Opinion: Griggs of Soham

Cherry Tree wall

Cherry Tree wall - Credit: Archant


According to a fascinating document given to me by Mr Joe Kent and written by the late Janet Murfet the original Cherry Tree on Fordham Road burnt down in 1947. Obviously Greene King’s focus in those days was to build pubs that looked at home in the middle of an estate, the Palomino in Newmarket for instance or Ely’s long lost Red White and Blue. The only problem here was that the Cherry Tree’s estate was about a half a mile up the road and it was surrounded by fields. Not to worry, it soon carved out a niche for itself with some outstanding darts players and landlord “Podge” Lomas’ love of brass band music which extended so far as to give a home to the then unloved town bandstand. Looking at the pub recently it occurred to me that in the rebuilding the pub must have been the first part of the work as the alignment of the stones on the top of the car park wall could only have been done by someone who had spent his lunch hour leaning on a bar and he could only do that if he had built it first!


Jake the spaniel was quite concerned when he heard that the organising committee of the Pumpkin Fair is in danger of folding if it doesn’t get some new blood soon. Jake would hate to see a gap in the calendar at the end of September when the Fair should be as it is the last chance for the people of the town to get out in the sun and renew old friendships and make new ones. It is also one of the few occasions during the year when a well behaved dog is allowed on the rec to get his nose around some brand new smells. If he was allowed Jake would contact the chair of the committee Mark Williams but he’s afraid that they aren’t looking for any dogs to join them but he wonders if some of our newcomers might like to help.


While we’re on the subject of the new townspeople and efforts to integrate them into the life of Soham it is relevant to ask if they have ever thought of joining the town’s Rotary club. Nowadays Rotary isn’t the stuffy, male, Captain Mainwaring organisation it once appeared to be but is open to all ages and both sexes, indeed Soham’s president for the 2017/2018 year will be the club’s first female holder of the office. So if making new friends over a weekly meal and raising money for many varied and very worthwhile charities both at home and abroad sounds like something you would enjoy have a word with Iain Sutherland, the chair of the relevant committee, on 01353 624352.


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So Halloween is over and done with and so is bonfire fortnight, which means that there is now more room in our supermarkets to display other stuff. Presumably the Christmas tat will be overflowing in all directions while overpriced ovoid chocolates will sneak into view in the not too distant future. Surely an Easter egg bought now will have gone white with age by the time it is legitimately consumed at the end of March. You might think that this is a bit fanciful but I’m told that it is now possible to get hold of hot cross buns all year round if you look in the right places.

And while we’re in the supermarket, we have to pay an old shilling for a bag advertising said supermarket, Whatever happened to the stock of old cardboard boxes that tended to lurk under the tills? These were pretty handy and meant that you didn’t have to struggle with thirty-five or forty pence worth of palm-creasing carrier bags.


Saturday sees the annual St Andrews School Christmas Fair from noon to 4pm. All the usual stalls and attractions will feature along with a bit of an innovation, this year you can go ice skating. Of course I don’t expect it to be real ice, but probably the plastic substitute that performs well enough to sit many an ambitious participant on his or her rear end. If you feel the need to have a go it will cost you £7 and you need to book with the school. Good Luck!


On Monday (23) the Soham branch of the Royal British Legion are organising something far less energetic and safer all round. It is time for their annual bingo and draw at the football club from 7pm onwards. Having said that it will less energetic I understand that waiting for the last couple of numbers of a bingo card can make your heart race a bit.


You’ve got to admire the endurance of our town councillors, they way they can suffer for us and put up with things that would cause lesser mortals real discomfort. In a recent “Standard” there was a small headline saying “Fountain Land Loos on Monthly Meeting Agenda.” Now, I don’t know about you, but daily can be a bit of a struggle so monthly would be quite out of the question!