, with live eels on show in a tank and competitions to find the champion eel thrower and the loudest town crier from the dozen or so to be represented from across the region.

AN oversight or something more? Brakespeare is bemused by news that no one from Whittlesey Town Council was invited to the opening of the town's new Queen Street surgery.

"It was noted," state newly-published council minutes, "that the chairman had not been invited. The clerk was instructed to write to the surgery, expressing disappointment that no representative had been invited."

DISTRICT councillors spotted in Chatteris on Wednesday were having a good old sniff round the former Electromar shop in High Street, and thereby hangs an interesting story.

If a change of use application is approved next Wednesday, it will become an estate agency, and yes, of course Brakespeare knows what a shortage of those there are in the Fens!

But it is the applicant name's that fascinates your diarist. She is none other than Kathleen Dack, whose husband's firm Dack and Co has made such inroads into the legal profession since opening up a few years ago in March and then Chatteris.

Branching out into the estate agency business might seem a perplexing business strategy. But could the decision have anything to do with being just a little bit rattled by established estate agents trying to dictate conveyancing terms for local solicitors?

I'm told all will be clear once the planning hurdles are overcome next week. The nation awaits.

"PLEASE find some more dirt, we are thriving on it but there are answers available to all the nasty little dirt digging the media are finding, so please continue."

This is an extract from a fax sent a few days ago by Len Baynes, chairman of Fenland branch of the UK Independence Party.

I think he was alluding to the difficulties of his MEP, Tom Wise, and allegations in the Times over expenses, but I'm not sure.

"Dig all the dirt you can, discredit it, we can't let it speak," continued the fax until tiredness overcame me and I spiked it.

MY attempts to find out when Fenland Council will broadcast its long-awaited film from the last full council meeting, are fast getting nowhere.

After weeks of buck passing, I'm no nearer to finding out who is responsible for the delay, nor when its likely to air on the council's website.

Not that readers of this paper care that much. An on-line poll last week put the question : Fenland District Council is considering broadcasting their council meetings on the internet. Will you be watching?

Forty per cent said they would, and 60 per cent registered a definitive 'No'.

A COLLEAGUE dispatching to our printers community news from around the Fens, wondered if a Church of England primary school's research into "Mary, the mother of God" might have theological resonance across a broader spectrum.

"I know they are in the Fens," says my colleague " but if Jesus is the Son of God . . . ?" The exasperation overcame her and she fled the newsroom.

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