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Mendip Times

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Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas



Local people, local history, local places, local events and local news

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THIS month we celebrate both youth and experience. Will Jenkins, aged 12, is cycling 7,300 miles to help save orangutans in Borneo. Frome Town Band member, Eliza Talman, aged 18, is joining the Royal Academy of Music. And Innes Oliver, aged 14, from Wedmore is off to ballet school. It’s refreshing to hear some good news given the gloom surrounding the pandemic. As usual we have many pages devoted to the tremendous work going on in our local communities and an update on Covid-19 from Dr Phil Hammond. At the other end of the age scale, the Windrose charity has published wartime memories from some local folk to commemorate VJ Day. We have pictures from local ceremonies and a personal account of one family’s harrowing experience. We also celebrate the 150th birthday of a grand old lady, due to take pride of place at the Mendip Ploughing Match, which has been cancelled like so many events. Les Davies tells us more. June MacFarlane has some useful tips about what to do with the current glut of plums, while Mary Payne advises firsttime lockdown gardeners not to be too disheartened by garden bugs. Can walkers and cyclists stay safe on the same path? Our sports pages also feature canoeing and soft ball cricket. We will publish despite the bug! October 2020 deadline: Friday, 11th September 2020. Published: Tuesday, 22nd September 2020.

Editorial: Steve Egginton steve@mendiptimes.co.uk Mark Adler mark@mendiptimes.co.uk Advertising: Ann Quinn advertising@mendiptimes.co.uk Rachael Abbott rachael@mendiptimes.co.uk What’s On listings: Annie Egginton annie@mendiptimes.co.uk Accounts accounts@mendiptimes.co.uk Publisher: Mendip Times Limited Coombe Lodge, Blagdon, Somerset BS40 7RG Contacts: For all enquiries, telephone:

01761 463888

or: email: news@mendiptimes.co.uk www.mendiptimes.co.uk Design and origination by: Steve Henderson Printed by: Precision Colour Printing, Haldane, Halesfield 1, Telford, Shropshire TF7 4QQ Copyright of editorial content held by Mendip Times Ltd. and its contributors. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the express permission of the Publisher. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the publisher or its associates. Front cover: Raising money in memory of Auntie Dawn. See page 59. Photo by Mark Adler.


Helping Mendip’s wildlife – new fund set up


Will’s challenge – helping to save the orangutan



Becky’s a balloonatic – making learning fun

Olympic hopeful – Maddie has paddle power Plus all our regular features Health Dr Phil Hammond ...............5 Environment ...................................6 Farming Nick Green .....................10 Internet and Crossword ..............12 Arts & Antiques ...........................14 Food & Drink ...............................20 Business.........................................30 Wildlife Chris Sperring MBE .......39 Walking Sue Gearing ....................40

Outdoors Les Davies MBE ..........42 Gardening Mary Payne MBE.......44 History...........................................48 Caving Phil Hendy ........................52 Charities........................................58 Community ...................................64 Homes & Interiors .......................68 Riding Rachel Thompson MBE....70 Sport ..............................................72 MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020 • PAGE 3

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The meaning of death I DON’T have many memories of my Aussie dad, who died at 38. He was a workaholic chemistry lecturer, so holidays were very precious. I By Dr PHIL would play the HAMMOND scientist son by collecting rocks, he would trick me that my fool’s gold was real. We would sleep out in the bush, under the spectacular southern stars. I would gaze up at the wonder of it all and try to ask grown up questions. “Dad, what’s the meaning of life?” Long pause. “Phil-up. There is no great purpose. There is no grand design. We’re all returning to room temperature.” I was a bit young for the second law of thermodynamics, but I get it now. All living things one day must die. The moment sperm meets egg, we join the queue for death. Chance and circumstance can nudge us up and down the line, love and art can distract us, passion and desire can consume us, cruelty and injustice can ruin us. Whatever hand life deals us, and however we choose to play it, all 7.8 billion citizens of earth are simply timelimited heat engines returning to room temperature. Wealth slows the rust down, just as poverty speeds it up. But no-one cheats the laws of physics. One day – perhaps today – we’re at the front of the queue, our lives over in the blink of a geological nanosecond.


At 58, I’ve outlived my dad by 20 years. I’ve had a brilliant, lucky, privileged life and that wouldn’t change if I die today. I don’t fear death itself, but I’m not so keen on suffering and pain. Please keep me in a familiar room, surround me with friendly faces that aren’t hidden by masks and give me all the drugs that are otherwise illegal. Better still, let me go in a flash. Disease is defined by what is abnormal and health by what is normal. And you can’t get much more normal than death. So any definition of health should include an acceptance of death. We may go peacefully or we may go messily, but death happens to us all eventually. I’m not quite ready to die yet, and I may well be very anxious nearer the time. But for now, I look ahead to death as a gloriously long lie-in. Thank you very much and goodnight. It’s also nature’s way of recycling. We’ve all got an atom of dinosaur paw that’s going to end up in a bee’s knees. My dad’s ashes are at the foot of a spectacular gum tree. Life sprouts out of death. Pass it on… Our death rate was 100 percent, even before Covid, but the pandemic has shown us that how we die matters as much as when and why we die. As the palliative care expert Kathryn Mannix observes: “Bereaved people, even those who have witnessed the apparently peaceful death of a loved one, often need to tell their story repeatedly, and that is an important part of transferring the experience they endured into a memory, instead of reliving it like a parallel reality

every time they think about it. “And those of us who look after very sick people sometimes need to debrief too. It keeps us well, and able to go back to the workplace to be re-wounded in the line of duty.” The pandemic has meant many people have been forced to die alone or away from their relatives, adding greatly to the distress and grief reactions. Relatives have only the story of “not being there” to retell. And staff, too, have been wounded by having to barrier-nurse dying patients and explain to their relatives why they can’t be there at the moment of death. The combined fear of Covid-19 and dying alone, plus a strong desire “not to trouble the NHS”, has triggered a shift back to dying at home. At the peak of the pandemic, there were 2,000 additional home deaths a week. How many of these lives may have been saved if people had troubled the NHS is impossible to know. But the home deaths are continuing. In the week ending July 17th in England and Wales, when excess deaths were lower overall than average, there were 822 fewer deaths registered in hospital and 766 more deaths registered at home (and only 29 with Covid). That’s more than 100 a day. Hopefully people are dying peacefully in a familiar room with family around them. Like we used to in the good old death days. Returning to room temperature and recycling our atoms while those who love us come to terms with the loss. l Mendip v Coronavirus – see page 54.

Dr Phil Hammond is author of “Staying Alive – How to Improve Your Health and Your Healthcare” (Quercus, £9.99).

Supporting our local communities through the pandemic

BOTH Somerset and Quartet Community Foundations are continuing to support voluntary groups and charities working in local communities during the pandemic. Somerset’s Coronavirus Appeal has raised over £1million thanks to generous contributions made by local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses, as well as funding from the national appeal, run by The National Emergencies Trust. It’s awarded over £550,000 to more than 200 local good causes, helping with food deliveries for older people, online counselling, activity packs for disadvantaged children and support for struggling families. Chief executive, Justin Sargent, said: “I am hearing regularly from charities on the frontline that the demand

for their support continues to be huge at a time when many of them have lost fundraising income. Many also believe that they will see even greater demand in the months ahead as the long-term impacts of the outbreak start to have an effect.” Quartet Community Foundation has given out more than £1million in grants. Over a fifth of this is helping feed vulnerable people. Claire Wynne Hughes, philanthropy executive for B&NES said: “The generosity of people has been amazing. “And this important work continues as we support holiday activities for young people and fund charities so they can be there for local people, whatever the next six months may bring.”

Details: www.somersetcf.org.uk/coronavirus • www.quartetcf.org.uk


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Emergency appeal by wildlife trust

SoMerSeT Wildlife Trust has launched an emergency appeal in response to the devastating impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on its fundraising abilities. Already dealing with the financial challenges surrounding reductions in eU funding and the immediate and enormous cost of the rapid onset of ash dieback disease on its nature reserves, the trust is looking at a shortfall in its budgeted income for this year of at least £200,000. Many of its staff and recruiters have been furloughed, events cancelled, and work programmes are far behind where they should be. reserve teams are also under additional pressure to repair the physical damage on sites from antisocial behaviour that took place whilst staffing was at its bare minimum. katie Arber, director of fundraising and marketing, said: “Along with members, supporters and volunteers, we are desperately disappointed to have had to cancel our key fundraising activities this year, particularly at a time when the environment, climate change and loss of biodiversity were at the top of the political agenda and high in public consciousness. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge and immediate impact on our income and will for years to come. “The fact that even more people have turned to nature to help them during lockdown however is brilliant news, and we hope local wildlife will continue to be part of their lives. We now need everyone’s help to continue to do our work to support wildlife and habitats here in Somerset, and every donation will enable us to do this.” To donate visit www.somersetwildlife.org/emergencyappeal or ring 01823 652429

Campaigners celebrate

Work was due to start on a safe path from Cross to Axbridge as Mendip Times went to press. it will include a pedestrian refuge on the A38 north of the junction with Cross Lane and a surfaced path up to the gate into the footpath across the fields to Axbridge. Campaigners have spent years trying to make the old “coffin route” safe. Tess Gill, the campaign chair, said: “We are delighted that at long last this work is to go ahead as the heavy traffic with lorries on the A38/Cross Lane junction and Cross Lane is increasing all the time due to construction of Hinckley C and also house building in Cheddar Valley, Axbridge, and Cheddar. “An off-the-road safe route all the way from the A38 junction to Axbridge is essential for pedestrians and cyclists who currently have to walk or cycle up dangerous Cross Lane.” The next step will be to work with the landowners and local authorities to upgrade the footpath across the fields to make it accessible and safe for all. Campaigners would like to see gates to the footpath across the fields to Axbridge that are accessible for wheelchair, mobility scooters and buggies as well as fencing to separate the footpath from cattle so the route is safe for all. PAGE 6 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020

Protecting our environment

BATH & north east Somerset Council has declared an ecological emergency in response to the escalating threat to wildlife and ecosystems. it says the declaration recognises the essential role nature plays in society and the economy and provides a statement of intent to protect our wildlife and habitats, enabling residents to benefit from a green, nature-rich environment. it builds on the council’s declaration of a climate emergency last March and says it recognises that the two threats, caused by the over-exploitation of the earth’s resources and poor land management, are having a devastating impact on the planet and our wellbeing. Councillor Sarah Warren, joint cabinet member for climate emergency, said: “i’m delighted the council unanimously backed the motion to declare an ecological emergency. “it is a sobering thought that 15% of the Uk’s wildlife is now at risk of extinction. This is largely a result of a critical decline in biodiversity: the loss of habitats and the connectivity of habitats; the decline in pollinators that are crucial to food supply and a decline in the health and quality of soil. “We must address these issues. We’re already making a difference, for example through the promotion of grassland habitat diversity and additional tree planting, but there’s much more work to do.”

Human weed killers wanted

Mendip district Council is looking for human weed killers! it follows a decision last autumn by the council to ban the weed killer glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer in humans and is toxic to birds and insects. it wants to start “manual weed management trials” at two locations – one in a city or town, the other in a rural village. it says it will require regular schedules of significant numbers of local volunteers to sign-up to the scheme. The council has agreed to invest in community kit and vehicles and employ a co-ordinator to mobilise and manage the initiative. in light of the current Covid-19 restrictions, social distancing will apply to all volunteers and any shared equipment will be thoroughly cleaned and stored safely, prior to re-use. it says officers will work with members of Mendip’s Climate and ecological emergency Group (CeeG), with city, town and parish councils, with established local ecological groups and national organisations, to quickly identify areas best suited to pilot the six-month trial. it hopes the results will provide useful insight to councillors when presented with the feedback in early 2021, as it will impact future decision making on the issue. Cllr nick Cottle, portfolio holder for neighbourhood services, said: “Mendip are taking a stand by creating insect-friendly spaces. But we will need help from the community. Hand-pull weed management is labour intensive and takes regular commitment. “We will need a shift in attitudes too, so that people no longer view overgrown areas as ugly or untidy, but as insect-rich havens for our wildlife. “We promised to get rid of glyphosate, and we intend to keep that promise.”

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Rare plant found

SoMerSeT rare plants Group is celebrating a special find. during a survey of a particularly species-rich ditch on Shapwick Heath the area’s friends group found a number of Lesser Water plantains (Baldellia ranunculoides). This plant has not been recorded on the reserve since 1910 so is a “really great find!” it says a lot of careful management has been undertaken on this ditch over the last couple of years so it is incredibly rewarding for this to be found.

(Photograph courtesy of Cath Shellswell)

A neW project to enhance and increase the range of woodland habitats on Mendip to improve the diversity of woodland flora has been awarded a grant of £13,312 from Aggregate industries through their Local partnerships development Fund. Mendip Habitats Fit for the Future is being managed by Somerset Wildlife Trust and aims to benefit creatures such as hazel dormice and silver-washed fritillary butterflies. The funds will enable the trust to undertake critical woodland management work in woodland areas of its Cheddar Wood nature reserve and also restore hedgerows and calcareous and neutral grassland habitats in east and West Mendip, near Callow rock Quarry and Cloford Quarry, which will allow specialist plants to flourish, supporting bees and butterflies. A special butterfly bank will be created at Shute Tip which will use limestone aggregate sourced from the

A small blue on kidney vetch

quarry. This will benefit populations of small blue butterflies, as this expands the small patches of kidney vetch in the area, the butterflies’ sole foodplant. Aggregate industries staff, Somerset Wildlife Trust volunteers, members and local people will all have the opportunity to learn rural skills such as coppicing and hedgelaying which, as well as contributing in terms of physical work, will enable them to learn something new and benefit their own physical and mental wellbeing through being active and spending more time outdoors. Simon Wiltshire, Aggregate industries’ Biodiversity and

A silver-washed fritillary

restoration Advisor said: “We are really pleased to be able to support Somerset Wildlife Trust in improving a variety of important habitats in Mendip so that they are more resilient for the future, particularly against issues associated with climate change and ash dieback.” Lila Morris, Mendip Conservation officer at Somerset Wildlife Trust said: “Aggregate industries has been an amazing supporter of our work in Mendip over the years and we are very grateful to continue to receive funding from them to continue our vital habitat work. “‘Mendip Habitats Fit for the Future’ will allow us to improve a variety of habitats across the area for important and rare species such as hazel dormice and silver-washed fritillary and small blue butterflies, and ensure that they are there for people to enjoy long into the future.”


(Photograph courtesy of Don Sutherland)

Dormice and butterflies to benefit from new grant

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River Frome strategy is backed

The friends would like the weir at Welshmill replaced with a more environmentally-friendly structure

AMBiTioUS ideas drawn up by a local campaign group to improve the river Frome through the town have been endorsed by Frome Town Council. The Friends of the river Frome launched a consultation document on the future of the river at their AGM earlier this year. Their plans include a range of proposals for protecting and improving the river environment and creating better public access to the river. Amongst the ideas in the ten-year strategy are a proposed new footbridge across the river near Adderwell, improvements to the river corridor through the town centre –

Recycle your cycle!

The Button Bridge was the first new structure across the river in many years. The friends want to improve the town centre channel

including replacing the weir at Welshmill – to provide a more attractive and wildlife-friendly environment and rewilding The dippy tributary. in the introduction to the strategy, the friends say: “This document sets out a strategy to create a new consensus for protecting and enhancing the river Frome and its surroundings in the locality of the town of Frome. realising this vision will require the goodwill and commitment of many other agencies and individuals, including Frome Town Council, landowners and land managers and the organisations which sit with us on the Somerset Frome Catchment

FroMe will be hosting its third annual bike jumble in September with proceeds going to the Frome Missing Links campaign. The Missing Links charity is working to link up traffic-free walking and cycling routes in and around Frome. its major project is to connect the town from Watcombe Fields to Great elm to access the Colliers Way national route. The jumble sale model is simple: donate old bikes and accessories, Frome Town Council and charity volunteers will check them over and then sell them at the bike jumble. The council is holding donation sessions in the car park behind the town hall on: Thursday, August 27th: 7–8pm Sunday, August 30th: 10am – 11am Wednesday, September 2nd: 7pm – 8pm Saturday, September 5th: 9am – 10am Town councillor rich Ackroyd, said: “This is a great way to declutter your shed or your garage, if there’s anything you no longer need, you can be sure that someone else can make use

partnership Steering Group, as well as funding bodies.” The plans also take account of the potential impact on the river of the major housing developments currently taking place or planned for Frome in the near future such as Saxonvale – the group would like a bridge reinstated between the site and Willow Vale opposite. Frome Town Council has unanimously adopted the strategy which can be used when discussing planning applications. The friends are now appointing “champions” to take forward the 31 projects proposed in the document.

On your bike – a previous jumble sale

of it! As more and more of us are taking to two wheels rather than four, this jumble is a great idea to allow folks to find a bike or an accessory that they need – plus it all goes to such a great cause!”

For details about Frome’s Missing Links project, visit: https://fromesmissinglinks.org.uk/


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Farmers prepare for the festive season

WE might be enjoying late summer and Christmas might seem ages away but for farmers supplying the Christmas market production is in full swing. As consumers, we have the luxury of deciding what we fancy for Christmas dinner a few days before and going to the shops to get it. With NICK Imagine if the farmer hadn’t started thinking GREEN about what people might want months before. Turkey is an example. Turkey farmers have to order their chicks early in the year. They are delivered in mid-summer and weigh between 60 and 1500 grammes. Over the following months they are fed a specially formulated ration to ensure they grow at a reasonable rate but not too quickly. This ensures bone development matches muscle development,

Mary Mead named a rural champion by Princess Royal

YEO Valley co-founder Mary Mead featured in a special edition of Country Life magazine guest edited by HRH the Princess Royal. The special guest edition to mark the Princess Royal’s 70th birthday showcased “rural champions”, just some of the people she respects in farming, agriculture, conservation and the countryside. In her interview, Mrs Mead reflects on her past 60 years in farming and the times that she met Princess Anne in her role with The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF), including when she received the RABDF Princess Royal Award for outstanding services to the dairy industry in 2015. She said: “It was quite a surprise to be asked by HRH the Princess Royal to be a rural champion and I’m extremely flattered. This special edition highlights the princess’s passion for nature and organic farming and I’m delighted that Yeo Valley is featured.” Mrs Mead talks about her path into dairy farming after the sudden death of her husband Roger Mead, as well as the importance of nature. She says: “The wonderful natural carbon cycle of grazing animals, photosynthesis and carbon lock-up in the soil has existed for millennia and is a story that everyone should learn. “In everything we do, from the one-acre of solar panels on the roof of Holt Farm Dairy to the 100% recycled and recyclable yogurt pots we’ve introduced, we always aim to work with nature and not against it.”



their welfare is as good as possible and the meat has a fantastic flavour. Some will be allowed out of their house each day to explore their surroundings. All birds, whether free range or housed, as well as being warm and dry when inside, have bedding and other material to scratch around in and plenty of fresh food and water. The different breeds of turkey and their sex affects how fast they grow. So, if you order a turkey of a certain weight, with the farmer selecting the right breed and sex, you should get the weight of bird you want. What happens if you don’t like turkey? Beef is a great substitute and a similar cycle applies. The delightful topside joint served at the centre of the festive feast could have been in the making for up to three years. A ninemonth pregnancy before the beef calf is born, then a couple of years of grazing Mendip’s wonderful grassland and the meat should be at perfection. The vegetarian option doesn’t just appear either. Whatever the centrepiece is likely to be takes planning and effort to grow, harvest, prepare and deliver in perfect condition to the dinner table on December 25th. For anyone feeling guilty about thinking of Christmas at the start of September don’t panic. Some farmers have been thinking about it for most of the year.

Nick Green is Farms Director for Alvis Bros Ltd based at Lye Cross Farm. He is responsible for the farming and estate business and is passionate about British food and farming. As well as the business, he is involved with a number of local and national farming charities.

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Weston Garden Machinery Garden Machinery & Woodburning Specialists


Behind Shell Garage Winterstoke Road, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset BS23 2YS

Tel: 01934 626093 www.westongarden.co.uk

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Emergency info on your phone

If you enter some basic information on your phone and it is lost and someone finds it, they can return it via your emergency contact name. But it’s mostly useful if you have some medical information you would want known in an emergency. For Android: first, add the information. There are various different android systems, so you might have to investigate. Some use the Contact app, but others use different sections of the Settings. Go to Settings (usually a pic of a cog). Tap About phone Emergency information. Enter the info that you want to share. for medical info, tap Edit information. If you don't see “edit information”, tap Info. for emergency contacts, tap Add contact. If you don't see “add contact”, tap Contacts. To clear your info, tap the three vertical lines and tap more Clear all. To put a message on your Lock Screen: open your phone's Settings app. Tap Display >; Advanced >; Lock screen display >; Lock screen message. Tap Security. Next to “Screen lock”, tap Settings (pic of cog) >Lock screen message. Enter your information to help someone return your phone if you lose it. Tap Save. To turn alert types on or off, see past alerts and control sound and vibration. Open your phone's Settings app. Tap Apps and notifications Advanced Emergency alerts. To help first responders find you quickly, dial an emergency number. for example, dial 999. If Android Emergency Location Service (ELS) works in your country and on your mobile network, and you haven't turned off ELS, your phone will automatically send its location using ELS. If ELS is off, your mobile operator may still send the device's location during an emergency call or text. To check: Open your phone's Settings app. Tap Location. If you don't see “Location”, tap Security and Location. Tap Advanced Emergency Location Service or Google Emergency Location Service. Turn Emergency Location Service on or off. To access this information from your lock screen: Swipe up on the lock screen to unlock it. It will ask for the passcode/PIN. At the bottom of the number pad there will be an “Emergency” button. Tap it once and a new “Emergency Information” button will appear at the top of the screen. Tap it and it will turn red asking you to tap it one more time to view the information. Tap the button when it has turned red and you will be able to access all the emergency information a user has added. For iPhone: Open the Health app (white with a red heart) and tap the Summary tab. Tap your profile picture in the upper-right corner. Under Medical Details, tap Medical ID. Tap Edit in the upper-right corner. To make your Medical ID available from the Lock screen on your iPhone, turn on Show When Locked. In an emergency, this gives information to people who want to help. When you use Emergency SOS to call Emergency Services, your emergency contacts will be notified and will be sent your current location. To do this, rapidly click the sleep/wake button (on the top right side of your phone five times, to quickly call emergency services. Enter health information like your date of birth, allergies, and blood type. Tap Done. To access this information from your lock screen: Press the Home button. It will ask for the passcode/PIN. At the bottom of the number pad there will be an “Emergency” button. Tap it once and then tap Medical ID. Includes a variety of SOS languages at the top as well. PAGE 12 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020


The Mendip Mindbender

ACROSS 7 Relating to government affairs of a country (9) 8 Difficult problem for a pseud (5) 10 In plants the male instrument of pollination (6) 11 This village is still a big strawberry producer and lies just south of Halesland Airfield (8) 12 All together (2,4) 14 Sulphate of this element is swallowed before x-ray examination of the alimentary tract (6) 16 Be unable to manage without (4) 17 Stave off, preclude (5) 18 Some of her meagre wishes made progress (4) 19 Short name for therapist who uses massage and exercise (6) 21 A very big mistake (6) 24 Werther's are! (8) 26 Turn a blind eye to (6) 27 Suffering from ennui and tedium (5) 28 Village 8 miles from Bristol, 8 miles from Bath, anagram of untethers (9)

DOWN 1 & 15 down Where to find the Sedgemoor Auction Centre (5) 2 Small sum for the purchase of inessentials (3,5) 3 & 4 Mary ............. 1964 Olympian who has a memorial plaque in Wells Market celebrating her achievements in the 1964 Games 4 See 3 down 5 Be in agreement (6) 6 Thin glass receptacles used in laboratories (4,5) 9 Country animal born blind, hairless and helpless (6) 13 Nationality of someone from Prague (5) 15 See 1 down (9) 17 On every side, in the vicinity (6) 18 Between Wells and Midsomer Norton a village that sounds like a jealous mining product (5,3) 20 Seal (6) 22 Playfully quaint humour (6) 23 Pen to paper sounds correct (5) 25 Sing the praises of (4) Clues in italics are cryptic by greendandelion

This month’s solution can be found on page 78

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PLEASE ASK FOR RYAN or JAMIE T: 0800 292 7079 M: 07480 592 759 – Ryan M: 07719 563 961 – Jamie REGISTERED WASTE HOLDERS UNIT 4, BRISTOL ROAD

We offer a 14-day cooling-off period

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23a Broad Street, Wells BA5 2DJ

01749 671112 Social distancing measures in place


New artists at guild gallery

THE Somerset Guild of Craftsmen Gallery in Wells is once again open to the public with work by many new members on show. They include ceramicist Heidi Warr who has been developing spherical hand thrown pieces upon which she has created some stunning new designs. Heidi, from South Somerset, said: “As Orbiting Waves – one of Heidi’s new pieces an artist there is no higher accolade than seeing your creations take their places in loving homes and gain places in a museum to form part of the history of decorative ceramic art.” Other new guild members include Northan Viking Silver (Celtic-inspired jewellery), Bodrighy Wood (wood turning and pyrography). Misha Seelhoff (enamelled jewellery) and Lucy Howell (papier maché). Gallery manager Tanith Tothill said: “Thank you to our customers old and new for supporting SGC during such unusual times. We are delighted to announce that we have been very busy and the new work is being snapped up!”

Life in the undergrowth LifE in the Undergrowth is a project sculptor fiona Somerset Open Studios 2020 19 September - 4 October

Fiona Campbell

Sculptural work, drawings, textiles in garden and studio Digital exhibition and studio visits by appointment (11am - 6pm) e: fionacampbell-art@sky.com t: 07515 537224 w: fionacampbellart.co.uk Laundry Cottage, 13 Cooks Lane, Cranmore BA4 4RH


Campbell has developed during lockdown as a new way of looking at the world and making art linked to nature and environment. Enabled by the Arts Council Emergency Response fund, the project was inspired by small hidden worlds that get overlooked with the garden feeding art and art feeding garden. fiona said: “in isolation, appreciating and attending to nature seemed vital. My garden became my world, providing a sense of peace and purpose.”

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20th century items in demand at Mendip Auction Rooms DURiNG August, Killens allowed buyers back into their auction rooms at Rookery farm for their sales and many were pleased to be able to return. All sales are continuing to be staged online however ensuring maximum coverage. At their August antiques sale, Killens saw a phenomenal amount of interest for the 800 lots on offer with some excellent prices achieved. As one customer stated: “Watching the sale at home became addictive due to the high prices being achieved.” items that generated surprises included a Staunton chess set that realised £1,300 and a 19th century set of Post Office scales that sold for £950. There was a good entry of 20th century furniture

and this saw strong bidding with a Bramin teak sideboard making £800 and two Ercol room dividers £600 and £460 respectively. Many present realised their past mistakes in taking Ercol and G-Plan to the tip! With the auction rooms now fully open, Killens are now conducting valuations at the auction rooms with no need for an appointment five days a week and carrying out free home visits. it is also possible to view future auctions on viewing days. The next sale of Antiques and Collectables will be on Saturday, September 12th and will be preceded by a sale of Victorian and Later Effects on Tuesday, September 8th. A sale of Sporting items, fine Wines and Spirits will be on Thursday, October 1st and entries are invited.

Contact the auction rooms on 01749 840770 or email enquiries@mendipauctionrooms.co.uk for further assistance.


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Chew Valley Arts Trail online SADLy Chew Valley Arts Trail won’t have open studios as usual this year for obvious reasons. But you will still be able to look at the wonderful work of their talented painters and makers on their website, providing a virtual trail you can view from the comfort of your own home or phone. Organiser, Sandy Bell, said:

“We couldn’t take the risk of opening the trail as we have done in the past because there’s no saying what the situation will be by October. But i’m delighted that around 40 exhibitors have taken up the chance to take part and we have a marvelous range of talent on show. “Who knows, we might find more people than ever will be able to see our work as social media has become part of everyone’s lives.” The online exhibition will launch on friday, October 9th and remain available until what they hope will be the resumption of normal service next year. Some studios may be open to the public by prior arrangement. Details: www.chewvalleyartstrail. co.uk • 01275 333 128


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Seeds sown for Clevedon’s quarterly specialist sale

CLEVEDON Salerooms’ specialist sale on September 3rd will follow the highly successful “online only auction behind closed doors” format in the interest of public health and high prices. Anyone wishing to view and take part in the online auction, with viewing by appointment, can visit our website for further details. Viewing has been extended to five days strictly by prior

Georg Jensen Sterling Silver flatware £3,000 – £4,000

John Brunsdon (1933-2014) signed print £100 – £150

appointment to allow safe numbers in the saleroom. The sale includes a 17th century Chinese Libation Cup, discovered by a Clevedon Salerooms’ valuer during a routine home visit that to the amazement of the owner carries an estimate of £20,000 – £30,000. As harvesting reaches its peak, a remarkable Edwardian oak framed promotional display for “Carter’s Tested Seeds” carries an estimate of £2,000 – £3,000.  With antiques, works of art and jewellery covering five centuries, at the younger end of the spectrum is this Scandinavian silver cutlery set designed by Henning Koppel for Georg Jensen in 1957.  Destined to grace the dining table of an aficionado of modern design, the suite carries an estimate of £3,000 – £4,000.

For more information visit www.clevedon-salerooms.com

Every lot in every auction, illustrated and sold with live internet bidding

Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers

FREE & Safe, Drive-through VALUATION DAYS

Pierre Lenordez – Bronze £600 - £900

7th, 8th & 21st, 22nd September 9.30am–1pm and 2pm–5pm Held at the salerooms – no appointment necessary

WE ARE SAFE TO VISIT Tel: 01934 830111 The Auction Centre, Kenn Road, Kenn, Clevedon, Bristol BS21 6TT www.clevedon-salerooms.com

Pair of silver Stirrup cups – 1906 £1,000 - £1,500

Queen Mary Salt Glaze Tankard c. 1690 £1,000 - £1,500 Antonio Esquivel – Portrait of a Spanish Merchant £800 - £1,200

17th Century Chinese Libation cup £20,000 - £30,000

Quarterly Specialist Sale Thursday 3rd September at 10.30am Viewing days: 26th, 27th 28th Aug & 1st, 2nd September (Strictly by prior appointment)

ONLINE ONLY SALE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS Catalogue online now at www.clevedon-salerooms.com MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020 • PAGE 17

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Civic Society gift to museum

Chris Winter (seated left) from Wells Civic Society presents the cheque to trustee Richard Lovegrove, as museum volunteers look on

WElls and Mendip Museum – due to reopen as Mendip Times went to press – has received a cheque for £500 from Wells Civic society as part of its crowdfunding campaign to combat the financial effects of lockdown. In the immediate future, the museum is expected to open on saturdays only as trustees and volunteers gauge its popularity with visitors. during lockdown, the museum and gardens have been tidied and refurbished.

Sarah Villiers works on a new exhibition showcasing the work by Wells photographer Bert Phillips

“Banksy” back in Blagdon

Blagdon’s answer to Banksy has struck again. The mysterious artist Blagsaey has left around 30 “whimsys” around the village, some about Blagdon characters of the past, some about the mysterious goings on that may still happen today and some, well, just whimsical. People had been invited to try and find all 30 and send in photos of themselves with each whimsy they found. Winners were amii louise and her family, who found 26 of the 30 plaques. It all started in 2014 with a fairyland created in Eldred’s orchard, when hundreds of crocheted flowers appeared in the village’s community orchard. It went on from there with an orchard full of knitted bees. Who knows what’s next? PAGE 18 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020

Rare bee found


ThE rare yellow loosestrife bee has been found in Yatton, thanks to the work of Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife action group (YaCWag). The bee is specific to one particular wild flower, yellow loosestrife, which would once have been much more common in the marshy ground around Yatton. over the years intensive agriculture and drainage have reduced the amount of damp uncultivated ground where the plant can flourish and new plants are now found very infrequently. When YaCWag bought two fields off stowey Road in 2006 they were pleased to see yellow loosestrife growing along one of the ditch banks. Tony Moulin, chairperson and an amateur entomologist himself, had read about a rare bee called the yellow loosestrife. not knowing much about it, but knowing that the plant associated with it was growing strongly in YaCWag’s fields, he set out this year to see if he could find it. he found one and then asked YaCWag member Colin higgins, who is also an insect enthusiast and a local wildlife photographer, to see if he could get better photographs. With these Colin was able to obtain verification from the Bees, Wasps and ants Recording society that the bee on the yellow loosestrife was indeed the yellow loosestrife bee. Tony said: “When you begin to understand the very specific requirements of some of our insects, it is easy to see why they are at risk of extinction.” Details: Tony Moulin 01934 834282

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New specialist independent school to open near Glastonbury AN exciting, forward-thinking school for children with specific learning differences is preparing to open its doors in the historic village of Meare in the heart of the Somerset Levels. Abbot’s Way School boasts a homely, holistic learning environment with incredible landscape and outdoor space. With capacity for up to 40 students, from age seven upward, it will focus on supporting pupils with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia when its doors officially open this Autumn. Co-founders and joint heads, Gareth Wright and Hellen Lush, say: “We bring more than 40 years of experience working with children with learning differences that bring so many exceptional strengths. Our focus is building the most unique, nurturing and cross curricular provision, that enables children to explore, discover and thrive. “Crucially, we have worked together for a number of years, so we passionately share the same vision and ethos for

specialist education and learning with a difference.” Named after the ancient track residing near the school’s grounds, Abbot’s Way School is set in a Georgian house with acres of space and idyllic views across nature reserves towards the Mendip Hills. The sudden, unexpected and devastating closure of Shapwick School at which Gareth and Hellen were proud joint heads, brought about their legacy and lifeline concept of Abbot’s Way in late March 2020, with the aim of supporting children and young people in the local area with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia. Both co-founders are Somerset-bred. Gareth is Frome-based; he attended Frome College and Bristol University, he has his own sports-based radio show and is a former footballer having played for Paulton Rovers, Welton Rovers and Frome Town football club. Hellen, a former Millfield graduate, said: “Many of us will relate to having experienced symptoms of them as children

Welcome to Abbot’s Way School: (l:r) associates Cathy Papworth and Professor Sean McBain with founders and joint heads Gareth Wright and Hellen Lush

without recognition, support or focus. We are a small school, with a big vision, aiming to make an important difference delivering an innovative, skills-driven and student-led learning curriculum. “Abbot’s Way School is a pioneering, outside-of-the-box school, and we are committed to enabling children to fulfil their own academic and pastoral potential.”

For more information about Abbot’s Way School visit www.abbotswayschool.co.uk

Due to open in Autumn 2020 with capacity for 40 pupils from age seven upwards

Abbot’s Way School St Mary’s Road | Meare nr. Glastonbury Somerset BA6 9SR

Our approach is brave, exciting, needs-led and skills-driven

Our aim is to enable students to explore, discover and thrive; to dare to learn; to progress and achieve

Our ethos is calmly holistic, promoting self-esteem and independence

Tel: 07506 578039 Email: ofce@abbotsway.co.uk Web: www.abbotswayschool.co.uk MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020 • PAGE 19

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Into the purple

The bright, primary colours of summer suddenly give way to the imperial shades of early autumn; plum, heliotrope, aubergine, mauve, amaranth, damson and purple. The plate looks like it’s With JUNE MACFARLANE been in a fight. These dusky hues herald riches to come. Before the clocks go back and we lose the light completely, let’s enjoy the gifts that September offers.

Local beetroot is best for this dish

BAKED BEETROOT, SHALLOTS, SOUR CREAM AND DILL Use good locally grown beetroots for this dish, so sweet and full of flavour and available in an assortment of colours.

METHOD Preheat oven to 180°C. Wash and trim the beetroot. Wrap in a double layer of foil with 1tbsp oil and seasoning and roast until tender


(for two) 2 duck legs 2 medium red onions 2 carrots 1 rib celery 3 sprigs thyme 500ml water 300g blackberries 1 tbsp parsley, chopped

– about 40mins. Peel and halve the shallots, put into a small roasting tin, drizzle over the rest of the oil, season and bake in same oven until tender, 20–30 mins. Let beetroot cool a little then peel and cut into wedges. Season. Arrange in a dish with the onions. Mix the dill into the sour cream and serve over the beetroot at room temperature.

Great blackberries this year and they work really well with duck. Duck legs are an inexpensive treat.

METHOD Preheat oven to 220°C. Roast the duck legs in a flameproof pot in the oven for 30 mins until coloured and sizzling. Remove. Lower oven temperature to 180°C. Remove duck legs and reserve. Peel and quarter onions, chop carrots and celery roughly, and fry in residual duck fat until lightly coloured. Drain fat. Return duck to pot, tuck in thyme, add water and bring to the boil. Cover and roast in oven for 1.5 hrs. Remove duck legs and keep warm. Add blackberries to pot, place over medium heat, stir in parsley. Remove thyme. Reduce liquid by half. Return duck to the pot and serve with vegetables and sauce. Duck legs are an inexpensive treat PAGE 20 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020


I’m not big on desserts but I wait all year to make this one. English plums come in waves, Mirabelle, Victoria, Opal, Czar, gorgeous greengages and delicious damsons. Use any of them here, and they all make great jam too.


(for two) 750g small raw beetroot 2tbsp olive oil Seasoning 4 large shallots 150ml sour cream 1 tbsp dill, chopped


500g plums 75g caster sugar 3 tbsp plum or other brandy 30g butter, softened 2tbsp demerara sugar 50g plain flour 2 eggs, beaten Pinch salt 270 ml whole milk 1 tsp almond extract

METHOD Wash, halve and stone the plums. Macerate in the brandy and 2tbsp caster sugar for 1hr. Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter a shallow baking dish with 10g butter and coat with 1 tbsp demerara sugar. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, add remaining caster sugar. Melt rest of butter. Whisk eggs, milk and butter into flour to make a batter. Stir in almond A plum job – use any variety that’s available extract, plums and their juices. Fill baking dish and bake for around 40 mins, until set. Sprinkle over remaining demerara sugar and serve warm, maybe with thick cream.

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• Fresh produce and dairy • Freshly baked food to go • Smokin’ Bean coffee to go • Fresh flowers • Local Suppliers • Laithwaites wines • Remarkable COOK ready meals We would like to thank our local suppliers, particularly Arthur David, Greenacres Farm Eggs, Cam Valley Foods, Lye Cross Farm, Hunts Foodservice, Cotteswold Dairy, Chew Moos and West Country Honey, Butcombe Brewery, Twisted Oak Brewery and Rapide Stationery Supplies


Yeo Valley awards

YEO Valley has topped the list as the nation’s favourite organic brand for the second year in a row in the Good Housekeeping 2020 Food Awards. The annual awards are in their 15th year and recognise brands and products that the magazine’s readers really trust. It gives customers the chance to vote for which people, products and supermarkets across 19 different categories as their favourite. Adrian Carne, managing director at Yeo Valley Organic, said: “Being voted the UK's Favourite Organic Brand is a real testament to the hard work we put in, our customers and Good Housekeeping readers who’ve supported us for the past 25 years. “We’re committed to providing incredible organic dairy, which is tasty, has quality, nutritious ingredients and is affordable to as many people as possible. We’re also on a mission to put nature first in all that we do, with the introduction of our 100% recycled and recyclable packaging.” l The Yeo Valley Canteen and the Yeo Valley Organic Garden in North Somerset, have been recognised as 2020 Travellers’ Choice award winners, ranking them in the top ten percent of hospitality businesses around the globe. Winners are calculated based on the quality and quantity of the millions of reviews, opinions and ratings collected on Tripadvisor in 2019, prior to the pandemic. Roy Delfino-Orme, front of house manager at Yeo Valley Canteen said: “We’re delighted that our customers have such good things to say about us. It’s a true testament to the outstanding service and quality that all the team here at Yeo provide to our guests.” The Yeo Valley Canteen and Organic Garden has recently started welcoming back pre-booked guests on Tuesday and Thursday between 9-11am for breakfast, and on Wednesday and Friday in the organic garden.

Staff at the Yeo Valley Canteen, in 2019 (the year of the Tripadvisor reviews) (l-r) Tarci Delfino-Orme, Sophie Hunter, Roy DelfinoOrme, Abigail Maddocks, Jessica Shepherd, Kristina Lensbergiene and David Hursley PAGE 22 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020

Details: www.yeovalley.co.uk

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A very Merry Berry!

SO how has 2020 been for you so far? Not that great is it really. As they say we are living in interesting times. So rather than dwelling on the slow motion crash that is the UK leaving the EU and the terrible impact of the Covid-19 pandemic I thought I would bring a little cheer and transport With ADRIAN you, albeit briefly, to another place and time BOOTS to talk about a wild food that has nothing at all to do with either of these historic and momentous events. Summer berries is where it’s at don’t you know? So here is one of my favourites... elderberries. Recently I was visiting relatives near Bristol and I decided to go for a walk through some nearby fields. Along the route were countless elder shrubs heavily laden with fruit. The clusters of berries start off on stalks pointing upwards but when they are ripe the clusters merrily hang upside down, which these were in profusion. Picture it: a sunny summer’s day, a lovely walk and picking clusters of easily accessible berries, the perfect antidote to our troubled times. First off, elderberries must be cooked. I know this because at the ripe old age of five, I ate many from the shrub in our back garden. They were lovely. But they did not think I was lovely and after an intense spell in the smallest room in the house I had learnt my lesson. So they must be cooked or processed somehow either in a jam or jelly, baked in a pie with apple and blackberries or made into wine so whatever upsets one’s tummy is neutralised, otherwise, as my granddad used to say, it would give you the squits. Good old granddad always had a turn of phrase. Historically elderberries were used to treat coughs and chest complaints and are rich in vitamin C. In fact you can buy elderberry linctus or even make your own. It is a very versatile and useful fruit. All this talk about berries links rather seamlessly to the forthcoming Countryfile special on Sunday, August 30th featuring yours truly and a famous chef, food writer and TV presenter. Can you guess who it is? A clue is in the title, a very Merry Berry indeed! Adrian Boots is a Landscape Ecologist, Wild Food Forager and Adventure Activity provider. You can visit his website: www.gowildactivities.co.uk to learn more about wild food foraging and activities you can do with him on the Mendip Hills.



Growing guavas

THIS is something we’ve never tried before – growing guavas. You may think that guavas are a tropical crop, but in fact they also thrive in Mediterranean climates with a hot summer and a cool but not frosty winter – exactly like that you get in many conservatories in the With JAKE UK. WHITSON I fell in love with guavas during trips to the US and Mexico – they are sweet and sour with a rich, buttery texture not unlike a firm pear, a certain grittiness (also not unlike certain pears) and an overwhelming, quintessentially “tropical” perfume. Even though I’d never eaten the fruit before these trips, the flavour was familiar, as it almost certainly is to all of us – it is often included, in either real or artificial form, as a flavouring in anything “tropical” flavoured, from fruit juice to sweets. I bought 40 seeds online around two years ago and read up online about the “stratification” process needed to germinate them. The seeds have an extremely hard, impermeable shell that needs to be softened so that they can imbibe water before they can germinate. Some advised boiling the seeds in water for five minutes, while others advised a two-week soak in cold water. I tried the boiling method with 20 seeds, but they failed to germinate. This year, I found the other half and, with not much hope, tried the two-week soak. This seems to be what they need, as almost all of them came up! They have grown far quicker than I imagined and I’m hoping that within another couple of years we may even be able to harvest a few fruit. They grow into an evergreen shrub or small sized tree and are well suited to container growing, much like many citrus, and can fruit in as little as two years after planting from seed. Once established they can apparently survive temperatures as low as -4ºC, but when young need protection from frost. The fruit seem to be pretty difficult to buy in the UK, but if you do find some they are delicious both raw and cooked – in Mexico they often boil them in syrup to serve with buñuelos, a kind of crispy doughnut! Jacob Whitson is a chef, food writer and smallholder. He is currently working on setting up a small sustainable goose farm in Somerset with his partner Johanna.


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Crown is at the heart of the community HOLLY Chugg Jones and her partner, Julian Light, are celebrating a fairly tumultuous first year at The Crown, in Regil. Apart from coping with the lockdown, they have been working hard on improvements, including a new kitchen and a new bar in what had been an overflow dining area at the front of the pub. The pretty garden at the back has also had a makeover. The result is a welcoming country pub, offering log fires in winter and a varied menu of “really good pub grub” mainly at £10 a dish. There’s the full range of Thatchers ciders and real ales including Butcombe, Quantock and Cotleigh. There’s also a popular skittle alley, which is available for functions. But it could have been so different. When Wadworth put it up for sale, villagers feared the pub and its large car park might go for development or airport parking. But two local businessmen stepped in to save it for the community. It’s meant the pub has been there

Cosy bars and restaurant

Family and dog friendly

providing takeaway meals four days a week during lockdown and is currently serving food seven days a week, with strict social distancing measures. Julian works as a biomass boiler engineer, as well as helping to run the pub. Holly was brought up in Regil and worked in finance as a credit controller before taking on the pub with him.

A traditional family run country pub tucked away in a beautiful corner of the Chew Valley with a delightful garden and front patio Open from 4pm Monday to Wednesday From 12noon Thursday to Sunday

Regil, Winford, Bristol BS40 8AY

01275 472388

www.thecrownregil.com info@thecrownregil.com


Their dog, Dobby, made national news seven years ago after falling 500ft over a cliff in Dorset. She was missing for two days, until rescuers were alerted by a sheep bleating next to her. Both Dobby and their other dog Socks help give customers a real rustic welcome. It’s worth the journey down winding country lanes to find them.

Currently serving food seven days a week Sunday lunches a speciality

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A Virtual Feast


WELLS Food Festival is going virtual for 2020 with a foodie extravaganza over the weekend of Saturday, October 10th and Sunday, October 11th. Festival director, Jon Abbott, said he was disappointed that the normal format was proving unfeasible this year, but he explained: “We are thrilled that working with our headline sponsor, Charlie Bigham’s, we have come up with an ideal alternative.” Nationwide, visitors to the online festival will have an opportunity to buy direct from more than 150 artisan producers from across the South West. A packed festival programme includes live-streamed masterclasses, cook-alongs, talks and guest appearances from well-known west country food stars. There will be music from blues band Harlem Rhythm Cats and a food photography competition. At-home festivalgoers can sign-up to workshops including flower arranging with Georgie Newby from Common Farm Flowers, live drawing with renowned illustrator Emily Sutton, who also creates Bigham’s distinctive packaging, and no-dig gardening advice from Somerset-based expert Charles Dowding. For details, visit www.wellsfoodfestival.bighams.com

butchers * fishMongers * delicAtessen

The Churchill Inn Bristol Road Langford BS25 5NL 01934 852757 the churchillinn.co.uk

A new look A new menu Same warm welcome

We are still open as normal and are also offering a next day delivery service for the elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating. Please respect our signs to social distance whilst shopping with us. May we take this opportunity to thank all our customers for their support. And from all of us, we send you our best wishes. Please stay safe and stay well.

Russ and Bernie’s relaunched pub

open: Monday – saturday 7am-6pm • sunday 10am-4pm

e cross, union street, cheddar, somerset bs27 3nA 01934 742521 • email cobbsofcheddar@outlook.com MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020 • PAGE 25


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Shepton businesses fightback

SHEPTON Mallet Chamber of Commerce is organising a “Virtual September” event, from Saturday, September 12th to Saturday, September 26th on Facebook. Each evening several businesses will have a 30-minute window to showcase products and services with viewers invited to buy tickets for a food trail on Thursday, September 24th to sample dishes at town centre venues with a Family Food & Find Trail on Saturday, September 26th. For details, visit their Facebook/Instagram page @sheptonchamber, www.sheptonchamber.co.uk or email: sheptonchamber@gmail.com

Maxine and the team at The Old Down Inn thank you for your continued support

e old down inn, emborough, radstock bA3 4sA W: www.theolddowninn.co.uk t: 01761 232398 e: theolddowninn@hotmail.co.uk

Shepton Mallet Virtual Event on Facebook where local businesses will be showcasing their products and services. Food Trail on Thursday 24th @ 6.30pm-10pm (ticket required) Family Food & Find Trail on Saturday 26th @ 10am-3pm (ticket required) www.facebook.com/sheptonchamber











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Marine marathon makes waves The outdoor swimming community at Clevedon Marine Lake braved bad weather, eels and cold water to raise spirits and much-needed funds by swimming the distance of 4.5 english Channel crossings. The socially distanced 24-hour super relay saw 44 swimmers swim more than 150km (93 miles) over a 24-hour period, raising £3,400. The night swims revealed some lake

secrets with many swimmers spotting phosphorescence, a type of plankton that emits its own light and glows in the water. The swim was organised to launch the national Lakes to Level Water challenge where swimmers at lakes across the UK set themselves swimming challenges and raised funds through sponsorship. The event has so far raised £63k for Level Water, the charity that gives disabled

Village playgroup closes

A PLAygROUP in Farrington gurney is to close after 54 years, blaming the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. group leader of Little Fidgets, Lorraine Malkin, said: “Covid19 has played a huge part in this decision as we can no longer guarantee funding from other areas to keep the pre-school viable. “With parents requiring full-time and part-time care and with only a small number of children registered for September we really had no option but to close.” The playgroup was started by Janet Randall in 1967 when playgroups were in their infancy. It met one morning a week in the Methodist Chapel. In 1972 Jan handed over the reins to Delia Nicholls, who was assisted by two of her friends, local residents Janet Burge and Anne Phillips and with Jan helping out when necessary. The playgroup then opened three days a week. Delia, known by many in the village as Aunty Delia, ran the group until 1994, when Lorraine took over, assisted by elizabeth Barlow in the Old Memorial hall, moving to the new village hall in 1997.

Off to be modified

ONe of the Somerset and Dorset Railway heritage Line’s workhorses at Midsomer Norton Station has been transported to a workshop in Derbyshire to be modified to operate passenger trains. english electric Diesel number D1120 is a former National Coal Board locomotive. It is expected to be away for six months at

children vital swimming lessons. Organiser, Rowan Clarke, said: “I’ve been quite overwhelmed by the response. People swimming further than they’ve ever swum before, building their confidence and most of all feeling like they’re part of something fantastic. I think it’s just what we all needed after such a difficult few months in lockdown.”

Preparing for a closing down sale (l to r) Celine Ingram, Lorraine Malkin, Marie Burge and Jan Randall

Lorraine said: “It has always been a struggle to remain open but somehow with jumble sales and lots of fundraising it was managed. “The saddest exercise of the closure was disposing of all the toys, books and equipment collected and donated over the years. “There are not words to express the sadness, regret and even a sense of failure that we had to come to this decision. The closure of the pre-school will leave a huge void for all of us leaders, helpers, supporters and committee.”

Darley Dale for vacuum brakes to be fitted. Specialist haulage is required to load and transport locomotives. Barrie Papworth, chief mechanical engineer at Midsomer Norton, said: “It is a pleasure working with the crews as it is a real joint effort to load locomotives on to a trailer. The practice is that a locomotive driver from the trust will

operate a locomotive at less than walking pace to shunt another locomotive onto the trailer guided by the lorry driver to ensure the wheels don’t become derailed or the locomotive overshoots the trailer.” Meanwhile, the popular steam loco Joyce will soon be back in action following its passing of its annual boiler examination. D1120 prepares to leave Midsomer Norton for the Peak District


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Arnhem memorial service to go ahead


ORGANISERS of the annual Second World War Double Hills memorial service at Paulton are to go ahead with this year’s event but on a much smaller scale. There had been plans to downsize the service this year regardless of the pandemic. This year’s ceremony will take place on Sunday, September 6th with 30 invited guests in a special marked-out area. The organisers accept other people may turn up to pay their respects from a safe distance.

Peter Yeates, the main organiser, said: “The village want it to go on. I intended this year to have a new format, but the purpose will be the same.” Peter added: “It will take place following all of the Covid-19 rules. The ceremony is so unique and so humble.” Double Hills commemorates the crash of a glider being towed to take part in the Battle of Arnhem and remembers the 23 servicemen who were killed on Sunday, September 17th 1944.

The laying of wreaths at last year’s service

Peter Yeates: “The village want it to go on.”

Innes’ ballet dream

WEDmORE student Innes Oliver, aged 14, is a talented ballet dancer and her dream to study ballet full time is about to come true. Formerly an associate student of both the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst Ballet School, she has performed with the National Youth Ballet for three seasons, in Wedmore Opera’s Carmen, Dido and Aeneas and Cavelleria Rusticana and was due to perform in Wedmore Arts Festival with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Jonathan Payn this spring. Even during lockdown her training has not skipped a beat – she is continuing to build strength and study her art with daily Zoom lessons from Bristol Ballet Centre and attended online classes with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and English National Ballet Youth company. After an intensive audition season before lockdown, moorland International Ballet Academy have offered Innes a place to study ballet alongside her GCSEs from September. mum, Ellie, said: “We are so excited about this opportunity for Innes, in a lovely countryside school where she can flourish. We are very proud of her – the whole family support her and make numerous sacrifices on her behalf. She pays us back many times over with her commitment and love.” Innes has been making masks between ballet classes, raising £200 towards the funding she needs and her family have set up a “gofundme” campaign.

Details: www.gofundme.com/f/r92je-ballet-school-dream PAGE 28 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020

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Boasting a stunning range of aluminium and uPVC window designs and hardware, we’re confident that we have a highly energy efficient and tempting style to suit your South West home or client.


We understand how important it is to homeowners and businesses alike, to actually see the quality of products up close. So, why not drop into the Seal-Lite showroom? Come in and see the products for yourself!

All Showroom Visits by Appointment Only


Ground Floor & Courtyard Rooms Currently Available

e Care Home with a difference. We offer all that you would expect from a high quality, family run Care Home set in a Georgian House in the lovely village of Cheddar, Somerset.

You can live your life to the full and choice is our favourite word. Rooms now available with full en-suite facilities and total personal care is offered. Rated by the CQC as good in all areas

The Manager – Chris Dando • 01934 742131 • chriscourthouse@gmail.com Court House Retirement Home, Church Street, Cheddar, Somerset BS27 3RA www.courthouseretirementhome.co.uk

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Mendip TiMes

Bennetts is a niche and boutique commercial law firm operating out of modern offices at Barley Wood Stables, Long Lane, Wrington. Our lawyers combine specialist legal knowledge with broad practical experience. We can be relied on to give clear and positive advice on a wide range of complex or routine matters whether preventative or remedial. Bennetts Solicitors Attorneys & Notaries Barley Wood Stables, Long Lane, Wrington Bristol BS40 5SA Phone: (44) 1934 862786 • Fax: (44) 1934 862404 Webpage: www.bennettlaw.co.uk e-mail: info@bennettlaw.co.uk

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Charities emerge from the pandemic Coronavirus has had an unprecedented effect on the charitable sector and in particular its ability to raise funds to ensure vital care and support can continue. Charities such as Children’s Hospice south West (CHsW) have had to adapt to a new way of working whilst providing palliative, respite, end of life and bereavement care for children with life-limiting conditions and their families from across the south West. CHsW needs around £11m a year to run its three children’s hospices and around 85 percent is raised through voluntary donations. as a result of the pandemic, the charity has had to cancel or postpone many of its fundraising events planned for the year which has had a significant impact on these voluntary donations. Kiley Pearce, events fundraiser for CHsW said: “Due to the pandemic, the charity has had to adjust many things over the last few months. The care and support we offer to children as well as the fundraising events that help to fund that vital support for more than 500 local families have all been disrupted.” The corporate sector has been urged to step forward at this vital moment, in particular corporate charity donors. national Friendly, a

Bristol based insurer which specialises in the over 50s market announced CHsW as their Charity of the Year and the first event to benefit from their support will be CHsW’s very first virtual Memories by Moonlight fundraising event, which is taking place on saturday, september 26th. The ceremony will invite people to remember and celebrate the life of a loved one and raise vital funds for the charity. it will be broadcast live on Facebook from CHsW’s Little Harbour hospice in st austell at 9pm, giving people the opportunity to light a candle and come together virtually for a special evening of reflection. The poignant and uplifting ceremony will feature readings from all three of the charity’s children’s hospices – Little Harbour, Charlton Farm near Bristol and Little Bridge House near Barnstaple. it will also include music, poems and a two-minute applause to celebrate the lives of those no longer with us. Pr and Corporate Partnerships Executive Kurtis reece from national Friendly said: “national Friendly is a people-led organisation, which has been helping people to prepare for life’s contingencies for over 150 years. We have always been proactive in supporting those

Business within our community, so it was a natural step for us to partner with CHsW and deepen our vital relationship with them.” Jonathan Long, CEo at national Friendly said: “Together, our aim is to promote a strong and caring environment, characterised by a culture of sensitivity, trust, consideration and respect for others. With our support for CHsW, we aim to ensure as much as possible is raised from the events that can help to provide vital support for children with life-limiting conditions and their families.” amanda Gallagher, Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser at CHsW said: “We are delighted to have the support of national Friendly for this very special and poignant event. Their contribution makes a huge difference to our cause and ensures that we can continue to care for hundreds of local children and families now and into the future.” To sign up to Memories by Moonlight simply visit www.chsw.org.uk/moonlight. registration is just £10 and a memory pack, along with details of how to access the Memory Ceremony, will be sent in the post. For more information about the event, you can also call the CHsW Fundraising Team on 01726 871800.

Mendip TiMes • sepTeMBer 2020 • page 31

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Mendip TiMes

l Seasoned hardwood logs l Nets of Kindling l Home/business delivery l Competitive prices

Business winners revealed

THE finalists have been revealed in shepton Mallet’s innovator awards, set up by the town council when Mendip District Council cancelled this year’s business awards because of the pandemic. some 94 nominations were received from shepton Mallet and neighbouring parishes, showing the efforts made by business owners to innovate during lockdown. The judging panel has selected three finalists in each of the eight categories with the exception of the innovator of the Year category, which is judged by a panel of town councillors. The winners will be announced during a live-streamed award ceremony on september 2nd at 7pm.

Church House designs to close

Tel: 01761 472140 • Mob: 07591 574399


NO MOLE NO FEE Telephone 01761 417100 www.mendipmolecatcher.co.uk

LorrainE Coles has decided she will not be reopening Church House Designs in Congresbury, which she has run for 34 years. she said: “i feel it is about time i had a wellearned rest! The Covid-19 pandemic has rather prompted me into this decision, although it had been on my mind for some time. “i will miss meeting all my lovely customers and especially miss my regulars who have been so supportive to me over the years. “it has been a very worthwhile experience, from my involvement with some brilliant artists who supplied the shop, to the selling over the counter to the customer. it has given me great pleasure, and i will miss every aspect of it.” she is selling off her remaining stock. details: lorraine@churchhousedesigns.co.uk 

Mendip Times reduces travel costs

100,000 potential customers within a short distance of your business page 32 • Mendip TiMes • sepTeMBer 2020

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How Covid-19 has driven changes in the law iT is now approaching six months from the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown with no immediate prospect of a return to something approaching normality in the workplace. Throughout this period Lyons have continued to provide legal services embracing conveyancing, wills, probate, family law and personal injury claims to their clients which has been achieved through the dedication of our loyal staff and a preparedness to adapt to the variety of technological changes driven by the priority of ensuring health and safety of all concerned. it is now commonplace for interviews with clients to be conducted remotely either by phone or video from the safety of their homes at a time which suits them (and so avoiding the time and expense of travel). This system of working has been extended in every area of our activities so that court hearings are now commonly conducted remotely using video technology with clients and witnesses giving evidence from remote locations and being cross-examined by barristers who could be many miles away and presided over by a judge, who for all we know, could be sitting atop the Mendip Hills in his country cottage. it matters not as long as legal services can be delivered safely, efficiently and in a timely fashion. Whilst there are disadvantages of not having face-toface encounters there is no doubt that these technological developments will ultimately result in a saving of time and

cost to clients. By way of another example it is now commonplace for documents to be moved from place to place at high speed via the computer so avoiding the delay, inconvenience and uncertainty of using the postal service. Electronic signatures are increasingly being accepted in place of original signatures. We will always deliver legal services to those clients who are not in a position to embrace technology but the advantages to those who do are readily apparent. and now, aided by technology, the law on Wills is changing. You can ask your solicitor to draw up your Will without having to meet him but the big challenge has been around witnessing. To comply with the Wills act (1837), the Will is only valid if it has been signed in writing in the presence of two witnesses. Case law says there needs to be a clear line of sight between the witness and the person signing the Will – and that is interpreted as being physically in the same place. However the Covid-19 pandemic has made physical witnessing of Wills difficult at a time when there has been a surge in demand for writing them. This has led to innovative physical witnessing, such as signing on the windscreen of a car or through an outside window. Many people have turned to the use of technology by witnessing over a video call such as Zoom or Facetime. The problem up to now is that this isn’t legal, and these Wills are potentially invalid. at least that


was the case, until the Ministry of Justice announced very recently that an amendment will be made to the Wills act, effective from 1st september that will make it legal to witness a Will over video. This is to be backdated, so that any Will signed in this way since 1st January 2020 will also be valid. However, there are concerns that this increases the risk for fraud and coercion and that it should be used as a last resort rather than become the norm. This reform is also only temporary, at least for now, and will be effective for the next two years. We can provide guidance about the new rules as they are quite cumbersome and rather drawn out. edward Lyons

Email: enquiries@lyonslaw.co.uk Website: www.lyonslaw.co.uk Telephone: 01275 332168 An established and progressive law firm providing a personal and cost-effective legal service for commercial and individual clients.

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Mendip TiMes

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The story of a goose – and two Japanese POW pals

IN 2011, Joanna Matthew decided to research her grandfather’s history. Joanna, of Shepton Mallet, knew Arthur Douglas Marsh had been aboard HMS Exeter during WW2 when it was sunk by the Japanese in the Battle of Java in 1942 and the survivors taken prisoner. Here, she explains some of what she discovered about the man known as Doug or Dougie. ARTHUR Douglas Marsh was a Shepton lad his whole life, as was his family. He had one child, my father, Terence Marsh, born in 1949. Doug died in 1974, aged 67, when I was only a year old, but I knew from a young age that Doug was aboard HMS Exeter during WW2 when she was sunk by the Japanese at the Battle of Java Sea at 9.30am on the morning of 1st March 1942. This event was to change his life forever. Doug was held as a Prisoner of War by the Japanese for three and a half years. He was away for five years in total, with no word from Doug for nearly two years leading my grandmother to believe he had been killed. My grandfather rarely spoke of his experiences as a POW, only mentioning snippets such as having to eat cats, dogs and rats, being severely beaten, starved and used as slave labour. He recalled the extreme cruelty and brutal treatment at the hands of the guards and one in particular. Later, I would discover this guard was called Yoshida, also known as Goldie or Goldtooth. This man was the arch villain of Macassar, a brute who carried out sadistic heavy beatings and petty torture and who by his influence was responsible for the majority of deaths by inflicting excessive hard work and by stopping medical supplies in any quantity into the camp. Yoshida was executed for war crimes on 16th May, 1947. Finding details of the survivors of this secret camp proved especially difficult. Struggling to find any mention of my grandfather, I eventually found from National Archives his Japanese index card which confirmed he spent the whole of his captivity at Macassar. My grandfather never mentioned where he was imprisoned. I also came across a contact number for a wonderful and very knowledgeable man called Tom Jowett who is vice-chairman of the HMS Exeter Association. Tom was the son of an Exeter lad and was running the HMS Exeter and Macassar Camp reunion group. I wrote to him asking if anyone could remember my grandfather. He replied informing me that only a handful of Exeter lads remained alive and it was highly unlikely anyone would remember

Doug, but it was worth a shot. He suggested putting my grandfather’s name on the reunion invites to see if it triggered any memories. I had forgotten all about my plea for information when, a few weeks later, I received a phone call. An elderly lady asked if I was the granddaughter of Doug Marsh and introduced herself as Joan Rowse. She said: “Of course I know Doug, he saved my husband’s life.” Her husband’s name was Cecil. Doug had spoken of a best friend, though never mentioned his name, and how they had kept each other alive in the camp. This was an incredible moment and a discovery that I could not have anticipated. Joan told me how in his last year of imprisonment Cecil had been dying of Beri Beri, a disease that causes the body to bloat to extreme proportions. This was around January 1945, a period when disease was rife in the camp. This was also when

Laying wreaths at Shepton Mallet cenotaph

Wreaths at St John the Baptist Church in Axbridge. The church bells were rung for the first time since lockdown


Joanna Matthew and her father Terry (right) with Able Seaman Will Wood from HMS Flying Fox at a VJ Day memorial service at Shepton Mallet cenotaph

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VJ DAY 2020 Midsomer Norton RBL branch members Chris Copeland (standard bearer) and Graham Jagger at Midsomer Norton’s war memorial

“Doug” Marsh

Doug took a huge personal risk and traded his wedding ring with one of his Japanese captors in exchange for Vitamin B tablets that he would use to save Cecil’s life. Cecil lived many more years until he died in the 1990s. This trade was not as simple as we may think. The fact my grandfather even had his wedding ring after three years of captivity was a miracle. The Japanese stripped the lads of everything as soon as they were taken from the sea, Cecil mentioned this in his letter home. In camp, the lads wore only a small loin cloth. Hiding anything was punishable by severe beating or death, so Doug had taken a huge risk in keeping his wedding ring, his only connection to home. The story doesn’t quite end there. I accompanied my parents to meet Joan and her children, it was an emotional and quite surreal meeting. The family had always known this story and what my grandfather had done, but Doug had never mentioned a word to anyone. Joan showed us a letter that Cecil Two camp survivors from HMS Exeter – 1945 wrote shortly after

being liberated from the camp, in which he described how Doug had saved his life but would not accept any reimbursement for his wedding ring. He promised Doug a fat goose on their return to England. On reading this my father gasped; as a child his family received a goose every Christmas but never knew where it came from. Now it was clear that it had come from Cecil’s home farm in Cornwall. After the lads of HMS Exeter were liberated, they remained in Macassar for three weeks, until on 24th September they boarded HMS Maidstone bound for Freemantle in Australia where they would recuperate before returning to England. The lads were in a such shocking state and would not have survived the long journey to England, nor were they ready for British eyes. It is worth noting that when my grandfather and other POWs arrived in Portsmouth, England, on 11th December there was no grand welcome awaiting them. According to one survivor, only the captain of HMS Exeter’s Marines was there to greet them. The lads were advised not to tell anybody, particularly their family and friends, about their experiences. Whether this was an official command or just an agreement between themselves is open to debate. Officially, this was to protect family and friends from being upset. Since discovering my grandfather’s story, I have attended the HMS Exeter annual reunion weekend held around the 1st March, the date of the ship’s sinking. The group meets for a service at Exeter Cathedral where HMS Exeter has its own chapel and stained glassed window.


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You can teach an old dog new tricks!

WHO would ever think that things could change so much just because of a virus? I am not talking about health issues or local employment or any of the many factors that are now affecting our everyday life, as bad as they may be. Purely from a personal view point, the way the Mendip Society has operated in the past may be changing forever. How's that? Well, ever since we were formed in the mid-60s, there has been a reliable and fixed way things have been done. Our talks programme has always had a consistent format in holding these events by inviting a known (or unknown) interesting person to speak in a knowledgeable, interesting and entertaining way so as to be well received by members and guests alike. Since the lockdown restrictions we, like lots of organisations, have had to put our programmes in the pending tray waiting for things to get back to normal. But I for one cannot sit by waiting for life to get better and so after some discussion amongst ourselves, we decided to take the plunge and use technology to help solve this problem. So, for a landmark first, at the beginning of August we snapped up the offer from a speaker originally booked for a “normal” talk in April to deliver it via the Zoom medium on our screens. John Price presented 40 of us with a most interesting talk about the flight of Charles Stuart after the Battle of Worcester and the route taken by him to escape Cromwell's troops. This long distance path is known as the Monarch's Way and passes over the Mendips before ending at Shoreham on the south coast from where he escaped by boat to France. John was full of interesting facts and details, a lot of which were new to me; it has been recorded and is now available on his website and on YouTube. Go to our website for the link on the events page or to our Facebook page, (details at the bottom of this piece) and see it for yourself. Further talks are being planned, so keep an eye on our website. We are also venturing into the world of that other social media YouTube; there is now the series of six videos, narrated by Les Davies on our own channel, which have been well received, introducing the Mendip Hills.

Search for The Mendip Society on www.youtube.com Our picture this month is of Les on the well-known highest trig point on Mendip, taken from the very beginning of video one, filmed by Graham Keating. Do take a look. We are also exploring just how we can use this technology for our walking programme and will give details of this

when we have tried and tested it ourselves. One idea is inspired by the fact that the route of the Monarch’s Way here in Mendip touches the boundary of our nature reserve, Tania’s Wood near Ubley. Even better, that boundary is historically important as it formed the deer leap of a medieval deer park, documented in 1240; it is one of the very few remaining deer leap ditch and bank sections visibly recognisable remaining in the South West. These boundaries protected the wood, timber and hunting rights and consisted of a massive bank and an internal ditch with either a “pale” (fence) or a hedge on


top to prevent passage of deer or cattle over them. The picture is an artistic impression of a deer being cornered in a hunt, by Allison D. Reid. Our bank has over the years become very overgrown with trees and scrub but during the lockdown individual volunteers have spent days easily isolated working hard to restore it, meeting only the cows in the next door field. It is our hope to create a spur signposted off the Monarch’s Way leading into Tania’s Wood so that anyone can visit this bit of our area’s local history. With a new permissive path along the inner ditch and around the wood, together with an illustrated leaflet to explain what they are seeing, we hope visitors will get as much enjoyment out of this peaceful place as we do. Many of you will have come across the digital Zoom technology finding it to be the solution to keeping contact with friends and family around the world. I for one never thought I would champion the use of this idea after years of cursing the internet and everything connected with it. So – you see, you can teach an old dog new tricks! Richard Frost

For details of all events visit www.themendipsociety.org.uk and Facebook ‘The Mendip Society’


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Build, build, build? Engage, engage, engage!

I HAVE written before about the need for a ground-up approach to local environment and nature needs. However, with the government’s announcement of a build, or as some have interpreted it, a build everywhere policy, then the need for everyone to have a say postBy CHRIS lockdown is of paramount importance. I do SPERRING MBE realise that green belt has been said to be safe, but of course those green belt boundaries could be redrawn, becoming smaller, squashed and squeezed to a point whereby they’re no longer viable as a place for nature or people. Many years ago in the nature conservation community, there were lengthy debates about the real value of the nature reserve for wildlife. The question was related to whether an island (nature reserve) was biologically viable in being cut off from the mainstream of plant and animal distribution or not? I have always felt that the nature reserve is important and I see them, not as islands surrounded by green deserts or building, but blocks to build upon and certainly not, last resorts. The connectivity of nature can be achieved in so many ways. There’s another factor we should all be thinking about and that is what we’ve learnt from the Covid-19 lockdown. Certainly where I live I was quite taken aback at the sheer number of people suddenly descending on local woodlands, field footpaths and local nature reserves; people needed these areas for their once a day, sometimes twice a day walks and, as lockdown eased, the presence of people actually went up within these areas. The need for space and space within nature was obvious. One of the good things I feel coming out from the build, build, build statement was the fact that government is actually

The proper management of outside spaces such as roadside verges can help wildlife


Do we see less wildlife around compared to previous generations?

encouraging people to have a say; this is, I think, really important. Clearly some people are already involved with their own local processes such as neighbourhood plans. Some of these that I have seen have considered the local natural environment, and even have the say on where development should go, and the proportion of affordable homes. I even saw one that demanded all new builds have solar power. I also wonder if we should not be as equally concerned about development on prime farmland and I wonder how many plans actually consider the role of local farming and feeding people in the decision process? It's quite clear that new development is coming; it’s also clear that many of us objecting or just in the discussion, will be called the “not in my back yard” brigade. But calling someone a NIMBY for having a say on their local plans is wrong and I feel it’s a way of shaming people into silence. We actually need more people to get involved in the process and talking about it and not to be quietly moaning in the background. Many local environment/nature groups are already in the process of either forming or have been active for some time. Some, like the one close to me, are actively engaged in their neighbourhood plan and engaged with local councils on issues such as management of roadside verges, local parks and better access for local people to gain exercise through nature etc. These are positive engagements with real outcomes that could last generations, thereby hopefully creating a better local environment for people and nature alike. I remember well my late father saying to me how much more wildlife there was around in his day. I’m now saying the same thing to my own son; with each passing generation our experience tells us we lived through the best times for nature, when actually with each passing generation nature is in retreat . . . I wonder what will be rare when my son is my age? Be a part of the future in your local area have your say now.

Chris Sperring MBE is conservation Officer for the Hawk and Owl Trust. For news of any public walks or talks coming up please visit via Facebook @ChrisSperringwildlife


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Along the edge of history

A SOMEWHAT longer walk, away from Mendip for the early autumn in the Polden Hills and on the Sedgemoor near Chedzoy. Man was walking here back in prehistoric times as the discovery of ancient timber trackways nearby has shown. No doubt theirs was a hunting mission or one of survival, whereas our walk today is one of leisure. We enjoy a ramble along the King’s Sedgemoor Ditch from Parchey Bridge, near Chedzoy, then pick up a heritage trail at Bawdrip and a railway trail taking us to Cossington up in the Polden Hills. From here we head back and then descend to a village on the moor, Stawell, before an easy walk on a quiet lane back to the start by Parchey Bridge. It is mainly on the flat on very good paths although there is one steep downhill which requires care, and there are a few undulations. This

With Sue Gearing PAGE 40 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020

route has a number of stiles. In Cossington, a short detour takes you to a popular pub. Wooden trackways were constructed in the prehistoric period between the Neolithic and the later preRoman Iron Age, primarily as communication routes across wet areas of ground and as a means of access to the resources of wetlands. Many have survived because they were buried in the peat. One such track was found about 600 metres SSE of Parchey Bridge on the east of King’s Sedgemoor Drain.

START: Parchey Bridge free dirt parking area, on the road between Chedzoy and Sutton Mallet, east of Bridgwater. Cross the bridge over impressive King’s Sedgemoor Drain. This man-made channel, 10.5 miles long, was completed in 1795 and diverts the River Cary along the southern flank of the Polden Hills, to join the River Parrett at Dunball near Bridgwater. It helps drain the peat moors and has brought some relief from flooding to the area. The drain was upgraded during WW2 to provide a back-up water supply for an armaments factory at Puriton and again in 1972, when the Sowy River flood relief channel was built. As it is well stocked with fish, it has hosted the National Fishing Championships. It is an important haven for birds and now a valuable wildlife corridor and a leisure resource. Eels make the long journey back to here from the Sargasso Sea Turn right on the walking/cycling route with the channel on your right. In the backround is Pendon Hill and behind that in the distance, the Polden Hills ridge. Be aware of cyclists sharing the route with you. Continue for 1.2 miles, to Bradney

Bridge, passing alongside a metal railed compound and come out by the Environment Agency depot.

1. BRADNEY BRIDGE By the bridge is an information board on Bawdrip Heritage Trail. We join the King Sedgemoor Drain Trail (KSDT) by going straight on (don’t cross the bridge) keeping the water on your right. After going through a gate, turn right through another gate and across the bridge over the drain. Then turn left through a further gate and continue on the grass to parallel the drain on your left, still on the KSDT, although not marked as such. Cross a bramble hedge and bush corridor – the line of the old railway. Now cross a stile and carry on. Turn right just before a large pylon to follow a grassy path (none of this is well marked). After another stile, continue on a path and come alongside the line of the old railway. Ignore side turns. Further on, go through disused farm buildings and out through a gate onto the lane in Bawdrip. 2. BAWDRIP Go right under the old railway, and left on the lane. Shortly, on the bend, turn left up Eastside Lane and pass an information board about Bawdrip trails. Reach over right a beautiful old farmhouse, dated 1532, which was Tudor Court, the old manorial house, where the Manor Courts were held. – Turn left just past the farmhouse on a Tarmac drive which rises. Keep on up, bending round, to reach a large metal gate and, once through, join the old railway line.

3. OLD RAILWAY Go through another gate and keep on. Eventually drop down to a Tarmac route at

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the site of the old Bawdrip Halt on the railway – the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway. Opposite see an eye-catching sculpture, the Kings’ Seat, by an information board. You have now joined the more formal Tarmac Railway Trail which is also part of the Sustrans cycle trail. So keep your eyes open for cyclists. Follow this along. It is very easy, flat walking. Note the drainage ditches on either side where there are a couple of metal sculptures – a sailing boat, and further on two swans. Eventually come under a bridge carrying the A39. The track does a couple of bends as it diverts from the old railway route and passes a recreation field before coming out through ornamental metal gates to a road in Cossington, a village set on the north side of the Poldens.

4. COSSINGTON Turn right, over the old railway, and on through the village on the road. After a few minutes, bend right into Manor Road and almost immediately take the low walled Tarmac footpath on the left which drops down and then back up. Having reached the top and a junction with Bell Lane, go right a few yards and fork left in Walnut Lane. Stay with this to a junction with Milmoot Lane and turn left. This quiet lane bends and leaves the village, becoming Mowground Lane. It takes you to a Tjunction where you go left on Middle Lane. To continue our circle, we leave the road after a few yards and take the stone track footpath right. However, you can make a short detour going further on the lane to the popular Red Tile Inn.

5. TRACK For our route, follow the old stone track (formerly known as Ditch Furlong Road), which goes south and bends, heading across the Polden Hills. Go through a gate and continue on. After a large modern barn, the track ceases to be stony. Just maintain direction on the track, passing a small wood and going over a stile by a gate.

6. FOOTPATH A little further on reach a crossing footpath and take the stile on the right. Head straight across the field, through a gate and immediately turn left along the bottom of this next field. Having crossed the stile


6.9 miles, about four hours walking. OS Explorer 140 Quantock Hills & Bridgwater, grid ref, 352 377. SatNav TA7 8RW (nearest postcode)

ahead, bear right up the field aiming towards a large white house above (the Olive Mill Restaurant at the time of writing). Aim to the corner of the fence round the garden and go up the side of the fence, through a kissing gate, up steps into the car park with the restaurant on your left. Go out onto the main road, the A39. 7. MAIN ROAD Leave the car park through the main entrance and cross this busy road. Make sure you don’t miss a small footpath opposite into the woodland (the footpath sign was broken when I came). It is opposite the two Olive Mill signs.

8. HILL Go straight into the wood on a small path which meanders and then drops steeply downhill off the Polden Ridge. Watch your footing. Go through a gate and steeply on down the field to a gate below. – Go through, heading on along the right edge of the field with an abundant orchard on the other side of the hedge. Ignore a Bristol Gate right. Turn the field corner and soon go through a pedestrian gate on the right. Head across this field, slightly left. Go through

l Get ready for an exciting new book of walks on Mendip – Mendipity – another collaboration with Les Davies, coming out in October. It will make an ideal Christmas present. Mendipity will be available through Mendip Times, in local shops and elsewhere.

another gate and over a footbridge near a pond. Join a stony track which heads towards a farm. Don’t go all the way, but as the track crosses a gully, follow a footpath arrow right and then turn left along a wall and then a fence. At the end, a gate right leads to another path which leads along and down steps to the road in Stawell. 9. STAWELL Go left on the road reaching St Francis church on the corner. This started life in the 13th century on the site of a chapel controlled by Glastonbury Abbey. There have been additions and a Victorian restoration. Now turn right through the village. When you reach the old Post Office on the left notice the unusual Stawell AA road sign on the wall, recording the distance of villages, and the fact that London is 138 miles away. –

10. MOOR Now simply follow the lane all the way out of the village and through the moors along to a T-junction on West Moor. It’s easy quiet walking so you can enjoy the open vistas and big skies. Then turn right and go along to Parchey Bridge and parking. The total distance from Stawell is about 1.2 miles. The Red Tile Inn, Cossington, 01278 722333.


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West Countryman’s diary

SEPTEMBER is upon us and the countdown to autumn has begun, which on Mendip will come a few weeks earlier than other places. The higher With LES altitude that makes DAVIES MBE spring come that little bit later, also brings the end of summer closer. I have already noticed the morning mist across the moors and the nights have begun to close in. This year is, however, one to forget! For everything in the countryside, this is going to be a very hectic time. Time to gather as much food as possible and if you are a creature that will be hibernating, it’s time to put on some extra weight. Where the rest of us watch the number of calories in our daily food intake, residents of the natural environment will be packing them in. The trees also will be making some informed choices that can verge onto the edge of gambling. How long will they hold onto their leaves? The dice start rolling now, as the tree begins to store as much food as it possibly can. Just like the hibernating animal population who eat lots, the tree stores food from the green leaves that have been photosynthesising throughout the year. Once this is done they will break down the chemicals within the leaf. This is where we start to see the colours change. Pulling back and recycling these chemicals is important because they are going to be pumped back into the newlyformed leaves next year. Harsh winter conditions can also cause the problem of leaves freezing. Conifers get around this with specially adapted leaves and an antifreeze system. Finally for the deciduous tree there is the risk of being blown over in the winter winds, so best cut the “sail” effect and dump the lot! However, here comes the gamble. Hold onto the leaves too long and the tree could get caught out by severe weather. Drop them too soon and valuable food production time can be lost. Is it 50/50 or phone a friend? Last month’s column was all about climatic succession, where nature wants to grow trees everywhere it can. As was also mentioned, we humans have been able hold this succession at any stage from grassland to full forest. Not everywhere is

suitable for trees. You only have to take a walk over Black Down to see the tree cover there consists of a few “pioneers” that have managed to grab hold of enough soil to scrape a living. This, unlike the rest of the landscape of trees and hedgerows, has occurred naturally, without the interfering human hand. It began around 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. Black Down was coming up from the permafrost, the deeply frozen ground that would have gone down to a depth of several metres. Post Ice Age would no doubt have seen soil blown in from other areas. This is borne out by the presence of several soil types across the area. Anyone who has been on the top during an “Easty-Beasty” cold wind blowing in from Russia (with love) will know only too well just how much power there is behind air movement. The thin soils around the top of Black Down do not make it ideal tree country. Even the bracken has been limited in its exploitation of these soils. This can be clearly seen on the north slope, where it suddenly stops growing. The wetter and deeper soils lie to the south of the trig point. This is where trees like goat willow are able to get a hold, just as they do in the Blackmoor reserve at Charterhouse. The north side is relatively treeless until you reach the lower slopes, where again the deeper soils have been moved over thousands of years of erosion. Now the bracken has been cleared from these northern slopes, it’s possible to make out some terracing. Here is human involvement in the landscape. In the same area several years back, I found what turned out to be a broken Bronze Age sickle blade made of flint. This would be dated back to around 3-4000 years ago and is evidence of crops being grown here in what would have been a warmer climate.

The terracing however is more likely to be from the Middle Ages and the open field system was used up until the early 1800s. This leads quite nicely into my closing paragraphs. With huge regret neither the North Somerset or the Mendip Ploughing matches will be happening this year. In fact I think all the ploughing matches have been cancelled because of the pandemic. These events are the cornerstone of the rural year and we have been robbed of them. We all live in hope of better things ahead! To add a little good news to this column, I would like to propose a toast to a very special “Lady” who has reached the age of 150! Margaret is a ploughing engine owned by an old school friend of mine, Andy Melrose, from Wells. Andy and his dedicated team bring Margaret to the ploughing match every year and it’s sad that we will not get the chance to pay a special tribute this time. Built by John Fowler & Co (Leeds) she was given the works number 1368. A single cylinder engine with a nominal 12 horse power rating, she weighs in at around 20 tons when fully coaled and watered. An active work life continued up until 1947, with re-commissioning in 1956 due to the Suez crisis and its expected fuel supply problems. Andy bought her in 1980 and has been her “carer” ever since. Ever the starlet, she was featured in the 2002 Channel 4 TV series Salvage Squad where she received a major mechanical overhaul. Happy Birthday Margaret and well done Andy Melrose! Thanks also to Matt Martin who supplied me with the information. This month’s picture just had to be the Grand Old Lady herself at last year’s Mendip Match. Andy is at the controls as the plough is winched across the field. In fact it was the 150th match – the “Old Normal”!

You can always contact me through my website: Westcountryman.co.uk


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Mendip TiMes

Oh dear, what can the matter be?

If there is any plus side to the current pandemic, it is that so many folks have turned to their gardens to fill time during lockdown. Seeds were almost unobtainable as the demand for grow-your-own vegetables exploded. Plots were dug, space created, and enthusiasm blossomed, but With MarY along with the coronavirus the problems in paYne MBe our gardens started to appear. It could be that with more time “to stand and stare” we have become more observant and seen problems. I have certainly seen an increase in problems needing identification and control solutions and some pests and diseases do seem to be more prevalent some years, probably due to the weather conditions we have experienced during lockdown and since life has returned to whatever the new normal is. I spotted a patch of eggs on the underside of a leaf (see picture). Caterpillars first come to mind, but the emerging creatures resembled tiny beetles, but my entomological knowledge says beetles hatch from grub-like larvae, not from eggs. It was obvious that whatever it was I was now going to have rather a lot of them, so I needed to find out if they were friend or foe. further research revealed they were the immature phase of the shield bug, a flattish insect, usually green, often seen sitting on plants. fortunately, they do very little damage and randomly pierce the foliage for a sip of plant sap. They are, however, closely related to the capsid bug which feeds on the emerging very young foliage, which as it expands develops tattered holes. This can cause serious disfiguration of fuchsias, buddlejas and many other plants. If the capsid bug has not attacked your fuchsia, then don’t worry the fuchsia gall mite may have a go. This miniscule spider relative causes the tips of shoots to proliferate into unsightly galls. There is no cure. If the attack is severe then I suggest you throw the plants away. Less severe outbreaks may be temporarily reprieved by severe pruning, but do not compost the remains. This problem has spread from the east of England and now affects most parts of the UK. Apples, pears, and cherries were attacked by blossom wilt, a fungal disease that infects through the blossoms and causes the die-back of shoots. This has been very widespread this year due to the warm, humid weather conditions we experienced at flowering time. Prune out affected shoots, because this disease is closely related to the brown rot that commonly affects fruit at ripening time. Brown patches appear on the fruit, often with rings of creamy spore pustules. Affected fruits often fall and should be removed, along with any that hang on and mummify on the tree as this is the source of infection for the next season. Sticking with fruit, I have been sent a lot of pear leaves with orange spots on. This is pear rust, yet another fungal disease but seemingly very common this year, probably due again to the warm humid conditions favoured for the spread of fungal diseases. Pick off affected leaves, if this is feasible, to reduce the spread. Owners of viburnums, especially V.opulus (Guelder Rose) and V. tinus (Laurustinus) need to keep an eye out for the second generation of viburnum beetle. These eat small round holes in the leaves and make the evergreen V. tinus very unattractive. paGe 44 • Mendip TiMes • sepTeMBer 2020

shield bug eggs and young

Both the adult beetle and the larval stage eat the foliage. The first attack comes in May and the second in September – so watch out. This has now become such a problem that I am reluctant to plant either of these susceptible viburnums, which is a shame. The Guelder Rose is a British native offering bright red berries in the autumn, and the Laurustinus is such a useful evergreen for screening and flowers in the winter months. If my garden is anything to go by, it has been the “year of the leaf miner”. A wide variety of plants have shown leaf tunnels or blotches caused by the grubs of various tiny flies. These are often choosy about which plants they attack, so the chrysanthemum leaf miner also goes for other members of the daisy family e.g. marguerites, Shasta daisies, globe thistles and will even go for thistle weeds. Another species prefers members of the borage family and yet another, the cucumber family including courgettes. These are not easy pests to control as the larvae feed between the upper and lower layers of the leaf, but hand picking usually suffices and the plants rarely suffer any permanent damage. There has also been a spike in cases of downy mildew on a range of plants. This has been encouraged once again by the high humidity. White downy patches appear on the underside of the leaves with often discoloured marks on the leaf surface. There are no chemical available for the amateur to control downy mildew. Cut off affected shoots if feasible. Powdery mildew, on the other hand, occurs during drought periods. The white powder occurs on the leaf surface and can be prevented by timely applications of a general-purpose fungicide if really necessary. It is worth saying that most plant diseases are most easily prevented by cultural methods, meaning preventative sprays may be unnecessary. In true British fashion let’s just blame the weather for sending us all the problems. The good news is that gardeners are always optimistic that next year will be better, but just in case I suggest you order your vegetable and flower seeds early. I do hope those who experienced gardening, maybe for the first time, stay with it for the well-established physical and mental health advantages so many have experienced during this difficult year. You can stop looking for the pests now and continue to enjoy the vast variety of butterflies, bees and other insects that have enjoyed the fruits of your labours.

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sepTeMBer Garden Tips

• September is the beginning of the traditional autumn planting season and is in fact the best time to plant hardy plants. The soil is moist and warm and plants soon get established now, so get out your spades and get planting! • Create a cottage garden effect by sowing easy to grow hardy annuals. Calendula and love-in-a-mist (nigella) look good together. Cornflower, larkspur and clarkia will give some height to the middle and back of a border and are good cut flowers too! • Cut back earlier flowering herbaceous perennials close to ground level unless they produce attractive seed heads. • Replant pots and hanging baskets with autumn, winter and spring flowering and foliage plants. • Check roses regularly for black spot and rust fungal diseases. Remove and burn infected leaves and continue regular sprays of fungicide. • Make sure that any lavender plants not pruned earlier are done now. Cut off faded flowers with about 2-3 cm of leaf shoot. • Remove the leading shoot when your greenhouse tomatoes have set five trusses of fruit. This will encourage all the fruit to ripen before late autumn. Regular feeding with a tomato feed will help and also makes the fruit tastier! • Take cuttings of border pinks (dianthus) this month. They root easily, even in a glass of water, and it is a plant that benefits from being regularly rejuvenated by replanting regularly.



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Mendip TiMes

Gardening party

pictured (l to r) are pam Jeffery, sue Moysey, Lin paul, Becky angell, nikky shabbo and doris Gentle.

TEMPLE Cloud in Bloom members are continuing their work – at a suitable distance, finding the village green and bench provided the perfect place for a socially distanced coffee break. New volunteers are welcome. The next couple of working Saturdays will be on September 19th and October 10th, meeting at 10am at the end of Paulmont Rise.

n Gs Ga r d en Of The MOn Th

Gardens open during Covid-19

ENTRY to all NGS gardens is by pre-booked ticket only and these are obtained through the website: https://www.ngs.org.uk Confirmation of purchase is by email. BaTCOMBe hOUse A designer’s garden of two parts – one a riot of colour through kitchen terraces, potager leading to wildflower orchard; the other a calm contemporary amphitheatre with large herbaceous borders and interesting trees and shrubs. address: Gold Hill, Batcombe, Shepton Mallet BA4 6Hf. Contact: Libby Russell, 01749 850026, email russelllib@mac.com www.mazzullorusselllandscapedesign.com. Opening dates and time: Saturday, September 5th, 2-5pm. COLefOrd hOUse (new) The river Mells flows through this picturesque garden with large lawns, wild flower planting, ornamental pond, woodland, substantial herbaceous borders, walled garden, arboretum/orchard, kitchen garden, bat house, orangery and museum of classic cars. address: Underhill, Coleford, Radstock BA3 5LU. Contact: James Alexandroff, 07799865815 email ja@arisaig.com.sg. Opening dates and time: Sunday, September 13th, 10am5pm.

COLLeGe Barn Created in the last six years, the garden draws upon its surroundings of meadows and woodland, with hazel and hornbeam hedges and naturalistic plantings of perennials in large blocks or in matrices with ornamental grasses. address: Benter, Oakhill, Radstock BA3 5BJ. Contact: Alex Crossman & Jen Weaver, 07970 497046, email: alex@crossmanassociates.co.uk. Opening dates and time: Saturday, September 12th, 3-7pm. OTher Gardens Kilver Court, Shepton Mallet is open on Thursday, September 10th, 10am-4pm, entry is £7.50. Two other gardens open by arrangement only until the end of September are Coldharbour Cottage, Radford, Radstock, BA3 2XU and Henley Mill, Wookey, Wells BA5 1AW. Entry is £5. details: www.ngs.org.uk

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Farming memories published for VJ Day Wartime memories from Somerset farms have been stirred with the 75th anniversary of VJ Day. From interviews carried out by young people as part of Farming in Wartime, an audio project, a story emerges of everyone – including children – mucking in to help the war effort. the project was led by Windrose rural media trust and carried out 11 years ago by members of Glastonbury and Wells Young Farmers. transcripts have been released for the first time for VJ Day. Kenneth West, for example, was 11 years old and living with his parents on their farm in Street when the war started. “During the war, parents used to write into school and if you were 12 or 13 or 14 years old you were asked to be released from school and help with the harvest, of any description,” he recalled as he spoke to Charlotte Patterson. “i enjoyed it. We were taken from school because there wasn’t the labour force to keep everything going. the children used to come out from school and then they helped out. it was only menial jobs until you got stronger and then you had the bigger jobs to do, helping milk the cows, bringing the harvest in. “the worst thing we ever had to do was when we were harvesting barley because you had to stook it and if you had bare arms, the barley haws used to dig into your arms and you used to go away with scratches all up and down your arms.” the project was part of their Past Your Future, a series of inter-generational projects involving young people interviewing older people about farming in the past. members of young farmers were taught Len Price with Christopher Dunn


Women's Land Army training at Cannington Farm

how to use recording equipment and interviewed a wide range of people at the tithe Barn at Pilton. Some of the interviewees may have since passed away but their recollections are now an invaluable first-person account of an extraordinary period in recent history. ethel Webb Lockyer spent the war years working as a cheese maker on a range of Somerset farms. “the war was on, we weren’t allowed out very much, all the blackouts were there. everything was rationed, we didn’t have too much to eat. i can always remember the sugar was rationed. We all had our own jar on the table,” she recalled when she spoke to ali trippick. although rationing took its toll, there was food available on the black market for those in the know. “On the farms we usually had hens and

eggs and ducks and chickens all around, of course we had the milk and then we had the cheese. the farm i was on, the farmer was very good; he could kill a pig and dress it and everything so very often at night the pigs would disappear.” Fay Fleming was 17 when she moved from manchester to Somerset to join the Women’s Land army. She said: “i learned about tractoring and all that while i was training. i learned everything. i went up the mendips haymaking.” She and a fellow land girl loaded the hay on the trailer as it was handed to them by the men on the ground with pitchforks. they had to slide down the hay to get off. and she remembers it being thirsty work, with copious amounts of cider consumed during their breaks. British Boys for British Farms was a scheme set up by the YmCa to replace farmworkers who’d been called up. evacuee James Hughes left school at 14 to join the scheme and worked on two Somerset farms during the war years He said: “One of the first things they said to me when i was being interviewed was ‘can i look at your hands?’ and they looked at them and said ‘ooh you’ve got lovely fingers, they’re just right for milking, you’re just what we want’.” Len Price, instead of having a paper round, used to work on a local farm washing milk bottles cooled in the dairy by a donkey-powered engine. He told interviewer Christopher Dunn: “One of my jobs because i was good at it, if you like – i worked in a factory and i was good with things with metal – i used

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Charlotte Patterson (left) with Eileen Waterer and Fay Fleming

to sit on the edge of the field where the farmer was mowing and sharpen his spare blade for the mower with a file and a wet stone. “in those days the corn was cut and combine harvesters weren’t invented and the corn was stook by hand to dry. this was a job that you definitely kept your sleeves down for otherwise you’d go home at night red raw. “Horses at that time, of course, were the main source of power, tractors coming in mainly when the Land army girls arrived because they could manage the tractors better than the horses. “i was the only one on the farm that ever drove three Shire horses abreast to do jobs like chain harrowing. Driving three horses abreast, especially Shires, is not an easy proposition because, of course, you’ve got no shafts or anything and when you get to the end of the field to turn round you can only virtually turn them round by talking to them gently.” ali Grant, who led the Farming in Wartime project, said: “it was a fantastic day. Lots of the older people had brought


Charlotte Patterson (left) with Kenneth West

memorabilia with them, which was really interesting for the young farmers to look at. “i was particularly struck by how much they had in common. although there was at least five decades in age between them, they were able to talk at length together about farming life. “i remember one of the interviewees turned the tables on the young farmer interviewing him and was asking lots of questions about modern tractors. “milking was another aspect where there was lots of commonality, even though the older farmers had largely used their hands rather than machinery, which the young ones found fascinating.” Windrose rural media trust was set up in 1984 under its earlier name of trilith. it is a registered charity (no. 1136144). its purpose is to use the media to undertake educational, archival and creative work in rural communities in Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire.

Details: http://closeencounters-mediatrail.org.uk/

After hours – another story from Chew Valley Voices

WHen the war were on we used ter ‘ave Double Summer time. Seem ter i the clocks changed so often the poor cows didn’t knaw whether they was comin’ or goin’. an’ course it used ter be light till half past ten at night, midsummer. those days licensing hours was a lot different from what they are now. By DINAH Closin’ time were ten o’clock READ weekdays, an’ they used ter be tight about it. if you were caught drinkin’ after hours you’d be sure ter get a summons – an’ like as not landlord ‘ud lose ‘is licence. Course that didn’t stop us. Old ernie as kept our local, ‘ed get in a sociable mood when ‘e ‘ad a few mates in and give ‘em the wink ter hang back a bit at closin’ time, and as soon as the rest ‘ad gone e’d nip out and lock th’ door, and we’d carry on. Sometimes we’d go through into th’ parlour, but as often as not we stayed in th’ bar. Couldn’t see in with th’ blackout up. Well one of they light nights four or five of us was just settling in fer a game of spoof and as it was hardly dark the blackouts weren’t put up, only the net curtains on the bottom half of th’ windows. ernie were just about ter fix

th’ frames so we could switch th’ lights on when ‘e seed the coppers ‘elmet goin’ past th’ window. “Watch it” ‘e zed out th’ side of ‘is mouth. “Get into th’ kitchen.” Sure enough next thing there was a bangin’ on the door. We didn’t need no second tellin’. We all ducked down so our heads was below the level of th’ curtains and made fer th’ door in under th’ bar. Of course we ‘ad t’ croopie down t’ get in under it. i can see it now. maed i laugh! Stevie Patch ‘e were a big fat man and there were ‘e and Sammy Vowles tryin’ ter get through it at th’ same time – pushin’ and shovin’ – stuck like pigs in a sty door with their arses stickin’ out! Well we all made it eventually and when th’ landlord opened th’ door and let th’ Copper in, the bar were empty and th’ glasses were in th’ sink. after a bit we slipped out the back way. Sammy he climbed over the wall by th’ stable and went home across the mead. Stevie picked up ‘is bicycle and carried it through th’ brook – and i went out by way of ernie’s cabbage patch and along th’ vootpath. We all got away. all except the vicar of n……… that is. in his hurry to get out ‘e mistook the door, an’ they found ‘im later stood up in th’ coal ‘ole. i don’t think ‘e ever lived it down.


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Mendip TiMes

A day in the life of a Lodestone lettings agent WHAT does it take to match the ideal tenant to the perfect landlord? Lodestone lettings agents Kate Lewis and Rosa Clutterbuck, who cover Somerset and Dorset, explain.

When does your day start? Just before 9am when the phone starts ringing – then it’s pretty much non-stop. Lettings is fast-moving and you never know what’s going to happen, which we love.

do you spend all day in the office? No, we go out on viewings and valuations too. Tomorrow, for example, we’re going to see a house in West Pennard. We don’t just have a quick walk round and give a price, we find out about the landlord’s requirements. We also spend a lot of time finding out about tenants’ situations because that

is what landlords want to know. What kind of tenants are you seeing at the moment? Mostly city-dwellers, who are either coming back to Somerset or want a lifestyle change. Right now we have a list of over four pages of people looking! What’s your favourite part of the job? Kate, who studied Environmental Law and has been a landlord herself, says she enjoys the legal aspect of the job. Rosa, who after going to school in Somerset, worked for London property agent Strutt & Parker, says: “The highlight of my day is when we have someone in mind for a property and it fits; when people do a little jump and say ‘yes that’s the one for me.’ It’s a great feeling.” do you go out after work?

Yes, but we don’t leave the office until we’ve finished everything for that day. Then we’ll go to the Bishops Eye if we’re in Wells or At the Chapel or The Castle pub in Bruton. For more info contact Kate or rosa on 01749 605088 or email: lettings@ lodestoneproperty.co.uk



We are professional friends looking to long-term lease, or buy, some rural acres for few small modern mobile eco homes and co-working office. Prefer + some old trees, and few buildings any condition. Interested? – 07550 544 179 or cassandra@cassandrajames.com

BUnGALoW and GArden For sALe A mile from Wells, somerset overlooking the Mendip Hills.

Good sized rooms. Two beds. Study. Sitting room. Large kitchen/diner with view. Garden run organically. No-dig vegetable beds. Fruit trees, vines and soft fruit. Compost areas • Water butts Large brick-base shed/greenhouse. About 600 sq.m garden area. £320,0000 (negotiable) For further information please email jennylinsdell@gmail.com or telephone 01749 670069

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Getting back to normal

WITH the gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions, cavers have been getting back underground. Keeping the recommended two metres apart is generally not a problem, as no-one wants their fingers trodden or a wellie boot in the face. We have been advised by our national body, the British With PHILIP Caving Association, to take extra care; if HENDY anyone needed to be rescued after an accident, social distancing would be impossible. The club huts and cottages have been closed during lockdown, which means that changing and showering facilities were unavailable. This is not so much of a problem during the fine weather we have enjoyed recently, as changing al-fresco is fine. We have to do it anyway when visiting caves which are not within walking distance of a caving hut. Clubs have now decided that it is safe to open up the changing rooms and showers and permit the use of kitchens for making hot beverages. Cooking meals and overnight stays are still forbidden. Over the last few weeks, some of us have been able to do some maintenance and upkeep on our headquarters and digs. The grass has to be cut and, without visitors, huts can be cleaned, curtains laundered, and other tasks accomplished which can be done by one or two people keeping their distance. Visits are also necessary to check on security. Some of my own digging team has been meeting once a week to carry out surface works. We had a lot of bags full of mud and stone left on the spoil heap at the beginning of lockdown, which needed emptying, and we have also done maintenance on various items of machinery. These essential tasks are easy to neglect when everyone just wants to get down the hole and dig. Recently, digging at our two sites has started again. It was reassuring to see that after several months of inactivity, the digs were just as stable as when they were abandoned. In some

W/L Cave


Fernhill Cave

cases, that is not saying much! One of the enjoyable aspects of caving (some say the most enjoyable) is the liquid refreshment afterwards. Even after July 4th, very few Mendip pubs have re-opened and our own favourite watering hole, the Hunters’ Lodge Inn, remains closed at the time of writing. However, the Queen Victoria at Priddy and the Oakhill Inn are available and cavers have been grateful for that. My own team at Templeton has been enjoying the odd bottle of beer after working on the site. It is very pleasant, sitting in the early evening sunshine in the peace and quiet of the countryside, sampling whichever brew we take it in turns to provide. The fine weather has also allowed similar gatherings in gardens, where we can reminisce, and plan for the future. The autumn period is generally when clubs hold their annual general meetings and dinners. This year will be problematic, due to the permitted size of gatherings and the difficulty of maintaining social distancing. With our accommodation unavailable, cavers from far away would find it almost impossible to attend. At the moment, no solutions seem to be forthcoming. In any case, club committees are engaged in whatever tasks are possible. At least, thanks to media such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, virtual meetings are possible, though the dissemination of information to members is difficult, as we all use different electronic communication portals, if any. It is good to know that the show caves have partially reopened to visitors, so they may be able to recoup some of their losses. They may also encourage more tourists into the area, with their much-needed cash (or rather, contactless payment). Although there are fears of a second wave of infection this winter, which may mean more lockdown and restrictions, at the moment we remain optimistic for the future. We are a resourceful lot and determined to keep our clubs and caving viable. Things can only get better.

Phil has been caving for more than 50 years and is a member of the Wessex Cave Club. He has been involved in producing several caving publications and until his retirement was a caving instructor at Cheddar. His main interest is digging for new caves


(Photography by Phil Hendy)

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Caravan Repairs South West

www.caravanrepairs-sw.co.uk Caravan Repairs South West expands again

Motorhome and caravan repair specialist, Caravan Repairs South West, has moved to spacious new premises just down the road from their old base at Marchants Hill in Gurney Slade. They have taken over the former Volvo truck and bus centre, used more recently for training, opposite the village post office. It not only gives them a big increase in workshop space, but more room for their offices, shop and parking.


The company is run by Steve Case and his partner Linda and Pete Adlam and his wife Sandra. Started in 2008 in Temple Cloud, they moved to Marchants Hill a year later. Steve said: “We had just outgrown it all. The expansion in our business has just been amazing.” The company now employs ten people and has taken on a new manager, Stuart Edmonds. As an approved workshop they can work on all makes and models of caravans and motorhomes.



l Caravan Servicing l Annual Habitation Checks l Alu-Tech Bailey Approved Repairers l Warranty Maintained l Damp Repairs l Accident Repairs l Insurance Repairs l Accessory Fitting l SpeedCoat l Motormovers fitted

OUR SHOP STOCKS A FULL RANGE OF ACCESSORIES AND EQUIPMENT Open Monday - Friday 9am–5pm; Saturday 9am–12 noon


A37 • Gurney Slade • Radstock BA3 4TQ Call: 01749 841051 • Mob: 07778 465520 Email: sales@caravanrepairs-sw.co.uk

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Amidst all the gloom and uncertainty, here at Mendip Times, we thought we would celebrate some of the positive stories still happening around the area we cover.

Making masks for charity

JUdy Busby has been making reusable face masks during lockdown raising funds for the cystic fibrosis trust. Her daughter, Victoria Hancock, died with the condition in 1980, aged 12. She spent most of her short life in Chew Stoke, before her family moved to Keynsham, where the masks are being sold at Conscience Foods & Lifestyle on the High Street, raising more than £700 so far. The shop is owned by Helen Godfrey and her trainee manager is Siobhan Coles, from Pensford, who has cystic fibrosis and is an ambassador for the charity. Judy said she has been thrilled to do something so worthwhile during lockdown. Adult masks are £9 and children's £7 (cash only). They are all double-lined with a pouch to insert your own filter and have adjustable straps, as well as nose clips.  Helen said: “We would like to thank Judy for her incredible roundthe-clock work and generosity in time and materials, but also our customers for their generous contributions to the cause.”  Siobhan (left) and Judy

Tall Tails to the rescue

WALKABOUT theatre company Tall Tails stepped in to help a young girl from Shepton Mallet celebrate her birthday after her planned party was cancelled due to lockdown. Eve Isherwood was faced with having just one friend round for a tenth birthday tea until a relative contacted Abby and Richard from the company who immediately agreed to entertain the pair. Tall Tails, based in Shepton Mallet, had spent the first six weeks of the crisis dressing up as some of their favourite characters to walk around the town to cheer up people. They were awarded a Somerset Emergency Theatre grant from Wassail Theatre and Arts Council England to develop and extend the walkabout idea. PAGE 54 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020

Group hopes to reopen

SJ’s LITTLE Ones, based at St John’s Church, Peasedown St John, hopes to reopen in the autumn, after being shut by the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme is normally open four mornings a week for parents to go along with their baby-to-pre-school aged children to play, relax and socialise. Co-ordinator Sarah Carney said: “Our aim is to see no new mother, father or carer isolated, no toddler without toys to play with and books to read and all to be included and welcomed at our group, and thriving at this challenging stage in life. “We aim to create a welcoming, stimulating space where parents/ carers and their children can meet, be refreshed and feel encouraged. “We have a wonderful team of very committed volunteers who serve teas, bake amazing cakes and listen and engage with everyone at the groups.” SJ’s Little Ones had been supporting 65 children and their parents each week before the lockdown. The group has been awarded £200 from Peasedown Party in the Park’s grant fund to help it keep going. Details: www.stjsgroup.church/littleones

Tall Tails stepped in to bring some birthday happiness to Eve

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To the NHS with love

AnITA Love from Henton has raised £1,000 so far for the nHS by making face masks and donating half the proceeds – the rest is spent on materials. Anita is originally from Austria, where the wearing of masks was made compulsory three weeks before Covid-19 surfaced in the UK “so I thought, this was something I could do”. She had material left over from quilting and set about making masks for friends and relatives, then advertised on a local Wells Facebook page. She charges £5. She said: “The first night I was working until midnight, just writing down the orders.” She’s made 1,500 masks so far, including an order for 100 for Tincknell Fuels’ staff. Anita and husband nick met while working in Jordan and moved to Henton in 2001. nick’s a keen gardener and Anita has been busy making jam from their fruit crop. She said: “normally we would load the car and take it to my family in Austria, but of course that isn’t possible this year.” Another charity project is making blankets to send to poor families back in Jordan.

Lockdown rambles

WITH the restrictions imposed by the onset of Covid-19, members of Compton dando’s table tennis club have been unable to use the village hall and have been enjoying regular rambles instead. Richard davis, who organises the club, said: “Since we cannot meet to play table tennis at the village hall at present I organise a socially distanced ramble every few weeks to keep the group together on a social basis, which they seem to enjoy. “different people from the table tennis group come on each walk but usually about ten turn up, as in the latest walk. The club members are a lovely group of people and have become good friends as a group since the outbreak of Covid-19.”


Food bank gets lottery support

KEynSHAM Food Bank has been granted £8,000 by the national Lottery Community Fund which is funded by the government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund. It will go towards the rent of new warehouse accommodation in Marksbury. Its current base in Longwell Green is split over three storage units with no fresh air. The new unit provides for all of their needs under one roof – with daylight and fresh air. Treasurer, Mike Knight, said: "Whilst the task of completing the application for the Lottery grant was not a simple task, to be awarded the full amount that was available made all of the work worthwhile and it will definitely be of great help towards our first year’s rent."    The food bank has fed almost 1,200 people since the beginning of April and anticipate that their services will be needed as time goes on due to the forecast of many redundancies when furlough is ceased.   Food bank co-ordinator and chair, Alan Hale, said: "The warehouse team will not know themselves once we move. They have carried out a sterling amount of work in less than ideal conditions whilst trying to also maintain social distancing from each other.  “I would also like to thank all of the volunteers who have worked so hard in unusual circumstances. The amount of food donated to us has been outstanding putting us in a very good operating position. We are most grateful to the community for their generosity." Whilst the volunteers put together the supplies to go out, the food bank worked in partnership with Keynsham and district dial-a-Ride who carried out the deliveries for them. The fact that the food bank volunteers continued working throughout the pandemic has earned them a certificate from the Keynsham and district Lions Club “in recognition of how you have volunteered in the community at a time of crisis”. It says the main need currently is for personal hygiene products plus laundry and clothes washing products. They do not need baked beans, tinned fruit, soup, rice or long life milk. Details: to support the food bank financially go to Natwest Bank 'Keynsham Food Bank' sort code 60-12-11 account 26641860

Jenny Davis leading a walk MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020 • PAGE 55

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Puxton rewards key workers

PUxTOn Park held a celebration in honour of the hard working keyworkers that have supported our communities through the coronavirus pandemic. It started by hosting a competition on its Facebook page asking friends and families to nominate their frontline heroes to win a full year’s membership. Hundreds of nominations flooded Puxton Park has reopened in within minutes of the post going live. After reviewing all of the nominations, the park gifted over 50 memberships to lorry drivers, nurses, shop workers, teachers and many other frontline workers. new operations manager, James Ryan, said: “As soon as we were able to reopen the park, one of our top priorities was to decide how we would give back to the dedicated and brave nHS employees and key workers that have stepped up during this global time of need.” After almost four months of closure due to the pandemic, Puxton Park managing director, Alistair Mead, expressed his joy and delight seeing families back enjoying the park again.

Escape from lockdown

MEMBERS of the Inner Wheel Club of Chelwood Bridge held their first meeting for four months in Keynsham Park under a spreading old tree, with coffee, drinks and nibbles to discuss how to move forward. Reports had been sent in by committee members for a virtual AGM, which showed that the club had had a good year, despite the last four months of not meeting. Until things get back to normal, the club will continue to have monthly meetings. Pictured (l to r) are Val Coles, Marilyn Martin, Hilary Manders, Heather Curtis, Linda Quinn and Ros Anstey. PAGE 56 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020

Bells ring out

Tower captain Colin Bennett and Hilary Goodlet

THE bells of St Mary’s in Stanton drew have rung out for the first time since the churches were closed because of the Covid-19 virus. Tower Captain, Colin Bennett, said: “We were restricted to three of the six bells by the guidance issued by The Bath & Wells diocesan Association of Change Ringers to ensure social distance.  “I had to carry out a risk assessment following an inspection of the belfry and ringing chamber with Pete Edwards. We were also restricted to ringing for just 15 minutes and also only for services (no practice or peel ringing). “The service was very well attended with congregations from other churches joining us and the service was led by the Rev Victor Barley.” The church used to have services two or three times a month, but they will be restricted to once a month for a while. The next will be on Sunday, August 30th at 10.30am.

Plea as 999 calls surge

THE South Western Ambulance Service has seen a big increase in its workload as lockdown restrictions have eased and is reminding people only to call 999 in a medical emergency when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. In one four-day period over a weekend it dealt with 14,340 incidents, an increase of 13.8% compared to the same time period last year. The ambulance trust is encouraging people to use the ambulance service wisely, and to make appropriate use of other healthcare options. It warns that continued high call volumes could delay help to those patients most in need of emergency care. A SWASFT spokesperson said: “Our activity levels have been higher in recent weeks, with the easing of lockdown and many visitors coming into the South West. “In recent days we have experienced a very high level of demand – similar to what would normally be expected between Christmas and new year. “We would remind people always to call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk. For less-serious medical incidents, please contact nHS 111 by phone or online to make sure you get the right treatment.”

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Zooming marvellous STAnTOn drew Community Choir, which used to rehearse every Saturday morning before lockdown, is still meeting every Saturday for rehearsal, albeit virtually, via Zoom. Choir leader, Colin Bennett, said: “The many health benefits of singing

have been well documented and have really come to fruition during this unusual period we are going through.” He is inviting others to join them on a Saturday morning at 10am. There is no commitment or cost – and whilst singing everyone is on mute.


Lockdown locks


Beauty out of lockdown Wells resident Chrissie Wallenberg was inspired by the continental-style atmosphere of the city’s Market Square to write this poem. Parking in the square has been banned to ease social distancing to be replaced by outside tables and chairs. Chrissie said: “I walked through the Market Square and had to stop for a while realising that I and everyone were free to do so. It was such a wonderful feeling. The square is the heart of the city and to relax and enjoy it is unique. I feel to utilise this special space as a mundane carpark destroys the beauty and vibrancy of Wells city.”

THE JEWEL IN SOMERSET'S CROWN Something is different in town these days, There is a relaxed and friendly air. We are able to stroll, amble, take our time, As we pass through the Market Square. Tables and chairs are now in the car bays, With brollies to shade from the bright sun. Coffee, lunch, and cake are served, Afternoon tea anyone?

Locals and neighbours and visitors too, Meet and discuss the day's events. With time and freedom to share a few words, They are friends that have only just met.

The cars and vans and trailer trucks, no longer zoom through at top speed. The only "zooming" we have time for now, Is with loved ones on our smart phone screens. Why spoil this ambient style, With cars and fumes and noise and din? Why upset the beauty, the history, the style, With traffic-fumed pandemonium?

This beautiful city of Wells, A jewel in Somerset's crown. Why spoil the joy and vibrancy? Please, let's not bring it down!

FIVE-year-old Phoebe Baginski from Ubley has donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for young cancer sufferers. She told her mum, Megan: “Mummy if hairdressers are closed then no one will be able to donate their hair and they might run out and some people will be sad that they can’t have a wig. I think I should donate my hair now as everyone is unhappy at the moment and I could make someone really happy with my hair couldn't I?” Megan said: “Luckily I am a hairdresser so I sectioned her hair into pony tails of the required length and made a donation of three pony tails to the Little Princess Trust. “She was very proud of herself and I am of her too. I think that it is an amazingly selfless thing to do and I really like that she felt that she needed to do something to help others  and I think doing this at this time really helped her to get through such a confusing and uncertain time.”

Ploughing match cancelled

THE Mendip Ploughing Society’s annual match has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic. It was due to be held on Wednesday, September 31st at Stanton Wick. Organisers hope it can take place next year.


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Archive film charity rescued Ground to air support

Trevor Bailey at a Windrose film night

GrANT funding has meant that rural media charity Windrose, known for its film archive of Dorset, somerset and Wiltshire life, can forge ahead with new communitybased work. All its current projects had been cancelled or postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The National Lottery heritage Fund has agreed a grant of £30,000 to fund a range of work, including ensuring the film archive continues to be looked after and used and also allowing the team to work on the creation of future projects. Director, Trevor Bailey, said: “That’s just what we want. We don’t want to be kicking our heels and we certainly don’t want to lose the skills and knowledge that are vital to Windrose. We want to be active and doing some good in the present situation.” The National Lottery heritage Fund has also funded an initiative to publicise Windrose, its work and the resources it has available much more effectively than before. Windrose was set up in 1984 under its earlier name of Trilith. it uses the visual and audio media for educational, archival and creative work in rural communities throughout Dorset, somerset and Wiltshire. (see page 48).

GrEAT Western Air Ambulance has unveiled a new critical care car for patients which their helicopter might not reach. in 2019, the charity received over 2,000 call-outs to those in urgent need, of which over two-thirds were responded to by a critical care car. The new model, a skoda Kodiaq, has been modified at a cost of £64,000 to meet the full requirements of the air ambulance’s specialist paramedics and critical care doctors. This new car will be one of three vehicles to join GWAAC’s fleet, updating the current models that the service uses, after the charity successfully bid for a one-off government grant. As a charity, GWAAC receives no day-to-day funding from the government or Nhs and relies solely on charitable donations and grants from the communities it serves and local organisations to raise the £4 million needed each year to remain operational. Details: www.gwaac.com/critical-care-cars

Hospice walk

A previous challenge

Panda supports hospice

Bishop sutton has a new resident – a fundraising panda, selling produce to raise funds for the Children’s hospice south West. After collecting £50, he ran out of fruit and vegetables and is now on “furlough” until the autumn raspberries make an appearance. he was first spotted in Church Lane waving encouragement for the Nhs on Thursday evenings, before being seen guarding an historic banner for the Queen on VE Day. PAGE 58 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020

WEsToN hospicecare is going ahead with its postponed Mendip Challenge on sunday, september 6th. There are some differences to keep supporters, volunteers, staff and the public safe in relation to Covid-19. They are asking participants to walk in their bubbles, have limited the number of participants to just 400, will run the event without coaches and have made plans for contactless check-in and de-registration. They say they have been working really closely with North somerset Council, insurers and the relevant health and safety authorities to put this event together. Details: https://www.westonhospicecare.org.uk/event/themendipchallenge/?utm_source=Press&utm_medium=Land ingPage&utm_campaign=MiniMendip

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Brothers in arms for charities

Buy, buy, buy: Thomas and Oliver

BroThErs Thomas and oliver Grierson have raised more than £200 for charity by organising and running a sale of toys and bric-a-brac from their home in Frome. Thomas, aged seven, and oliver, four, decided they wanted to fundraise in memory of their Aunt Dawn, who died from melanoma. They sorted through toys, games and other items to hold the day-long sale on the lawn in front of their house in Farley Close. There was also a cake sale. The money raised will be shared between the charity Melanoma UK and the Dorset and somerset Air Ambulance.

Virtual fun run


sT MArGArET’s hospice Care is holding its first ever virtual colour run on the August bank holiday weekend to celebrate its 40th anniversary. it invites participants to complete a sponsored run of any distance from home, your way and help spread a rainbow of joy by wearing the brightest colours possible. You can do your run whenever you like, but they will be live on their Facebook page on saturday, 29th and sunday, August 30th to cheer you on. sonia Bateman, events fundraiser at st Margaret’s, said: “The Virtual Colour run is a perfect opportunity for all the family to still have a fantastic time this summer while doing something amazing for your local community.” The run is sponsored by Western power Distribution. places cost £15 for adults, £10 for children aged five to 16. Details: www.st-margarets-hospice.org.uk/virtual-colourrun

Looking to adopt

ThE charity Families for Children is holding online information sessions about adoption to give people the opportunity to find out more. You will hear from adopters and can talk to their experienced adoption team about how you can adopt, the qualities needed to be a great adopter and of course about the children waiting. Oliver amongst some of the items on sale on the day

RNLI shop reopens

ThE rNLi shop at Anchor head in Weston-super-Mare has reopened after closing in March because of the Covid-19 lockdown. it has been made Covid safe and is selling many different souvenirs, beach goods, Christmas cards and calendars, clothing, stationary, toys and gifts. it is open each day from 11am-3pm except Mondays. The rNLi relies on raising funds and receives nothing from the government. it cost £181.5M, in 2019 to run the charity, the equivalent of over £497,000 per day. All the money has to be raised from the public. peter Elmont, chairman of fundraising in Weston said: “We are delighted that we can open the shop again. it will be run by our volunteers and we hope to raise much-needed funds for saving lives at sea. “This has become even more important with the prospect that we may be going back to Birnbeck island in the near future.”

Details: https://familiesforchildren.org.uk/book-onlineinformation-event/ or call 01278 227027


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Counselling service under pressure ViNE Counselling services, based in Congresbury, is looking for larger premises to expand its work, including a new service for young people, with a surge in demand caused by lockdown. Liz Linnitt, who took over as director in March, just before lockdown, said: “it is clear that charities such as ours will play a key role in supporting people in our communities who have been so greatly affected. “The psychological and social impact is likely to outlast the physical effects of the virus and we need to be ready to help by providing the maximum number of affordable appointments we can.” There are currently about 40 people on Vine’s waiting list and approximately half of these have contacted them since lockdown. Lis said: “We anticipate that new enquiries will continue to increase and our services will be in huge demand, especially as we still aim to ask for donations for sessions and never turn a client away through an inability to pay.” it reckons a session with one of its

Liz Linnitt

volunteer counsellors costs £40 and clients are asked for a minimum donation of £20. since March, they have been unable to provide face to face counselling sessions due to the lockdown restrictions. however, they were able to launch an “online” service which consists of video

and/or telephone sessions. Their finances have also been badly affected, as they had a period of approximately six weeks without client work and were unable to proceed with any planned fundraising events. They were successful in two grant applications, one from the government scheme through Quartet, of £5,000, and then the National Lottery Fund awarded £7,320. Their new patron, singer/songwriter, rachel Mason, organised an online talent competition called “Unlock Your Talent”, which raised £2,800. They are looking for three or four additional qualified counsellors who can offer around three hours per week. Travel expenses, some training and supervision costs are met by the charity. They are hoping to reopen in september, while continuing to offer some online appointments. Liz said: “it is our intention to use every hour available to us to fill counselling appointments, mainly because there is an obvious need in the community to do so.”

Details: vine.counselling@hotmail.co.uk or go to www.vinecounselling.org

Charity campaigns against ocean plastic ThE conservation charity, surfers Against sewage, is planning a campaign against plastic waste, saying there has been an explosion of plastic pollution on our beaches and rivers since lockdown has been lifted. From september 5th to october 18th it will co-ordinate The Generation sea: plastic protest, involving communities in a range of grass-roots actions. it says they are designed to challenge the manufacturers of unnecessary, single-use plastics, change public perception and demand stronger legislation from the government. it says in France alone, authorities have ordered two billion disposable masks and reports have stated that the Mediterranean will soon contain more masks than jellyfish. With images of popular UK beauty

spots devastated by plastic pollution, it says waste and recycling systems can’t cope with the sheer volume of material needing to be dealt with. Amy slack, from surfers Against sewage, said: “As a society, we must learn to deal with multiple crises at any one time. Now is not the time to go back

on the great strides we have made in reducing plastic production and consumption. “it’s time to fight back and demand better policy, better business practices, and better systems that allow us to rid the ocean and natural environments of plastic pollution.”

Details: www.sas.org.uk or email beachcleans@sas.org.uk


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Will’s quest to help save the orangutan i’M Will and this year i am cycling and walking the distance between the UK and Borneo to raise money for The orangutan Foundation and protect the rainforests. The distance i need to cover is 7,300 miles! This challenge began when i saw David Attenborough’s “seven Worlds, one planet” before Christmas last year. it showed an orangutan being moved from its destroyed home and it really moved me. it made me feel like i had to do something to help them but i didn’t know what. i wanted to go out to Borneo to help, like my old head teacher did, but i’m too young so we came up with the idea travelling the 7,300 miles by walking and cycling over the whole of 2020.

Letter from Sir David Attenborough

The orangutans in Borneo are suffering because of massive deforestation, habitat loss and illegal poaching. Three thousand orangutans a year are being killed and 30 percent of Borneo’s rainforest has been destroyed since 1973. so i am doing something about it! The orangutan Foundation is based in Borneo. When Mr Burgess retired as my head teacher he went there to work with them. he told me it was an incredible experience and helped me get in touch with them because i wasn’t sure which charity to support. Every £2 i raise for The oragutan Foundation will sponsor and protect a whole acre of Borneo’s rainforest. i want to raise £2,000 and save 1,000 acres – or even more if i can so the orangutans have somewhere safe to live! i have already covered over 4,000 miles and raised over £2,000 so now i want to raise even more. i am so grateful to everyone who supported me by donating and just being nice. Back in February, steve Backshall got in touch after seeing me struggling on a horrible ride. he helped by sending me a pair of cycling shoes and pedals with clips so i could go faster! The shoes have made a massive difference and it was amazing to get support from one of my heroes! i also was lucky enough to receive a letter of support from sir David Attenborough himself, a huge surprise and really helped me to keep going with the challenge! i have just started going out on my bike alone but i also enjoy doing longer rides with my dad. We recently did a 100-mile


weekend with a 60-mile ride across the Mendips and down Cheddar Gorge. sometimes i really don’t feel like going out for a ride, i feel tired or the weather is horrible, but i keep going as i really want to help the orangutans. Lockdown made things really challenging as we couldn’t do long rides and i was getting behind with my miles, but with a spot of turbo training we turned that around. i am so pleased that the turbo trainer can stay locked up in the shed now that we can go on long rides again. on world orangutan day, i am doing a three-day ride, finishing with a loop of the isle of Wight! it is 200 miles in total and a lot of challenging hill climbing involved but it will be worth it because that will be 400 miles towards our target and that is huge! Thank you again to everyone who has shown so much support. it really means a lot that we can help save the rainforest for Borneo’s orangutans. Will Jenkins, aged 12 Wells

Facebook: @Wills7300Miles • Twitter: @Wills7300Miles • www.justgiving.com/My7300


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The force is with Eliza Frome Town Band is bidding farewell to one of its most talented musicians as she embarks on a new chapter in her life as a student at the royal Academy of music in London. eliza Talman has won a scholarship to the prestigious academy, which attracts some of the most talented young musicians from across the world. The 18-year-old started her musical journey ten years ago as a member of the town's brass band, which welcomes players of all levels and abilities. At first she only played the cornet, but swiftly moved on to become an accomplished player of the flugelhorn. Those early days playing in the band were memorable not just for the music, but for the opportunity to stay up late and enjoy a treat at the end of the evening. eliza recalls: "When I started the band used to play on a Wednesday and a Friday, between 7.30 and 9pm, which was really late for me. It was the latest I was allowed to stay up, and I got a cup of hot chocolate afterwards which was a real treat.” The inspiration for eliza to take up the trumpet and the cornet was her mother Kate, who also plays. After some early lessons, she suggested eliza graduated to the beginners’ section of the band. eliza said: “There were lots of people in the band then – which was good because my mistakes were more easily hidden. I started playing at the back, with people who were much better playing over me. No-one could tell how bad I was.

"I remember doing concerts when I started and thinking I don't think anyone can see or hear me." eliza soon began to make herself heard, flying through her grades. She passed her Grade 8 when she was 15. The Wells Cathedral School student believes the band gave her the inspiration, pushing her to keep up with other young players while supporting one another. She said: “The reason I wanted to practice was so that I could get better – and play at the same level as those people around me in the band. Joining a band like I did is a great way of getting better quickly. I'd recommend it to anyone. “Playing the trumpet and cornet allows you to play so many different types of music. You’ve just to hear a brass band play Star Wars – with its trumpet fanfare. That is so exciting. The whole thing about being in an ensemble makes playing an instrument so much fun. When you hear a brass band playing music there is no way you could not want to be part of it." That passion for music spreads through eliza’s family. Besides her mum Kate, who is an outstanding player of numerous brass instruments, her brothers Stan, 17, and 13-year-old Billy are accomplished percussionists while dad Chris, plays the tuba. eliza starts at the royal Academy in September, a challenge she can't wait for. However, when she's back in Frome at Christmas she'll be looking forward to catching up with the band and joining them as they play carols in the

The band in action at last year's Frome Cheese Show PagE 62 • MEnDiP TiMES • SEPTEMbEr 2020

Details: contactfrometownband@gmail.com

town in the build up to Christmas. She said: “I've learnt through experience that when you play outside in December you need a good pair of gloves to help you play properly.” The band’s musical director Chris Turner is full of praise for eliza's achievements: "When I first arrived at Frome Town Youth Band (as it was then) three years ago, eliza was already shining through as a top quality brass player. “Her strong technique and musicality were quickly evident and now she is reaping the rewards she so deserves. “It just shows how grass roots music groups in communities around the nation are so important in introducing young players to their instruments and helping with their development. even though she is more of a guest player these days, we are very lucky to have eliza as part of our band.” If you fancy the opportunity of playing alongside eliza, the band is on the look-out for new members, of any age or ability. They meet every Wednesday during term time at the old media Centre at Frome College, attached to the leisure centre. Beginners are welcome to attend an introductory session between 6pm and 6.45pm.

That’s showbiz

BIG names from the worlds of theatre and music are joining forces at the end of August in a unique collaboration in Glastonbury to bring the performing arts out of lockdown. raising funds for groups and organisations which have supported local communities through the coronavirus pandemic, including the local NHS, the one enchanted evening event in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey is the brainchild of West end choreographer and director Andrew Wright, who lives in Street. The evening, being supported by michael eavis and worldwide theatre producer Sir Cameron mackintosh, will feature singers, dancers and performers, mostly from Somerset and most of whom have been unable to work because of the coronavirus crisis, in a two-hour, West end-style show with tunes and dance numbers from some of the world’s most famous musicals as a thank you to key workers. Andrew said: “2020 has seen an unprecedented situation in the history of theatre, leading to nearly all creative industries across the globe being shut down. As a country we have lost a worldrenowned asset. “Audiences have been deprived in a way that none of them have known before. musical theatre can lift spirits, and we want to prove that with only a few weeks and dedication from performers who are itching to get back on stage, we can provide an amazing

MuSiC & ThEaTrE

Tra la! (l:r) Tim bonser, Michael Eavis, natasha T green, andrew Wright, Jess Michelmore and Liz Leyshon, one of the producers

night of music and dance. “While the government’s support has been welcomed, its advice on when the arts can restart has been slow to come, and we want to prove that if we can’t perform inside, we’ll take it outside to the masses instead, and what better place to do it than one of the most historic locations in the town that gave the world’s most famous music festival its name.” many local people and organisations are offering their products and services for free so as much money as possible can be raised for good causes, and social distancing rules will be adhered to at the event. organisations to benefit from the evening will be the League of Friends at musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, and Friends of Yeovil District Hospital, which have both treated Covid-19 patients, and Somerset Community Foundation which has made grants to charities and food banks.

Every member of the audience will be given a length of ribbon to use to maintain social distrancing

Tickets for One Enchanted Evening cost £25 each and are available from http://www.glastonburyabbeyshop.com or from glastonbury information Centre

Valley Fest 2021

AFTer the cancellation of this year’s event because of coronavirus, Valley Fest has announced an impressive line-up for next year including headliners Travis, Goldfrapp and Deacon Blue. The festival takes place alongside Chew Valley Lake from July 30thAugust 1st. Now in its seventh year, it has a track record of huge headliners, firm favourites and rising stars and this year is no different. Among more than 30 acts booked so far, it will feature The Cuban Brothers, The Blockheads, mY BABY, eva Lazarus, Doreen Doreen and Toploader, best known for Dancing in the moonlight. Part of Valley Fest’s appeal is the lazy lakeside vibe. And artists which perfectly cater to that include The Drystones, old Sea Legs, The east Pointers and Talisk. For acoustic, there’s spellbinding blues singer elles Bailey and powerful songstress Katey Brooks. DJ acts will be added to the bill later in the year. John Blakeley, music programmer, said: “This line-up fizzes with fresh acts and firm favourites. There are a number of artists who we have been wanting to book since we began and this year, we’ve achieved it. 2021 is going to be huge!” Tickets are £135 (plus booking fee) and can be bought in instalments to spread the payment from www.valleyfest.co.uk.


(Photo courtesy of Louis Smith)

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Cream tea pods for Inner Wheel members

Yeo Valley Lions support a Bristol Bear

President Heather Langridge (seated) receives her “socially distanced” chain of office from last year’s president Sue Hopkins (left) and secretary Elaine Muir while incoming secretary Mollie Arnold looks on

YaTTOn girl, Beckie White, a Bristol Bears wheelchair rugby player, has been undertaking a fundraising challenge in her self-propelled wheelchair to raise funds for her own rugbyspecific wheelchair. using the Strawberry Line, linking the villages of Yatton and Cheddar, Beckie has been attempting one mile a day for five consecutive days in her wheelchair along the gravelled walk and cycle path. Beckie, aged 21, has been in a wheelchair since the age of 17 when complex mental health difficulties led to a series of unfortunate events that left her with significant lifelong physical disabilities She said: “Bristol Bears have given me many opportunities to gain new experiences and play alongside the under 19s wheelchair rugby team.” Yeo Valley Lions supported Beckie with a £500 donation.

The new president of the Midsomer norton and radstock Inner Wheel club is hoping members will be able to gather for their charter night at the end of October if Covid-19 restrictions are lifted further. heather Langridge succeeded Sue hopkins, whose plans for fundraising events and club meetings were abruptly ended by the lockdown. In the meantime, club members will get together in safety “pods” for cream teas.

Cleaning party

VOLunTeerS in Peasedown St John braved the rain for a community clean-up of the eckweek Lane play park. Staff shortages at Bath & north east Somerset Council meant there was no one available to give the park the clean it needed – so the village’s new community trust stepped in instead. Trust chairman, Gavin heathcote, said: “eckweek Lane Play Park is popular with children and parents alike. nestled inbetween under Knoll and Saxon Way, it has been well-used since it opened almost 20 years ago. “Its layout means it is a great place to spend time with family and friends, whilst maintaining a safe social distance at the same time.” Details: peasedowncommunitytrust@gmail.com or call 07557 683834


Jan’s challenge

Cheddar Vale Lion Jan Clark did 108 laps of her field, covering 27 miles in three weeks, raising more than £800 for Children’s hospice South West. Other Lion members who accompanied her on different days also managed 220 laps of the field, totalling 55 miles to add to Jan’s total. The club celebrated with a cream tea in the field and, of course, a bottle of bubbly for Jan. Jan came up with the idea when the club had to cancel this year’s duck race in the Gorge, which has always raised a tremendous amount for the hospice. It was also something they could do whilst social distancing, with all of the club’s other summer fundraising cancelled due to Covid-19. Details: www.cheddarvalelions.org.uk

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Skatepark plan

Parish grant deadline extended


Skatepark users Timo Kindred, John Craig and Lucas Kindred

an agreement in principle has been made about where to site a new skatepark in Long ashton, most likely in Peel Park, near the community centre. The idea to build a skatepark was kicked off by a young resident, Ben hobbs, then aged nine. With his younger sister and various friends, he put together a questionnaire asking people if and how they would like to use a skatepark in Long ashton. It gained 235 signatures from people around the village, of various ages, asking for a skatepark that could accommodate skateboards, bikes, scooters, roller boots and wheelchairs. In response, Long ashton Parish Council set up a working group to explore the idea and is now exploring the details of the scheme. Council chairman, dave Johnson, said: “The proposed skatepark will be a great addition to Peel Park and to the village and it has my wholehearted support.” Ben, now aged 11, said: “I really hope we get the skatepark as there will be so many people in Long ashton who will enjoy it.”

Garden get-together

During the height of the lockdown, residents in St Peter’s Road in Westfield got together to create this flower bed

WeSTFIeLd Parish Council has put back the date for applications for its annual grant pot to november to take account of the impact of Covid-19. any individual or organisation which can demonstrate how a project will benefit the Westfield community can apply for a grant of up to £1,000. In previous years, the scheme has helped The Carers’ Centre set up and maintain a carers’ café in Westfield. Trinity Methodist Church used grants as part of a fundraising drive to refurbish the former toilet area in their community hall, whilst Midsomer norton and radstock Silver Band, who have members from Westfield and support the parish’s Christmas lights switch-on and Fun day events were given a grant towards refurbishment of two of their instruments. The new deadline for applications is Monday, November 23. For details, visit: www.westfieldparishcouncil.co.uk/grants

Mobile library heads for Street

STanTOn drew WI members have started having “minimeetings” in members’ gardens for those who wish to meet up. Member, anne Bennett, said: “These have been a great success and a big thank you to avril for hosting the latest one.” Pictured (l to r) are members Iris davies, Jane Wheatley, ros robinson, avril Ford, and Janet dando.

WITh Street Library and Street Parish rooms currently being refurbished, the mobile library will be at Street Library from 10am-noon on alternate Mondays. The next is due on September 28th. a new service will allow customers to safely click and collect books, audio books and dVds by ordering them from the Somerset Libraries website (www.somerset.gov.uk/libraries) or by calling 0300 123224. Staff will then select items and let customers know when they are ready for collection from the mobile library.


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Village sale supports church

OVer £700 has been raised for St andrew’s Church in Blagdon thanks to a sale on the Mead in the village. Some residents had been working extra hard in their gardens and allotments this summer, resulting in surplus produce, which was sold with fruit, cakes and preserves. One of the organisers, Penny Crawfurd, said: “The sale was held on the Mead by kind permission of the parish council and everything was done according to the socially distant rules.” The sale was so successful they plan to hold another on Saturday, September 19th, 10am-12noon, adding toys to what’s for sale. The amount raised will be divided between the disaster emergency Committee (deC), Water aid, and domestic Violence in the uK. naomi Lyons is pictured selling produce. Details: Penny Crawfurd 01761 462418

Happy birthday!

SInGerS were out in force to wish Janet Montgomery of Bishop Sutton a happy 100th birthday. It was the idea of Stowey Sutton Parish Council who arranged for the singers and also the flowers, which were presented to her. Janet, who lives in Woodcroft, celebrated with family, friends and neighbours, restricted to a few at a time in her garden. She’s pictured with her children Susanne Green and robert Montgomery.

Volunteers praised

BIShOP Sutton Community Library has been named Volunteer Team of the Year in BaneS’ annual community awards. Parish clerk, Joanne Bryant, who nominated them, said: “The team have demonstrated that volunteering really is the essence of life and success. as well as giving their time, the volunteers who run this library give their heart and soul. “They are the very fibre of the library and continue to drive its development and further growth day by day.” PAGE 66 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020

Thank you gift to hospital

Geoff presenting the Alexa to Pulteney Ward staff member Claire McGinty

STaFF and patients of Bath royal united hospital’s Pulteney Ward now have an alexa device to give them on-call entertainment thanks to the appreciation of patient Geoff Moore, of Timsbury. Geoff, a retired regional building society manager, had nothing but praise for the restorative treatment he received. he said: “The staff were wonderfully dedicated and nothing was too much trouble for them. “I wanted to thank them by giving something to bring them and their patients cheer and an alexa seemed to fit the bill.”

Solar panels for village shop

draYCOTT Community Shop has successfully installed rooftop solar panels, supported by Solarsense and backed by a £2,000 grant from The naturesave Trust. Solarsense offered the panels at a 50% reduction and Total access Scaffolding supplied free scaffolding hire. This enabled the shop to install the panels quickly and without the need to fundraise, which would have been near impossible during lockdown. Tim Cook, chairman of draycott Community Shop Committee said: “The grant we obtained from The naturesave Trust was invaluable to the project. When we first went about taking over the shop, as well as benefitting the community, it was incredibly important for it to be as eco-friendly as possible. “The panels will generate about 25% of our annual electricity needs, saving approximately one tonne of co2 each year. This is roughly the same as one broadleaf tree in its 100 year lifetime! It will save us around £500 per year from our energy bill, meaning we can use this money to benefit the community in other ways.” The naturesave Trust is funded by the activities of naturesave Insurance. Details: https://www.naturesave.co.uk/the-naturesave-trust

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Do try this at home! By Mark adler

The Glastonbury-based Children’s World charity has won vital funding to stage a series of interactive educational events for families. The grants, from Somerset Skills and Learning, Somerset Community Foundation and Glastonbury Town Council’s youth committee, have allowed the charity to run its first activities since lockdown. Called do Try This at home, they are due to be held from now until March. One of the first sessions – at Paddington Farm on the edge of Glastonbury – saw balloon artist Becky Kitter combine thrills and spills with science. Others in the pipeline include juggling, making carnival

Becky the balloonatic science teacher Parents/carers pay a small charge to attend; the sessions are free for children

outfits and learning 80s disco dance moves. after each session, families are given materials to take home to carry on learning. The sessions are held either in an opensided big top or in the farm’s education room to maintain social distancing. as with many charities, Children’s World has been badly affected by being unable to fundraise, but its woes were

compounded by the fact that the Glastonbury Festival – its main source of income – was cancelled. Charity director Kristen Lindop said the one positive was that it has been able to draw on many of the festival’s theatre and circus performers to run the sessions: “There is so much talent out there which has been very underused over recent months.”

Trying to pierce the top of a balloon was part of a lesson about molecules. It is possible to do it, but it doesn’t always work!

Fan-static! All about protons, neutrons and electrons

Making a balloon dog to demonstrate friction and forces

For details, visit: www.childrensworldcharity.org


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Wedmore – island of dreams

TO those of us who care passionately about safe equestrian countryside access, working tirelessly to ensure our heritage of routes survives and further extends, having another crusader arrive in our midst is a gift from heaven. In 2017 Lynn Myland exchanged With RACHEL Hertfordshire’s arable lands for Somerset’s THOMPSON cow pastures, arriving with her family, MBE horses and dogs to a smallholding in Weare, just south of the Mendip Hills. With elderly parents to care for, Lynn needed a house that worked for everyone knowing that might mean a compromise when it came to her personal passion, hacking out in the landscape, not easy in a parish lying so close to the A38 and M5 corridors with 40 public footpaths and no equestrian routes. Undeterred, Lynn quickly discovered like-minded folk to ride with and to restart the local access group, the former Sedgemoor Bridleways and Byways Association, now renamed Isle of Wedmore Access Group. As former vice-chair of Hertfordshire and St Albans Local Access Forums and British Horse Society county committee chairman, Lynn is experienced in knowing the way forward. Contacting Somerset County Council, which has the responsibility for access in Sedgemoor, she soon discovered that the district has 1,468 recorded rights of way with only 239 paths and tracks available to equestrians. Re-energised, this lively IoW access group quickly set about surveying existing routes, reporting issues and campaigning for horse signs along Notting Hill Way – a heavily- trafficked A38 link that riders cannot avoid using. The local police community support officer attended meetings encouraging the reporting of regular incidents as supporting evidence, such as close passing vehicles, some large, speeding by on the local lanes.

IWAG liaised with SCC to provide a new gate and fencing to a rhyne

Copeswood Lane bridleway, maintained by volunteers as it is not publicly maintainable

Group members are signing up to the SCC “adopt a path” scheme which insures voluntary working schemes such as clearing routes. Lynn says it’s important to feed route aspirations into the Rights of Way Improvement Plan too. Asking Lynn to describe the worst thing about her move south in terms of access she said: “I’m deeply disappointed that here in Somerset, the bridleway and byway network is so disjointed. Here we are in the shadow of Crook Peak and Wavering Down in the beautiful Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we cannot get there without riding up the A38. “Where we do have bridleways, the gates and furniture are not fit for purpose and older people have to dismount to open them, often having to thrust their horse’s head in the brambles or stand by barbed wire.” But then she smiles and says: “But we can improve it through working together, because the best thing of moving here is the beauty of the Somerset hills and countryside, a truly magic place to live and ride in.” Lynn is now a member of the Somerset Local Access Forum campaigning for her passion, improved disabled access. Lynn dreams that in her twilight years she will be able to access the countryside on safe accessible routes still astride a horse, or maybe sitting in a little cart watching the countryside pass slowly by, a horse’s tail waving gently in front of her, because as we all know, once you have horses in your life, you hope they will always be in your life and who knows, sometimes dreams really do come true?

To join the Isle of Wedmore Access Group contact Lynn at: lynnmyland@hotmail.com


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Tequila finds a new home

THE charity HorseWorld’s longest staying resident has been rehomed after 17 years. Tequila was rescued by the charity in 2004 as part of a group of 16 feral youngsters from a mountainside in Wales. Many had never had any contact with humans other than the locals who had been taking them enough hay to keep them alive while rescue was organised. HorseWorld, based in Whitchurch, rehabilitate and rehome horses, ponies and donkeys in need, aiming to find them loving homes on their loan scheme. When Tequila was old enough, she was trained to be ridden, but just two years later, before she could be rehomed, she had to be retired, with a problem in her knee joint. She was eventually rehomed as a non-ridden companion on two occasions for short periods before being returned due to the family’s circumstances changing. Now Jane Denton and her family have offered her a home to keep their mare Gipsy company.

Details: www.horseworld.org.uk/rehoming

We’ve got it covered Mendip Times Distribution Points

= Mendip Times Distribution area








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Cycling ambitions move up a gear!

ThErE are a few good things happening in cycling right now, both on and off the bike. Firstly, if you have a bike that needs some care and CYCLING attention then why not with EDMUND LODITE take advantage of the government’s “Fix Your Bike” voucher scheme. The scheme allows anyone in England to claim a voucher worth up to £50 towards the cost of repairing their bike. half a million vouchers will be released in tranches online on a first come first served basis up to a maximum of two per household. It’s all part of the government’s drive to increase the number of two-wheeled journeys in light of the pandemic. The move also aims to improve the public’s fitness and reduce air pollution. To claim the voucher you simply register on the “Fix Your Bike” website then take your bike into a registered bike shop to claim a £50 discount. Evans Cycles say the cost of their road ready Service is £35, with the remainder of the voucher being put towards additional parts or repairs. The first batch of 50,000 vouchers were allocated within hours – no surprise there! Further vouchers will be released when it’s clear that people will be able to get their bikes fixed at a wide range of retailers without significant waiting times. halfords allows you to enter an email address on their website to receive an alert when future batches are made available. The scheme is a pedal turn in the right direction demonstrating that the government seems serious about its

ambitions to get more people to cycle. Back on the road, the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions has meant that time trial races can now take place again. The one minute interval start times are a perfect way to create social distancing. The only restriction in place is that riders now have to set off from a standing start rather than being “clipped in” and released by a marshal. Competitive racing is a welcome change. I’ve cycled around Chew Valley Lake many times this year but when you know that everybody will see your time it becomes a completely different experience. At the top level of cycling, if all goes well the Tour de France will be taking place during September. It will be interesting to see how the spectators are managed this year. I’ve seen a couple of stages in France and they are huge spectacles but my favourite memory is

from 2014 when the Tour de France came to Yorkshire. After watching the peloton and race cars go by, the roads remained closed for a few hours so that seemed a great opportunity to enjoy some traffic-free cycling. Two of us set off and reaching Skipton we stopped to look at a huge yellow jersey hanging from the church in the town centre. At that moment an enthusiastic lady in a lovely Yorkshire accent said: “Aye, are you lads in the Tour de France?” Before we could say anything she rushed over and got her husband to take a photograph of her with us. She went away pleased as Punch. We left bemused wondering why somebody would think riders in the tour would have the time to stop and admire the scenery, but also quite pleased that we were mistaken as riders in the world’s greatest bike race! ride safely and stay safe.

Details: Fix Your Bike Scheme website https://fixyourbikevoucherscheme.est.org.uk/

Can cyclists and walkers share the same path?

Dear Mendip Times, I refer to the cycling article by Edmund Lodite in the August edition of Mendip Times recommending routes in and around the Mendips for the enjoyment of cycling. The Strawberry Line is one of the recommended routes which, as a walker, I use on many occasions but have been put off by a majority of cyclists coming up behind you at speed with no warning and expecting walkers to move over quickly to allow them to pass. This is a both dangerous and unnerving, needing constant checks behind and is an accident waiting to happen. I have no objection to the joint usage of all footpaths if


there were clearly marked lanes for walking and cycling but it would be so much more acceptable if cyclists had more consideration for walkers and used a bell or horn to warn of their approaching presence instead of the ever-present threat needing eyes in the back of your head. Incidentally I once walked with a group in the old rail tunnel near Kings Wood where we were amazed to find people cycling into our midst in the dark with no lights or warning. I am amazed that no one was seriously hurt. Kind regards Michael Bass Banwell

Free tennis is a hit with key workers A FrEE membership scheme to Wells Tennis Club for key workers is proving popular. At least 30 signed up to the scheme when it launched in June, including

Aneri, one of Shilen’s children

Leisure facilities to stay closed

BACKWELL Leisure Centre will not reopen before the end of 2020 because significant maintenance work needs to be done. During lockdown, North Somerset Council and operators Legacy Leisure say it became apparent that the boilers responsible for heating the building and pool require replacing in order for the centre to be able to operate, as well as extensive repairs to the roof. Councillor Caritas Charles, the council's executive member for leisure, said: “It’s extremely disappointing that we are unable to re-open Backwell Leisure Centre as part of our efforts to make more leisure facilities available to our residents as we ease out of lockdown. We are undertaking work on the site to understand the extent of the investment needed to enable the centre to operate and will update residents as soon as we know more." Tracy Danks, of Legacy Leisure, said: "Whilst we're disappointed that we're not in a position to re-open the centre at this time, we welcome the council’s work to establish what is needed to bring the centre back into service. We'll keep customers upto-date with the progress of the work over the coming months and look forward to reopening the centre as soon as possible."

local teachers, health, care and retail workers. The offer runs until the end of September. Shilen Tanna, who runs the art department at The Blue School and who played at a national level in his junior days, said: “The offer came at a really useful time for us as a family. It is providing our children more focused space to play and run around with all things considering. I would wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone considering joining!” Currently courts are available for booked singles or doubles play but the club is hopeful that social tennis will return as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. Club chair Dan Cooke said: “There is still time for local key workers to join our club and enjoy a summer of tennis. It is a small thank you and I’m delighted To access the offer, visit wellstc.co.uk

SPORT that 30 have taken up the free offer. “It is a tough time for all sports but the LTA has helped local clubs and courts prepare to make play as safe and accessible as possible.”

Shilen Tanna was looking to take up tennis again after moving to the area

Sports leaders of the future? TWO sports students at Weston College have been selected to attend the annual FA Leadership Academy. Weston Sport learners Katie Sharkey and Ethan reed are studying Level 3 BTEC in Sports Coaching and Performance and Foundation Degree in Sports Studies at University Centre Weston respectively. Supported by the college, they were amongt seven students nationally chosen by the FA after a rigorous application process where they displayed their current involvement in the local sport community. Katie’s experience involves planning and delivering all SFA youth tournaments at Weston College’s new health and Active Living Skills Centre, plus delivering sessions at local primary schools. Outside of college Katie has set up a Wildcats programme from scratch, helps at her local u-15s female football team and referees in both local and college fixtures. Ethan has engaged in multiple volunteering opportunities, including delivering primary and secondary school football sessions across a wide range of settings. he also works at his local football club and delivers sessions in the community to children from deprived areas. Jack Gadd, Weston Sport Academy

Katie Sharkey

and Enrichment Manager commented: “This is an extremely exciting opportunity for Ethan and Katie as they both have high ambitions to work in coaching in the future. They are passionate and driven students and I am pleased to see them get rewarded with this opportunity.” Taking place virtually this year, the FALA is a nationally-recognised event which provides an opportunity for young people to develop themselves and build the collective capability of youth leaders and of the network of Youth Councils and Forums.


(Photography courtesy of Chris Challis)

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Club youngsters are making waves By Mark Adler

FOr such a relatively small organisation, Frome Canoe Club can boast a significant number of young members who have been selected for special slalom coaching development places run by British Canoeing. Maddie hobbs, Aimee Collins and Alfie Symes are all members of the Southern regional Talent Academy squad, whilst Jacob Lines is in the Southern Super regional squad. Maddie, aged 12, began canoeing after a have-a-go session at the club just before she reached her eighth birthday and hasn’t looked back. her ambition? To be selected to represent Team GB in the 2028 Olympics. Like many other sports, competitions were cancelled due to the pandemic, but weekly training sessions – coupled with some extra practice on the river Frome next to the clubhouse in the Market Yard – are all part of the routine.

Dad Simon and mum Lisa – another keen canoeist – accompany her on many of her training sessions at places ranging from Symonds Yat and Winchester to the London Olympics purpose-built legacy facility at Lee Valley. An ingenious weighted points system means Maddie can compete against older canoeists as well as other youngsters. Training takes place outside between April and September before sessions in a

swimming pool during the winter months. her parents are full of praise both for Frome Canoe Club and British Canoeing for the way they have cared for the young canoeists during the pandemic both in terms of mental health and training advice. Simon said: “For a club which does not have easy access to white water, Frome can be proud of what it’s young members are achieving.”

Maddie practices her roll routine should she capsize with help from mum Lisa

For details about the club, visit: www.frome-canoe-club.org.uk


Olympic hopes: Maddie Hobbs

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Soft ball game is a blast! Frome soft ball side

MIDSOMEr Norton Mavericks soft ball cricket team hosted Frome Cricket Club in a friendly 16-overs-a-side match at their Withies Lane ground. The format of the eight-a-side game

SPORT Midsomer Norton soft ball side

means all players have the chance to bat, bowl and field with batting taking place in pairs. The Mavericks beat Frome by 33 runs. In 2018, the Mavericks were crowned

Midsomer Norton batted first with Jenn (pictured) and Simone opening

Frome’s bowlers (pictured is Chloe) posed a threat

Somerset’s first-ever Women’s Soft Ball Champions at a tournament in Westonsuper-Mare, an achievement they repeated last year. l Both teams welcome new players.

An early wicket for Frome

Abi piles on the runs for the Mavericks MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020 • PAGE 75

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From blog to book – normal for Glastonbury

A FACEBOOK blogger who posts her thoughts about daily life in Glastonbury has produced a book about living in the town. Blogging under the name Normal for Glastonbury, Vicki Steward has attracted more than 10,000 followers since starting four years ago. The book is being sold online, but for people living in the town, Vicki is offering to deliver copies personally – on her electric bike! Vicki said: “Everyone The new normal? Vicki Steward knows Glastonbury is a magical town and I thought I would just share my thoughts. More than 2,000 people read my first blog within 48 hours and so I have just carried on since then.” For details, visit: www.normalforglastonbury/the-book

Carnival Charter Fair cancelled

ORGANISERS of the annual November Wells Charter Fair have announced that it will not take place this year. It follows talks between Wells City Council town clerk Steve Luck, mayor John Osman, fair operator Shaun Rogers, from James Rogers and Sons, and Richard Green, honorary Showmen’s Guild member. The fair usually coincides with carnival in the city, but with that event also cancelled – and the ongoing Covid-19 situation – they concluded safety was paramount. The May charter fair was also a victim of lockdown. Richard said: “Not since the Black Death have there been no twice-yearly charter fairs in the Market Place. Hopefully both will be back next year along with the annual carnival.”

Margaret’s debut novel

MARGARET Castle has just published her first book – at the age of 80. Her novel, Keeper’s, traces what happens when an idyllic marriage goes wrong, starting in Soho, but ranging through rural Suffolk, Canary Wharf, Finland and St Petersburg. They are all places far removed from her cottage near Wedmore, but she said: “I’ve always had an over-active imagination.” She started writing as a child and has been a member of writers’ groups in Cheddar and Wedmore, where local PAGE 76 • MENDIP TIMES • SEPTEMBER 2020

Passengers return to heritage line


Rail enthusiasts were welcomed back to Midsomer Norton

THE Somerset and Dorset Heritage railway line at Midsomer Norton has welcomed back its first passengers since lockdown restrictions were eased. A diesel engine hauled compartment coaches which were used so that groups of pre-booked visitors could maintain social distancing, with railway volunteers acting as marshals during the day. Touchpoints such as door handles and window catches were wiped down in-between trains and the railway used dry fog equipment to spray the compartments with disinfectant.

Family-friendly but masks were required on board the trains

children’s author, Sue Purkiss, and group members encouraged her. Margaret said: “Sue said my short stories were overloaded with ideas, so I should consider a novel. That was it, I was off.” She moved to Somerset with husband Stan in 1993 and for many years they opened their gardens to support the NGS and other charities. Stan died nine years ago. Keeper’s is published by Silverwood Books and is available online, in paperback and ebook formats from all the usual Details: ISBN 9781800420014

distributors, including Foyles, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones and Amazon.

Rare plant fair at palace The Bishop’s Palace in Wells is staging a rare plant fair on Sunday, September 8th, 10am-4.30pm. It’s the perfect opportunity to find rare and unusual plants from a selection of top nurseries from all over the South West. The nurseries are carefully selected by Ian and Teresa Moss from Rare Plant Fairs to ensure that they are genuine growers who produce most or all of the plants that they sell themselves. The range is chosen so that they can offer the widest possible variety of plants to visitors, including perennials, shrubs and trees, alpines, bulbs and exotic plants. All of the nursery owners are experts in the plants that they grow and are happy to offer the advice that you need to select and grow the right plants for your garden. Tickets for the fair include entrance to the medieval palace and 14 acres of RhS partner gardens, and are available for £6. l The palace will be staging its bank holiday Bowlore Medieval Weekend on Sunday, August 30th and Monday, August 31st, 10am-5pm.

The lively medieval combat specialists will be setting up camp throughout the palace gardens and then holding court in different sections with their wonderful displays. The day will be split into two halves,

WHAT’S ON (Photograph courtesy of Rosalind Furlong)

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with all the activities being repeated and all visitors, including palace members, must book in advance on the palace website for either the morning (10.15am-1.15pm) or afternoon (1.454.45pm) session.


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Covid-compliant – new look for literature festival

ThIS year’s Wells Festival of Literature will go ahead with speakers and audiences – but in a Covid-19 compliant way. Audience numbers in Cedars hall will be strictly limited with just 100 tickets for each event. however, all the talks will be live streamed to allow many more people to enjoy them. The festival takes place from Friday, October 16th until Saturday, October 24th. Sadly, the usual lunches cannot happen and, currently, discussions continue around the practicalities of refreshments and the Waterstones pop-up shop. As well as a stellar line-up of literary speakers, the festival will also host a special event in on Sunday, October 18th in collaboration with Somerset Wildlife Trust with talks by trust president Stephen Moss, “Birdgirl” Dr. Mya-Rose Craig and Alice Vincent, an expert garden blogger. Festival brochures are due to be published at the end of August and tickets are on sale from Monday, August 31st for Friends of the Festival and, for the public, on Monday, September 7th. Profits from the festival fund literacy projects in schools. For details, visit: https://www.wellsfestivalofliterature.org.uk/

Classic meeting

TheRe will be two classic car and bike meets at Chew Valley Rugby Club, Chew Lane, Chew Stoke BS40 8Ue on September 5th and 19th from midday until 4pm, with refreshments available. Details: Anthony 07831 336444


ACROSS: 1. Political 8. Poser 10. Stamen 11. Draycott 12. en bloc 14. Barium 16. Rely 17. Avert 18. Grew 19. Physio 21. howler 24. Original 26. Ignore 27. Bored 28. hunstrete DOWN: 1 & 15. North Petherton 2. Pin money 3 & 4. Bignal Rand 5. Concur 6. Test tubes 9. Rabbit 13. Czech 17. Around 18. Green Ore 20. Signet 22. Whimsy 23. Write 25. Laud


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Profile for Media Fabrica

Issue 4 - Volume 16 - Mendip Times  

Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas

Issue 4 - Volume 16 - Mendip Times  

Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas