Heavy plant crossing!


So, work is underway on the new development – which will be called Drover’s Mead incidentally. 

According to a site foreman, heavy plant equipment will be used to level the land and create an access road for the construction traffic. This will include groundwork for drainage and sewerage for the 24 four and five bedroom homes to be built on the site. 

Impact on the local area leading to the site is supposed to be kept to a minimum. However, there has already been damage to unprotected grass verges by 40-foot low loaders reversing up the lane to drop off heavy plant. Manoeuvring long vehicles round a tight, blind junction and then snaking it around a twisting 500 yard course can’t be easy. Some damage will be inevitable it seems – despite protestations to the contrary from the developers. 

The cab of one vehicle struck an ancient hawthorn on the lane and knocked off one of its overhanging branches. 

Once earth moving starts as the builders begin to remove the surplus top soil – some 500 tonnes – there will be 50-60 vehicle movements a day of heavy tipper lorries up and down the quiet lane and through the village. This is set to continue for at least three days. 

The lane itself has no foundation. Tarmac has been laid over what was previously a dirt track. It’s difficult to see how damage to this can be avoided. Then there are the sustainability issues of the amount of CO2 being generated by the vehicles to’ing and fro’ing. 

The village itself doesn’t, I think, need new development. The local economy probably won’t benefit greatly from the increased population. Residents will not be around during the day. Shopping and leisure activities will take place outside the village and there will be increased pressure on the environment, and on amenities such as the village school, which is currently over capacity. 

The only groups to profit from this will be the Homes and Communities Agency from the sale of the land, the construction sub-contractors and the developer from marketing the new homes.

Shakedown presents…Claude Bourbon


Now that the summer break is almost over Shakedown blues club is about to kick off its Autumn/Winter programme.

The current Shakedown began back in January 2005 when blues fans in the Peterborough area were stunned by the re-emergence of the Shakedown series of live blues jams. The last Shakedown gigs were back in 1972 before promoter Gerard Homan put up the shutters and decided he needed a proper job to keep the wolves at bay. These now legendary shows began in 1966 and featured , Dr Ross, Boogie Woogie Red, Lightnin’ Slim, Champion Jack Dupree, Rev Gary Davis, Big Boy Crudup, Jimmy Dawkins, Little Brother Montgomery, Roy Bookbinder, Baby Boy Warren, Erwin Helfer, King Biscuit Boy, Eddie Burns, Sunnyland Slim, Larry Johnson, Curtis Jones, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Jo-Ann Kelly, T.S. McPhee, Stefan Grossman, Alexis Korner, Spider John Koerner together with a funky little house band called Ma Grinders Blues Mission.

Now thirty odd years later, Gerard is back with a stellar cast and a new funky little band called The Blues Crusaders.

There are a number of gigs in the Autum progamme. Have a look here for details. First up is the eclectic Claude Bourbon. Check out his website for his bio and a taste of his talent. Angel is a beautiful blues tinged with flamenco and medieval tones and there’s an interesting fingerpicked/slide version of Gershwin’s Summertime. The gig is scheduled for September 16th.

The venue for the gig is St Kyneburgha’s church in the village of Castor. The important 12th century church is an ideal setting in which to enjoy Claude’s unique blend of Spanish, medieval and blues styles. Hope to see you there.

Rural housing developments


A regional house developer – Stamford Homes, a cuddly sounding local house builder that is part of the less cuddly national construction outfit Galliford Try – has started work building houses on a few acres of former grazing land in this corner of the shire.

The problem is that the site is difficult to access and will mean heavy plant, lorries, vans and assorted other traffic passing through a once tranquil part of the village.

Keep an eye out to see how things develop and watch rural housing development as it unfolds.

Summer’s gone but it’s Beer Fest time!


Summer’s gone and all the leaves are fallen.

Well not quite, but the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Peterborough Festival is on and that for me signifies the end of summer – even if the autumnal equinox isn’t until 23rd September. It’s the last event leading up to the August bank holiday weekend.

It’s tinged with yearning for the summer past (what summer? I hear you cry) yes but it’s a great social occasion and a time to enjoy draft ale that you might not find in the local in a great atmosphere.

If you’re from the area you can guarantee that on any given evening there will be many familiar faces, friends and acquaintances that you don’t see from one year to the next propping up the bar or listening to the (usually) excellent live music. If you’re not, don’t worry because the locals are friendly and the ‘craic’ is great.

The Peterborough Beer Festival is now in its 33rd year and has come a long way from its humble origins in local pubs. From there it moved first to the Wirrina (roller skate arena and hall) and now to a marquee complex on the banks of the River Nene near the Key Theatre.

Something of an old beer fest hand now – I’ve been going almost every year since the fifth festival – I shall be there again looking out for the old faces, saying farewell to another summer and drinking to the coming Autumn.

Just need to pace myself. I’m not as young as I was and work beckons in the morning.

Family history research is fun.


Writing an entertaining and informative family history is all about research.

Researching my family history has taken me all over the world – via the internet. It’s amazing what you can find. I have found files in the US National Archive , the UK National Archive and the Australian National Archive. A wealth of material is available through searching these sites.

Web 2.0 also has much to offer the historian through blogs, YouTube and others.

There is also a wealth of online material accessible through websites like Ancestry.co.uk. All kinds of records are waiting to be discovered, including census records, births marriages and deaths, military service records and so on. All human life is there just waiting to be discovered.

In addition to these, I have also trawled museums and discovered information from the national press using online archives. Then there are books and diaries and other secondary sources to consider. All fascinating stuff.

Where will all this research lead, and what skeletons will be rattled as a result? Who knows? But it’s a lot of fun finding out.