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Mendip Times

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Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas

MAY 2014

IN THIS ISSUE: RETIREMENT LIVING • POINT-TO-POINT • CAVING MYSTERIES • SPORTING SUCCESSES • MUSIC Local people, local history, local places, local events and local news

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THE show season is upon us. We hope to see you at the North Somerset Show on May 5th – do come and visit our stand. We also give you the chance to win Ladies’ Day tickets to the Royal Bath and West Show, which runs from May 28th-31st. The showground has already hosted another big event, the Westcountry Game Fair, and we have pictures from that, plus a picture special on Mendip’s first big social event of the year, the Mendip Farmers’ Point to Point. There have been celebrations elsewhere. In Wells, with the rugby club winning the league and the bowls club marking its centenary; in Midsomer Norton where the farmers’ market has celebrated its tenth birthday; and in Gurney Slade, where there was a party for the revamped village shop. Then there have been Easter celebrations right across the area, including a bonnet parade in Shepton Mallet. This month we meet the last Dambuster, take a walk around Woollard with Sue Gearing and have two pages devoted to caving with Phil Hendy – plus a huge number of entries in our What’s On section – a sure sign that spring has arrived. As well as all of our regular features and contributors, we have special features this month on retirement living and education. Welcome to Showtime on Mendip! June 2014 deadline: Friday, 16th May 2014. Published: Tuesday, 27th May 2014. Editorial: Steve Egginton Mark Adler Advertising: Ann Quinn Marjorie Page Publisher: Mendip Times Limited Coombe Lodge, Blagdon, Somerset BS40 7RG Contacts: For all enquiries, telephone:

01761 463888 or: email or: 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: Birthday celebrations at Mendip Point-to-Point. Photograph by Mark Adler (see page 12).


By appointment – Mendip’s royal race-goer


Civic celebrations – decade of Norton’s Farmers’ Market


Homing in on Mendip – house sparrows find refuge


I’m all-white jack – bowls club celebrates start of centenary year

Plus all our regular features Environment...................................6 Farming Mary James MBE..........10 Food & Drink...............................16 Internet and Crossword..............28 Arts & Antiques ...........................30 Business ........................................40 Charities .......................................43 Music.............................................46 Wildlife Chris Sperring MBE .......49 Walking Sue Gearing....................50

Outdoors Les Davies MBE ..........52 Gardening Mary Payne MBE ......54 Health Dr Phil Hammond.............64 Community Simon Selby .............67 Property........................................73 Caving Phil Hendy........................74 Homes and Interiors....................76 Riding Celia Gadd ........................86 Sport..............................................90 What’s On ....................................95 MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 3

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High quality dry screened or plain


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Hand dressed for house building

Large or small quantities supplied Delivered or collected

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Scouts’ honour

Lions’ governor honoured

EIGHT scouts from Wansdyke have been selected to represent their district at the 23rd World Scout Jamboree which will be held near Yamaguchi City in Japan next year. Wansdyke Scouts are celebrating a record jump in membership of 7.5% over the past year. District Commissioner Janet Turner said: “Scouting is becoming more and more popular across the UK. We challenge young people and adults to stretch themselves, discover new talents and reach their potential through having fun and making new friends.”

CHEDDAR Vale Lions Club president, Janet Clark, presented the district governor, Marianne Warren, who is also a member of Cheddar Vale Lions Club, with a Melvin Jones Fellowship, one of the movement’s highest awards, at the club’s recent charter anniversary dinner. Marianne said: “I can’t thank you all enough for the tremendous honour you have afforded me. It means so much to me to know that you were happy enough with my endeavours around the district to do this for me.”

H a ts o f f to S he pt o n y o un g s t ers

PUPILS from Shepton Mallet Community Infants School and Nursery staged an Easter parade through the town. The youngsters gathered in the Market Place where they entertained parents and onlookers with a number of songs. Prizes for the best hats and bonnets were sponsored by Tina Edgar, who runs Tina’s Pet Pantry.


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N ew g a t e a t C o m p t o n Ma r t i n

Rag Spring gate

STOKE Lodge Ramblers, from Bristol, have donated a kissing gate to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Mendip Ramblers volunteers joined forces with the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) unit and Bath &North East Somerset rights of way team to install the gate on the Limestone Link path. The gate replaces an old stile next to the historic Rag Spring near Compton Martin improving access on this popular walking route in the Mendips.

Bishop’s tipple

L-R: James Cross, head gardener, Amanda Clay, community gardener, and Bob Chaplin and Martin Ridler from Shepton Cider Mill.

Bluebell time!

Society members plot the bluebell trail through the woodland

YOUNG visitors to a Mendip woodland can enjoy a nature trail amongst the bluebells thanks to the work of volunteers. Members of the Beacon Hill Society have created a Nature Detective route through the historic Beacon Hill Wood above Shepton Mallet. The society was formed in the 1990s to safeguard public access to the wood after its owners – the Forestry Commission – decided to put it up for sale. The Woodland Trust – with a grant from Mendip District Blue ribbon event: Julian Back (left) and Peter Banks tie one of the quiz questions to Council – bought a tree the site. It promises to be a good season for bluebells

THE Bishop’s Palace in Wells has added a mini apple orchard to its thriving community garden. The ten apple trees were donated by The Shepton Mallet Cider Mill. It’s hoped the trees will provide The Bishop’s Table, the palace café, with both cider and dessert apples in a few years’ time. The apple orchard is the latest development in the thriving garden; a team of volunteers have built a keyhole garden, an African method of growing, and have dug a wildlife pond to accompany the many raised vegetable beds and flower gardens. Formerly a derelict area of the gardens, the community garden was transformed as part of the recent £4million development project at the palace. Details: Amanda Clay, community gardener, or 01749 988111 ext 211.


For information about the wood and the society visit:

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Natural playgrounds AROUND 200 people of all ages explored one of Mendip’s least-known woodlands as part of a day of fun to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Somerset Wildlife Trust. Pond dipping, bat puppets, insect trails and den building were amongst the activities on offer in Harridge Woods, near Oakhill, as part of the trust’s Love Somerset, Love Woodland campaign. The trust is also encouraging people to discover some of the other woodlands on Mendip and has produced a series of family-friendly walks covering Harridge, King’s Castle, near Wells, and Long Wood, near Cheddar.

Gill Odolphie (front left) leads a pond dipping session

Harridge Woods is home to Keeper’s Cottage, now a bat roost. Edie Osmond, aged seven, is pictured with dad Tim and Adel Avery and Lucy Corner, from the Frome and East Mendip Wildlife Watch Club

Phil Dampier took along Scrumpy the owl to meet visitors to Harridge Woods

Village’s spring clean

Den building: Harry finds an alternative way out as Zak and Megan look on

THE sun came out, as well as a dozen or so villagers, to take part in the annual village clean-up in Compton Dando and the surrounding villages. They were there to clear up the lanes and hedgerows in the area. Armed with pickers and decked out in yellow reflective jackets they were soon on their way as they climbed aboard Gary Pearce’s red tractor and trailer to be dropped off at various points. Organiser, Harriette Dottridge, said: “This year our pick-up was about three weeks later than usual. Fortunately the rain had stopped and we had a beautiful morning for cleaning up. If we’d left it any later the verges and hedges would have begun to grow and obscure the rubbish but we were delighted to find far less than usual.” MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 7

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The art of quarrying

A PHOTOGRAPHIC artist has been capturing the sometimes eerie beauty of working and disused quarries on Mendip as part of a living history project. Christina White, from Priddy, has enjoyed rare access to the operational sites, including Torr Works, Moon’s Hill Quarry and Callow Rock. Christina is a former art and photography teacher at Kings of Wessex School in Cheddar who became fascinated by the impact of industries such as quarrying on the Mendip landscape. She said: “I have been involved with Quarry Faces, producing photographs as a direct response to working and disused quarries on Mendip, revealing historical traces and landscape memories. The importance of quarrying to the heritage of the Mendip Hills is tangible.” Tyre Henge at Torr Works

Christina at home

Christina says it will take another couple of years to finish the project which she describes as “cultural geography”. She uses medium to large format film cameras, taking multiple exposures to create the images.

Meanwhile, Christina will be exhibiting some of her work with fellow artist and painter Jason Nosworthy at Wells and Mendip Museum. The exhibition, called Stratum, runs from May 28th until June 7th.




Basalt heap at Moon’s Hill Quarry

Easter weather – more variable than the date!

I HOPE you all enjoyed the Easter break, with all the variety of weather we had over the holiday period! Easter is a variable feast, as we all know. It can occur at any time between about March 25th and April 25th depending on when the first full moon with DAVID occurs between these dates. MAINE If you consider just how variable the weather can be in the UK during the spring months, then just about any type of weather can occur during the Easter weekend and usually does. There is plenty of scope for anything to happen! Last year, for example, Easter Monday was on April 1st and we were in the middle of a late spell of bitterly cold easterly winds, more typical of February or early March. The maximum temperature that day was just 5.2˚C with snow grains and the following week saw some sharp night frosts. This year, just about the opposite happened: some pleasantly warm spring sunshine on Good Friday and the Saturday was followed by heavy rain on the Sunday – which, incidentally, had been well forecast up to five days


Mother Goose? This ewe and her new-born lambs at Nettlebridge seem to enjoy the company of their feathered friend

previously. We had 14.5mm during the afternoon in little over a hour. Easter Monday provided yet more variety with some warm sunshine and temperatures up to 19˚C. This was 14˚C (or nearly 25˚F) warmer than last year. Some contrast! There is a certain type of weather pattern which often occurs during late May/early June affecting the late spring bank holiday but I will cover that topic in more detail next time.

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Glastonbury: 11 Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 8DL. Tel: 01458 832510

We are proud of our record as a training firm in assisting young solicitors to attain their ambitions and also in supporting other members of our staff who have ambitions within the law. Two of our partners, Dervla Nash and Libby Warder, originally came to us as trainees; after qualification we really could not let them go and now they are both partners within the firm and very important to us. We have also assisted two other solicitors with training contracts, both have since qualified and are now working as solicitors. On a more domestic level we are proud of those members of our support staff who either have or are in the process of qualifying as legal executives. Natalie Duckett, at our Cheddar office, qualified very recently and Vicky Scorse will be qualifying shortly. In Castle Cary, Gemma Wilton recently achieved two distinctions in her first assessments. In Shepton Mallet, Hannah Sumption has recently started her legal executive training and although she has recently left the firm Annette Baker is also qualifying as a legal executive. We wish her well in her new job and in her continuing qualification. Obviously having fully qualified and ambitious support staff enables the firm to continue to go from strength to strength whilst still remaining a “local” firm committed to the towns in which we practice. e partners are pleased to congratulate our budding legal executives on their progress and in particular Natalie on her recent qualification.

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Help choose the farm woman of the year

THE role of women in farming has grown significantly over the last 20 years – perhaps because we get more publicity. Running a farm is not easy, whether a woman farms on her own account or as the farmer’s wife; she has a huge role to play as she juggles farm work, accounts, With MARY children and cooking as well as providing JAMES MBE vital emotional support to those around her, plus involvement in local activities. This year the Royal Bath and West Show has launched a Farm Woman of the Year Award to celebrate the unseen behind-the-scenes contribution that women make to the farming industry and the communities built around it. The winner will get a well-deserved chance to relax with a spa day for two at a hotel in Shepton Mallet, while all the shortlisted entrants will be given VIP Ladies’ Day tickets to the show. Do you know someone who would fit the bill? It could be your mother, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother or friend perhaps. To nominate someone for Farm Woman of the Year 2014 find the entry form at (or ring Lydia on 01749 822235) and tell the judges in no more than 250 words what makes the woman you are nominating so special and why she deserves to win the award. Every weekend since the water subsided young farmers club members, particularly from Frome, Farrington Gurney

and Chew Valley clubs, have been working on some of the farms so badly affected on the Somerset Levels. In fact YFC members have arrived from across the country. The situation there may have left the headlines but there is so much work to be done. Whilst on the subject of young farmers they have had a choir competition this year. To start with I was amazed – would they participate? Yes they did and the North Somerset Club won the county round and came second in the regional so they go to the national final in the second week in May. Good luck to them. I will keep you posted. On the vexed subject of TB, three more farms around us are affected and another has been shut down for years. This is a problem that has reduced many a tough farmer to tears. It is all so futile. Now cats seem to be picking up the disease; deer and alpacas are already affected so where did they get it from I wonder? We have a time bomb ready to explode. Don’t forget the North Somerset Show on May 5th and the Royal Bath and West Show May 28th-31st.

Tractors for charity

THE annual tractor run, organised by Moose, Westonsuper-Mare, will take place on Sunday, May 18th, in support of the RNLI and other charities. The event has been growing and last month £4,900 was presented to eight charities including the Great Western Air Ambulance and FarmLink. The tractors come from around Weston, the Somerset Levels and the Mendips and have featured a variety of vintage and specialised tractors as well as modern versions – and all are welcome to join in. They aim to leave Westhay Farm off Wolvershill Road at 10am and proceed along Wolvershill Road to Banwell; over Banwell Hill to Hutton then to Uphill Village and from there along the sea front to the RNLI’s temporary HQ where they will break for an hour. From there they will take the toll road and climb Monks Hill; pass Kewstoke Quarry to Worle via Coronation Road and the High street; turn at the Summerhouse roundabout to pass Morrisions and then return to Westhay Farm. Details: Paul 01934 824435 or email or see or www.moose55wsm


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British boys reunion

IN 1932, the YMCA started a scheme to offer young men from 14 to 17 years of age and from all walks of life, the chance to try their hands at farming. It was called British Boys for British Farms and over 20,000 students passed through the training scheme before it finally closed in 1966. Though several training centres had been used over the years, by the late ‘50s there were three main ones, each taking approximately 30 entrants in eight, week-long batches. Our house, North Cadbury Court, was one of them and I remember it well. For many of the boys it was their first taste of rural life and their first time away from home. They stayed in dormitories at each of the three centres, where they received some tuition and were fed morning and evening. During the day they cycled or walked out to various farms within a five-mile radius to gain experience of farm life and life in the countryside. At the end of the course, if a student wished to stay in

FARMING agriculture as a career then the YMCA found them a post and monitored them for at least a year to make sure they were happy. Many ended up farming in their own right, sometimes in countries all over the world. Though now largely forgotten, it was a hugely successful scheme, praised by the Ministry of Agriculture and the NFU. In 1959 it was covered in an eight-page Times newspaper feature and a film was made of the scheme for television in 1960. An account of this charming yet dynamic story, full of amusing anecdotes and sepia photographs is contained in a book “British Boys for British Farming” by Barbara Vessey. The first National YMCA British Boys for British Farms Reunion, co-ordinated by Stephen Milner, of the YMCA, will take place on Tuesday, May 13th at North Cadbury Court, Somerset. It is hoped that many former participants, staff and host farmers will be able to attend. All are welcome. By Archie Montgomery, North Cadbury Court, near Castle Cary

If anyone knows of anyone who participated in the scheme and would like to take part could they please contact 01305 266107 or e-mail:

Young farmers’ show what they can achieve

WEDMORE Young Farmers’Club held its 80th show in the village. The main winners were: The E R Nicholl’s Cup, presented to the most helpful member during 2013-2014, Jamie Wall “Don’t Quit Tray”, presented by John Tucker & Son, William Pether The Doris Burrough’s Cup, presented to the most enthusiastic Senior participant in Club and Area, Katie Nicholls The Doris Burrough’s Cup, presented to the most enthusiastic Junior participant in Club and Area, Hannah Lukins Best All-Round Member (Junior), James Hooper Best All-Round Member (Senior), James Hole Best All-Round Member, James Hole Handicraft Cup (Senior), Katie Nicholls Handicraft Cup (Junior), James Hooper Willow Hurdle Making Cup, Ben Willcox Best Handicraft in Show, Katie Nicholls Photographic Shield, James Hooper Scrapbook Cup, Claire Willcox Cake Slice, Fay Nicholls

Show president elected

A MEMBER of a Mendip farming family which has links with the Mid Somerset Agricultural Society dating back more than 100 years has been elected as its new president. Paul Barber, along with his cousin, built AJ & RG Barber at Maryland Farm in Ditcheat into a successful cheese making farm, which is now one of the oldest Paul Barber is the new president of the Mid-Somerset surviving Cheddar makers Show society in Britain. At its recent annual general meeting, the society selected Mr Barber and thanked last year’s president Roger Penny. Chairman Ian Harvey said: “We are very thankful to Roger Penny for his support to the show over the last year. “I am delighted to welcome Paul Barber as our new president. With both his knowledge and experience he will be a fantastic asset to the show.” Mr Barber has been recognised for his work in both the pig and dairy industry but is possibly best known for owning two Cheltenham Gold Cup winning horses, See More Business and Denham, both trained locally by Paul Nicholls. Mr Barber said: “It gives me great pleasure in accepting the invitation to be the President of the Mid Somerset Show. My family have been involved in the show for more than 100 years as cheese exhibitors, sponsors and visitors, so I am very honoured.” The Shepton Mallet-based show, which celebrates its 162nd year in August, is one of the few free-entry agricultural shows left in the country. MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 11

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Meeting a favourite event Words and pictures by Mark Adler

A BIG crowd, a big field and a touch of royalty added to the atmosphere at the annual Mendip Farmers’ Point-to-Point meeting at Ston Easton. Racegoers enjoyed one of the strongest cards for several years with a sprinkling of well-known ex-National Hunt horses taking part. They included odds-on favourite Gwanako who was ridden to victory in the Uphill and Son Ladies Open by Megan Nicholls, daughter of Ditcheat trainer Paul. Zara Phillips had several horses running throughout the afternoon and looked happy and relaxed as she chatted in the paddock.

The six-race card was followed by two pony races: the Mendip Mini Rush and the Out to Grass stakes. G The Wylye Valley Pony Club is holding its annual race day at Wincanton

Racecourse on Saturday, May 17th. The fixture – run under Pony Cub rules – has been the springboard for the careers of many top-class jockeys. Entries close on Monday, May 12th.

Let’s go racing

Time for coffee: Sarah, Bex and Maddy take a break from the races

Megan Nicholls with dad Paul (left) and grandfather Brian

Perfect conditions attracted a strong field

Phillip Tincknell presents the trophy for the Tincknell steeplechase to winning father-and-son team: jockey Robbie Henderson and Guy, trainer of The Mythologist PAGE 12 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

Hounds from the Mendip Farmers’ Hunt in the paddock

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Studying the form? I’m picking the winner!

Zara Phillips chats to paddock steward Roger Noble Megan Nicholls (far right) in the Stewart Family colours on her way to victory

Mrs Catherine Penny with jockey Chris Dando who won the R.M. Penny Open Maiden Steeplechase

Party time – Rosie Brice celebrates her 21st birthday Bellsini Ron, ridden by William Biddick speeds away from the last to win the Morris and Perry Men’s Open

Young farmers clubs from Farrington Gurney, Wells and Glastonbury and Frome shared duties on their food stall raising funds for their 2015 rally

For information, contact club secretary Geoff Andrews on: 01749 850229/07515 868785 or e-mail:


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Dear Mendip Times, After a brisk walk in Burrington Combe a few weeks ago my partner and I popped into Burrington Cafe for a coffee and cake and on the way out I picked up the February issue of Mendip Times and popped it behind the seat of my van. Today I picked it up and was glancing through it when an article on Wrington F.C. caught my eye. I looked at the pictures of the teams and said to my partner “that’s me there”, Wrington F.C. 1st eleven 1966. I am in the back row third from the left, yes that’s me Ralph Mellett. I was just 17 then and I think the team photo was taken at the start of the season. I have many happy memories of my days playing for Wrington, so thanks for reminding me. One funny

incident that came to mind, I was playing for the second 11 one Saturday when the village fire siren sounded. This was when Wrington had a fire station and there was some confusion on the pitch as Johnny Owers and myself had to leave the pitch to attend the fire to shouts of “leave us thee shirt”; the referee looked quite confused, with me pulling of my shirt as I ran off the pitch. I turned up at the fire station in shorts, socks and football boots and no shirt. By the way I am off down to Yeovil shortly to renew my season ticket for next year. Stewart Ralph Mellett, Ashcott, near Street

Dear Mendip Times, The Wessex Stationary Engine Club Ltd. was formed 36 years ago, devoted to preserving our engineering heritage. The club’s main aim is the restoration and preservation of vintage engines and the machinery they drove – the type of engine used on farms, workshops, pumping stations, mills and factories. We have a large and varied list of events we run throughout the year, from our two vintage sales, to our engine running days at Nunney and our main two-day event, the Wessex Midsummer


Vintage Gathering, staged each year at the village of Semington, near Trowbridge. This year it will be held on June 21st and 22nd, raising funds for the Children’s Hospice South West. This will be our sixth event at Semington. The club holds monthly meetings at the Court Hotel, Chilcompton on the last Monday of each month, with film shows, talks, model evenings etc, with trips to places of interest and much more. If you are interested in our engineering past or would like to learn more or even get some help with a restoration project, why not come along to one of our meetings or get in touch by ringing 01225 754374. Eric Gay Trowbridge Dear Mendip Times, After such a wet winter the Wanstrow History Group has been out and about walking the lanes and footpaths again and have begun a series of interviews with older villagers about their past memories of Wanstrow as well as rummaging in the bottom of the stream bed looking for pottery. Our two pottery experts we called in have been very excited with what we have found there as well as discoveries in back gardens and odd field scatters. We want to know more so we are combining with Wanstrow Church on their monthly Saturday Open Afternoon with a Soup and Pudding Extravaganza on Saturday, May 24th from 12 midday with the usual teas until 4.30pm. Please bring along stuff found in the garden – we are still looking for more pottery kiln sites, photographs of village events - and names of participants, old diaries, memorabilia, stories and anything you feel future generations should know about. We had a tremendous response last time so more people will be on hand to make notes of what you say. If all goes well we are tentatively looking at Christmas 2015 for publication. For more history details, please phone Joyce on 01373 832845. Yours, Wanstrow History Group

The Wanstrow History Group includes members of the Holcombe History Group who recently published a book about the village which has already sold more than 400 copies PAGE 14 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

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Cadets seek recruits

Silver servers celebrate


The cubs celebrate their silver awards achievement with cub scout leader James Gordon (left) and Rob Pitts

THREE members of the Army Cadet Force based in Nailsea have recently been presented with their bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award certificates. Cadet Serjeant Louis Lewton and Cadet Corporals James Mackenzie–Smith and Alex Butt, who all live in Backwell, have been working hard over the last 12 months to complete the four sections of their award. Nailsea Army Cadet Force has spaces for new recruits and adult positions available for uniformed instructors and civilian assistants. The ACF in Nailsea meets every Tuesday and Thursday evening, from 7.30pm, at their purpose-built headquarters at Greenfield Crescent Park in the town. Details: by calling the County HQ on 01823 284486 or by visiting the website at

Tor service saved

THE Glastonbury Tor bus, which was threatened with closure earlier this year, has been saved thanks to a partnership between Glastonbury Town Council, Somerset County Council and Mendip Community Transport (MCT). It started running on April 1st and will continue until September 30th. The return leg of the route has been altered so that the residents of the Windmill Hill area of Glastonbury can use the service. Mike Curtis the chief executive of Mendip Community Transport said: “MCT is delighted to provide this community bus service which not only transports visitors to one of Somerset’s much loved landmarks but this year will assist the residents of Windmill Hill.” Details: Mike Forbes or Mike Curtis at Mendip Community Transport on 01749 330100.

NINE young members of the Barton St. David scout and cub pack have been presented with the highest awards the movement can bestow. Rob Pitts, assistant district commissioner for cubs in the Yeovil and District area, was guest of honour at the presentation event. The nine cubs were presented with silver awards and certificates signed by explorer Bear Gryls, the Scout Association’s Chief Scout. The cubs come from Barton St. David and surrounding villages such as Keinton Mandeville and Butleigh. The district has 16 packs and covers an area stretching from Glastonbury and Street to Yeovil and a large part of South Somerset. The Barton St. David pack was formed three years ago and the nine cubs were among the original members. They are now due to join the scouts. Neil Macdonald, one of the pack leaders, said: “We have space for some young people to join us and we would like to take more; the issue is finding more leaders. We would love to hear from anyone who might be interested.”

The Barton St. David pack presents stamps they have collected to representatives of the Canine Partners charity. The charity provides highly-trained dogs to people with disabilities to help them enjoy greater independence

For details visit:


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A toast to the breadwinner!

ORGANISERS of this year’s Royal Bath & West Show have announced the overall winner of its first bread baking competition. The honour goes to Pullins Bakers, based in Yatton, whose prize is a stand in the artisan marquee at the four-day event. Sponsored by the Worshipful Company of With JUNE Bakers, the oldest of the City of London MACFARLANE livery companies, the aim of the competition – entered by bakeries from across the south west – was to encourage young people to enter the trade and to become Master Bakers themselves through its training schemes. Pullins won with its sourdough bread, a crusty white bloomer type loaf with a good sour flavour. According to Tristan Hunt, from Pullins, it makes great toast, so let’s find out!

Spiced potted crab with sourdough toast


Crab is in season right now. If you are near the coast you will find the best and freshest at the keenest prices, but you can get them locally in supermarkets and at fishmongers. Make this a couple of days in advance to allow the flavours to develop. Keep in the fridge.


Remove the meat and roe from the crab, discarding the “dead men’s fingers”. Crack the claws and extract the meat.


Melt half the butter and add to the crab meat, along with most of the chilli, the lemon juice, nutmeg and mace. Mix all together, check for seasoning and pack into a serving dish or small individual ramekins. Melt the rest of the butter removing the foam. Pour the melted butter over the top of the crab, leaving the milky residue behind. Scatter the remaining chilli on top and finish with the bay leaf. Serve with sourdough toast.

Globetrotting executives will tell you that after the fifth, three star Michelin meal of the week what they really long for is cheese on toast! So comforting, so tasty, so multiple choice! Some people like to grate the cheese, some like to slice it; some say white bread, some insist on sourdough or TS IEN RED ING ) slice wholemeal; some to er (easi loaf old Day e hous add chutney, or Lea farm ntry Cou t Wes 250g s slice cm & Perrins, or spring 1/2 in d slice dar, ched onions, and I like lted unsa er, Butt ce cider apple jelly. quin or , jelly e appl r Cide The salt of a good e serv to , jelly cheddar, the cider tang of the jelly and the chewiness of the bread. Has to be consumed immediately, so not so good from room service. Oh, and not Welsh rarebit, that’s something else entirely.


Heat an overhead grill to full. Cut two slices of bread about 2cms thick. Grill bread on both sides but take care not to burn. Butter one side of toast. Cover completely with slices of cheese. Grill until bubbling and golden. Serve with cider apple jelly.

1 fresh crab, or about 250g fresh crab meat, white and brown 175g unsalted butter 1 small fresh red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped juice of 1 lemon 1/2 nutmeg, grated 1/4 tsp mace 1 bay leaf Sourdough bread for toast


Asparagus is in season for Ingredients (for two) such a short time, and 2 duck eggs English asparagus is so 1/2 kilo asparagus good that it is worth sea salt, celery salt (optional) making the effort while you can. Duck eggs are more easily available than they used to be, and you can even find them at farm gates. This is a lovely recipe from Mark Hix, using asparagus from New Cross Fruit Farm.



Cut the asparagus to size for serving. Bring a pan of water to the boil; lower eggs into the water and simmer for six minutes. Remove eggs from water. Set aside. Bring a second pan of water to the boil, salt it, and when the eggs have boiled simmer the asparagus until easily pierced with a knife – about five mins. Remove tops from egg carefully with a knife. Drain the asparagus quickly on a tea towel. Serve at once with salt and optional celery salt.

See Bath and West Show preview page 95 PAGE 16 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014


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Market celebrates its 10th anniversary in style MIDSOMER Norton Farmers’ Market celebrated its 10th anniversary with live music and a birthday cake. Somerset Farmers’ Markets launched the monthly event with support from the then Midsomer Norton and Radstock Town Council, the town’s chamber of commerce and Bath and North East Somerset Council. The market – on the first Saturday of each month – is now firmly established outside on the Hollies Gardens. Roger White, who was the farmers’ markets co-ordinator for Somerset, and Cathy Peglar, Midsomer Norton’s first day manager, joined in the celebrations; Cathy returned from Portugal where she now produces olive oil. Roger now runs the local food delivery scheme Somerset Local Food Direct. The music was provided by Midsomer Norton and Radstock Silver Band.


Members of Midsomer Norton and Radstock Silver Band salute councillor Neil Butters, chairman of B&NES, as he prepares to cut the birthday cake, watched by Midsomer Norton mayor Paul Myers, Roger White, Cathy Peglar, Louise Hall (markets co-ordinator) and members of the town council


EVER-CHANGING SPECIALS BOARD with extensive menu and seasonal daily specials The Annual bike ride for N.A.C.R.D. starts from The Natterjack at 11.30am and covers 25 miles. Details can be seen on our website. Sponsorship packs are available to download. There will be a BBQ back at the pub at 3pm where certificates for entrants will be presented. All money raised will be going to Prostate Cancer UK Live Music on Thursday 8th May with Guy Johnson on Keyboards and vocals. 9pm start.

G Bed & Breakfast en suite bedrooms in the attached refurbished Cider House always available to book on any night. Ideal location close to the Bath & West Showground and other local attractions. There are also some lovely walks in the vicinity. G Cask Marque Ales G Somerset Ciders G Our popular Quiz Nights take place every 2nd Monday in the Month G Check the website for details of all our upcoming events


Wells: every Wednesday 9am-2.30pm at the Market Place All other markets 9am-1pm unless otherwise marked*

Saturday 3rd Axbridge & Midsomer Norton Sunday 4th SFM@ The Frome Independent (10am-3pm)* Saturday 10th Frome & Keynsham Saturday 17th Crewkerne Saturday 24th Glastonbury & Yeovil (9am-2pm)* Friday 30th


follow us @SFMMarkets For more information phone 01373 814646 or visit

Powering Farming’s Future natterjack

Tel: 01225 667151 Web: MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 17

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Charity begins at Jones – L & F Jones

(Photos courtesy of Victoria Ashman Photography)

TWO charities – Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and North Somerset Jumbulance Group – benefitted from fundraising efforts by the team at L & F Jones, based in Westfield, near Midsomer Norton. The company held their normal annual events including a charity walk, golf day and charity ball and gala dinner. The staff really got involved: Charlotte Veale organised various events throughout the year raising nearly £2,000 for LLR, whilst Stacey Jones dyed her hair blue for HCPT. The total raised for Leukaemia Research was £13,107.50 and,

back: Jill Rhymer, Janet Cheasley, Dave Jones, Ray D’Arcy. Middle: Stacey Jones, Sheila Jones, Trixie Lovell, Martin Jones, Liz Jones. Front: Jenny Cook

(l:r): Chloe Veale, Ray D’Arcy, Charlotte Veale, Stuart Lees, Martin Jones, Dave Jones and Liz Jones


with £11,000 raised for HCPT, the over total was £24,107.50. Liz Jones, from the company, said: “It’s been a great year for the charities and we are overwhelmed by the support we received. On behalf of L & F Jones we would like to say thank you to our employees, suppliers and customers and special thanks goes to Fosseway Bowls Club for their generous donation of £1,216 raised at their annual charity cabaret night.” G L & F Jones’s charity of the year 2014 is The British Heart Foundation. To find out more, contact Liz on 01761 402356.

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Elaeagnus x ebbingei

THIS article is about a shrub that many of you will have in your own garden, perhaps without realising what it is, and that many others will be within a short walking distance from you. It’s a fast growing, evergreen hybrid that is very commonly planted as a With JAKE screen, windbreak, and in municipal WHITSON plantings, known as Elaeagnus x ebbingei, or sometimes simply Elaeagnus. What not very many people know is that it produces what must be the earliest edible fruit of the year – ripening from the middle of April to the middle of May – and that this fruit is quite delicious. They are astringent before fully ripe, so you must let them ripen fully. I can’t say I’ve ever done much to them except eat them straight off the bush and I’ve dried a few (which helps remove the astringency of under-ripe fruit). The large seed is also edible, though covered in a chewy case. There is one small catch, however, and that is that it seems a great many bushes – and whenever I see one at this time of year I make a beeline for it to see if there are any fruit – don’t seem to produce any fruit at all. There are several possible reasons for this, one of the most likely being, I think, that many cultivars are not self-fertile, and that if a different cultivar (or one of the parent species of this hybrid) is planted nearby for cross-pollination, better fruiting may occur. The other possibility, borne out by my limited observations, is that the plants won’t bother to put a lot of energy into fruit if they are planted in a good soil – like figs, they will put all their energy into vegetative growth instead. Perhaps for best fruiting they should be container grown. At any rate, if you have an Eleaegnus x ebbingei bush in your garden – go check it for fruit!

Jacob Whitson is a chef and food writer who has worked in many of the West Country’s most prestigious restaurants. He is currently working on his first book, a travelogue detailing the regional foods of Japan.



In the footsteps of the Romans

ORIGINALLY believed to be a native of Italy and neighbouring Alpine areas, this plant has been introduced, subsequently escaped gardens and colonised walls, beaches and stony ground in Western Europe, following in the footsteps of those other great Italian conquerors, the Romans. With ADRIAN The first mention of Ivy-leaved Toadflax BOOTS is from the early 17th century in an Essex garden, then the seeds were received by amateur gardeners in Hampshire in 1619 and by 1640 it was recorded in Hertfordshire. In just 300 years this attractive little plant has been escaping gardens and colonising the walls of Britain and Ireland. It is super-abundant on the many walls of Oxford but I wouldn’t be surprised if it can be found on the greatest wall in Britain, that other heroic Roman effort and my namesake, Hadrian’s Wall. Hadrian not wall that is. There are too many local/Somerset names to mention here (a testament to its rapid spread physically) but here goes with just a few: Creeping Jenny, Creeping Sailor, Monkey Mouths, Mother of Millions, Fleas and Lice (not sure I like the sound of that) and my favourite maybe because it makes me think of cake: Hundreds and Thousands. All these names reflect this plant’s profusion of leaves. Ivy-leaved Toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis) is a hairless, trailing perennial 10 to 60cm in height and characteristically found on walls. It seems to prefer old walls with lime mortar/soil infill rather than a modern wall with cement. The leaves are ‘ivy’ like on long stalks, rounded or kidney shaped with five to nine shallow lobes. The flowers are nine to 15mm on long stalks and are coloured lilac, violet or sometimes white with a yellow spot in the centre. So why not impress your dinner guests by decorating a dish with ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ as a replacement for parsley, although it does have a much more delicate flavour than that herb. Don’t mention ‘Fleas and Lice’ though as your guests will disappear from the table quicker than this charming Italian plant can escape from a garden. Adrian Boots is a Landscape Ecologist, Wild Food Forager and Adventure Activity provider. You can visit his web site to learn more about wild food foraging and activities you can do with him on the Mendip Hills.


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If music be the food . . .

MUSIC AND MORE! Enjoy a themed evening meal with live entertainment. Fully licensed bar. Raising money for St Margaret’s Hospice

Echoes of ’59: two fabulous guitarists – amazing sounds! + Guests. Saturday, May 3rd. Doors 8pm. Donations £3

The fabulous Drystones! Saturday, June 21st. Doors 8pm. Donations £3

Dress to Impress speed dating night. Saturday, May 31st.

COMING SOON! Glam rockers FAB 208 “Shake Up The Mendips Tour”. Dress code strictly 70s/80s! Open mic nights. Third Thursday of every month from 7.30pm. Free

Rock Cake Café, Rocky Mountain Garden Nursery, Masbury, nr. Wells, BA5 3HA Tel: 01749 840900

Rock Cakecafé

DESIGNING a menu to match an evening of live entertainment is music to the ears of up-and-coming chef Stephen Miller at the Rock Cake Café near Wells. The café’s evening events are attracting a loyal following and now that summer is on its way, it is becoming a popular venue for people looking for something different. The Rock Cake Stephen in the kitchen of the Rock Cake Café is part of the Cafe Rocky Mountain Nursery at Masbury. Café owner Zoe Emery and husband Paul are keen to attract more people to its evening functions. The café is also available for private parties and the couple have created a stage area at the far end. Paul said: “We’re establishing a very good reputation as a live music venue where people can enjoy good food and a great atmosphere. It looks like being a very busy summer.” Stephen, 28, grew up in Southampton and was a catering student. In his spare time he volunteered helping young people with emotional problems and decided to go to university to study mental health. But the lure of cooking was too strong and he eventually came to Somerset, joining the team at the Rock Cake Café in March. As well as refining the café’s popular menu (including traditional Sunday lunches), Stephen has been tasked with creating menus to complement live events ranging from the Drystones folk duo to glam rockers FAB 208. A recent evening of acoustic pop was matched by a “fish supper” menu including seared scallops and sea bass. Stephen said: “The key is to create dishes which use fresh, local produce. Our customers enjoy proper food and nice-sized portions.” G Many of the evening events in the coming months are raising money for the St. Margaret’s Hospice charity.


01761 463926

Travelling through, walking local trails, or living in the village, if the doors are open – come in and enjoy what Blagdon’s little country pub has to offer.


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Seasons Fish Kitchen launches at Farrington THERE’S a brand-new cookery concept at Farrington’s Farm shopping village, Farrington Gurney. Seasons Fish Kitchen ‘does what it says on the tin’ – hot fish lunches, seafood suppers and healthy fish snacks – all cooked to perfection by a former Michelin starred chef. Boxed to take home or even the office. Chef Alex Venables, and his front-ofhouse partner Alison Ward-Baptiste, fresh from their award-winning pub, the Tollgate, in Wiltshire, with its Seasons Deli-on-the-Doorstep, have now focused their sights on Somerset – and the sea. Using fresh fish, delivered daily from the West Country’s family-owned coastal boats, and sourcing local produce from Farrington Farm potatoes to bread by Bath Bakery, Seasons Fish Kitchen offers a wide range of marine dishes from simple fish pie and codling fish fingers to grilled salmon and mackerel, scallops, crab and moules marinieres (served three ways) or cold seafood platters to take home for dinner. Alex, formerly of Lucknam Park Hotel where he won a Michelin star, has not

forgotten his classy fish and chips, either. Seafresh fish has a choice of Cornish whiting, cod, plaice, haddock, hake or lemon sole, beer battered and served with double chips and home-made tartare sauce. And Alex will be sharing his passion for fish, and game, with his popular Demo and Dine evenings complete with dinner and wine; his Perfect Paella kits –

everything you need to make your own Fish Kitchen scrumptious supper; and relaxed Sundays at Seasons where he will cook for you and your friends. With fish catches daily, what’s on offer can be checked out either in the shop or online at – and orders placed on 01761 452809 to collect.

FRESH FISH DAILY . . . AND COOKED JUST FOR YOU BOXED . . . FOR YOU TO ENJOY Hot fish lunches or seafood suppers, proper fish & chips, from beer-battered Cod to Dover Sole Don’t want to wait? Phone ahead and order Sundays are available for private dining, birthday lunches, or a relaxed get-together with friends OPENING TIMES Tuesday to Saturday 11.30am till 7pm Major credit cards accepted

SEASONS FISH KITCHEN Farrington’s Farm Shop, Farrington Gurney, Bristol BS39 6UB


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G e o r gi a n s p l e n d o u r a t B o w l i s h H ou s e

SUMPTUOUS blue upholstery set against summer-yellow walls and sunlight streaming through tall wooden-shuttered windows – the newly refurbished drawing room at Shepton Mallet’s Bowlish House hotel and restaurant perfectly captures the building’s Georgian heritage. Owners Martin Gibson and Leonard Muircroft are combining design flair with attention to detail to emphasise the Grade II listed building’s elegant charm. That applies to the décor, the service and the cuisine. There is, however, nothing stuffy about this country house hotel. The drawing room is just as popular with hotel guests making friends over after-dinner coffee and drinks as is it with non-residents visiting for afternoon tea or to share a bottle of wine and a selection of fine cheese. Martin and Leonard bought Bowlish House towards the end of last year after moving to Somerset from Chicago. Fans of the awardwinning television series

Broadchurch may recognise the drawing room; the series attracted much speculation about where exactly it was filmed. Martin said: “People find the room so relaxing that they spend a lot of time sitting in here, enjoying the atmosphere and talking to other guests. “We are seeing quite a number of younger people here who want to enjoy an evening out sharing a bottle of wine but who don’t want to visit a pub.” Anyone visiting Bowlish House for a meal won’t be disappointed, whether for lunch or dinner. Chef Stephen Frost boasts an impressive CV, having worked with luminaries such as Gary Rhodes, Anton Mossiman and at the Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. Traditional Sunday lunches are especially popular. Martin added: “We are trying to recapture the Georgian atmosphere but to make Bowlish House a relaxing and enjoyable place to visit at any time of the year.”

Spring Dinner Menu STARTERS

Come dine with us . . .

Try our new Spring Dinner Menu, Three Courses and a glass of wine for just £19.50. (available May 6th–May 31st, Tuesday–Saturday)

Soup of the Day with Homemade Bread Chicken Liver Parfait with Citrus Butter, Red Onion Jam & Granary Toast Prawn and HomeCured Gravlax Salad Goats Cheese Crotin with a Pesto & Balsamic Reduction MAIN COURSE

Braised Shin of Local Beef wrapped in Pancetta with a Madeira Sauce Confit of Belly Pork with a Spiced Apple Puree & Red Wine Sage Sauce Pan Fried Fillet of Atlantic Cod with a Herb Crust & Cockle Risotto Wild Mushroom Wellington with an Artichoke & Truffle Veloute DESSERTS

Email: or e Bowlish House, Wells Road, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 5JB PAGE 22 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

Warm Black Cherry Bakewell Tart with Homemade Ice Cream Iced Banana Parfait with Caramelised Orange Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream & Butterscotch Sauce Selection of West Country Cheeses with Homemade Chutney (+£4)


(includes a glass of house red or white wine)

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Nicola’s charity challenge

TEAM BEAH, at Union Street, in Wells, is entering the London Moon Walk at Midnight on Saturday, May 10th. Restaurant owner Nicola and her friend and chef, Alan Precious, are taking part to raise money for breast cancer charities. Nicola (at an age when she should know better) was looking for a challenge and, rather than running a marathon, which sounded like complete madness, she decided to walk a marathon instead – after all it’s only a stroll around London albeit a 26.2 miles stroll! Alan, who has completed the Brighton and Toronto marathons, has been coerced into training and nagging Nicola to ensure she gets round in a decent time! The charity is close to Nicola’s heart as it has touched the lives of her family, friends and indeed customers, which is why she is determined to raise £1,000. She said: “We are nearly half-way there, so if any companies would like to make up the difference that would be great!

FOOD & DRINK “BEAH are raising money via a prize raffle, 1,000 tickets at £1 each. All my wonderful suppliers have provided me with prizes, along with a couple of very talented customers who have given me some great paintings so it’s well worth popping into Union Street to buy a ticket. A full list of prizes will be displayed in the window very soon.” The prize draw will take place on Monday, May 12th and all winners will be notified by telephone the next day. They are hoping to have a quiz night to top up their fundraising on that evening; anyone who would like a table of six on that Monday night is asked to contact the restaurant on 01749 678111.


English & Mediterranean Restaurant, Wells

A la carte menu (including authentic Moroccan tagines)

Coming Soon . . . Full Diary of fun themed evenings Watch our website or send us an e-mail to be added to our mailing list For more information, call Nicola on 01749 678111 – email:

MOON WALK 2014 Nicola would like to thank her valued suppliers for donating prizes in her bid to raise £1,000 during her 26.2 mile ‘stroll’ around London on Saturday May 10th

Purchase your raffle tickets direct from the restaurant or just send Nicola money!! Thanks to . . . Partners in Cream – Charles Saunders – Entoria – Brake Bros – Nectar Imports – Bartletts Butchers – Auditel Utilities Management – A David (Fruit & Veg) – Griffiths Butchers – Eurofresh – Martin Carwardine Coffee – The Bishop’s Palace – Wookey Hole Caves – David Read – Ian Wells

Relaxed and friendly dining in the heart of Wells MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 23

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Medieval makeover

THE medieval Abbot’s Kitchen at Glastonbury Abbey has reopened to the public after major conservation work. New displays inside the 14th Century kitchen give visitors a better idea of how it was used in the early Tudor period when Glastonbury Abbey was one of the wealthiest and most influential abbeys in the country. Janet Bell, Glastonbury Abbey director, said: “Along with the Lady Chapel, this has been the most significant and comprehensive programme of conservation at the abbey in the last 100 years. “The Abbot’s Kitchen is surviving evidence of the wealth and influence of Glastonbury Abbey. As head of the richest monastery in England after Westminster, the abbot lived and entertained in considerable splendour.” The project has been part of a wider programme of conservation which also includes the Lady Chapel, Crypt and Galilee. The work is being funded by the Abbey’s Rescue Our Ruins Appeal, Viridor Credits Environmental Company and other grants. COCKLE soup served in a pine-molet bread roll, a canapé-style venison puree and a dessert of lemon slices covered in pistachio and rosewater-flavoured butter were on the menu at the relaunch of the Abbot’s Kitchen – all washed down with Hippocras, a version of mulled wine. The puree is a modern take on medieval Umbles Pie, from which came the saying “to eat humble pie” – meaning a dish made up of offal and other parts of an animal which were


Abbey director Janet Bell with Brother David, holding a tray of “umbles pies”

considered too common for the Abbot’s table. The dishes were prepared by the team at The Star and Dove Tavern in Bristol which specialises in 12th-18th century dishes and has adopted the abbey’s Rescue Our Ruins Appeal. Tim Denny, from the tavern, said: “Britain embraced the cuisines of other countries far more than, say, France. The result – even in medieval times – was to inspire master cooks to take the best recipes and adapt them to make use of what was available.” G A cook book to coincide with the re-opening of the kirchen has been produced featuring recipes from celebrity chefs including Josh Eggleton, Tom Kerridge and Martin Blunos as well as Rick Stein, the Hairy Bikers, and Michael Caines. It is on sale at the Abbey Shop for £5 with all proceeds to the Rescue Our Ruins Appeal.

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Bristol hosts huge veggie fayre

WHY not treat yourselves and your loved ones to an exciting cocktail of amazing food and music at one of Europe’s biggest veggie events, VegfestUK Bristol, on May 23rd, 24th and 25th at the Amphitheatre on the Harbourside? The evening part of the show features the following headline acts: • Boney M ft., Maizie Williams, Gwen Dickey’s Rose Royce, Abba Gold on Friday • Peter Hook and the Light, Ruts D.C., Goldblade on Saturday • Zion Train, Black Roots on Sunday The daytime events include 140 stalls laden with delicious food, bodycare, clothing and other produce, with many free samples and special discounts. There’re also dozens of talks, cookery demos, short films and kids’ cookery classes, plus entertainment from comedians, musicians, art and craft, hoola hoops, clay modelling sessions and more! Details: with BUY ONE GET ONE HALF PRICE offers running until early May.


Choose between Swan Terrace with its breathtaking view of Wells Cathedral or our peaceful Walled Garden Café Whichever you choose, you’ll find great food and aenve service.


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N e w l o o k f or T h e S e y m o u r A r m s THE Seymour Arms reopened this year after a refit by the team behind the Albion in Clifton – the Albion now has a country cousin. The Seymour is run with the same strictly seasonal and local focus, showcasing the best of West Country produce. The pub is located in the pretty village of Blagdon overlooking the famous lake. The six beautiful bedrooms mean you can now stay for the whole weekend! Lee Bloomfield is the executive chef at both sites, trained at some of London’s finest restaurants he retains a down to

earth approach to his menus and believes in using what’s on his doorstep. Fresh fish is always available as is game in season along with a variety of foraged produce. The lunch menu features samples of our a la carte menu alongside classic pub favourites. Sunday lunch is based round overnight slow cooked roasts with all the trimmings. In the evening our bar menu runs alongside our A la carte menu. Breakfast is available for non-residents – give the team a call and they will set you up for a day’s shooting, fishing or walking. A private dining room, with servant’s bell, is available for dinner parties, business lunches or breakfasts. Behind the bar we stock St. Austell ales and Butcombe Bitter, which couldn’t be more local. Our wine list is small but perfectly formed and is designed to affordably complement the menu. And what better end to a day in the country than thawing out beside the wood burner and sampling our single malts. Children, Dogs and muddy boots welcome.

Open Mon 5pm – 11pm Tues – Thurs noon – 11pm Fri – Sat noon – midnight Sun noon – 11pm

Bath Rd, Blagdon, Somerset, BS40 7TH t: 01761 462 279 w: • e: PAGE 26 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

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Thatchers heads to Glastonbury


Page 27

THATCHERS Cider is to be the official cider of Glastonbury Festival. The new partnership means that for the next three years Thatchers Gold will be available in all of the festival’s bars. A specially created Craft Cider Bar will be installed in the Williams Green area of the festival site, where Thatchers Traditional, Heritage and Cheddar Valley ciders will be available on draught. Festival founder, Michael Eavis, said: “This is a particularly special thing, as not only does it mean that we’re able to bring a much-loved local cider to Glastonbury but for me I see this as two long-standing Somerset farming families coming together to offer something out of the ordinary.” Martin Thatcher, managing director of Thatchers Cider said: “We’ve been asked on many an occasion when we’ll be at Glastonbury – I’m delighted to say that the time has now come. Glastonbury’s reputation is phenomenal, and our partnership gives us an outstanding opportunity to bring the very best authentic Somerset cider to Worthy Farm.” In line with Glastonbury Festival's environmental ethos, Thatchers will be serving its cider in biodegradable Glastonbury Festival cups. This year's Glastonbury Festival takes place from June 25th 29th, attracting 135,000 ticketholders, over 40,000 staff and performers and a worldwide BBC TV audience running into millions.


Saturday 3rd May

The Plough Inn, High Street, Wrington, Bristol, North Somerset BS40 5QA.


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Screenshots on tablets and iPads

IN a previous article, we looked at using the Print Screen and Snipping Tool to capture an image on your computer – this could be for error messages, but can be all sorts, of course, it will take a snapshot of whatever is on the screen at the time. Some tablets come with a similar option – usually in the bottom right corner (but sometimes bottom left) is the “home” icon, and there is sometimes a fourth icon which looks like a square with four brackets round it, which will take a screen capture. Just press it and you should hear a shutter noise. This will now be in your Screen Capture depart with your photos library. For iPad – hold down the Sleep/Wake button and AT THE SAME TIME press and release the Home button. Then you can release the Sleep/Wake button. NB. You only need to TAP the Home button, not hold it. Don't hold down both buttons together for too long – this will power off your iPad – but you can cancel the Shut Down if it does come up. Or if the worst comes to the worst, just switch it back on. (The Sleep/Wake button is on the top right edge of the iPad; the button you use to turn your iPad on and off). You should hear a camera shutter sound and see a white screen. This screen shot will now be in the Camera Roll folder. To find your Camera Roll, just click on the “Photos” app on your home screen. “Camera Roll” will be listed as your first album. Look for the final image at the bottom – this is where you should find your screenshot. Submitted by IT for the Terrified : The Old Cowshed, Station Road, Cheddar BS27 3AG 01934 741751 IT4TT 1:1 sessions always available during term time. eBay course starts Thurs 8th May. Three workshops in May – Intro to Tablet Computing on Fri 2nd May, Intro to iPad Computing Fri 9th May and Intro to Windows8 Fri 16th May – all at 10am. This article is for guidance only, and the opinion of the writer. For more in depth information, please contact us. We offer individual training, at a pace to suit you; a session lasts 2 hours and costs £10. We can cover a range of subjects – including absolute basics; photo management; shopping online; emailing; Word processing, spreadsheets; basic web design; etc. on a range of devices, including Windows XP/Vista/W7/W8: Macs: Tablets: iPads: smartphones See our web site or contact us for further details. Or if you can spare two hours and week have skills on any level – especially iPad – that you would like to share with others, please get in touch.



The Mendip Mindbender

ACROSS 1/21Find Mum a semirural fete for a change – it’d be a great day out (5,3,3,6) 6 Quite elegant creature . . . if slippery (3) 8 This butler guy became most unpleasant (4,5) 10 Cutting edge raole for James? (5) 11 Fresh king is sorting out some fishy birds (11) 12 Dogs bark at colour of horse (3) 13 Send Bob an e-mail about monstrous apparition (10) 16 Picked up sound of stampeding animals? (4) 19 We returned to the road where we obtained lottery ticket (4) 20 Need interval to find means of producing fresh air (10) 22 Batsman’s objective for 18? (3) 23 Sailing ship . . . with crew in tents? (5,6) 26 Make home a really historic place (5) 27 I avoid CID when I’m looking for pleasant sounds (4,5) 28 What we need to know about when a Miss became a Mrs (3) 29 Small meters adjusted for Little Jack Horner’s waterway (5,6)

DOWN 1 Sporting body with topless wreck to come ashore near Frome (9) 2 Any number follow the French woman for her name (5) 3 Decide to go blonde without bias (2,2,4) 4 She had electricity installed (5) 5 Non-speaker loses the point with over-large article and decorative plant (6) 6 David from The Office follows direction in Sedgemoor (4,5) 7 Go from ungodly to find island (5) 9 Get the better of . . . coach to London? (7) 14 Watery welcome . . . for surfers? (5,4) 15 Learn to . . . procrastinate? (5,2) 17 Sudden movement towards boiling water upsets pub side (5,4) 18 Straightforward wound – there’s no doubt (5,3) 21 See 1 Across 22 Past 22ac. holds decoration for Latin speaker (5) 24 Whatever we do we like to join (5) 25 Disgusting to have nothing to make a dress with (5)

Answers on Page 97

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Tony Hucker TV Service – Sales – Rental

• • • • • •

Satellite Installations Aerial Systems TV wall mounting Custom Installations Networking Signal Solutions

01275 332888 Unit 4, Fairseat Workshops, Chew Stoke BS40 8XF Open: Mon-Fri 9am-6pm and Sat 9am-12 noon

Tel: 0800 097 8611 | e-mail:


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Natasha’s new exhibition

WELL known Chew Valley Arts Trail artist, Natasha Clutterbuck, will be returning to the Pelican Inn, Chew Magna, for a spring exhibition of charcoal vegetable drawings. You may have already seen her work in the main bar area where the original collection of six drawings were commissioned for the inn’s refurbishment by Caroline Pushman. The exhibition will take place in the barn on Thursday and Friday May 15th and 16th, from 11am until 7pm, giving some people the opportunity to pop in after work. Natasha will be available to discuss her work during this time. There will be a selection of original art work available to buy, including a range of new smaller pieces which Natasha has created to expand her range. She said: “I have become well known for my large-scale artwork but not everyone has space for them in their homes. I wanted to develop a range of work that was more accessible to a wider audience but not compromise the drawings as I do love to work on a large scale.” Seasonal, local vegetables from her own veg patch, local allotments and farm shops provide the inspiration for Natasha’s work. She also spends a lot of time drawing in the veg patch at the beautiful Yeo Valley Organic Garden, in Blagdon, where ornamental vegetable varieties provide a fantastic twist to what at first seems like an ordinary subject – a bunch of carrots! Natasha runs drawing workshops there and you may have seen her work exhibited there during the Chew Valley Arts Trail.

More tea Mr Mayor?

Paul Myers, the mayor of Midsomer Norton, visits Sarah-Jane’s shop during the birthday party to enjoy a cuppa with vintage fanatic Kate Tanner

VINTAGE and collectables shop The Way Forward celebrated its first birthday with a traditional tea party – right down to china cups, dainty sandwiches and homemade sponge cake! The shop, in Midsomer Norton High Street, was the brainchild of vintage fan Sarah-Jane Brereton and its popularity inspired her to start a monthly vintage market on the Hollies Gardens opposite which has won the support of the town council. Both shop and market attract buyers and sellers from across Mendip, Bath and Bristol. The market takes place on the third Saturday of each month.

The Pelican Inn Chew Magna BS40 8SL Presents an exhibition of artwork by

Natasha Clutterbuck Featuring her charcoal vegetable drawings including a collection of smaller pieces

Thursday 15th May 11am-7pm Friday 16th May 11am-7pm

On e ird Saturday Of Every Month At “e Hollies Gardens”, Midsomer Norton High Street. 8am-4pm. Vintage fashion, crockery, furniture, ephemera and a whole lot more.

Next market, Saturday, May 17th! Phone: 01275 331777(The Pelican Inn) 01275 331528(Natasha) PAGE 30 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

For more information or to book a stall, please contact us on: 07840 858549 Sponsored by Midsomer Norton Town Council

Mendip Times reduces travel costs 100,000 potential customers just a few miles from your business

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Trunk goes the distance

Page 31


AT their sale of antiques, fine art and collectables on April 5th, the team at the Mendip Auction Rooms saw a few surprises. A Louis Vuitton trunk believed to belong to the actress Celia Johnson met with strong interest, particularly from telephone bids, eventually selling for £3,900 with a watercolour of an African scene also generating telephone interest achieving £420, well above estimate. On March 18th, over 500 lots went under the hammer at the monthly sale of Victorian and later effects and there was a large entry of ceramics and smaller items. Keen interest in the room led to strong interest for a microscope which achieved a price of £1,250. The team has seen two new arrivals with Irene Baker being appointed as an additional valuer. Irene has particular knowledge in art and design items and has been involved in the world of antiques since a young girl when she assisted her grandfather who was a well known antiques dealer. Jon Burls joins as saleroom manager and brings a wealth of experience having previously been employed by Bonhams for eight years. The next sale of Antiques, Fine Art and Collectables will be on May 3rd with online live bidding and all lots presented with excellent photography. The team at the Mendip Auction Rooms are always content to visit your home free of charge and the auction rooms are open from 10am-5pm Monday to Friday and further details can be found on the website


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£5 stamp sells for £3,200

CLEVEDON Salerooms’ recent specialist sale included amongst the stamp section a particularly rare stamp known as a ‘£5 orange’. Postmarked for Belfast on December 12th, 1892 the stamp is rare primarily due to its high value. Very few were actually ever used and

This Andres Grima 1970s period Manhattan cocktail ring sold at Clevedon for £3,550.

so for it to survive in such good condition ensured that collectors from around the globe were keen to bid for the stamp, the successful bidder paying £3,200 to secure the lot. Clevedon Salerooms’ next specialist sale will be held on Thursday June 5th. You can visit their stand at the North Somerset Show on May 5th. On Tuesday May 12th, 10am – 4pm, their specialist valuers will be at The Winter Gardens in

Weston-super-Mare providing free verbal no obligation sale valuations on jewellery, silver, gold coins, and watches for possible consignment to the June 5th sale. Specialist jewellery and silver consultant John Kelly, Fellow of the Gemmological Association, will be in attendance as will Marc Burridge, specialist on watches. No appointment is necessary.

For further details please contact the salerooms on 01934 830111.

Time to sell at Clevedon? Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers

FREE ANTIQUE VALUATION DAYS Tuesday, 6th May Wednesday, 7th May 9.30am–1pm and 2pm–5pm Held at the salerooms – ample free parking no appointment necessary

Tel: 01934 830111 or 0117 325 6789

19th Century Mahogany bracket clock

The Auction Centre, Kenn Road, Kenn, Clevedon, Bristol BS21 6TT

Sold for £6,500

Visit our Marquee at the North Somerset Show


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Various objects – wide interest


THIS pair of early 20th century Chinese carved ivory wrist rests sold for £2,200 at Tamlyns’ spring auction of antiques and decorative items on April 1st. They were in good condition but lacked a display box so had become rather dusty over the years. There had been reasonable pre-sale interest but perhaps in the present climate where the debate over selling ivory continues to rage back and forth, this type of item is not quite as in demand as it was – although the price achieved was what the auctioneers had been hoping for. Generally this was an excellent sale, the room was literally packed – it is really nice when there is a good crowd in the room, it makes for a much more exciting atmosphere and there were plenty of bidders on-line as well which makes the whole event that bit more successful. Some of the noteworthy prices were a Victorian sovereign on gold bracelet £780; a Chinese carved amethyst pendant £320; graduated amber bead necklace £480; pair of silver Corinthian column candlesticks £400; a French brass carriage clock by Le Roy £550; a Royal Worcester Percheron stallion £390; Pilkington’s Royal Lancastrian bowl £420; a miniature Chamberlains’ Worcester basket £350; Dresden girandole mirror £450; a large oil painting after Murillo of the Madonna and Child £500; a large Zebra skin £450 and an 18th century oak side table £400.

If you would like information on entering items into one of Tamlyns’ auctions, contact them on 01278 445251.


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Wood turners celebrate 25 years


AVON and Bristol Woodturners are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year – watch out for them at the North Somerset Show. Internationally renowned turner Mark Sanger was the demonstrator at their recent meeting. The group’s chairman, John Ruffle, said: “It is always good for our members to see how the professionals do things and Mark is one of the best.” The club has a series of anniversary events and meetings planned and hopes to attract both visitors and new members during the year. Details:



ek we ng ne nci 14 r o e 20 Fo omm 2th c y1 a M


The art of weaving

At Oriental Rugs of Bath we have a beautiful selection of rugs, furnishings, clothing, bags and accessories.We have a large showroom with free onsite parking Please contact us on: 01761 451 764 or visit: Bookbarn International, Wells Road, Hallatrow, Bristol BS39 6EX



May Event: May 12th-18th

A sale of oversized Persian, Afghan,Turkish and other oriental rugs.

Watch this space for next month’s Event!

Open 7 days a week Mon-Sat 10am-5.30pm Sun 11am-5pm PAGE 34 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

THE Somerset Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers will be holding their annual Fleece Fair at Hatch Beauchamp Village Hall on Saturday June 21st. Visitors will be able to purchase a wide variety of newlyshorn sheep and alpaca fleeces. In the past there has been fleece on sale from Shetland, Jacobs, Polwarth and Exmoor Horn. Ready-prepared fleece suitable for spinning and felt making will also be available as will some equipment for weaving and spinning. On the Sunday, the guild will hold its annual open day and visitors will be able to see and experience some of the skills used by Guild members to turn fleece into yarn and yarn into fabric. Refreshments will be available on both days. Details: or 01823 461640.

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Emma’s award

EMMA Rogers, of Beauty by Emma, in Wedmore, has been voted the Cheddar Valley Young Businessperson of the Year by the Rotary Club of Mendip. Emma had a two-year apprenticeship at Weston College and built her business up initially by mobile visits and later by opening up premises in King Alfred Mews, Church Street, Wedmore. Emma impressed the Club by having “self-funded her business, and having a clear strategy for future expansion”. She recently won a Worlds Skills Beauty Therapy gold medal.

Pet alert

AXE Valley Vets are advising dog owners to update their vaccine cover after a dog nearly died from leptospirosis disease. Jack, an eight-year-old black Labrador (pictured right, front), was taken to their Wells branch after his owner, Rebecca Green, noticed that he was drinking a lot of water and was also lethargic. After treatment he is on the road to full recovery.

Fond farewell to Sally


PUPILS and staff at Upton Noble Church of England Primary School, near Frome, have said farewell to lunchtime supervisor Sally Payne, who retired at Easter after 25 years of dedicated service. Headteacher Mark Solomon said: “Sally has been an amazing ambassador for our school and her calm and positive manner will be missed massively. “In her time in the kitchen and on the playground Sally has helped over 700 children, with many ex-pupils keeping in contact with her to this day. “We wish her all the best in her retirement and we are sure that Mrs Payne has so many sheep to show, dogs to walk and bright things ahead of her.”

Villagers come out to celebrate new-look shop RESIDENTS of Gurney Slade and surrounding villages turned out in force for the official opening of their newlook convenience store and post office. Sub-postmistress Karen Weller organised a fundraising community day to celebrate the refurbishment and shop extension. Karen and husband Paul have been running the business for almost nine years with the help of a loyal team

including Sheila Morris, who has worked in the shop for 30 years. Karen said: “Customers can’t believe that it is the same shop. It is bigger, brighter, more modern and airy.” She added: “I’d also like to thank the local community for their continued support and use of the branch.” The day of celebrations raised money for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

A large crowd of villagers look on as Wells MP Tessa Munt prepares to cut the ribbon to open the new-look shop

It’s a snip: Tessa cuts the ribbon watched by Karen Weller (left) and Sheila Morris MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 35

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Hazlegrove investing for the future THERE was great excitement recently amongst the pupils at Hazlegrove as they watched a giant extendable crane lower the roof panels into place on the new Teaching and Learning Centre. Increased pupil numbers and the school’s determination to make sure academic endeavour lies at the heart of the school led to this exciting and innovative project. Pupils worked with the young architects from Feilden Fowles, explaining what they thought the building should be like. Staff were determined to create a future-proofed building, one that reflected contemporary educational thinking. Natural light, open spaces and glass dominate the design, facilitating independent learning and individual study. English, History and Geography, as well as Learning Support will be based in the building which will become the academic hub of the school. Headmaster, Richard Fenwick, said: “It’s a risk to have so much


glass, but we wanted to maximise lines of sight so that groups of pupils or individuals could pursue their own avenues of work whilst still being monitored and supported by teaching staff.” Classrooms will be equipped with large interactive touch screens and a robust wireless network will support the school’s iPad programme. Hazlegrove has not stood still over the last few years. Whilst many organisations have focused on survival during the economic downturn, this school has been planning for the future, investing rather than cutting back, building rather than consolidating. They have a clear vision and it is becoming reality.

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All Hallows celebrates its 75th anniversary HIGHLY regarded as one of the best prep schools in the country, All Hallows is on a continual path of innovation and improvement and has a number of new and exciting initiatives to celebrate its 75th anniversary this year. Celebrations began last autumn with an anniversary ball, mass and the launch of The Cherry Jumpers, an entertaining, informative and instructive book on the history of the school in its context of time, place and ethos. New initiatives for families include the launch of Day Plus Boarding, a pioneering, child-centred concept for modern family life which gives local parents an affordable and flexible number of boarding nights a year to give life the ‘breathing space’ required and to give children a wealth of opportunities and experiences. Based on demand from parents and the local community, All Hallows also launched a new nursery class, in the heart of the school, in January 2014 and now takes children from aged three. A number of scholarships and bursary awards have been released to mark the anniversary year including Early Years Awards and new Tennis Boarding Scholarships. Proud of an excellent reputation for the creative arts, All Hallows School is also undertaking an exciting Artist in Residence project with Ian Marlow to mark the anniversary, which will culminate in Marlow creating a sculpture with the children, inspired by the theme Dancing Cranes – cranes have long been associated with All Hallows.


Finally, a number of exciting enhancements to the school grounds and the curriculum are underway including the LTA Tennis Academy, a new cricket pavilion and a new and exciting creative centre to boost the already strong creative arts offering. Headmaster, Ian Murphy, said: “The world our children live in is constantly changing; we need to keep pace if we are to prepare our children effectively for their lives ahead. We are on a journey of continual self evaluation and improvement aimed at being the very best we can be and providing children with the very best educational experiences and opportunities. I am excited and energised by all that is taking place.”


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Farming for the families FAMILIES flocked to Scaddens Farm at Rodney Stoke, near Cheddar, for an open weekend to meet new-born lambs, enjoy the countryside and raise funds for people affected by the Somerset floods. Pic 1: Diana and David Ginger welcome visitors to their farm as Rebecca Mann and Aladdin prepare to take Hartley and Darcy for a tour Pic 2: Claire Gibson (left) helps student veterinary surgeon Imogen Purvis Pic 3: Blackboards tell the story of the 2014 lambing season for the farm’s 250 ewes Pic 4: Vintage tractors provided extra entertainment Pic 5: The stones of the ancient milking parlour provide a perfect haven for lambing


5 4



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Glastonbury Medieval Fayre GLASTONBURY Abbey provided a dramatic backdrop to the town’s fourth medieval fayre. The event – the second to be held at the abbey – attracted living history enthusiasts from across Britain for jousting and archery tournaments, battle re-enactments and falconry displays.

Cannon fire heralded the start of the two-day event Archers practice before the main arena demonstrations

Sophie and daughter Sapphire, from Plymouth

Battle Heritage ( specialise in hand-to-hand combat

Members of the St. Cenydd Guard, from Wales


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Minsky’s have so much style

50s Style: Clive (seated) with some of the team at Minsky’s in Street

WITH Louis Jordan playing in the background, photos and artwork of New York from the 1950s on the walls and Chesterfield sofas to sink into, a visit to Minksy’s Barber Shop is like stepping back in time. There is something very “cool” in the jazz music sense about the atmosphere created by owner Clive Mullins and his teams in Street and Shepton Mallet, probably because Clive is a jazz musician himself, singing and drumming with Minksy’s Jazz, a four-piece Latin jazz swing band. Minksy’s has just celebrated 20 years in Street – the current shop in the High Street is Clive’s third location in the village – whilst he and partner Vicki Wyatt opened the shop in Shepton Mallet’s High Street three-and-a-half years ago. Plans are afoot for a third barbershop and also a Minsky Ladies’ salon. Originally from Glastonbury, Clive learned his barbering skills at Strode College in Street and spent several years in Bristol before opening the first Minsky’s shop. The name came about because that was the nickname given to him by his late mother. Clive said: “I have always been a fan of the 1950s New York style and feel and the two seemed to go together.” Minsky’s offer traditional barbershop services such as wet shaves (by prior arrangement) – they also offer a groom and his best man a special Good Morning Groom service to prepare them for the big day ahead: a haircut, wet shave and glass of buck’s fizz!

4 High Street Shepton Mallet 01749 342232

68 High Street Street 01458 446889

Clive and Vicki would like to thank all of their customers over the last 20 years. PAGE 40 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

20 years young: Clive (second left) with Jeremy Horsfield, Joseph Adam, Aaron Lamb and Tiernan Chitty (kneeling) outside Minsky’s in Street

Vicki (centre) with Gemma Mason (left) and Kalie Giles-Wilson outside the Shepton Mallet shop

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Sixty years of service

Photo by Ignyte Limited Radstock

TINCKNELL Fuels began their diamond anniversary celebrations with a Spring Farmers Evening at Wells Golf Club. Company director Rob Ormond welcomed guests to the event, which was sponsored jointly by NFU Mutual. Rob gave a brief history of the company before a series of informal talks by Alex Stevens, NFU county advisor for Somerset, Paul Cottington, the environment adviser for the NFU in the south west and Pc Rowan Hawkins, who spoke about the increasing success of the Farmwatch scheme. Members of the Tincknell family and guest speakers at the start of the evening Farmers and their families from across Mendip gathered for the event

Moving with the times: a new and old fuel lorry welcomed guests to the evening

Rob Browning, Molly Bishop and Zena Bishop, from Coleford, joined in the celebrations


NO MOLE NO FEE Telephone 01275 332966


Duvets & Bedspreads washed & dried Sheets and Duvet covers washed and pressed Professional efficient service Collection & delivery service in the Chew Valley

Tel 01761 451787 MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 41

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Red berry expands


RED Berry Recruitment has opened its third office, in Bridgwater, adding to those it already has in Shepton Mallet and Yeovil. The office at 16, Angel Crescent was awash with red balloons, music and entertainment, including a spectacular show from the Bridgwater Academy. Sedgemoor District Council chairman, Cllr. Peter Downing, opened the office and local MP Ian Liddell-Granger popped along to show his support. Helen Lacey, MD of Red Berry, said the day was a great success, with over 80 people calling in.

New venue – big impact

Rich in natural beauty, Aldwick Court Farm & Vineyard is the perfect Wedding Venue – Come and meet the team and discuss what we can offer at our Wedding Fayre on Sunday 11th May from 11am – 3pm Still and Sparkling wine for sale online or from the Cellar door Cellar Door sales Mon – Thurs 10am–4pm • Friday 10am–12noon Call now for more information on 01934 864404 Email •

ALDWICK Court Farm and Vineyard might be a newcomer to the West Country wedding scene, but it has already made a big impact. Nestled within 300 acres of glorious Somerset countryside, the new venue was launched in April last year and its reputation has been growing ever since. The ‘New Barn’ and also the 17th Century ‘Old Barn’, offer flexibility for a diverse range of clients from both private and corporate sectors. Aldwick’s two vineyards, planted in 2008 and 2010 with some 11,000 vines, are now yielding very enjoyable wines. These are a feature of the Wedding Fayre at Aldwick Court Farm on Sunday May 11th; a perfect opportunity for prospective brides and grooms to meet local suppliers and the Aldwick team.

THIS MAY BE THE MONTH! Caroline Crowther is a truly local personal introduction agency helping you meet someone new in your area. We offer a long term personal service until you find your perfect match.

For a professional and personal service call 0800 056 3179 or 01934 744788

CG Accounting Informal, free and relaxed business Networking Events, held 6pm weekly at different local venues Come along and chat to other local businesses, share knowledge and have a bite to eat/drink. Next event: Tuesday 6th May, 6pm8pm @ Somer Valley Enterprise Park. Short talk by George Persson of TH-Law, Midsomer Norton. Find us on facebook: PAGE 42 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

Offers Professional Services including… • Bookkeeping • Management and Year End Accounts • Budgets and Forecasts • Payroll and VAT • Company Secretarial Services Telephone: 01749 677929 Mobile: 07989 364521 E-mail:

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Inspiration and comfort By Mark Adler

A CHARITY worker who came to the rescue of residents stricken by the Somerset floods has been telling schoolchildren on Mendip about his aid missions around the world. Ravi Singh was invited to meet youngsters at Priddy and Westbury-sub-Mendip by headteacher Rosie Thorner, whose own home at Stathe, near Burrowbridge, was threatened by the rising water levels. Rhavi works with a charity called Khalsa Aid, based in Slough, and was recently in Lebanon, helping refugees from the conflict in Syria. Rhavi saw the floods crisis unfold on television and he and fellow aid workers offered their help. Ravi and Rosie surrounded by pupils at Priddy primary school

Ravi and Rosie

(Photo courtesy of Alan Thorner)

After explaining his faith – and his turban – to the pupils, he said: “Underneath we are all the same. In a time of crisis people need someone to tell them ‘you are not alone’.” Having hauled thousands of sandbags to protect properties and helping members of the flood action group FLAG, the charity has also been involved in the clean-up. Rosie said: “Ravi is not just an inspirational person but, when it was quite dire around Valentine’s Day and it was a scene of desolation, Ravi was also a beacon of hope.”

Ravi and the team at work

For information about the charity, visit:

Easter fun in Weston

ST. PAUL’S Church Hall in Weston-super-Mare was packed with over 90 partygoers for Weston Rotary Club’s annual Easter party for the elderly and disabled. Everybody tucked into home-made sandwiches and delicious cakes and the Queen was properly toasted with a glass of sherry! The party started with a welcome from Weston Rotary President Stewart Evans and after a few words by the mayor, Cllr Keith Morris, and mayoress, Jocelyn Holder, the entertainment began. All the transport to and from the party was provided by Weston and District Community Transport and West Woodspring Inner Wheel worked tirelessly all afternoon making sure everybody was well fed.

Details: and or telephone secretary Peter Castell 07904 925048. MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 43

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Furnishing help

RE:MADE, a social enterprise that provides training for adults with learning disabilities, has launched their ‘re:made for Weston Hospicecare’ furniture line, now on sale at the hospice’s shop in Waterloo Street, Weston. Profits are fed back into both organisations. The recycled furniture is the latest in a line of exciting projects that Weston Hospicecare has announced in this, their 25th year. This month they will open a new shop floor in partnership with Weston College.

Rotarians feel the pressure

Charity walks

NAILSEA Charity Walks are due to take place on Sunday June 22nd, organised by Nailsea and Backwell Rotary Club. There are three routes for walkers of every age and ability – 5km, 10km or 20km. There is a registration fee of £5 which will go to local charities. Details: or contact Graham Hunt 07970771845 Email

Computer cash

ALMOST £1,000 has been raised for charities and good causes through a local computer recycling scheme based in Wookey. Donate IT offers members of the public a secure method to recycle their unwanted PCs and laptops, while raising money for good causes. The latest recipients were Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Wells City Football Club and Croscombe Primary School. Richard Connock, who is responsible for Donate IT, said: “I am thrilled that over the last few months we have been able to help raise nearly £1,000 for some fantastic local and national charities, clubs and organisations. “Over the next year I hope this figure will continue to rise as we encourage as many people as possible to recycle their unwanted computers.” Anyone can help raise money for their favourite charities and good causes by donating their unwanted personal computers and laptops via a growing network of authorised drop-off points across the West Country. The scheme donates £10 for laptops and £5 for computers donated by members of the public. Details:

Sunder is pictured about to take Carol Slade’s blood pressure, watched by fellow rotarians Bob Taylor and Mike Cosh and club president Wendy Simmons

FREE blood pressure checks and other health advice were on offer from members of the Rotary Club of Somer Valley at the April farmers’ market in Midsomer Norton. Pharmacist Sunder Ganapathy, a member of the club, was joined by other rotarians to offer the service. PAGE 44 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

NCT in Axbridge

NCT North Somerset Branch have launched a new open house in Cross near Axbridge. It involves a local volunteer parent opening up their home to other parents and their little ones. Parents can expect to find a warm welcome from the host, a cuppa and a chat, with the added opportunity to meet other parents from their area and make new friends. The first meeting was in April and they now run every Tuesday from 10am-12pm. Details:

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Looking to the future

THE Carers’ Centre Bath and North East Somerset, based in Radstock, held a Have Your Say Day at which 65 carers, volunteers, trustees and staff got together to plan the centre’s development over the next three years – and help make life better for the area’s 20,000 carers.

Radstock Lions

THE Lions of Radstock and Midsomer Norton presented a cheque for £2,000 to Great Western Air Ambulance at their 38th charter anniversary dinner held at Cameley Lodge. Lion president, Trevor Hipwood, is pictured presenting the cheque to Tianna Cowan and Penny Lawrence of GWAA.

New food bank

CHEDDAR Valley Plus food bank are opening their first new satellite distribution centre in Axbridge at the Methodist Church in West Street. It’s planned to open initially on Wednesday afternoons weekly for the distribution of food to those in crisis with a valid food voucher. In readiness for this opening they are urgently looking for Axbridge volunteers to support this facility. All necessary induction training will be given. Details: Call the main distribution centre in Cheddar on 01934 742500 (24hr answerphone) or email leaving contact details.


If you are a carer looking after someone who is ill, frail or disabled you can access FREE support, information and breaks from caring. Please contact the Carers’ Centre Freephone: 0800 0388 885 or visit

Helping older people

TONY Watts, from Cheddar, who chairs the South West Forum on Ageing, has been named a national Heat Hero by the fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action, for his contribution to tackling fuel poverty among older people. Tony has set up Senior Buying Power – a website and national helpline to help combat oil fuel poverty, in order to harness the buying power of seniors nationally and negotiate the very best rates for their energy. Tony said: “We face a crisis of fuel poverty in this country, which plays a key role in the appalling excess winter deaths we see every year. More affordable energy is one step towards that, and another is encouraging every older person to take advantage of the free insulation available through organisations like ScottishPower and the NEA.” Pictured are Tessa Munt, Tony Watts and Neil Clitheroe, CEO, Scottish Power, which sponsored the awards. MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 45

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Wedmore remembers

WEDMORE is planning another memorable musical evening to raise funds for the village church. The Friends of St. Mary’s plan to hold N.AN.T.W.I.C.H (Now ANother That’s What I Call Hymns) on Saturday June 7th, following last year’s memorable event. The theme will be “Hymns of War and Peace” to link into Wedmore’s Great War project. The Bridgwater Salvation Army band will be there as will Moor Harmony who will sing Issy Emeney’s “The Last Tommy”. There will be poems and readings to make the event uplifting – it will not be a gloomy evening.

Details: David Hopkins. 01934 710149


Hands on Music Centres Ltd Piano and singing lessons by music and education qualified teachers Contact: Dr Douglas Simper 01761 568166 (m) 07876 384297 Email: Hands on Music Centre, Baptist Church, Commercial Road, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BU.



The choir and congregation of this thriving United Chew Valley parish are looking for an organist and choirmaster with vision and enthusiasm to continue and develop our strong musical tradition Sunday morning choral Eucharist (or All Age Service once a month) and monthly evensong. All Age Service optional, August off duty.

To find out more, contact Dr Andrew Day on 01761 221500

Music for spring time

LET the Music Spring Forth was the apt name for a gem of a concert that was held in Shepton Mallet recently. Organised by Douglas Simper and Lorna Zhulan of Hands On Music, this is the first of four concerts to be held this year in the beautiful setting of the Baptist Chapel in Commercial Road. The concert began with the Rosie Harrison youngest pupils revealing their keyboard skills with Emma Jones, Emil Thomas, Benedetta Jones and Skye Chamberlain all playing pieces chosen from Hands On Music Foundation stage 3 while Bo Jackson also sang whilst playing Minor Miracles. Regular performer Annette Thomas, who is now studying the more advanced HoM Performance stage, teamed up with Douglas Simper for an amusing duet, Breakfast Song. A singing student of Lorna Zhulan, Rosie Harrison (pictured), showed great confidence when combining her vocal, piano and guitar skills with three songs Wake Me Up, Bourree in D Minor and Up Where We Belong. Lorna congratulated Frank Holland on his rendition of Moon River saying “your voice has a lovely mellow tone”. Four members of the Folland family are regular performers at these concerts and Thomas provided “an exquisite finish to the first half” with the haunting Limbo by Ludovico Einaudi. After the interval, some of the older students took to the stage including singers who are taking singing lessons with Lorna Zhulan. First time performers were Maddeline Gibbs who played Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord, Jacob Burgess with Jack’s Jive and Gabriel Ralls who stunned the audience with his powerful singing to Breathe by Marie Barnett. Songs from the musicals were represented with Summertime from Porgy and Bess sung by Peter Matthews, a “lovely interpretation” of One Hand, One Heart from West Side Story sung by Ellen Norris and I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady delightfully sung by Pandora Collins. The HandsOnMusic system actively encourages its students to create their own compositions and young pianist, Alexis Dennis, was congratulated by Lorna for her “mature composition” Words Live On which she also sang. The exquisite voice of Mae Steedman impressed the audience with a wonderful rendition of Ave Maria and “so moving, a superb finish to our concert” was how Lorna described Oliver Strik who played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Music fans from the Shepton Mallet area should make a date in their diary for the next concert which takes place at 7.30pm on Saturday, July 5th. Elaine Green

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Festival to help flood charities

Concert supports cancer centre

A TWO-DAY music festival near Highbridge will benefit two charities which helped victims of the winter floods in Somerset. A total of 24 bands, ranging from The Mangledwurzels and The Somerset Paddies to The Stanleys and Firekind, will perform at the Summerset Live event on Saturday, May 24th and Sunday, May 25th. Proceeds from the event at Oaktree Park will go to the Somerset Community Foundation and the Burnham Area Rescue Boat service. Jordan Jones, one of the organisers, said: “Both of these charities are well established and do a lot of brilliant work in our local communities but I think it is fair to say that both of these charities have gone above and beyond their call of duty assisting those affected by the terrible floods we have experienced here in Somerset this winter. “In very different ways both have tried to make the lives of those affected a little bit easier and are continuing to do so to this day and we are very pleased to have them on board as our selected charities.” Jordan added: “We have a huge selection of bands from all across the South West and something to please everybody. We have some brilliant little acoustic acts and everything from Ska to rock and indie to pop.” For details, visit:

Choir sings for new leader

THE United Parish of East Harptree with West Harptree and Hinton Blewett has composed a special piece in the hope of attracting a new organist and choir master. When David Nash retired in 2013, after ten years in charge, he left a thriving choir with 25 years’ continuous history. Since then his place has been filled by volunteer organists and choir leaders, notably Dr Andrew Day and Paul Burnett. Far from declining, the choir has increased its numbers and ambitions. At Christmas there was a special concert of carols and readings in addition to the traditional carol service. Another recent highlight was an invitation to sing choral evensong in Wells Cathedral which earned the choir the opportunity to perform there again in September. But the choir feels it can no longer rely on a rota of hard-pressed volunteers and to the tune of ‘The Church’s One Foundation’, it’s making

THE CATS Whiskers, a small choir based in Chew Magna, has raised £1,400 for the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre (BHOC) with a concert in the village. The choir is conducted by Carole Moule, a leading musical figure in Chew Magna for the past 28 years, who has received much support from the Friends of the BHOC during her recent treatment at the centre. She said: “So many of our choir members have been affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly, and we wanted to say ‘thank you’ for the marvellous work the centre does.” The choir is made up of around 25 members and has been going for three years. Some of its members are pictured at a previous concert on board the SS Great Britain in Bristol.

its own appeal, in four-part harmony, of course: East Harptree and West Harptree And Hinton Blewett too Form one United Parish Close by the River Chew We have three fine church organs A splendid four-part choir And yet we lack an organist Our music to inspire. So Hail, to all you organists

From Bristol down to Wells Come play upon our organs Diapasons, reeds and swells. Come lead us in our singing Enjoy our voix celeste, We’ll welcome you most gladly And give our very best. Thus the parish is seeking to appoint a new organist and choirmaster who will accompany the Sunday services and rehearse this enthusiastic choir once a week. The challenge is on. MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 47

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Musicians aid flood victims

A SERIES of “Wind and Wave” organ recitals are being organised by Somerset Organists’ and Choirmasters’ Association, in aid of Somerset Community Foundation’s Flood Relief Fund. They have 12 recitals lined up so far, with a further six in the pipeline including one at Wells Cathedral. The whole series kicked off on Easter Monday at St Mary’s, Bridgwater with a joint recital by John Bodiley and Andrew Hinkley.

Singers triumph


Details: or

THE Jenny Peplow Singers entered the Mid Somerset Festival for the first time and came away with two awards. One was the BODS Trophy for winning their morning class and the other a major award The Thomas Hope Award of £150 for the most promising group/choir of the festival. Jenny, from Coleford, said: “I didn’t expect to win and I’m overjoyed and so proud of my choir. They worked so hard to get everything right. The adjudicator was Dr Viviane Pike (singing teacher to the stars) and an international judge highly sought after worldwide for her adjudications. “Her remarks to me were very encouraging and it’s made us all more ambitious. Our pianist was Jackie Bevan who really helped us along the way.” The singers have a lot more concerts coming up this year. The next one is at Prior Park Chapel on May 16th, 7.30. Details: Jenny 01373 812093

More oomphah!

CHEDDAR Vale Lions Club presented a euphonium to Anne Higgs and Cheddar Valley Music Club Brass Band at their spring concert. The presentation was made from the proceeds of the Tree of Light donations raised last December. PAGE 48 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

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ON one of my regular visits to Tynings Trekking Centre near Rowberrow I was delighted to observe a very healthy colony By CHRIS of a bird which was SPERRING once common, but MBE which has declined so rapidly and so severely that it is now on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern. The chirping song of the house sparrow was once a familiar sound in parks and gardens and in fact this bird was often considered a pest. As its name suggests it became hugely dependent on human habitations in which to build its nests, but modern buildings with plastic fascias and impenetrable roofs now prevent sparrows from entering and their population has nose-dived. From head to tail the house sparrow Male sparrow

Diary dates

Female sparrow

measures around 16-18cm and first impressions are of a rather drab, stockylooking bird. On closer inspection, though, the male in breeding condition is really stunning; with a grey cap and cheeks, a rich chestnut band running from the eye down the neck, and black eye patches and bib which thickens towards the chest. The underside is a light grey and the upperparts are streaked with black and various shades of brown and grey, with a small white dash on each wing. In the breeding season the male’s bill is black, whereas at other times it’s a dull grey. The female’s plumage is much duller and lighter and she is smaller by comparison. One look at a house sparrow’s thick bill reveals that this is a seed-feeding bird, although they do become reliant on insects for rearing their offspring. House sparrows are well distributed around the planet; some occurring naturally and others having being introduced to some countries. It’s thought that the origins of our native house sparrow were in Asia and that they moved west with the spread of early

I WILL be leading a Dawn Chorus Walk on Saturday, May 3rd at Folly Farm, Bishop Sutton. For info and booking via the Avon Wildlife Trust, tel:01275 331590. I will also be running a Bird of Prey Day at Shapwick on Sunday, May 11th (contact me for more info and booking) and on the Saturday, May 24th and Sunday, May 25th I will be leading some of the walks at the Avalon 24 wildlife event – a great range of wildlife activities for all ages. On Saturday, May 31st I will be talking at Wells Library (11am-12pm) and Frome

Photography by Chris Sperring

The chirpy chappies!

farming. Clearly the strong human-sparrow relationship goes back many centuries and it is one which is still strong at the Tynings Trekking Centre, as here the sparrows have all elements they need; they have food, plenty of secure nesting sites in the farm buildings and enough foliage to support the insect prey that is so vital for their young. House sparrows nest in loose colonies and feed and roost together as well. Breeding can begin as early as February and can continue up until September, with four-six eggs typically being laid in each clutch. This species will take readily to boxes, preferring a special box known as the sparrow terrace which supports their need to nest side-by-side with other pairs. Now, people will be wondering what all the fuss is about with sparrows but, unlike some of the rural areas, many towns and cities have seen huge decreases in this species. Indeed, they are long gone from where I live, so to see them thriving in this part of Mendip for me is a real treat.

Library (2pm-3pm) – come and meet Bellatrix the barn owl! G Don’t forget to follow our live barn owl webcam at Boris and Brenda, as they have been named by watchers, are expecting a brood of seven chicks (if all eggs hatch) and we will be able to follow their progress via this fascinating webcam. I would also love to hear from anyone who sees a wild barn owl anywhere in Somerset after these last two disastrous breeding seasons.

Chris Sperring is Conservation Officer for the Hawk and Owl Trust Contact him on 07799 413 918 or via MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 49

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A wonderful woodland wander TWO bluebell woods, open undulating countryside with good views, the River Chew, the riverside hamlet of Woollard and a great pub at Compton Dando are the highlights of this easy, varied ramble near Pensford. Following the Two Rivers Walk for some of the way, it circles round from Compton Dando and has kissing gates and no stiles except for one very high ladder stile. This did have a temporary route through for a dog, so the whole walk should be ideal for man and dog. And if you can’t face the stile, there is an alternative quiet lane route to bypass it, though not nearly as pleasant. Although there are hills, none are too strenuous. Walking is on tracks and good footpaths. En-route are several ideal picnic spots and at the end you can enjoy a glass or food at the Compton Inn.

START: In Compton Dando in the Chew Valley, about three miles south of Keynsham and two miles east of Pensford. Park in the village centre near the Compton Inn, or if you plan to eat there afterwards the landlord may allow you to park there, so ask. From the Compton, cross the road and take Church Lane opposite. Go through the gate by the old lychgate, joining the Two Rivers Walk. Go down the right side of the church and out down steps. Head across to the old mill, mentioned in the Domesday Survey and take the footpath at

With Sue Gearing PAGE 50 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

the side which brings you to the picturesque old mill pond, complete with ducks. Turn left along the pond edge and go on through a gate and along the grassy path which soon brings you close to the River Chew.

1. RIVER CHEW Cross the footbridge and take the footpath which goes ahead slightly left across the field to a gate into woodland.

2. WOOD Enter the wood, at its best in spring with wild garlic, wood anemones and many bluebells. The main path ahead is the one you want which climbs steeply up to a gate at the top of the wood. In the field, bear across right, heading to the right of a house. Cross onto a track and turn right. It may be a little wet here under the trees. Reach a Tarmac lane.

3. LADDER STILE Cross and take the high ladder stile to follow a permissive footpath climbing up through a mixed wood plantation. There are great views at the top. Turn right on the wide grass swathe for a few yards and then left crossing over to another woodland path, smaller than the one you have just left. This drops down, crosses a grassy ride, and on through Wooscombe Wood. Alternative: If you want to avoid the ladder stile, stay on the lane. Turn left at a junction and follow the high bank lane uphill and stay round to the left.Take the first footpath on the left which takes you onto a track, and a little way along here reach the point where the other path comes in. Keep on along the track and follow directions from ‘keeping the woodland on your left...’

4. TRACK On the far side of the wood, reach a Tjunction with a track and turn left keeping the woodland on your left. Don’t bend left on the track; instead, continue across to another stretch of woodland and follow the path through. On the left is a small stream which is making its way down to the River Chew. A kissing gate and footbridge take you out of the wood. Maintain direction and shortly come into a field. With good views across to the south over Somerset, go straight on down, through a gate and on, as before. Go through a kissing gate in the bottom right corner and on to a crossing track. Turn right. This leads down and bends right into the hamlet of Woollard.

5. WOOLLARD At the junction with the village road, go left and very shortly, before you reach the Chew bridge, go down Mill Lane opposite, marked as a public footpath, taking you alongside the river. Pass a converted chapel right and pretty riverside homes. At the end, take the footpath to the right of a cottage, leading into a field and continue on. The whole of this next stretch of the walk is following the line of the Chew, even if not right at the side all the time. Go through to another field closer to the river and on. There has been land slippage here so you may wish to stay up the top of the field. Go on (passing a kissing gate and small footbridge which was on the former path) and then go down into another field and follow the river on. 6. FOOTBRIDGE After several minutes arrive at a large footbridge over the Chew before you reach a farm. Cross this and then bear ahead and

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slightly right to a stile on your right by the river. Don’t cross this, but stay in the field alongside the track and go uphill. Stay in the field, go across a footbridge and on climbing.

7. POND Go through another gate and reach a pond, a good picnic spot. Ignore the gate left. Stay on the right of the fence and continue on up through a wooden kissing gate into a field. Follow the left edge of the field, climbing steadily. At the end come onto a drive/track – Birchwood Lane. 8. BIRCHWOOD LANE Follow it right.

9. LORDS WOOD After a few minutes, turn left into Lords Wood, rejoining the Three Rivers Walk. This is another beautiful bluebell woodland. Go straight over a crossing track and on down into a valley with a pond and along the edge. Drop left down steps to a crossing of tracks. Head straight over and climb uphill. At the end of the wood, a gate leads into a field. Walk ahead along the top of the field.

10. LANE It brings you to a lane. Turn right for about a minute. Look out for the three fossils

OS Explorer 155 Bristol & Bath, grid ref: 646 645. 4.7 miles, about 2.5 hours walking time.

embedded into the newly built stone wall on the right. Opposite this house, go left following the footpath up into a field. Then it’s left along the edge. Go left through a gate and bear diagonally right through a plantation. 11. PLANTATION After another gate, continue on in the same direction across a field. There are two paths now to choose from – take the left one which should go ahead slightly left across the field towards the right of three trees on the far side, where there is a footpath marker and gate. If there are crops and the path is not clear, you may have to skirt left round the main crop, which was kale when I came, and rough

land on the left. Come through the gate onto a lane. Now go left along here for a few minutes on the flat across this open high land. Continue to the second crossing footpath and turn right into a field. 12. FOOTPATH Take the left footpath which drops down across the field. Head for the far power post of a line of three. It has a yellow tab and behind it is the kissing gate you go through. A small path drops down through woodland – more bluebells! – and over a small footbridge. On the left the grassy bank of the garden was studded with primroses in early April. In the field go up the garden fence and at the corner, maintain direction climbing up to a fence above.

13. FENCE Go ahead keeping the fence on your left along to a kissing gate. Go through and then back along the other side of the fence and follow this boundary all the way along and down to the bottom corner in the direction of Compton Dando church. Go through the gate in the corner and down the track and out over a footbridge onto the lane in the village with the Compton Inn on the right. Compton Inn, open daily, tel: 01761 490321 Email:


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West Countryman’s Diary

THE middle of April and oh what a difference! There can be no better season than spring, with the promise of good weather, and the gift of lighter evenings to chase away the memories of winter with its dark evenings and dire weather. The Somerset Levels seem to be With LES recovering (slowly) from what must be DAVIES MBE amongst the worst conditions in living memory. Gradually nature will come back and do a pretty good repair job, but sometimes help is needed. I think that help has now been mobilised and hope that the lessons that have come out of this disaster will not be forgotten with the passage of time. The drainage works have already begun and a new era will begin in the story of the Somerset lowland. Things go wrong, that is a fact of life, but it’s the reaction to those things that go wrong which is important. I think it’s now time to move on. I have been so caught up in all the wet and dreariness of winter that I feel that I have almost missed the beginning of spring. Suddenly everything seems to be falling out of the hedgerows and the plants are bursting from the ground. As it approaches, the month of May epitomises the onset of spring. I was born in May, as were many other members of my family, and it’s only in my later years that I can appreciate just how fortunate I was to enter the world at this time of year. I mentioned Robert Browning’s poem about April last month and from it comes another line: “And after April, when May follows and the white-throat build and all the swallows.” It’s time for nest building, with everyone in the bird world focused on one thing and one thing only, the next generation. I watched the birds taking cat fur from a garden the other day. First of all the sparrows spotted it as it tumbled across the lawn, where it had been discarded after the animals had been groomed. They were quick to recognise the opportunity and hopped after it. Next came a blue tit, who eyed the furry bundle with a little suspicion at first, uncertain as to whether this was some kind of creature that it had not seen before. Finally convinced that it was safe, he also fell upon his prize and struggled into the air with it like a Boeing 747 jumbo jet trying to gain altitude. For those birds it was a lucky find that meant they had secured building materials, and put their project way ahead of schedule, a real ‘e-bay’ bargain! Surely, for them, the rest of the day could be spent in a deck chair relaxing. It’s time to get out and about and see what’s happening on ‘the hill’. It is surprising what can be seen if you take the time to look. We are always so busy rushing about from place to place that we miss what’s going on around us. The snakes will have come out of hibernation and may be seen soaking up the sun in some secluded spot. Take extra care with the dog at this time of year, as this is when many get bitten through their curiosity, nosing about beneath the bushes only to find a very slow and grumpy adder, whose only defence will be to strike out. Take care of yourself as well; look before you sit down and

Orchard in blossom

don’t go clambering over the dry stone walls. It’s all very simple stuff to those of you who are regulars on the hill, but like keeping the dog on the lead when around livestock, something that sometimes gets forgotten by those less used to the countryside. How is your plant identification? Time to brush up on it and be a fountain of knowledge to your friends and family. Sorry, but calling it an ‘LYJ’, (Little Yellow Job) isn’t going to improve your botanical standing in the eyes of your expectant followers. Plant identification is like everything else – you need to work at it and use it. There are some very simple guide books on the market that make things a little easier. Avoid the heavy reference books and go for something that will fit in your pocket. I have one that covers the flowers by colour, which makes life a little less complicated when it comes to identification. I always like to know the use of a plant and how our ancestors’ lives were improved by them. Adrian Boots taught me a lot when I was working with him and that ‘fired’ my curiosity to find out more. Still learning! I was looking at the patchwork of green fields across the Yeo Valley from Ubley Drove recently and still feel that this is arguably the best view in the world. There can be few other places where the small patchwork of fields remain such as can be seen on the Butcombe and Nempnett side of the lake. My only reasoning for this is that the ground was generally unsuitable for larger fields and the heavier machinery that made them necessary, so the smaller fields survived. They have not been without their alterations however, you only have to look at the ‘dog-leg’ in a hedgerow to notice that this was once a junction with another, that has long since been removed. It’s at times like this that I KNOW why I don’t need a passport, after all where else is better than this? Everything is looking greener and brighter, but I have to counter my enthusiasm for spring sunshine and meteorological deliverance with the knowledge that there could be some more cold weather yet to come. Old sayings are full of May time warnings about getting too excited too soon: “He who doffs his coat on a winter’s day will gladly put it on in May” is sufficient warning for us all. Those green fields with the alternate light and dark stripes of the chain harrow and the roller really stand out and the dandelions are now starting to invade the green of the pasture. The road verge is full of lady’s smock, a light purple flower indicative of damp conditions; along these the cowslip prospers, with a mass of celandines to finish the show. Soon the orchards will be in blossom; is this not a most a green and pleasant land and how lucky are we to be a part of it?

You can always contact me through my website:


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YEO VALLEY ‘Over the next few months Yeo Valley will be bringing you a wide selection of guest writers from different areas of the family farm. Ranging from news from the garden, the farm team, the Mead family plus many more, we’ll be sharing a little about what’s going on behind the scenes here in the valley. Happy reading!’



THIS month we’d like to introduce you to Yeo Valley’s latest addition to the family; enter Yeolanda. For those who have not yet spotted her, Yeolanda is the campervan currently featured on our promotional packs of yogurt, butter, milk and crème fraiche. She comes from Bristol-based Danbury Motorcaravans, and is one of the last to be made in the classic VW Campervan style. Hand-built and fully kitted out for a weekend escape, we’ve had her customised for hitting the road in style. We’re giving our customers the chance to win one of two of these campervans- and in an effort to spread the love even further, we’re also giving away 100 fabulous family glamping trips, carefully selected by local camping connoisseurs, Sawday’s Canopy & Stars. Up here at YVHQ, the sunny weather and campervan have got us thinking about summer adventures. We’re currently compiling our Top 10 South West Roadtrips (look out for this on our website), in addition to experimenting with some creative campfire cooking. This summer, why not banish the banger and tuck into Fruit Skewers with Butterscotch Sauce? Until Yeolanda finds her new home, she’ll be hanging out with James and the gang in the Yeo Valley Organic Garden- come down and see her when we’re open on Thursdays, Fridays and the first Sunday of the month from the 1st May. And to be in with a chance of winning, just pick up one of our promotional packs. Good luck!

Fruit Skewers with Butterscotch Sauce Serves 4 (8 skewers) Total Time: 30 mins, plus 5 mins prep time Ingredients Butterscotch Sauce 25g Yeo Valley Unsalted Butter 40g muscovado sugar 25g granulated sugar 75g golden syrup 150ml Yeo Valley Double Cream Skewers 1 sweet eating apple 1 ripe pear 10g Yeo Valley Butter melted 1/2 Pineapple (Optional)

1. If you’re using wooden skewers, soak 8 of them in water while you prepare the sauce. 2. Put the butter, both the sugars and the syrup in a heavy-based saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and everything is liquid. Cook on a low heat for a further 5 mins. 3. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cream. Gently stir for a few minutes until the sauce is smooth then set aside to cool. 4. Slice the apples and pears (and pineapple if using) into 1cm wedges then thread onto the skewers and brush with melted butter. Cook on a medium heat on a BBQ or in a frying pan for 6-8 mins on each side until they are golden and the fruit is softened. 5. Serve drizzled with the buttersctotch sauce.

For more recipe ideas, visit


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N e’ er ca s t a clo ut ’ til Ma y be o ut I AM never sure if this means the month of May or the May blossom (hawthorn). Either way it is telling us to be cautious, as we can still be subject to spring frosts which can cause considerable damage, especially this year, since growth is well advanced due to the mild winter. With MARY Be prepared to cover vulnerable plants in PAYNE MBE horticultural fleece if frost is forecast. The new growth on early potatoes is particularly vulnerable. It is during April and May that plants put on an amazing spurt of growth as the day and night temperatures rise. Suddenly the borders are bursting with leaf and flowers. It is a time when there is much to do in a garden to keep the expanding vegetation under control. Shrubs, such as forsythia and flowering currant, have finished flowering and should be pruned now. Cut out a few older stems as near to ground level as possible. This allows more light into the bush, and will encourage good flowering for next year. Clematis montana can rapidly take over your house or fence, so prune it back immediately after flowering. The resulting new growth will then flower next season. Bedding plants need to be hardened off before planting out, so stand the trays outside, and cover with fleece for a few days, to allow the plants to adjust to the change of environment. Immediately after planting scatter some slug pellets around. Slugs and snails are attracted to newly planted plants, probably by the smell of the damaged foliage. The Growing Success Advanced Slug Pellets based on ferric phosphate are totally safe for pets, birds and the environment, and have been approved for organic growers by The Soil Association. The other great advantage of these pellets is that the slugs and snails wander off and do not leave an unsightly array of corpses. Containers and hanging baskets can be planted up and if possible keep them in a greenhouse or sheltered spot for a week or two, before finally positioning them. If you are using terracotta pots try lining the sides with a polythene carrier bag. Cut the bottom off the bag and insert it into the pot so that the drainage hole is kept free. Fill the pot with compost, and plant up as usual, then trim off the surplus plastic. The plastic lining will help prevent the pot losing water through the sides, and thus reduce the watering that will be required. Adding water retaining gel and a slow release fertiliser when planting will also help considerably. Daffodils and narcissus should be dead-headed to prevent energy going into seed production rather than building up a strong bulb for next year. Leave the foliage for at least six weeks after flowering before removing. Clumps that had no flowers this year should be lifted, divided and replanted. A feed of high potash fertiliser will benefit all bulbs at this time of year. Tulips rarely perform well a second year, so can be lifted and lined out to grow on in a vegetable plot to provide cut flowers for future years. Pests are out and about in quantity this month. As the temperatures rise greenfly can breed at a remarkable rate, so look out for them and squash them before more drastic chemical action is required. The black bean aphid will soon be about on autumn sown broad beans, so nip out the growing tips. The bright red lily beetle can be picked off carefully and squashed. PAGE 54 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

If it falls to the ground it is almost impossible to find because its underside is black. Gooseberry sawfly appears to strip foliage almost overnight, so be prepared and spray at the first tell-tale signs of nibbled leaves. Spray roses with a combined fungicide and pesticide to control both black spot and greenfly and repeat later in the season. In most parts of our locality, acid loving plants such as rhododendrons, camellias and pieris have to be grown in containers of ericaceous compost, so feed them with a slow release fertiliser selected for these plants. This helps to keep the composts acidic, especially if you occasionally have to use tap water instead of rainwater. It is important that newly-planted trees are kept well watered and mulched during their early years. Keep a circle one metre in diameter free of grass to prevent competition for five years or so. Check all tree ties to ensure they are not too tight. Tree trunks on young trees expand at an alarming rate as the sap rises in spring and overtight ties can strangle the tree and cause it to snap off. May is a popular month for specialist plant sales often organised by the Hardy Plant Society or Rare Plant Fairs. It is at these events, often located in a pleasant garden, that you will find interesting plants that you will not normally find in garden centres. This country is rich in specialist’s nurseries growing an amazing range of excellent plants. The nursery owners are on hand, with their extensive knowledge, to answer any queries you may have. Many gardens are open for the National Gardens Scheme, raising huge amounts for Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care as well as other charities and visiting them is an excellent way of getting ideas for your own garden. For the gardens open in this area look out for the Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire & Bath booklet available from many garden centres and libraries. I will be opening my own tiny garden for the NGS on three Wednesdays, June 23rd, July 9th and July 25th. Please phone 01275 333146 for an appointment on those days as numbers are limited.

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G Time to plant up your hanging baskets and containers. G Give some of your border perennials the “Chelsea Chop”. If you cut some of them back by about half now it will delay flowering but extend the display longer in your garden. G Harden-off annual bedding plants ready to plant out soon. Put them in a shady spot, keep well watered but bring them back inside if frost is likely. G Be ready to cover tender plants with horticultural fleece if frosts are forecast. Check the forecast every day this month. G Order slug nematodes and rid your plants of this pest the natural and safe way. G Stake border perennial varieties that are tall growing and that tend to flop over. Either use pea sticks (tree and shrub prunings are good) or use purpose-made support systems. G Cut Aubreita back hard when it has finished flowering and give it a feed. They will produce new growth soon and remain more compact if this is done each year. G Plant out Cannas and Cosmos (chocolate plant), Dahlias and Begonias. G Trim foliage off early flowering perennials to encourage fresh new leaves. Lungwort (Pulmonaria) responds particularly well. Courtesy Cleeve Nursery


Cleeve Nursery & Box Tree Café Your Independent Garden Centre with great advice and home grown plants!

Cleeve Nursery & Box Tree Café, Cleeve, Bristol BS49 4PW Tel 01934 832134 Email

As one of Somerset’s leading suppliers of garden machinery, we stock a wide range of garden tractors, mowers, strimmers, chainsaws, rotavators etc from most leading manufacturers, including the Husqvarna ‘Auto Mower’ Situated between Street & Bridgwater, please come and visit our showroom. As well as garden machinery sales, we have a service centre and spares department and our Country Store sells almost anything from DIY items to kitchenware, sweets, ice creams, cakes and biscuits. If you need it – we've probably got it!!'


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An Aladdin’s cave

FROM lawnmowers to woodburners, chainsaws to tree climbing harness, Aspen fuel to spare parts – find it all at the Aladdin’s cave of Weston Garden Machinery, a small, friendly, family-run business situated within Hutton Garden Centre, just outside Weston-super-Mare. They are stockists of a variety of well-known names, with a good selection of garden machinery and woodburning stoves on display. They also carry a vast selection of arborist supplies for the professional tree surgeon from ISC karabiners to Marlow rope, Krieger safety clothing and Meindle boots. Their busy workshop offers repairs and servicing for a variety of brands, with an extensive parts department for spares.

Weston Garden Machinery Garden Machinery Specialist • Sales & Spares • Service & Repairs of all makes of Garden Machinery • Woodburning, Multifuel & Gas Stoves


Hutton Garden Centre, Banwell Road, Hutton, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset BS24 9UB

Tel: 01934 813261 PAGE 56 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014


Watcombe garden

THIS three-quarter acre garden, in Winscombe, was created in a traditional, Edwardian style during 40 years after World War II, as small areas of land were acquired by the owners. The resulting series of themes, each with a different feel, are a delight to explore throughout the summer months when the present owners are happy to welcome visitors. A strong formal framework is produced by different effects. In one area, a pergola supporting wisteria (and a few of the 80 clematis in the garden), leads to a pond and fountain; in another, regular box hedging, and cordonpruned fruit trees provide the structure. Elsewhere, pleached hornbeams frame another pond and classically-inspired summerhouse; a lime walk, underplanted by narcissi, has the statue of a small cherub as its focus. The small garden at the front of the house contains unusual topiary, rockeries and perennial borders, with several unexpected shrubs; alongside the house is a vine-clad pergola. Another route takes one past espaliered fruit trees and a tiny vegetable patch, to the greenhouse, which holds a collection of cacti and succulents, alongside the more conventional tomatoes and cucumbers. The main part of the garden, where deep herbaceous borders are planted informally, but with different colour themes, is reached through a small arched gateway. A ‘secret garden’ is tucked away to the side, bordered by yew hedges, and contains old-fashioned roses and hardy geraniums. NGS opening details: May18th and June 11th from 2pm5.30 pm. Also by appointment until the end of July. Admission: £3.50, children free. Contact Information: Peter and Ann Owen, 01934 842666 or email Address and Postcode: Church Road, Winscombe, BS25 1BP. Other Gardens Open for the NGS To see more gardens open for the NGS, see The Yellow Book, or Local County Leaflet, soon to be available from local Garden Centres. Or go to:

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Plant fair for village hall

YARLINGTON House, near Castle Cary, will host its annual plant sale on Saturday, May 17th. Count and Countess de Salis will open the gardens of their manor house at Yarlington for the sale which attracts nurseries from across the south west offering a wide range of specialist plants. The £2.50 admission price includes access to the two acres of gardens, which include pleached limes and an Italian sunken garden. Proceeds go towards the local village hall G The fair is open from 10am-4pm. Under-16s go free. Yarlington lies half-way between Wincanton and Castle Cary and is signed off the A303 or the A371. Yarlingon House – home to Count and Countess de Salis

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Vast choice of spring bedding, fuschias, geraniums & basket plants all grown on our own nursery Good choice of shrubs & perennials Many varieties of herbs Fruit trees & soft fruit inc. patio & dwarf varieties Summer bulbs, begonias, dahlias, gladioli etc. Vegetable plants inc. tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers etc. Unwins, Fothergills, Johnsons & Country Value seed collections. Specialist range by Sarah Raven & sweet peas Good selection of terracotta, glazed, fibreclay & plastic pots, troughs & containers Compost, mulches & barks inc. multibuy & special offers Wild bird food & feeders National Garden Gift Vouchers

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Wells Road, Chilcompton, Nr. Bath Tel: 01761 232137 E. MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 57

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Garden competition

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Martino Forzati, who lives in St John’s Road, Frome, was the winner of the best hanging basket category and joint winner of the best overall garden award

WELLS-based housing association Aster Communities is once again running its annual gardening competition and is calling for green-fingered residents to don their gardening gloves and submit an entry. The competition is open to anyone who lives in an Aster Communities property in the Somerset and is free to enter. Categories in this year’s competition are Best Overall Garden, Hanging Baskets / Pots and Window Boxes, Vegetable Garden, Communal Gardens and Most Improved Garden. Customers are eligible to enter as many of the categories as they like. Judging will take place in July, with the overall winners being named at an awards ceremony in early September. To enter the competition, contact Lucinda Degregorio on 01749 832039 or email

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Nailsea Show is a winner

NAILSEA and District Horticultural Society celebrated their Ruby Anniversary with a total of over 600 entries which was about 50 more than last year, with daffodil exhibits up by about 30, thanks to the mild weather. They also had more floral art entries than ever before and cookery entries were up on last year, with 16 entries in the Victoria sandwich cake class.


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Show secretary Jane Knight and her granddaughter Kathryn admire grandfather Bill Knight's winning entry

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MENDIP TIMES â&#x20AC;˘ MAY 2014 â&#x20AC;˘ PAGE 59

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A COLLECTION of 20 pence pieces raised enough money – and more – for the restoration of Somerton’s war memorial. Members of the town’s memorial cleaning fund committee placed green collecting pots around the town and £1,000 was raised in just three weeks. The cleaning project was led by the Marmaduke Cradock Trust. The operation was carried out by stonemason Luke Grafton who pressure-washed the stone. Nancy Schooling, from the committee, said the memorial was first proposed in 1918 and a collection raised £217.2s.0d. The memorial was unveiled in May 1921. Nancy said: “Most of the grime came

The restored memorial

Luke at work on Somerton’s war memorial

away immediately, producing almost startling contrasts. The memorial is now clean and nearly as good as new. A hundred years of wind and rain have weathered the surface. Some of the lichens could not be removed and the marks can be seen mainly on the steps. Most of the lead staining on the south and west faces disappeared, but a shadow is still visible when the stone is wet. “Thank you to everyone who contributed to the cleaning fund. There is enough left to repair and restore the soldiers’ gravestones in the cemetery later

Preparing to remember

SHEPTON Mallet Town Council and the local branch of the Royal British Legion are amongst a number of organisations joining forces to hold a commemoration event in August to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War. Called Never Forget, Monday, August 4th will begin with a vigil at 11am at the town’s Cenotaph by ATC cadets, complete with a symbolic light. Collett Park will host a history marquee before a procession at 7pm from the Market Place to the Cenotaph where the light will be taken to the park for a Music in the Park evening. A service in the parish church, which will mirror the service being held at the same time in Westminster Abbey, will

this year. Thank you, also, to Luke and Ashley who did the work so quickly and neatly.”

Mendip remembers

T H E G R E A T WA R 1 9 1 4 - 1 8

follow. Flanders poppy seeds are being delivered to residents to plant and grow across the town. Any donations will go to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.  A new exhibition in Bath in August marking the anniversary of the start of the First World War will be filled with the memories and artefacts of residents of Bath and North East Somerset Council. Local people worked in the Somerset Coalfields, the Bath War Hospital and the gunpowder factories at Wellow. There are also the “Thankful Villages” of Charlcombe, Woolley and Chelwood where all the men who served in the war returned home.

For more information contact exhibition organiser Claire Sharpe by email at: or by phone on 07730 594345.


(Photograph courtesy of Reg Schooling)

Clean-up for town’s war memorial

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The last Dambuster

MORE than 250 guests attended a memorable evening with the last surviving member of the Dambuster raid, George ‘Johnny’ Johnson, as he recalled his time with 617 Squadron. The event was arranged by the Rotary Club of Wrington Vale and Johnny, aged 92, held the audience spellbound as he recounted the build up to what became a raid that helped change the course of World War 2. Johnny covered a range of subjects as he set the scene – how he got into gunnery, how he flew as bomb aimer with Flt Lt Joe McCarthy, the training and the secrecy that surrounded the operation. His actual description of the raid was enthralling. He was part of one of the five crews that were briefed to attack the Sorpe dam, which was different in construction from the Mohne, Eder and Ennepe, in that it had no towers and was built within hills on either side – so a frontal attack posed massive problems. It required ten runs and the bomb was actually dropped from only 30ft! He said he didn’t see an explosion but reckoned water rose 1000ft on impact. Inevitably Johnny was asked about Wg Cdr Guy Gibson. Johnny described him as a strict disciplinarian, not a man who mixed easily with junior officers, but a brave leader. He said: “The Mohne dam was the only one that was actually defended and Gibson made the first attack to assess the defences. After that he flew in alongside each aircraft telling them that he was doing it, they were doing it and that they were doing it together.” Johnny received a standing ovation after he had finished his presentation and answered questions. He was presented with a cheque for £250 for the 617 Benevolent Fund by Weston Round Table and a collection by Wrington Vale Rotary added a further £1,000. The following day Johnny flew off to Portugal on holiday. Much as he loved his Lancasters, we imagine his flight was rather more comfortable than the one to the Sorpe dam 71 years ago. Tony Carter

Pictured (l to r) John Thatcher, current president, Tony Thurling, next year’s president, George Johnson and Oliver Ashley.

Museum creates a local history library


RADSTOCK Museum has been awarded a £3,000 grant by Midsomer Norton Town Council to help with the creation of a new local history reference library. The museum has a collection of around 2,000 books and journals dealing with local historical topics. They are currently housed in locked storage units to which access is restricted, especially during exhibitions. The grant will pay for the purchase of two purpose-built bookcases which will be located in the museum’s research room so that the books will be open to browsing and accessible to anyone wishing to explore aspects of the history of the old Somerset coalfield area. The grant application was supported by the Midsomer Norton Society and the Paulton History Society and assistance in setting up the library has been offered by David Bromwich, the honorary librarian of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. The Museum already provides a local research facility, available on Tuesday mornings each week and research assistants are on-hand to deal with enquiries. The new library will enhance this existing service. The museum catalogue now holds details of over 30,000 items in the local collection, including around 8,000 local photographs, all of which can be searched and viewed on screen. Museum trustee and librarian, Tom Randall (pictured), said: “This is a project we have had in mind for several years. We now have the means to make it happen and we hope to have the library available by the end of the year.” MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 61

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Time to get road savvy

A NEW series driving awareness courses have been launched by Avon and Somerset police – with the emphasis on younger drivers. Sessions are available at venues across the force area and aim to raise awareness of potential hazards on the roads and build on motorists’ existing driving knowledge and experience. The force says some insurance companies will also offer a discount to young drivers who have completed the workshop. Superintendent Ian Smith said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to benefit from a free course that could be a lifesaving opportunity. Studies show that a significant proportion of collisions are caused by human error and we want to try to help reduce this number.” Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I am delighted Avon and Somerset Police have designed a unique road safety package to further educate all road users, but particularly young drivers. Too often I hear of tragic incidents involving young drivers and am very supportive of initiatives to help prevent this.” Courses will take place for the next 12 months. Two versions of the session have been created, one for young drivers (aged 17 to 24) and one for other drivers. If you are, or know of, a young driver who would like to join this course, or you are aged 25 or over and interested in attending, visit:



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Marchants Hill, Gurney Slade BA3 4TY Call: 01749 841051 Mob: 07778 465520 Email: MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 63

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It’s in the bag

A FEW weeks ago was, as I’m sure you’re all aware, Male Cancer Awareness Week. To mark this Orchid – a men’s cancer charity – unearthed some surprising insights into testicular cancer from a survey of 3000 men. Two thirds of them didn’t know how to check themselves for signs of testicular cancer (OK, maybe that’s not so surprising). By Dr PHIL Single men are less likely to recognise the signs and HAMMOND symptoms of testicular cancer (in my experience, it’s often the women who spot a lump when they happen to be down that way). Office workers are least likely to regularly check themselves (well, it’s not easy to check in a crowded office – the shower is the best environment because the scrotum and its owner are generally relaxed and exposed). A third of men would tell their partner if they found a lump, rather than their GP (and often it’s the partner who encourages them to go to their GP). Manual workers are most likely to ignore early symptoms of testicular cancer (sometimes because of embarrassment, sometimes because of the invincible, male ‘It could never happen to me’ belief). It seems odd that men working in an office environment with easy access to the internet and social media were less likely to check themselves, but perhaps it’s a marker of how hard people work and how much it is now frowned upon to use your office computer for personal reasons. Typing ‘lumpy testicles’ into Google can throw up some surprising images as well as trigger a visit from the company’s thought police. When you’re in a safe environment that allows you to access images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical and educational context, have a look at It’ll tell you all you need to know about testicular cancer – from assessing your risk to self examination to life after treatment. Orchid has also launched their first confidential, freephone National Male Cancer Helpline. The Helpline is staffed by male cancer information nurse specialists every Monday and Wednesday from 10am-5pm on 0808 802 0010. Or you can email on Information is only useful if it leads to action. Over the years, I’ve met many men who’ve known something was wrong but still didn’t seek help. Testicular cancer is rare, but occurs most commonly in men under 40. It’s always treatable, usually curable and if you get it early you may get to keep both testicles and be fully fertile. It starts as something the size of a grain of sand on the body of the testicle itself, which then grows to the size of a pea which is much easier to spot. You need to get used to the normal feel of the testicles – the lumpy bit at the back (the epididymis), extending up into what feels like a cord (the vas deferens) is entirely normal. But if you feel any new lumps and bumps in the testicle itself, go and see the doctor.

Dr Phil will be demonstrating how to examine your testicles in his comedy show at Frome Memorial Theatre on May 30th. Be sure to sit near the front. Tickets 01373 462 795. He’s also at Priddy Folk Festival on July 12th. PAGE 64 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

Travelling light

WE had the pleasure of meeting up with old friends the other day who we had known since attending ante-natal classes with our eldest children. We now have seven children between us ranging in ages from fifteen to eight. We met in a park in Bristol to enjoy a picnic at the foot of a grassy bank. The sun was shining and the trees were covered in blossom. The only drawback was that we were unable to have a conversation in private with most of the children too old to run along and play but this was a small sacrifice as we all enjoyed each other’s company. After a while a group of young mums passed by wheeling buggies. They proceeded to pull their buggies backwards up the grassy bank. My friend and I cast each other knowing looks: “Thank God those days are over,” she said. “Can you remember all the clobber you had to bring on a day out?” Her question reminded me of a day trip out to Cheddar Gorge and Caves when young son was two-years-old. My brotherin-law and family were visiting from abroad. Their children were older and they had passed the buggy and highchair phase. They decided upon the destination and a fish and chip lunch at a restaurant in Cheddar. My brother-in law was not known for his patience and I remember the look of horror on his face as I packed up the day bag with drinks, nappies, snacks, toys, sun-cream, sunhats, woollies (it’s cold in the caves) and then folded up the buggy as well as a backpack-style baby carrier (surely I couldn’t take a toddler into the caves without one?) and proceeded to fill the boot of the car. It is a feeling of liberation when you can dispense with nappy-bags and all the other baby and toddler paraphernalia. However, I have to admit that when, after 12 years, I found myself buggy-less, I did struggle that first Christmas without the buggy to hang all the shopping bags on! MENDIP MUM

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Why gardening can be a pain in the grass


THE team at Wells Chiropractice and Osteopathy Centre say they have seen a huge influx of patients coming to them with back problems after spending too much time gardening. They say people have been “stagnant” all through the wet and cold weather but then attempt to spend a few hours leaning over, lifting compost/rubbish and so on without warming up first. Benjamin Palmer, from the centre, advises: “They need to bend and touch toes, do gentle twists and hoola-hoop movements to warm up and just do short bursts at a time. “We’ve literally had about 20 injuries in the last ten days – most of which were avoidable and as a result of these strains they now can’t get on and do work. Or, in one case, will struggle to get on a plane to go on holiday. “The overload on the back muscles means the force/pressure goes straight into the spinal joints and then damage can occur.” G Ben will again be tackling the arduous SAS Brecon Beacons challenge in May. In honour of the May the Fourth Be With You Star Wars Theme, Ben will be dressed as Darth Vader and hoping to complete the route without overheating in his suit! The charity event takes place on Sunday, May 4th.

Clinic’s open day

HAMPDEN Osteopathic Clinic, in Winscombe, are welcoming new patients to their practice. Free taster treatments are on offer on Saturday May 17th as part of their 2014 open day. Choose from: osteopathy with Janet White and Danielle Crawshaw, acupuncture/Reiki with Dan Lloyd, reflexology/Thai foot massage/MT with Polly Hall, homeopathy Patricia Clark, massage therapies Amy Chandler or hypnotherapy with Susan Ritson. Call in for coffee and cake and meet the practitioners to find out more about what they treat, how they treat and what type of treatment would suit you best. The clinic works as a team referring between practitioners, when necessary, to achieve the best possible treatment for each individual patient. Call 01934 843617 to pre-book your FREE treatment.

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Pool becomes garden of serenity A JAPANESE-style garden overlooking the Mendip countryside is contributing to the sense of peace and serenity at The Lighthouse centre near Frome. The garden has replaced the outdoor swimming pool to offer a year-round place in which to sit and relax, although it’s never better than in late spring sunshine.

HEALTH & FAMILY Careful planting enhances the natural beauty of the Japanese garden

Janet (seated) and Rowena by the traditional-style fountain

Inspired by the Zen culture of Japan, the garden reflects the relationship between the land, sea and sky. Sitting on a carefully-raked bed of gravel, five standing stones can be interpreted as either islands rising from the sea or as mountains peeking through cloud; in any event, it’s a strikingly peaceful place with just the sound of a fountain bubbling through bamboo pipes at one end of the garden.

The Lighthouse is a beautiful Guest House in the village of Tytherington, on the outskirts of Frome. With stunning views over 30 acres of parkland dotted with veteran oak trees and a fishing lake, the Lighthouse provides a tranquil setting for travellers and locals to come and enjoy. Facilities include:

• 4 star Guest House Accommodation – a range of well appointed twin/double rooms as well as family rooms and suites. • The ‘Love in a Cup’ Café open daily, serving delicious homemade meals, cakes and snacks – all 100% gluten and dairy free.

The Lighthouse is run by Janet and Simon Williams, who enlisted the help of Rowena and her partner Jonathan, who work at the centre, to design the garden. The stones are not from Mendip, but traditional Caledonian, each weighing half-a-tonne. Janet said: “We didn’t have a plan as to where the stones would be placed in the garden, but we all looked at each other and knew when they were just right.”

• Conference Facilities for business meetings and community events, with inbuilt audio/visual equipment and various catering options. • New Japanese Garden to enjoy on the southern terrace • Lovely lake and woodland walks (dogs welcome)

For further details please visit our website: or contact Reception on 01373 453585, PAGE 66 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

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Boxing clever!


Paul Warren with young hopeful Oscar Blackwood

OVER the past few years, Somerset Crimebeat Trust (the charity of the High Sheriff of Somerset) has been pleased to support several local amateur boxing clubs within the Mendip

area. The most recent grant was given to Shepton Mallet Amateur Boxing Club, based at the Paul Street Community Centre in the town. The club runs four evening sessions a week and attracts young people and adults (women are made more than welcome on Thursdays) from a wide area, including Frome, Radstock, Wells, Paulton, Castle Cary as well as Shepton. Launched two years ago, the club has seen many of its young hopefuls progress in the ring, although their main emphasis is

Brian Neill says he loves the sport

on promoting self-discipline, nutrition, exercise and respect, along with generally participating in the noble art. It’s not just a club for youngsters; its oldest current member is Brian Neill, who weighs in each week at 77 – years, not pounds! Additionally it aims to continue to give young and old people the chance to come to a friendly boxing gym where they can work to be healthier, more confident, achieve a sense of what is right and wrong by controlling aggression and aggressive behaviour. As well as securing funding from Crimebeat, Paul Warren, who runs the club with the help of an enthusiastic coaching team including Kevin Hay and Sue Cope, has also won a grant from Sport Relief to help pay the rent on the gym. Paul said: “If the lads and lasses take up the sport of boxing they can represent the town of Shepton Mallet across the UK and internationally this helps promote the Somerset town.” Shepton Mallet ABC is not alone; boxing

Street art or vandalism?

AS the debate rumbles on over who “owns” the recent painting reportedly by Banksy in Bristol of two lovers embracing while on their mobiles, I have to say is an outstanding example of satirical art. It reminds me of a few years ago when a spate of images appeared across Mendip of Paddington Bear – again said by many to be the work of the street artist – which appeared to question attitudes about immigration. Whoever did them, I really admire their artistic skills, especially as I have absolutely none myself. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there is an inherent problem: no matter how good an artist you may be (or think you may be) it is against the law to place your work uninvited and quite often unwanted on someone else’s property. More specifically it’s an offence as defined in the Criminal Damage Act 1971. Moreover, having as a police officer tried to explain the

clubs from Wells, Glastonbury and Frome all subscribe to a similar ethos. Ironically, my comments below about graffiti also resonate with boxing in the west country – the row over some recent graffiti art in Bristol which is attributed to Banksy may just help the Broad Plains Boys Club, on whose wall the image appeared. Watch this space!

A Thursday night training session at Shepton Mallet ABC

annoyance, aggravation and cost of such thoughtless activity regarding graffiti in various schools, I believe these artists to be extremely selfish and irresponsible. Are we now to reclassify and excuse criminal damage and graffiti simply because the perpetrator is highly skilled? This simple fact seems to be going unacknowledged within the current media coverage and I am sure that will annoy enormously anyone who has been a victim. After all, most people have no idea how much is spent annually clearing up the “street art” which misguided miscreants treat their community to each year, let alone the annoyance to residents. So, to Banksy or whoever, I say you are clearly very talented, but if you want to continue to practice your art on our communities’ walls perhaps I could come and practice mine on yours? Be advised, I have the artistic skills of a oneeyed drunken monkey but I’m willing to give it a go!

To find out more, visit:


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Let Miles Morgan fulfil your retirement dreams THE general consensus for people, who haven’t yet retired, is that when they give up work, they can really start to live their life and fulfil their travel dreams. Rather than staying at home in front of the fire, the majority of us want to travel when we leave work, with iconic journeys such as Route 66 in America, an African safari, or climbing the Great Wall of China, all making the grade. Recent additions to peoples’ bucket lists include seeing the Northern Lights, gambling in Vegas or diving in the Maldives. Trends are changing though. With people living longer and therefore being retired for longer, they may have 30 years or more to accommodate their travel dreams. Travellers are more discerning and looking for “experiences” from their travel – cultural, historical, adventure or activity – people are looking for more than the average package holiday or the cruise their parents would have taken. Iconic rail journeys are ever more


popular with Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and India’s Palace on Wheels our top two enquiries. We have seen an increase in self-drive independent travel to destinations like Canada, Australia and New Zealand and Botswana and Namibia. Searching for

the Mountain gorillas in Rwanda or walking the Cinque Terra in Italy are now no longer unusual requests for those travellers with more time and funds available. More exotic and challenging destinations are in demand with an increase in bookings to places like China and India and in particular Vietnam and Cambodia. Always popular with retired clients is the short city break – but with a difference – Monaco with helicopter transfers and a visit to the Prince’s car collection, Iceland and a jeep safari hunting for the Northern Lights, opera in Dresden or a baroque music festival. Hobbies play a large part in choice of destination, with the gardens of Madeira or the Cote D’azur or even Galicia featuring in travellers’ wish lists. Whatever your wish list contains let Miles Morgan Travel in Wells help you plan how to fulfil some of your favourite travel dreams. Margaret Moulton Manager 01749 671660

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Change can be positive

RETIREMENT! When we’re frantic at work, perhaps struggling with deadlines or rushing to fulfil an order, we long for it. We’ll have time to relax, time for our partner, time to read, to do all the things we’ve been promising ourselves – time to enjoy life! But for some, when it comes, retirement can feel very different. A time of loss, of emptiness, of time stretching endlessly with nothing to fill it. Worse, without the anchor of work, and with children busy with their own lives, we’ve lost our sense of who we are, and our lives can feel bereft of meaning. We can be stricken with odd anxieties, perhaps with insomnia. Are you experiencing the darker side of retirement? Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help you to effectively reduce your anxiety, help you regain control over your life and rediscover meaning and enjoyment. If you would like help with this transitional period of your life, contact Lisa Williams Therapy.

Calling all grandparents!

HAVE you spent the Easter holidays running around after your grandchildren? Are your knees creaking and do you have twinges in your back? Do you find it hard to believe that 60 really is the new 50? A course of acupuncture may be the answer. Dr Georgina Jefferies who was formerly a consultant anaesthetist with an interest in pain relief is offering short courses of treatment (three or five sessions) which could introduce you to a new way to manage aches and pains. She is an independent practitioner working from the Chew Medical Practice in Chew Stoke, and would be pleased to discuss possible treatments on 01761 221197 or by email at



Accommodation available now with full en-suite Court House is a very special place to live, the very fact that it is made up of different areas of accommodation adds to its attraction. e Main House with gracious large rooms with full en-suite looking out onto different aspects and personalized with Resident’s own furniture and pictures etc. A spacious Drawing Room with doors to a covered veranda and patio area leading onto lawns and flower beds. e Courtyard which has lovely vaulted accommodation with full en-suite and cleverly concealed kitchenettes where Residents can make a cup of tea or a snack for themselves or their guests and small raised gardens so that the people living there may, if they so wish plant and tend their own flowers. e lovely cottage accommodation full of character with a large Victorian style conservatory looking towards St. Andrews Church and doors opening out from a lovely sitting room to a tranquil garden. Putting all of this together with the very special care given by dedicated staff that respect and give privacy and dignity to all who live here, you can see why people who come to live at Court House are so happy to have found this very special place.

Respite Care also available

“One of the most beautiful and well kept retirement homes I’ve ever seen”. – e Photographer

Please contact Chris Dando 01934 742131 Website:

For further information, please see her website at or the British Medical Acupuncture Society website at

Mendip Times reduces travel costs

100,000 potential customers within a short distance of your business MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 69

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Independent living

RETIREMENT living at The Hawthorns in Clevedon offers something different – an idyllic lifestyle afforded by the flexibility of renting, not purchasing, your home. Put simply, The Hawthorns offer you totally independent living alongside comfort, companionship and security – but without any of the worries that home ownership often bring. As well as an invaluable 24-hour emergency call system, the all-inclusive monthly rental includes three freshly-cooked meals per day, all utility costs, council tax, building insurance, all repairs and maintenance, maintenance charges, housekeeping

Singles Social Group facilities and weekly fresh linen and towels. They also have personal laundry facilities on each floor, a 24hour coffee lounge with fresh snacks, a well-stocked library, Freeview TV channels and a comprehensive activities calendar for you to join in if you wish, which includes events, entertainment, excursions and even a free mini-bus to take you to the shops and back. If you sit down and calculate what you are spending on all the above items living in your own home, the monthly rental fee appears very reasonable indeed. As well as being financially appealing, The Hawthorns offers the added benefits of security and companionship.

(Not a dating agency – est. 1979) Age range 40 – 60 approx. Weekly Bar Night Events include: walks, dances, parties, meals out, theatre, cinema etc. For further details call

01749 330455 • 01278 788077 01458 840958 • 01934 743139

Mendip Times VOLUME 9 ISSUE


on Celebrating life the Mendips ands surrounding area

MARCH 2014



Mendip Times


AID • SPORT ENING • FLOOD T IQUES : SPRING GARD G • ARTS & AN I N T H IS I S S U E OCUS • MOTORIN news • PROPERTY F events and local Local people,


local history, local

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Retirement Living section:Layout 1



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Events feature:Layout 1



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M i n i- M e l ls w i t h b i g id e a s ! AFTER the traditional Mells Daffodil Festival was cancelled earlier this year, a small group of residents decided the village would not be the same without a community event on Easter bank holiday Monday. Instead they decided to arrange a Mells Mini-Festival and a day of live music at the Tithe Park and events on the village playing field attracted a large crowd – there was even a dance “flashmob”! The day was intended to be a one-off; any proceeds will go towards good causes in the village. Martyn Cox, who organised the event with John Earl, said: “We didn’t want to lose the continuity of an annual event in Mells and we were able to put this on due to the support of local village people.”

Blues musician Bill O’Brien (seated) was joined by nearby residents Tony Osbourne on electric guitar and harmonica player Andy Schofield


Happy! Dance teacher Soo Wright, from Frome, leads the flashmob in the music tent

Members of the 1st Mells St. Andrew’s Scouts ran a hoopla stall

Rev. Martin Weymont, rector of Mells, arranges books for sale outside The Rectory

Mells First School is hosting a duck race in the village on Friday, May 2nd at 4pm. Rebecca Clarke, Jennifer Thompson and school head Alara Tatum were taking entries PAGE 72 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

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RICS predicts sunnier times ahead for house sales THE average number of houses sold per chartered surveyor in the South West jumped to its highest level in almost seven years, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ latest survey. In the three months from January to March, the average number of transactions per surveyor reached 24 – a peak not previously seen since April 2007 – and was further boosted by 33 per cent more respondents reporting an increase in the number of new buyer enquiries last month. However, while activity is now showing encouraging signs of life in many parts of the UK that were previously fairly stagnant, the lack of housing supply continues to hamper market growth. In the South West, five per cent more chartered surveyors reported that the number of new instructions fell, rather than rose in March, with some claiming the recent bad weather is continuing to have an impact. However RICS says there is optimism as we enter the summer months, with 36 per cent more respondents expecting sales to

rise, rather than fall, and a marginal increase in the average number of houses surveyors had on their books. Spokesman, Roger Punch, said: “While it is heartening to see conditions improve in the South West, the residential market was severely impacted by flooding in



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some areas, and overall recovery is from a very low base. “We are beginning to see the volume of sales increase, and supply is improving, but the balance varies enormously, with the consequent variation in its effect on prices, across the region.”


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ANYONE looking through a cave guide book, such as the recently published Mendip Underground, will see that there is a wide variety of names given to caves, with no clear pattern. Some are obviously named after people; others after their location – while some names seem to With PHILIP make no sense at all. HENDY It is the privilege of whoever finds a cave to give it a name. Surprisingly, very few cavers have egotistically named their discovery after themselves. Aveline’s Hole in Burrington was named by Professor Boyd Dawkins in honour of his friend and mentor William Talbot Aveline. Dawkins enlarged the entrance to the cave and excavated there in the 19th century. Nearby Rod’s Pot was opened by the University of Bristol Speleological Society in 1944. Rodney Pearce was one of the diggers, and his colleagues named the cave after him, although it was originally called Pearce’s Pot. The same society found a large cave at Charterhouse in 1939. It was called G.B. Cave after the two main discoverers, Charles Barker and Francis Goddard, although there was also a patriotic reason, as World War 2 was just beginning. When a magnificently decorated cave was found in Fairy Cave Quarry on November 5th, 1961 it was named Balch Cave in honour of Herbert Balch, generally recognised as the man who put Mendip caving on the map. Sadly, most of the cave was subsequently quarried away, so the tentative first name, Guy Fawkes’ Cave, might have been more apt. Naming a cave after a person is usually in their honour or memory, rather than the discoverer seeking immortality. Caves named after their locations are easier to find, although with several Manor Farms on Mendip, you have to know that Manor Farm Swallet is at Charterhouse. However,

Wookey Hole

Tom Tivey’s Hole

although Yew Tree Swallet is near a yew tree, and Wallflower Shelter has wild wallflowers growing nearby, these names give no clue to their actual whereabouts. Similarly, the white tufa mark at the entrance to White Spot Cave vanished years ago, so it is no good looking for that. Often a cave is named after a significant feature within it. Bone Hole is obvious, as is Hyaena Den and Large Chamber Cave (although how large is ‘large’?). Fox Fur Fungus Fissure, in the Wadbury Valley, is a delightful quadruple alliteration. The original explorers found a mass of reddish brown material, which they thought was the remains of a dead fox, until closer examination showed that it was a fungal mass growing on organic debris. The nearby Clinker Caves were filled with slag from the ironworks. Wookey Hole Cave is a triple tautology; Wookey is a corruption of the Celtic ‘ogo’, meaning hole; modern Welsh has ogof, meaning cave; ‘hole’ derives from Anglo-Saxon, while ‘cave’ has a Latin root. So visitors go to Cave Cave Cave. Some parts of cave names will not have an obvious meaning to many people. Where on Western Mendip we call the place where a stream sinks underground a ‘swallet’, on Eastern Mendip the locals call it a slocker. Lamb Leer is located on Lamb Hill, while a leer was a large natural cavity sometimes found by lead miners. Cuckoo Cleeves lies in a field of that name. A cleeve is a cliff or cleft, although the precise origin of the field name lies lost in the mists of history. One name for a cave at Priddy, now closed, is Gargill Pot, which is in a field of that name described by a local farmer. It lies in one of two large shallow symmetrical basins, which one of the diggers likened to the impression made by a topless sunbather lying in soft sand. The cave is commonly known as Twin T’s – you can work it out for yourself. Several caves have more than one name, which can be confusing, although usually only one comes into common usage.

Photography by Phil Hendy

What’s in a name?

Phil has been caving for more than 47 years and is a member of the Wessex Cave Club. He has been involved in produ


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One such is Foxes Hole in Burrington Combe, also known as Plumley’s Den. Plumley, Lord of the Manor of Locking, backed the wrong side during the Monmouth Rebellion, and is reputed to have hidden there until discovered by Royalist troops. There is, however, another Plumley’s Den (or Hole) in the Combe. This one, opposite Rock of Ages, is named after Joe Plumley, a quarryman, who was let down the shaft when the cave was discovered. Sadly, to this day, no-one knows what lies at the bottom, as on his return, Plumley broke his neck when his fellow workers pulled too enthusiastically on the rope to which he was attached. The shaft has since been filled and capped. Tom Tivey is said to have been a resident of Chantry in the 19th century. For some reason he fell foul of the Bow Street Runners (far from their usual ‘manor’) and Leighton Boys, presumably some kind of neighbourhood watch. He went into hiding and has two caves named after him; Tom Tivey’s Hole is a large shelter near Leighton, at the foot of the cliff called Heale Ladder. Tom Tivey’s Other Hole was also used by him as a hideout; it lies by the side of the A359, and is a roomy tunnel reputedly leading to Nunney Castle. When it comes to naming passages, chambers, squeezes and other underground features, cavers have had a field day, and that is beyond the scope of this article. For anybody interested in learning more, I would recommend Who Was Aveline Anyway? This is a gazetteer compiled by Richard Witcombe and available from the Wessex Cave Club (secretary@wessex-cave-club-org).

White Spot Cave

Rod’s Pot

Bone Hole

roducing several caving publications and is a caving instructor in Cheddar. His main interest is digging for new caves. MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 75

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More than just a village shop NICK Hansford is in reflective mood. He says: “I grew up in Shipham and back then it could boast seven shops.” Thirty years later he and his wife, Sally, have the only retail outlet in the village. They opened their first butcher’s shop (it’s now Lenny’s cafe) in Shipham in 1978 and moved across the Square to their current premises in 1984. Nick said: “We were young, optimistic, prepared to work hard and, of course, we had no children then.” Less favourably, he also remembers the notoriously high mortgage rates that prevailed at the time and the dilapidated state of the property, built in 1903 on the site of a miner’s cottage. But the hard work paid off. There can be very few people who live, or have lived, in Shipham, who have not been to Hansford’s, be it for their newspaper, sweets for the children, groceries and of course, their meat. But Hansfords is more than a shop to Shipham – it helps provide the village with a sense of community and continuity. As if to underline this, Sally


points out that they are now serving third generation customers. She said: “There has always been a family feel here and that is something you can’t get online.” In recent years the Hansfords have been able to give a little more time to their home above the shop. When they can relax they have enviable views at the back from a new(ish) extension and Nick’s DIY skills are being given full rein as he sets about a considered refurbishment programme. What Nick and Sally have done, and are doing, is retain the wonderful character of the property. The windows at the front are a case in point. Nick said: “The old sash windows desperately needed changing and we wanted to replace like with like, but that seemed easier said than done. Then we spoke to Kingfisher and they had the answer.” That answer was windows from their Bygone range and once fitted the difference was immediately apparent. Sally said: “The house was straightaway warmer and quieter which delighted us, but equally important was the fact that the

new windows were in character with the property.” There were two things about Kingfisher that particularly impressed Nick. Firstly, that they quoted a sensible, competitive and realistic price at the start and did not resort to the less than credible tactic of “starting high then discounting” that so many window firms adopt; and secondly the quality of the installation and the professionalism of the fitters. Nick said: “We hardly knew they were there and that’s as high a compliment as I can pay.”


With 14 manufacturers, our own directly employed teams of HETAS installers and being builders too, we truly can offer the One point of call solution for stoves and woodburners.

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Opening Hours 8am – 5.30 pm Monday to Friday • Evenings by appointment


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We’re so confident in our plumbing workmanship that this Spring we’re giving away a 6-year warranty with every written quotation . . . G We’ll turn up when we say we will G No call-out fee (minimum hourly charge applies)

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Call now for a friendly, professional service: 01934 832250 4, Bridge Farm Square, Congresbury, Bristol BS49 5DF e-Mail: website:


Make space in your home

THE loft takes up a third of the floor space in an average home. It’s worth thousands. So shouldn’t we be making the most of it? More Than Loft Ladders (MTLL) specialises in generating space by making our lofts easily accessible. This new Weston business is run by local tradesman, John Crilly, who says MTLL’s no-frills approach is what most people are looking for. He said: “We’re not selling £15,000 loft conversions. This is a low-cost and simple alternative. For just £277 + VAT you can get a ladder that slides easily up and down, as well as a proper light and some boarding to make the space safe, secure and dry. We can also fit a draft-proof loft hatch if required from only £55.” The price customers are quoted is the price they will pay, with no call-out charges. John provides a free guarantee on all parts and labour too. For a free survey and quotation with no obligation, contact More Than Loft Ladders now. Details: 0845 863 0599 or visit

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Quality and service

HOMES & INTERIORS Ajenta Interiors is the new name for a longestablished business in Winscombe. New owners, Lynn Dolphin and Mark Terry, have taken over the shop that

was run by Derek Paget for 40 years. With their emphasis on customer service and quality products, they aim to build on his reputation and show that making a trip to big-city stores is needless. They stock top-name products, including Farrow & Ball paints, flooring, fabrics, furniture, window dressings and a whole lot more, plus they have experienced staff and fitters to give the best advice. After being open for only a month, they say they are thrilled with the reaction from customers and are excited about continuing the shop’s long history of service to the area.


A enta




T 01934 842755 • E • W Ajenta Interiors • 11 Woodborough Road • Winscombe • Somerset BS25 1AB MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 79

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LIFT & RISE RECLINERS We have over 25 Models in stock – All reduced by 40% – All available for immediate delivery


Malvern Single Motor Recliner £1293 Now £775 (stock only) £657.50 with VAT exemption Malvern Dual Motor Recliner £1434 – Now £860 (stock only) £716.66 with VAT exemption Windsor Single Motor £1370 – Now £822 (stock only) £685.00 with VAT exemption

Keswick Single Motor Recliner £1242 – Now £745 (stock only) £620.83 with VAT exemption

Lynton Single Motor £1293 – Now £775 (stock only) £645.83 with VAT exemption

RH Windows has experience and expertise

RH WINDOWS is proud to be the longestestablished window, door and joinery manufacturer in the Chew Valley. Established in 1969 by Gerald Read and Bernard Harrington (hence RH Windows), the firm has continuously served the area since then. The company is now owned, managed and run by Alan Nash and Duncan Read. Alan is a time-served apprentice with qualification up to ONC level in carpentry and joinery while Duncan trained as a window installer and fabricator. Both directors have been with the company for over 20 years. RH Windows now boasts a staff of 20, all trained to a high standard, and also has apprentices training in carpentry, joinery and wood machining. They offer a free quotation service, dealing with all concepts from windows and doors up to conservatories, orangeries and lantern roofs. They manufacture all kinds of joinery, from stairs, internal doors, shutters and window boards.




Telephone: 01761 452171 Fax: 01761 453342 PAGE 80 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

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Renewable energy open day

WITH the recent launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) many homes, especially those using oil for heating, will make significant savings by installing renewable heat technologies. But with so many options available how do you know what will be right for you? On May 10th Solarsense, the region’s leading renewable installers, are holding a renewable energy open day to explain the RHI and allow you to see the full range of eligible technologies for yourself. Solarsense have been installing renewables for over 20 years and with more than 10,000 satisfied customers you can be assured of trusted advice. As well as discussing the RHI, the Solarsense team will give an update on the Feed-in Tariff and provide tours of the company’s carbon-neutral technology park. Technologies on show include solar pv; solar thermal; biomass boilers and stoves; air and ground-source heat pumps; and electric vehicle chargepoints. Visitors will also have the chance to test drive the new BMW i3 electric car! The open day takes place at the Solarsense technology park in Backwell from 10am to 2pm.




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01761 439300 •

Free no obligation quotes Free measuring Free delivery The Staircase Manufacturing Company Limited, Wellsway Works, Wells Road, Radstock, Bath BA3 3RZ email:

Telephone: 01761 417654 Facsimile: 01761 417207 email:

Units 1–6, Fourth Avenue Westfield Industrial Estate Midsomer Norton Radstock BA3 4XE

Offering the complete service for 30 years




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Jacksons Fencing – news, topical treats and more . . .


Hooray – it’s May!

AS far as I’m concerned, May is the loveliest month of the year. The burgeoning buds burst into leaf and suddenly everything goes from looking like an old black and white movie to a Technicolor treat that is a feast for the eyes. It’s also one of the busiest months for us as everyone suddenly has the same idea at once and leaps out into their garden with renewed vigour to tackle their spring projects, like creating a new deck or pergola, or replacing the rickety fencing. Every year we try different ways to encourage people to think ahead, by making special offers of free delivery to beat the spring rush, but it still is a shock to the system when we hit record demands, yet again. This year has been even crazier than usual with the added rush for panels after all the wicked winter storms. We’ve heard some amazing tales of panel shortages in the press. Like this in the Telegraph (24.3.14) “Gardeners have been hit by a national shortage of fences at the height of the DIY season – with panels changing hands for up to four times their usual price on the black market... Many DIY chains and hardware stores have run out of traditional lap fencing, which is being offered for up to £80 a panel to panic buyers…” obviously

There’s no shortage of panels at present, so no need for panic buying!

these are sensationalised stories, it’s crazy stuff if ever I heard it! Well I can say definitely that there’s no need for buying on the black market (wherever that is!). We are very pleased to report that there is no such shortage at Jacksons at present and stocks of all our very popular panels are abundant and available at their usual prices, not inflated ones! It is interesting to note that the stories mention panels being sold at four times their usual price of £80, seems steep indeed when you consider the inferior quality of fencing supplied by many DIY chains. Featherboard or closeboard is a bestseller – Jacksons featherboard 1.83m panels currently sell at £41.90 (exc VAT & delivery). A little pricier than the usual DIY chain price, but when you consider Jacksons panels are very high quality, made from the best material, kiln dried


Tongue and Groove effect panels (horizontal) with premier square trellis topper panels

and pressure treated softwood to give them a 25-year guarantee – which means a very low lifetime cost, it seems a nobrainer… If you are in a position to spend more, look at what you could get for £80 – Jacksons premium panels – Tongue and Groove effect 1.83m are £84.45 (exc. VAT & delivery). These are beautifully designed with a morticed and tenoned frame for extra strength, the timber is planed all round and assembled with nonrust stainless steel fixings, not to mention the outstanding Jacksons 25 year Jakcure guarantee, why would you want to waste your money buying anything less? This isn’t just fencing – this is Jacksons Fencing! For more info visit your local page: Louise Tomlin



Enter the free prize draw and be in with a chance to win a pair of our lovely new Sissinghurst square planters. Simply log on to your local page, address below and follow the easy instructions on how to enter. The draw closes 30.6.14. To enter go to:


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Independent company with the personal touch. We open 6 days a week giving a home selection service from our large range. N Carpets – wide range of 80/20 wool mix starting from £9.99 per square metre N remnants and roll stock available N Bespoke rugs N Mix and match designer range N Engineered and solid wood flooring N Vinyls and luxury vinyl tiles N Laminates N Natural flooring including sisal and seagrass N Artificial grass N Entrance matting N Wide selection of ceramic floor tiles

Community at the heart of Somerse

LIVING and working in Cheddar, Somerset Glass and Gardens have the community at their core. They strive to deliver maximum benefits to the community by using local suppliers, local tradesmen and local employees. Their customers tell them they welcome their “no sales pressure” approach, speedy quotations and value for money. Living in the same community as their customers and depending on their valued business means Somerset Glass & Gardens need to protect their outstanding reputation by insisting on excellent service, a high quality product, and low prices. They are one of the few companies in Somerset who are

All domestic and commercial work undertaken including professional measuring and fitting service.

Showroom 1, Evercreech Junction, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6NA

T: 01749 831578

• High quality external paving • Internal flooring • Ornamental furniture • Saddle stones • Ornamental garden features

Tel: 01458 241114 • Mob: 07971 693594 Web: e-mail: Downslade Quarry, Hermitage Road, Upton, Long Sutton, Langport, Somerset TA10 9NW


See us on stand E98 at the North Somerset Show


TEL: 01934 812999 or 01275 759011 PAGE 84 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

Visit our showroom at: 149-151 Oldmixon Road, Hutton, Weston-super-Mare BS24 9QA

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rset Glass & Gardens


completely independent, meaning that they are able to select the best quality and best value products from any supplier in the market. Their straightforward approach is appreciated; they do not offer 45% off deals or other questionable marketing ploys. They can use the same quality products as their competitors, but as a small, local business they have limited overheads, so their costs can remain low. They offer replacement windows and doors, fascias, guttering and cladding, new conservatories, glass and hard landscaping and landscaping for the garden. With over 15 years’ experience, Somerset Glass & Garden offer a 10 year guarantee, a wide range of styles and a price match guarantee.


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Flood relief funds boosted by dressage event

A FABULOUS night was had by all at the dressage to music gala evening held at Stretcholt Equestrian centre in aid of the Somerset Levels Relief Appeal and £2,350 was raised for the cause. Over 100 spectators supported this worthy cause and were entertained with With CELIA some spectacular displays of dressage and GADD an auction of promises hosted by myself and Helen Griffiths. The evening started with a well ridden test at Advanced Medium level by Helen Griffiths on her own horse Velocity III and List 3a judge Alicia Anderson explained to the audience what the judge is looking for at this level and how correctly chosen music can help enhance the overall picture. Other promising tests were ridden by all the riders and the audience in particular loved Josie Moore’s stallion Free Spirit, and the wonderful Tiger Tim who has since been placed third in the Elementary Winter national championships which is a terrific achievement for rider Alysia Matravers on this talented and versatile cob. Paralympic gold medallist Debbie Criddle gave a very interesting talk about how the horses are trained for this sport, and then Edward Chanin gave a creditable performance on his own My Rubicon. Sally Goodwin-Davis rounded off the tests with a Grand Prix performance on her own 21-year-old Jeremy and then Helen and I squeezed a considerable amount of money out of the audience during the auction of promises before they were allowed to escape home to the warmth. We would like to say a huge thank you to Anne-Marie Swainston for helping tirelessly with the organisation and on the night and to all who donated an auction prize which

May 2014 show dates Sunday 4th BYRDS at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Davis Lane, Clevedon Monday 5th BYRDS at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Davis Lane, Clevedon Wednesday 7th Higher unaffiliated evening show jumping at Badgworth Arena Wednesday 7th – Sunday 11th The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials – Badminton Saturday 10th British Dressage at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Davis Lane, Clevedon


included Adam Kemp, Matt Frost, Justine Sole, Peter Richards, Rug-tack, the Taunton Vale Harriers and Gloria Bianco. Also, a huge thank you to Wendy and the team at Stretcholt for allowing the use of the arena free of charge to help support the fund. Another fundraising event is planned for later on in the year.

Sunday 11th Unaffiliated show jumping at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Davis Lane, Clevedon Wednesday 14th The Weston and Banwell Harriers Point to Point evening meeting at Cothelstone Lower evening unaffiliated show jumping at Badgworth Arena Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th BSJA Seniors at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Davis Lane, Clevedon Tuesday 20th British Dressage at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Davis Lane, Clevedon

Wednesday 21st Higher evening unaffiliated show jumping at Badgworth Arena Saturday 24th Unaffiliated dressage and show jumping at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Davis Lane, Clevedon Sunday 25th Wales and West Arab Show at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Davis Lane, Clevedon Wednesday 28th Lower unaffiliated evening show jumping at Badgworth Arena



Page 87

S p e c t a c u l a r se t t i n g f o r h o r s e t r ia ls

SOUTHFIELD House at Whatley, near Frome, will once again provide the elegantly scenic backdrop to the Nunney International Horse Trials in June. Hundreds of competitors – watched by hundreds more spectators – will gather at the Grade 2 listed home of Angela Yeoman for three days of action, from the elegance of dressage and the accuracy of showjumping to the thrills on the cross country course. Several famous names are expected to be amongst those competing between Friday, June 13th and Sunday, June 15th. Previous competitors include British team members Issy Taylor, Tina Gifford and Lucy Wiegersma as well as a strong hand of overseas competitors like Chris Burton, Sir Mark Todd and Blyth Tait. Classes range from BE100, which is novice level, to a CIC2* which is an international class. Committee member Sam Griffiths, who represented his native Australia at London 2012, plays a key role in the horse trials, giving free course walks and being the official “face” of the event. He said: “It’s such a great competition and even though it is only in its third year, it is already well established in the


calendar. It always rides exceptionally well. The free course walks are a great initiative and are always very popular. It’s great to be able to offer advice about how to ride the different courses.” Trade stands around the outside of the arena and a popular food corner selling local produce all add to the atmosphere. Organiser Alisa Hunter-Gordon said: “The food corner is a really popular meeting point, as well as a place to sit down, relax and have chat so this year we are moving it so that it is in full view of the main arena which will give a real sense of involvement in the excitement of the competition.” Also new this year is free entry on Friday, with Saturday and Sunday costing £12 per car.

More information is available at


(Photo courtesy of Esp-Photographic)

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L o c a l M e nd i p r i d er t a k es o n t h e w o r l d a t B a dm i n t o n THE Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials takes place from May 7th – 11th and for 2014 there is a true international field promising a fantastic weekend of sport. Mendip rider Dani Evans, who started her eventing career from her uncle and aunt, Tim and Toni Warren’s yard at Hunstrete, is competing against the best in the world on Raphael II and will be one to watch. Raphael II is owned by Vanessa Watson and Dani has produced him through the levels from a five-year-old and in 2012 they won the individual bronze medal at the Young Rider championships. Dani spent three years with Tim and Toni riding for the Warren Event team from leaving school at 16 and then at the end of 2011 went to the Billy Stud to learn from two of the world’s best riders in William and Pippa Funnel. Dani has been very fortunate to have a huge amount of support from her Mother Melissa, and her grandparents Heather and Mike Sheppard and it will be really lovely to be able to cheer her on at this prestigious event. There are eight former winners taking part headed by Double Olympic champion Sir Mark Todd from New Zealand; Andrew Hoy, Paul Tapner and Lucinda Fredericks from Australia, and Mary King, Oliver Townend, Pippa Funnel and William Fox-

Dani Evans and her exciting team of horses

Pitt from Great Britain. The new look course is set to provide its usual challenge and it is not just international level riders that get the chance now to enjoy this fabulous setting. The Grass Roots Championship also takes place at the same venue on the May 6th and 7th giving more novice riders the amazing opportunity to compete in this amazing park.

A foggy start

THE recent dressage competition held at Badgworth Arena started in dense fog but the riders ploughed on and it turned into a very successful day. The Vosper family work tirelessly to provide good quality and friendly competitions for the local riders and on this occasion all proceeds went to the Somerset Air Ambulance. The final total was in excess of £500 raised from entry fees and kind donations on the day. The first class which was the walk and trot was won by Amy Bourne on Nemo. Amy runs the popular Lakeview Pony Club and retrains racehorses into event horses from her glorious yard near Blagdon. Beth Burton won the other


three classes on three different horses, Alice, Circe and Marley. Beth is based at Emily and Barny Lee’s yard at Cocklake and she currently has nine horses in that she is producing for eventing. Class 1 Walk and Trot 1st Amy Bourne – Nemo 2nd Victoria Lance – Toby 3rd Sarah Barnes – Jack Class Two Preliminary 7 1st Beth Burton – Alice 2nd Sadie Horner – Dolly 3rd Sally Moore – Ben Class Three Preliminary 18 1st Beth Burton – Circe = 2nd Amy Bourne – Celrite = 2nd Caitlin HB – Podge Class Four Novice 27 1st Beth Burton – Marley 2nd Tara Bennett – Mendip Manor 3rd Charlotte Billson – Ocean

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Where riders and horses come first HILL Farm Equestrian is an established riding centre surrounded by beautiful countryside in the village of Burtle, on the edge of the Somerset Levels. Its fabulous facilities include a perfectly laid-out stable yard surrounding the large central arena. The neatness of the premises and the wonderfully relaxing atmosphere are the things that strike a first-time visitor most, along with the friendliness of the staff who welcome absolute beginners, novice riders, or experienced horse/pony owners. There are also The New American Barn stables, which offer 5* horse luxury. There is always plenty going on during school holidays, as Hill Farm runs children’s activity days on their own horses and ponies or clients can bring their own. Hill Farm also host regular visiting instructors and offer training clinics for show jumping, flatwork, cross country, and pony games. Hill Farm’s facilities can also be hired by the hour. A planning

Equine science student Alice Darby works at the centre as well as studying for an MA

Instructor Charlotte Billson with some students

application has recently been submitted for in indoor arena and, if approved, this will also be available for hire. Hill Farm Equestrian also offers livery, which is available DIY, part, full, schooling and for holidays The centre has recently joined forces with the British Equestrian Federation and are now offering a course they have set up in conjunction with Sport England called “Take Back The Reins” aimed at people who have lost their confidence or want to ride after a long absence, or simply people who want to “Take Back the Reins “of their life by doing something new. Another course called “Trot to be Trim” will also be available shortly.

The centre welcomes riders of any ability

A coaching session led by experienced showjumper Charlotte Billson, from Draycott, underway

Hill Farm Equestrian, Hill Farm, Burtle, Bridgwater, Somerset TA7 8NB 01278 723415 or 07891 555151 or 07977 122047 or


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Rebels off to a flying start

A LATE change in the 2014 season line-up has given fans of the Somerset Rebels speedway team renewed belief that they can challenge for honours once again. Having won the premier league and knock-out cup double last year – along with the pairs cup – the Rebels were forced to make wholesale changes to the team, originally losing their Number One rider Jason Doyle and five others. But team manager Garry May was able to re-sign Nick Morris who has been installed as the new number one. Nick also rides for Swindon. Garry told fans at the season-opener event at the Oaktree Arena near Highbridge: “When I originally released Nick from our proposed team for 2014 towards the end of last year, the deciding factor was the number of Somerset matches he would have missed due to other potential riding commitments. But I was recently

Welcome back: Nick Morris (left) receives his Number 1 tabard from team captain Olly Allen and manager Garry May

The 2014 Rebels team. On the far left is team mascot Henry Atkins

advised that a change in those commitments had freed up his schedule to the extent that he could be accommodated back within the Somerset line-up.”  The Rebels have won their first trophy of the season, the Premier Shield. The team followed up a 59-34 home win over Newcastle with a 45-48 victory in the 2nd leg away at the Newcastle Stadium to win the tie 107-79 on aggregate.

Rebels riders take to the track for the first time

Jenny and Gemma from the Bridgwaterbased National Autistic Society, which is once again the Rebels side’s charity of the year PAGE 90 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

In memory of Emil: fans gather in front of Kramer Corner, named after rider Emil Kramer who was killed in a road accident in his native Sweden

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Bowls club’s centenary CENTENARY celebrations are underway for the City of Wells Bowls Club which was formed just months before the declaration of the First World War. At the same time as clubs in Somerset came together to form the Somerset County Bowls Association, the Wells club was established at its current location on the city’s Recreation Ground, a wood’s throw away from the 15th Century Bishop’s Barn. The club functioned throughout the first world war and prospered between the wars, but restrictions on petrol and food rationing affected matches during the Second World War, said club historian Ken Johnson, who has written a book about its history. Many county matches were hosted by Wells from the 1920s until the

Theo Butt-Philip, the mayor of Wells, tries his hand

Centenary celebrations – members of the club are joined by the mayor of Wells, Theo ButtPhilip

Millennium and many Wells members have represented Somerset. Gilbert Attwood and his wife both played for England in the 1960s and the current Green Convenor Ray Lennard was in the GB team in 1993 at the World Disabled Bowls Championships in Australia. Many ladies have also represented Somerset, including the current ladies’ captain, Heather Willerton, who also won the Somerset over 55s singles title in 2011 and 2012 and became the first Wells player to represent Somerset at the national finals at Leamington. The centenary year is also being celebrated with special matches against the Royal Household at Windsor, a Bowls England Presidential Team, Somerset County Mixed Team, Somerset Patrons Mixed Team, Mid Somerset League Mixed Team and Burnham-onSea to mark 100 years from the first recorded match which was played against the seaside team.  Other sports clubs and organisations are being invited to an open competition

REC future to be discussed THE City of Wells Bowls Club is based at the Wells Recreation Ground which is the subject of discussions over its future. A public meeting is being held on Wednesday, May 7th at 6.30pm at Wells Town Hall. The meeting will receive feedback from local people on the proposed improvements to the


site. Last summer, a public consultation exercise was carried out with residents and visitors to the city to find out how they would like to see the under-used recreation ground and Bishop’s Barn improved. Following the consultation, architects B2 put together an options appraisal which aims to improve the range of facilities at the recreation ground, increase public use of and access to the site, especially the Bishop’s Barn, and improve the setting of the barn.

for non-bowlers over six weeks in June and July, covering any age group, as part of a concerted effort to introduce the sport to potential new members. As a special inducement non-bowlers can join the club this year for a subscription of just 50p – the equivalent of what it cost for membership in 1914.

Amy Tate, the club’s oldest member, is celebrating her own centenary this year. She is presented with a bouquet by ladies’ president Olive Harrington, as club president David Bishop looks on

The options appraisal proposed a raft of measures, including: • Complete refurbishment of the Bishop’s Barn, with better heating, insulation, lighting, equipped catering, toilet and storage facilities • Relocate the bowling green and build a new clubhouse and associated facilities • Redesign and re-landscape the grounds • Create a ‘destination play area’ • On-site parking for the use of the barn and bowls club • Relocation of the bandstand MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 91

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Champions at last By Mark Adler

HAVING lost just one match all season, it was only a question of when – not whether – Wells Rugby Club would be crowned champions of their league. Despite losing narrowly the previous weekend to Sherborne, Wells were already guaranteed top spot but it took a hard-fought 15-6 home victory against Swanage and Wareham before the celebrations could begin in front of one of the biggest crowds of the season. Wells did, however, lose their last game of the season away to Trowbridge. Winning the South West Division of the Southern Counties South league guarantees promotion to South West One – the question still to be decided is whether Wells will be placed in the West league against opposition such as Bridgwater & Albion, Clevedon and North Petherton along with some of the top Cornish sides or whether they will travel east to face teams from Wiltshire –

Time to celebrate!

such as Swindon or Devizes – and the Thames Valley. Their destination will be decided by the outcome of the results in other leagues but Peter Kennedy, director of coaching at Wells, doesn’t mind where they end up. Peter said: “I am delighted for this squad and for everyone connected with Wells RFC; it’s a fantastic achievement. “We’ll go into next season with a

Gavin Foster crashes over the line to score the first try for Wells

Jason joins fun run

ORGANISERS of the Chew Valley 10k have announced that Bath-based Olympic gold medallist Jason Gardener MBE – known as the Bath Bullet – will be attending this year’s event on Sunday June 22nd. He will join Mendip Times contributor Doctor Phil Hammond to officially start the 10k, before starting and running the Yeo Valley-sponsored 1km fun run. Up to 600 runners (aged 15 years and older) and up to 250 children (4-14 years) can compete in the 10km race and the traffic-free 1km fun run.

Wells on the attack



positive attitude and not afraid of any opposition. Hornets beat us to promotion last season and they’ve had a great season in South West One West.” Off the field, discussions are still underway with Mendip District Council over plans to move the rugby club – and other sports clubs in Wells – to a new, purpose-built site at Haybridge on the edge of the city.

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Clubs in cider challenge

Schools proud of runners

The teams at Shepton Mallet Cider Mill with Bob Chaplin

Pupils from Upton Nobel school with their awards

BRISTOL City, Bristol Rovers and Bristol Rugby went head-tohead in a unique challenge at the Shepton Mallet Cider Mill. Players and fans were set the challenge to create their own unique cider under the guidance of the mill’s master cider maker Bob Chaplin. Blackthorn Cider sponsors all three sides and the teams had to try to replicate the blend as closely as possible. After a blind tasting, the winning blend was declared to be from Bristol Rovers’s players Ollie Clarke and Tom Parkes. Bob said: “All three ciders were very good and the teams were very professional in their approach.”

PUPILS from Upton Noble CofE primary school, near Frome, enjoyed another successful year in the Mendip Junior Cross Country event. As well as some notable individual achievements, the school won the Lower School Boys and Overall Small School trophies. Bruton Primary School entered for the first time and they competed brilliantly, said Mark Solomons, executive headteacher for both schools.

Soccer skills on show

Bruton Primary pupils on a training run

Badminton success

Frome Town Ladies at Rossetti House

MEMBERS of Frome Town Ladies Football Club visited a care home in the town to show off their ball skills. The team, which plays in the South West Premier Division, entertained residents at Rossetti House with a demonstration of tricks from keepie-uppies to dribbling. The home provides high quality personal and nursing care as well as specific services for residents with dementia and is one of the team’s sponsors. Home Manager, Mark Barnes, said: “It’s very important that older people stay active and this has been a great opportunity for our wonderful residents to do that. “Everyone really enjoyed watching the ladies play and some even had a kick-about themselves.”

MENDIPWAY Men’s Badminton team are celebrating winning the North Somerset Men’s Division One league this season. This is Mendipway’s first season playing at Wells Cathedral School and the venue has been enjoyed by all that have visited. Mendipway will be looking to attract new players when the new season starts in September. Details:


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Everything there at Westcountry Game Fair


Photos by Mark Adler

Displays and demonstrations in the main indoor arena attracted big crowds over the two days of the Westcountry Game Fair at the Royal Bath and West Showground

Gundog obedience and retrieve classes underway

Some of the shotguns and antique weapons on display on a stand run by dealer Arthur Harvey, from Worle

A spring in their step – dogs are put to their test over hay bales

The Highbridge, Hunstspill and Burnham Wildfowlers Club is celebrating its 60th anniversary. The club has 60 members and covers the coastline from Burnham-on-Sea to Combwich. It is involved in various conservation projects. The club will celebrate its anniversary with a dinner in October. Tim Andrews from the club is pictured (left) with Gail Dean and club secretary Martin Puddy, from Mark PAGE 94 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

A competitor takes aim during a clay pigeon shoot

Jade and Darren with Coco and Jaffa on the Avon Owls display stand in the smallholders section

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Food for thought

REGULAR visitors to the Royal Bath and West Show can expect to see some big changes to this year’s programme of events as well as several new features. Livestock competitions have been extended to take place on the Saturday of the show; they include the dairy interbreed championship, commercial beef classes, dairy calf classes and young farmers’ stock judging. The growing importance and popularity of food and drink is reflected in the show hosting two major competitions: the prestigious British Cheese Awards and the British Cider Championships – thought to be the world’s largest cider competition – will take place during the show, which runs from Wednesday, May 28th until Saturday, May 31st. A new small producers’ market will be another new feature. A specialist equine marquee and gardening area are among the other new additions to the show. The garden area will feature a

W I N L A D I E S ’ D AY T I C K E T S

MENDIP Times and the organisers of the Royal Bath and West Show have teamed up to offer readers the chance to win VIP tickets to Ladies’ Day on Friday, May 30th. The winner will receive two tickets to the glamorous event. To enter, please answer the following question: what is the name of the show manager? Please send your answer on a postcard to: Bath and West Show Competition, Mendip Times, Coombe Lodge, Blagdon, BS40 7RG. Entries must be received by Friday, May 16th. The editor’s decision is final.


Upper crust: Bath and West. Show Society chief executive Jane Guise is offered cider by John Thatcher, cheese by expert Juliet Harbutt and bread from David Mizon, Bob Burns and Marion Symonds, judges in the new bakery competition.

wildlife meadow, an Instant Garden Challenge, talks and demonstrations and a floral art marquee. The show is also hosting a new competition to celebrate the unsung female heroes of farming and rural communities. Nominations are now open for The Farm Woman of the Year Award. Show manager Alan Lyons said: “Running a farm is not easy and women play a huge role in today’s industry, working long hours, supporting their families and often acting as the mainstay of their communities in good times and bad.” The winner will enjoy a spa day for two and all shortlisted entrants will win VIP tickets to Ladies’ Day, which is on Friday, May 30th.

Time to party!

MIDSOMER Fest is back for its second year! Hundreds attended the event at Norton Radstock College last year and just over £300 was raised for charity. It’s being held on Saturday June 7th, from 11am until 3pm, outside the college’s new North Side building. All proceeds from the day will go to The Somer Valley Food Bank, which provides emergency food and support to people in financial crisis, and the college’s Student Hardship Fund. There will be great live music from two bands who originated in Midsomer Norton – Killing Felix, a four-piece alternative indierock band, and Confectionery, five friends who decided it was time to bring rock and roll back to life. You can visit the great selection of stalls selling lovely handmade items, plus Midsomer Vintage Market will be there, which is normally found on Midsomer Norton High Street once a month. You can also wander around the college’s gardens and stop off for a guided tour of the Animal House, or have a go on the bouncy castle and get your face painted. There will be fantastic food, cream teas and a bar – all the ingredients you need for a fabulous afternoon with family and friends.


Last month we offered the chance to win family tickets to the North Somerset Show. The first correct entries drawn were from Mrs Eleanor Powell, from Wells, and A. Pargeter, from Saltford. We also ran a compeition to win a family ticket at Bath Racecourse's Countryside Day; the first correct entry drawn was from Beth Jefferies from Wellow Tyning, Bath. Both events are on May 5th. MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014 • PAGE 95

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T h e


M e n d i p

Please send entries for these listings as a single paragraph of approximately 25 words. We’re happy to list entries for charities and voluntary groups free of charge – but please submit them in the format below. Commercial entries cost £25.

Thursday May 1st Irish Set Dancing at Dinder Village Hall 8.30pm to 10.30pm, plus every Thursday in May, all welcome. Details: 01458 210051. Cheddar Valley U3A AGM followed by “Trick or Treat: Fakes and Forgeries” a talk by Richard Kay, Auctioneer of TV’s “Bargain Hunt”, “Flog it” and “Antiques Road Trip” fame, 2.15pm at Draycott Memorial Hall BS27 3UE, visitors welcome. Details: 01934 710242 or Saturday May 3rd Mendip Society Walk, Wells to Pen Hill, 2pm. Details: John 01934 842868. Terzetto, Songs from Stage and Screen, Stoke St. Michael Parish Church, 7.30pm, tickets £8 including refreshments from Malcolm Martin – 01749 840475 or at the door. Oakfield Choir concert, Christ Church, Frome, with members of Frome Symphony Orchestra, “The Masters of Baroque” featuring Vivaldi’s “Gloria”, Handel’s “Dettingen Te Deum”, and J.S.Bach’s “Cantata No.21”, 7.30pm. Details: 01373 464839. Kingston Seymour Market, village hall, with a wide range of stalls, 10am-12noon. Somerset Wildlife Trust plant sale and open garden, Rookery House, The Causeway, Mark, 10.30am-1pm, entrance £2 inc coffee. Saturday May 3rd – Saturday May 17th The Bristol Savages 104th art exhibition, Red Lodge, Park Row, Bristol, 10am-4.45pm each day. Details: Sunday May 4th Downside Abbey and School Concours d’Elegance of classic cars, 12noon. Yeo Valley Organic Garden Plant Fair, 11am-5pm, Holt Farm, Blagdon, BS40 7SQ, with specialist nurseries and seed merchants, and local decorative metalwork. Entry free, parking £1. Monday May 5th North Somerset Show – see page 10. City of Wells Lions Club May Fayre, Wells Market Place, maypole/country dancing, music, stalls, vehicles of a bygone age, 11am4.30pm. Details: Sue Kelsey on 01458 741165 or Mob 07793 815127. Wednesday May 7th North Somerset Decorative & Fine Arts Society (NSDFAS), Tim Bruce-Dick on Two ~Great Regency Rivals, 37 Club between Woolavington and Puriton, 7pm. Details: Rosie Lishman Tel. 01278 722579. Thursday May 8th Broadcaster Peter Snow will deliver the annual lecture, When Britain Burned the White House, in aid of the Royal British Legion and Care for Casualties at 7pm, Batcombe Village Hall. Details from PAGE 96 • MENDIP TIMES • MAY 2014

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T i m e s

or 07786 987888. Wells Cathedral free lunchtime organ recital, with a retiring collection from Wells Cathedral Music. Details: Talk About Strokes, Rotary Club of Brue Valley, George Hotel, Castle Cary, 7.30pm, free, but places must be booked. Details: 07767 488719 or email Blood donor session, the Church House, Cheddar. For more information or to book an appointment visit or contact 0300 123 23 23. One Man and His Cow performance in association with Theatre Orchard including supper at Yeo Valley HQ, 6.30-10pm, booking via Yeo Valley Website Friday May 9th Batcombe Concert Adam’s Apple unique 5piece jazz band comprising – piano, double bass, drums, trumpet and saxophone – playing well-known hymn tunes, 7pm. Details: or 07786 987888. Wrington Friendship Club, Don Everitt will give a talk on ‘Summer Colour’ and there will be reasonably priced plants for sale. The Club meets every other Friday at Wrington Memorial Hall, Silver Street and welcomes new members over 50. Details: Fred Parsons (chairman) on (01934) 863562. Saturday May 10th Congresbury Book Sale, War Memorial Hall, 9am-1pm. Brent Knoll Bazaar, farmers’ market and parish café, at Brent Knoll Parish Hall, 10am12noon, entrance free, tables £7. Details: Eddie Fuller 01278 760308. Cheddar Male Choir concert in aid of Freewheelers EVS, the bloodbikers charity, with soloists Francesca Bowkett and Kate Eastment, £5 Brent Knoll Parish Hall, 7.30pm. Uphill Village Market, Victory Hall, 10am1pm, local foods, featuring popular locally made bread, also plants, crafts and Fair Trade goods, refreshments and an exhibition by the Uphill Village Society. Details: June on 01934 418184. Fosseway Gardening Club Plant Sale and Coffee Morning @ Ditcheat Village Hall, 10am–12pm. Admission free. All proceeds to Fosseway Gardening Club. Details: Irene Minty 01749 344219. Mendip Society Walk, Black Down, 2pm. Details: Mike 01934 743730. 1st North Mendip Scouts May Fair at Binegar Memorial Hall, 10-2pm. books, tombola, hand-made items and lots more. Refreshments available plus lunchtime bacon baps. Jumble Sale at Wookey Hole Community Hall (near Crazy Golf), 10.30am-1pm, home-made refreshments, proceeds to improve facilities at the hall. Details: Jenny Lewis 01749670772 email or Margaret Plaster on Tel. 01749675415. Mendip Gardening Club plant sale Ston

W h a t ’ s

Easton Village Hall 10am – 12.30pm. Come along, bargain plants! Details: 01761 241617 or 241079. Somerton Tourism and Heritage Partnership May Fair. In the Square and the Parish Rooms. 10am-3pm. Somerton Mill open day (also Sunday, May 11th). Demonstrations of the working water mill. 10am-5pm Sunday May 11th Walk Cley Hill, Frome and surrounding area, 9am. Details: Batcombe Concert, Hermitage Ensemble four- man vocal group from Russia – high tenor to basso profundo – singing church and folk music in the style of The Red Army choir. Details: or 07786 987888. Somerset Wildlife Trust, East Mendip branch, early morning birdsong, a walk through East Woodlands Longleat Conservation Area for early morning birdsong, 7am with Eve Tigwell and Mick Ridgard. Monday May 12th May Green Drinks ( 8pm at the Archangel, Frome, an evening of socialising for environmentally minded people. Details: Laila 07930 278445 or Tuesday May 13th Weston-super-Mare Archaeological and Natural Society, Glastonbury Abbey: The Archaeological Archive Project, a talk by Dr. Cheryl Green, 7.45pm, following AGM at 7pm, Victoria Methodist Church Hall, Station Road, W-s-M, BS23 1XU, visitors welcome £2.50. Congresbury Over-60s Club, the popular Reflections Singers will provide the entertainment. The Club meets every other Tuesday at Congresbury War Memorial Hall from 2.30pm-4pm and entertainment is provided at each meeting. Details 01934 832004. Wednesday May 14th Yeo Valley Garden and Food days – first of the season – a chance to tour the garden and enjoy its produce, £50 per person. Details: Kilmersdon Gardeners, hands-on propagation techniques with Jess and Monica Ashman, at Kilmersdon Village Hall BA3 5TD, 7.30pm. Visitors £2. Details: 01373 813853. Wells Civic Society, The Blue School Council, with Neil Mantell, 7.30pm, Wells and Mendip Museum. Thursday May 15th Cheddar Valley U3A “meet & greet” coffee morning at Church House, Cheddar, BS27 3RE, 10.30am -12noon. Visitors welcome. Details every Monday morning Cheddar Library 10-30 to 12.00 or 01934 710242. Website Friday May 16th and Saturday May 17th Somerset Charity Flood Concerts, raising funds for Somerset Community foundation and

O n


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G u i d e

FLAG, Blake Hall Bridgwater, Friday and Westlands Leisure, Yeovil, Saturday, featuring Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Toploader, Reverend and the Makers. Details: (search somerset flood concert) or call 01278 422959/01935 848380. Saturday May 17th Plant Sale in aid of the East Mendip Gardening Club, 2pm at Spindle Cottage, Binegar Green, BA3 4UE, free entry, cream teas available, enquiries to Angela on 01749 840497. Plant Sale, Kilmersdon Gardeners, Kilmersdon Village Hall, 10am-1pm, free entry. Details: 01373 813853. Mendip Society Walk, Pensford and Hunstrete, 2pm. Contact: Roger 01761 490458. Hills and Valleys Concert, organised by the Rotary Clubs of Keynsham and Chelwood Bridge with the Mendip Male Voice Choir and Welsh choirs, Dunvant and Parti Llwchwr, St John’s Church, Keynsham 7pm, £10, all proceeds to Children’s Hospice South West. Blagdon Church & Village Fete at Blagdon Court (BS40) overlooking the lake, stalls, side shows, children’s entertainer, Maypole dancing, tug o’ war, teas, beef rolls and bar. 1pm-4.30pm. Fosseway Gardening Club plant sale and coffee morning, Ditcheat Village Hall, 10am– 12pm, admission free, all proceeds to Fosseway Gardening Club. Details: Irene Minty 01749 344219. Gardeners Question Time and plant sale, St Mary’s Church, Timsbury, 7.30pm, with Martin Chalkley and a panel of experts. Raffle and a retiring collection in aid of St Mary’s Church. Admission free. Details: Rosemary 01761 471790. Midlife Crisis, Pagans Hill Farm, Chew Stoke, great music and hog roast, £10, proceeds to East Harptree Nursery Pre-school and Forest School. Details: Emma Baker 07795 201 126 or Jo Warren 07766 250188. The Hollywood Glitz Ball, in a marquee on Shipham football field, next to the Village Hall between, 7pm-1am. Details: Pam Jackson on 07776226887 email Community Garden Workshop, Bishop’s Palace, Wells, £10, 01749 988111, ext 200. Weston Choral Society perform Rossini, Petite Messe Solonelle, 7.30pm at All Saint’s Church, WSM BS23 2NL. Tickets £10, available from members, at the door or via’ Chew Magna Duck Race, organised by the Chew Magna Society, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, 1.30pm. Winscombe and District Branch RNLI annual plant sale and garden jumble, 9.30 12.30pm, the Community Centre Sandford Road Winscombe. Sunday May18th Somerset Wildlife Trust East Mendip branch walk Asham and Westdown Quarries and Asham Quarries, a streamside, woodland and

f o r

M a y

quarry walk looking for signs of otters, peregrines and other spring flora and fauna, 2pm. Leader Tony House. Tuesday May 20th Midsomer Norton Townswomen’s Guild, the history of the sandwich, with Patrick Simpson, St John’s Church Hall, Midsomer Norton, 2pm. Wednesday May 21st Mendip Gardening Club – Minimum Effort – Maximum Effect, with Mary Paine MBE, Ston Easton Village Hall 7.30pm. Visitors £5. Details: 01761 241617 or 241079. Friday May 23rd Wrington Friendship Club bingo session, Wrington Memorial Hall. Details: Fred Parsons 01934 863562. Saturday May 24th Mendip Society Walk, Dolebury Warren, 2pm. Contact Peter 01761 221145. Mendip Consort recorder group concert featuring French music, Wells Cathedral, 1pm, free entry. Congresbury Book Sale, War Memorial Hall, 9am-1pm. Saturday May 24th – Monday May 26th Compton Dundon Flower Festival in St Andrew Church, 10am until 5.30pm, (Sunday 12.30pm) on the theme of Nursery Rhymes, including scarecrows made by children from Brookside School, refreshments. Details: 01458 272371 or 01458 272344. Sunday May 25th Riders In The Sky ride-out and family fun day in aid of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and in memory of Lee Baker, Tor Leisure, Glastonbury, ride-out (£5), 10.30am, fun day 12.30 until late, free entry. Walk Wellow to Hinton Charterhouse, 9am. Details: Teas served St Mary’s Church, Compton Dando, 2pm-5pm, then every Sunday until August 31st. Tour of Wessex Cycle Event, Somerton Sports Club, Gassons Lane. For details visit: Monday May 26th Cheddar Vale Lions Club annual duck race, 2pm and 3pm in Cheddar Gorge. Bradford on Avon Lions Club giant boot sale and fun day at Culver Close and the Victory Field which are near the Tithe Barn, fun fair, children's games, Punch & Judy. Details: Mike 013730 461813. Tuesday May 27th Congresbury Over-60s club, War Memorial Hall, 2.30-4pm. Details: 01934 832004. Wednesday May 28th Backwell & Nailsea Macular Support group


2 0 1 4

presentation by Oakhouse Foods, Backwell W.I. Hall, starting at 1.30pm with a cuppa. All are invited, whether or not you have an eye problem; you will be most welcome. Details: Sheila 01275 462107. Wednesday May 28th – Saturday May 31st Royal Bath and West Show – see page 95. Saturday May 31st Mendip Society Walk, Winscombe, 2pm. Contact Mary 01934 843789. Mendip Consort recorder group concert, Bath Abbey, 1.30pm, entry free. Wednesday June 4th North Somerset Decorative & Fine Arts Society (NSDFAS), The Elgin Marbles, by Alan Read, 37 Club between Woolavington and Puriton, 7pm. Details: Rosie Lishman Tel. 01278 722579. Saturday June 7th D-Day 70th Anniversary celebrations, Stoke St. Michael. Details: Al and Sarah Stewart 01749 840275 email Barn Dance, Farrington Gurney Memorial Hall, Church Lane, BS39 6UD, 7pm, in aid of St John’s Church, live music, tickets £10, U10s £5 (to include supper), from Farrington’s Farm Shop or 01761 4562342. Sunday June 8th Whit-Fun-Day, St John’s School field, Midsomer Norton, tenth anniversary of this event organised by local churches, including various activities, a band, refreshments and entertainment, free 3.30pm-6.30pm. Wednesday June 11th Kilmersdon Gardeners, Stephanie Hafferty on making garden potions, using herbs and vegetables, Kilmersdaon Village Hall, 7.30pm, visitors £2. Details: 01373 813853. Friday June 13th Cheddar Valley Cancer Support coffee morning, 10.30 till 12noon at Witzend, Millbourne Road, Cheddar. Details:’ Saturday June 14th Family Fun Day in aid of Cancer Research UK (Wells Fundraising Group) Harters Hill, Coxley Wick Saturday, 12noon. Evening Barn Dance £10 per ticket. Details: Teresa 01749 679138. Saturday June 21st Somerset Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers Fleece Fair at Hatch Beauchamp Village Hall. Details: or contact Lesley Took or 01823 461640.

ACROSS: 1/21 Fleet Air Arm Museum, 6 Eel, 8 Ugly brute, 10 Mason, 11 Kingfishers, 12 Bay, 13 Abominable, 16 Herd, 19 Drew, 20 Ventilator, 22 Run, 23 Under canvas, 26 Meare, 27 Wind chime, 28 Née, 29 Mells Stream. DOWN: 1 Faulkland, 2 Ellen, 3 To be fair, 4 Adele, 5 Mimosa, 6 East Brent, 7 Lundy, 9 Upstage, 14 Ocean wave, 15 Later on, 17 Darts team, 18 Clear cut, 22 Roman, 24 Dowel, 25 Voile.




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Jazz at the palace

IMAGES of Jazz – a new exhibition of photography by Brian O’Connor – has opened at The Bishop’s Palace in Wells. Visitors to the medieval palace will be able to peruse what is a very impressive wall of fame for seven weeks, until Friday May 30th. It includes the likes of Jools Holland, Ella Fitzgerald, Dexter Gordon, Louis Hayes, Art Pepper, John Lee Hooker, Carlos Santana and Dizzy Gillespie, alongside over 50 more jazz musicians. Brian has been photographing jazz musicians for over 40 years and his remarkable and atmospheric images are archived with ‘Jazz Services’ in London, appearing in the jazz press and are used on many musicians’ websites. Hilary Farthing, Exhibitions Co-ordinator at The Bishop’s Palace said: “This is a great opportunity for our visitors to see exceptional images of jazz musicians. Brian`s photographs capture a moment and a mood rarely conveyed through photography. Coupled with J J Wheeler`s writings, the exhibition promises to be thought provoking and engaging.”

Globe on screen

WELLS Film Centre has announced revised screening dates for a series of unique cinema experiences featuring some of the greatest Shakespearean actors of modern times. Globe on Screen will feature performances in high definition of The Tempest, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Tempest kicks off the season on Wednesday, May 28th at 7.30pm and on Monday, June 2nd at 3pm. Macbeth will be shown on Wednesday, July 2nd (7.30pm) and again on Monday, July 7th (3pm) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream will screen on Wednesday, July 26th and Monday, July 21st.

Princes Road, Wells, BA5 1TD

Tickets cost £10 per film or £8.50 each if booking for all three.


From Friday 2nd May From Friday 9th May

From Friday 16th May

From Friday 23rd May From Weds 28th May

The Lunchbox (PG) Love Punch (12A) Trancendence (12A) Postman Pat: The Movie (U) X-Men: Days Of Future Past 3D & 2D (TBC) Maleficent 3D & 2D (Cert TBC) Globe On Screen

G Book in person G Online 24/7 G Over the ’phone: 01749 673195


BRACES CLAY SHOOT AND OPEN TRY A GUN DAY May 4th, 10am-4pm 50 bird Sporting Clay shoot • £100 High Gun (Fibre wad only) • Pool Shoot • Food available The opportunity to try and before you buy a multitude of guns both new and second hand from makers such as Beretta, Browning, Miroku, Caesar Guerini, Blaser and many more.

Braces Clay Shooting Club, Maes Knoll Farm, Norton Lane, Norton Malreward BS39 4EZ

Tel: 0117 300 9956 •

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Profile for Media Fabrica

Mendiptimes - Volume 9 Issue 12  

Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas

Mendiptimes - Volume 9 Issue 12  

Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas