nene local | helen dawson


Archive for: April 2020

A Covid Constitutional – A Walk from the Woolpack Inn

The second walk in our series of Thrapston walks to try during your daily exercise time.

The terrain of this walk is ‘challenging’ with some small hill scrambles/climbs.  It is NOT suitable for pushchairs and small children.nene local | second walk

The walk is 1.35 miles long.

My walk today begins at The Woolpack Inn, just over the bridge in Islip.

The Woolpack Inn

The Woolpack Inn


Cross over the road and past a five-bar gate taking you to the River Nene, where you can sit by the EA moorings in summer weather.  If you carry on walking in the same direction as when you crossed the road, you will see an archway in the hedgerow to walk through.

Looking back towards Nine Arches Bridge

Looking back towards Nine Arches Bridge


You will appear at the top of a bund, put there to protect local houses from flooding. In 2012 the water from the rains saw the River Nene burst its banks, filling these fishing lakes with excess water, and see the water reach the very top of the bunds.

Continuing on, with the fishing lakes on your left.  Follow the shorter grass ‘path’.  Ahead of you, you will see many cut trees and also some newly planted ones.  We’re not sure on what’s going on, whether the trees are being cut for wood or are diseased and need to come down. Great to see lots being planted though.

The large black/grey bridge ahead is the old railway bridge.  Another walk on another day will take you under the bridge and further round, but for today, don’t go through the bridge… the railway bridge

Look upwards and you will see a way to scramble up the side of the old railway and onto where the railway line would be – we are going to go over the black bridge.  The scramble up the bank is short but quite steep, you need to be sure on your feet and wear trainers or similar.

After you’ve scrambled to the top, turn left along the old railway track.

Along the old railway track

Along the old railway track

You are now walking quite high up and if you can see over the walls of the bridge, the views are lovely.  Look over the right-hand side and see the A14 snaking its way across the river and flood plains.

flood plains and A14

Continue to walk along this path – but what goes up must come down…. Another scramble back down and onto Midland Road.  You are now opposite The Sidings Estate entrance.

The Sidings

The Sidings

Turn left and walk down Midland Road until you get to the roundabout with The Plaza Centre on it, take the first exit, walking past The Bridge Hotel, over Nine Arches Bridge and back to the Woolpack.

A fairly short walk but with some exciting scrambling for older kids.

nene local walks

We hope you enjoyed the walk and have maybe seen parts of Thrapston you are unfamiliar with?  Pop a note in the comments below and tell us if you enjoyed it and if you saw any wildlife along the way.  Post your walk photos to Welcome to Thrapston too!

Our first walk can be found here – A Covid Constitutional – An April Walk to the Sailing Club

Soothing You Back to Sleep

What is your sleep pattern like during this time?  Many people are anxious and unable to sleep for the whole night.  Your brain is stressed and on high alert for danger, keeping you awake.

tranquility time retreats

Why not settle down for the evening with the soothing voice of Susan Royle?

Her meditations will allow your brain to switch off and begin the relaxation process.  What’s more, the moreoften you use your meditation the more benefit you will get.  Take a look at her web page – Soothing You Back to Sleep and start to the benefits…

You can have a 5 minute, 10 minute or 15 minute meditation – they are charged at £1 per minute, but once downloaded they are yours to use each night.

You can also book one of Susan’s Online Retreats too – read about the experience here – Tranquility Time Retreats

The next online retreat is May 17th and you can book here Zen Time Online


tranquility time retreats

What is Exercising with Fatigue?

We often associate exercise with boot camp and gyms however, if you are suffering with health condition that seems like the worst scenario you could find yourself in. Even though there are staff to help in gyms they often are not trained or have experienced the medical condition and therefore have limited empathy as to what the person is going through. The one symptom that we have come across often is fatigue and lack of energy levels. Kamaljit Saggu Nene Local

This can be associated with many health conditions such as fibryomygia, EDS (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome), ME and recovering from cancer. The conditions are endless. So how do we manage these symptoms with exercise?

• The first point that needs to be considered is to listen to your body. Start slow and build gradually. Even if it is a few minutes at a time, small steps at a time.

• Don’t overdo the exercise. This a common misconception that the harder and longer I work the better it will be. Overdoing it with fatigue has far more knock on effect in your daily life than someone without the symptoms.

• Allow plenty of breaks during exercise to allow your body to recover between each exercise. Recovery is important so you can carry out the exercise to your full potential once your muscles have rested, thus exercising more effectively. This is another issue we come across as clients just want to get through the exercise quickly and not listen to what their body is saying.

• Your daily activities always come first such as washing and dressing. The reason being, imagine you have only one glass of energy to use all day. You don’t want to use the whole glass in one activity such as exercise and have nothing left for the rest of your day. If you have any energy left, then exercise.

• Don’t give up on exercise. As with anyone, the more you train your body, the more it will adjust and you can get a new baseline on your exercise level. A positive mindset and patience is needed here – you will get there.

Kamaljit Saggu

Kamaljit Saggu

A little bit about 1st Step Rehab Fitness and Support

1st Step Rehab Fitness and Support was founded two years ago to help people with long term health conditions through the power of exercise. Having worked in the NHS for 10 years prior to this as a rehabilitation assistant in MK A&E Kamaljit Saggu saw first had how each condition could be improved by movement and exercise in the correct way. If you found this article useful and would like to know more please contact 1st Step Rehab Fitness and Support on 07846597460 or check out the website on for more information. 1st Step Rehab Fitness and Support are currently running our service fully online for low impact and chair based exercise class and 121 training.

Why Now Might be the Best Time to Career Transition

How life has changed globally over the last 2 months. The speed of change and adaptation has been startling, yet we are finding that we are living our lives differently; even observing that ways of working are unlikely to revert to how they used to be. It’s a time for reflection, evaluation and reinvention. So why not contemplate a career change?

nene local | career change

Julie Brown – Career transition and life coach at Se Melius

Maybe you have been made redundant or started working from home and in doing so have realised that the work doesn’t satisfy you.  Maybe you’ve been furloughed and are fearful that you might lose your job or are finishing education and looking for your first job opportunity or maybe you’ve been unhappy in your job for some time but feel stuck.

Employee engagement is at an all-time low so now is the time to grasp the nettle and take positive action. Here are my 4 top tips to make the contemplation of transition a reality.

Firstly, get in touch with your core values. So, what are core values? For me it’s integrity, honesty, learning, recognition, friendships, respect, freedom etc. When you are in a career that matches your core values you will find clarity, purpose, meaning and fulfilment. If your core values are not currently being met, it’s a sure sign that things need to change.

Secondly, think about your purpose. What is going to fulfil you? Consider the job sector you want to work in and research companies. What is their culture, ethos and work ethic? Do you want to set up on your own? Either way consider your skills, talents, attributes, knowledge that you can bring to the party. If you find a good match for your skills and core values, you are one step closer to finding your dream career.

Take action, do your research, and make connections.  Start making connections and networking to find out what skills and knowledge are required for jobs within that sector. Set yourself a goal to close the learning gap and broaden your network.  If you can, do some voluntary work within your chosen sector. It’s a low risk opportunity to dip your toe in the water and try it out before committing.nene local | career change

Lastly, stay positive. We all have setbacks, hurdles, challenges, especially when we are pushing the envelope of our comfort zone. Stick with it and if you need to, break down your actions into smaller chunks that feel more manageable. Tick them off as you complete them which will give you a morale boost.

Julie leaves you with one of her favourite quotes “There are 2 mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way and not starting” Buddha

To find out more or to get the free fact sheet email or visit the website at Alternatively book a 30 minute free discovery session.  Take that first small step.

Article from  Julie Brown – Career transition and life coach at Se Melius

When Life Throws You Lemons, make Lemonade – What Will You Create?

When life throws you lemons, make lemonade (or a nonfiction book perhaps?)

Do you have some extra time on your hands right now thanks to the coronavirus pandemic?

Has it been your dream to write your story to share with the world? Do you have a precious fund of knowledge that readers will find invaluable? If you’ve been through some difficult times, will a book about your experiences help others in the same circumstances?

So get planning – and writing!

Whereas becoming a published nonfiction author was difficult even until the end of the 20th century, now it’s easy due to the increased number of different publishing options, not to mention an increase in delivery options – print, eBook, audiobook, etc.

Don’t forget, though, that whatever you want your book to achieve, it has to be good. Your book represents you and your professionalism / reputation. A badly written, badly produced book will convey a lot of negative messages and will drain away whatever credibility it otherwise could have given you.

nene local write a book

Suze speaking at an event in November 2020

That’s the bad news. The good news is that to write and publish your book does not have to be difficult or expensive. Provided that you can talk coherently, you can write a book – with help, perhaps, but you can do it. And the best news is that these days the help you may need is much more available – and affordable – than ever before.

The key benefits for you, from a ‘published book’

“Having a book published” and being an author still holds a certain kudos and perhaps in Pavlov-dog fashion, people automatically associate someone who writes a book about something, with that someone being an expert on the subject.

In the USA, one prolific business speaker describes his books – which he self-publishes – as “$30 business cards.” That’s the folklore about the author of a book being an expert. If you work as a public speaker (even part-time) or as a coach, trainer, lecturer, motivator, instructor, actor, comedian, musician, or in fact whatever occupation that gives you access to captive audiences – a book is a useful product.

Useful collateral for your business or other activity

After your performance you can sign copies of your book for members of your audience and you’ll sell a good few copies. You can incorporate a “free” copy of your book for each delegate into the package for organisations booking your presentation or training course, thereby adding quite a lot of perceived value.

And all that’s before you look at sales of your book in the digital retail outlets, led in that field by Amazon – where most nonfiction is sold nowadays anyway.

Do you fancy writing a nonfiction book and getting it published? Think about it: it’s not as hard, or as costly, as you think. And this downtime for many people is just the right moment to make a start.

nene local write a book


Adapted from Suzan St Maur’s new title, “How To Write A Brilliant Nonfiction Book,” to be published later in 2020 by

Suzan St Maur worked for many years as a copywriter and content marketer. Also she has written and had published 36 nonfiction, humour and horror (fiction!) books. Two years ago she decided to combine both skillsets and today offers probably most comprehensive author coaching, publishing advice and book marketing service in southern England.

Although she lives near Milton Keynes, Suzan works and socialises a lot in Northamptonshire and even more so now because her son works for DHL as their regional sales manager based at Brackmills.
When not writing, editing or coaching Suzan leads a local cancer charity and contributes to a number of other charities in the region. She also loves horses and though no longer riding due to ill health, helps to judge dressage competitions around Northants, Beds, Bucks and Cambs.
For more information please check out
Email –

Phone – 07767 354 090


A Covid Constitutional – An April Walk to the Sailing Club

As I was on my once-daily allowed dog walk last week, it occurred to me that Thrapston has many new residents now living in the newly built houses and that they may not know about our beautiful walks on offer in our area.  More important now than ever.

I’m going to compose a series of walks around the area for you to try.  This is the first. I’ll give a map, directions and points of interest along the way to look out for.  Please follow all the present Covid 19 rules that are in place regarding social distancing and driving, and most of all stay my walk

The terrain of this walk is ‘easy’ and suitable for pushchairs and small children.

The walk is 1.15 miles long.

My walk today begins at The Bridge Hotel, whilst we are in lockdown the hotel is happy for you to use their carpark to leave your car if you have driven (a short distance to get to the walk start).  Please walk to the start point if you can.the bridge hotel thrapston

From The Bridge Hotel walk away from the town and towards the River Nene.  As you go past the end of the hotel, if you look over the bridge on your right, you will see a very overgrown tributary to the river.  Today I saw an Egret but you could spot a Kingfisher or maybe a Heron.

the bridge hotel thrapston

Can you spot the Egret too?

Carry on past Scotts of Thrapston, celebrating their centenary year.  100 years being a large employer in Thrapston.  I love to gaze at the summer houses and wish I had room for one.scotts of thrapston

Continue past Nine Arches Way and just before Nine Arches Bridge you will see a footpath on your right that you need to walk down.nine arches way

The bridge over the Nene is mentioned in 1224, when Bishop Hugh of Welles granted an indulgence to travellers contributing to its repair and in 1313 Bishop Dalderby granted an indulgence for the fabric of the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr next the Bridge of Thrapston.  In the later 14th and early 15th centuries, the bailiffs and men of Thrapston obtained several grants of pontage for the repair of the bridge. Leland about 1543 mentions a stone bridge with eight arches, but in a brief for its repair of 1664 it is said to have twenty-four arches.  The arrival of the railways in the 1840s led to an embankment being cut into this floodplain crossing. The bridge was then reduced to its present day “nine arches”.  Courtesy of

As you continue round on the path you will have the River Nene on your left and Nine Arches Estate on your right.  Beautiful Willow Trees line the banks of the river and you may see boaters enjoying the river (when not on lockdown, the river is currently closed to all traffic).

As the path turns to the right it goes past the weir, today there was a Heron wading around in its frothy waters trying to catch his lunch.  I have often spotted a Kingfisher along the quieter stretch as you continue the path.  There is a useful dog poop bin here if needed.

The heron on the weir

The heron on the weir


As you come to the end of this path you can see the Nine Arches Estate, but you will need to go left.  This path will eventually open out by the sailing lake.  You will have Islip Lock on the River Nene on your left and the sailing lake on your right.

This low-lying grassed area will regularly flood during the winter joining the river and the lake together.  It’s meant to happen as part of flood control, to help protect dwellings when the weather is bad.  It’s quite a sight though, I would recommend a winter walk to here in your wellies.  In a normal summer this is an excellent picnic area where the kids can have a run around or a paddle.river nene | nene local Magazine

The Middle Nene Sailing Club has been active since 1948 and is a well-established, popular sailing venue for dinghy and keelboat racing. Main racing days are Sunday and Thursday evenings from March to December. Saturday sailing is from June to August. Details can be found in the racing calendar on the MNSC website. river nene | nene local Magazine


Obviously, the sailing club is currently closed but once lockdown is lifted then do check out their website and open days.

river nene | nene local Magazine

You need now to turn right towards the bridge over the tributary and towards the sailing club car entrance.  Going across the bridge you will come to a carpark, which is free to use.



There is a Skatepark and BMX Park on your right, currently closed for now.  Walking back towards the town centre now, with the cricket club on your right and MUGA (Multi Use Games Arena) – all currently closed off due to the virus but worth noting to come back to at some point.

Turn right down Chancery Lane, walking past some of the oldest houses in Thrapston.  Turn right onto the High Street, can you spot the mosaic?   It was a year in the making and planning and still looks fabulous now, have a read here of all work that went into it.chancery lane





You’ll now go past Thrapston Fire Station and Police Station and the Plaza Centre, where later in the year we hope once again to be able to visit craft fayres, quizzes, dances, amateur dramatics and more.

Finding your way back to the Bridge Hotel.   We hope you enjoyed the walk and have maybe seen parts of Thrapston you are unfamiliar with?  Pop a note in the comments below and tell us if you enjoyed it and if you saw any wildlife along the way.  Post your walk photos to Welcome to Thrapston too!


Look out for the next Nene Local walk soon…




Current Government Guidelines on Leaving your House

Current government guidelines on leaving your house – true at time of going to press 24/4/20

You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:CORONA VIRUS COVID 19

  • Shopping for necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

Even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your own household.

As current guidance stands (24/4/20) it is our interpretation that you can now drive a short distance to begin your walk.  If you do not have to drive, please don’t.  The reason for this is many fold – more driving means you will need to visit the fuel station more often, driving means more risk of accidents which may put pressure on the NHS or land you in A&E.

That said, please enjoy your walks as set out on Nene Local Magazine

Innovative New Solar Farm Proposed for Disused Landfill Site in Stanground

At the forefront of renewable energy investment, Cambridgeshire County Council is seeking permission to build a 2.7 MW solar farm and battery energy storage system in Stanground. The site is situated between the A1139 Fletton Parkway, Stanham Way and the A605 in the south of Peterborough.


Cambridgeshire County Council’s vision is to deliver net zero carbon emissions for the region by 2050. As part of this, there is the opportunity to look at using some of its assets to produce and store electricity, in order to support the Government’s decarbonisation goals, whilst simultaneously generating revenues.


The proposed location is an old landfill site that was formally closed in 1992. It is Cambridgeshire County Council-owned land, and the development work would be of no cost to Peterborough City Council or its residents. Sales of electricity and provision of services to the grid would generate revenue for the continued delivery and development of frontline services.


This pioneering use of the site, turning it into an active energy generation centre, is the first of its kind in the East of England and has the potential to be replicated on other similar sites across the region.


The Stanground site would generate significant amounts of renewable electricity – enough to meet the demand of over 700 houses. Electricity would be used to supply energy into the electricity grid or to large local businesses, and to charge a battery energy storage system on site. The battery would provide electricity storage capacity supporting a more resilient network by providing grid stability and energy balancing services.


“It is estimated that the solar farm would save around 6,500 tonnes of carbon over its lifetime,” explains Councillor Josh Schumann. “Utilising an old landfill site in this way is really quite innovative and has the potential to be replicated elsewhere, creating a source of green and clean energy for the future.”


From April to June, Cambridgeshire County Council is planning a social media campaign, survey and series of online events, working with project partner PECT. The aim is to offer opportunities for local residents and businesses to learn more about the project and to feedback on proposals for the 2.7 MW solar farm and battery energy storage system ahead of a full planning application being submitted.


Members of the public can join virtual Zoom and Facebook Live events to hear more about the Stanground Closed Landfill Solar Farm scheme on:



For further details, please email or visit, where there is also a survey for local residents to feedback with their thoughts about the project.


Local Resident Produces over a Thousand Face Shields for NHS

Local resident has produced over a thousand face shields for NHS organisations across two counties


James Anderson Face Shields 2

James Anderson – Face Shields

James Anderson, a cartographer from Oundle, has produced over 1,430 face shields for NHS and care providers in Northamptonshire and Peterborough.


James was inspired after regarding an article that said that the NHS was running out of PPE. “I found a file online of a 3D printable face shield and got in touch with Peterborough City Hospital and asked if they needed any PPE, and then gave her three prototypes for the hospital to choose from.


James said: “As soon as they picked a model I began printing and setup an online funding page to help raise money for materials and additional printers. The page was fully funded in three hours, and ended up reaching over four times what I set out to achieve.


“The funding has gone towards additional printers and supplies, and to date I have donated 1,432 face shields to the NHS.”

James Anderson Face Shields 2

James has received fantastic support for his campaign from local businesses including a supplier of transparent binding covers which has donated 3,000 PVC sheets for the shields. Oundle School has loaned James a printer, a drum sander, and an electric guillotine. Several Oundle residents have also loaned working tables, and around twenty people in the local area helped to cut/tie elastic for the straps.


James is continuing to produce face shields with which so far have gone to Peterborough City Hospital, Oundle Surgery, Corby Urgent Care, Burton Latimer Surgery, Highgate Hospital in London, NHS District Nurses, several care homes in the area, and local pharmacies.


James added: “I will continue printing as long as home-printed PPE is needed. Once commercial supply chains catch up and home-printed PPE is no longer necessary I will return all equipment loaned to me and donate the printers I bought to local schools, along with any extra supplies I have.”


Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Steven North, said: “The community across the district is coming together to support the response to Covid-19 but James is going above and beyond to produce vital resources for our NHS and carers. The work James is doing is truly commendable and on behalf of all residents I would like to thank him for this truly outstanding act of kindness.”


For more information about James’ campaign and to donate visit:

Fine & Country Foundation – Helping Fight Homelessness

In partnership with our Fine & Country Foundation, I’m collecting food, toiletries and hygiene products as donations to bring to our local food banks. I’m driving around the county once a week to pick up all your lovely donations (while abiding to social distancing rules) and I will continue to do so as long as there are donations.

Marie Fritz - Luxury Property Expert at Fine & Country

Marie Fritz – Luxury Property Expert at Fine & Country

If you have anything at all to donate, please contact me and I can arrange to pick it up. Let’s help the less fortunate in this time of crisis.


What we’re also doing through our Foundation is donating money to our local homeless shelter, the Northampton Hope Centre. Upon every completion throughout the year we donate £100 and for this week only, we’re donating £50 for every virtual valuation that takes place. If you’re thinking of selling your home after the lockdown has been lifted (or you need to start marketing asap as you need to move quickly) and you would like to know what your property is worth in the current market, please contact me and I will happily arrange a virtual valuation with yourself. This valuation is done over FaceTime or Skype and you’ll just walk me around your home and we can do the market appraisal that way.


As a quick market update, these unprecedented times have definitely affected everyone in all business areas, but we’re very lucky that at Fine & Country, we’ve always been able to work remotely. This means that even during this lockdown, we’ve been able to continue serving our clients and moving the sales process along. The market is still very positive for us as we have still been taking on new properties as well as having sales agreed by virtual viewings these past few weeks.

Marie Fritz - Luxury Property Expert at Fine & Country
Many people still need to move and the enquiries to view properties has stayed relatively high. Although the process might be taking a bit longer than usual, the market is still in fact moving. We’ve actually just had 2 properties exchange contracts a few days ago with both of them due to complete next week.


At Fine & Country, we specialise in the marketing and sale of premium, upper quartile properties. I’m based in the Northampton office and cover most of Northamptonshire but we do have over 275 offices in the UK and over 350 worldwide if you would like our help elsewhere.


If you would like to donate any food or toiletries, arrange a virtual valuation of your property or would like any information or advice on selling your luxury property, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will be more than happy to assist where I can.



To find out more,


Marie Fritz – Luxury Property Expert at Fine & Country

Mobile: +44 (0)7393997427


Facebook & Instagram: @fineandcountry.marie