Great Shelford blogs


The deadline of midday November 4th 2019 is the date set for all opposition from local residents to be sent to Greater Cambridge Partnership in relation to the controversial new transport route set to be completed through Great Shelford by 2022.

For those of you that missed or were not aware of the presentation by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) on the 14th October at Stapleford Village Hall many will see this event as very worrying. The overall feeling was of a presentation that was telling residents of local villages what was happening and no longer that the route decided upon was either open to debate or still in the balance, however there is still time to be heard.

I must stress that these are personal views on what were ascertained from the representatives of GCP but what came across loud and clear is that they believe the village of Great Shelford is ambivalent about what will be taking place in the next three years with them saying that they have had very few objections from local residents. So if you do have strong views and you believe that perhaps their consultation documents have just passed you by then it would make sense to contact both your parish council immediately via and the Greater Cambridge Partnership

This proposed route will burden Great Shelford and Stapleford with 16 buses per hour, that is 1 bus every 4 minutes across the fields with stops and traffic lights across Hinton Way and Haverhill Road. Great Shelford already has roughly 22 minutes of every hour stopped by the railway line closure . The number of cars stopping and starting and the pollution caused from this for a route from Babraham Institute to Addenbrookes only will obviously be considerable. Can this £155 million pound scheme really justify the congestion and land destruction it will cause for the passengers it will hold? This route will also leave a considerable amount of presently farmed land unable to be used for farming so naturally land developers are apparently already looking into. This of course brings further traffic and over development into the villagers.

This proposed route destroying the countryside and causing traffic pollution and congestion was apparently the chosen route from the questionnaires sent out previously - rather than the A1307 Babraham Road – a much cheaper route, visual to commuters and one which would not have destroyed the countryside or flagged up future development.

Have your say this time!

There is one chance to stop this madness happening - but that means having your say by November 4th. These bus routes are an expensive folly costing the public purse £155m. It’s a massive waste of money. They will make a minimal difference to the journey times into Cambridge but will destroy the character and nature of Shelford and Stapleford forever.

Unless we take a stand now, these proposals will see our villages swallowed up by Cambridge, further pollution and development and we will go from being beautiful villages to Cambridge suburbs unless we say NO now.

Lisa Freeman – Great Shelford Resident

I am collecting a petition asking Boris Johnson to change the law regarding employee data theft.

Between August to October 2017 an employee of mine decided it would be a good idea to email themselves Quite Great Media contact lists of all different types to their private email they then resigned prior to me discovering they had done this act. They had, it transpires, set up a competing company also during the time they had been working for me ! Why she didn’t just subscribe immediately to one of the wonderful data sources I do not know.

Subsequently a few months later another staff member who it turns out is now a co- founder of that competing music pr enterprise also left. One month after that, another team member who said they were leaving to go ‘travelling’ - or some such vague but understandable reason - starts working with her friends at this competing enterprise. So as you can imagine it felt very much like some kind of conspiracy but that in itself is hard to prove .

I gained legal advice from an established major music industry legal firm , sent some letters relating to breach of contract etc but was told after many wasted months that without any clear financial impact or 100% proof of direct data usage that there was little that could be done ! Great advice given the amount I had spent on these legal professionals . I then contacted the police as the online data advice source #actionfraud told me this was a criminal act under ‘corporate employee fraud ‘.

I explained to the police the circumstances , showed them the clear email trail , signed a witness statement then waited , waited , emailed , waited , called etc with no response as to what is taking place at present ! When we first met around March 2019 , The very nice and clearly highly overworked officer kept asking me how much it had cost my company and what proof the data had been used . I showed them a clear example of how the data had been used and then explained that the financial cost was hard to gauge but outlined some figures . I then explained that the impact was also emotional , physical and for a time a definite mental health matter resulting in insomnia and anxiety attacks . Naturally this as a financial impact was hard to quantify .

I am still waiting to find out the next steps but it has made me realise that there are hundreds of small businesses who clearly suffer from this type of employee fraud and hence instead of what seems to be the onus on the employer to prove a financial impact and use of the data , the law needs to be much clearer and have the emphasis placed on proof of the data theft itself . Once this has been proven and especially if this action relates to them setting up a business , then there should be a sliding scale of fines and other even more impactful legal consequences relating to the company and the guilty directors etc ..

In my particular circumstances I have finally tried to use the data theft by the one employee, the potential conspiring within my company of the other employee and the seeming complicity of the third employee - who had seen the impact caused by the theft on her colleagues and still decided to go and work with the other two perpetrators - as a strength.

We have changed our website branding to show more our uniqueness and years of experiences - as opposed to the generic and wild claims made by the company set up by the former employees. Revitalised our business structure and due to good business tactics and wonderful, dynamic staff members gone from strength to strength.

Unfortunately , it does not change the mistrust , sadness and anxiety that the actions of these former employees has caused, hence why I am looking to simplify the law and make it very clear that even not withstanding employee contracts , the law will support the employer with an unambiguous deterrent to employees who feel it is their right to steal and utilise their employer’s data for their own financial gain. The proof of the theft itself should be proof enough to prosecute .

If a burglar breaks into your house and steals your items then stores them in a garage the fact they have stolen them is the only thing that matters and this should be the same for data theft . In my case the thief stole from my ‘house’ then left one or two members of the ‘gang’ in my house just for good measure , hence my desire to see things changed and simplified!

You can my petition here.

Pete Bassett

Quite Great Media

Great Shelford

Is the closure of Barclays Bank a tipping point for Great Shelford?

There was significant disquiet when Tesco’s came to the village. Although the reality is that Tesco’s is said to have increased overall the number of shoppers in Great Shelford.

The Parish Council is quite clearly concerned. They have called a public meeting on Feb 5 to try to see if the powers that be at Barclays will change their minds. They have also collecting signatures for a petition which, in this day and age, is unusually not online that I can see. Maybe Great Shelford villagers just want to stay living in the 20th century?

A statement from the Parish Council included this rather ominous sentence; “Without the (Barclays) branch being in Great Shelford, there is a danger of a domino effect, with shoppers not visiting the village and therefore further damaging other businesses.”

The reality is that the world is changing and it is difficult for us to defy the reality of the modern world. While it’s great to have a bank in the village for local businesses and more mature members of the community, most of us now bank online.

Great Shelford in 2019 is significantly different to the village in 2000 when I first moved here. Nowadays, there’s no cash machine, and I can’t get a paper delivered by a local shop since McColl’s closed over a year ago.

But I can get my lips filled at the dental surgery. And I will soon be able to visit the village’s first wine bar.

We might like change. But we have no option but to embrace it.

In the meantime there is one thing we can all do to encourage a vibrant local economy. How many of us think about shopping local first when we need a new electrical item or a lawyer? There are dozens of local businesses. And the business listings at Great Shelford Online is a great place to start.

David Martin

January 2019

What do you think - send your views and comments to

What is happening at the new Co-op store on the redeveloped old De Freville pub site? Although some residents of the attached flats have moved in, work on the shop part of the building seems to have ceased.

A resident told me he had not seen any builders on site for over a month! In the meantime part of the site on the Granhams Road corner is still boarded and fenced, and clearly much work still to be done, doorways are boarded up and pavements unsurfaced.

According to the 'Shelford Village News' planning application for the Co-op food store has still not been approved, with the Great Shelford Parish Council recommending refusal on grounds of problems with lorries unloading at rear of premises, and also questioning the installation of an ATM machine.

At a time when Shelford desperately needs more 'real' shops could this result in the loss of the Co-op store if this matter cannot be resolved soon.

Report and pics John Wakefield

Where is the worst pothole in Great Shelford?

Potholes have certainly seemed to get worse in the village over the last month or two. Have you seen that large one on the Cambridge Road?

I have met several drivers who think that their tyres may have been damaged.

And as a keen cyclist, there seems to be more and more holes every time you go out. I think our roads are as bad now as they have ever been.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could join forces to do something about it rather than relying on the psychic powers of the local council?

Now there is something we can all do. If you spot a pothole, you can report it yourself.

Simply click on ‘Report a highway problem (including pot holes)’

You then need to find the location of the problem pothole on the map by zooming in and clicking. Fill in the details requested and submit.

I’m up for being a “spotholer” to ensure our local roads get sorted - are you?

David Martin

February 2018

There can be few periods in Great Shelford's history when so many changes affecting so many people in the village have happened in such a short space of time.

In the last week alone, we've learned that our beloved Co-op is moving out of the heart of the village while Lloyds Bank has announced its closing its Great Shelford branch in February 2017.

Its almost emerged in the last 7 days that we will need a new home for our medical centre to ensure that it remains fit for purpose for the 9,000 of us who use the Shelford Medical Centre to stay healthy.

And then what does 2018 have in store? There are plans to make to improve the traffic situation in the village. But they seem well and truly stuck in the slow lane.

Then our school says it might be £50,000 short of delivering what it delivers now unless its funding formula changes. And soon.

There are also question marks over other shops in the centre of the village. While speculation continues over the future of McColls, (electrical work was carried out this week, and the current favourite option on the grapevine is a new restaurant), we hear that another of our beloved shops will struggle to survive through 2018.

And this is without touching on where new housing will go to ensure our village remains vibrant. At least there is good news on the horizon with the success of the Shelford Playscape campaign.

What we need now more than ever is a clear and confident vision for the village.

Work on a Neighbourhood Plan setting out the future of Great Shelford and Stapleford is currently underway. A draft plan will emerge at the end of next year.

I know how much work is going on behind the scenes. But now more than ever we need the villagers and councillors involved to be publicly demonstrating strong leadership and vision, and setting out what Great Shelford could look like over the next 10 years. Before I put pen to paper, I did look at the Neighbourhood Plan website to update myself. It looks like themes are emerging. But when will we see strategies, plans and action?

There was also an update in October.

But try as I might, I struggled to see a clear and confident vision for the village.

Now more than ever, as we enter 2018, we have to ask - Will our Neighbourhood Plan be strong enough to fix all of our issues?

David Martin

Editor, Great Shelford Online (and Little Shelford Parish Councillor)

What’s the big question on almost everyone’s lips in Great Shelford as autumn blows in?

Worries about the future of the library?

How our village school will be able to cope with the financial challenges it faces?

Or even what changes might the people of Great Shelford (and Stapleford) see as details of the Neighbourhood Plan start to emerge over the next few months.

Important as they may be, none of them have got near the top of the list inside the Great Shelford Online filter bubble in the last 10 days.

Whether its been emails, social media or simply face to face in Woollards Lane, the only question in town is: “What is happening at McColls?”

Now that property prices have stopped increasing quite so much, and Great Shelfordians pretend that they aren’t that interested in the latest break-ins (even though the click through stats would suggest otherwise), it would seem that the shopping question is our new version of Pointless.

A bookies was the hot favourite in August when McColls shut its doors for the final time. But that would need planning permission. And last time I looked, it was all quiet on the planning front.

A wine bar/ bistro? That seems to be the favoured suggestion from anyone in the village over 18 and under 75. It would probably get my vote too.

If the choice was down to a village vote, a DIY store would probably come a close third.

But there is no news. Publically at least.

The only certainty on the empty premises front is that the vacant building opposite the Co-op will be a not for profit café opening early in 2018. McColls is a mystery for the moment.

I owe some of my colleagues and contacts an apology. I have been teasing them about their intense interest in Shopping-gate. And I can’t help fill the vacuum, and be Deepthroat, because, on this occasion, my crystal ball is a bit misty.

I don’t like to see another empty shop in my backyard. However, I am cheered by the interest.

Three years ago, when this website started life, the nay-sayers suggested that there wasn’t enough community spirit and engagement in the village to make Great Shelford Online come alive. “People don’t care,” they said. “Commuters” and “suburbs” were also mentioned with a slight hint of disdain at the way the village was changing for the worse.

I never really bought into that assertion. But if there were ever any lingering doubts, I would suggest that the 1900 people who visit this website every month are a real testament to a strong and vibrant community, taking real pride and a positive interest in where they live. Caring in their community, if you will.

Local historian Helen Harwood is speaking at the library on October 11 about “The ties that bind us; a look at the Great Shelford village community past and present”.

I’m not party to what Helen will be saying though I am sure it will be interesting.

For my two pennorth, I would venture that the village might have changed a lot in recent times, and not always for the better. But the interest in McColls tells me people really care and are interested in Shelford society.

David Martin

October 2017

What do you think? Send your thoughts or views to

The village is awash with rumours about the future of the two empty shops on Woollards Lane.

One of the empty shops will become an estate agents Redmayne, Arnold and Harris. After all, we haven't got enough of them in the village.

There are rumours galore on the other empty shop. They include:

    • ​the possibilities of a wine bar/shop (I understand this option has been explored but the available shop is too small),

    • a hairdressers

    • another deli

    • and a betting shop.

There are already some villagers who are voicing concerns about the possibility of a betting shop at the heart of the village.

The Parish Council would not be a party to any changes although they have been contacted by several villagers. Most of the times, new tenants can simply move in, make changes and open their new shops.

However, betting shops need special permission from South Cambridgeshire District Council (when the Parish Council would then be formally informed and could have a view.) As this can take at least six weeks, changes would need to be flagged as early as possible.

As things stand, no permission has been sought which would suggest that the betting shop option is not a serious suggestion.

David Martin

Editor, Great Shelford Online

I would strongly support a one-way system on both Woollards Lane and the High Street. The current situation is not sustainable, and I think it unsafe: road rage incidents with stand offs occur several times a day outside my office; drivers mounting the pavements to avoid cars expecting pedestrian to get out of the way; drivers speeding in both directions playing chicken with each other to see who gives way, and in the meantime children attempt to cross Woollards Lane stepping out from in-between legally and illegally parked cars. Personally I think it only a matter of time before someone is hurt - if it hasn’t happened already.

I cannot see a one-way system having a detrimental impact on business: we have a strong vibrant business community (whatever people think about Tesco, the fact that it is here and not looking to close (as far as I’m aware) is indicative of the perceived strength in the local market), and I certainly do not think that centres of excellence such as the Shelford Deli would be affected at all - it is far too good an outlet for that). If anything the current situation reflects the strength of the business community in and around Woollards Lane and the High Street: people want to come to Great Shelford. We are hopefully emerging from the recession and with fingers crossed the local business community will go from strength to strength, in which case the current situation is likely to worsen as more people come. Waiting until that happens is far more likely to adversely affect the business community, because such a situation is likely to deter some people from coming, as well as providing an even less safe environment for all pedestrians (and cyclists) in the area.

There is, of course, the knock on effect of having the one-way system: it would naturally drive more traffic down Woollards Lane and the High Street. More traffic, though, is not necessarily a bad thing, but it would have to be slowed down by traffic calming measures such as sleeping police men and/or average speed cameras, and a reduced speed limit of 20 mph. I would also suggest that the direction of the traffic should be High Street (Lloyds Bank end) to Woollards Lane and then up to the traffic lights at the top of Woollards Lane - the High Street is wider and can cope with more traffic. Otherwise everyone going to Little Shelford and the school etc would need to travel down Woollards Lane. That, though, is, I guess, a different debate altogether; and perhaps a less palatable thought for residents on the High Street.

In summary, I believe that a one-way system offers a safer environment for everyone, which can only improve Great Shelford as a place for residents and visitors; and if it is good for residents and visitors, it should be good for the business community as well - we are, after all, only here to serve residents and visitors; and if traffic arrangements are such that it deters them from coming, the business community ultimately suffers along with everyone else.

Richard Davies

Solicitor-Advocate (All Higher Courts)


Solicitors Advocates & Mediators

30 Woollards Lane, Great Shelford

As co-director of Shelford Delicatessen I can wholeheartedly state that changing Woollards lane to a one-way system or decreasing parking bays would definitely be detrimental to our business trade. We are greatly supported by this fantastic village but also have customers from much further afield and without doubt, limited parking or banning access from a specific direction would certainly affect trade. Not least by prohibiting customers from collecting larger orders by car but also by putting off clients from coming at all. These days shopping is very much about convenience.

Great Shelford has a unique shopping facility range which is such a rarity. (opticians, deli & cafe, butchers, bakers, electrical store, bike shop, hairdressers, lawyers, accountancy firm, shoe shop, Tennis club, Chinese restaurant, estate agents, dentist, chemist and so on...) undoubtedly these businesses increase the traffic but they also make for a super community for us all to live in. Running an independent retail business is incredibly hard work but extremely rewarding exactly because it is part of the hub of our village community. The Deli alone provides for 25 jobs for local people so thinking about the overall net gain of all the village shops to the community both as employers and as providers of facilities, it would seem well worth protecting. Thank you to all those who have brought the shopping facilities issue up so far in this conversation, it is lovely to hear!

Tesco arriving in the middle with numerous daily lorry deliveries was inevitably going to affect the balance of traffic, especially when there are zero appropriate parking space for the required delivery trucks (only double yellow lines on a blind corner.) I do all my family shopping in the village but I vote with my feet and do not shop at Tesco which I think is very poorly sited. I also agree with Jenny M that all villagers who can avoid using their cars in the village or parking on church street should do just that.

I feel that a one-way system would just shift the problem to other traffic jam 'hotspots' in the village but at the same time would be an absolutely critical blow to the independent businesses in the village centre. It would also prevent cycling around the village which is a well used and ideal option for locals wherever they are headed. I think on Woollards lane, road 'mattresses', speed limit of 20mph and illegal parking clamp downs could potentially ease the situation enough to be safe whilst still protecting the shopping community & village life. There would still be some road arguments but they often seem to resolve fairy quickly on Woollards lane (not so on Church street!)

As a mum with 3 small children I live on & walk Woollards lane everyday for numerous school & preschool drop offs/pick ups. It is busy, the worst time is the morning when there is always a Tesco delivery on the blind corner and lots of folk trying to get to work on time.

We do however manage the school-run fairly easily by staying on the side of the road with all the parking bays which act as the perfect shield to all the traffic flowing up & down Woollards lane, without these my children would be much, much more exposed. Our main danger is crossing Woollards lane to get to Church street. A pedestrian crossing point somewhere on Woollards lane (but where?!) would be ideal, especially for young or elderly pedestrians trying to cross the road... probably with traffic lights to assure vehicles would actually stop.

The same 'shield' effect is very true of Church street, the parked cars along there definitely protect young children at peak times and those slots are also vital to nearby residents, families from further afield, those who need disabled access, or church parking. I'm in favour of traffic lights at peak times for this tricky-to-navigate/bad visibility stretch which would help organise drivers without preventing access.

My opinion is to remember that this is a village first and foremost, that car numbers are increasing all the time everywhere so the traffic coming through the village must be slowed down in order to be safe. That safe pedestrian passage should be made better available & easy access maintained for those who actually live, work or have businesses on the busy roads.. so from me a definite 'No' to taking away parking or one-way systems. Although these thoughtful suggestions would perhaps ease some congestion they could also increase the volume (& speed?) of through-flow traffic moving and at the same time not be at all convenient for local residents or businesses in the long run which could potentially change the real community feeling forever.

Nikki Wilkinson

Shelford Deli

Between 4 till 6 the traffic is a total disaster ! People pull up leave there cars anywhere just to go the the shop . I don't think they know what yellow lines are for and don't care about the traffic at a standstill because of their stupidity ! The road very often ends up with traffic at a standstill and people getting out of their cars arguing over who has the right of way . Then cars mount the pavement and drive along the path putting pedestrian in danger and because of the school there is a lot of children in the village at this time. They park over the entrance to the car park causing massive congestion. There has to be something done to save our village being a rat run like it is . A lot of our older clients won't come out after 4 because of the traffic and they can't get across the roads as they're to frightened .

Sharon Bavister

Solutions hairdressers

The recent street light replacement in Great Shelford has been a mess.

Holes dug and left for weeks with plastic barriers blocking pavements & roads. Even when they finally got the new lamps erected & wired up it was weeks before old posts got removed, holes filled in & tarmac reinstated on the pavements. Why did they not finish off one road at a time rather than dig up everywhere at once? Even now there are some holes to be filled, & a number of bus stops & time tables which were attached to old posts have not been re fitted to the new posts in Hinton Way.

John Wakefield

Leeway Avenue

Our changing relationships

Angela Niblett, a relationship and couple counsellor based in Great Shelford, was quoted recently in an article in the Cambridge News (Nov 4 2014) on the low proportion of people seeking professional counselling to save broken marriages.

Although the article quoted research showing only 23% of couples actively seek counselling during a difficult period in their relationship, Angela said she has seen a rise in the number of people seeking help. She has been surprised by the number of clients who say their friends have recommended them to her, not really expecting it to be talked about over dinner.

Angela believes people are often too willing to give up on marriage immediately, and that people are breaking up families that don’t need to break up; if they don’t come to counselling then they are not giving themselves a chance. There does still appear to be a stigma attached to seeking help from a professional, but increasingly some people are seeing is as strength rather than weakness.

Although the research showed that it was harder to get a man to come, sometimes the men need it more as they tend not to talk to friends as much. The experience can be very liberating – lack of communication was given as the biggest driver in the breakdown of marriages. Quite often women have said at the end of a session that the man has disclosed more about his life in that hour than she has known after many years of marriage.

Mediation is now being offered to people involved in a separation , but before reaching that point, counselling can really assist people to clarify the issues and possibly work through them. To find out more about relationship counselling, visit

A trekking disaster in Nepal, a chance conversation in a Cambridge news studio and global news coverage

Around two weeks ago a freak weather event cost the lives of dozens of trekkers on the Annapurna Trek in Nepal. The Editor in Chief of the Nepali Times (who works with the Mountain Trust) described it as a ‘wake-up call’ and demanded the Nepali government introduce a system of severe weather warnings to prevent another similar tragedy. The story was the leading headline in most international media. And then something peculiar happened. My daughter who is a BBC journalist happened to be talking with a colleague at BBC Radio Cambs who knew she was one of our Trustees and that we knew a lot about Nepal. He asked if we’d been interviewed on the disaster. The answer was ‘no’. It wasn’t long before she was interviewed by BBC Radio Five Live. The word spread and over the weekend, I gave two interviews to BBC TV News 24, one to Radio Five Live and another to The Times newspaper which were broadcast/published. There was a large article in the Cambridge Evening News and the story also went onto the BBC Newswire. In these interviews I argued the Nepal government should go further than an early warning system – it should close trails and apply proper vetting for trekking agencies and guides. In the past their government has been inefficient and slow but I was taken-aback by the speed and extent of their response. Within days they announced measures going way further: checking trekkers on and off trails, building storm shelters all the way along, insisting all trekkers went with a properly vetted guide – as well as an early warning system, closing trails etc. The international attention and chance opportunity to steer a debate in a safer direction in so swift a time was one lesson I learned from the experience. It rather demonstrates some of the randomness of life as well as demonstrating the power of the media to bring about a positive impact.

For further information, see:


Charles Malcolm-Brown FRSA, Chairman, The Mountain Trust (based in Great Shelford & working in Nepal)


Fix grease bands around all fruit trees to help control winter moth, the wingless female moths climb the trees in October, November and December and again in March to lay their eggs. The bands and grease are pesticide free, so this method is ideal for organic gardening.

Plant spring flowering bulbs – a huge range of bulbs are now available to give colour from January to May.

October is the ideal time for buying and planting all hardy trees, shrubs, climbing plants, roses, perennials, grasses and ferns. Plant in well prepared positions and keep well watered during prolonged dry and windy weather.

Scarify lawns by using either a spring-tine rake or for larger areas a powered scarifier, this removes the old grass thatch. Bald patches can be reseeded with a quick germinating lawn seed.

Spray fruiting cherries, plums and gages with Bayer ‘Fruit and Vegetable Disease Control’ to help prevent bacterial canker, this can also be sprayed on peaches and nectarines to help control peach leaf curl.

Harvest crops of apples and pears as they ripen. If you are storing, only use unblemished fruits and store in cool conditions and check regularly for any signs of rotting.

Dig over all vacant areas of the vegetable plot removing perennial weeds and plant debris. This will help reduce the spread of any over wintering pests and diseases. Apply a layer of farm yard manure over the surface ready for digging in next spring.

Check greenhouse heaters are working properly before the first of the cold days and nights arrive. Insulate greenhouses with bubble wrap polythene for extra insulation.

Clear fallen leaves from lawns before they block out light and air. The leaves can be added to the compost heap or you can make leaf mould by placing them in black bin liners, moisten the leaves if they are dry, tie the bags up and pierce holes with a knife or garden fork.

Check garden paths, patios, driveways and fencing for green mould and algae, as this is not only unsightly but becomes very slippery. Apply Patio Magic - there is no need for scrubbing or pressure washing as its biodegradable, long lasting and children and pets need not be excluded from treated areas once dry.

Gardening tips supplied by: Peter Jackson


120 Cambridge Road

Great Shelford


Autumn lawn care and maintenance can begin when the weather and time allows. Scarifying, aerating, reseeding and autumn lawn dressing can now take place.

Refill hanging baskets and patio pots for winter and early spring colour, using plants such as winter flowering pansies, heathers and dwarf spring flowering bulbs such as snowdrops, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. Dwarf shrubs of euonymus, skimma and trailing ivy can also be used.

Sow green manure crops on vacant ground in the vegetable garden - winter beans, mustard, phacelia and crimson clover can be sown now and then dug in late winter or early spring to improve the soil.

Harvest main crop potatoes on a warm sunny day and leave them to dry out in the sun. Store in paper or hessian sacks and keep them in a cool, dark and frost free place.

Complete summer pruning of trained apples and pears. Check for any signs of pests and diseases such as aphids, scabs or canker and spray if required.

Autumn onions and shallots can be planted now. These will overwinter and be ready for lifting early to mid-summer next year. Good cultivars of onions suitable for autumn planting are Senshyu and Radar and for shallots Yellow Moon.

A huge selection of spring flowering bulbs can be planted now - alliums, anemones, crocus, snowdrops, winter aconites, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and many more. These can be planted in borders, patio pots and containers for a wonderful display early next spring.

Take cuttings of any tender perennial. Cuttings can be rooted in pots, trays or windowsill propagators. Dip the base of the cutting in hormone rooting gel to encourage quicker rooting and plant into seed and cutting compost.

Check conifer hedges for any signs of cypress aphid. Symptoms are yellowing shoots that will eventually brown and die in patches and a black sooty mould may develop on the stems. Spray with Bayer Provado Ultimate Bug Killer now and repeat again in the early spring.

Any plants that have been outside for the summer but need to be brought into the house, greenhouse or conservatory for the winter can be drenched with Bayer Provado Vine Weevil Killer 2 before bringing them inside.

Gardening tips supplied by: Peter Jackson


Connecting with community

Great Shelford is about to celebrate a number of community gatherings, including the Tour De France spinning through our thoroughfare, the Shelford Feast – a highlight of our village year - and a special service at the Shelford War Memorial to mark the start of the Great War. On every occasion, there will be people attending who you don’t know, perhaps have never seen. Maybe there are those who you think you know but who struggle quietly and privately with issues they feel unable to share.

Part of my work in my private practice is to help people to reach out to others and find support, acceptance and understanding. We humans are social creatures, interconnected and embedded in groups. Even the loners, who enjoy their own company, need a sense of belonging. Without this, people can suffer. Social isolation exacerbates vulnerability.

Community unites and strengthens and the best kind of community is one that elicits connection and acceptance. Great Shelford is good at this. We remain small enough to have a sense of group identity, yet are made up of so many interesting and diverse individuals, that we can happily accept each other for who we are.

It’s immensely beneficial to feel recognised, valued and accepted. Psychological difficulties can be buffered by that background support and recovery from all kinds of problems is aided by a feeling that there are others on our side, on the journey.

It takes a bit of courage to acknowledge a stranger but these coming community events are a great opportunity to do just that. Say hello to someone you’ve never met, someone you don’t know. The quiet person on the edge of the group is often the most fascinating. They might just find it difficult to be in a group of people and be unsure of how to begin a conversation. If you’re one of those people yourself, rather than dwelling on how you’re perceived by others, get interested in those around you. Look out there in the world, rather than stay locked in your own thoughts and self- doubt.

We’re all human, all in this together and ‘struggling in the dark’ – but it’s easier to travel through to the end if we feel part of a group, a spectator and a participant, separate and connected, unique and just another ordinary human. In community, we celebrate, we commiserate, we become more of who we are and more than who we are.

Surbala Morgan (PsyCam Psychology Cambridge)

Dear Sirs

Despite the government's promise of more money to repair potholes, Cambridgeshire County Council still seems to be falling behind in repairing potholes in Great Shelford. I note that in Church Street there are still a large number of potholes & broken up road surface between the pedestrian crossing & Peacocks, these appear to have been marked out in yellow paint but as individual holes when the whole strip needs resurfacing. Also on the bend just between Kings Mill Lane & the river bridge there is also another 'string' of potholes. Why could they have not all been dealt with at the same time as some adjacent potholes on the East side of the pedestrian crossing beggars belief, as it would have avoided the extra expense of a second visit by the repair gang. I have reported this on line a number of times but the repairs have still not been carried out.

Finally the drain is still blocked at the junction with Station Road / London Road (Freestones Corner) & is causing severe flooding making it difficult to use the pedestrian crossing.

John Wakefield

May gardening tips

Watch out for late spring frosts - protect tender plants with layers of horticultural fleece and carefully remove during the day.

Remove the dead heads from tulips and daffodils. Apply a foliar feed of liquid seaweed to the foliage and let it die back naturally to ensure good flower initiation next season, this will also help prevent daffodil blindness.

Regularly inspect lilies and fritillaria from any signs of scarlet lily beetles, the larvae of these beetles can strip plants in a few days. Remove the beetles by hand or spray with Provado Ultimate Bug Killer.

Sowing new lawns or over seeding dead or worn patches can still be carried out during May. Prepare the ground and sow a quick germinating lawn seed and keep watered during prolonged dry weather.

Sow French and runner beans directly into prepared ground. Alternatively, you can grow runner beans in a large pot making a wigwam with bamboo canes for growing on the patio.

Check for any signs of slug damage around newly planted seedlings, they are most active in the garden at night and especially after rainfall. Control by the careful use of slug pellets or liquid slug control, traps or nematodes.

Hang pheromone traps in apple and plum trees to reduce codling moth and plum maggot moth. Traps and refills are available now.

Carefully remove the dead flower heads from rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias. Apply a feed of ericaceous plant food. Keep well watered with rainwater during dry weather.

Keep all containerised plants growing in patio pots, window boxes and hanging baskets well watered and regularly fed with a liquid plant food. Established pots will benefit by topping up with new potting compost.

Try to keep all parts of the garden weed free, a good selection of weed killers are available for beds and borders, lawns and paved or gravel areas.

Jenny Ferro, Scotsdales

Posted April 30

April gardening tips

Finish planting early, second early and main crop potatoes. Earth up potatoes planted last month as the new shoots appear and if planted in pots or bags, keep them well watered.

Sweet peas can be sown outside this month, autumn sown plants can be planted - prepare a wigwam support or nets for them to climb. Keep plants well fed by applying liquid seaweed once a month.

Remove faded daffodil and tulip flowers taking off the heads and seed pods at the same time. Apply a foliar feed of liquid seaweed with iron or top dress with a general purpose fertilizer. Let the foliage die back naturally for at least eight weeks.

Sowing new lawns or over seeding dead or bare patches can be carried out now. Don’t mow or walk over newly sown grass until it has reached 5 – 7.5cm (2 – 3") and then only give it a light trim on the highest setting.

Mulch rose, shrub and herbaceous borders with a good layer of organic matter. This will help retain moisture during dry spells, reduce weeds and overtime will improve soil structure.

Slugs and snails can be a problem as plants begin to emerge; liquid slug killers, organic pellets, traps and nematodes can be applied.

Remove any frost damaged shoots on hardy evergreen shrubs that have been damaged by cold weather. Check all variegated plants and remove any inverted green shoots.

Keep weeds under control before they grow large enough of flower and make seed. A good range of chemical weed-killers are available to kill and prevent weeds in beds and borders, paths, patios and lawns.

Damage by vine weevil larvae will cause plants to wilt and on inspection the roots will show signs of being eaten and you may see larvae amongst them. Apply a chemical or biological control if larvae are present, although young and containerised plants are unlikely to recover once badly damaged.

Plant summer flowering bulbs such as dahlias, gladioli, eucomis, crocosmia and lilies – planted now they will provide a wonderful display later this season.

Gardening tips supplied by: Peter Jackson


120 Cambridge Road

Great Shelford




Weathering storms….

One of the lovely things about our weather in Great Shelford is that you never know what you’re going to get next: rain, wind, fog, frost or sun. Within each season, weather changes daily, hourly and we just have to be prepared for anything.

But can we cultivate the same pragmatic attitude to our state of mind? Our moods are often like the British weather – changeable, unpredictable – and for some people, dark as a cumulonimbus blotting out the sun.

Under the shadow, obfuscating reason, we humans are prone to getting lost and mistake a fleeting ‘weather system’ for a full season of darkness. This is particularly the case if you’ve been prone to depression and fear its recurrence.

When I’m working with patients vulnerable to mood changes, it helps to remember that even in the midst of a ‘winter’ there are brighter moments and after a storm, clear sky returns.

Watch how the depth and intensity of a feeling can change across the space of an hour, just as a fog thickens and thins across the Fens.

The winter of the mind is not a climate, not even a season – just a weather system passing by. Sometimes it feels as if it’s stuck, like the jet stream and endless days are bleak and drenched in pain – but it always shifts in the end.

When you wake in the morning to dull, dank, self-denigrating thoughts, remember - this too shall pass. Don’t let the mood of a moment colour and define your entire day, your sense of self.

Check your inner barometer and if a depression seems forecast, be prepared and take action.

Wrap yourself up in warm, self-soothing thoughts. Don’t be deterred, as those negative thought streams shower down. Shield your mind from the icy hail of inner criticism, with a bright umbrella of positive ripostes.

Go forth into your day, as planned, even whilst the mental storms rage on. You are more than your moods and can learn to weatherproof the mind from unhelpful states. The clouds will pass, the fog will lift and light shine again, like a beacon, illuminating hope. Wait it out, trust in the transience of gloom and watch for the returning sun.

Surbala Morgan (PsyCam Psychology Cambridge)

Posted March 30 2014

The Psychology of Gardening

We are a village of great gardeners, growing for pleasure and produce. Spring buds are burgeoning and the desire to get down to earth is surging through our veins.

But did you know that every time you step out into the shrubbery, brandishing your spade, you are tending your psyche as much as the soil? Gardening makes you happy. It’s a rich compost of components conducive to well-being and I often recommend it to my patients.

Go with the ‘flow’:

Have you ever lost yourself in the moment, deeply absorbed with dead-heading the roses or planning the next border? Three hours of bliss pass by, free of worries and pain. You forget your Self, lose track of time, intent only on your goal. You feel in control and are regularly rewarded with immediate feedback, as you accomplish each aspect of your activity….weeds cleared, bulbs planted, brambles kept at bay.

This is the ‘psychology of flow’ – the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. It’s incredibly enjoyable and humans are often at their happiest, when ‘in flow’.

Gardening is a natural exemplar of ‘flow’. We concentrate on the task in hand, forgetting the rain, the wind, the family arguments and the latest utility bill. The stress of life is stripped away. Cortisol levels drop. Our immune systems and serotonin levels are boosted as a result.

Immersed in nature, our attention is keenly focused and we feel fulfilled.

Mindfulness of mud:

Have you ever found yourself, moment to moment, at one with the elements around you, sensing no separation between your breath and the touch of the spring breeze? Have you felt the ground, scented the cyclamen, listened to the silence between a blackbird’s fluting notes? Your heightened senses open to every aspect of existence: no difference between the thoughts blowing ceaselessly across the mind and the ragged clouds above you, passing over the sun. You feel fully aware of time passing, of each emotion unfolding and each leaf unfurling.

This is mindfulness – another state of psychological well-being. It’s different from ‘flow’ and just as therapeutic. In this state, you’re acutely aware of Self, your thoughts, your emotions, your body. You’re equally aware of the world around you and hold everything in your attention, without favouring any specific aspect. There goes a barbed thought, pulling for your focus and there goes a thistle, snagging your hand. Let go of both, favouring neither with further attention. Return to the fullness of each passing moment – within you, beyond you. It’s all the same.

Gardening is a great panacea because as much as you can lose yourself in the ‘flow’, so you can also find yourself - at one with nature and the mud beneath your feet. Of course it’s also good exercise, stimulating for the brain, creative and – if you grow your own crops – nutritious too.

So pick up that trowel and get digging!

Surbala Morgan (PsyCam Psychology Cambridge)

Posted Feb 25 2014

Resilience in the Recession

Here in Great Shelford, where the property market is healthy and new businesses spring up all the time, it would be understandable to assume that we’re a very resilient lot. But none of us is immune to the challenges of the recession. Sometimes, behind the façade of joie de vivre, falls the shadow of worry and doubt.

In times of adversity, how do we learn to adapt and survive? What can we do to improve our own resilience?

Well there’s a lot we can do. Resilience is a learned skill - not an inborn phenomenon. There are some key components to this skill, which I help people to learn. I call this:

The M.A.P. of Resilience:

Mindful mastering of moods:

Mindfulness is the art of learning how to anchor your attention in one place. From that “Eye/I of the storm” position, you can stand back and compassionately watch what’s going on in your mind, without getting caught up in it. From this inner stillness, you then have more resources available to think clearly and objectively and keep things in perspective.

Attitude is everything:

If you believe you can face life’s challenges, adapting your thoughts and behaviours in a constructive way, then you’re much more likely to succeed. It all depends on how you look at things. Respond to adversity with, “What do I need to start doing, to get back in control of my life?”, believing you can find solutions. Define your goals and assume that you have the power to achieve them.

Persistence pays off:

Remember the old adage – ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again’. People who persist, even in the face of initial setbacks, are more likely to achieve their goals in the end. Praise yourself for trying – and then persevere some more. Tolerating present discomfort, in manageable steps, reaps long term rewards.


This is an outline of the M.A.P. of Resilience. You are already manifesting your own resilience every day, in small ways, each time you move out of your ‘comfort zone’, like dragging yourself up and out on cold, dark mornings. Give yourself credit for this and build on these skills.

Posted Feb 1 2014

Surbala Morgan (PsyCam Psychology Cambridge)

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Plant outdoor tomatoes, choose a sheltered but sunny position, water plants well and feed with tomato food every 10 – 14 days. Once the plants have four or five flower trusses, pinch out the growing tip just above the highest flower truss.

Prune plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines and almonds. Any pruning that has to be done on these trees is best done this month or early next month and will limit the risk of sliver leaf.

Regularly check roses for any signs of greenfly or black spot. Spray with a combined insecticide and fungicide such as Rose Clear Ultra, at tree week intervals for effective control.

Sow seeds of biennials such as wallflowers, forget-me-nots, sweet Williams and Brompton stocks for planting out late summer and early autumn.

Remove dead flower heads from rhododendrons taking care not to damage the new shoots that are just underneath the flower heads. Check for any signs of vine weevil, tell-tale signs are jagged notches cut into the edge of the leaves. Container grown plants can be drenched with Provado Vine Weevil Killer 2 and plants growing in the ground should be treated with a nematode.

Apply a selective lawn weed killer such as Verdone or Vitax if your lawns are troubled with daises, plantains, white clovers and dandelions. One treatment should give season long control of these problem weeds.

Plant out summer bedding, ensuring the plants are well watered in and kept moist during prolonged dry weather. Watch out for slugs, they are most active at night and especially after rainfall. Slug traps, pellets and nematodes can be used.

Regularly check all lilies and fritillaries for any signs of the ‘scarlet lily beetle’ they are easy to identify as the adult beetles are bright red. Pick off and destroy the insects by hand or spray with Ultimate Bug

Top up established patio pots and containers with new potting compost and apply a continuous release plant food which will feed plants for up to six months.

Direct sow or plant seedlings of courgette, marrow, squash, sweetcorn, French and runner beans into well prepared ground, large sized pots or containers.

Gardening tips supplied by: Peter Jackson


120 Cambridge Road

Great Shelford




Testing Times

It’s that time of year again when our young people are put to the test in various public exams. In our village, there will be many families supporting their youngsters through exams at school and university. So much seems to be riding on the results and it’s harder and harder to compete for places at good universities and decent jobs/career paths.

Sometimes it can feel as if life is all about being tested and measured against others. Unhelpful comparison and unrealistic targets can lead to high anxiety for those undergoing testing times and my private practice is busy with suffering students.

There are those who strive for perfection and are stuck and immobilised by the sheer volume of work to be done. There are others who believe there’s no point in trying at all because they’ll only fail. Getting the balance right between productive work - and rest and relaxation isn’t easy and as parents and carers, we need to support our young ones through this struggle.

Assessment and competition have their place but must never erode an underlying sense of self-worth. Each one of us knows the effort it takes to produce the best we can, in everything we encounter, throughout our lives. Nobody else can truly judge this.

It’s good to have a decent work ethic and good to know when to take a break. This is a lifelong balance. Qualifications can open opportunities and expand choices but keep it in perspective.

Being judged by others is part of life but in maturity, we can stop worrying about what other people think of us or how many A’s we got or distinguished letters after our name. We realise that kindness, generosity and good humour ultimately matter more than whether we achieved a perfect grade at school or college. We value good health, good friends, creativity and self-directed learning, as we move beyond those years of testing in an institution.

As we progress in life, are any of us really likely to judge another if they failed a GCSE or didn’t do a degree? Instead, we might consider, are they good company? Are they trustworthy? Are their idiosyncrasies fascinating and stimulating? Who is the ‘real person’ behind the profession or the string of qualifications?

So for those of you out there in the midst of exams or any other kind of test, you know what it’s taken to get to this point. Celebrate the fact that you’ve come so far. Give it your best shot but whatever the outcome, remember this is not a measure of the essence of who you are.

Surbala Morgan (PsyCam Psychology Cambridge)