John Bone: I hope she’s barking up the right tree

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I offer a welcoming “Woof!” to Jenessa Springall who is East Cambridgeshire’s new dog warden. Somehow I imagine dog wardens to be grumpy old men with bite scars on their ankles. So it’s a pleasant surprise to know Jenessa is a young blonde with a sense of canine mission. She wants to do herself out of a job by getting us all to microchip our dogs and make it easy to identify runaways. She 
may manage that but I have little hope she will achieve another part of her job; 
stopping troublesome barking.

There is something seriously perverse about Suffolk’s plan to build a primary school under the flight path of fighter jets at Lakenheath. The noise and air pollution alone should be reasons enough for second thoughts. Must the embattled parish council spend public money to contest this wilfully daft proposal? Is the area so small or so crowded that there is nowhere else? Come off it.

Whatever the outcome in court, the two police drug raids in Soham and others in Ely and Littleport last week are a welcome sign that this pernicious threat to our community is being taken seriously. A foot chase through the streets of Soham is not a pretty sight for peaceful people but is a necessary reaction by Cambridgeshire police which we can only hope finds its echo in Suffolk where in Newmarket, if anecdotal evidence is anything to go by, a far more serious situation exists.

With complaints that smaller trainers are being priced out of town by rising property values, it is good to see an established local trainer taking over the historic Snailwell Stud. Racing has always been a shifting scene but there’s still something to be said for local roots and awareness of local sensitivities.

Reading how Newmarket Ramblers were planning to walk part of the Icknield Way the thought crossed my mind that we have a unique 
prehistoric feature right across our region that has potential as an attraction for tougher tourists. Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire, for example, has a thriving trade based on a coast-to-coast track. Our Icknield Way is at least 4,000 years old and traverses enough towns, villages and sweeping landscapes to attract those who like to learn as they plod. Are our tourism authorities on to this one?

We journalists use phrases like “trip of a lifetime” rather too freely. Consider the case of Kentford Girl Guide Alice Walker who is off on a “trip of a lifetime” to India. Alice is only 16. Can we be sure the next 80 or so more years will offer nothing better than this trip? By the time she is an old lady it will be possible to take a tourist trip to the Moon.

What a clever wheeze from Mildenhall Social Club who seek a 90-year-old lady to be Queen for a day to mark Her Majesty’s birthday. Elderly ladies are generally reluctant to put themselves forward so I fear someone is going to have to do the dirty on granny.

Marvelling at the estate agent’s description of £2.5m Lanwades Hall, I thought what a town this must have been when Edward VII, a.k.a. Tumtum, had his horses and his mistresses here. Dating from roughly the same era as the recently sold Sefton Lodge Stud it is typical of the sumptuous Newmarket style we see all over town. Many books have been written about this splendid, scandalous period but it would merit a spectacular Merchant Ivory film to capture the atmosphere. Great times to be a toff but not so hot below stairs maybe.

How splendid to see the strength of Newmarket and District Scouting on parade in the town on St George’s Day. Scouting has gone through tough times and I would not have given tuppence for its survival a few decades back. But here it is triumphant with 300 youngsters stepping out smartly to prove an old-fashioned outfit has a key role 
to play in these tricky