Getting to Know the Fens

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Do you know where you live? I mean really know?

I went to a conference recently, run by the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP). A day of excellent academic speakers talking us through the archaeology of the last few thousand years of the Fens!

The OWLP blog is full of information to help you learn more about where you live, do follow it and try to join in some of their events. See ousewashes.org.uk for details (more on my website).

I went along as I’m interested in local history and I’ve been awarded funding from them to investigate what has been made in the Fens – what was needed to live and survive here – whether it be useful, beautiful, or both.

I’m expecting to find information about woad dying, lacemaking, nets, boats, eel-catching baskets and plenty more. I’ll put together an exhibition and will be running workshops to have a go at some of the crafts.

If you have anything you’d like to contribute, please get in touch via email, or write to me at The Institute, Hill Street, Wisbech PE13 1BA.

Following on from the conference, where I met Mike Petty, (and Francis Pryor, but that’s another story!) I went along to a talk on Fenland Skating at Mike’s Fenland History on Fridays. They’re in Ely and are excellent talks from Mike and others on various aspects of local history.

This is a great time to think about and plan new things to see, do and learn. See my website for more on Mike’s talks, the Ouse Washes and my Made in the Fens project.

Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House has a programme of classes throughout the week, as does the Rosmini Centre, and I’m sure a community centre near you will have plenty for you to try. Use the library to find out more.

In the New Year at the Institute you and your children could join my sewing classes, or a social making group (contact me for more on both and to book). You could also start a new fitness plan dancing along with one of the classes run by Nine Lives upstairs. If you’re a “handyman” or “handywoman” you may want to help restore the building itself – just get in touch.