Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Through The Eyes Of LincsConnect
Around me in Lincolnshire – Sleaford by LincsConnect. This is the second of my series of blogs ‘through the eyes of LincsConnect’. I’m sure you’ll find it useful.
It’s funny how a pre-conceived blog can change so much and so quickly. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Sleaford many times so the layout of the blog was already pre-conceived. However, my research made me realise how little I know about the town.
Sleaford – Getting There
Sleaford is conveniently located between Grantham (15 miles), Newark (19 miles), Boston (17 miles), Lincoln (20 miles) & Stamford (29 miles)
Split Sleaford into three areas and you’ll realise that there is more to the town than meets the eye. We have Quarrington, Old Sleaford and New Sleaford (or ‘Sleaford’ as we know it now). New Sleaford has enveloped both Old Sleaford and Quarrington during its recent ‘growth spurt’. We can therefore be forgiven for not realising how much the landscape has changed. In fact, the landscape has changed dramatically. Over the last 250 years or so we now the ‘Old River Slea’ and the ‘New River Slea’ plus a railway line or two. I’ll talk more about the rivers later though.
The A15 running North/South come to Sleaford from Lincoln in the North and Peterborough from the South. Driving East/West the A17 links Boston through Sleaford to Newark.
The Sleaford railway station was opened in 1857 nd led to the ultimately demise of the canal. It’s the only station in the region to offer North/South ‘and’ East/West destinations. Trains run from Peterborough and Skegness as well as Nottingham and Lincoln.
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford (Quarrington)
Quarrington is worthy of a mention on its own but is now part of the larger town of Sleaford.
St Botolph’s Church, Quarrington. Click on the picture to go to the website
The St Botolph’s Church (click the link to find them on Facebook) was originally built in the 13th Century but was rebuilt in 1812 and its tower was restored in 1887. Sunday services are being held weekly at 11.00am* with evening services via Zoom at 6.00pm. *The obvious Covid19 restrictions apply so if you would like to attend the service please pre-book by emailing your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Quarrington is located South West of Sleaford centre with the A15 to its West and A153/B1517 to its North and is thought to be the ‘mother’ parish of Old Sleaford. The walk from Quarrington is regarded as ‘easy’ and is just 3-4 miles round trip to Sleaford depending on your route:
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford (Old Sleaford)
Old Sleaford, as you might expect, had its (Northern) border running along the Old (original) River Slea. I’ve also read that there was a Roman road running through Sleaford from Tattershall to Ancaster. My research so far suggests that I have a choice of either King Street or Bloxholm Lane. You can probably guess what town my next blog will focus on then!
Old Sleaford was possibly an iron-age tribal centre but since then it has had links with William the Conqueror in 1086 and had a castle built by Bishop Alexander of Lincoln in around 1120/30. Sadly though the castle fell into disrepair and was demolished in around 1600. During its popularity it played host to both King John and Henry VIII (separately of course)!
The site of the castle is still visible and is shown in this aerial picture. The picture was taken from Wikipedia but there is no evidence of the originator to reference here I’m afraid.
“The visible remains are now only a moat, a scrap of masonry (one small, toppled portion of a wall in the north-east corner of the inner bailey) and associated earthworks”. For more information visit the Wikipedia site. I’ll be paying a visit to the site soon and hope to be able to provide updated pictures.
Further reading Indicates that there was a large Manor House (the Hussey Manor House, build in 1400) at Old Place, Sleaford. It included a moat, gate house, chapel, kiln drying oven and extensive outbuildings. Sadly it was demolished in 1822 to make way for the new building. If you’re planning a visit to the area look up ‘Old Place’, Sleaford.
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Navigation
The river Slea surfaces to the South West of Ancaster at West Willoughby (West of Sleaford) and flows through Sleaford to South Kyme. Here it becomes the Kyme Eau and then joins the River Witham at Chapel Hill.
The diagram shows the seven locks used in the new River Slea while the blue line to the right shows the course of the Old River Slea
The River Slea and the Nine Foot River (or Nine Foot Drain) merge in Sleaford to become one River Slea. As the river passes through the town it becomes part of the Sleaford Navigation. The 12.5 miles canalisation was opened in 1794 to allow continued navigation. Inevitably (with the advent of the railway) it became redundant and fell into disrepair. Thankfully much of it has now been restored and re-opened. The Old River Slea was allowed to run its normal course (South of the canal) and the two rejoin at Cobblers Lock before becoming the Kyme Eau at South Kyme and eventually joining the River Witham.
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Navigation House
Navigation House visitor centre, Sleaford. Click on the picture to go to the website and follow them on Twitter here: @NavigationHouse
The old clerks office (Navigation House) serves as a visitors centre for the canal and incorporates a shop selling local produce. More importantly though it houses a museum and information centre with wall maps, information boards, TV and audio rooms and lots of interesting articles to inform the young and old alike. Built in 1838 this grade II listed building is a piece of history in its on right. When visiting be sure to make your way to Navigation Yard to have a look. I know you’ll be impressed so make it a date in your diary. For up-to-date information give them a follow on Twitter @NavigationHouse
Their current opening times are Friday to Monday 12.00pm-4.00pm. You can ring them on 01529 305904 or email email@example.com to book group tours too.
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Cogglesford Mill
Covid19 is still threatening its ugliness across the world but you’ll find the staff at Coggesford Watermill are very friendly and have your safety in mind. Please do contact them prior to your visit (see the YouTube video above for details). Don’t forget your mask while looking around this historic building though.
From Navigation House you’ll find Coggesford Mill just a short walk away. Look out for the Kingfishers while you’re walking along the river bank. If you’re lucky you’ll see a flash of bright blue as one goes fishing for a snack.
If you’ve come from Navigation House hopefully you bought some duck food for the inevitable feeding spectacular. It’s always a special moment for childen if you have any with you. However, for the adults you’ll find an array of freshly ground flour and other local produce in the shop at Coggesford Mill and if it’s a sunny day you may want to buy an ice cream there too.
Coggesford Water Mill – if this picture downs’e tempt you to visit I don’t know what will…
The mill was originally a single story building but was later extended to three stories. Built in the 18th Century it’s still producing freshly ground flour to this day. Its history goes way back to Saxon times so the building we see today with its two sets of millstones is relatively modern!
Seeing and hearing the mill in action is a real treat so I do hope you get to experience it. I’ve noticed that there is now a virtual tour as well as special school trips so please do get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to book. In fact, please do get in touch before visiting anyway as the Covid19 situation is continually changing.
It’s worth noting that Cogglesford Watermill l is undergoing some improvement and maintenance work at the moment. As a result it is temporarily closed. It’ll be open again in September though in time for the children returning to school. If you’re a teacher and would like to organise a trip please do get in touch. Follow @Cogglesford on Twitter for regular updates.
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Museum
Discover more of the history of Sleaford by visiting the museum. Currently open every Saturday between 10.00am and 3.00pm. Click on the picture to go to the website or follow them on Twitter @MuseumSleaford
This local history museum is a charity run by volunteers. Opening times are limited as I write this blog but please do visit the website and twitter page for updates as additional opening times will inevitably follow the easing of Covid19 restrictions. Don’t forget to book in before arrival to make sure they have a slot available as visits are limited to four people at a time. Keep up to date on Facebook at Sleaford Museum
Historically (excuse the pun) the museum has had exhibitions but they are limited at the moment. Checking the website will give you the full up-to-date details though.
St Deny’s Church is visible from Eastgate (A153/B1517) and is a ‘must see’ Grade I listed building dating back to the 12th Century. Click on the blue links to read more and find them on Facebook here St Deny’s Church Sleaford
Getting there: The address is 81 Southgate (contact number 07518 972016) with plenty of parking and a rail link
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Places Of Interest
Sleaford certainly is a gem in the Lincolnshire countryside with lots of interesting things to do and places to visit. It’s a market town with regular markets on Mondays and Fridays plus a famers market every first Saturday of the month. It also has a thriving shopping area too with independent shops as well as some big chain stores. If you fancy some shopping and a bite to eat or a drink you’ll be spoilt for choice. Just 7 minutes drive from St Deny’s Church in Sleaford is Kirkby-La-Thorpe. Here you’ll find the 12th Century small church which also happens to be called The Church Of St Denny’s.
The Queens Head Bar And Restaurant
Kirkby-La-Thorpe is worthy of a mention because of its church of course but also the village pub which was formerly called The Queens Head Inn (on Boston Road). The original pub achieved the prestigious Top 13 Pub in the UK award with its fantastic food and great value. It closed in early 2019 due to a combination of COVID19 and the death of a former owner. Since then it has been taken over by a new team who’ve been putting in the hours and hard work to completely renovate and rejuvenate it. New menus are planned with the emphasis on locally sourced produce.
The Queens Head team have been posting their progress on Twitter so if you would like to follow their journey click on this link: @QueensKirkby now. You can join in with the chat there and watch the changes being made as well as the new menus coming to life.
New beginnings means a new logo and I think this one is very smart. It’s modern and fresh which reflects nicely what the new owners aim to achieve. You can follow them on Twitter @QueensKirkbyFor reservations call 01529 305743 or visit the website www.thequeensheadpub.com
Cocktails At The Queens
Here is the new Cocktails List for the New Pub. Why not save the list to your phone and place your order when you get there?
The Queens Head is set to open its doors once again as a pub on 19 July 2021 and the restaurant will be opening shortly after. Put Sunday 1 August in your diary for the restaurant but don’t forget to book your table in advance to avoid disappointment. I have no doubt that this is going to be a very popular local pub and restaurant once again.
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford Music
You can’t really write about Sleaford without mentioning the Saboteurs so sit back and have a listen to one or two of their songs. They bill themselves as ‘alternative’ and ‘grunge’ but I just like their modern Indie feel. Have a listen and make up your own mind.
The Saboteurs bill themselves as ‘Alternative’ and ‘Grunge’ but if you like modern indie music I think you’ll agree that whatever labels they put themselves under, they’re simply ‘very good’. Click on the picture to hear a different sample of their music.
Sleaford seems to have more that it’s fair share of music opportunities so it wouldn’t be right to omit the Sleaford Live Fest which is (normally) held in May every year. Follow them on Twitter @Sleaford_Live and Facebook Sleaford Live Festival where you’ll find lots of links to local music and arts events. Indie rock or folk music isn’t for everyone of course so if you prefer choral music, Sleaford has that too. Normal rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings with at least three concerts each year. However, with the onslaught of the dreaded Covid19, rehearsals have been put on hold until August 2021. For more information take a look at the Sleaford Choral Society website and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter too @ChoralSleaford
Mandarin Therapies provides bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home across the whole County and beyond. Treatments include Aromatherapy, Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and much more while @MandarinMothers provides the same top class service for expectant and postnatal mothers. These treatments also include tuition for partners to make sure my ladies receive the best possible care whenever they want it. For bookings call 07966 174878. Mandarin Therapies celebrated 30 years in business on 14 February 2021 and has many, many happy clients.
WhatsOnLincs – Sleaford Oktoberfest
The annual Oktoberfest organised by Sleaford round Table has been around since 2011 but had the obvious break during the Coronavirus pandemic. As a charity fund raising event the Oktoberfest raised a whopping £11,500 in 2019. With your help I’m sure it’ll raise even more this year.
Sleaford & District Round Table presents the 10th Sleaford Oktoberfest Click on the picture to go to the website
With drinks, music and entertainment planned it’s bound to be a good event. Sixteen different breweries will be involved including five from Lincolnshire. In addition there will be lager, cider and perry on sale too plus a gin and schnapps bar. I think pretty much all tastes will be catered for!
The bar will be open until midnight each night (from 6.00pm on Thursday and Friday and from 12.00pm on Saturday) with an Oompah band entertaining from 4.00pm and 7.15pm on Saturday. The band line up can be found by visiting the Sleaford Oktoberfest website.
It’s all happening at the Boston Road Recreation Ground and free parking is available. It’s a ticket free event so please pay at the entrance where you’ll be issued with a wristband to prove payment.
More Places To Visit
This blog really could go and and on as there are so many places to visit in the Sleaford area. The blog isn’t a definitive ‘what’s on’ for the area though so as a result I’ll cut the next bit short just to give you a taster:
Tickets are on sale for the performances so if you want to join the fun just click on the picture below to go to the ticket office:
Click on the picture to book your tickets
If walking is your preferred form of relaxation and mindfulness then Sleaford has certainly got you covered. The River Slea and Canal offer scenic routes with locks and mills being just part of the delights. This is one of the routes provided by Sleaford Navigation which I’m sure you will enjoy. Keep your eyes open for the Haverholme Priory too. Follow the link to read about the sad demise of the priory building. Personally I think it’s really quite tragic.
Click on the picture to read and download the walk which has been uploaded by Sleaford Navigation
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford – Charity
Charity begins with you and me but with so many charities needing our help it’s difficult to know which ones to choose. This North Kesteven website has a list of local charities in Sleaford so if you’re able to donate or volunteer please do click on the picture below for more information:
Are you able to help a local charity? Click on the picture to go to a list of local charities in Sleaford. Perhaps you can volunteer or make a donation?
In Case You Missed It
Take a look back at some of the previous blogs to see what you might have missed. Click on the picture to go straight to the blog:
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Gainsborough
#LincsConnectJobs Hour for jobs and courses
Great Grimsby Day 2021
Around Me In Lincolnshire – Sleaford
That’s it for now. I hope you enjoy my local ‘Around Me’ blogs. I’ll be grateful for any comments and feedback so feel free to email me at email@example.com
If you would like me to visit your town please do let me know. Advertising comes with a FREE link to the blog for as long as you want it so you can use it again and again to help promote your business or charity.
As I write this blog (25 September) it’s exactly three months until Christmas. Yes, I’ve said it again …. ‘Christmas’ is coming and Lincolnshire businesses need to be ready for it. I’ve been talking about it for a few weeks and now the BBC have finally caught up with me. Dare I say, if you haven’t started gearing up for Christmas you’re already late to the party! The major shops are gearing up for Christmas NOW with predicted record online sales. To those of you who groaned when I mentioned Christmas I sincerely hope you manage to catch up with the traders who are already planning. The big spending retailers ‘will’ take your market from under you so isn’t it time to get your advertising sorted?
Don’t forget, Christmas ‘is’ coming to Lincolnshire so make sure you’re prepared.
Click on this picture to find out what you’ve been missing on Twitter
Time To Catch Up
You may already know about the Lincolnshire based #LincsArtCraftHour and #LincsConnectChristmas hashtags on twitter but did you know that the hashtags also work on Facebook? Try it today because it’s free and local. Just type in #LincsConnectChristmas to your Facebook search bar to see what and who are there. FREE and it’s LOCAL sounds good so isn’t it time you engaged with the hashtags?
Search for the hashtags on Google, you’ll find that they’ve been ‘trending’ – now ‘that’ really is impressive! Follow the links below to go to the relevant pages for the Lincolnshire people who’ve already started planning and producing fabulous creations for Christmas. The blue links under their logos will take you straight to the relevant pages to make life easier for you too.
Join The List
To have your name added to this list just join in the Twitter hour on Monday lunchtime to qualify. It doesn’t matter if the day or time doesn’t fit in with your schedule because the hashtags are always there and ready for you. Shouldn’t you try it today in when you have a moment? Additionally, if you’d like to have a feature here and a link to your website please talk to me about advertising. The rest is FREE.
Remember, the #ShopLocal hashtag doesn’t work as a medium to get local customers because it’s used so widely around the world. Trust me, ‘I’ invented it! As a result I went on to invented#LincsConnect and can assure you that this hashtag ‘does’ work. After all, it’s truly local to Lincolnshire and our neighbours. You can use and search the#LincsConnect hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to find your truly local traders so why not give it a try today?
Christmas ‘is’ coming to Lincolnshire so should.t you be a part of it? #LincsConnect is always here for you.
Christmas is coming so now is the time to order your Lincolnshire Christmas Gift Voucher for that extra special gift. A luxurious Mandarin Therapies bespoke massage from the comfort of your own home. What better way to let someone know how much you care? Call now to book your voucher 07966 174878. Click on the picture to start the video
What are your thoughts on holding more LincsConnect dedicated Twitter hours? Try following the link above to read some of my ideas and perhaps come up with some of your own. The more people interact with these hashtags, the more we will be able to help each other. Give it a try.
If you’re a Lincolnshire blogger and would like to have a link to your blog on here? I’ll be more than happy to hear from you.
Get the Covid-19 App NOW. If you haven’t got it already, click on this picture to go straight to the NHS website that will help you produce the required posters and direct you to the .Gov link to produce your own QR code. It’s easy – even I can do it!
Create A Coronavirus QR Code For Your Venue
Click on this picture to go straight to the relevant .Gov website page
If you are a Lincolnshire business, charity or organisation that has a venue or multiple venues you need to generate a QR Code for visitors to scan using the new Covid-19 App. The QR code will be sent to your email address for you to print and display.
Mobile businesses can still generate a QR code with your home or office address as the location. On arrival ask your client(s) to scan your QR code. The App will scan distances between smartphones and will send an alert to the person or people you have been in contact with if there is a risk of infection. It’s pure voluntary and does rely on people having the App on a smartphone but, as the saying goes, ‘every little helps’. Obviously it isn’t a substitute for keeping a 2m safe distance, washing your hands or wearing a suitable face covering over your mouth and nose but it is another tool to be utilised in the fight against this invisible virus.
Be good to yourself and to others. Keep your distance, keep washing your hands and keep a mask that covers both your nose and mouth with you and wear it as instructed.
The simple answer here is ‘yes’ and ‘no’! How many times have you seen posts on social media with the hashtag #ShopLocal on it? As crazy as it may sound, the hashtag really isn’t much use if you’re using it to help people find you. It’s fine as a statement of fact on your post but when you search for it you’ll find that the posts are anything but local. In fact, the posts you’ll find there are for all around the world so if you’re expecting people to find your cheese that you produced in Sleaford I strongly suggest you think again! When I set up Lincs Connect in 2012 I experimented with several hashtags and names before settling on #LincsConnect. Other examples of my trial hashtags included #ShopLocal (ironically I created this hashtag in January 2011 for use on my @MANDARINLEISURE account but scrapped it because it went global) #SupportLincolnshire #SupportLincolnshireBusiness #SupportLocal #SupportLocalBusiness with the latter being shortened to #SLBiz. However, my early research made me realise that the ‘Support…’ hashtags were just too long and people refused to use them because of the amount of space they took up on the posts. Another reason for scrapping them was because they start with the word ‘Support’. When searching social media for relevant hashtags to do with Lincolnshire you’ll find that typing the letters ‘Linc’ into the search bar will give you LincsConnect on twitter and Lincs Connect on Facebook in the top three names to visit. Compare that to typing in ‘Support’ which will give you all sorts of connotations from TwitterSupport to a whole host of other national and international business support sites. It makes sense then that the hashtag to use on your tweets needs to be #LincsConnect as it is at the top of your searches and is truly local to Lincolnshire.
How To Use A Hashtag
If you’re happily adding hashtags to your post but never searching them you’ve truly missed s trick! Here’s what to do: Type in #LincsConnect in your search bar then press enter. Don’t click on the account @LincsConnect as that’ll take you to the account only which means you’ll miss all the good information. Once your device takes you to the messages on the #LincsConnect timeline you need to look for the ‘Latest’ tab at the top of the Twitter page. If you type #LincsConnect into the search bar on Facebook you’ll need to look for the ‘Posts’ tab at the top of the page (this’ll also show you related Instagram posts). Once you’ve discovered these pages you’ll realise that there is a huge amount of information, business posts, personal posts, charity posts and requests for help etc etc that are all related to our local area. Try it now to see what you can find. It’s a fantastic way to network and find out what’s going on locally.
How do you support local? Is it as easy as going to the local shops and picking something from the shelves? In case you hadn’t considered it before, let me share some of my ideas about shopping and supporting locals:
Shop locally – supporting local traders by buying their produce in local shops, garden centres, farm shops and markets
Online – Many local traders have online shops. A more cost effective way of selling may be via platforms like Etsy shops or even selling directly via social media
Don’t forget the local charity shops. Dropping off your unwanted items is absolutely crucial but don’t forget they are there to help raise funds for the many worthy causes that otherwise would’t survive without our support. Buying from the shops is absolutely essential if the charities are to survive.
Social media – In the 10 years that I’ve been running #LincsConnect I’ve noticed some big changes in how people use the various platforms. I’ve noticed a big rise in the professionally run accounts (some companies run several accounts for different clients) and I’ve also noticed the reluctance of many accounts to share anyone else messages or support others. I’ll talk more about these two subjects later.
Obviously there are many other ways to support local businesses, charities and organisation but I’ll focus on my main observations first if that’s OK?
This concept certainly isn’t new. However, during the Covid19 pandemic it has become much more important and (thankfully) much more prolific. We know how important our local CoOp, Post office, newsagent and Spar shops are. Many of them are in walking distance (for those who are able) and stock locally produced products. Perhaps, with the use of ‘people power’ they might be able to stock more local local produce to help the local economy even further. A polite request from customers or local traders may be all it takes. It’s worth a try! In addition to helping to support local traders (including the shop owners and staff) it must have also come to your attention that during the lockdown there have been less emissions, less fossil fuel burned and less litter. All of these positives are good for the planet so let’s see if we can maintain our recent good practices.
This isn’t something that I have ever considered for my own businesses before Covid19 but it is something that I have been doing during the lockdown. FaceTime and WhatsApp video calling has been a fantastic way to maintain contact with my clients while reducing my fuel usage in my truck. It’s definitely a practice that I intend to maintain. During the lockdown I’ve been busy writing blogs and searching for companies who sell online. Some are using Etsy, some use Facebook and others use Twitter. I’m sure there are other platforms that are equally as good or even better but I haven’t come across them yet. The obvious choice and probably the most popular is direct selling from websites. Many people have their own eCommerce shop on their website which is easily maintained by the trader and convenient for the customer. If, like me, you are a bit of a technophobe you’ll be able to find website designers who will be able to build a site for you or help you with your existing site. If you would like to get in touch with any designers please feel free to ask me for some suggestions. After all, that is what Lincs ‘Connect’ is for!
I often include charities in my blogs because I feel they need all the help they can get. I’ve focused on very small charities through to the very big charities and the one thing that they all have in common is their use of social media. The posts may not raise funds directly but their constant presence certainly helps to raise your awareness of them
Share The Love
Looking at the various accounts on social media I often make up my mind whether I should support them or not simply by looking at their posts. The ones who never share anyone else posts, have conversations or try in any way to support anyone else is a big red flag for me. I find myself asking the question ‘why should I support them when they don’t support others and are very unlikely to support me?’ I’m a big believer in helping others so when I find someone who shows no interest other than to post their own tweets I tend to move on to find someone who is more sociable and supportive.
Buying And Selling
I’ve noticed Fiona @OrigArtPrints on Twitter while searching the #LincsConnect hashtag and really like what she has been painting on old maps. Her main sales come from Craft Shows but obviously they haven’t been open over the last few months so, being creative she turned her attention to Facebook and Twitter for her sales. Facebook has been successful but Twitter less so. However, her Twitter account is a good platform for showcasing what she does and for directing people to her Facebook account. It is important to use more than one platform on social media if you want to increase your client base. It’ll be interesting to see if future sales turn more towards social media and less towards the craft fairs. Only time will tell. I think these paintings on old maps are fabulous. You have to admit, they do bring the map to life. Here is another example:
If you would like more information about Fionas art just click on the picture for a link to her Facebook page. I’m sure she will be happy to see you there and you’ll be Able to see selections of her cards and key rings too.
Websites, Social Media And YouTube
I’m no expert of course but it does appear to me that one of the best ways to find a website (given that you probably didn’t know the sites name or even that you wanted to make a purchase) is through social media. I’ll say that bit again just to clarify, “through ‘social’media”. Why the emphasis on ‘social’? Well, I’ve noticed far too often that many people are using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to show off their products and gain new customers but quite often don’t realise that they need to talk to their followers to get continued engagement and (hopefully) new sales. Put it this way, if you don’t talk to me on social media I’m not likely to notice you. On the other hand, if you do talk to me but I don’t talk back you’ll soon stop talking to me. Either way, I would be the loser so that’s why it’s always best to be ‘social’ on social media! While being pre-occupied with social media I almost forgot about YouTube. Surely I can’t be the only person who searches YouTube on a very regular basis for music and information? I do think it’s a great platform for showing your products (you’ll have seen some of my YouTube videos if you’ve been reading my other blogs), courses and skills. While the social media could drive potential customers to your website the same driving force could apply to YouTube. I feature a local band of the week each day on twitter and invariably I find the bands on Twitter or Facebook first then either follow a link to their YouTube channel or take a few seconds to search for them in the YouTube search bar. This band (Saboteurs) from Sleaford have really got my attention this week. You can follow them on Twitter @sabsbanduk for regular music posts and updates about upcoming gigs when Covid19 restrictions allow. Alternatively you can go straight to their website www.saboteursband.co.uk for lots more info and a chance to purchase their new album.
The Saboteurs YouTube channel – just click on the picture to go straight there. It’s as easy as that and if you like good Indie music I think you’ll like this too
See You Soon…
I hope you like my brief blog about using social media for selling and finding new customers. Please feel free to leave a comment below and share the post with your friends and contacts. Hopefully I’ll see you when I search the #LincsConnect hashtag again soon.
Bespoke Complementary Therapies from the comfort of your own home
Are you a lunchtime or evening meal sort of person? Whether you prefer to call it dinner or tea it makes no difference but I’m guessing the majority of people reading this will have their main meal in the evening. Perhaps the ‘lockdown’ has helped to change your eating habits? I do know that initially (way back in March) we were all suddenly thinking about food and toilet rolls. However, the initial rush and panic seems to be over now and our shopping habits are starting to return to something close to normal. Have you been missing your normal foods though? Many of them have been in short supply and we have been discouraged from nipping out to our favourite restaurants to eat with friends. However, some Lincolnshire companies have come up with some ingenious ways of surviving the lockdown so I thought I would share with you some of the establishments that I know of who are still trading and supplying take-away food and drink for us all to enjoy.
We don’t have to wait for the sun to go down to enjoy our dinner (or is it tea)? but it does pay to plan ahead. If you’re looking for something for lunch, dinner or an evening feast let’s see if we can share some ideas. I’ll list some of the Lincolnshire establishments that I know of but it certainly won’t be exhaustive so if you know someone that I’ve missed out please let me know in the comments below:
Caythorpe Water Mill are providing takeaway pizzas and burgers so if you’re in the area why not pre-book yours today? Just click on the picture to place your order or telephone 01507 451366
Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese provide delivery throughout the UK as well as pre-arranged sales direct from the farm. Click on the logo to go straight to their website www.lincolnshirepoachercheese.com or follow them on twitter @Poachercheese
Mail order Poacher Cheese delivered straight to your door. Click on the picture to go to the Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese Twitter page
Apley Lamb (Near Wragby) offers a free local delivery of freshly boxed lamb cut to order. Click on the logo to go straight to their facebook page or follow on Twitter @ApleyLamb
Post Covid-19 – Are We Ready?
Without doubt things have changed. The way we have lived our lives, the way we have thought, the way we have communicated, the way we have shopped….. A huge proportion of what we’ve done over the last few months has changed compared to what we were doing in February. I never would have thought that I would have managed without my car but since the Covid-19 outbreak my car has been on the drive and hasn’t moved other than to roll it forwards or backwards a few inches to prevent flat spots on the tyres. There will be a time in the not too distant future when I’ll be using it again of course. Being a mobile masseur and Personal Trainer I’ll need to be thinking of ways to see my clients again while keeping them (and myself) safe. We do of course, have the threat of re-infection looming over us so now is the time to make adjustments to help prevent that from happening.
Social media has been a lifeline for many of us as it’s allowed us to maintain contact with friends and followers throughout the lockdown. I’ve used it to collate lots of information and keep in touch with all sorts of people. It’s reminded me just how resilient we are and how well we can adapt. However, we are entering a new era at the moment where some of our old rules and precautions need to be revised. Shops are starting to open again which really is positive news but I wonder how many shop owners and local businesses have really thought through the precautions required for safely re-opening or increasing the staff levels in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19? Social (or should that be ‘physical’) distancing is at the top of our agenda at the moment of course. Those of us who have used the supermarkets recently have become used to it very quickly and the small businesses (butchers, bakers, local food stores) have become adept at restricting the numbers of people allowed in the shop at once.
Recent conversations on social media with Alex of The Specialist Safety Group have made me realise that many of us may not be as ready as we thought we were for the ‘grand re-opening’ of our businesses. Yes, we all know about distancing and restricted entry to our businesses but have we considered other Health & Safety at Work issues too? We don’t want, or anticipate having a fire at work but we have to plan for it. How would fire evacuation change with the new distancing precautions? Perhaps we have a dedicated first responder at work should someone be taken ill. Have rules change with the distancing precautions? Perhaps insurance companies may require us to have new documentation/risk assessments post lockdown? What about cleaning? Will our ‘normal’ cleaning practices need to change? I know my cleaning practices will have to change. My massage couch and exercise equipment will need to be cleaned with different solutions from now on.
If you have any concerns about starting up again and returning to ‘business as normal’ you might like to chat to Alex at the Specialist Safety Group Ltd. He has a dedicated ‘Return To Work Safely’ package that normally costs around £339.00 but by quoting this LincsConnect blog you’ll be able to receive a 10% discount. I’m sure this offer won’t last forever though so contact Alex on 07870 760 145 to confirm your discount. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the logo above to go straight to the website
Stourton Estates is delivering Venison around the County and orders over £25.00 can enjoy FREE delivery within 20 miles of LN9 5PB
Mountain Abbey Parks Farm Shop selling fresh and cooked meats, chutneys, plumb bread….. You’ll need to click on the picture to follow the link to their Facebook page for a full list!
Fully online and sold locally around the County you can easily get your hands on some of these award winning botanical chocolates. simply click on the logo to go straight to Fionas’ website to learn more or click this link Sciolti Chocks to follow on Facebook
Sandhams Wine Merchant in Caistor offer both in store (social distance rules apply) and mail order options with a huge range of wines and easy to navigate price list. Click on this link to go to their Facebook page or click on their logo to go straight to the website
Docks Beers is more than just ‘beer’ but you’ll need to visit their shop to discover their full range – and it’s all delivered too! If you fancy a gin, they’ve got that covered too. click on the logo to go straight to their website/shop.
For more information about Docks Beers click on the photo to go to their facebook page or follow them on twitter @DocksBeers
Message In A Bottle deliver a huge range of drinks across Cleethorpes & Grimsby. From local to international beers, gins, rums…. You need to check their website for a full list. You can find them on Facebook by clicking on their logo or or on Twitter @miabcleethorpes
This picture says it all so just click on it to go straight to the order page. Enjoy
Let’s Get Back to Doing What We Do Best
I don’t know about you but I’m really ‘chomping at the bit’ to get cracking again. I love helping people and making them feel better whether that’s through exercise, massage, injury rehabilitation or injury prevention. Many people will have been suffering with stress related problems since the lockdown and my diary is already starting to fill with new clients who are suffering with neck, shoulder, back and sleep issues as a result of the lockdown. If you are in need of help please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or pay a visit to my website www.mandarintherapies.com or www.mandarinfitness.com where you’ll get a better idea of what I have to offer. I’m also on facebook of course Mandarin Therapies & Mandarin Fitness so feel free to follow me there too.
CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO PLAY THE FULL VIDEO
When I say I have a website; if you visit it you’ll quickly notice that it’s a very old site. I do have a new one but I would much rather be doing my fitness and therapies than ‘wasting time’ on the website stuff! Am I alone? Does anyone else put off doing admin ‘stuff’ in favour of getting on with the real work?
As a sole trader I really value my time with clients and would much rather be doing what I do best than shuffling paper and files! Needless to say, much of my admin work gets put off to the last minute before getting actioned. I know I shouldn’t but…!
Perhaps I should consider the services of a Virtual Assistant (VA)? I’ve been chatting to Nikki from www.Time4U-VA.co.uk who certainly seems to have the admin sorted! My muddled, dyslexic brain is reflected on my muddled and (seemingly) disorganised desk. Unlike Nikki who is adept at multi tasking with a clear desk. Is there such a thing as desk envy?
Perhaps it’s time to re-think my working practices? I know that I’m going to have to work very long hours (and probably 7 days a week) to catch up with the backlog of work over the months between now and Christmas. I’m guessing that my experience will be mirrored across many industries and not least by the food & drink industries. Let’s face it, Lincolnshire has some fine artisan food and drink producers as well as some fantastic restaurants and bars. Preparing and serving or delivering these fantastic products is a passion for most but I wonder how many really have the time for updating menus and completing the admin? Don’t get me started on book keeping! Thankfully I don’t have payroll issues being a sole trader but I can imagine they will be a necessary evil for many businesses. Perhaps ‘now’ is the time to consider how we are going to tackle the admin while staying on top of our game with our work. Perhaps Nikki can help you?
Click on the logo to go straight to the website
Fully Online – You can order your No 12 Chocolatier handmade chocolates online now and receive them in the post. That’s an offer you can hardly refuse! Follow @No12Chocolatier on Twitter and just click on the picture to go straight to the online shop.
Uncle Henrys Farm Shop is providing a home delivery service within a range of 10 miles but don’t let the Gainsborough address fool you as it’s situated on the A15 and the delivery range is quite extensive. Click on the picture to follow them on Facebook or follow them on twitter from here: @unclehenryslinc
Brakes Food Hub in Grantham provides the full call & collection service for all of your food shopping from fresh to frozen to cake to…. you’ll need to click on the picture to go to their website to see more. Offering a call and collect service 7 days a week. Tel 0344 800 4900 (option 4) place your order. Follow @John_Nicky on twitter too for more updates.
Gelston Lamb deliver in the Grantham/Sleaford areas. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter for more updates @GelstonLamb
Teaspoon Tea Company have a free local delivery service and a full mail order selection including tea, coffee, gift packs, gift vouchers, birthday cards, chocolate by @No12Chocolatier honey by @ArtisanHoneyCo and quite a bit more. Click on the picture to go to their website. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised
Anderson’s Family Butchers are providing a ‘text and collect’ system in Heighington. Simply text our order then collect when it’s ready. 07983003435 or 07880745083 – click on the picture to follow on Facebook
The Inn On The Green, Ingham (on the outskirts of Lincoln) are providing a local takeaway service of food and drinks. Click on the photo to go straight to the order form and you can follow them on Facebook The Inn On The Green Ingham
The Bowl Full Tapas restaurant will be providing pre-paid take away meals from 15 May. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page or follow them on twitter @BowlFullTapas
Browns Pie Shop – Orders are cooked and delivered cold for re-heating at home. Orders can be delivered or collected. Click on this picture for more info or call 07809 477126 to pace an order
Cafe Portico are now providing take away pizza for your delight. Orders taken from your car (or on foot if you’re walking there), cooked to order and delivered fresh to you when it’s ready. All made possible with mobile contactless payments. Click on the logo to visit their Facebook page or go to their website for the latest menu www.cafeportico.co.uk You can also follow them on twitter @CaffePortico
Grow Your Own
Isn’t it fantastic that we have all of these lovely local Lincolnshire restaurants, cafes and takeaways who’re working hard to serve us during the lockdown and beyond. They really have been up against it and are a testament to the resilience that has been so evident during the lockdown. Being in Lincolnshire we’re lucky to have such wide open spaces with lots of farmers producing some superb crops for us and for the local restaurants. Wouldn’t it be nice though if we could produce some of the fruit and vegetables for ourselves? Not all of us are able to enjoy a large garden so perhaps a vegetable patch isn’t a high priority when we need to consider making our space into a multi purpose area for children to play and for us to relax. However, having chatted to Simon (you may remember him from previous blogs) I think he’s found the perfect solution. If you have space for a straw bale in your garden or yard it appears that you have space for a vegetable patch!
Having looked around Simon’s website I’m at a loss as to what to include here. Not only does he run StrawbaleVeg growing courses from your own home (corporate events too) but he sells own brand seeds at realistic prices. I was very impressed to learn that while some others had increased prices significantly during the lockdown Simon kept his prices static. Well done Sir, I’m very impressed. It’s little things like this that catch my attention and impress me the most. I digress – who would have thought that you could grow your vegetables in a concrete yard or in such a small space? Obviously Simon did and I think it’s a fantastic idea. I was going to include pictures of the vegetable seeds that he supplies but there are far to many to list here. If you click on the picture above you’ll be taken straight to the www.strawbaleveg.co.uk website where you’ll be able to make your won selection and have them delivered.
Click on this picture to purchase The Strawbale Gardeners Handbook Vol 1
Would you believe that Simon has also produced an eBook which can be downloaded by clicking on the picture above ‘and’ a DVD that can be purchased from the website www.strawbaleveg.co.uk – you have been busy Simon!
Curry Jacks provides a mobile service around the Lincoln area on a Pre-Order basis. Take a look at their Facebook page for regular updates by clicking on the logo or follow on Twitter @CurryJackscaf
Damons, Doddington Road, Lincoln will be offering a drive through service from Thursday 21 May 20. Call ahead with your order (01522) 887722 or click on the menu to visit their website
Doddington Hall Farm Shop are still open for your shopping but please obey the social distancing rules. Follow them on Twitter @DoddingtonHall or click on the logo to find them on facebook.
FAB Craft Beer from Fiskerton are busy delivering boxed beer as well as bottled beers around the Lincoln area so why not click on the picture to follow them on Facebook or perhaps follow them on Twitter too @FABcraftbeer
The Garden Tea Room in North Hykeham is providing a Lincoln and surrounding area home delivery service for a modest £2.00 and they also have cakes, cheesecakes and lots more goodies to choose from. Click on this picture to follow them on Facebook and take a look at their menu below:
Burton Waters is the home to The Greek House who are now providing takeaway meals. Have a look at their menu and pre-order on 01522 542758. Click on the menu to follow them on Facebook
Imperial Teas of Lincoln are providing FREE DELIVERY on their mail order teas and coffees right now. That’s a great offer that can’t last forever so be sure to get your order in quickly. You can follow Imperial Teas Lincoln on facebook or on Twitter @Imperial_Teas Click on the logo to go straight to website to make your order – If you like your coffee strong I can personally recommend the Voodoo Comet.
Lincolnshire Brewing Company – delivering a selection of beers to suite every taste or collect directly from Langworth. Click on the picture to find them on facebook or follow them on Twitter @LincsBrewCo
MaCH Indian Restaurant (Wragby Road) are now offering a takeaway service. Click on the logo to find them on Facebook or go straight to their website to place your order www.machrestaurant.co.uk
Ole Ole Tapas Bar offer a delivery and (social distancing) collection service for their meals. Click on the logo to go to their Facebook page and click on the link here to go straight to their menu/order form www.oleolelincoln.co.uk or call them on 01522 534222
Lincoln & Gainsborough – Redhill Farm Shop offer a delivery and contactless collection service with safe in-store shopping too. Click on the picture to go straight to their website or follow them on Twitter @RedhillFarmPork
Sammys Chinese takeaway is set to open again on 20 May with social distancing rules in place (of course). Click on the picture to go to the ‘Lincoln food To Go’ Facebook group page. You can find Sammy’s Kitchen at Unit 11 Lambeth House, Woodhall Drive and you can call to make your order on 01522 567333
Cafe Shanti Vegan restaurant are now doing take away hot and frozen food (including breakfasts and curries) so why not order yours today? you can call them on 07735161481 or find them on twitter @Cafe_Shanti and Facebook by clicking on the picture
Veg Out Lincoln provides a delivery service in the Lincoln area including a vegan inspired recipe box and plant powered food plan. Gemma will have her new online booking site and new website ready very soon but in the mean time you can contact her through twitter @vegoutincoln or click on the picture for a link to her book
Beaumon’t Deli on Bridge Street in Louth are open to take your orders. You can follow them on Facebook Beaumont’s Deli or call 01507 355927
Takeaway Weekends. Call 01778346952 to order or click on this picture to go to the website
Cote Hill Cheese delivers cheese and milk locally. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page
Minting (near Wragby) Farm Shop has a collection service with your safety in mind. Give them a call today to place your order. Click on the logo to go straight to their website
Lymn Bank Farm handmade cheese. FREE delivery on orders over £20.00. You can follow them on Twitter @lymnbankfarm or click on this logo to go straight to their Facebook page
FREE DELIVERY. Go too www.postacheese.com for details and your order form or click on this picture to take you straight there.
A Little Luxury Distillery is still taking orders for Gin & Rum which will be delivered direct to your home. Click on the picture to go to the shop or follow on Facebook A Little Luxury and Twitter @ALittleLuxuryLt
A real pub providing real beer. Buy a bottle and bring it back to get a refill – what an excellent idea. Click on the picture to find them on Facebook for an up-to-date- list of times and ales
Takeaway Afternoon Tea from @TheElm_Tree just outside Spilsby. Click on the picture to find them on Facebook and don’t forget, you can buy gift vouchers too!
Woodhall Spa Bakery & Delicatessen provides fresh bread, cakes meats and much more. A gem in the Woodhall Spa crown offering Safe Distancing shopping. Click the picture to go to their Facebook page
The India Village restaurant and takeaway are providing takeaway meals during the lockdown. If you would like to order your meal click on the logo to go to the website or follow them on Facebook India Village. Alternatively you can give them a call on 01526 354657 or 01526 352223
The Tea House In The Woods is providing a range of foods from Afternoon Tea to Roast Meals and they’re all Take Away too with strict social distancing rules. click on the picture to go to their website or give them a ring on 01526 354455. You can also find them on Facebook at Tea House In The Woods
All this talk of food has made me quite hungry! This list is going to be added to but I’m going to get myself something to eat now. Bon appetite everyone and please don’t forget to let me know if there are any takeaway/safe shopping food outlets that need to be on here as I can add them later.
Mandarin Therapies provides a bespoke mobile complementary therapies service from the comfort of your own home. Gift vouchers are available now then book your massage for later in the year. Mandarin Therapies “Feel the difference”
How secure is secure? Information on your computer, smartphone or TV could be at risk. There is some fantastic support around to help and guide so read on to discover what I’ve found:
How secure Is Secure? – Suspicious emails
Having had a few comments on my blogs my suspicions were raised as I noted the addresses of the emails. It’s nice to think my posts have reached a large global audience .de (Germany) and .xyz (who knows where?) but beware! Don’t approve comments without first checking their credibility. How? I put the question out to social media and as a result I received an interesting tweet from Liam @ZaddleMarketing
Liam advised me not to click any links or email addresses in those suspicious comments, confirming my fears that these posts were SPAM. A good security plugin for my WordPress site will solve the problem. Thank you Liam for your sound advice.
There are lots of good people on social media who can be trusted of which Liam is one. It’s always best to ask the question of your contacts if ever you’re in doubt.
Thank You Kerrin
Thank you Kerrin @Kerrinwilson999 for your hospitality (and the lovely cake of course). It was lovely to meet you and I’m looking forward to extending the reach of LincsConnect to include regular posts by you and your team. Thankfully I have already had some security tips from some of your colleagues and that information has proved invaluable. Hopefully you’ll enjoy my short post here today and will have time to add a comment too.
Meetings always seem more productive with cake!
Getting It Right By Chance
I’ve heard that smart speakers listen to our conversations. It’s not uncommon for adverts to pop up on our social media platforms directly relating to a conversation the previous day. It’s extremely uncommon (I’m led to believe) that an iMac can be infected but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it’ll happen to me!
Technology and I don’t always gel I’m afraid. Having feared the worst following a rash of phishing emails (ransom emails sent to my inbox supposedly from my own address) it was time for action. The safest solution was to contact Lincolnshire Police Cyber Crime Unit who responded very quickly with a visit to my office.
A full inspection of my computer confirmed that the emails were really just phishing emails and should be deleted. A nagging feeling that something wasn’t right remained after several other incidents with my computer. As a result I contacted Apple who decided a full restore and section by section re-build was required. I’m happy now that my computer and details are safe once again. If you’re worried about your online safety and security don’t hesitate to contact a professional for help.
What if it’s true that the smart devices can leak our information? A recent BBC Panorama programme about Amazon revealed that they knowingly and openly harvest and use our information. I don’t think the machines (or people) are listening to every conversation but when key words are detected the link is made with you and your devices.
Recent news reports highlighted that smart devices can be hacked and accessed remotely. The video doorbells, video baby monitors and even smart TVs and smart fridges are all susceptible to hackers. Accessing our personal data can be very upsetting and worrying of course so we need to protect ourselves.
How secure is secure? If we can access any devices from our smartphone it’s a fair bet that the unscrupulous criminals can do the same. The smart fridge, smart monitor and smart TV come with factory settings and passwords. These settings can be found easily online so to prevent hacking make sure you change the passwords immediately.
Hacking your fridge isn’t too much of a problem of course but accessing your router from your fridge or your smart TV etc may be more sinister.
How Secure Is Secure? Passwords
The obvious and most basic form of self protection is strong passwords. Do change the passwords from factory settings to something that you can remember. Family, friends or pets names do not make good passwords. These names are likely to crop up on your social media pages at some point so can easily be guessed.
Random passwords are by far the best option. For the best security have different passwords for different logins. There are some very clever Apps around that can store your passwords for you but I’m sure you’ll have a system that works for you.
You can secure your devices by making sure they are protected by a security password, facial recognition, finger print and VPN (I’ll cover VPN later).
It’s better to be safe than sorry! Keeping your personal information safe should be a high priority and simple precautions may be all you need.
If you have data stored on you mobile device make sure it’s protected with a security code and backed up regularly. Some devices can be deleted remotely; Check so see if you can do that with your own device and make sure you learn how to do it.
How Secure Is Secure? Two Factor Authenticaton
Added security comes with two factor authentication – that’s when you get an alert on your chosen device to tell you that someone is accessing your other devices. My iPhone will prompt me to confirm that I am who I say I am when I log onto my computer. As a result I have to type in a ‘one time’ code before the computer will let me in. It takes seconds and provides an extra level of security.
Mandarin Therapies bespoke mobile complementary therapies includes aromatherapy, antenatal & postnatal treatments and wellness as injury prevention and rehab. Tel 07966 174878 to book your massage bliss
How Secure Is Secure?
Change your passwords from factory settings to secure ones that aren’t easily guessed. Use a different password for every device. So you’re good to go….? Well, not quite! Your router may not be secure so if you’re not sure ask your provider to guide you through changing the factory set password.
You’re ‘almost’ there… You’re now safe in your own home but not when you’re out and about if you’re using public WiFi. How secure is that system? Your final piece of security is VPN.
What is VPN? This is the explanation from Wikipedia: “A virtual private network extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.” You might want to look this one up for yourself.
A ‘belt and braces’ approach to security but if you have any private or confidential information on your devices do read a bit more about it. It is a ‘paid for’ service so you’ll need to be aware of that and you’ll also need to be aware that not all internet routers are capable of installing it. Once installed on your home router ‘all’ devices using that WiFi connection will be protected under the higher level of security. I have it installed and the one I chose covers six devices. I have it on my iPhone and iPad so that I know I’m secure whenever I log into a public WiFi system.
It’s Good To Share
All of this information comes from trusted people I’ve spoken to who have been kind enough to guide me. I’m not an expert but some of the things I’ve learned along the way and printed here will no doubt be useful to you. If you are able to share other tips that may be useful for other users feel free to add a comment and send a message on twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #LincsConnect
Helping each other is always good of course. If you need additional help contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or local IT specialist. If you’re worried about cyber security contact @lincspolice and ask about their Cyber Security courses. I’ve been on one and can highly recommend it. After all, these are the experts who really want to help you to prevent crime.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings. I’ll be back soon with more blogs of course but keep watching as they are about to evolve into something quite unique.