Friday, 10 February 2012

DOES THIS FAIR CITY, THIS GLISTENING JEWEL IN A SEA OF MUD, THIS TEMPLATE FOR INTERNATIONAL TOLERANCE AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY have much of an online presence? Oh, my golly gosh, yes indeed it do. We should really start at the bottom here, with the proud website of Wisbech Town Council.
LOOKING FOR ALL THE WORLD IF IT HAS BEEN DESIGNED BY A FAILED GCSE STUDENT, this site links you, at the click of a mouse to the heady world of the power brokers who shape your world - if you are are fortunate enough to live under the PE13 postcode. You will be transported, in an instant to the movers and shakers who, pausing only to brush the toast crumbs from their cardigans, meet in the highly charged atmosphere of the council chamber, and totally fail to agree on anything at all. If this fails to entrance you, you could visit the wonderful world of Twitter, where there is much more entertainment to be had.
THE VERY FIRST PERSON YOU MUST FOLLOW is the wonderful and whacky campaigning editor of the Wisbech Standard - the only local newspaper worth reading, despite the fact that JE lives in his ancestral home in Suffolk, Elworthy Towers, and conducts most of his business from East Anglia's answer to Wapping - March High Street. seriously, he is a bloody good journalist, and is highly entertaining when he gets his teeth into the overfed flanks of local politicians.
Scoring 9 out of 10 on the 'I'm On Your Side And I Feel Your Pain' chart, is local Tory councillor Steve Tierney. Of all of the local politicos, he is the only one worth listening to, and despite his ill-concealed loved affair with the dafter aspects of Conservativism, he is someone who is worth following. AND he runs the best cafe in Cambridgeshire. (Don't get me started on his Coffee and Walnut Cake)

FOR BROADER AND MORE ROBUST BRUSH-STROKES you need to to visit the shark-infested waters of Facebook. There is an excellent page called 'Wisbech...Oh Dear'. It is best experienced rather than described, but will feature, on more or less a regular basis, ill-informed rants, subtle social judgments, diatribes which bear witness to the sad level of state education in Wisbech over the last 20 years, and sublimely funny social comment.

SADLY, IT APPEARS THAT OUR EASTERN EUROPEAN VISITORS  have taken the measure of our little town, and contributed to the carnage. In June 2003, the body of Dainus Kigas was found in his burnt-out van. The Lithuanian national was thought to be involved in transporting his countrymen to and from his homeland.

And then, in 2011, Tomas Acas was found guilty of the brutal murder, by stamping to death, of a young woman, Jolanta Dumciuviene. The poor soul was found under a mattress in a house in Milner Road. It seemed that she had left a husband and children to come and find a better life in England, only to meet an untimely and squalid death.

Another sad case, which attracted screaming headlines from national tabloids and broadsheets alike, was the as-yet-unsolved murder of teenager Alicja Dmitrijeva. She had been reported as missing since the late summer of 2011. At Christmastime, human remains were found by a dog walker on land owned by The Queen, near Sandringham. The headlines wanted the scene to be more or less in the Queen's back garden, but the truth is, the body was found on a very remote part of the extensive royal estate, actually near the hamlet of Anmer. It was only after very complex forensics were carried out, that the remains were identified as those of the teenager. There was much lurid speculation about her sex life, and her relationship with local 'Drug Barons', but the case still remains a mystery.

BEFORE ANYONE SUGGESTS that Wisbech has been brought to its knees by an influx of gun-toting Eastern European Mafioso, it might be as well to remind ourselves that, while not rivaling Midsomer Murders for the number of locals bumped off, Wizzy was no stranger to violent death. Most notoriously, eccentric and reclusive Tony Martin made national headlines when he turned his firepower on a gang of Travellers who had targeted his semi derelict farmhouse. Young Fred Barras died in the raid, and his accomplice. Brendan Fearon limped off with a leg full of shot, leaving Fred to die at the scene. Martin was eventually jailed, but released to return to his isolated home. He is frequently seen around his favourite pubs in and around Wisbech.

The there was the strange case of Christopher French, who was the landlord of one of the town's scarier pubs, The Wisbech Arms. In a drunken fracas, he fatally stabbed one of his customers, Christopher Garford, and then tried to throw police off the trail by claiming that two unnamed Eastern European men had burst into the pub, done the deed, and then fled into the night. The pub has reopened as an Italian restaurant called WFour, but prospective diners can rest assured that there is no outline of the body in yellow chalk on the  parquet floor, and the Tagliatelli is actually quite good.