This week

PUBLISHED: 12:54 25 May 2006 | UPDATED: 13:30 04 May 2010

A WONDERFUL THING WHENEVER possible I like to spend my money in Soham. If someone has braved the might of the supermarkets to try to keep some sort of competition alive in town I reckon they deserve a bit of support. Competition is a wonderful thing. Con

A WONDERFUL THING

WHENEVER possible I like to spend my money in Soham. If someone has braved the might of the supermarkets to try to keep some sort of competition alive in town I reckon they deserve a bit of support. Competition is a wonderful thing.

Consequently, if I need a splash of diesel I usually fill up at Downfields. The other evening, seeing the large sign outside announcing that the price was still fractionally under a pound a litre I pulled in. Even at today's inflated prices it wouldn't be too bad if I used the Ely Standard's 3p a litre-off coupon. Unfortunately, the pump with the 99p price tag wasn't working. The ones selling it for £1.07 were OK, though; funny that! When there was another retailer in town selling diesel there was an alternative. Competition was a wonderful thing.

HAZARDOUS LEARNING

ONCE there was just a path and a footbridge from Clay Street to what was then the Moat Fields. Then the village college was built and College Way was put in for access. More and more students attended the college, which meant more and more buses to get them there. Now College Way can be quite exciting twice a day when everyone seems to be coming and going at once. If the road is clear the drivers have a fighting chance of passing, but one car parked on the road can cause chaos, and often does.

The most worrying part of the route, though, is the sharp corner from the bridge to the college car park. Unless the bus has a clear road both ways the rear wheel has to mount the path. With the St Andrew's children coming out earlier than those at the college those heading for Clay Street or the Church alley could well be coming around the corner while the double-deckers are going the other way. Thanks to the skill of the drivers and the common sense of the children and their parents there hasn't been a tragedy yet, but it would be nice if the potential hazard could be got rid of completely.

One of the other routes available to pedestrians leaving the site is Gidney Lane. A friend of mine whose schoolboy days are long gone was having a bit of a grumble about it the other day. As his legs are not quite a nimble as they once were he gets around on an electric buggy these days. He has found that, if one car being parked at the top of Gidney Lane near the bollards, he has to travel to Red Lion Square, along Clay Street and down College Way to get to where he wanted to be. Perhaps if the car was parked a yard or two further back my friend could save some electricity.

THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE

I'M going into "old bloke" mode again for a moment, bear with me. When I was in my teens we could see a film in Soham on a Saturday evening or hop on a bus to Newmarket or Ely to see one a bit more up-to-date. We could even get a free bus from Ely to Ramsey to see people like the Who or the great Geno Washington. Now the kids can spend their Saturdays at the disco (sorry, club) at Newmarket and pay a fortune for the taxi home or stay in Soham.

This has obviously given rise to a real thirst for knowledge among the young of the town. It must have done because on Saturday evening a reasonably sized group was gathered in the porch of the library. They obviously can't get enough education during the week and are keen to access books at other times. It couldn't have been because we were in the middle of a short but enthusiastic shower at the time, could it?

The fact that there is nothing much for them to do in Soham is no excuse for some of the daft antics that occur, but it could be a reason.

KEEP BUSY

THERE'S no need to hang about closed libraries for amusement this week. At the moment we are in the middle of Soham's French week to celebrate the twinning with Andézieux-Bouthéon on Monday. Tonight we are being encouraged to eat out, with some of the restaurants providing special menus for the occasion. Tomorrow evening at 7pm in the Pavilion, Mme Martine Crawford (one of the Andréziéux-Bouthéon Crawfords, not the family from Fordham) will give an illustrated talk on her home town. There will also be a food and wine fair there staged by Budgens.

Monday sees the revitalised Soham carnival once again. Last I heard there should be 15 floats, getting back to the old days at last. The current committee seems to be able to order good weather, which is half the battle.

If you fancy something a bit quieter, the complete bible reading is going on in the church until about Saturday. I'm sure they will be grateful for any help you can offer.

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