GRIGGS’S TOWN: A sideways glance at Soham life with Geoff Griggs

CARELESS WHISPERS THERE are always whispers and whinges if you care to hear them. One doing the rounds over the last few months is that the village college isn t what it was. Well, that s true, it used to be open fields and a grammar school. Then a second


THERE are always whispers and whinges if you care to hear them. One doing the rounds over the last few months is that the village college isn't what it was. Well, that's true, it used to be open fields and a grammar school. Then a secondary school was built, then it went comprehensive by combining with the grammar and became one of the best schools in the county. Despite the whispered whinges, the statistics prove that it still is. According to the league tables that nobody likes or trusts but which everybody studies closely, Soham Village College is ranked 16th in the county which, once you take out all the private schools with their tiny classes and vast resources, is pretty good. This is based on the number of students gaining five or more GCSE passes at grade C and above.

As for the whisper that the college isn't as good as previously, I'm sorry, you're wrong. The table shows the percentage of candidates gaining five or more passes and over the past four years this has only varied by seven percentage points with last year being the second highest at 71%. So give the hard-working staff at our village college a bit of credit and, more importantly, get behind the kids that are putting in the sweat and application. I'm not saying that our young people are parts of the hearing organs of a pig, but if you want a silk purse Soham Village College is the place to go!


ONE whisper that I do agree with is that a lot of the stuff that they churn out on television these days is rubbish. The Griggs homestead doesn't subscribe to satellite and has so far resisted a digi-box for "only a few pounds" (and the extra £150 for a new aerial that they don't tell you about) so I'm only talking about the five 'real' channels. And let's face it, an awful lot of their output isn't exactly mind-stretching. The best entertainment in the home has always been a good book and you can get as many good books as you like from the library - for free! Throw in the computers and internet access available in Clay Street and you realise what an asset we have there.

Too good to be true? Possibly. The bean counters in grey suits at Shire Hall are moaning that the Government isn't giving them enough money again (not that they are wasting too much, you notice) and are looking at ways of giving us less for more Council Tax. One option is to close some more libraries. Haddenham and Bottisham have already gone and the locals are having to run their own. As Soham isn't in Cambridge there is always the possibility that we might be next so the message seems to be "use it or lose it." Mind you some more user-friendly opening hours might help.

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I WAS told the other day that in the latest round of the SNOBS rally championships some of them were charging up and down the High Street at "80 miles an hour". Gauging the speed of a passing idiot while standing on the path is a skill I have yet to master, but I take the point that some of them do exceed the legal 30mph in the evenings. We did think that the CCTV scheme was going to be the be-all and end-all of problems in the centre of town, but unfortunately that hasn't proved the case so is it time for a different camera?

Many road users have bees in their bonnets about speed cameras (or safety cameras or revenue cameras depending on your viewpoint) as they don't recognise different conditions or times of day. Thirty mph along Soham High Street at any time must be the very maximum safe speed, so an inflexible, automatic camera would appear to be the answer. Who knows, it may save the life of a SNOBS member or two one day.


WHILE flicking channels trying to find something to occupy both of my brain cells I stumbled across Celebrity Big Brother. It set me thinking about using it in Soham. There must be somebody in town with a spare shed that we could borrow for a few weeks and perhaps a camera or two. All we need now are some inmates. Has anyone any nominations for people who should be locked in a shed for a number of weeks? George Galloway has set a precedent for locking up politicians, which doesn't seem a bad idea. I'm not sure where we are going to find home-grown supermodels or washed up actresses but we have several aspiring pop stars who could probably do with a little time on their own.

It will be interesting to hear who you would like to put in the Big Brother shed. (Sorry, I'm not available; I don't like confined spaces!)