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living in the fens


By janne


I loved living in Reigate, busy town and I found it very friendly, but I know others who didn’t. I worked in food and drink public relations and event management, so was always good for a ‘hot tip’ on where to eat or wines … then.

But east Anglia is great and the people really are much more down to earth and friendlier. I’ve found one gets a real ‘mix’ of friends and acwuantances as opposed to Reigate where people in the same social area – money/home/work seemed to gravitate together. I find this much better as I’m exposed to a huge range of opinions and people from all walks of life and of all ages. Much more rounded.

As a New Zealander class is not an issue I’d come across before. We’re a pretty egalitarian society and make friends with people we like rather than who we thinks fits our social status!

The winds are pretty horrid here but at least we get a real change of seasons unlike Cairo, where I lived for a year. It rained once and that brought down all the sand and dirt from the trees and everyone and every car looked the same – dull and covered in mud. As I lived five floors up the only plants I had were on our balcony (big though) and I was garden starved until I came to the UK. In New Zealand we had an acre of gardens, imagine the garden withdrawl symptoms I had in Cairo. But it’s a funny place for plants – they grow three crops of courgettes etc each year along the Nile (not sure I liked the idea of the Nile watering my veg) and the produce is very good considering the way plants are treated and sprayed with chemicals.

To my vast amusement my American friends washed all their veg in a dilute mixture of bleach. What’s that all about then?

More blog posts by janne

Previous post: Fen weather

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Well you certainly have been around and experienced extremes, I had to smile at the bit about the Americans. I've never been to Reigate or Cairo but I'd love to spend some time in New Zealand. A favourite well known gardener of mine Bob Flowerdew lives in East Anglia and often mentions the wind but it's a good gardening county.

2 Oct, 2010


LOL - can just imagine the mud after the rain - did things grow everywhere or did it dry out too fast? and ditto your comment on class - is an odd concept isn't it ... do you have a garden now?

3 Oct, 2010


Everything grew including the weeds! No ... especially the weeds.

Our garden is around quarter of an acre and I landscaped it although I had two chaps come and do the hard landscaping. We left them at it whilst we went to Florence for a few days and we returned at 2am in the morning. As I looked outside through our upstairs bedroom window I saw a HUGE hole in our fence and nearly died of shock!

Seems they brought in a small digger and one of them 'accidently' backed it through the fence. I did wonder what I'd employed... But they made a lovely job (and repaired the fence).

At the time we also had builders, plumbers, electricians and kitchen people in the house and I had nowhere to escape to - just an enormous mud pile outside the back door and assorted tools and timber outside the front door. The cats, dog and I lived in noise and mess for six months. As my husband travels a great deal for work he missed the worst of it and I was highly amused (and a little annoyed) when he told friends later that 'it wasn't too bad really, not too noisy or messy at all and seldom inconvenient'. Could be he was only home when the builders were gone???

3 Oct, 2010


Did anyone see 'Countryfile' last night, some beautiful film of the 'Fens'

4 Oct, 2010


I watched it and really enjoyed it. I've seen Peter the eelman cutting down trees around Burwell and we often walk around the back of Wicken Fen which is very close to us.

Loved the thatching and the paddle boarding.

5 Oct, 2010


You going to give the paddle boarding a try Janne ?
I watched it too and thought it looked it looked fabulous.

5 Oct, 2010


I'd love to try paddle boarding, but in the summer! And I'm not keen on eels. As a child I lived on a farm in New Zealand and my brother and I used to swim in the river running through our property. Much as I loved swimming, I was always scared of the enormous eels that were always around, and it wasn't helped by my brother telling me that they grew that big because they ate live people!!!!

6 Oct, 2010


Ooooer !

6 Oct, 2010

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