COMMENT: Griggs of Soham by Geoff Griggs
PUBLISHED: 18:58 16 February 2016
So that's Valentine's Day over and done with for another year.
The roses will be wilting by now and the florists will be jetting off to their villas in the sun for a month away from the secateurs, probably sharing the odd bottle of Champagne with representatives of the greetings card industry while they await the arrival of the post-Easter confectioners.
Cynicism apart, it’s nice to have something to brighten up the long, dull drag of February. In a couple of weeks we can kid ourselves that spring is underway, until mother nature sends a googlie down wicket in the form of a shoot-cutting homicidal frost.
There was an indication of how attitudes have changed over the years. Mrs of Soham and I were enjoying lunch in one of Ely’s Thai eateries and noticed a menu for the establishment’s Valentine Special dinner and very good it looked to.
The only thing that made it remarkable was the stipulation that the romantic banquet was only available for parties comprising a minimum of two people.
Jake the spaniel is the first to admit that it takes all sorts to make a world and the variety is what makes it what it is. He’s identified two areas where people differ.
His owner is quite euphoric at the moment as he’s just obtained tickets to go and see the band Coldplay in concert whereas his uncle Geoff wouldn’t go out of the back door if they were playing on his lawn.
He, on the other hand, is very pleased at the moment with a new CD he’s just bought. A compilation of the songs of the great Norfolk sage, Sid Kipper, including his epic ditty “Moo Cow Poo.” (Something else you don’t really want on your lawn!)
Unfortunately Sid is no longer able to perform, but the CD is a fitting memento.
The other thing that Jake reckons differentiates people is those who understand what this gravitational wave phenomenon that the scientists are getting all excited about.
The rest of us might as well be hearing the news in ancient Greek for all the sense it makes. One thing Jake is fairly sure of is that the appreciation of biscuits is almost universal.
As mentioned earlier we had a big day out recently. We flexed our bus passes and journeyed all the way to Ely. The little city appears to be getting on pretty well, there are lots of shops providing all you could reasonably need and lots of things you probably don’t.
One thing that did strike me was the number of barber’s shops. There appears to be one in St Mary’s Street that I hadn’t noticed before as well as a Turkish establishment on Market Street.
If these people are all making a living it makes you wonder if there is something in the water in Ely that makes men’s hair grow more luxuriantly than elsewhere.
Whatever the exotic treatments on offer I shall carry on visiting Bill the Barber. Not only do you get a proper haircut, you get the low-down on Soham Town Rangers too.
While we are considering our neighbour to the north I noticed a news item stating that ECDC are looking to close half of the public toilets in the city.
While not wishing to be chauvinistic I did have a little wish that the half that they keep open could be the gents sides. Ladies appear to be made of sterner stuff!
The letter in last week’s ‘Standard’ from Elizabeth Parker is well worth another read. Ms Parker is appealing for local people to host children from Belarus for a month starting in July.
These youngsters live in the path of the radioactive pollution generated by the Chernobyl disaster in the 1980s.
But surely none of these kids were about then. No, but the pollution is still in the land and coming out in the vegetables that is all that are available to them.
A month in England eating fresh, wholesome food (and can they eat!) Changes them so much that it is almost unbelievable.
No longer are they pale and pasty but rosy cheeked and energetic. A few years ago there was a ‘link’ or committee of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline in the Soham area that would bring parties over twice a year. So if you think you would like to help with this life-changing work call Regan Neaves on 01223 290956. Amazingly the fact that the children speak Russian and Belarusian and we speak English isn’t a problem. A smile is the same in any language.
So we’ve got a new business in Churchgate Street. Now, you might not have realised that we needed a second eastern European grocer, but apparently we did.
All we can do is wish the owners good luck, at least it’s not another Portuguese café, but we do wonder where the home grown entrepreneurs are.