Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Head to Fairhaven Garden in the Norfolk Broads for The Great Bear Hunt

Families are invited to visit Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, at South Walsham in the heart of the Norfolk Broads and go on The Great Bear Hunt.

Fairhaven volunteer Andy Usher has carved six bears out of wood from the garden and hidden them next to trees. Armed with a trail map, showing location clues, families can have fun hunting the bears, learn about the trees in the garden and make up names for the bears.

Andy Usher with one of his bears
Andy Usher explained: “I have volunteered in the garden for the last four years. I am chainsaw qualified, bought a carving saw and began experimenting with creating animals. This led to my idea to carve the bears out of Fairhaven wood and give families a fun summer activity. All the bears are next to well-known trees and the idea is for children to discover some of the species that make up the woodland garden, as well as enjoy hunting the bears.”

On The Great Bear Hunt
Andy is also carving children's picnic tables and chairs for the garden.

Louise Rout, Fairhaven Garden Manager said: “Thank you so much to Andy for developing such a creative family activity for our visitors this summer. It's a great way to get out and explore the garden.”

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, signposted off the A47 at B1140 junction, half way between Norwich and Great Yarmouth. Garden entry is adult £6.85, concessions £6.60, children £3.95 and free for Fairhaven members and under 5s.

The garden is open daily all year from 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day), and on Wednesdays until 9pm to the end of August. Free entry to tearoom, provisions shop, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and an accessible boat for trips on the broad from April to October (additional charge). Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance, mobility scooters available.

Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

T 01603 270449 or see

Wymondham Music Festival Norfolk, Friday, June 22 to Sunday, July 1

Jazz Picnic with DixieMix
Wymondham Music Festival in South Norfolk returns for the 23rd year from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, July 1. Favourites like Town Busking Day (June 23), the Jazz Picnic with DixieMix at Becketswell (June 25) and Teddy Bears' Picnic for the under fives (July 1) are back, along with a new free open-air event, Sounds of Summer at Becketswell on Saturday, June 30 from 12 noon to 6.30pm.

Wymondham Ukulele Group - Town Busking Day 2017

Sounds of Summer is being organised by Wymondham College student, Suzie Heylings, with support from Wymondham Town Team and a grant from the John Jarrold Trust. The line up features Victoria Louise, who was a finalist on The Voice 2017, along with alternative rock and indie pop band Red Wine Talk, plus singer songwriters Jordan Baker and Anna Carter, and Fingers Crossed, a five-piece rock band from Wymondham High School.

Victoria Louise - Sounds of Summer - photo Victoria Louise

Concerts at Wymondham Abbey include lyric soprano Jessica Robinson (June 27), Jazz at the Abbey (June 28), with Gilad Atzmon and The Orient House Ensemble and lunchtime recitals featuring Archie Bonham (piano), Norfolk Young Musician of the Year on June 25, Rob Goodrich (organ) and Katie Schutte (violin) on June 26, Julian Haggett (organ) on June 27 and Matthew Wadsworth (lute) on June 29.

Gilad Atzmon and The Orient House Ensemble
The Annual Music Lecture, Silent Films with Bruce Vogt is at The Regal (Wymondham Ex-Services Club) on June 24. Bruce Vogt will accompany silent films from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton on the piano and will give a talk ‘Music and the Silent Clown'.

Other highlights are The Opera Dudes (June 22) and Bowjangles Comedy Orchestra (June 29), both promoted with Wymondham U3A, and Cavick String Quartet (July 1).

The Festival also stages three concerts for local young musicians, including the annual Young Musicians’ Concert at Wymondham Abbey on June 26. 

For the full Festival programme and to buy tickets for concerts see Concert tickets are also on sale at Puff's Toyshop in Wymondham Market Place.

Festival Chairman Richard Elliott said: "We have an exciting programme for this year's Festival, featuring regular favourites like the Town Busking Day and Jazz Picnic, along with our new event at Becketswell, Sounds of Summer, organised by Wymondham College student, Suzie Heylings. We also have three concerts featuring local young musicians including our annual Young Musicians' concert at Wymondham Abbey. I would like to thank our volunteers who make the Festival happen and our sponsors for their invaluable support."

Maids Head Hotel Norwich Head Chef in Semi-Final of National Chef of the Year Competition

Marcin ‘Magic’ Pomierny, Head Chef at the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich and Chef of the Year in the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2016, has reached the semi-final of the Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year competition.  

Marcin 'Magic' Pomierny - photo Maids Head Hotel

Forty chefs, split into four semi-final heats, will be competing this month for a place in the final. The winner of each heat, plus the six best runners up, go through to the final which is at The Restaurant Show on Wednesday, October 2.

Magic’s semi-final heat is at Le Cordon Bleu in London on Tuesday, June 19.  The brief for the chefs is to create a menu, which focuses on the provenance of the food and gives a modern interpretation on classic dishes.    

Magic, who was a finalist in the 2008 Craft Guild of Chefs Young Chef of the Year competition said: “I am really excited to have reached the semi-final of the National Chef of the Year competition. The menu that I will be cooking on June 19 will feature English dishes using the best of East Anglian produce. I will do my very best to secure a place in the final for the Maids Head and Norwich.”  

Christine Malcolm, General Manager, Maids Head Hotel said: “Magic has worked very hard over the last five years to raise the profile of the hotel as a fine dining destination. We achieved a second AA Rosette in 2016 and Magic’s ambition is to raise the bar further and achieve a third AA Rosette. His summer a la carte menu has just been released this week, offering an excellent opportunity for hotel guests and local residents to sample Magic and his team’s current work.”

 “We wish Magic all the best for the National Chef of the Year competition,” added Christine Malcolm, “and will have our fingers firmly crossed.”    

Marcin ‘Magic’ Pomierny comes from near Krakow in Poland. He trained as a chef in Poland and studied catering for diabetics as an additional subject. Magic moved to Norwich in June 2005; his brother and sister were already in the city.

He spoke little English at the time and his family helped secure him a job as a kitchen porter at Tatlers, where he did washing up and food preparation for one year. Then Magic worked for Pulse and The Library for 18 months, followed by McIntoshes Kitchen for another 18 months. 

His next job in 2009 was Sous Chef at Rare Steak House and he moved on to The Mad Moose where he was Sous Chef for two years and Head Chef for one year. Magic arrived at the Maids Head Hotel as Sous Chef in May 2013 and was promoted to Head Chef in September 2013.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Fairhaven Garden's Ancient King Oak's Crown Gets a Trim - Norfolk Broads

King Oak Fairhaven Garden 

FairhavenWoodland and Water Garden's ancient King Oak, believed to have been a sapling at the time of the Battle of Hastings and one of the oldest trees in Norfolk, has been given a 'trim' to ensure it's long-term health.

Four years ago, the King Oak's crown was suffering from die-back and was reduced in size to help stabilise the tree. The path was also moved away from the garden's champion tree to give it more breathing space. Visitors' feet were compacting the roots and suffocating the tree.

Matt Jordan, Fairhaven Garden's Head Forester explained: “We give the King Oak an annual health-check, along with regular visual inspections, looking for broken limbs and aggressive fungi. The tree has survived so long, because it was actively pollarded for many centuries and also grew next to a good supply of water. More recently, it has also responded well to the footpath being moved away from it's root system.”

Fairhaven Garden - Matt Jordan at work on the King Oak
We had planned to do some tree surgery last autumn, but a hornet's nest prevented the work. So it has been good to get back up the tree and carefully remove some of the reactive growth that has appeared following the reduction in the size of the crown four years ago. The tree is strong and healthy, but by thinning out the four year-old growth, it will allow more air and light into the crown and encourage new shoots and a successful growing season. We have also been thinning out branches that are rubbing against each other, so we can prevent fungal infections in the wounds.”

Visitors can still get close to the King Oak and its neighbour, another ancient pollard know as the Queen Oak, and marvel at the trees' longevity.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham NR13 6DZ, signposted off A47, half way between Norwich and Great Yarmouth at B1140 junction, t. 01603 270449.

The garden is open daily all 10am to 5pm . Garden entry is adults £6.85, concessions £6.60 and children £3.95 ( Fairhaven members and under 5 free). Free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and boat trips (April to October, additional charge). Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance, mobility scooters available.

Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Ink in my Blood, my half century in newspapers by Neil Haverson - publishing 28 March 2018

Join Neil Haverson on his 50-year ride through the Norfolk and Suffolk newspaper industry. Neil has witnessed it all in the ever-changing regional media world – from flongs, hot metal and office cricket to full colour printing, digital editions and the web.

For much of his career, Neil worked in Eastern Counties Newspapers, latterly Archant’s commercial arm, but his talent as a humorous writer was discovered on the in-house Prospect magazine. This led to sporting columns and the famous ‘Fortress H’ dispatches in the Eastern Daily Press.

In this book Neil presents the ‘greatest hits’ from his Norwich Mercury, Eastern Daily Press and Let’s Talk magazine columns and his reflections on half a century of ink in his blood.

Neil Haverson
Neil Haverson worked in the Norfolk and Suffolk newspaper industry for more than 50 years. He began his career in the mid 1960s as an advertising clerk on the Lynn News & Advertiser, before moving to Norwich and Eastern Counties Newspapers (now Archant) at the dawn of the 1970s.

Neil continued in advertising, but by the end of the1980s, his skills as a writer were recognised thanks to humorous articles contributed to Prospect, ECN’s staff magazine. He was offered a sporting column in the Norwich Mercury and after three years graduated to a weekly column in the Eastern Daily Press. It soon was a regular fixture, as Neil’s wry look at family life, ‘Fortress H’, became a must-read.

In 2002 Neil made the full transfer from advertising to editorial, when he became chief writer for Let’s Talk, Archant’s new magazine for the mature reader. He was promoted to editor in 2009, a role he successfully fulfilled, until he retired at the end of 2016.

In retirement, he continues to contribute his monthly ‘Last Word’ column to Let’s Talk and a Saturday ‘Fortress H’ column, every fortnight in the Eastern Daily Press.

Neil lives at 'Fortress H' near Norwich with the 'long-suffering' Mrs H. Brats Major and Minor are no longer based at Neil's Norfolk stronghold.

Ink in my Blood

My half century in newspapers
Neil Haverson
Published by Paul Dickson, Wednesday 28 March 2018
Paperback A5, 160 pages, plus 8 pages of illustrations.
Price £11, ISBN 978-0-9956187-4-9

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Fairhaven Garden Norfolk Broads – Fundraising Campaign Success Improves Visitor Access

Left to right John Debbage, Michael Hadji and Lewis Goldspink at work on the Main Bridges Path
The gardening team at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden at South Walsham in the Norfolk Broads, has embarked on phase two of a 120-metre path renewal project in the West Garden, thanks to a successful Pound a Plank fundraising campaign. The aim is to complete the project by early February.

Phase one of the scheme was completed in May, but the gardeners needed a further £7,000 to finish the work. The money has been raised through Gift Aid donations added to the garden entry charge, Pound a Plank donations, collection boxes, a second hand book stall, and a grant from Broadland District Council.

The finished scheme will feature two passing bays for mobility scooters and visitors in wheelchairs. The passing bays will also include benches so visitors can rest and enjoy the sights and sounds of the garden.

Some 800 planks will cover the length of the main bridges path, with its six bridges. The planks are being set on top of telegraph poles to raise the level and protect the path from winter floods. The candelabra primula beds, running beside the path, are also being raised to give the plants similar protection and support the annual regeneration and growth of new plants from seed.

The project has been designed by Fairhaven Gardener, John Debbage and is being implemented by John, gardening colleague Michael Hadji and Easton College student, Lewis Goldspink. Lewis is studying Level 2 Horticulture and is doing his work experience at Fairhaven.

Broadland District Council's £1800 Community Fund grant is also supporting access work near the main entrance and on the neighbouring Kingfisher Path, along with improvements to visitor information in the garden.

Just over £1300 has been raised through Pound a Plank donations. The fund will remain open to support future projects in the garden. Donations of books are very welcome for the second hand book stall, which is in Fairhaven’s Kingfisher Tearoom.

Louise Rout, Manager Fairhaven Garden said: “I would like to thank Broadland District Council for supporting our work in the garden and everyone who has helped the scheme by donating a Pound a Plank and money through our gift aid scheme, collection boxes and second hand book stall. The main bridges path is looking terrific and when it is completed will greatly improve access for all.”

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is owned by the Fairhaven Garden Trust, whose key objectives are to care for the garden so that it can be enjoyed by this and future generations and to provide access for all.

The garden is at South Walsham NR13 6DZ, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, t. 01603 270449

Fairhaven is open daily all year (closed Christmas Day). The garden opens from 10am to 4pm during the winter; entry is £6.75 adult, £6.15 concessions, £3.85 child (under 5 free); free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout, including a Sensory Garden and an accessible boat for trips on the broad from April to October (additional charge). Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance, mobility scooters available.

Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

A Moment in Time - 50 stories that bring East Anglian history to life - publishing update

Peter Sargent with A Moment in Time at Jarrold Norwich book department
We launched Peter Sargent's A Moment in Time - 50 stories that bring East Anglian history to life at Jarrold Norwich book department on Wednesday, October 4.

In November's Let's Talk magazine, Editor Angi Kennedy said: "From Norfolk's bare knuckle boxers to the sailors who fought a huge sea battle off the Suffolk coast, Peter Sargent has gathered together 50 stories from our past for a brilliant new book."

Angi Kennedy continued: "A Moment in Time is a book that readers will want to dip into time and again to discover and rediscover the people and places that have helped shape our story."

The book is on sale at these shops: Jarrold Norwich, Jarrold Cromer, Jarrold at The Forum NorwichWaterstones Norwich, The Book Hive Norwich, Revelation Bookshop Norwich, City Bookshop Norwich, The Holt Bookshop, The Aldeburgh Bookshop, The Adam and Eve pub Norwich, the Maids Head Hotel Norwich, Halesworth Bookshop, Ceres Bookshop and Tearoom Swaffham , Kett's Books Wymondham and Diss Publishing Bookshop .

A Moment in Time can be purchased online at

An ebook version is also on sale in all major ebook stores including Amazon and Apple iBooks.

Peter Sargent will be at the Festive Fair in The Forum, Norwich on Sunday, November 26, signing copies of A Moment in Time.


A Moment in Time rrp £12 paperback, £5.99 ebook was published by Paul Dickson on 2 October 2017 . ISBN paperback 9780995618718, ebook 9780995618725.