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Mendip Times

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VOLUME 8 ISSUE 11

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FREE

Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas

APRIL 2013

IN THIS ISSUE: HEDGING CHAMPIONS • MENDIP BUSINESS • BLAGDON WALK • GARDENING • WILDLIFE • WHAT’S ON Local people, local history, local places, local events and local news


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MENDIP TIMES

CONTENTS

Welcome

THE ancient art of hedging is seeing a revival and even has royal support from Prince Charles. We’ve reports and pictures from two local matches this month and a guide to hedge-laying from Mary James. Rural affairs and wildlife are to the fore; we have a picture special from the Game Fair and more stunning pictures from wildlife enthusiast Tony House, while Simon Selby reports on a new initiative by Farm Watch. Chris Sperring is on the trail of the great spotted woodpecker and we have details of how to join him on a dawn chorus walk at Chew Valley Lake. We also have extended features this month on health and family, homes and interiors, local business, arts and antiques, education and where to go, eat and drink this Easter. We go back to the 60s to meet the men paying tribute to rock ’n’ roll star Eddie Cochran, who died on Easter Sunday 53 years ago, and look ahead to this year’s Royal Bath and West Show which celebrates its 150th year. Phil Hendy takes us on a fascinating tour of springs and wells around Mendip, while Sue Gearing offers us an Easter walk around Blagdon. With all of our usual features and contributors, celebrate the start of spring with us. May 2013 deadline: Friday, 12th April 2013. Published: Tuesday, 23rd April 2013.

Editorial: Steve Egginton steve@mendiptimes.co.uk Mark Adler mark@mendiptimes.co.uk Advertising: Ann Quinn advertising@mendiptimes.co.uk Marjorie Page marjorie@mendiptimes.co.uk Publisher: Mendip Times Limited Coombe Lodge, Blagdon, Somerset BS40 7RG Contacts: For all enquiries, telephone:

01761 463888 or: email news@mendiptimes.co.uk or: letters@mendiptimes.co.uk www.mendiptimes.co.uk Design and origination by: Steve Henderson Printed by: Precision Colour Printing, Haldane, Halesfield 1, Telford, Shropshire TF7 4QQ Copyright of editorial content held by Mendip Times Ltd. and its contributors. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the express permission of the Publisher. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the publisher or its associates. Front cover: Alex Bown and Malcolm Dowling, winners at the Shepton Mallet Hedge-laying competition (see page 10). Photo by Mark Adler.

6

Ready for spring – Priddy youngsters aid birdlife

27

Feed me, feed me – more stunning wildlife pictures

32

Farmers’ market revived – crowds head for Cheddar

93

Red letter day – Coleford youngsters meet their footballing heroes

Plus all our regular features Environment...................................6 Farming Mary James MBE..........10 Arts & Antiques ...........................18 Internet and Crossword..............24 Food & Drink...............................28 Business ........................................42 Wildlife Chris Sperring MBE .......49 Walking Sue Gearing....................50 Outdoors Les Davies MBE ..........52 Gardening Mary Payne MBE ......54

Caving Phil Hendy........................63 Health Dr Phil Hammond.............64 Family Mendip Mum....................64 Charities .......................................69 Community Simon Selby .............72 Property........................................75 Homes and Interiors....................76 Riding Celia Gadd ........................88 Golf................................................90 What’s On ....................................94 MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 3


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MENDIP TIMES

Golden memories

NEWS

CONGRATULATIONS to former MP for Weston-super-Mare Lord Brian Cotter and his wife Eyleen who have recently celebrated their Golden Wedding with a family lunch at the Burrington Inn. In 1997 Lord Cotter, aged 76, was elected as the first nonConservative MP for Weston-super-Mare in more than 70 years and spent eight years in the House of Commons, being re-elected in 2001. The couple married in 1963 and have two sons, Nicholas who is a solicitor, Dominic, a journalist with BBC Radio Gloucestershire, and daughter, Isabel, who lives in Worle and works as an occupational therapist. Lord and Lady Cotter have lived in Congresbury for more than 20 years and have nine grandchildren.

We’re in business – join us!

WELLS MP Tessa Munt was the guest of honour at the official opening of Frampton Transport Services’ new distribution centre in Shepton Mallet. The 85,000ft² centre cost £5 million to build and features 14,000 racked pallet spaces and state-of-the-art mechanical handling equipment. Framptons has also joined forces with Into Somerset, the inward investment organisation, to promote business in the

Tessa Munt (left) and Anne Fraser in front of the new distribution centre and one of the new trailers

county. Two new trailers carry branding on the sides which showcase Somerset manufacturing success stories such as Thatchers, Yeo Valley, Westlands and others as they travel up and down the UK. Anne Fraser, chairman of Into Somerset, said: “We want to attract more businesses to the county and for them to appreciate the skills and expertise we offer here. Framptons has given us a unique opportunity to do this.”

Before and after: inside the centre before the pallet racks were filled. Guests at the ceremony saw the complex in full swing

Guests at the opening of the new centre MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 5


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MENDIP TIMES

Be nice to bees

Chew Stoke children reduce food waste

CHILDREN from Chew Stoke Church School have returned from a visit to an outdoor activity centre, with a passion for reducing food waste. The 24 nine and ten-year-olds enjoyed a four-day visit to the centre in Bruton. Their teacher Angela Hurford said: “Our pupils were already very environmentally aware but quickly rose to the challenge of limiting food waste, which is high on Mill on the Brue’s ecoagenda. “All week they carefully watched everyone who swept unwanted food into the container and anxiously awaited the posting of each day’s waste. They were extremely proud of Wednesday’s result – 600g in total.” As well as learning about the environment, the children enjoyed lots of challenging activities including a zip wire and assault course.

From wheat to tweet

CHILDREN from Priddy Primary School are pictured with their new bird table – the final result of a project which began with some seeds of wheat. Last summer, members of the school’s Eco Club grew winter wheat in a raised bed at the school, before harvesting the ears which were then threshed and winnowed at Burcott Mill, near Wells. The children ground the grain by hand at the mill and the flour was turned into a plaited loaf for the school’s harvest festival service. Finally, they used the straw to thatch the bird table, made for them by Tina Bath, one of the school’s parents and who helps with the weekly after-school club for Key Stage 2 pupils.

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ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner Brigit Strawbridge, one of the stars of BBC2’s ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ will be running a workshop at Carymoor Environmental Trust in April to publicise the plight of bees in Somerset. Brigit is running a workshop called Bee Brigit Strawbridge will be visiting Aware at the charity’s Carymoor environmental centre in base at Dimmer, near April Castle Cary on Sunday, April 28th as part of tour around the UK to bring people’s attention to the decline of bees and to inspire everyone to take action to help protect them. She said: “Over the last 70 years we have lost 98% of our once rich and diverse grasslands and wildflowers, as well as most of our small woodlands and hedgerows. This, together with an increase in the use of insecticides and herbicides, has caused greater knock-on effects than many people realise. “The disappearance and degradation of these wonderful habitats has drastically reduced the diversity of wild flowers that used to provide such an excellent source of pollen and nectar for some of our now rarer bees. It has also resulted in loss of habitat for many of our small mammals.” Carymoor is an environmental education charity which looks after 100 acres of a capped landfill site and manages the site to encourage wildlife and biodiversity. Carymoor’s nature reserve has a mosaic of habitats that support wildlife and over 100 schools visit the site each year. For more information about Brigit’s visit and Carymoor’s work, visit www.carymoor.org.uk

Jessica Leach, the leader of the eco club, said: “We would like to thank Tina

very much for her generous support and hard work.”


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ENVIRONMENT

Eating silage – from our own correspondent in Africa! BEFORE I came to Gabon, I was looking forward to eating the local staple, fufu, which is made from starchy root vegetables, with OLLY boiled then mashed. GRIFFIN It’s a common complaint of field work that the food is boring or tasteless, but I have found that after a few months I start to relish and enjoy even the most basic foods. In Madagascar, no meal was complete without a mug of ranonapungo – a tea made from the rice left caked to the side of a pan after it cooking on a fire. My enthusiasm for this caramel and popcorn

flavoured elixir was enough to convert a whole team of previously unimpressed students, who by the end of a twomonth expedition were lining up for the stuff. I still miss vary sosoa, the breakfast dish we’d have twice a week, which consisted of watery rice and green leaves with a sprinkling of shrimp on top. Even a truly strange dish, anamalao, has a soft spot in my heart. The active ingredient in this dish is an inconspicous looking plant called Acmella oleracea, also revealingly known as ‘electric buttons’, whose consumption causes a sensation described by some as ‘like licking a nine-volt battery’.

So imagine my disappointment when I tried Gabon’s staple, fufu. On a plate, it looks like a harmless little dumpling. In fact, even the taste is harmless – certainly not unpleasant. The cause of my disappointment wasn’t disgust; surprisingly, it was familarity. I knew it would take a long time for me to cast off this familarity and teach my tastebuds that this is food. I knew this taste, but not from any food I’d ever eaten. I knew this taste from my childhood, from happy memories of playing in our farmyard whilst my father milked our cows. Strangely enough, fufu tastes precisely like the smell of silage.

Former Sidcot pupil, Olly Griffin, who grew up on a dairy farm at Kingston Seymour, near Clevedon is currently working on a conservation project in a remote area of Gabon, on the west coast of Africa.

Flood discussed

LESSONS learned from last winter’s flooding in Somerset will be on the agenda for a meeting in April after a flood “summit” was held in the county. The summit, chaired by Lord Cameron of Dillington and organised by elected representatives from all five Somerset district councils and Somerset County Council, was initiated after some of the worst flooding the county has endured last November and December. Agencies and organisations who are involved in flood management such as the Environment Agency, Met Office, the county council, Somerset Internal Drainage Board, Wessex Water and the Country

Land and Business Association gave presentations to the summit. A panel question time session was then held where delegates had the chance to put their questions to the panel which also included MPs Ian Liddell Grainger and Tessa Munt. Jeremy Browne MP was also present, but had to leave before the question session began. The event was initiated by South Somerset District Council which said conducting a review jointly across the county represented the best use of limited resources of all the agencies involved and will provide the community with a single point of contact. By joining together, Somerset will be able to speak cohesively and convincingly at a national level and input more effectively into any subsequent national reviews which may occur. A steering group will meet again in April to

agree how any actions identified at the Summit will be taken forward. Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council said: “For me this event is about better understanding and co-ordination of efforts to combat flooding in the future. It isn’t just about money, it is how as agencies we work more intelligently with each other, our farming community, our villages and most importantly individual households who are at risk from future downpours. “We need to agree plans before it rains instead of relying on sandbags while we watch water levels rise. I am however a realist, there will be things we can do and things we cannot and only nature is in charge of how deep the floods are across much of the Somerset levels. We will not be looking to King Canute as our role model.” MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 7


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MENDIP TIMES

On the boardwalk!

AN appeal to raise £30,000 to improve access to a nature reserve near Street comes with an added incentive – the chance for donors to have their names inscribed forever on a new boardwalk. Somerset Wildlife Trust recently completed a four-year restoration project at Catcott Nature Reserve, in the Brue Valley. It is one of the county’s best wildlife and bird watching nature reserves on the internationally-important Somerset Levels. Thirty acres of former industrial peatdiggings were restored to create rare wetland habitat which has attracted reed

Somerset Wildlife Trust wants more people to be able to enjoy special wildlife sites like its Catcott Nature Reserve.

ENVIRONMENT bed birds including reed warbler and water rail, bittern, bearded tits and marsh harrier. The trust plans to improve visitor access through the installation of a boardwalk discovery trail and tower hide. It says establishing a wooden walkway will reduce disturbance to habitats and open up all-year-round access for visitors to see the site’s resident reed bed birds. From the tower hide, visitors will be able to drink in spectacular views across the fen and, through a canopy of wet woodland, to the hay meadows beyond. The hide will also offer the ideal wildlife monitoring station for staff and volunteers. Catcott Nature Reserve Manager Mark Blake said: “We are so passionate about this wonderful nature reserve that we feel it is really important to open up access to areas that visitors are not currently able to reach, in a way that does not threaten its resident wildlife.” G The total cost of the

Exotic looking bearded tits are amongst the wildlife recently spotted at Somerset Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves in the Brue Valley

project will be £60,000.The trust has successfully managed to secure £30,000 in grant funding but needs to raise a further £30,000 to complete the project. Every £100 donated will enable the trust to process and install one metre of boardwalk but, as a special thank you, donors giving £300 or more are being offered the chance (on a first come, first served basis) to have their name routed onto the section of boardwalk they have purchased.

M E N D I P

W E A T H E R

S C E N E

For more information, visit: www.somersetwildlife.org/catcott-appeal or call 01823 652400.

The magical growing temperature

APRIL, when Easter usually occurs, is supposed to be the cruellest month for farmers and growers, as things can be quite deceptive. The days are getting longer – and are now longer than the nights – and there can be quite a lot of bright sunshine. with DAVID However, you do need to be on your MAINE guard as a sunny day with a cool dry northerly wind can be followed by a cold night with some frost. The magical growing temperature is generally accepted amongst gardeners and horticulturists to be around 6ºC or 43F, but this is a mean temperature (the average between day and night) and needs to be sustained for a few days before there is much sign of life in the garden or in the woodlands. On average, a mean of 6ºC is reached in this area during the second week of March but that’s the average. We all know how things can vary at this time of the year. Last March, for example, we had a ten-day warm sunny spell at the end of the month with daytime temperature between 18 and 20ºC. Remember that? It felt like it was our summer! With an average night time temperature of around 4ºC the day/night mean would have been well over 10ºC but this year – say no more! We have been lucky to reach 4ºC during the day on more than one occasion and, unless things

PAGE 8 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Timsbury Parish Council has presented a cup to Norton Radstock College after its horticulture and conservation students helped the village win gold in last year’s South West in Bloom competition. The cup will be given to the Conservation Student of the Year at the college’s annual award ceremony in July. Kevin Connell, head of Landbased Studies at the college, is pictured with Veronica Packham, chair of the parish council.

change markedly before the end of the month, it could be one of the colder March months on record. Cruel indeed! A very happy Easter to everyone!

Photo courtesy of Amy Leiws/RSWT

Environment section:Layout 1


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MENDIP TIMES

Hedge-laying has a revival

CONGRATULATIONS to Frank Wear and Stuart Ford from Butcombe who received awards from the Prince of Wales at the National Hedging competitions at Highgrove, pictured in last month’s Mendip Times. These awards, for outstanding services to hedge-laying, are so very well deserved. With MARY They belong to the Wrington and Burrington JAMES MBE Hedging Society which was founded in 1832; apart from the war years a match has been held every year since. In 1975 it almost foundered because support and interest had faded but Frank Wear took over as chairman and helped by Stuart they gathered support and set about training anyone who was interested, young or old. Over the years many have been trained and this year alone there were 39 entries in the competition which was held at Row of Ashes Lane, Redhill. This old craft is back in fashion again – even the Prince of Wales is a hedge layer. Frank and Stuart have retired now but their interest is as strong as ever. David Keedwell from Regil is now the chairman of the society It does concern me though that some of our town friends, when they see hedge-laying in progress, think farmers are destroying hedges. It is quite the opposite. So here is my attempt to describe the process. The whole object is regeneration, cutting the hedge and laying it so that it will grow again into a firm neat hedge that will be stock-proof. The first task is to take out brambles and any other rubbish to Ladies champion Tina Bath

Part of the action at Redhill PAGE 10 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Wrington and Burrington Hedging Society – thought to be the oldest in the area – held its 181st show at Quarry Farm, Redhill, courtesy of Mrs Maureen Vowles, attracting 34 competitors. Becky George from Compton Martin is pictured with committee member Mark Goodwin

leave clean vertical pleach (the old name for this type of branch). Each branch is cut vertically at the base, three-quarters of the way through and carefully bent over, laying each one down. As the hedger moves along he/she will put stakes each side at intervals to hold the branches in place. Each new hedge will be 3ft high. Every county has its own style. Some will just trim the top level, some may plait ten foot binders along the top. Take a look when you are out and about for some newly-laid hedge. The farmer will usually fence each side to prevent stock from nibbling the new growth. After the second year a new hedge may need a light trim with a mechanical hedge trimmer and thereafter perhaps at two-yearly intervals. Hedges must be trimmed before March 1st each year so that the birds can begin nesting. Hedges can be laid until just before leaf growth. No hedge may be grubbed out without permission. There is a more drastic way to treat a very old hedge, one with thick trunks: cut it all down to the ground, just a few inches showing, leave it to regenerate which will take 4-5 years and of course it will be fenced each side. What a joy it is to see old crafts being revived, particularly the hedging and dry stone walling.

Winners at Wrington & Burrington (l to r) Beginners, James Bircham, Barrow Gurney; Improvers, Matthew Knight, Farmborough; Champion Class, Alex Bown, Radstock; Veterans (over 60), Ray Uhl, Backwell; Open Class, Chris Chivers, Midsomer Norton.


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FARMING

Traditional skills keep countryside alive

Photographs by Mark Adler

TRAVELLERS on one of the busiest roads on Mendip were treated to the sight of competitors taking part in an ages-old event: hedge laying. Organised by the Mid-Somerset Agricultural Society, the annual competition was held this year alongside the A361 at Cannards Grave, near Shepton Mallet. More than a dozen professionals and amateurs took part in the event. Alex Bown, from Binegar, won the Open Class and was named overall champion;

Hedge layers pictured with competition judges David Keedwell and Ian Ford, organiser Roger Noble and Finn Cristensen, president of the Mid-Somerset Agricultural Society

Malcolm Dowling, of Lower Claverham took first place in the amateur class. The judges were David Keedwell, of Regil and Ian Ford, of Nempnett

Roger Parris travelled from Honiton to take part

Judges David Keedwell (left) and Ian Ford

Thrubwell. Roger Noble, who ran the competition, said: “It was a very good day and very well supported.”

Professionals had to each lay nine metres of hedge

Norman’s conquest RETIRED farm worker Norman Billing made a special visit from his home in Somerton to watch the hedge laying competition – and discovered a little piece of family history. Norman, 84, used to compete in similar competitions in the 1950s and won the Open Class several times. But he hadn’t seen the winner’s trophy since then. His great rival was Arthur Denning, whose name was on a series of certificates and trophies found several years ago when the MidSomerset competition was revived in 2011. Norman said: “Arthur was always the man to beat.” Norman came to the show with his brother Gerald and son Kevin. Gerald said: “In Norman’s day they would start work at around 8.30 in the morning and

Norman (right) and brother Gerald

keep going until it was dark. It was long before the days of chainsaws to help.” MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 11


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MENDIP TIMES

Harvest home donations

Frank Wear receiving his award

FOLLOWING the success of last year’s Wedmore Harvest Home, which celebrated its centenary, the committee has made donations to Wedmore Playing Fields ‘Raise the Rec’ project, Wedmore Day Centre and Wedmore Pre-school. There will be another celebrity guest at this year’s event on Friday August 16th. Following in John Craven’s footsteps, Mike Dilger, from the BBC One Show, has agreed to be guest speaker at this year’s lunch. Later Wedmore Harvest Home will hold its first themed evening event, expecting everyone to wear their old school uniforms! Details: www.wedmorehh.com

New president

CAROLINE Butter from Cheddar became only the fourth woman in the history of Somerset Beekeepers to be elected president at its annual meeting at North Wootton, near Shepton Mallet. Mrs Butter has been involved with the association for more than 30 years and has served as its education officer for 12 years. She will hold the post of Somerset president for three years

and succeeds Ken Edwards. She has been involved with her local division of Wedmore and Cheddar since 1998, serving as secretary, chairman and president. The meeting was opened by Glastonbury Festival founder and farmer Michael Eavis, who thanked the assembled group of beekeepers for their work. He said: “I really value what you do for wildlife and nature. It is so important and no-one values it more than I do.” While Somerset’s beekeepers, like those throughout the country, have had to contend with one of the worst years in living memory, the county association is in good shape. Membership numbers and finances are strong. The West Country Honey Farms Award was won by retiring President Ken Edwards from Spaxton, who has become the only beekeeper in Somerset to receive the prestigious award twice. Officers for the coming year include Jackie Mosedale of Bridgwater as Chairman and Jonathan Friend of Axbridge as Vice Chairman. Somerset Beekeepers’ Association is made up of 12 divisions and works to advance the craft of apiculture within its membership and to promote general awareness and understanding of honeybees. Details: www.somersetbeekeepers.org.uk

Ready for the show

THE 154th North Somerset Agricultural Show is to be held on Monday May 6th at Wraxall, near Bristol. The event promises to be an action packed Bank Holiday Monday, showcasing the best of the region’s livestock, arts and crafts, food, drink and rural activities. Advance tickets are on sale now; £10 for adults, £4.50 for children and £25 for a family ticket (two adults three children) – visit www.nsas.org.uk or call 01749 813899. On the day tickets will be £13 for adults, £6 for children and a family ticket of two adults and three children is £30, children under five go free. It opens from 8:30am – 5pm. Dogs are welcome on non-retractable leads. G The Royal Bath & West Show celebrates 150 years, see page 84. PAGE 12 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013


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FARMING

Dairy profits plummet

DAIRY farmers’ profitability fell by almost 13% in the year to September 2012, according to rural accountant Old Mill. Lower milk prices, falling production and soaring input costs have all combined to slash incomes when compared to the previous 12 months, says senior partner Mike Butler. And the outlook for the next few months remains equally bleak. He said: “We are now well into preparing June and September 2012 year end accounts. While clients with March and June year ends managed to increase profits compared to the previous year, those with September year ends averaged a 12.8% drop in overall profits, to around £65,000 a herd.” And he said that trend looks set to continue: “The potent cocktail of horrendous weather, milk prices suppressed by processors and retailers, and the devastating implications from escalating TB outbreaks mean only one thing for UK dairy farmers when it comes to assessing the financial prospects for 2012/13.” Last year’s wet summer means grazing and forage stocks are limited, leaving farmers having to supplement rations with expensive concentrate feeds, says Mr Butler. He said: “But the drop in profits is only partly due to falling milk price and rising costs; loss of volume production is possibly the biggest influence on the downturn. Milk yields are falling well behind last year, making it increasingly difficult to cover overheads.” With most processors showing little sign of raising milk prices to cover such increased costs, dairy producers are likely to shelve any investment plans until they can identify better returns. He said: “Retailers and processors need to realise that without that financial incentive, milk supplies will simply drop off further. “In the meantime, the most important thing that dairy farmers can do is assess exactly how variations in input costs, milk yields and milk prices will affect their businesses’ overall profitability and cash flow.” One of the biggest elements affecting costs is the replacement rate, so anything producers can do to reduce that will go straight onto the bottom line, says Mr Butler. For example, with an average cow yielding 8,000 litres per annum and net replacement costs of £1,200 a cow, averaging four lactations per cow instead of two will slash replacement costs from 7.5p/litre to 3.75p/litre. “Planning ahead is the only way forward,” he adds. “Dairy producers are feeling under immense pressure at the moment, and I would urge them to be proactive and seek help whenever needed. Cash is King, and there are many ways to maximise financial liquidity – whether that’s through reducing tax bills, claiming tax credits, or arranging credit with your bank. Either way, we’re here to help.” Details: Mike Butler on 01935 709321.

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MENDIP TIMES

Joan and Tom’s big day

IT was a romance that started at a “sixpenny hop” at Felton village hall – now Joan and Tom Brean are about to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. They married on April 15th, 1943 at St. Andrew’s Church in Backwell. They plan to celebrate at home in Downside, Backwell with family and friends. Both are from farming backgrounds and live two doors away from where Joan, aged 92, was born. Joan said: “I used to do a milk round with a horse and cart.” Tom, aged 95, was a familiar face at hedging and ploughing competitions and also spent 24 years at Backwell Hill Radio Station at the height of the cold war. He served throughout World War II, with the Somerset Light Infantry, finishing in Italy at the battle of Monte Cassino. The couple have two children, Francis and Joyce, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. We send them our congratulations! Celebrating Barrow Gurney WI's 95th birthday in February, president Jill Fidkin cuts the cake with the oldest member Dolly Vowles, a former land girl.

Death of Phil Harris

NEWS

DESCRIBED as one of “Mendip’s favourite sons”, the funeral of Phil Harris saw a congregation approaching 1,000 people at St. Mary’s Church in West Harptree. He died on February 27th, aged 64, after being diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2011. He was the owner of one of the area’s most successful businesses, Mendip Woodshavings, and one of its most historic inns, the Castle of Comfort. Yet he left school with no formal qualifications – his family say he even hid down a well, on occasion, preferring to go to work rather than school. After training as an apprentice with Uphills and Kelston Sparkes, he started his own agricultural engineering business at the age of 20. He and his sister Gill were brought up at Haydon Grange Farm by their mother Phyllis – their father Ken died while Phil was a young baby – and the family kept beef and sheep. Phil bought it from the Ministry of Defence and based his business there, as well as continuing the farm. He started Mendip Woodshavings in 1980, when the owners of Springfields Fat Factory decided to leave. It now employs nearly 40 people, with bases in South Wales and Devon, serving the whole of the south west, as well as the Channel Islands and France. All agree he lived for his family and his work. One of his own quotations used at the funeral was: “The road to success is always under construction.” One of those to pay tribute said: “Charismatic, generous and straightforward, Phil was a pleasure to do business with as well as being a wonderful friend and family man.” Phil leaves his wife, Breda, daughters Colleen and Pip, and grandchildren Adam, Timmy, Rosie, Abi and Millie.

YFC’s 75th anniversary

WELLS and Glastonbury Young Farmers Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and is looking for memorabilia to prepare a scrapbook. They will celebrate the first meeting of the club at Coxley Village Hall, where it was held 75 years ago, on Sunday April 21st, by bringing past and present members together with a cream tea afternoon between 2pm and 5pm followed by a Race Night starting at 7pm. A celebration 75th dinner and dance will be held in September. Details: wellsandglastyfc@btinternet.com or call/text 07851 289684

PAGE 14 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013


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Update from Guy Salmon Land Rover Bristol GUY Salmon Land Rover Bristol is your local Land Rover centre, a one-stop shop for all your Land Rover and Range Rover requirements. At Guy Salmon we’re passionate about customer service, and we strive continuously to exceed your

GUY SALMON

expectations. We’re clearly aware that you could purchase your new Land Rover from other dealers around the country, but we’re convinced that there’s a difference when you buy from Guy Salmon.

Only from Guy Salmon – the Freelander 2 Premium Edition LOOKING for a world-class 4x4 with real exclusivity and added value options at no added cost? Then head straight for Guy Salmon Bristol and put their exclusive Land Rover Freelander 2 Premium Edition through its paces with a no-obligation test-drive. The Guy Salmon Premium Edition incorporates the very latest in 13 model year Freelander 2 design, including a significantly improved interior incorporating: electronic park brake, improved stowage and more premium centre console, instrument pack, switch gear and steering wheel. The beautifully redesigned interior features full leather seats, heated seats, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, rear parking sensors and start/stop technology. To the above Guy Salmon have added a comprehensive range of premium options at no added cost. You can choose from a range of metallic colours, and the car includes an exterior design pack comprising of body-coloured door handles, exterior mirrors, rear bumper, and sill covers. The halogen headlamps have LED signature lighting. There’s also an eye-catching 18” ten-spoke alloy wheels upgrade. An armrest pack is included, together with a heated front windscreen and heated windscreen washer jets. Front foglamps

have been included plus headlamp pressure wash. In total, enhancements worth £2,310 at no extra cost with the compliments of Guy Salmon. Make the Premium Edition your next vehicle and you can also look forward to a premium service from Guy Salmon Bristol in the years to come. They have an unrivalled reputation for firstclass servicing and courteous aftersales care with all the continuing support you could wish for. The Freelander 2 range, with its choice of 2.2 diesel power units and six-speed auto box, has been a real success story. It’s plush and very comfortable, versatile and a great performer – the perfect, affordable all-terrain vehicle for all your business and leisure motoring. The Freelander 2 Premium Edition is the one to go for. See for yourself at Guy Salmon at Pioneer Park, Whitby Road, Brislington. The showroom team are friendly and informed. They’ll give you expert advice on a range of competitive finance plans and will be pleased to offer you a generous part-exchange price for your current vehicle. G Ready for your test-drive? Call Guy Salmon Bristol NOW on 0117 239 8534 with a time and date that best suits you. Or just drop into the showroom anytime and take to the road!

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 15


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MENDIP TIMES

Dear Mendip Times, Members of Rickford History Group are researching the history of Rickford and Burrington, with particular regard to past residents who served in the first World War. We would be grateful for any stories or photographs that local families have, and would give permission to be published in a book planned for publication in 2014. If you have any information that you would be happy to be included in the book, please call either Mike McLennan (01761 462586) or Mary Coward (01761 462989). Alternatively you can e-mail me at mandsmclennan@hotmail.co.uk Kind regards, Mike McLennan

Dear Mendip Times, I am writing to let you know of the continuing fund-raising work being planned to find the matched funding for Clevedon Pier’s new visitor facilities. Part of this work includes an open invitation to your readers to submit their ideas for a design to be printed on a deckchair! You could say that this is Clevedon’s more modest version of the highly successful Gorillas project held in Bristol last year. This message is a call for action and we would be most grateful if you could include the details in your publication please, as soon as possible. The closing date for the submissions of design ideas is Sunday, May 5th, which will enable the artwork to be assessed by the panel of judges and the winning designs will be exhibited. Each winner will receive a full-size deckchair of their design as a prize to keep. The winning deckchairs on display will then be auctioned in the Clevedon Pier’s Charity Auction planned to take place in October to raise more funds for the new visitor facilities. Look out for our sample deckchairs popping up in a shop window near you soon! Details of how to enter are available from www.clevedonpier.com or by contacting the pier on 01275 878846.

Jonquil Brooks Volunteer Exhibition Organiser

Dear Mendip Times, THE Quarry Faces project would like to hear from anyone who has photographs or memories of quarry lorries in the 1940s to 1970s. Road transport played an important part in the development of the quarrying industry in the Mendips in the 20th century. By the beginning of that century traction engines, sometimes hauling as many as three wagons, carried stone from Mendip quarries to the nearest railway sidings. The damage done to the county’s roads by these heavy vehicles and their loads soon became a problem for local councils and a number of quarry operators were prosecuted for “exceptional traffic”. Soon after the first steam lorries made their appearance, and by the early 1920s were a common sight on the county’s roads. Some of these were owned by the quarries themselves, while others were operated by a growing number of haulage firms, such as W & E Evemy of Chantry. There was even a locally manufactured steam lorry – the “Mendip” – produced at Cutler’s Green Ironworks at Chewton Mendip before World War I. Changes in road tax in 1933, coupled with improvements in the reliability of the internal combustion engine, led to the rapid replacement of steam vehicles by petrol and diesel lorries. Following World War II the number of quarry lorries increased PAGE 16 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

LETTERS

Photo courtesy of Wells & Mendip Museum

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A “Mendip” steam wagon in the yard of Cutler’s Green Ironworks, Chewton Mendip, around 1910

further when a growing number of owner-drivers took to the county’s roads, often in ex-War Department lorries. The absence of motorways and a speed limit of 20 mph did not hinder the growth of quarry traffic, and Mendip lorries made regular trips to the London area and beyond with loads of tarmac. The quarry lorry is still a common site on Somerset roads and few of us give any thought to its history. If you would like to find out more about Quarry Faces, the project’s exhibition is opening in Axbridge Museum on 29th March and on 17th April there will be a slide show and talk at the Roxy Cinema, Axbridge, starting at 2pm. If you have any information and would like to help the project please contact the Quarry Faces project coordinator, Robin Thornes, by emailing robin thornes@quarryfaces.org.uk or phoning 01749 840156. Yours, Robin Thornes

Dear Mendip Times, It was good to see Frank Wear and Stuart Ford getting their hedgelaying awards from Prince Charles in the last issue of Mendip Times. Like a lot of people, I tuned in to BBC’s Countryfile expecting to see them, since Countryfile were there filming on the day. But I watched in vain. The whole programme seems more intent on promoting its preening presenters than taking any real interest in the issues or people who should be the main focus of attention. But isn’t that the problem with so much of television these days? At least Frank and Stuart have a lasting momento of the day, thanks to your excellent magazine. George Jackson Midsomer Norton


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A knife, not a hammer

MARTIN Roberts, presenter of the BBC’s Homes Under the Hammer series, was the special guest at the opening of a new shop in Shepton Mallet. The Twice As Nice household goods re-use scheme is the first in Somerset to be launched by Housing association Aster Communities after the success of a similar venture in Martin and Laura cut a specially-made sofashaped cake to celebrate the launch of Twice as Hampshire. It offers Nice in Shepton Mallet volunteering opportunities, a Work Skills scheme and Mendip Community Re-Paint – an initiative designed to re-use household and commercial paint. Laura Kavanagh, Twice as Nice project manager, said: “We’re thrilled to be launching Twice as Nice in Somerset. It’s proved extremely popular in Hampshire and we’re confident it can be just as successful here. “The scheme is open to anyone who lives in Somerset, whether they’re looking to purchase high-quality second-hand furniture, electrical goods or paint at reduced prices, or donate their unwanted items.” Aster Group is an ethical social enterprise project providing services to more than 75,000 customers, including homes for rent or purchase, care and support and property maintenance. For more information about Twice as Nice in Somerset, telephone 01749 347115.

History of Mendip

MENDIP Hills Historic Environment Day will be held on Saturday April 20th at Wells and Mendip Museum, with a programme ranging from the Bronze Age to the 20th century. The speakers will include Prof. Joyce Lundberg from Carleton University, Ottawa on Bronze Age lead mining, Dr Jodie Lewis on prehistoric death, ritual and ceremony, Prof. Danielle Schreve on recent excavations at Gully Cave, Ebbor Gorge, Pip Osborne on medieval settlement in Chewton Mendip and Robin Thornes on quarrying on Mendip. Tickets cost £12.50 and will cover refreshments and lunch. Details: Wells and Mendip Museum 01749 673477 admin@wellsmuseum.org.uk

Village celebration

NEWS

CHILCOMPTON’S village day Chilcompton Celebrates! will be back with a bang on Saturday, July 13th, promising a great day out for the whole family. The event was first held in 2005 and attracts up to 6,000 people, raising significant funds for many village projects. Organisers of the show are currently seeking any craft vendors or local trade stands that would like to run a stall at the popular village event, which hosts a fantastic line-up of musicians, attractions and fun activities for the whole family to enjoy. Christine Foster, one of the organisers said: “Celebrates! is not only known for its music and other attractions, but also for the vast array of stalls. With so many people attending the event from around a 25-mile radius, it really is a great opportunity to sell your goods or promote your organisation.” Details: Christine Foster on christine.f@virgin.net or 01761 232158

Phil’s national honour

MENDIP Times caving correspondent Phil Hendy was shortlisted for the Tratman Award, presented to the author of the best cavingrelated publication of the year. A wide range of books and journals was considered, creating a shortlist that was whittled down to six. Phil’s series of caving features in the Mendip Times, was said to have “placed caving in front of the public in a good light for the past five years”. Many congratulations!

Flying rector

ST ANDREW’S Church in Blagdon is about to start a major building project to improve facilities inside the church and make it a more welcoming and usable space for all the community. They will be vastly improving the kitchen facilities, installing toilets and a community meeting room. In order to do this they need to raise a considerable sum of money and have several fund-raising events coming up which they hope will be fun as well as helping them to raise the muchneeded cash. The first event is the Tower Day on Easter Monday, April 1st, when the rector, the Rev. Jane Chamberlain, will be abseiling down from the top of the tower. MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 17


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MENDIP TIMES

Windsor chairs attract premium prices

KILLENS saw another strong sale at the Mendip Auction Rooms on March 9th with a good attendance of buyers in the room. One of the highlights was a fine ash and elm comb back Windsor chair which was sold to a telephone bidder at £640. Brown furniture is generally difficult to sell at the moment; however Windsor chairs have always obtained strong prices at auction and this example was no exception. Other highlights in the sale included a good collection of Masonic silver-gilt medals entered by a local vendor who had owned them for a number of years and these sold to a collector of Masonic memorabilia at £420. Oriental items sold well with a 19th century Cantonese teapot and another pair selling for £210 with damage and also a collection of oriental items including 18th century examples selling for £300. The next Fine Art, Antiques and Collectables sale is on Saturday, April 6th and entries are invited. The auction rooms are open 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday and the team at Killens will undertake free home visits.

PAGE 18 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013


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ARTS AND ANTIQUES

Sir James Galway hits the right note at specialist sale! PAINTED by Beryl Cook (1926 – 2008), famous for her paintings of larger than life figures, this oil painting entitled ‘Applause’ depicts Sir James Galway receiving exactly that during a concert in Plymouth. The painting was consigned by a vendor from the North West of England who had followed Clevedon Salerooms’ unparalleled success with the sale of Beryl Cook originals. Estimated at £12,000£18,000 at their February Specialist Sale the picture exceeded all expectations with the winning bidder, a private collector, paying a premium inclusive £30,400 to take the painting to its new home! Furniture, which has in recent years been somewhat difficult to sell, showed signs of a strong recovery with onlookers open-

mouthed at the prices being paid for oak furniture. An understated 17th century oak table settle found a new home at £3,600 many times above its upper estimate, while an 18th century oak stool sold for £2,800. In the Oriental section, a pair of Chinese hunting chairs were fought over by two competing Chinese internet bidders, the victor paying £4,300. A diamond ring found favour at £5,600 while the strength of demand for silver remained undiminished with a silver canteen of cutlery selling for £3,500. If you would like Clevedon Salerooms to offer your antiques and works of art to the widest global audience to achieve the highest possible price speak to one of their valuers on 01934 830111 or visit one of their free valuation days.

Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers

FREE ANTIQUE VALUATION DAYS 8 9 10 April 22 23 24 April 9.30am–1pm and 2pm–5.30pm Held at the salerooms – no appointment necessary

18ct Solitaire diamond ring approx 2.75cts

Tel: 01934 830111 or 0117 325 6789 The Auction Centre, Kenn Road, Kenn, Clevedon, Bristol BS21 6TT www.clevedon-salerooms.com

Estimate £3,000 - £4,500 Next Specialist Sale Thursday 23rd May

(closing date for entries 24th April) MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 19


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MENDIP TIMES

A Life in Jewellery exhibition by Erica Sharpe

LEADING contemporary jeweller, Erica Sharpe, presents a lifetime of meticulous work in a dazzling exhibition of her award-winning collections at the Somerset Craft Centre, from March 26th to April 28th. Each of the exquisite collections on display tells a unique story, translated with Erica’s vision, extraordinary design skills and technical expertise into an intricate and beautiful piece of jewellery. Visitors to the exhibition can see close up how the highest standards of creativity and craftsmanship bring each theme to life. Amongst other pieces, the quality of Erica’s limited edition collections have been recognised with a string of prestigious awards, affirming her calibre as one of the UK’s top contemporary jewellers. Most recently her ‘Stella’ collection, won the prestigious 2013 Designers Excellence Touring Collection. Erica said: “I hope that visitors will enjoy exploring my work in the lovely setting of the Somerset Craft Centre at Shapwick Heath. Living in the heart of this beautiful area has provided me with a lifetime of inspiration for my work. Local landscapes, nature and the heritage of our region shape my work and I hope to share the beauty captured from these elements with others in this exhibition.”

PAGE 20 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Focus on the arts in North Somerset

NORTH Somerset Arts a volunteer-led, not-for-profit organisation, has announced the programme for its sixth biennial ArtsWeek in the North Somerset region from May 3rd-12th. The ArtsWeek, a North Somerset initiative set-up by patron Annie Taylor in 2003, will once again provide the public with access to the diverse arts talent that lives and breathes life into North Somerset communities. Participating artists in the cross art-form, ten-day event represent the variety of painting, ceramics, glass, sculpture, mixed-media, textiles, digital media, music, theatre, dance and poetry from around the county. Venues and performances range from well-established names such as Gail Mason, Stephen Jacobson, Pip Gillman and Pyne Point Arts & Crafts to educational performances such as the North Somerset Arts intergenerational project “We Don’t Need No Education . . !”. The project links North Somerset secondary schools with elderly residential homes, whereby pupils and residents create, perform and exhibit work alongside artists, musicians and storytellers. The free open afternoon (led by storyteller Michael Loader) takes place on Sunday May 19th at the Sandford Station Railway Heritage Centre. Tean Kirby, chairperson at North Somerset Arts, said: “The ArtsWeek is a brilliant opportunity for both amateur and professionals to showcase their work; and for North Somerset to showcase how significant its art culture is at reflecting our vibrant community. In just ten days, people who are looking for a fresh perspective on local art can see (and buy) a whole range of work.” ArtsWeek programme brochures are free and available from local businesses and community places throughout the region. Details: www.northsomerersetarts.org


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Japanese steal the show

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A SMALL Japanese carved ivory Okimono of a coiled scaly dragon stole the show at Tamlyns’ Antiques auction in Bridgwater when it sold to a telephone bidder for £13,000. Beautifully carved but unsigned, the dragon was amongst clouds chasing a flaming pearl and, unusually, there was a loose ball contained within the dragon’s body. There was a very small crack in one of the clouds otherwise it was in good condition although it could do with a good clean. There had been considerable pre-sale interest and the bidding was battled out between a telephone bidder and at least two live bidders over the internet. Although this was by far and away the highest price of the sale, there were some other brilliant results including some from a good variety of Flog It! lots. Keeping with the Japanese theme (a change from everything Chinese that seems to keep making headlines) a good Japanese Katana or sword sold for £3,000. This had come in from BBC’s Flog It! after their valuation day at the Yeovilton Fleet Air Arm Museum. The blade was quite unusual with deep engraved decoration to both sides; it was clearly signed to both sides of the tang and was in a very plain black lacquered scabbard. There had been considerable pre-sale interest and bidding took off over the net with an overseas buyer eventually buying it for his collection. Another lot from Flog It! was a Bergmann cold painted bronze inkwell in the form of a thrush-like bird perched on the side of a nest with a turquoise glazed egg in; this again made above top estimate and sold to an internet buyer for £1,400. Jewellery continues to sell very well and a 9ct gold charm

ARTS AND ANTIQUES

bracelet sold for £820; another £700; a three stone diamond ring £300 and a Victorian cameo brooch £200. Furniture has had a tough time over the past few years. Prices have certainly dropped but there really does seem to be an upsurge of interest – there seem to be far more buyers around now, prices have significantly improved and in this sale every lot of furniture sold! Amongst the books ‘The Art of the Old English Potter’ by Solon sold for £120 and a mixed quantity of vellum Indentures £320. A set of eight WWII coloured lithographs after Fougasse “Careless Talk Costs Lives” made £800; an Italian gouache landscape £650 and an attractive oil on canvas by Ernest Walbourne of a girl beside a river £500. The next similar sale will be on April 30th and entries are being accepted now. For further information contact the auctioneers on 01278 445251.

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 21


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MENDIP TIMES

Old books – new approach

THE massive Bookbarn, at Farrington Gurney, has a new owner, William Pryor, who is the great, great, grandson of Charles Darwin. As well as thousands upon thousands of books on its shelves, the world of bookselling is also evolving, with the Bookbarn’s books now for sale on every available internet channel around the globe. William, who lives in Bath, said: “My background has been books and I think this is a fantastic base to build from. It’s where the old world of physical books meets the new world of Amazon. ” He’s also adopting a thoroughly modern approach to raising capital, by using the new investment website crowdcube.com

Bookbarn

Good things come in small packages

STANDING just six feet and two inches tall, this is a very rare and charming little longcase clock in totally original condition – right down to its bracket feet. Crafted to an extremely high standard by James Walter, of Kingstonupon-Thames, using English oak with mahogany crossbanding, the 30hour clock – which dates from around The small longcase clock is dwarfed by 1830 – needs to be two eight-day clocks (the one on the left seen to be fully is by Hallet of Trowbridge and the one on the right is by William Stanford) appreciated. Rik Lowe, who runs Somerset Clocks at Rookery Farm, Binegar, said: “It was definitely commissioned for a small cottage and has a much shorter trunk or mid-section compared to other longcase examples.”

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Visit Market Street Antiques and Interiors Centre in Market Street, for antiques, collectables, vintage and giftware. Items bought and sold. Dealers wanted for glass cabinets. Tel: 01749 679956 or Mob: 07761 655226

Free Collection and Delivery Service

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All work fully guaranteed Unit 3, Rookery Farm, Binegar, Nr. Radstock, Somerset BA3 4UL www.somersetclocks.co.uk

PAGE 22 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013


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Classic antiques

ARTS AND ANTIQUES

CHAPEL Antiques in Wookey Hole is owned by Raj Rastogi. Brought up in London, he trained as a classical dancer, working in Britain and abroad, including The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. After his career as a dancer drew to a close, he decided to develop his passion for antiques through the study of antique furniture and antique restoration. In 1994 he moved to Somerset and bought a Victorian Methodist chapel. This became a home to himself, his artist partner and their young son. The schoolrooms have become a panelled showroom to display his own eclectic but discerning taste in fine and country furniture, mirrors, lighting, industrial and retro 20th century design. He believes that classic or innovative design and strong aesthetics in colour, texture, shape and form are the key to creating an enlivened interior.

Two businesses – one family

HOUSEHOLD Comforts in Wells has been trading for 12 years, selling new and second hand furniture as well as kitchen appliances. Based in South Street, the Aladdin’s Cave of a store is spread over two floors and it also sells people’s unwanted furniture and domestic appliances. At the end of last year, owner Steve Pledger and his family expanded to open Market Street Antiques and Interiors, selling antiques, collectables and vintage items as well as modern. They are always looking to buy collectables and antiques. The shop is based behind Wells bus station. Steve said: “It can be a hard place to find, but well worth the visit.”

Traditional, Eclectic, Retro, Furnishings and Interior Designs In-House Traditional Furniture Restoration Service including French Polishing, Cabinet Work and Gilding Please ring for Opening Hours Tel: 01749 675956 – Mob: 07814 686424 www.chapelantiques.co.uk • e-mail: rraj2@tiscali.co.uk e Old Chapel, Wookey Hole, Wells, Somerset, BA5 1BP MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 23


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INTERNET

Hoax and malicious emails

SPACE is limited in these articles, and the article last month didn’t include a warning about malicious emails. The advice given last month assumed the email was a “round robin” type from a friend and would therefore have been thought safe to open. Never open an email if you are suspicious of its content. It is important, to treat all emails as a potential security risk – always be wary of opening them. And particularly wary of opening attachments. Firstly, with this in mind, you should always have an anti-virus programme installed. There are several free ones you can download, including Avast, AVG, Microsoft Security Essentials or Spybot, as well as Norton, McAfee etc. you can pay for if you prefer that option. Make sure they stay up to date – your computer should look for the latest updates every time you switch on. It’s a good idea to do a regular scan as well – look in the bottom right corner of your screen for the relevant icon for your anti-virus programme – if you can’t see it, you may need to click the little up arrow in the same area. The example shows Avast, which is the orange circle middle top. Click on the icon to open the programme; some programmes require a double-click. If you have the option to choose between Quick or Full scan, go with Full and let it run. It may take a long time, so just leave it to run. You can use your computer at the same time, but it will slow it down. Secondly, check the email before you open it. It is better to delete (see below) an email from someone you don‘t know rather than opening it and risk infecting your machine. If someone emails you and you don’t respond they will probably get in touch another way if it is important. Thirdly, beware of Phishing and Pharming (see February 2010 article – available on www.itfortheterrified.co.uk/mendiptimesarticles.asp) Ways to delete an email without opening it vary depending on your email system – most online providers are roughly the same, but some inbuilt programmes and some online accounts will automatically open an email when you click on it, so it would be worth looking at changing the settings on these type of accounts so they don’t automatically open emails. For online systems (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc) click in the little box on the very left of the email to put in a tick. This should then display a Bin icon – hover your mouse over it and it will say Delete, so click on it. The icon just to the left of that is Report Spam – click on that one and it will take the email from the Inbox and put it in the Spam (or maybe Junk) folder. Most online emails only store emails that you have deleted (or are in your Spam or Junk folders) for 30 days before automatically deleting them. So within 30 days you can change your mind, find the email and open it. Just be cautious. And don’t have nightmares! Submitted by IT for the Terrified: The Old Cowshed, Station Road, Cheddar BS27 3AG 01934 741751 www.itfortheterrified.co.uk This article is for guidance only, and the opinion of the writer. For more in depth information, please contact us. We have two Open House sessions on 17th April 1.30 or 19th April 10 am – pop in and have a look round and chat to trainers and sign up if you wish. No purchase necessary!!

PAGE 24 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

CROSSWORD

The Mendip Mindbender

ACROSS 1 Gave Conrad loft rug for his place just off the A38 (8,5) 9 In Corfe we received a reduced number (5) 10 Mendip Times, for instance? Independent, certainly (4,5) 11 Cattle suited to cold climates (7) 12 Chap follows wagon for a living (7) 14 Had colt cremated – became very fat (7,5) 16 Bunion attached to horse makes tasty eating (4,2,3,3) 22 Muggins brings heather for growing tree (7) 23 The frame of mind to follow the more you have (7) 24 How could a lady eel be seen? (9) 25 Arrived with nothing for a brief appearance (5) 26 Disturbed that clerics did pry into neolithic remains (6,7) DOWN 1 Oddly, I eject flask to keep afloat (4-7) 2 Various points given space for providing

3 4 5 6 7 8 13 15 17 18 19 20 21 24

information (8) National Trust after French agricultural property – to make cider? (7) Rubbish at first point on scale turned down (7) Man has theologian in motor – gorgeous! (7) A slap-up do in Sweden (7) Gratitude about steering towards her pal Louise (6) OK (3) 12 brings eight additional carts to first half of 26 (4,7) Tools by Bosch I’m melting down for maker of grand pianos (8) Make Igor aim for paper construction (7) Worried by finding gelding moved (7) I’m no cad, despite moving about (7) Rich are turning towards leased transport (4,3) Top level part of castle requires care and maintenance (6) Perrier, for example? (3)

Answers on Page 93


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MENDIP TIMES

Peasedown parties

THE organisers of Peasedown’s Midsummer Party in the Park are looking for local companies to sponsor this huge community event. In the run-up to the fifth annual summer celebration local businesses and organisations are being asked to come forward to show their support. Mike Auton, the festival’s fundraising manager said: “With our vision of making Party in the Park bigger and better every year, this year’s extravaganza will cost more than £7,000 to host. “Seven hours of live music on our 45-foot trailer stage, a farmers’ market, a huge range of stalls and attractions, and the return of our Peasedown Diamond cider, are just a few of the things on offer on the June 22nd.”

Village mourns deaths of mother and son

NEWS

Red Nose Day

The staff, children and their parents of Little Star Nursery in Farrington Gurney showed Mary Berry a thing or two as they did their own 'Great Bake Off' for comic relief, raising a sum of £ 62 for the charity. Pictured are Scarlett, Archie, Charlie and Grace sampling the cakes they had made.

THE village of Chew Stoke suffered a double shock with the deaths within three days of Mary Young, who was 100 in December, and her son, Arthur, aged 80. Their funerals were held on successive days at St. Andrew’s Church in the village, where Arthur tended the graveyard. Both were keen gardeners and Mary had won numerous competition prizes. She was born in Winford, one of eight children, and is survived by two of her brothers, Ted and John (Birdie) and two of her four sons, Edward and Gerald. Arthur worked at Brains in the village, now the Chew Valley Garage, and was renowned for his collection of postcards and photographs, previously featured in Mendip Times. He leaves his wife Eirie, son Robert and three grandchildren. The family have asked to pass on their thanks to the Rev. Victor Barley, Michael W. Rowe, Co-operative Funeral Care, Chew Valley Medical Practice, Amber Care, Cholwell House, Woodford Lodge Restaurant and all friends and relatives, who attended the two funerals for their kind letters, cards and donations.

Pupils at Pensford Primary School had fun raising money for Comic Relief and were delighted to have raised a sum of £107.65 for wearing their silliest or funniest clothes, and a further £ 49.60 for taking part in a cake sale. Pictured are Chloe, Millie, Daisy and Edie. MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 25


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GAME FAIR

Game Fair for a laugh

THE Westcountry Game Fair at the Royal Bath and West Showground at Shepton Mallet was a popular mixture of the serious and not-so-serious. Organisers said crowds were up on last year’s two-day event, with visitors trying their hands at everything from clay pigeon shooting to terrier and lurcher shows and gundog training.

Stalls filled the Showering Pavilion, which also hosted an exhibition ring

Jonathan Coate demonstrated traditional willow weaving skills in the Somerset Smallholders Association area. His family has been growing willow since 1819 and making baskets since 1904 at Stoke St Gregory

Willow – a two-and-a-half year old Labrador – is put through her paces on the showground lake in a competition to retrieve decoy ducks

Not all the display of stationary steam engines were serious PAGE 26 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Jake, a German Short Haired Pointer and Collie cross, was one of the fastest dogs in the hay bale race. He travelled from Exeter with owner Terri Andrews for the day

Vintage tractors made an impressive sight


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Tales from the river bank – kestrels

KESTRELS

Tony House was out looking for otters, when he spotted a green woodpecker being chased by a kestrel. A few minutes later, the same thing happened again, with the woodpecker screaming in fright and the kestrel much closer. Then in a broken tree overhanging the river, he spotted two down-covered kestrel chicks. This is the story of their progress. SO was the parent bird guarding the nest? To avoid distress – you should always avoid getting too close to wildlife – I forded the river upstream and with the use of some discarded bailer twine and barbed wire, managed to clamber up an even taller tree overlooking the nest – there were actually five chicks. Watching from my tree-top hide, often

with kingfishers and otters passing beneath, the chicks took four weeks to fledge. Going from balls of fluff to teenage bird hooligans was another of those “not to be missed” wildlife experiences. When videoing the chicks they all turned their heads in unison as the parent circled, delivering food, which on average was once every three hours with the parent

actually staying for only six seconds. It meant if I was not ready with camera all the time I missed it and had to wait again, and again, until finally getting the hang of my new camera to capture the female arriving with a field vole. I was uncomfortable, sunburnt, soaked and bitten to death but it was worth every moment.

Tony, a self-confessed “otterholic” is available to give talks. He can be contacted via Somerset Wildlife Trust: 01823 652400 www.somersetwildlife.org Frome branch meetings are held at the Rugby Club, Gypsy Lane, at 7.30pm on the last Wednesday of the month. MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 27


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MENDIP TIMES

Make the most of trout bounty

ANGLING is Britain’s most popular pastime, now worth more than £3bn a year, according to the Environment Agency. Nearly four million men, women and children enjoy the hobby and the waters of Mendip and the North Somerset coast are as popular destinations as anywhere. As the season starts, and the anglers bring home their fishy With JUNE trophies, I thought it might be a good time to look at some MACFARLANE recipes for the catch of the day, the rainbow trout. Trout has a delicate flavour, with a reputation as a healthy alternative to red meat. Naturally low in calories, with high levels of Omega-3, it has an important place in our diet. Cook it simply and sparkling fresh in foil in the oven for a delicious and fast meal, or try one of these ideas for a change.

SOUSED TROUT WITH PINK PEPPERCORNS

Soused, or pickled trout, is a way to preserve the fish when there is a glut, but it also makes a lovely firm fleshed starter, or a lunch dish. The soused trout will keep for a week or two in their brine. The pink peppercorns are milder than their darker cousins, and very pretty too.

METHOD

Put all the marinade ingredients in a pan

and bring to the boil. Turn off heat and leave to cool completely. Wash the fillets, pat dry and lay in a shallow dish. Pour over the marinade, making sure the fish are submerged. Cover with a lid or cling film and refrigerate for 24 hours. Serve cold with crème fraîche and a watercress garnish. (Marinade quantities will be enough for twice as much fish.)

RAINBOW TROUT WRAPPED IN AIR-DRIED HAM Easy, quick and really rather beautiful.

Rainbow trout wrapped in airdried ham

INGREDIENTS

2 fillets of rainbow trout Marinade: 350ml good quality white wine vinegar 50g sugar 2 bay leaves 1 shallot, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon sea salt 1 tablespoon coriander seeds 2 big pinches pink peppercorns Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

Preheat oven to 180°. Lay down three slices of air dried ham vertically, their edges overlapping. Place a sage leaf in the middle of the ham and lay a fish fillet on top. Place another sage leaf on top of the fish, a knob of butter on top of that, and lap the ham round the whole thing, to form a neat package. Push a

wooden skewer through to keep the package together. Repeat with the other fillet of fish. Place in an ovenproof dish and bake for 15-20 minutes. Spoon over the buttery juices from the dish and serve with lemon to squeeze.

This is a very attractive dinner party starter with both poached and smoked trout separated by a lovely green watercress layer and wrapped in smoked salmon. Chill it hard to make INGREDIENTS it easier to cut. 100g trout fillet 1 tbsp white wine METHOD 100g smoked trout For the poached trout, wrap a 4 tbsp soft cheese fillet of trout in foil with a 1/2 tbsp horseradish sauce tablespoon of white wine and 70g watercress washed & bake in the oven at 180° for dried, stalks removed 10 minutes. Allow to cool 2 tbsp crème fraîche completely in the foil, then squeeze lemon juice remove the fish from the skin 200g smoked salmon slices in big flakes.

Whizz in the blender with two tbsp soft cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice. Reserve. Break up the smoked trout and blend with the remaining two tbsp of soft cheese and the horseradish sauce. Reserve. For the watercress layer: blend the watercress with the crème fraîche and the lemon juice until pureed. Refrigerate. To assemble: line a small loaf tin with cling film with enough to wrap over the finished terrine. Line with smoked salmon and allow it to overhang the tin. Place a smooth layer of poached trout in the bottom of the tin. Refrigerate for 15 mins. Place a thin layer of watercress puree over the poached trout. Refrigerate for 15 mins. Place the final layer of smoked trout on top of the watercress. Fold over the smoked salmon and if necessary add more smoked salmon to cover the trout layer. Wrap over the cling film tightly and chill until needed.

METHOD

INGREDIENTS

(for 2): Two fillets of rainbow trout 6 thin slices air dried ham 4 sage leaves Butter Seasoning Lemon

TWO TROUT TERRINE WITH WATERCRESS & SMOKED SALMON

June is a former television producer. She is currently a public relations consultant in the food and drink industry and has just started a new blog: www.thekitchenscribbler.blogspot.com PAGE 28 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013


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Recipes for success

A MIDSOMER Norton charity that helps adults with learning disabilities lead more independent lives has joined forces with the author of a local food blog to launch a competition to find the best simple and healthy recipes for its members. SWALLOW runs a regular cooking club which aims to show members how to cook nutritious meals for themselves. But it says many cookery books contain recipes with a long list of ingredients, making them difficult to follow. The members-run charity has joined forces with Vanesther Rees, who writes a blog call Bangers & Mash, to challenge cooks to come up with some new ideas. Recipes for Life will run on the Bangers & Mash blog and every month, over the next six months, a winner will be selected. The aim of the project is to produce a range of recipes that everybody can use to produce tasty, healthy and economical meals just using some store

THE QUEEN ADELAIDE BLAGDON

Page 29

FOOD & DRINK cupboard essentials and three additional ingredients. In February, the ingredients were sausage, onion and tomato and in March, beetroot, carrot and cheese. SWALLOW provides supported housing, education and training as well as a range of social activities. Tracey, from the charity, said: “We are delighted that the Bangers & Mash food blog has offered to run the Recipes for Life challenge to help us find recipes that our members can manage. Many recipe books have a huge number of ingredients and the instructions on how to create the meal are often complicated. People with learning disabilities can struggle to follow these recipes on their own and so to give them a number of healthy, tasty recipes will help them to cook more for themselves.” Vanesther said: “My blog is for anyone who is trying to cook good food on a budget and eat well, so I am

Details: bangersmashchat.wordpress.com

Real ales, local cider, fine wines and locally-sourced, home-cooked food Dog friendly Children welcome at limited times Wide range of snacks, lunches and meals, with vegetarian options STARTERS Homemade Cream Of Tomato & Basil Soup Served With Fresh Bread Roll & Butter Classic Prawn Cocktail Served with Brown Bread and Butter Served With a Garlic Mayonnaise & Salad Garnish

Food served Tuesday to Saturday 12noon–2.30pm and 6pm–9pm Sunday 12noon–5pm

sure this challenge will be well received by my hundreds of followers. I am sure plenty will find it an inspiring challenge and hopefully the result will be a wide selection of recipes that can be made by SWALLOW members, as well as the rest of us!” G Anyone who has a recipe they wish to submit to the Recipes for Life challenge can do so via the Bangers & Mash blog (bangersmashchat.wordpress.com). It is hoped that all of the chosen recipes will be collated at the end into a Recipes for Life cookbook.

Phil and Pauline promise you a warm welcome

Easter Sunday menu

Open: Tuesday–Sunday Saturdays 12noon–3pm and 6pm –11pm Sunday 12noon–11pm

Vanesther Rees with daughters Mia and Jessie

MAIN COURSE Selection Of Freshly Roasted Meats Brie, Mushroom and Cranberry Wellington (v) All Served with Fresh vegetables, Mashed and Roast Potatoes Served with New Potatoes and Fresh Vegetables DESSERTS Served With Fresh Cream or Ice Cream Homemade Apple Crumble Served With Custard or Fresh Cream Homemade Bread and Butter Pudding Served With Custard or Fresh Cream Fresh Coffee & After Dinner Mints £19.95 Per Person

Easter Sunday 3 courses plus coffee £19.95

RESERVATIONS TAKEN ON 01761 463926

NEW WEEKDAY TEA DEAL £1 for a cup of tea and cup cake, 2.30pm-4.30pm Monday to Friday RESTAURANT AND FISH AND CHIPS TAKEAWAY 12noon to 2pm and 5pm-7pm CAFE OPEN 9am-5pm midweek Saturday 8.30am-7pm Sunday 8.30am-4pm for breakfasts and Sunday roasts

Function and conference rooms now available for parties, meetings and training

Traditional Fish and Chips, Sunday Roasts, Cream Teas and Ice Cream MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 29


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Fairtrade in Winscombe

THE Winscombe and Sandford Fairtrade Group held a very successful coffee morning but with a difference – all the FT coffee and biscuits were complimentary. There were also stalls selling Tradecraft goods and the Co-op put on an extensive display of their Fairtrade products with free samples of chocolate to tempt the many visitors to the community centre where the event was held. Winscombe and Sandford became a Fairtrade Village in 2009 and earlier this year the FT Group celebrated the renewal of the village’s Faitrade status. Pictured are local MP, John Penrose, stocking up with some FT dried fruit at the Tradecraft stall in conversation with Alison Butcher, chair of the Winscombe and Sandford Fairtrade Goup.

PAGE 30 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Thatchers gold wins top award

THATCHERS scooped a gold medal for Thatchers Vintage Cider in the International Brewing Awards for cider 5.0% abv and above. Thatchers Gold cider also received two medals in the same competition, a silver medal for Gold in bottle, and a bronze for Gold in keg. Managing director, Martin Thatcher, said: “We know they are both fantastic ciders, with their own individual characters, but to have our fellow ciders makers on the judging panel confirm that, is testament to the hard work of everyone here – from the orchard team who grow the apples, to the expertise of our cidermakers.”


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A SOMERSET butcher travelled across the globe to compete against compatriots from Australia and New Zealand in an international contest. Award-winning butcher Jon Thorner, of Jon Thorner’s Bridge Farm Shop in Pylle was one of the members of the five-strong British team who competed in the Tri-Nations butchery competition held in New Zealand. All five members of the British team are Q Guild Butchers – an organisation which represents the finest quality independent meat retailers in the country. Jon Thorner is the Q Guild’s South West chairman and the only member of the team from the South West of England. Despite a valiant effort, the British team were pipped to the post by the host nation and reigning champions, New Zealand, but will be looking for revenge when the competition is held next year at the NEC in Birmingham. Jon said: “The New Zealand organisers were fantastic hosts and it has given us some things to think about when we host the competition here next year. It was a shame not to win, but the experience was invaluable.”

FOOD & DRINK

The Holcombe Inn Stratton Road, Holcombe, Bath BA3 5EB. Tel: 01761 232478

Phil King – A BRILLIANT MUSICIAN –

Performing at the Holcombe Inn on Thursday 4th April ‘Supremely talented Bristol-based singer, Phil King. He has a voice to die for’ – Time Out, London, 2008

Book your table early to eat or just come along and enjoy – not to be missed! Serving fantastic fresh food 7 days a week (all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday) or just come and enjoy our great bar and cosy snugs. Real Ales, Local Ciders, Cocktails, over 20 wines by the glass and 25 Malt Whiskys! New “LUNCH GRUB MENU” includes our ‘Hot & Kickin’ Garlic Chicken Ciabatta, Chef’s Big Burger with Mozzarella centre, Eggs Benedict and lots more . . . Our award winning main menu always available and our Fantastic Roasts served all Day Sundays until 9pm. Eight 5* Luxury rooms – see our website. To see Events about us, Special offers, Vouchers and even ‘Win a room for the night’ become a Friend of the Holcombe Inn on Facebook by ticking “Like” on our page

Website: www.holcombeinn.co.uk E-mail: bookings@holcombeinn.co.uk

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 31


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Market moments

NINETEEN stallholders and a good attendance meant the new-look Cheddar Farmers’ Market got off to a solid start at its new home – the car park of Cheddar Garden Centre – on the edge of the village.

Robin Thornes and Ruth Worsley, from the Quarry Faces project, were promoting their new exhibition at Axbridge Museum. See Letters page 14.

Market manager Adrian Watts, who runs Meze Meze, with stallholders Jenny Turner (left) from Mendip Lavender and Liz Scott, from Moorland Beef

APRIL 2013 DATES

Wells: every Wednesday 9am-2.30pm All other markets 9am-1pm unless marked*

Friday 5th Wincanton* (9am-12noon) Saturday 6th Midsomer Norton & Axbridge Saturday 13th Frome & Keynsham Friday 19th Cheddar* (10am-2pm)

A good turnout for the first market at Cheddar Garden Centre

New venue: Cheddar Garden Centre

Saturday 20th Crewkerne Friday 26th Burnham-on-Sea Saturday 27th Glastonbury* & Yeovil* (9am-2pm) Follow us on Twitter: @SFM Markets

Somerset Farmers’ Markets

Tel: 01373 814646 www.somersetfarmersmarkets.co.uk PAGE 32 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

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Sheila Petherman and her daughter Jane Watts, from Mark Bakery

Deanna de Burgh, from Mells, with chocolates from her CocoBella stall


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GARDEN FOOD

Thyme for spring

ONE of my favourite herbs, and probably the one I use most often, is thyme. It is probably the most useful, best multipurpose, all round herb – great for rubbing onto any meat or vegetable in almost any situation. Almost any stock or stew will benefit With JAKE from thyme, as will any joint of meat for WHITSON roasting. Thyme has a wonderful deep, savoury flavour, one that is preserved fairly well by drying. I never really have enough of it for that though, indeed I can scarcely grow enough of it to supply me with as many fresh leaves as I would like. One of thyme’s only drawbacks is that it is relatively slow growing, and I have killed plants before through over-harvesting. Thyme is relatively hardy but prefers things dry and warm (I grow mine in a couple of old car tyres, stacked up and filled with soil, to keep them from getting waterlogged), and does not benefit from rich soils or fertiliser. One thing it will not tolerate is shade. A recent obsession of mine is za’atar – a dry Middle Eastern spice mix that varies widely but usually contains sumac, dried thyme, sesame seeds, salt and dried oregano. Try equal quantities of each, or just mix it to your own taste. It may be a bit of a challenge finding sumac but health food stores or ethnic grocers are a good place to look – if not then it’s easy to find and order online. It is a dried, ground fruit powder which has a sour taste like lemon juice. At any rate once you have tried za’atar I’m sure you will be hooked for life – it is wonderful as a dip for bread with olive oil, or smeared on pitta before grilling, or scatted over barbecued lamb or a bowl of freshly made hummus.

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.

FOOD & DRINK

WILD FOOD

Back to grassroots

MY first introduction to the tallest grass species in the UK was on a research project on a tidal river. I knew it was edible so I decided to give it a go. I wasn’t disappointed. Fresh, crunchy and very sweet – wow! However, my work colleague was With ADRIAN horrified and thought I had completely lost BOOTS the plot. Upon reflection, I can see how this would have appeared; a man covered in mud standing on a muddy river bank chomping a very large piece of grass. Common reed (Phragmites australis) is a very tall perennial, forming large beds. It has round and hollow stems which on average grow to 2 metres in height supported by a mass of creeping rhizomes. The flat leaves taper to a point 1 to 2cm wide. The purple flowers are grouped into ‘spikelets’ consisting of 1 to 6 flowers. Common reed is found in still shallow water, lakes, ponds, marshes, fens and river banks. I have to confess I have only ever eaten common reed in its raw state, like crunching on a stem of sweet celery. Yet it has many other culinary uses: the rhizome tops can be cooked like bamboo shoots, added to a stir fry; the hearts of the young shoots can be harvested in spring and steamed, which is more appropriate for us at this time of year. The native peoples of North America would collect the congealed juice from broken stems and when fully dried the gummy droplets were eaten as sweets. They also cut and dried the base of the stems which when ground up formed a sugary flour. It was then toasted near a fire creating a sort of marshmallow. I have never tried this, but it does sound like fun. Common reed is difficult to confuse with anything else, but make sure of your identification. Remember to always exercise common sense when foraging next to water bodies and wash in clean drinking water first! What a truly magnificent looking and sweet tasting member of the grass family. If you do forage for this grass, and you can’t wait to try it, I can guarantee you will receive some funny looks from passersby. Adrian Boots is a Landscape Ecologist, researcher and farm conservation advisor. You can visit his website www.walkthemendips.com to learn more about the Mendips and his Wild Food Walks.

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 33


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Ring O’ Bells plans fayre

SINCE taking over the Ring O’ Bells in Compton Martin last year, the new owner’s emphasis has been on making sure that the pub stays at the heart of the community and supports local producers wherever possible. So to take things a step further, the pub is organising its first Somerset Cider and Cheese Fayre, which promises to be a celebration and bringing together of the best in class cider and cheese makers from across the county. The event will take place on the Bank Holiday, Sunday May 5th and will be held in their lovely pub garden at the foothills of the Mendips. These days we like to know how and where our food or drinks are produced and by whom. Cider is one of the West Country’s finest glories, offering tradition, history, folklore, and variety, so go along and decide for yourself what makes a ‘real’ cider and meet the friendly characters that make up the tradition from young to old. Some of the country’s most famous cheeses, both the traditional and contemporary but also the unusual, will be there to share their secrets. In September The Ring O’ Bells had their grand opening when the Country File team Adam Henson and Julia Bradbury cut the ribbon and poured some pints. For Halloween, Bath singer Gabrielle Aplin performed at the pub and since then has had a number one hit with the John Lewis Christmas ad. The Ring O’ Bells was first put on the map back in 2010 when Kylie performed a private gig at the pub along with Tinie Tempah and Eliza Doolittle.

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FOOD & DRINK

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Open for Easter

FARRINGTON’S exciting and fun-filled outdoor Farm Park will be open for business again just in time for the Easter holidays. It’s designed to encourage kids of all ages to get active, learn lots and have fun in the great outdoors. Cowtastic Farm Park also plays host to a wide variety of animals, with pigs, goats, donkeys and lots of ducks and chickens.

A machine for every bean

OVER half the population drink at least two cups of coffee a day, which is why Rob Norman and Jane Dunford have put their expertise and knowledge of the industry together to form Beans and Machines Ltd, a local business that can support the growing needs of consumers in the UK for outstanding machines and coffee. Distributors of the premium Italian brand Astoria Espresso Machines and Azkoyen, they have a machine to suit all business needs, also offering the option to purchase refurbished equipment to suit those with lower budgets. Not only are they passionate about their equipment but they also have their own label coffee beans that are freshly roasted to their very own specific secret recipe. The business prides itself on its customer focus and, with each having over 20 years’ experience in the industry, Rob and Jane know just how important it is to ensure that customers receive outstanding service.

e Langford Inn Lower Langford • North Somerset BS40 5BL Situated in the pretty village of Langford on the edge of the Mendips, is the award winning Langford Inn and Restaurant, a traditional country pub offering delicious food with a superb range of wines, real ales and accommodation. Walking into The Langford Inn, you will be met by a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It still retains many original features including oak beams and displays local memorabilia of interest. Proprietors, Phillip and Claire Howells and the staff members, take pride in providing first class service and serving exceptional home cooked food. In addition to the traditional meals, its menu includes vegetarian dishes, fresh fish and mouth-watering desserts. Specials change daily, in particular with fish, which is delivered fresh each day and availability governs the menu. Favourites with customers include, lobster, crab, trout and mussels. Food is served from Sunday to Thursday from 12noon-9pm and Friday and Saturday’s from 12noon-9.30pm. The Langford Inn is famous for its roast dinner served on a Sunday. It is advisable to reserve a table as it is very popular. Claire said: “We were delighted to have been awarded ‘Best Food Pub’ 2012. This was presented by S A Brains Brewery in January 2013.” It has an impressive range of real ales including the local Butcombe bitter and a menu of fine wines to compliment any meal. The bar and cosy lounge is perfect to relax and enjoy a quiet drink. With the warmer days approaching, the beer garden with patio heaters, is ideal for al fresco dining or a relaxing drink. A large function room is available to hire for private functions and even has an 8ft projection screen included. Adjacent to The Langford Inn, are seven en-suite bedrooms, housed in two converted 17th centaury barns, featuring exposed beams, original brickwork and Oak floors, but with all the luxury you would expect for modern day living. Langford is ideally situated for Bristol airport and surrounding areas.

Two courses at £8.95 Mon to Fri 12 noon to 7pm For more details call (01934) 863059. Or look on the Web www.langfordinn.com PAGE 36 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013


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Carpenters Tavern reopens

FOOD & DRINK

After complete refurbishment, Sue, Pete and the team welcome you to their exciting new venture. We pride ourselves on excellent ales, quality wines, delicious, locally-sourced food and outstanding service.

THE Carpenters Tavern on Dundry has reopened, thanks to Pete and Sue Roberts, who have lived in the Chew Valley for 30 years, and have over 25 years’ experience in the hospitality trade, catering for weddings and corporate events as Topline Catering Ltd. After being closed for six months the pub has undergone extensive refurbishment by local builders, carpenters, decorators and electricians, who have transformed it into a light and airy place with a cosy atmosphere. The traditional bar and snug serves cask ales such as Butcombe and London Pride plus a selection of lagers, ciders, fine wines and lovely freshly ground coffee, while the dining area is spacious and the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a leisurely meal with friends and family. The menu suits all tastes with lighter bites offered at lunch time and an evening menu including pub classics such as Butcombe battered fish with hand cut chips and homemade beefburgers. Daily specials are also available, while Sundays are all about roasts with a good selection of steaming veg, crisp roasties and home-made Yorkshire puds. Private parties and family celebrations can be arranged with music and a selection of menu ideas to suit all budgets and tastes. Pop in to see the changes!

Whether you are joining us for a cosy drink in our snug bar, a quiet lunch with friends or a special family party, the Carpenters Tavern is the perfect spot to relax and unwind. Come and see the changes.

Call 0117 964 6423

BEAH

English & Mediterranean Restaurant presents

‘A TASTE OF MOROCCO’

Friday April 26th with dancing from ’Raheesha’

Menu

To Start Homemade humus with pitta bread (v) or Marinated aubergine with tahini dressing (v) or Homemade falafel (v) with mint & cucumber yoghurt & mixed pepper salad or Briouat filled with goats cheese, sundried tomato & coriander with mixed salad & yoghurt dressing (v) Main Course Chicken tagine Chicken breast rubbed in herbs with lemon, green olives & caramelised onion & raisins or Pear & seasonal vegetable tagine (v) or Kofta tagine – minced beef meatballs with tomato sauce & egg (All main courses served with cous cous) Desserts Fresh fruit plate or Briouats (Moroccan pastries) £24.95 per person

To reserve your table call

01749 678111 or visit our website: www.beah.co.uk 2, Union Street, Wells, Somerset BA5 2PU Our beautiful ‘chapel’ function room is available for private parties – call Nicola for more details or email info@beah.co.uk MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 37


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The Almshouse Tea Shop Breakfast, lunch & afternoon tea in an historic, medieval setting e Square, Axbridge, Somerset BS26 2AR

01934 733720

www.thealmshouseteashop.co.uk Wednesday-Friday 9-5pm (Closed Mon & Tues) Weekends & Bank Holidays 10-4pm

3 High Street, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5AA

Traditional Free House

The Bell

01749 345393

Come and enjoy The Bell’s famous Sunday Carvery in our refurbished restaurant. Lunch served 12-2.30 (bookings advisable)

Traditional Sunday Lunch the way it should be – freshlycooked and using local produce – in family-friendly surroundings Karaoke evenings and live bands – phone for details

We’ve got it covered

Make time for Sunday lunch

THE Bell freehouse in Shepton Mallet is helping to maintain a fine British tradition – that families should sit down together to enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch. It’s increasingly the only time of the week when all the family can get together and the Bell’s carvery on a Sunday is the place to go. Owner Juliet Watchman and her team have earned glowing praise for the carvery and for the family-friendly atmosphere in the 44-seater restaurant, which underwent complete refurbishment in recent months. Juliet, who learned to cook when growing up on a farm, uses only locally-sourced produce and everything is freshly-cooked. And, as one regular customer said: “The gravy must be the best in the country!” Mike Taft, Juliet’s partner, said: “People come back time and time again for our Sunday lunches. There is always a friendly atmosphere and people can be assured they will be enjoying traditional food, cooked the way it should be.”

Mendip Times Distribution Points

Mendip Times is available from over 800 outlets across the Mendips from superstores to village stores and post offices, farm shops, supermarkets, garden centres, pubs, inns, hotels and restaurants, doctors’ surgeries, libraries and tourist information centres. ALHAMPTON AXBRIDGE BALTONSBOROUGH BACKWELL BANWELL BARROW GURNEY BARTON ST. DAVID BECKINGTON BISHOP SUTTON BLACKFORD BLAGDON BLEADON BRENT KNOLL BRISTOL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT BROCKLEY BRUTON BUCKLAND DINHAM BURCOTT BURRINGTON BUTLEIGH CAMERTON CASTLE CARY CHARTERHOUSE CHEDDAR CHELYNCH CHEW MAGNA CHEW STOKE CHEWTON MENDIP

CHILCOMPTON CHURCHILL CLANDOWN CLEEVE CLUTTON COCKLAKE COLEFORD COMPTON DANDO COMPTON MARTIN CONGRESBURY COXLEY CRANMORE CROSCOMBE CROSS DITCHEAT DOULTING DRAYCOTT DUNDRY EAST HARPTREE EASTON EMBOROUGH EVERCREECH FARMBOROUGH FARRINGTON GURNEY FAULKLAND FELTON FROME GLASTONBURY GREEN ORE

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GURNEY SLADE HALLATROW HIGH LITTLETON HINTON BLEWETT HOLCOMBE HUNSTRETE HUTTON KEINTON MANDEVILLE KILMERSDON LANGFORD LEIGH on MENDIP LITTON LONG ASHTON LYDFORD ON FOSSE LYMPSHAM MARK MARKSBURY MASBURY MELLS MIDSOMER NORTON NAILSEA NETTLEBRIDGE NORTON MALREWARD NORTON ST PHILIP NUNNEY NYLAND OAKHILL PAULTON PENSFORD

= Mendip Times Distribution area PILTON POLSHAM PRIDDY PYLLE RADSTOCK REDHILL REGIL RICKFORD RODE RODNEY STOKE ROOKSBRIDGE ROWBERROW SANDFORD SHEPTON MALLET SHIPHAM

SOMERTON STANTON DREW STANTON WICK STOKE ST MICHAEL STON EASTON STRATTON ON THE FOSSE STREET TARNOCK TEMPLE CLOUD TIMSBURY TRUDOXHILL TYTHERINGTON UBLEY UPHILL VOBSTER

WALTON WANSTROW WEDMORE WELLS WEST HARPTREE WEST PENNARD WESTBURY SUB MENDIP WINFORD WINSCOMBE WOOKEY WOOKEY HOLE WRAXALL WRINGTON WRITHLINGTON YATTON


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FOOD & DRINK Country shopping at its best Independent artisan coffee shop serving Fair Trade Arabica beans We’re open Monday to Saturday from 8am-5pm for continental-style breakfasts, lunches, a sandwich or just a nibble. Fully licensed. We use only the best 10% Arabica Fair Trade beans from Allpress. All our coffees can be decaf. Soya milk available

Our Mediterraneanstyle lunches are perfect to enjoy outside in our yearround courtyard – try our famous Deli Platter

North Widcombe, West Harptree, Bristol BS40 6HW

Make time in your day when visiting Wells for Sue’s delicious homemade cakes and pastries or try our sticky toffee and date pudding

SHOP EXTENDED – EVEN MORE CHOICE

31 St. Cuthbert Street, Wells

Telephone 07728 047233

strangerswithcoffee

Beautiful Somerset willow

Easter biscuits and hot cross buns

Enjoy a good Sunday roast

Local apple juice, cider and chutneys

CELEBRATE EASTER WITH US! Spring plants, gifts including Emma Bridgwater china

Geoff’s fresh fish every Friday and Saturday

Centred around a traditional farm courtyard near Chew Valley Lake – the very best in local produce and gift ideas

TEA ROOMS

Hot & cold meals Delicious cream teas Sunday roast lunches Full English breakfasts

NEW FUNCTION ROOM NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE HIRE

Opening times: Farm shop: Monday to Friday 9am - 5.30pm Saturday 8.30am - 5.30pm • Sunday 10am - 5pm Tea Room: Monday to Sunday 9.30am - 5.30pm

Wheelchair access, children welcome, free parking, coaches by appointment

Farm Shop: 01761 220067 Tea Rooms: 01761 220172

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 39


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Food festival promises a feast of music

THE original Happy Mondays are on course to headline a 5,000 capacity outdoor gig in the heart of Bristol next May as they take centre stage at VegfestUK Bristol’s tenth birthday party on Saturday May 25th 2013, along with support from 808 State and The Farm, plus a DJ slot from Peter Hook (New Order/Joy Division). And with Caravan Palace headlining Friday, with support from Kitten and the Hip and The Boxettes, and The Abyssinians heading up the reggae sunsplash on Sunday with Macka B, Bristol is in for a musical as well as foodie treat as VegfestUK Bristol comes of age and goes into double figures as one of the longest established and most successful independent food and music events in Bristol. Around 25,000 visitors are expected over the three-day festival, many of them from out of town, and many of them experiencing the delights of 100% plant-based food for the first time too – VegfestUK Bristol is the world’s biggest veggie event and there are no animal products permitted at the event. During the daytime (11am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday) visitors can expect a feast of different cuisine from across the globe, along with 125 stalls crammed with goodies including food, bodycare, clothes, fashion and accessories, and campaigns merchandise as well as information in abundance about the benefits of the plant based lifestyle, along with recipes, nutritional information, cookery demos, talks, a cinema and a

host of entertainment including comedy hours, live music and performance. Admission is only £2 adults and £1 kids/claimants/OAP’s during the daytime up to 6pm (pay on gate). Then in the evenings the main stage takes over proceedings and some of the biggest headliners to ever grace an outdoor stage in Bristol take over. And with an after-hours parties on Saturday too, it looks like Bristol and veggies in particular will be spending most of the weekend eating and dancing – a great way to celebrate 10 years as this event enters its second decade, having been established in 2003 as an annual event in the heart of Bristol. The event is sponsored by Redwood Foods, Fry’s Distribution, Goodlife, Nakd, Bute Island, Yaoh, Eco Vegan Shoes, Sunseed Organics, Ethical Investors, The Vegan Society and Kara Dairy Free, along with media partners Excellart, Veggie Vision, Foods for Life, Resurgence Magazine and Vegetarian Living.

For admission details please visit www.bristol.vegfest.co.uk

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FOOD & DRINK


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MENDIP TIMES Jackets G Fleeces G Walking Boots G Bags G Hats, Gloves G Travel Clothing G

No. 1 Broad Street Congresbury BS49 5DG 01934 877333 www.countryinnovation.com

The great outdoors

COUNTRY Maria Chilvers Innovation is the brainchild of Axbridge based businesswoman Maria Chilvers and its successful mail order business supplies outdoor products predominantly to the bird and wildlife market, with well known celebrities such as Simon King and Bill Oddie wearing their gear. Maria said: “It became obvious some 17 years ago that there was a gap in the market for good quality, dark green, low rustle jackets that could keep you warm and dry all day long, so I decided to set up Country Innovation and go it alone. “I had always worked in the outdoor industry running a buying office so knew about fabrics, methods of construction etc so it seemed a natural decision.” The shop in Broad Street, Congresbury also offers a whole host of outdoor products including waterproof jackets, fleeces, hats, bags, travel clothing etc. Country Innovation is also a brasher premier stockist offering a full range of brasher walking boots, shoes and socks.

Support for small businesses • Accounts preparation for sole traders, partnerships and small companies • Business taxation and selfassessment returns • Payroll services • Small business start-up advice • Free initial consultation

PAGE 42 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

CURRENTLY business survival is being tested to the metal; however two local businesses are helping others to buck the downward trend. Big Blu, a graphic and web design agency, together with Peppercorn Projects, a marketing and business development consultancy, are finding that working together often brings about greater results for clients. Two heads are often better than one of course. In their inherent nature small rural businesses are often run by ‘Jack of all trades’, where one or two people do everything. Small and medium sized businesses rarely have all the skills they need in-house, so trust and delegation to those with the right experience is key to growth. Successful businesses have a strong marketing strategy behind them, whether or not it is written down. Their brands and websites are honed with consideration and experience. If a business’s website works well it keeps the viewers interest, it flows and provides knowledge back to the business and it generates business. It will have been born out of a range of skills – strategic thinking, creative design and effective technical know-how. Such professionally acquired skills are not out of the reach of small businesses, but it is important to research and meet those who offer their services. This seems obvious, but the relationship between the individuals involved and the business is key to success, so always choose a professional team you like and don’t ignore your instinct! Gill Ainge Peppercorn Projects www.peppercornprojects.co.uk


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How to get started in business

BUSINESS

Photo by Ignyte Limited Radstock

IT really isn’t taking the easy option to start up your own business. For some people it’s a dream because they have a business or service idea which they believe in passionately. For others, it follows redundancy or the chance to break away from a large corporate organisation. Whatever the reason, it is crucial to prepare really well for launching a new business or a Start-Up as it’s known in the game. If you have just taken the decision or even taken the first steps into this realm, then congratulations on your good timing, for help is at hand! From May 13th to 18th an initiative called ‘Work in Wells Week’ is taking place. Organiser Judith Ludovino has taken Work Wise Week as her inspiration and has launched the event to promote understanding between local employers and their potential workforce and to provide information and contacts for those who are potential or actual new business owners. The week starts with a flourish as a Trade Fair is taking place in the Town Hall on Monday April 13th and, following this, local experts in the business world will be offering interactive seminars and talks. It may be worth noting that one in three businesses fail in their first three years and, according to Barclays bank, only 44% survive for five years, but if start-ups have proper training at the outset, and have a prepared and carefully thought out business plan, it is twice as likely that they will survive for three years or more. I rest my case! Jane Bowe, Probusiness Details: events@mendiphub.org or 01749 686776.

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 43


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Under one roof

Sophie Lang, who works in financial planning, prepares to add her name to those of other staff on the wall of the “innovations” meeting room

CAMELEY LODGE LAUNDRY

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

Tel 01761 451787

www.cameleylodgelaundry.co.uk

BUILDING DESIGN & DRAWINGS • PLANNING APPLICATIONS • BUILDING REGULATIONS • STRUCTURAL CALCULATIONS Contact: Neil or Stuart Email: Email: neil.dando@purpleplan-it.co.uk stuart.cload@purpleplan-it.co.uk Mobile: 07966 398076 M: 07792 632492

www.purpleplan-it.co.uk

OLD Mill accountants and financial planners have moved into their brand new offices in Wells after many years in Shepton Mallet. A total of 80 staff have moved from Shepton to Bishopbrook House on the Cathedral Business Park. The new, carbon- friendly building, which is being funded through the Old Mill Partners’ pension scheme, has 9,000 square feet of office space on the first floor for up to 100 staff while the ground floor has a reception, board room, conference rooms and around 7,000 square feet of office space to let to other businesses. Old Mill is one of the West Country’s fastest growing accountancy firms. Originally based in Shepton Mallet and Yeovil, over the past six years it has opened three new offices in Exeter, Melksham and Dorchester and more than doubled in size, now employing more than 250 people. Old Mill’s Head of Finance and Operations, Mike Butler, who has overseen the development, said: “We started to outgrow the Shepton office, which was formerly a 19th century mill, around six years ago and started to look for a new office in the town. We wanted an open plan design and plenty of room for expansion but after years of searching, we couldn’t find anything suitable, so decided to embark on a project to build something that would fit our needs. “We chose to build at Cathedral Park because once completed, it will be one of the key business destinations in the region. It is also set in a wonderful rural location, has great access and parking and utilises green and sustainable building solutions, which was important to us.” Bruce Lockhart, Rebecca Madden and Andrew Moore outside the new offices

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Mike and Pete plan double boost for Draycott this Easter THIS Easter bank holiday weekend marks the launch of Strawberryfield Park, a brand new select development of 10 ecoholiday lodges for sale. The park has been developed by owner Mike Pearce who now plans to market the homes and will maintain the park himself. The newly constructed show home provides an idea of the design and finish of the lodges on offer leaving the final detail to the buyer. Landscaping has been a major part of the development process incorporating earth bunds and the planting of several thousand trees and hedge plants adding to privacy and seclusion. Typically two or three bedrooms, the lodges all have open-plan kitchen living and dining space. High quality kitchens and bathrooms place the holiday homes at the top end of the market. Finished in Cedar with sedum grass roofs the buildings blend well in the natural surroundings. Buyers will have the choice to keep the lodge for their sole use or to let it out as an investment through a specialist holiday company. Mike said: “I’m really looking forward to opening the doors this Easter. I hope people will like what we have done.” The new Early Doors ale and cider bar at the entrance to the park is expected to open at the same time. Mike Pearce and Pete Simon

Strawberryfield Park Draycott, Cheddar

contemporary - eco holiday lodges for sale

2/3 bedroom open plan lodges being offered for sale on flexible terms with long lease opons. Sole owner occupier use or holiday let for ideal investment opportunity. Beauful locaon, tranquil se ng

Generous size plots with established landscaping and parking. Free decking and furniture packages on early reservaons ! Show home and sales office open this Easter.

The owner/developer offers you a warm welcome, guided tour and refreshments from Friday 28th. to Monday 1st. between 10.00 and 5.00. No appointment necessary. Call 07909 524 953 or visit www.strawberryfieldpark.co.uk for more information

AMID all of the bad news we are bombarded with both nationally, regionally and in the Cheddar Valley, and all of the boarded up local businesses, a new cider and ale barn is getting set to open on the outskirts of Draycott. Certainly, whatever your view about the idea, nobody can deny that the derelict farm shop building has undergone a transformation and is looking much better, for its makeover. Early Doors was the brainchild of local man Pete Simon some 12 months ago and is to be a small café bar specialising in local ciders, ales and produce. Even the bar itself was locally sourced – a roughly-cut piece of English oak, cut, stored and supplied by a local tree surgeon. Situated in a prominent position on the main road between Cheddar and Wells for both local and tourist trade and ideally placed to capitalise on the high quality holiday lodge development behind it, Pete also hopes to capitalise on the resurgence in the popularity of ciders and ales. It’s a tight timescale but Early Doors is hoping to open for Easter Weekend and will be open daily from 10am to 10pm. Follow progress on Facebook by liking Early Doors, Cider & Ale Barn Lovers. Watch this space!

OPENING SOON

EARLY DOORS, CIDER AND ALE BARN DRAYCOTT ROAD, CHEDDAR

A NEW CONCEPT OFFERING A BAR AND CAFÉ STYLE SERVICE, IN A RUSTIC ENVIRONMENT, PERFECTLY PLACED ON THE MAIN ROAD OUT OF CHEDDAR TO WELLS WE SPECIALISE IN LOCAL REAL ALES, LOCAL CIDERS AND REAL FOOD. THERE’S ALSO A RANGE OF LOCAL SNACKS ON THE “SOMERSET TAPAS” MENU. A FULL RANGE OF DRINKS (EVEN NON-ALCOHOLIC!) ARE AVAILABLE AND YOU CAN SIT IN COMFORT AND HAVE A COFFEE AND SOME LOCALLY MADE CAKE IF YOU PREFER. WIFI WILL BE AVAILABLE IN DUE COURSE AS OUR CONCESSION TO THE MODERN WORLD!

WE INTEND TO DISPLAY LOCAL ARTISTS’ WORK AND HAVE A RANGE OF LIGHT-HEARTED EVENTS DURING THE YEAR.

OPEN DAILY FROM 10AM TO 10PM

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 45


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MENDIP TIMES

BUSINESS

ECATCHER MOL

NO MOLE NO FEE Telephone 01275 332966

Weston celebrates success

WESTON College is the best in the west for the second year running, according to the results of a new poll funded by the Skills Funding Agency. The Framework for Excellence survey saw ‘learner satisfaction’ at Weston College ahead of students in Bath, Bristol, Strode, Bridgwater, Wiltshire and Exeter colleges. Executive lead, – Quality and Learning, Claire Bushell, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Weston College for the second year running with nearly 3,000 students participating. Our overall score for learner satisfaction at Weston was 85 per cent and our highest accolade was 83 per cent for the respect students received from staff. “This is an excellent result and shows just how highly our students think of their College.” Principal Dr Paul Phillips, OBE, added: “I am very proud of our team at Weston College and the fact that their tremendous hard work has been appreciated by so many learners and now recognised by the Government.” The Skills Funding Agency is a partner organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which invests over £3 billion annually in colleges and training organisations, to fund training for adults in England.

Family business TONY Hynam started his fencing business in 1965. In the 1980s he used to make dog kennels for Avon and Somerset Police. He also made them a field shelter for a donkey they had and was told it was used to keep the horses company. He even had an order for kennels from a Naval Base at Coulport, Helensburgh in Scotland. His son, Andrew,

Dovecotes & Poultry Arks

We make Dovecotes and Poultry Arks Installation Service available Supply and fix all types of Fencing, also repairs Established since 1965

TONY HYNAM Tel: 01275 463525

PAGE 46 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

then joined the business in the 1980s and they decided to make some poultry arks and dovecotes, selling all they made. As the fencing side got busy they stopped making them. Tony gave his son the business five years ago, but still helps him occasionally, and they have decided to make some more poultry arks and dovecotes.


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Meet a Harry Biker!

Honour for Gerald

NEWS

Harry, wearing 61, in action

STUDENT Harry Coomber is combining his academic career with a career on the race track after being taken on by a motocross team for the 2013 season. Harry, who is in Year 10 at Norton Hill School in Midsomer Norton, won a major award last year and has been talent scouted again this year, being taken on by Aztec GP. They are looking at Harry as a long-term prospect, putting their expertise into sports psychology, nutrition, bike set-up and all-important sponsorship signings. Last year was Harry’s first season in the Aprilia RRV450 class, which began with several victories but came to an abrupt end when he crashed, breaking a knee. Harry said: “This was a massive disappointment for me, as I was starting to get on song with my new machine working my way further up the field.” A spokesman for Norton Hill School said: “Both Harry and Aztec GP are keen to continue his high standards of academic learning to make sure Harry has the best possible future and sporting career. The staff and fellow students from Norton Hill wish Harry every success in his forthcoming competitions and his continued academic studies.”

GERALD Young, one of the longest-serving workers in the west, was asked to do the honours when Radstock Co-operative re-opened its refurbished store in Chew Magna. Gerald, aged 70, started work there when he was 15. He’s pictured with store manager, David Boucher (left) and chief executive, Don Morris. See page 25 – Village mourns deaths of mother and son.

Charity runners

Welcome to Frome

THE Rotary Club of Frome joined forced with Frome Selwood Rotary to place the organisation’s roundel on the welcome signs at the five entrances to the town: Westbury, Warminster, Shepton Mallet, Bath and Radstock. Humphrey Barnes, president of the Rotary Club of Frome is pictured (standing) with Malcolm Westgate, president of Frome Selwood Rotary.

TWO keen Somerset young farmers’ club members completed a 50-mile run, raising £2,500 for charity. Katie Nicholls from Wedmore YFC and Abbie Myers from Polden Hills YFC raised funds for Parkinson’s UK and the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. Details: www.justgiving.com/teams/SomersetYFCRun

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 47


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LONDON CAMERA EXCHANGE

Meet the experts – and have a great day out

THE annual Chew Valley Bird Fair provides nature lovers, birdwatchers and photographers with a great day out in the country. Organised by the London Camera Exchange, it takes place on the lawns below Chew Valley Lake tea shop on Friday and Saturday, April 12th and 13th, from 10am4.30pm. It gives visitors the chance to view, get expert advice and buy, while testing out the equipment against this spectacular backdrop. There is also the opportunity to trade in old equipment in part-exchange. As well as meeting experts from all the major companies, there are a range of other attractions, involving Bath Natural History Society, Bath RSPB, Bristol Ornithological Club, The Hawk and Owl Trust, Banwell Falconry and beekeeper John Smyth. There will be a display of specialised next boxes and a chance to build your own on the Saturday. The Wild Arena will be offering a free macro and wildlife photography demonstration using Canon equipment at 11am, 1pm and 3pm over both days, with a maximum of 20 places per demonstration, so book your place now by calling LCE Lakeside. There is ample parking on the day and refreshments available at the tea rooms, on the road between Bishop Sutton and Chew Stoke.

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The great spotted woodpecker

IT’S an early morning in mid-spring and the amazing natural orchestra that is the dawn chorus is in full swing, but through the cacophony of sound that engulfs you there is something different. Short bursts of drumming, so fast that it sounds mechanical. This is how the great By CHRIS spotted woodpecker has evolved to get his SPERRING message heard. Although mainly a MBE woodland species, they can be found almost anywhere there are mature trees, including urban parks and gardens, and this is now the most common of the three woodpecker species found in the UK. Across the world there are 200 species of woodpecker; the great spotted is distributed throughout mainland Europe and is common throughout. The other species we have in the UK are the green woodpecker (this is the largest, measuring 300360mm) and the scarce lesser spotted, which measures just 140mm (similar in size to a greenfinch). The great spotted measures around 230–266mm in length and is a smart looking bird. The upper-parts are glossy black, with white on the sides of the face and neck. On the shoulder is a large white patch and the flight feathers are barred with black and white. The tail is short and very stiff, which is a characteristic of all the woodpeckers and is used as a support when climbing and drilling into trees. The under-parts are dull white, with a striking red patch beneath the tail. Adult males and females can be distinguished by the fact that males have a red patch at the back of the head or nape, whereas females do not. Juveniles have a red crown. The call of the great spotted woodpecker consists of short bursts of loud, harsh notes, sounding like “kek, kek”, which will also be uttered in flight and when alarmed. But it is the drumming that these species are most famous for. They often have favourite drumming trees, which are often hollow and therefore most efficient at amplifying the sound. They feed on a

Photography by Chris Sperring

WILDLIFE

variety of food from insects and larvae (which they extract from trees by drilling a hole large enough to insert their sticky, barbed tongue), to nuts and berries. They are fond of the peanuts and fat balls left out by birdloving gardeners, as well as meat and eggs whenever they can get them. Drilling into nest holes of smaller birds is a favourite trick of theirs during the nesting season, as many people will know by the damage they do to garden nestboxes. A metal plate placed around the entrance hole can be used to discourage this behaviour, but persistent woodpeckers will drill around the hole, or even into the side of the box in order to reach the chicks inside. Their own nests are created by boring out a hollow in a usually dead or rotting tree. The chamber drops down around 150mm into the tree, where the female will lay four to seven white eggs during May. When the young woodpeckers fledge it is a most noisy affair, with each fledgling in turn sitting plugging the entrance hole, trying to resist being pushed out but its siblings behind it still inside. They excavate a new nest every year, so the old nest chambers left behind form vital nesting sites for many other species including bees, hornets, little owls, many species of small bird, bats, and small mammals. We can help woodpeckers by leaving dead wood to rot naturally and by feeding birds during harsh conditions. Severe winters are known to affect their numbers quite significantly, with the recent cold winters having had a noticeable effect on green woodpecker numbers. G For anyone interested in enjoying and learning more about bird song, I will be leading a dawn chorus walk at Chew Valley Lake on Saturday, April 27th at 4.30am (no, that’s not a misprint!). The event is being organised by Lakeside Optics with all money raised going to support the Hawk and Owl Trust’s conservation work here in Somerset. Places are limited and booking is essential, so please call Mark or Phillip at Lakeside Optics on 01275 332042 for more details and to book your place. The cost is £15.

Chris Sperring is Conservation Officer for the Hawk and Owl Trust Contact him on 01275 849287 or via chris.sperring@btinternet.com

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 49


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Spring on the northern edge

PUT spring into your step on this very beautiful walk on the northern edge of the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, circling from Burrington Ham through Blagdon. Enjoy seeing the emergence of wild flowers including ransoms and bluebells promising such a show later; watch the trees coming into leaf; experience many different views across small valleys, across Blagdon Lake, across fields and cottages; watch birds busy on the Ham and in the woods. Much of the walk is through the Wills’ estate, through Blagdon, with its interesting church, and stopping for refreshment at the New Inn, with one of the best pub views I know. The walk starts by dropping down and so, naturally, will end by coming back up – but it is done quite gently and in stages! A good walk for

With Sue Gearing PAGE 50 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

PARK: In the parking area at Burrington Ham at the top of Burrington Combe on the B3134. (Or start the walk in the free car park in Blagdon by the fire station and get the uphill section out the way first! Start the directions from ‘Bell Square’.)

2. FULLER’S HAY Follow the arrow which forks left and enter Fuller’s Hay which will be carpeted with bluebells later. Enjoy the walk now while the trees are still bare and the views at their best and then come again in a month for fresh beech leaves, ramsons and bluebells. Drop down more steeply across a side valley with a good view down and across the Coombe, Coombe Lodge and the estate. It may be a little slippery in parts along here. Carry on until you come up into a field.

1. FARM For one of my favourite views go to the cattle grid and look across Wrington Vale and beyond. But to continue, turn right at the corner of the farmhouse. Go along a line of firs and start to drop down.

4. MAIN ROAD Cross over to the short track opposite which leads to Bourne Lane. Turn left. Ahead see Coombe Lodge and down here are many of the working cottages on the Wills Estate. Just past the first cottage on the right, by the Men Lea sign turn right on the stone drive between cottages. At a garage follow a footpath to the right on the edge of woodland and come into a field

dogs with not too many stiles, although some of these near the start are quite difficult to climb. There shouldn’t be much mud, but on the downward slopes it may be slippery in parts. A stick might be a help.

START: Take the main stony track out of the car park – at the left hand end as you face away from the road. This is part of the Limestone Link. Come up on to the open Ham – an Iron Age hill fort – and shortly at a junction of tracks, go 90 degrees right and across to a metal gate and kissing gate in the hedge. Go through and ahead in the field along the top edge. At the corner, stay in the field and turn left down the hedge, heading north. These fields seem to be the home of very active moles! Cross a stile, just off the corner, into another field and maintain direction. Go through into a third field and then follow the arrow diagonally across aiming to the left of the left-hand house. Cross a stile and go down the track by the farm.

3. FIELD Turn left along the edge. Climb a wooden barrier stile. Go straight across. Up right is Yeo Valley headquarters, the former Mendip Hotel. Start to get good views across Blagdon Lake. Go over a stile by a gate and then bear across this next field to a stile. Once over, go down the left edge, across another barrier stile. Over on the right are houses on the fringe of Blagdon. In the bottom left corner drop down to a double barrier stile tucked away in the hedge and then go down to the track below. This leads to the main road.


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WALKING

through a kissing gate. Go along the bottom and on into the next field and then head across to Blagdon’s West End.

5. BLAGDON A kissing gate by a large metal gate leads to the end of a residential road, Garston Lane. Go along this to the junction at the end. Turn right and soon join a road going up through Blagdon. Continue on up. G If parking at the Fire Station, come out the bottom end and turn left to reach Bell Square.

6. BELL SQUARE Turn into Bell Square, containing some of the oldest cottages in Blagdon and follow the Tarmac path at the end, on and down. This is a beautiful stretch of the circle going across from one part of Blagdon – the West End – to the East End through gates, to the church and with great views across the valley and Blagdon Lake. On the way is a beautifully sited seat surrounded by daffodils looking across to the 15th century church tower of St Andrew’s and with a superb lake vista. Bend down left. A little further on, after going through another gate, pass Tim’s Wells, one of the two original water sources for Blagdon, and now restored. Continue on across and up towards the church. Over on the right behind a hedge is Blagdon Community Orchard soon to be in blossom. 7. CHURCH Go into the churchyard of St Andrew’s and it is well worth visiting the church with its magnificent collection of stained glass windows. There is an informative booklet about the history of these windows. The present building dates back to the early 20th century when it was rebuilt by William Henry Wills of tobacco fame. Leave the churchyard under the carved lychgate and carry on to Church Street. Opposite is the welcoming New Inn run by Roger and Jackie Owen with a wonderful garden and magnificent lake views. Turn up the road, passing the white-

OS Explorer map 141, Cheddar Gorge & Mendip Hills West, grid ref: 489 581 – 3.8 miles, about two hours walking.

washed Hannah More’s House set up at the end of the 18th century as a school for poor children by the reformer and philanthropist, Hannah More. Reach the main road at the top by the village school. Turn right on the pavement and then on along the Tarmac path separated from the road by a hedge. Just before the cricket pavilion go left through a metal gate, and across the main road.

8. SLAD ACRE LANE Go up Slad Acre Lane. At the top, turn right on the flat getting views back across the valley. Follow the footpath on. Go through a gate and continue ahead joining a drive for a yard or two. Then take the footpath on the right of the drive. Ignore side paths and carry on along the side of the hill on Blagdon edge. Reach tarmac and continue on down, ignoring side paths. Bend round right and reach a footpath arrow on a power pole. It directs you left by Rock Cottage. Go uphill on this path, going to the side of a garage a little further on and then up a railed path

with a steep combe down on the left.

9. TOPOGRAPH Come up to a topograph installed in 1988 to celebrate Blagdon WI’s 50th anniversary. There are seats to enjoy the wonderful view. Continue uphill on the road passing Yeo Valley headquarters. The company, now the leading organic milk product marketing company, started out in 1974 to make yogurts and desserts. It is the inspiration of the Mead family who are still fully involved. Just past the Westerleigh sign turn right up a drive and follow the grassy footpath at the end. Go left at the end on the footpath along the right edge of two fields and then round the back of a stable/shed and another gate brings you onto Luvers Lane. 10. LUVERS LANE Turn right rejoining the Limestone Link long distance path. Go through a Bristol Gate at the end and maintain direction along the left hedge in fields. In the last field rejoin the start of the walk and going on through the metal kissing gate back onto the Ham. The quickest way back is to turn left and take the path straight down to the car park, but it can be muddy and slippery. So you may prefer to go ahead across the Ham and turn left back down the stony track. The New Inn, Blagdon, tel: 01761 462475. The Queen Adelaide, 01761 463926.

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 51


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MENDIP TIMES

West Countryman’s Diary

“IF Candlemas Day be fair and bright, winter will have another flight”. How true did this turn out to be! I thought we might have turned the corner and left winter behind, but when I wrote those words last month I didn’t expect them to be quite so precise a weather forecast. With LES I have been cold before, but there have DAVIES MBE been days recently when the cold has burned my face and hands. It has been a “lazy wind” that has gone through me instead of around me and sapped my strength. People say: “Well I expect you are used to this aren’t you,” to which my reply is: “No! I have learnt to put up with it!” I often wonder how the ancients managed with conditions much worse than this. Perhaps it was because they were much tougher, after all animal skins are no match for the clothing we have today; let’s face it, we are just not used to it with our centrally-heated houses and warm cars – I wouldn’t have it any other way! I recently paid a visit to local painter Peter Coate in Wells, who is putting together a collection of his paintings from Mendip and the Levels from the past 50 years, ready for an exhibition at Wells & Mendip Museum a little later this year. Peter ran his painting school for many yeas in Rickford, where his pupils were encouraged to paint the landscape that surrounded them. Many of Peter’s paintings are of the old peat workings whilst they were still being hand dug, and before they became wildlife reserves. There are a couple of evocative ‘Mendip top’ paintings that give the feel of its open and rugged nature. In contrast he had some water colours, such as the church at Axbridge, that were incredibly detailed and obviously had taken a long time to complete. I will let you know when it is going to be in the museum a little nearer the time. I knew Peter through working for his father who started the famous cider company Coates Cider that was for so many years based at Nailsea in North Somerset. Many people of my age will remember the company logo of three men, all wearing smocks with the ‘X’ stitching across the front, hats down across their eyes, and accompanied by their small dog. This image was completed by the slogan of “Coates comes up from Somerset where the cider apples grow”. This would probably be seen as being politically incorrect today, as it pokes fun at us West Country inhabitants, but I thought then, as I do now, that it’s a bit of fun. Of course Nailsea was really put on the map by one of its most famous of sons, Adge Cutler who fronted that famous “Scrumpy and Western” band the Wurzels in the late 1960s and early 70s. Adge was very proud of his Nailsea connections and his first record was recorded live at the Royal Oak pub in the village (a public hostelry that I also frequented in my youth). This was about the same time that historic Somerset was being politically realigned, as what was then (and has returned to be now) North Somerset was to be taken into the new county of Avon. For me the mood amongst the local people concerning that change, was highlighted by Adge, who during an interlude, peered into the smoke-filled interior of the Royal Oak and posed the question: “Any of you North Somerset freedom fighters here tonight?”

OUTDOORS

I am still doing some evening talks and was recently asked if I would speak at the annual general meeting of the Cheddar Valley Railway Walk Society in Axbridge. My presentation, “Mendip Hills Through the Time Tunnel” was well received by those in attendance and, as always, they were very kind to me when it came to questions. I was also very impressed by the amount of work that this society does for the benefit of others who use the route for walking and cycling. It provides a safe off-road route away from the dangers of modern day traffic and, especially for families with young children, provides a safe means of healthy exercise. One of the walks from the ‘Seriously NOT Boring Walks Book, written by Sue Gearing and myself, is along this route and through the Mendip Society’s meadow at Sladers Leigh. I promise you that spring is on its way, it is just a matter of waiting a little while longer. With this in mind I have chosen a poem that sums up my feelings about a very English countryside and its beauty that cannot be matched anywhere else. It is Robert Browning’s “Home Thoughts from Abroad”, that those who were away from home at this time of year must have turned to. Perhaps the same still applies today, with the many men and women who are serving with the armed forces away from their families, loved ones and homes. O, to be in England Now that April’s there, And whoever wakes in England Sees, some morning, unaware, That the lowest boughs and brushwood sheaf, Round the elm-tree bole are in leaf, While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough In England – now! And after April, when May follows, And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows! Hark, where my blossom’d pear-tree in the hedge Leans to the field and scatters on the clover Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent sprays edge That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, Lest you should think he never could capture The first fine careless rapture! And though the fields look rough with hoary dew, All will be gay when noontide wakes anew The buttercups, the little children’s dower – Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Don’t forget to put your clocks FORWARD on the evening of March 30th. Summer time begins!

I’m always happy to hear from you, so drop me a line at Les.Davies@westcountryman.org.uk

PAGE 52 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013


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YEO VALLEY

A new season at Yeo Valley

IT’S been an exciting month for us both in and out of the valley. For the second year in a row we took a little bit of Yeo Valley to the people of London as we unveiled our yogurt pot window display at Wholefoods Market, Kensington. The Land Rover design was By TOM DE constructed with over 1,000 of our big pots PASS and aims to ‘drive’ awareness of our new on-pack promotion to win one of two Land Rover Freelanders. Watch out for your chance to win on our big pots and four packs. We hope that this year’s display will be just as successful as last year’s Union Jack design. It will be on show until May so if you are in London pop along and take a look. In our dairies we are looking ahead to the warmer weather and have created a new recipe to join our Yeo Valley family. What’s more it is 0% fat so it’s ideal for those wanting to get in shape for summer. The new 0% Fat Strawberry & Kiwi yogurt is a blend of English and exotic tastes. The refreshingly sharp taste of kiwifruit is softened by the subtle sweet tones of the strawberries. It is available as a 450g big pot and a four pack of handy snack–sized pots; perfect as a dessert or lunch box treat. It will be in Tesco, Asda and Waitrose stores from the beginning of May. On our farm spring preparations continue with the planting of spring barley which will be harvested for animal feed later in the year. While the wintery weather persists our cows remain inside in the shelter and warmth of their barns. But our farm team are out and about checking fences, gates and water troughs ready for the warmer weather when our herd of

pedigree British Friesians will graze outdoors. At our Yeo Valley Organic Garden the team are busy making sure everything is in order for our National Garden Scheme (NGS) open day on Sunday, April 21st when we will welcome the first visitors of the season. In March two of the team were invited to the NGS Somerset Gardeners lunch; a thank you to all those who open their gardens under the National Garden Scheme. Despite a waterlogged year, competing with the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics, the Somerset group raised nearly £60,000 for the nursing, caring and gardening charities that are supported by NGS. Our NGS day last year was possibly the coldest and wettest in the 16 years that we have been opening for the charity so we are really hoping for some better weather this year. We will be opening all day from 10am to 5pm. Entrance to the garden is £5 per person with all the proceeds going to the NGS and the charities it supports. We’ll be serving teas, coffees, cakes and light lunches in our Tea Room – we hope to see you there. We are also holding a Plant Fair on Sunday, May 5th with free entry to both the garden and the fair. Specialist nurseries and seed merchants will be trading including those specialising in hardy and unusual perennials, herbs and shady loving plants. The garden is open every Thursday and Friday, and the first Sunday of the month from 10am-5pm during the season which runs from the April 25th–October 25th. Entry is £5. For more information about the garden visit www.theyeovalleyorganicgarden.co.uk. Look out too for other events in the garden and valley including the first of our photography classes on Tuesday, April 16th. All the details can be found on our website www.yeovalley.co.uk/our-valley/events-booking.

Tom de Pass is head of communications and events at Yeo Valley, a family-owned farming and dairy processing business based in Blagdon, and will be bringing us a monthly report on their activities. The Holt Farms organic farming operation has 1250 acres on the Mendip Hills and in the Yeo Valley beside Blagdon Lake. www.yeovalley.co.uk

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 53


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MENDIP TIMES

Woodland wonders

AT this time of year our woodland floors are erupting with an array of native plants, all well adapted to the specific conditions they encounter. Woodland plants that have spent the winter underground emerge quickly to take advantage of the light coming through the tree canopy above, before the tree leaves With MARY emerge. PAYNE MBE Snowdrops, although not a native plant, are the first to attract attention, but not far behind are the broad leaves of wild garlic, now becoming something of a culinary delicacy. The white flower heads follow, and a distinctive garlicky smell pervades the air. Bluebells are next to flower. These three all grow from underground bulbs. They all “make hay while the sun shines” building up their bulbs for their long dormant period once the light levels fall when the tree leaves emerge. An area of woodland in a garden can be made into a delightful spring garden if we bear in mind the way our native plants use the available light. It helps if the tree canopy is of deciduous trees, rather than evergreens such as pines, which give low light levels in both winter and summer. Deep-rooted trees, such as oak, are better than those with shallow roots, such as beech. Thinning the trees may be necessary and coppicing some of the understory hazel will let a bit more light in. Save any reasonable sized logs as they can be used to make path edging and the brushwood, if chipped, makes an excellent woodland path surface. The accumulation of decayed leaves over the years means the soil may be ready for planting after the minimum of cultivation. Some evergreen shrubs add interest during the winter months, Daphne laureola, our native daphne ,has green flowers in early spring or Daphne pontica, is similar but with yellow flowers. Skimmia, so often planted in the sun and looking washed out, is excellent for shade. Skimmia japonica ‘Veitchii’ is a female form that will produce an abundance of red berries if accompanied by a male form such as Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’. Both produce clusters of strongly scented white flowers in spring. Our native butcher’s broom, Ruscus aculeatus needs separate male and female plants to produce berries but there is a hermaphrodite form called ‘John Redmond’ that is self-fertile. This plant has the ability to grow in the deepest shade and on the driest sites if it is given a fighting chance to establish. It has a cousin, Ruscus hypoglossum, which is low growing, and evergreen, bearing red berries which appear to sit in the middle of its leaves. However what appear to be leaves are actually modified flattened stems. Variegated leaved hollies will also do well. Spring bulbs are an essential element. Daffodils will not survive in deepest shade but on the edge of woodland will establish well. Our native wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa, is a delightful white flowered plant with variations, such as palest blue flowers, or double flowers. Both are worth seeking out. Anemone blanda, is not native but spreads by seed if it is happy. You can choose from blue, pink or white flowers. Our native Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum) may not be welcome as it seeds so prolifically but Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’ has attractively veined leaves that emerge in the autumn giving welcome winter interest. Typical aroid flowers are followed by the familiar spikes of red berries after the foliage has died away. PAGE 54 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

I like to plant in rafts, or bold patches, and then allow plants that self-seed to scatter themselves through the area. Honesty is an excellent self-seeder, flowering in April /May, and leaving its glistening seed pods for winter. Foxgloves will also self-seed in glades that get enough light along with primroses. The native Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) is a delightful self-seeder with dark green palmate leaves and pale green clusters of flowers. The traditional hellebore looks good when planted in bold groups particularly if the paler shades are selected. The trendy dark-flowered forms do not show up too well. Do not be afraid of using rafts of variegated ivy to create pools of light amid the gloom in summer, if it decides to climb a tree and flower in the late autumn then it is an excellent source of nectar for insects, including bees. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum hybridum) can be allowed to spread and with luck the sawfly that so often attacks in gardens may not find it in a woodland setting. Pulmonarias come in many shades with attractive foliage and their close relative Brunnera offers blue or white flowers with green, silver or spotted leaves. Many hardy geraniums will survive in woodland conditions but three stand out as best at the game. Geranium phaeum, the Mourning Widow geranium can join the list of self seeders. The dark flowered form does not stand out too well so I prefer to use the white or palest purple forms. Geranium nodosum has pink flowers on low growing plants and is a great survivor while the ace in the pack is Geranium macrorrhizum. This plant is God’s gift for ground cover where little else will grow. It spreads gently, bears pink or white flowers in early summer and keeps most of its leaves all winter. The Barrenworts or epimediums are becoming very fashionable. They are related to berberis but are not shrubby and have no thorns. They are a bit slow off the starting blocks so I like to plant them at about five per square metre. Their foliage, which can be evergreen or deciduous, emerges with attractive mottling in different shades of green and red to orange. The downside is that to appreciate their delicate flowers it is usually necessary to cut off their overwintering foliage just before the flowers start to emerge. This is a task too easily forgotten but it does tidy up the plant so the new leaves can be appreciated. Far from being difficult, an area of woodland can become a delightful retreat, with patterns of light and shade as the sun filters through the foliage of the canopy above, and there is no shortage of plants with which to enhance the woodland floor. G Sunday April 7th (2–5pm) Rose Cottage, East Harptree and Coley Court, Coley will be opening jointly in aid of the National Gardens Scheme with home-made teas at Rose Cottage.


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APRIL GARDEN TIPS

GARDENING

G Remove the bubble polythene double glazing from your greenhouse and check that the ventilators work. Get ready to apply a coat of Coolglass to the outside to keep the temperature under control. G Prune side shoots on grape vines back to five leaves on non-fruiting laterals and two buds beyond flower clusters. G Sweet corn can be sown in cell trays inside but delay planting out until next month. G Marrows, courgettes, pumpkins and squashes can be sown in individual pots towards the end of the month. These will need protection if sown outside. Peat pots are very good for this. G Plant basil in pots or in the borders between your tomatoes. It always does better inside. G Feed citrus plants with a higher nitrogen liquid feed. G Consider buying a cold frame to ease the strain on space in your greenhouse at this time of the year. It is ideal for hardening plants off prior to planting them outside. G Plant main crop potatoes, peas and broad beans. Make a first sowing of French beans towards the end of the month. G Sow perpetual spinach, leeks, radish, turnips, lettuces, carrots, beetroot, Swiss chard and summer cauliflowers outside. G Protect flowers on peaches, nectarines and apricots from frost. Courtesy Cleeve Nursery

Seedy success

THE fourth Seedy Saturday held at Farmborough Memorial Hall was another outstanding success, with the annual seed swap, potato day and green fair playing host to many enthusiastic gardeners and growers, and creating a lively atmosphere dedicated to seeds, plants, potatoes, local produce and community initiatives. Event organiser Sam Ross said: “Four years ago, most people had no idea of what a seed swap is all about, but now they’ve got it, they can’t wait to come back. Visitors particularly like the friendly and inclusive atmosphere, the wide selection of different seed varieties, the opportunity to buy potatoes individually, and a place to meet like-minded people.” Details: www.getseedy.co.uk

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 55


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Plants don’t last forever ALL too often, as spring arrives, gardeners will notice spaces in the beds where there had been plants in previous years. Sometimes it is simply due to severe winter conditions, or the wrong plant struggling in the wrong location, but often it is due to some perennials being naturally short-lived. Information on plant

longevity is not always available, as it can be geographically variable or anecdotal, but awareness of a plant’s lifespan can create more informed planting decisions. Some short-lived perennials maintain their existence through self-seeding (e.g. Aquilegia, Alchemilla and Hellebores), but other perennials simply have short lives and will need to be replaced every few years (e.g. some Echinacea, Achillea and Heucheras). A conversation with a professional garden designer or gardener about the less commonly known aspects of a plant’s character may be just what is needed to create the perfect garden. Why not consult Alistair Barlow, who runs Lowarth Garden Design, a Mendip based garden design and landscaping company?

Lowarth Garden and Landscape Design Chelsea Flower Show Silver Gilt medal winner

< Beautiful, practical gardens < Inspiring planting < High quality hard landscaping < Treehouses and other structures < We aim to exceed your expectations Please contact us to arrange a free consultation Alistair Barlow Mobile: 07971 264261 Tel: 01373 812031 Website: www.lowarth.com

Norton Green Farm Nursery and Garden Centre WELCOMES YOU THIS SPRING • Spring bedding plants, trays and pots • Unwins, Fothergills, Johnsons and Country Value seed collections • New delivery of Terracotta and Glazed Pots • Composts, Mulches & Barks (multibuy & special offers) • Wild Bird Food and Feeders • National Garden Gift Vouchers sold & redeemed • Flowers & Houseplants – indoor and outdoor planted arrangements Also available: • Gravel & grits, paving & walling • Fencing, posts & trellis etc. LOCAL DELIVERY SERVICE Open: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 10.30am-4.30pm

Wells Road, Chilcompton, Nr. Bath Tel: 01761 232137 E. nortongreenfarm@tiscali.co.uk PAGE 56 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Young growers

BUDDING young gardeners were recently spotted potting up plants at Cleeve Nursery! Stepping Stones Playgroup visited the nursery to celebrate Garden Re-Leaf Day. The children learnt about growing baby plants and how to care for them. After they were potted into compost and watered well the plants were then taken home. The children also enjoyed a treasure hunt around the garden centre Garden Re-Leaf Day is a fundraising day to highlight building Children’s Hospice Gardens across the country. Over £430 was raised which will go to the charity and help buy plants and materials to create gardens in the hospices. Details: Felicity Down Cleeve Nursery 01934 832134 info@cleevenursery.co.uk

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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Spring show

GARDENING

NAILSEA Spring Show will be held on April 6th in the impressive atrium of Nailsea School. There are classes for almost everyone including art, cooking, wine, photos, floral art, handicrafts and houseplants as well as flowers and vegetables, with children having their own classes. There were 700 entries last year, but the show would welcome more. It’s cheap and easy to enter with just a hint of friendly rivalry. The daffodil display is said to be the best in the area and forms part of a nationally recognised competition. Details: Jane Knight 01275 855342 or Martyn Davis 01275 855563.

Weston Garden Machinery Garden Machinery & Woodburning Specialists

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NURSERY MASBURY, NR. WELLS, SOMERSET BA5 3HA TEL: 01749 841014 FAX: 01749 841055 www.rockymountainnursery.co.uk

COME & SEE OUR FINE RANGE OF FRUIT TREES, SHRUBS, GERANIUMS & FUCHSIAS

Visit our ROCK CAKE CAFE Serving breakfast, lunch & afternoon tea Browse around JAMES STORE Large stock of HOME BREW PRODUCTS + many other bargains Hutton Garden Centre, Banwell Road, Hutton, Weston-super-Mare BS24 9UB

See our website for more details www.rockymountainnursery.co.uk

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MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 57


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MENDIP TIMES

NGS GARDEN OF THE MONTH

Westbrook House

Building Supplies Ltd. www.crsbuildingsupplies.co.uk • email: info@crsbuildingsupplies.co.uk

Bevelled-edge slabs are £1.85 each plus VAT

Canterra Flags are £2.75 each

Riven Slabs are £1.99 each plus VAT

plus VAT

Prices are for 400 x 400 x 40mm

CHEDDAR

WELLS

YEOVIL

HIGHBRIDGE

Evans Business Park, Draycot Road, Cheddar BS27 3RU 01935 744455

Cherry Orchard, Ask Lane, Wells BA5 2LS 01749 685290

The Globe, Lutton Way, Yeovil BA22 8HR 01935 383280

Unit 1 Evercreech Way, Walrow Ind Est, Highbridge, TA9 4AN

PAGE 58 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

SURROUNDED by dairy farms and orchards in the village of West Bradley, Westbrook House is set in four acres. The garden has been laid out over the past 10 years by David Mendel, a decorative painter, and Keith Anderson, a garden designer. There are five distinct gardens within the grounds. Immediately around the house the layout is formal with borders loosely planted with flowering shrubs, trees, bulbs and perennials. Clipped box anchors the profusion of flowers to the structured plan. Fragrance play a large role throughout the year from the winter flowering honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) and sweet box (Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Digyna’) to osmanthus, viburnum, and choisya in the spring and shrub roses, philadelphus and lavender in the summer. Moving further from the house and towards the open countryside, the layout relaxes with mown paths winding through long grass and the Bradley Brook twists along the boundary. Spring and early summer bulbs mingle with generous clumps of amelanchier, crab apple, lilac, and wild roses. A large copper beech provides shade for summer picnics. The grass paths finally lead to an orchard of traditional cider and dessert apples. A little further on pear, damson, quince and mulberry mix company with hazels, more species roses and philadelphus. NGS opening details: Sat April 20th, Sat June 15th, from 11am to 5pm. Visitors also welcome by appointment. Admission: £3.50, children free (share to West Bradley Church). Contact Information: Keith Anderson and David Mendel. Tel: 01458 850604 Email: mail@westbrook-bed-breakfast.co.uk. Address and Postcode: West Bradley, BA6 8LS. Directions: 4m E of Glastonbury. From A361 at W Pennard follow signs to W Bradley (2m). Other Gardens Open for the NGS To see more gardens open for the NGS, see The Yellow Book, or Local County Leaflet available from local Garden Centres. Or go to: http://www.ngs.org.uk


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Get ready to garden

Page 59

HERE are some tips to help avoid back and joint pain when gardening – springtime often brings an influx of patients who have “overdone it” in the garden to Wells Chiropractic & Osteopathy Centre. For a free information and exercise sheet, contact Wells Chiropractic & Osteopathy Centre or speak to Ben Palmer for more advice (01749 674716) or email ben@wellschiropracticosteo.co.uk G Warm up: athletes warm up before physical exertion, so why don’t you? Doing 20 minutes of light stretching could help prepare your joints and muscles for the rigours ahead by making them supple and ready to move. This will make injuries and strains less likely. G Use the right kit: tools with long handles are useful as you don't have to lean near to the ground and strain your back. Constantly bending up and down is a recipe for disaster. You can even buy secateurs that are designed for hands with arthritis! G Take regular breaks: spending hours at a time continuously leaning or lifting increases the risk of a slipped disk, so make sure you straighten up at least every 20-30 minutes. Don't overdo it! G Build up gradually: as with all physical work (and sport), we have to let our muscles get used to the extra strain and gradually get stronger. Do short sessions of gardening each day and avoid the temptation to do it all at once. If our muscles aren't ready for the extra work the stress goes into your joints and can cause long term damage. G Maintain good posture: our heads alone weigh as much as a bowling ball, so keeping our spines aligned will help to avoid injury to our necks and lower backs. Bending our knees when lifting is good but try sticking out your backside as this keeps the pelvis tilted correctly and straightens your spine. Curling forwards is when your back is at its weakest, so avoid too much of it. G Buy a back brace: these can be bought online for a very reasonable cost and are a worthy investment if you want to spend a lot of time gardening. They act like an extra layer of muscle helping to support your lower spine. If you’re kneeling a lot then knee pads are also a useful investment. G Take your time: the majority of our patients who injure themselves gardening remember doing the offending task or manoeuvre too quickly. When we are in our 20s it might be okay to hurl bags of garden waste into the boots of our cars in record time but, as we get older (and stiffer), our bodies have less mobility and quick movements can easily overstress the joints.

GARDENING

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Make the most of your garden fence! Special Spring Offer: traditional panels at £49 supply & fit

Concrete post . . .

Heavy duty Closeboard . . .

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Call the expert installers for a free quote and advice

Castle Hill, Banwell BS29 6NX On the A371 between Banwell and Winscombe

Tel: 01934 822246 MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 59


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Bruton’s high achievers

STAFF and pupils were delighted to achieve second place in the recent Department for Education league tables for Somerset. Their value-added scores are, however, even more impressive as Bruton School for Girls adds on average almost one whole grade to pupil’s achievements across all subjects. Outside the classroom they focus on providing opportunities to get girls thinking differently, thinking critically and creatively, for example by successfully gaining the prestigious Eco-Schools Green Flag award, and with annual Arts and Science Weeks. They aim to encourage, challenge and support each girl to develop her full potential to become the amazing person she can be, with friends for life in this fast-changing world. Each individual is encouraged to develop intellectual curiosity, selfesteem, confidence without arrogance, respect and care for others, independence, excellence in all she does and a love of life. At Sunny Hill Preparatory School and Nursery classes are coeducational until the age of seven, and for girls thereafter. Small classes mean that every pupil receives quality time. Scholarships and Governors’ Exhibitions are available to Senior School and Sixth Form applicants and financial assistance is also available to applicants to Sunny Hill Prep. They are proud of their girls’ successes, and invite you to go and discover how your daughter can ‘Blossom at Bruton’. Join them at their our Open Days on Bank Holiday Monday May 6th or make an individual visit at a time to suit you.

For more information or to arrange a visit, call 01749 814400 or visit the website: www.brutonschool.co.uk

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Hazlegrove celebrates first literature festival HAZLEGROVE pupils have shared their love of reading with the local community at their first ever Festival of Literature. Over the course of eight days, librarian Naomi Warren organised a series of authors and illustrators to visit the school to talk about their books and to conduct workshops with Hazlegrove pupils and children from local schools. Events ranged from Emma Chichester Clark visiting the pre-prep children with her dog Plum (the inspiration behind some of her books) and Marcia Williams running illustrating workshops for year 3 and 4 pupils to Philip Reeve talking about his books to the children at the top end of the school. The writing workshop for adults with local author and old Hazlegrove pupil Tobias Jones was very well received and the talk by writer and broadcaster John McCarthy spellbinding. The whole school was caught up by the spirit of the event reading is certainly very much alive and well at Hazlegrove, amongst the boys as much as the girls! Feedback from local schools taking part was fantastic. Aside from the festival, the spring term was busy with great success on the sporting field – particularly in cross-country running, boys’ hockey (with some impressive tournament wins) and for the girls’ cricket team who won the county championships! On the stage, Year 6 pupils put on a spectacular production of Seussical JR (a musical based on the stories of Dr Seuss) and the lower school delighted audiences with their musical, The Pied Piper. The major spring concert was a tremendous tribute to all the

EDUCATION

hard work of pupils and music teachers alike - 17 musical groups and ensembles performed at a standard you might perhaps expect from a specialist music school, rather than from a school where all pupils experience such breadth of education. Hazlegrove looks forward to welcoming the new children joining reception (two small classes) and those joining other year groups further up the school in September. A number of places are still available – those interested should contact Fiona O’Neill on 01963 442606. Visitors are always welcome by appointment during term time or at one of the open mornings.

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Ubley festival of literature

NOT to be outdone by the Bath Literature Festival, Ubley Primary School held its own festival in March. Back in September the school began an exciting partnership with the Bath Festival team and 5x5x5=creativity, an independent, arts-based action research organisation. The aim was to explore how powerful creative writing can be for improving young people’s confidence and their engagement with their learning. This has helped the school to establish relationships with artists, writers and musicians and experience festival events. Creative writer Karl Bevis, pictured with some of the children, has been visiting the school on a weekly basis working with Reception to Year 6. Illustrator Hannah Broadway also spent time with the infants, reading one of her books ‘Monkey and Robot in the Garden’. The project ended with the school holding its own literature festival in Ubley Parish Hall, with a wide range of work on display that demonstrated how the children had been influenced by the work they had done.

EDUCATION

The best start for your child

ALL Hallows is a very special place, a prep school radiating warmth and vibrancy and welcoming boys and girls aged between 4 and 13. Rated as Outstanding by Ofsted, All Hallows is situated just 25 minutes from the Chew Valley in 25 acres of beautiful parkland surrounded by open countryside and farmland. Bus routes operate from the Chew Valley. Headmaster Ian Murphy explained why the early years are important in so many ways: ”Independent education from age four brings a wide range of tangible benefits including significantly lower pupil/teacher ratios, single year classes, access to specialist teachers for subjects such as languages, PE and & games, art and drama. “At All Hallows, the younger children also benefit immensely from a wide range of facilities on-site including a seven-acre woodland area which houses our ‘Forest School’, an LTA accredited tennis academy, swimming pool, Astroturf, cricket and rugby pitches, fully equipped science Laboratories, theatre, art and ceramics facilities, ICT facilities, libraries and access to an extensive activities programme. For parents, it really is a ‘one stop shop’ with a vast array of opportunities for the children.” All Hallows is also a boarding school which means there is superb ‘wrap around’ care for busy parents of younger day pupils. The main house buzzes 24/7 and, as well as early and late stay options, children can stay for breakfast, supper and even flexi-board with friends when needed. Facilities aside – is the curriculum really any different from state primary options? Head of the Junior Department at All Hallows, Kevin Hannah, believes so: “Being truly independent means that we are able to be entirely child centred in our approach to learning. We offer the IPC (International Primary Curriculum) from Reception through to Year 5 at All Hallows. “This thematic, skills-based curriculum really engages the children and brings learning to life. We are massive fans of the IPC. The children are so engaged in their learning, at school and at home. That’s been exciting for both teachers and parents.”

An exclusive Children’s Day Nursery delivering exceptional care & education in an award winning environment Babyroom

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Funding now available for 2-3-4 year olds

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www.littleowlschildcare.com PAGE 62 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Award winning Children’s Day Nursery

Next Steps Childcare Centre

Baby room - Nursery - Pre-school - Forest School

Highly qualified team. Excellent secure rural location. Funding available for 2-3-4 year olds Gardening, Yoga, Music & Dance, Cookery

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www.nextstepschildcare.com The Royal Bath & West Showground Shepton Mallet BA4 6QL Ofsted 2009 “Outstanding partnership with parents”. “Children have great fun freedom exploring the world outside in the fresh air, Excellent organised activities.”


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CAVING

Springs and wells of Mendip

THE rain which falls on the Mendip Hills does not, in general, stay for very long on the surface. It seeps underground, or sinks into the numerous swallets which are to be found along the sandstone – limestone boundary. This water is responsible for carving out Mendip’s caves and then decorating them With PHILIP with calcite formations. Eventually, the water HENDY reappears at the foot of the hills as magnificent resurgences such as at Wookey Hole, down to small springs and seepages. The value of this water was recognised as soon as people began to settle in the area and all the villages and settlements at the foot of the hills are centred around a spring. Few of these can be seen today in their natural state, for they have almost all been capped, to preserve the purity of the water. Wookey Hole is perhaps the most magnificent, where the River Axe flows into daylight from a wide arch at the foot of the conglomerate cliff. Worthy of a visit is St. Aldhelm’s Holy Well at Doulting. Here the River Sheppey flows from two small medieval arches set in the rock, then through a wall to fill a stone trough. The overflow runs down to Shepton Mallet, while to the side there is a small chamber with the remains of the waterwheel which once pumped water up to the village. As well as providing drinking water, the springs were also used to drive waterwheels to provide power for mills. It is said that the Cheddar Yeo, which rises in various places in the Gorge below Gough’s Cave, once had 18 mills along its course. As well as flour, the mills produced gunpowder, paper, cotton and snuff. Below St. Dunstan’s Well at Stoke St. Michael can be seen the shells of mill buildings, while leats and more ruins lie in Ashwick Grove downstream of the three capped risings. There were also mills at Rickford, Banwell and Wells. The powerful springs of Wells gave the city its name, of course, and the water was used to feed the moat of the Bishop’s Palace before flowing into the city for more mundane purposes. The water seen in the fountain in Market Place, which then flows down the St. Aldhelm’s Well gutters, is only a small amount of the total volume. Most of the flow runs through a network of subterranean conduits. Wookey Hole, of course, is known for its paper mill although papermaking at the caves ceased some years ago. Although it is known that many of the streams which rise at the foot of the hills run through cave

Dulcote spring

systems, it is unusual on Mendip to be able to penetrate upstream. Most of the water flows through impenetrable cracks, or massive boulder chokes, making entry impossible. Cavers are also aware that most of the risings are used for water supply purposes, which in itself puts them off-limits. At Cheddar and Wookey Hole, of course, there are large caves which allow access to the inner course of the river. At Wookey, the showcave allows visitors to visit six flooded chambers, although divers have discovered many more. A shaft leading to the subterranean river can be seen in the Skeleton Pit in Gough’s Cave, and cavers can see the river farther up in Lloyd Hall. Beyond this point, the cave is for divers only. Diggers have on occasion, over the years, dug the resurgences at Ashwick Grove which are no longer used for public water supply. The hope is to find a cave system which may be similar to the magnificent caves in Fairy Cave Quarry which lie above and behind St. Dunstan’s Well nearby. The rising at Ludwell Cave, near Hutton, was dived in 1951 to find a small chamber, which was later dug into by the boys of the Sidcot School Speleological Society. Another small chamber was found, but there was no prospect of going any further. Today, the mills have gone and the risings have been capped, even though many are no longer used for a public water supply. The Cheddar Yeo is used to fill Cheddar (or Axbridge) Reservoir. This is to save water flowing at its peak during the winter, when demand is lowest, for use during the summer. Most of this water is pumped to Bristol, and demand is so great that another reservoir is planned nearby. Blagdon Lake stores excess winter water from the Rickford and Langford areas, while Chew Valley Lake dams the water of the River Chew, which rises at Chewton Mendip. The first of the schemes to use Mendip water to supply Bristol began in the mid 18th century, when a ‘Line of Works’ was built by the Bristol Waterworks Company. A series of pipes and tunnels was built to collect water from the area between Chewton Mendip and the Harptrees and take it to Barrow reservoirs beside the A38 south of Bristol. The cast iron aqueduct can be seen in East Harptree Combe, where it is still in use. One of the most picturesque risings is at Dulcote, where water from a spring on the hillside is piped to a stone fountain surrounded by a pool. The pressure of the water results in jets of water which after heavy rain can be thrown several feet into the air. There is a small trough set in a nearby wall, to allow animals to drink.

Phil is a member of Wessex Cave Club and has been caving for the last 44 years. Still active, his main interest is in digging to try to find new caves. He has published a caving cartoon book and collaborated on the recently-published Swildon’s Hole – 100 Years of Exploration.

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 63

Photography by Phil Hendy

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What will you notice on April 1st?

THE biggest and most disruptive reforms in NHS history go live, rather appropriately, on April 1st. But do patients care, and what will you notice is different? The strap-line of health secretary Andrew Lansley’s baby was ‘no decision about me, without me’ but patients have had little say in the make-up By Dr PHIL or operation of the NHS Commissioning Board, the HAMMOND Health and Social Care Information Centre, Health Education, the NHS Trust Development Authority, Healthwatch England, Local Healthwatch, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Most NHS staff haven’t got a clue what these new organisations are for, and what they will do, never mind patients. The cynical, perhaps realistic, view is that the reforms are all about extending the market in healthcare that Labour started and opening services up to more private competition. But the trouble with competition is that it usually fragments services, rather than joins them up, and many people have ideological objections to more ‘for profit’ companies taking tax-payers’ money to pay shareholders rather than nurses. Others don’t care who provides the service so long as it is clean, compassionate and competent. Where do you sit? A bigger fear for the government is that their reforms will make very little positive difference to patients come the election. On top of the ambitious £20 billion savings plan over the next two years, the NHS faces a ‘funding gap’ of up to £54 billion by 2021/22. If every patient in the UK stopped smoking, ate and drank sensibly, took 30 minutes exercise every day, used condoms, stayed mentally well and only bothered the NHS for vaccinations, it might just survive. Alas there are lots of chronic diseases without a cure, and these patients take up most of the NHS budget. Lansley’s test of whether the reforms are working is if a patient has a good idea to improve his or her care and takes it to a GP, who has the power to make it happen. I suspect the results will be quite variable, but there are some enthusiastic commissioning GPs across England who are already treating more patients closer to or in their homes, getting quicker access to consultants, getting city centre stores to stop selling cheap alcohol, liaising with charities, social services, pharmacies and opticians and cutting down on unnecessary referrals, A+E visits and prescriptions. There are also plenty of GPs in Scotland and Wales collaborating in this way, without the added pressures of a competitive health market, and only time will tell which model works best. And there are demoralised and stressed NHS workers who strongly opposed the reforms, think they’ve been stitched up, and resent the extra work and regulation for less money and pension. Welcome to the real world. After April 1st, GPs may be targeted by the press and blamed for hospital mergers and closures, increasing waiting times and lack of access to expensive drugs that are bound to happen in such austere times. Occasional NHS users will notice little change other than their GP looks even more stressed, but a few will have a personal budget to ‘shop around in the health market’. Those with multiple illnesses and complex needs will find life toughest, unless they’re lucky enough to find a bullet-proof workaholic GP who relishes the extra effort and responsibility of buying them the best care. Good luck to us all. We’re going to need it. For Dr Phil’s DVDs, books and tour dates go to www.drphilhammond.com

PAGE 64 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Who’s sitting on the “naughty step”?

A FEW years ago a friend of mine, who believed in progressive parenting, suggested I encourage eldest child to “co-parent” with me while Mendip Dad was away on a long business trip. I didn’t take her up on her suggestion because “co-parenting” had always come naturally to my children and I did not need to encourage them in their endeavours. Take middle child, for example. She has been through a particularly tyrannical phase after ceaselessly watching episodes of Super Nanny. For the uninitiated Super Nanny has been dispensing wisdom to the nation’s families for several years. She visits a family, observes their “issues”, decides upon strategies to help them cope, watches them as they fail and then returns again to put them right and it all ends happily-ever-after. During the school holidays Super Nanny coincided with middle-child waking up and coming downstairs to watch TV before the day began. I was still in bed along with all the other inadequate parents who really needed Super Nanny’s advice. Middle child liked Super Nanny’s tips and suggestions and decided to enforce strict discipline. Soon she was busy with paper, pencils, rulers and stickers. Charts were made and good behaviour would be rewarded with favourite treats. On the other hand if anyone misbehaved they would be spending time on the naughty step – one minute for every year of their life. “I hate Super Nanny,” moaned youngest child, as he sat on the bottom step, feeling an infringement of his human rights. The situation took a turn for the worse when, having exhausted countless home-grown families, Super Nanny decided to help out some families in the USA who were having a few problems. Dysfunctional didn’t do them justice. A spoonful of sugar was the last thing these children needed. I think if I’d been their parent I might have called the army and any other armed enforcements that could be deployed – and I’ve heard there are a few of these stateside – before I called Super Nanny. These families made us look like The Waltons. And anyway we didn’t need Super Nanny because we had Mini Nanny helping us at home. Shortly after this I made a minor error and middlechild decided that I needed disciplining. “How old are you?” she asked. “Forty?” I was happy to go with that. “Then you will spend forty minutes on the naughty step.” Forty minutes is a long time for a mother to sit down, in the middle of the day but after a while I decided I could get used to it. However, I was released from the naughty step after only ten minutes as I had sat there “nice and quietly”. Middle-child is definite that she has found her vocation in life . . . as a nanny. MENDIP MUM


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A long battle that’s almost won

HEALTH & FAMILY

Polio has now been eliminated in all but three countries in the world. But only a generation ago it was destroying, even taking lives in the UK. Tony Thurling reports on one man’s experience of the disease and how Rotary International has lead the battle against it. ALMOST certainly there were better places to be than Coventry in 1942, a city that had suffered the best part of two years bombing. But none of this worried 11-yearold Bob Pickering and his friends. With that carefree optimism of youth they would play in the fields that surrounded Coventry back then and despite food rationing, their energy seemed to know no bounds. Bob would walk ten miles to school and back each day and never give it a second thought. In what he recalls as a blisteringly hot August, he was a regular visitor to the nearby open-air swimming pool, which is where he and three other children from the same part of Coventry were thought to have caught polio. Or infantile paralysis as it was then known. Today, thanks particularly to the efforts of Rotary International and more recently Bill and Melinda Gates, polio has been virtually eliminated from the world. It is present now only in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. In 1942 it knew no boundaries, crippling and killing on a horrific scale. Its victims were mainly children up to the age of twelve. Bob is now an incredibly young looking 81-year-old living with his wife, Jean in Axbridge. He recalls that day in September 71 years ago when he first realised something was very wrong: “ I had just started at the John Gulson Grammar School and half-way through one morning I started feeling unwell. “I remember going home on the bus and a lady giving me smelling salts. I went to bed with a temperature of 104° and my mother called the doctor. For the next two or three days the fever raged and when it had abated my mother gave me an all-over wash. I had lost all feeling in my feet.” The doctor then confirmed the news that so many parents dreaded hearing. Your child has infantile paralysis.There was no cure. As soon as infantile paralysis (polio) was diagnosed, Bob was sent to an isolation unit and the Pickering house was fumigated. Polio is highly contagious. He stayed in isolation for three weeks and then sent to Warwick Hospital where he spent the best part of a year. His right leg, hip PAGE 66 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

and part of his lower back were paralysed but he now realises he was lucky. Of his three friends who contracted the disease along with Bob, two died and one ended up in an iron lung. Though the nurses were good and kind, hospital was a nightmare. The food so atrocious that Bob could eat only one hospital dinner in all the time he was there. Bob’s ‘treatment’ was to be put in a plaster bed. This involved being laid, on his back and without a pillow, on a raised bed and covered in Plaster of Paris, into which ‘comfort ‘holes were strategically cut. This is where he stayed for nine months. After a year the doctors decreed that polio hadn’t affected any more of Bob’s muscles and he was just about able to stand up. He was free to go home and enjoy what was left of the war. Talking to Bob you quickly appreciate that this is not a man who seeks sympathy. He’s a fighter and his attitude towards his illness was and is that ‘it happened’ and despite partial paralysis he could still live a normal life. To this end he immediately joined the scouts, went on jamborees, on hikes and on cycle rides (on a bike he adapted). He also loved dancing, and whilst not quite in the Fred Astaire league, could still ‘cut a rug’ as the expression then was. He did his National Service with the Royal Engineers in Egypt from 1949 to 1951 and was later a sergeant in the Territorials. After completing his time in the forces he returned to the timber trade (which he’d first joined in 1946) where the physical nature of the work helped him maintain a high level of fitness. “Unfortunately they decided to give me a rep’s job and with the car came a decline in the levels of exercise I was taking,” remembers Bob, “My legs got weaker as a result.” Bob joined The Rotary Club of Wrington Vale in 1978 and in 1986/87 was elected president. Coincidentally that was the year that Rotary International embarked on its mission to help rid the world of polio. The target in the first year was for each club to raise £100 per member and under Bob’s enthusiastic guidance Wrington Vale was

the first in the district to reach this figure. In 1985 there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries. Since then, thanks to Rotary International and the Global Eradication Initiative, two billion children have been immunised, resulting in a 99% reduction in polio cases. “The fight against polio will go on until it has been eradicated,” is Bob’s determined view, “we have the means and it is only politics that is preventing this happening.” He has always backed his words with action and he still organises coffee morning events in Axbridge and gives talks which, over the years, have raised thousands for the cause. Asked to sum up his life, Bob is typically self effacing. He said: “I’ve been lucky. Polio took the life of some of my friends but at 81 I’ve lived longer than any of my family. You always have options in life...you can do something or you can do nothing. What fills me with pride is that Rotary, on an international scale, decided to do something when it came to ridding the world of polio.” The latest news from the Global Polio Initiative shows that the battle is being won. Until the end of February there have been just five reported cases but whilst this sounds as if the war is over, there must still be a massive programme of immunisation as polio is still present and is easily contracted from human waste and contaminated water supplies. If you feel you want to be part of this humanitarian project then please contact Ric Canham of the Rotary Club of Wrington Vale on 07780 963738 and he will advise you how to donate. Alternatively you can contact your local Rotary Club by searching ‘Rotary District 1200’ where you will find links to all the Rotary Clubs locally. See page 70.


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CHARITIES

All about trust

Acting as a mentor to some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people in Somerset may not sound like fun, but PROMISE, a County Council organisation based in Wells, says it can be one of the most valuable, challenging and fulfilling ways to spend a few hours each week. Mark Adler reports. PROMISE Mentoring and Advocacy is a Somerset-wide service for children and young people from the ages of five to 25 who may be experiencing difficulties at home, in care or who have left care after the age of 19. Part of Somerset County Council, PROMISE trains and supports volunteers who offer their time to forge long term one-to-one relationships with young people. There are currently between 150-160 matched mentors in the county but the small team, based at the Priory Medical Centre receive around 500 referrals each year. Ali Hart, a Case Holder at PROMISE, said: “It is all about trust and developing what might be a young person’s only constant in their lives. “Mentors might meet the young person simply for a chat or something more adventurous; a trip to the cinema, theatre or football match. It’s often just helping young people to feel good about themselves, to recognise their strengths and for mentors to use their life experience to help with problem solving.” Mentors who successfully complete the training sessions generally spend

Mentors and mentees usually meet once a week

Steve’s in it for the long run

Steve at the Marathon des Sables

A scene from last year’s prom

two to three hours a week with a young person but many devote much more time. Ali added: “The relationship aims to last two years, but some go on for much longer – even when a young person might move to another part of the country, they keep in touch by phone or social media.” One of the highlights of the PROMISE year is the PROMISE Prom, a chance for young people and mentors to get together. This year’s event is being held at Tilham Farm in Baltonsborough, home to one of its mentors. The event, on Friday, May 31st, is being supported by a Somerset charity called STAR. Somerset Trust for Arts and Recreation supports the “activity and creative” side of the project, funding opportunities in music, art, recreation as well as experiences that help with employment and education. Other organisations and individuals are also supporting the prom including the charity PROMISEworks which has been set up by a group of mentors to support the work of PROMISE. Ali said: “Many of our young people would not normally have the opportunity to enjoy proms which have become so popular lately; we thought we should hold one ourselves.”

PROMISE offers support to young people across Somerset, and is happy to talk to anyone who might wish to volunteer. There is a need for more volunteers in the Frome area. For more information, visit: http://www.promisevolunteers.org.uk or www.promiseworks.org.uk

LONG distance runner Steve Clark is becoming a familiar sight along both the West and East Mendip ways. Steve has set himself the challenge of running the 50-mile route from Uphill to Frome 12 times in 2013 to raise £10,000 for PROMISEworks. And, as Mendip Times was being published, he was attempting to complete the marathon effort for the first time; he was forced to abandon his two previous attempts because of challenging conditions and lack of daylight! Steve is one of PROMISE Mentoring and Advocacy volunteer mentors and joined the charity in May last year after feeling “unfulfilled” with his career in the events industry where he organised challenges such as long distance runs. He is an experienced ultra-marathon runner, having taken part in events like the Marathon des Sables, West Highland Way Race and was also the race director for the gruelling Namibia Ultra Marathon. Steve said: “Becoming a volunteer mentor was more of an emotional decision than a logical one. I can’t really put my finger on why; I just felt I wanted to do something and thought that you can’t make a bigger impact on young people than by helping them at the start of their lives.” He added: “Three years ago career took over and I just couldn’t find the time to train for ultra marathons and I stopped running. The furthest I had run since then was 13 miles. I think it is important that we all fail from time to time as that is where the real learning can be found. It is right that we set ourselves challenges and try things that have a high chance of failure on the way towards achieving our goals.” To support Steve, text CLKY50 £1 (or another amount) to 70070 or visit his Just Giving site: www.justgiving.com/ runningclarky50x50

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Cycling for heroes – all are welcome TEAMS from a local hospital and local Audi dealership have teamed up for the second year to support an endurance cycling Sportive on Sunday, April 21st starting at CircleBath hospital just south of Bath and taking a circular route around Somerset. The Circle Sportive is a charity cyclo sportive with all those riding contributing to raise funds for Help for Heroes’ Personnel Recovery Centre at Tedworth House. The start will be from Circle’s flagship Hospital in Peasedown St John, Bath at 9am and

Fighting polio

the finish will be at Bath Audi which is located next to the hospital. There will be three route options: 80 miles, 50 miles and 21 miles. This is the second time CircleBath and Bath Audi have joined forces to launch such an event which is open to everyone, both keen cyclists and families. The aim is for the CircleSportive to become an annual event raising funds for the staff’s chosen charity.

Details: jo.eke@circlebath.co.uk or visit www.circlesportive.co.uk

Angela Jones, Pam Small, Margaret Griffiths, Barbara Parnell and Sandra Newton

THE Rotary Club and Inner Wheel Club of Wrington Vale held a coffee morning at Axbridge Town Hall to raise funds for Rotary International’s mission to rid the world of polio. The event, which has been held for the last four years, was organised by Axbridge residents, Bob Pickering, a past president of the club and his wife, Jean, who is a past president of inner wheel. The event is particularly important to Bob since he contracted polio himself when he was a young boy. See page 66.

Robin Forsey, Tony Poole and organiser Bob Pickering at the tombola stall PAGE 70 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

RNLI supper

A FISH supper held at the Queen Victoria in Priddy raised £1,010 for the RNLI. Landlord Mark Walton, together with his staff and suppliers, arranged the event, at the end of which over 40 diners made a donation to the RNLI in lieu of settling their bill. Whilst the diners enjoyed their meal the pub’s other patrons popped their loose change into the bar-top collection box. RNLI governor, Albert Thompson, who is the box collection secretary for the area, said: “The RNLI is most grateful. This sum would meet the costs for example of sea-going safety boots for 24 crew members or wetsuits for 12 beach lifeguards.”

Under one roof

A CHARITY based in Shepton Mallet is to relocate its offices and shop to a single building to allow it to expand its work. Michael Eavis, founder of the Glastonbury Festival, will officially open SOS Africa’s new premises in the High Street on Friday, April 19th. The move marks an exciting landmark for the charity which continues to expand to educate increasing numbers of underprivileged African township children thanks to the support of the local community. Matt Crowcombe, SOS Africa co-founder, said: “With Glastonbury Festival only a few months away, we really appreciate Michael taking time out of his busy schedule to support SOS Africa, and hope it will attract much of the local community to our opening,” The existing shop had been based in nearby Commercial Road with the offices at Kilver Court. Ann, one of the charity’s shop managers, said: “We began with only a small handful of volunteers and a limited amount of stock and within a few months we have recruited a team of loyal volunteers and have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community.” If anyone would like to donate items to the new shop or volunteer for the charity, please call 07855355926; the charity’s volunteers are happy to collect any donations when convenient.


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Charities benefit from centre events

A SERIES of events in February and March at the Mill on the Brue outdoor activity centre in Bruton has raised more than £6,000 for local charities. A curry lunch and prize auction raised more than £3,000 for St Margaret’s Hospice in Yeovil. Two weeks earlier, more than 100 people attended a literary lunch with Victoria Glendinning which raised £1,700 Tricia Rawlingson Plant with Richard for Futures for Hooper who auctioned the prizes at the Women, a charity that curry lunch event. Prizes included a truckle of cheese donated by Matt Ward supports women of all from Batcombe; a photograph donated ages who want to by James Stubbs, also from Batcombe improve their career and a hand puppet of a terrier made by prospects through Gladys Paulus from Frome. training and further education. Earlier, a Reels Ball had raised £1500 which was split between MacMillan Cancer Care and St. Margaret’s Hospice. Tricia Rawlingson Plant, from Mill on the Brue, said: “Supporting local charities is really important to us, whether we organise events ourselves or support others by providing them with a venue to hold fundraisers. We feel it’s an important way of contributing to our local community.” G Tricia’s fundraising will continue with a 72km trek in the Indian Himalayas in April to raise money for St Margaret’s Hospice. It’s in memory of her husband, Tony, who died in 2009. He spent two weeks in the hospice. To sponsor Tricia’s trek please visit www.justgiving.com/Tricia-Rawlingson-Plant1

Classic cheque

CHARITIES

Members of the Masonic Classic Vehicle Club have presented Great Western Air Ambulance with a cheque for £500, to help replace its ageing helicopter. Club chairman Clive Hennessy, pictured presenting the cheque, said: “As Freemasons we are proud to be able to provide this support for the Great Western Air Ambulance to help them continue with their unique service in Somerset and area.” Details: www.greatwesternairambulance.com

Marathon swim

President retires

KEN Lacey has stepped down after being president of Westonsuper-Mare RNLI fundraisers for 18 years. He was thanked by the chairman Peter Elmont and was presented with a certificate from the RNLI and a photograph of the Weston lifeboats signed by all the volunteers on the crew and the fundraising branch.

GREG Kyd and Rich Hill will be starting a 36-hour sponsored swim on May 29th at 7am at Strode Pool in Street, raising funds for Cancer Research UK and Somerset Rural Youth Project, with a target of swimming 100,000 metres between them. Greg, an ex-pupil at Crispin School, in Street and Rich, a personal trainer at Strode, have been friends since first competing together at Bridgwater Swimming Club more than 15 years ago and still hold a number of club records between them. Details: www.facebook.com/stupidswim http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/stupidswim. or contact Greg on greg_kyd@hotmail.com MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 71


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Summer is coming

I KNOW it’s hard to believe, but summer is not that far away and, for many young people, it’s time to start thinking about the future. It is a fact that employers often have difficulty in deciding which out of two or more similarly qualified candidates they By SIMON should recruit. One way to tip the decision SELBY in your favour is to have actual evidence of contributing positively to your community; it shows you have a pro-social side and can apply your skills usefully. So how can you get this “evidence” to improve your future employment prospects and contribute?

(Photo courtesy of Alain Lockyer)

Somerset welcomes new high sheriff

MAUREEN Whitmore has been formally sworn-in as the new High Sheriff of Somerset. Mrs Whitmore was installed as High Sheriff at the annual Legal Service in Wells Cathedral and succeeds Mrs Sylvana Chandler. Mrs Whitmore, of Wrington, is the widow of Simon Whitmore. Together they founded Butcombe Brewery 35 years ago.

Farmers’ friends

ORGANISERS of the Farm Watch crime prevention project have launched a new campaign to raise its profile. Each month, police, community support officers and volunteers will be running a mobile roadshow at Frome Livestock Market, offering advice and encouraging more people to sign up to the scheme. Thefts of diesel and equipment such as quad bikes are rising and can have long-term consequences for farmers and smallholders, said Pc Rowan Hawkins, who runs the scheme in Mendip; there is a similar scheme in South Somerset, where Farm Watch was first launched in the Avon and Somerset area in 2009. There are now more than 1,000 Farm Watch members in the two districts and members pass on information to each other and the police by text or e-mail. Members of the free scheme receive signs to show they are part of Farm Watch. The scheme also includes free property marking by police officers and the opportunity to register five high-value items on The National Plant and Equipment Register. This is a register of equipment that police forces check if they suspect a piece of agricultural equipment is stolen. Rowan is supported by PCSO Yvonne Mears, the rural crime prevention officer for Mendip. Rowan said: “The idea of us being at Frome each month is that farmers and people in rural areas can come to talk to us if they have any information or want advice to combat crime.

PAGE 72 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

One way might be via the National Citizen Service (NCS), which supports the Government’s vision for building a Big Society. It says it acts as a gateway for many young people by supporting them to develop the skills and attitudes they need to become more engaged with their communities and become active and responsible citizens. NCS says it makes a positive contribution to local communities, requiring close working with schools, local authorities, businesses and other neighbourhood groups to create a more cohesive, responsible and engaged society. NCS is a voluntary eight-week summer programme for 16year-olds that is a being piloted across England. In 2011, more than 8,000 young people, from a wide range of backgrounds, participated in NCS pilots and in 2012, some 30,000 places were offered to young people. Pilots are being delivered by a range of organisations. In Bath and North East Somerset, it is provided by Future Foundations Training Ltd, Engage4Life and, in Somerset, by Petroc. NCS says that, this summer, after completing Year 11 or Year 12, up to 30,000 young people from across the country will have the opportunity to stay away from home for two weeks and take part in a packed schedule of exciting, challenging activities that will help them to develop their personal and social skills, complementing their learning in and out of school. Following this, they will spend a week learning about their local communities and then volunteering 30 hours of their time on projects they have developed to benefit their local community. For more information, visit: www.ncsyes.co.uk

Farmwatch members Jim Bailey, from Pilton (second left) and Bryan Cook (second right), whose family farms near Bruton, with police volunteer Gary Knight, Pc Rowan Hawkins and PCSO Yvonne Mears

“The farming community is very close-knit but they are busy people, so Farm Watch is an ideal way in which to pass on information if they see someone acting suspiciously.” G The police van will be at the market, at Standerwick, on the first Wednesday of each month, from 9.30am-midday. People can get more information about their local Crime Watch by calling 101.


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COMMUNITY

Through the eyes of Alan

Tony Welch, who runs the New Horizons group for adults with learning difficulties in Radstock, took up the challenge when one of his members, Alan, said he would like to do the job of the chairman of BANES, Councillor Rob Appleyard. This is Tony’s report. ALAN, an adult with learning difficulties, first met Councillor Appleyard at a function in Chilcompton. He asked me who the man with the big chain was and commented on the similarities between him and Mr T. (the actor from the television series the A-team, renowned for his gold jewellery!) I explained that he was chairman of Bath and North East Somerset council and the chain was a symbol of his office and not a fashion item. I also reminded Alan that he was the man who gave the allotment to New Horizons, a club set up by Radstock Baptist Church with the aim of showing the Christian message to people like Alan. Later Alan commented that he would like to do Councillor Appleyard‘s job. I explained that there was a huge difference between the A-Team and B&NES Council but, if he wanted, I would write to the chairman. I was really surprised when Alan received an invitation to join the chairman for the day. The day began when the chairman‘s car

pulled up outside Alan‘s flat and the chauffeur held open the rear door for Alan to enter. Alan had other ideas and to the amusement of the onlookers, he dashed past the chauffeur and jumped into the front seat. Alan knows which is the best seat in a car and when you get the opportunity to ride in a car as smart as this one you don’t want to be sat in the back! The first stop was Bo Peep nursery where the chairman presented a much needed grant. Then it was a dash back to the car and a comfortable journey to the Guildhall in Bath for a Citizenship presentation. During the journey Alan found the temptation of the driver‘s console too great and pushed a few buttons. Nothing dangerous, but thank you Nick (our chauffeur) for your patience and understanding. The Citizenship presentation was a ceremony for non-UK citizens to swear or affirm allegiance to our Queen and our country and in so doing be accepted as new UK citizens. The chairman then

Alan (left), council chairman Councillor Rob Appleyard, and Tony Welch

Alan in the council chamber

presented the new citizens with certificates and a small gift. It was a formal affair (as you would expect with the seriousness of the commitment) yet very friendly and welcoming. The chairman‘s speech added to the relaxed atmosphere. All of the new UK citizens would have had a great day. Alan noticed that all the recipients took the opportunity to have several photographs with the chairman so he said they must have liked him. The chairman invited everyone to have some tea and biscuits and suddenly Alan was alert again. Alan broke that embarrassing pause where everyone waits for someone else to be first up. He noticed that all the recipients took the opportunity to have several biscuits so they must have liked them too. After the day I asked Alan if he would still like to do the chairman‘s job. The answer was “no he talks too much”. What Alan was trying to say was that the chairman works really hard and makes sure that every one of his guests not only gets individual time with him but also gets some meaningful conversation and comes away knowing something about the man who welcomed them into citizenship. Even the youngest child in the nursery had some time with him. Alan may not have grasped the full meaning of what went on that day but he certainly came away with some wonderful memories and a bit of a celebrity status. Alan is now volunteering to give his views on anyone prepared to allow him the opportunity to spend a day experiencing their lives, or you can meet him at New Horizons on any Monday night in Radstock Baptist Church at 7pm.

Details: Tony Welch – Alan’s new personal secretary – on 07806 807501

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 73


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Parlez-vous Francais? We do

Rally for hospice

NEWS

(L-R): Rosie, Tom, Kai and Charlie

TWO students from Ansford Academy in Castle Cary have shown off their language skills and won themselves places in the final of a nationwide competition. The Year 7 students have been taking part in the national Foreign Languages Spelling Bee, where they have had to learn the spellings of 150 words in French and then spell out loud as many as they can within a minute. Tom Christensen, Charlie Graham, Rosie Harrison and Kai Raghunath took part in class competitions in January, gaining places to represent the academy in the regional final. The Ansford team held their own and all registered really high scores. Charlie and Rosie performed so well that they have won themselves places at the national final in Cambridge in July. For this, they will have to learn the spellings of a further 50 words, making 200 in total. Rob Benzie, Ansford principal, said: “Our congratulations go to all four students on a splendid achievement. The competition was particularly challenging and to gain both 1st and 4th places in a large field of competitors is really impressive.”

Ride out for charity

THE fourth annual Martha Care Charity Ride Out for motorcyclists will be held in Glastonbury on Sunday, April 7th. Martha Care, based in the town, helps families from all over the South West when their child is admitted to hospital. Named after local girl Martha Mickshik, the charity was set up in Martha’s memory by her biker mum Maggie to provide much needed advice to families when their child is admitted to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. This year’s ride is being hosted by Bikers 4 Martha, a newlyformed motorcycling group whose task is to raise funds for Martha Care. This year sees the event being held for the first time at Tor Rugby club. The day starts at 9.30am with the bikes being sent off at 11am by Glastonbury Town Crier Graham Cole. Entrance is £10 per bike with every rider receiving a Bikers 4 Martha goodie bag and includes hot drinks on arrival. All the proceeds will go towards Martha Care’s work. Last year’s event raised more than £3,000. For more information visit www.marthacare.co.uk/bikers4martha.php or contact info@marthacare.co.uk or phone 01458 833323.

PAGE 74 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

THE Brimar Vintage and Classic Car Run and Display in aid of the Children’s Hospice South West takes place on Sunday April 21st. Starting at Cadbury Garden and Leisure Centre, Congresbury at 10am the cars will make a scenic run to Sander’s Garden World, Brent Knoll. BBC TV presenter, Alex Lovell, will wave the cars off at 12noon. Up to 180 cars are expected – the oldest car booked in so far is a 1912 Renault and they range from that to 1980. Last year’s event raised £5,288. Details: www.brimarfundraising.co.uk

Learn new skills

RADSTOCK’S Youth Hub is hosting a range of engaging projects for 12-13-year-olds which will offer young people the chance to have fun and develop their skills for just 50p a session. They include a photography project will begin on Thursday, April 18th. An experienced photographer will teach young people how to use a digital SLR camera, as well as skills like framing and lighting. There will also be the chance to take part in a photography exhibition on “The future of Radstock”. Organisers will provide the cameras but attendees are also welcome to take their own along. The Natural Theatre will hold a number of sessions in street theatre, starting with a taster on Monday, April 15th. Young people can try on some crazy costumes and have the chance to be involved with Bath Fringe Festival. No experience is required but a good sense of humour is essential! Young people will also have the opportunity to join the Natural Theatre youth drama club. The projects are co-funded by Radstock Youth Partnership and Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Youth Service. Eleanor Jackson, secretary of the Radstock Youth Partnership, said: “The Radstock Youth Partnership is very happy to sponsor the photography course and other activities. The trustees of the Partnership – which includes representatives of the churches and the local voluntary organisations – are enabling the Youth Hub to provide the activities the 250 or so young people surveyed by them really want and which will in turn encourage the young people to contribute to the community.” For more information contact Sam Plummer at Radstock Youth Hub on 01761 433288


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More optimism in market THE amount of houses sold in the south west saw an upturn, with chartered surveyors selling an average of 16 homes in the three months to February, says the latest RICS housing market survey. During February, the increasing market stability seen in recent months translated into an uplift in sales, and south west surveyors are optimistic that this trend will continue. A net balance of 28 per cent more respondents predict transaction levels will continue to rise rather than fall over the coming three months. RICS residential spokesperson for Somerset, Mike Woodliffe, said: “February has seen an increase in enquires and viewings along with signs that more homes will be coming to the market, hopefully realistically priced.

The market is like the weather, sunny in places but showers and cold spells still frequent, the average temperature is still below the long-term average.” Moving on to prices, south west chartered surveyors continued to report a flat trend as a net balance of three per cent more respondents claimed that prices had dipped.

PROPERTY FOR SALE BY AUCTION

For sale by auction 14th May 2013 (unless sold prior)

For sale by auction 14th May 2013 (unless sold prior)

REDHILL NR. WRINGTON Substantial farmhouse with paddocks and gardens amounting to 10.69 Acres Originally a working farm – recently run as a bed and breakfast business. Located down a long drive from the A38 the property offers a superb business opportunity, although the property would easily adapt to family accommodation. 5 Bedrooms, 4 reception rooms, Kitchen with Aga. Single storey annexe, garaging and parking. Epc rating F. Ref: 24515. GUIDE PRICE £600,000

CHEDDAR SOMERSET Stone built detached Edwardian Farmhouse in need of renovation, set in 4.24 acres. Range of stone and tile outbuildings in yard, formal gardens, paddock and selection of agricultural outbuildings. Farmhouse accommodation: Four double bedrooms, two reception rooms, kitchen and breakfast room, scullery, family bathroom and cloakroom. Southerly views and lane location. Epc rating F. Ref: 24485 GUIDE PRICE £450,000

NEW

PUB CLEARANCE SALE AT THE NEW INN, PRIDDY ON SATURDAY 27TH APRIL 2013 AT 10.30AM

Corporate Approved Inspectors Building Control • Building Surveying • Fire Safety

Steve Parsons MRICS FBEng MIFireE

Mobile: 07786 363833 Email: steve@totalbuildingcontrol.co.uk

CLEARANCE, LAND, PROPERTY & FARM MACHINERY AUCTIONS

Comprehensive contents clearance including commercial kitchen, bar, pub furniture and all effects. See website for catalogue.

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Views to the Welsh Coast and landscaped gardens offered by this ¾ bedroom detached property. Recently and thoroughly modernised interior – new kitchen and bathrooms, spacious sitting room, dining room and conservatory. Master bedroom with en suite shower and family bathroom. Gardens with parterred vegetable areas, fruit trees and an abundance of flower plants and shrubs. EPC rating D. Ref: 24514 GUIDE PRICE £295,000

NEXT LAND & PROPERTY AUCTION

AT

ON TUESDAY 14TH MAY 2013 MENDIP SPRING GOLF CLUB, HONEY HALL LANE, CONGRESBURY BS49 5JT

See website for details.

AT

FARM MACHINERY SALE

COURT FARM, COMPTON MARTIN ON WEDNESDAY 22ND MAY 2013 See website for catalogue.

Wrington Tel: 01934 864300

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 75


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simon austen furniture

0117 9719842 serving the Mendips

free no obligaon consultaon and quote

www.simonausten.com

kitchen – lounge - dining bedroom - study bathroom - commercial

Quality and expertise

BY investing in new facilities and expertise Simon Austen furniture are able to offer more storage solutions, including kitchens and wardrobes, to suit your needs. Whether you are looking for totally bespoke and handmade, or well designed and fitted with a tight budget, they handle everything from planning and design through to making and

Whatever your budget we design, make, and install to the very highest quality to enhance your home built in cupboards, tables, chairs, awkward spaces, extra storage, TV cabinets, fied kitchens, vanity units, shelving

installation. Their business is built on the quality of their products and the service they provide from the first contact through to their unlimited after-sales. Whatever you require take advantage of their free estimating and advice service. One satisfied customer wrote: “On Christmas eve when Simon delivered my cabinet I was absolutely delighted. It more than fills my brief to him to provide storage and somewhere to use my laptop, printer, and associated paraphernalia whilst looking like an extremely elegant piece of furniture. It was the best Christmas present I could have had.”

Hudson s Supplies and Service Heating, Plumbing

Bristol Drains Ltd Camera Surveys, Blo cked Drains, Jetting & Septic Tanks

For a genuine plumbing, heating or drain enquiry, a 24 hour call-out service is available 365 days a year. Please feel free to call us for a highly competitive quotation at fixed hourly rates.

HUDSON PLUMBING AND HEATING SERVICES LIMITED

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Tel: 0117 902 5820 • Fax: 0117 964 4666 Email: info@hudsonplumbing.co.uk Hudson Plumbing & Heating Services is a well-established local business located in the Bristol area. With over 20 years experience, we have built up an enviable reputation for quality workmanship, high levels of customer care, reliability and value for money.

Tel: 0117 940 0074 • Fax: 0117 964 4666 Email: info@bristoldrains.com At Bristol Drains, you can be assured of first-class work carried out by our own experienced and professional engineers. Whether you have a blocked drain at your home our office or you require a buried drain traced/located – CALL US NOW – no job too small.

• Central Heating installation • Shower Room installations • Wet Room Specialists • Boiler System Upgrades • Annual Service Contracts • Local Authority Approved • Boiler Servicing & Repairs • Bathroom installations • Kitchen Plumbing • Bespoke Adaptations for Disabilities

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Units 5a & 5b, Advantage Park, 75 Whitchurch Lane, Bishopsworth, Bristol BS13 7TE (Entrance in Cater Road) A C C R E D I T A T I O N S

PAGE 76 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013


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HOMES & INTERIORS

Building on success

R.O. Dando and Sons Ltd. are celebrating after being awarded a B&NES Building Control Building Quality Award for the third time. This most recent award is for works to a listed farmhouse and its surrounding barns to turn them back into a family home for the 21st century. The company says the success of the project was in no small part due to the enthusiasm and vision of the client combined with the quality of the design provided by James Blair Associates. The renovation of these derelict buildings included sympathetic restoration of the existing building, retaining as much of the original fabric as possible, and replacing various elements that were beyond repair with traditional, like-for-like materials. The project also involved significant extensions which incorporated a modern glass and oak façade designed to make the most of the stunning views towards Chew Valley Lake. As a family company that has been based in Chew Magna for over 100 years, R.O. Dando and Sons pride themselves on the quality of their work and they aim to provide a comprehensive service for construction projects of any size. This has been reflected in their three building quality awards presented by B&NES is recent years. They now employ around 25 skilled craftsmen from a range of trades along with a management team of five which enables them to tackle many construction projects for domestic and commercial clients alike, including everyday maintenance, extensions, listed building renovation and state-of-the-art new builds. Before

R. O. DANDO & SONS Registered Builders & Decorators

FAMILY BUSINESS ESTABLISHED 100 YEARS

MOORLEDGE ROAD CHEW MAGNA BRISTOL BS40 8TA

Telephone: 01275 333603 After

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 77


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MENDIP TIMES

RH

Tony Hucker TV Service – Sales – Rental

Windows THE CHEW VALLEY’S LONGEST ESTABLISHED WINDOW COMPANY WITH A REPUTATION BUILT ON QUALITY AND SERVICE FOR CONSERVATORIES, WINDOWS AND DOORS IN HARDWOOD OR UPVC

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Tel/fax: 01749 675386 • Mobile: 07860 821496 Email: boyce.millington@btconnect.com Website: www.boycemillington.co.uk PAGE 78 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

MENDIP TIMES •JANUARY 2012 • PAGE 78


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HOMES & INTERIORS

Natural friendly cleaning

WE live in a world with increasing awareness of the effect chemicals have on us and warnings about how the way we live affects our health and that of our environment. There is strong evidence that conventional cleaning products increase the risk of developing asthma symptoms and allergies. The best method is of course to go for non-toxic natural cleaning products that are kind to you as they are to the planet. Having worked with cleaning chemicals for over 15 years Stephanie Lesieur is aware many modern chemicals containing aggressive ingredients and preservatives such as parabens. So Stephanie decided that she would set up a new approach to cleaning – LOTUS was started in 2013. LOTUS changes the way people maintain a clean and healthy home environment through two key elements: firstly a cleaning service that uses sustainably sourced cleaning products ensures your house is cleaned to the highest standard while avoiding exposure to toxins, petrochemicals, bleach, ammonia, phosphates or other harmful ingredients. All products used are made from natural sources and all cleaners are fitted with high efficiency (HEPA) filters to minimise very fine particles and dust/dust mites that can irritate airways. Secondly an ongoing service to replace detergents used in daily life with products sourced using the some credentials. This looks to replace and maintain supplies of hand soaps (liquid and solid), dishwashing powders and rinse aids, washing machine powders and liquid conditioners, washing up liquids, air fresheners and toilet cleaner.

Natural ways to clean your home

At LOTUS we have a range of services to help keep your home clean and tidy while promoting an eco friendly approach and minimising the use of chemicals. 9 The Natural Way to Clean Your Home 9 Allergen Free Eco Cleansing and Products 9 Good For The Environment 9 All Cleaners CRB Checked

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Contact Us Today Stephanie 07796 440 329 Email: slesieur@hotmail.co.uk LOTUS Cleaning, Cheddar, Somerset. 01934 743 622

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 79


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MENDIP TIMES

JOINERY Established 1968 Softwood and Hardwood Windows and Doors Bespoke Joinery For . . . Barn Conversions New Builds Grade 1 & Grade 2 Listed Properties Machine Mould Sections to Match

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15 Years Experience, Friendly and Reliable Service

Replacement Radiators – great prices, phone for details Great deals on boiler replacements 535028

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• Servicing • Boiler/System Upgrades • Breakdown & General Maintenance • Landlord’s Safety Certificates • FREE QUOTES

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t: 01934 740163 www.perfectpave.com


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JACKSONS

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

Hooray! The clocks have gone forward which means it’s officially British Summer Time. The weather may not be “summery” yet, but we do have the extra light, which means more time to plan outdoor activities.

MAYBE you have it in mind to give your garden or outdoor living space a makeover and you are raring to go to make some improvements, but you need some inspiration? Well here’s an idea, why not have a look through Jacksons website, there’s a wealth of information and ideas on there. Our new panels like Venetian and Woven feature in our show gardens pages and image galleries, they show how the panels

W

I N

A N

Everything you love about an iPad in a more compact, manageable size. Simply log on to your local page, address below and follow the easy instructions on how to enter the free prize draw. The draw closes 30.4.13. Previous Prize Draw winners are posted on the web page.

I

P

A D

M

I N I

To enter go to: www.jacksons-fencing.co.uk/bathlocal

!

work together with other elements like decking, water features, paving and planting, to create stunning gardens. And for the last few years we have been adding stories to our Customer Projects pages on the website. This is another ideal source of ideas, by looking at the projects other people have carried out. Some have ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, which show what an amazing difference can be made, for example one customer says this: The main reason for putting the deck there was to make good use of the space at the back of the house. The ground slopes away quite steeply. It was quite a drop from the back door to the grass. The decking area is now level with the house, so we can now step out from the lounge onto the deck. Because this has raised our sitting area up higher we can now sit on the deck and enjoy much more of the sea views. When accompanied by pictures of projects like this it can be a really useful source of inspiration, and may give you ideas on how to make a problem area in your own outdoor area become useful. Some of the projects show a simple but effective change like increasing privacy by adding a trellis panel to the top of a fence, but others show a complete garden makeover – well worth a read – visit your local page:www.jacksonsfencing.co.uk/bathlocal to see a link to customer projects and the show gardens pages online. louise@jacksons-fencing.co.uk

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 81


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Homeowners turn to renewable heating WITH fuel prices continuing to increase many homeowners are looking to renewable energy to help lower their bills and

PAGE 82 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

provide some much needed financial security. Offering lower bills, reduced emissions and an additional income

HOMES & INTERIORS

stream, generating your own green energy for heating is on the rise. Although relatively new to the UK, renewable heating technologies have been quietly providing efficient and reliable warmth to European homes for decades. A wide range of products are available but those most suited to residential properties include air and ground source heat pumps, solar thermal and biomass boilers. While the technologies work in different ways each produces significant clean energy and can be installed to work with existing heating systems. When it comes to bills the amount you will save depends on several factors including the type of fuel you are replacing, the property in question, and the heating system currently installed. For rural properties using oil for heating savings of 40% are easily achieved. Homes using electric heating could save up to £650 per year*. As conventional fuel prices increase, so will the savings, however there is another reason homeowners are moving away

from traditional heating fuels. From this summer the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will provide quarterly payments to homeowners using eligible renewable technologies. Payments will increase with inflation and are guaranteed for seven years providing an additional household income. If you are interested in renewable heat for your home the first step is to find a trusted and qualified installer. Ensure you check for Microgeneration Certification Scheme registration and ask for feedback from previous customers. Your chosen installer should also be willing to survey your property free of charge and advise on the best technology for your home and lifestyle, so look for a supplier that offers a range of different technologies. Or you could simply talk to Solarsense. With more than 18 years’ experience Solarsense offer trusted advice and install a wide range of renewable technologies. Voted the South West’s green installer of the year 2012 Solarsense will support you in selecting the most appropriate technology and can provide detailed projections of savings and income. For an informal discussion of how renewables can work for you call a member of our residential team today on 01275 461 800 or come along to our next open day on Saturday, 11th May. Stephen Barrett, Director info@solarsense-uk.com *Figure from the Energy Saving Trust website, 20/03/2013


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MOTORING

SHIPHAM MOTOR GROUP

Turnpike Road, Shipham, Winscombe BS25 1TX

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CLEEVE HILL, UBLEY BS40 6PG Telephone: 01761 462275 (24hrs) www.ubleymotors.co.uk MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 83


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Show history on schedule

Organisers of this year’s Royal Bath and West Show are using their extensive archive collections to celebrate the event’s 150th anniversary.

OLD images from previous shows are being used on the show schedules which are now being sent out as the countdown to the four-day celebration of rural life begins. The historic show is one of the oldest surviving agricultural shows in England and is the only one to take place over four days. The first show was held in 1852 just 36 miles away from the showground at Shepton Mallet – in Taunton. It then toured the country for

Middleweight hunters in 1935

more than 100 years before a permanent home was found at Shepton Mallet in 1965. The society, which was founded in Bath in 1777, held its annual meeting to coincide with the show and only world wars and an outbreak of foot and mouth have stopped it going ahead. Alan Lyons, show manager, said: “In 1896 when the show was held in St Albans, a commentator wrote about the society and its members in the

programme and this unknown person’s words really sum up what the show and the society is about. It said: ‘We cannot print the long catalogue of its achievements: are they not written in every one of England’s broad acres? ‘They produced unlimited good, they covered an unlimited field, protecting turnips from flies, cross-breeding of cattle, adapting the man to the plough, not the plough to the man; the introduction of the horseshoe, curing the

Prestigious Burke Trophy at Royal Bath and West

ONE of the most prestigious beef trophies in the country will be making its way to the West Country this year, to be presented at the 150th Royal Bath and West Show. The Burke Trophy, formerly a highlight of the Royal Show, is presented to the best pair of beef animals – one male and one female – chosen out of all the breed classes at the event. It was – and still is – considered a huge triumph to win it and an even greater honour to be invited to judge it. This year, that honour falls to well-known cattle breeder and judge Daniel Wyllie from Staffordshire. He said: “When travelling to the Royal Show it was every stockman’s ambition to walk down the red carpet and win the Burke Trophy. “It’s the most difficult competition in the cattle world – I was reserve champion at the very last Royal Show and even that was an unbelievable feeling.” The trophy, which is presented courtesy of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, will be in safe hands at the Royal Bath and West Show, says show manager Alan Lyons: “Three of our committee members, who are often referred to as the ‘Three Wise Men’ of the cattle committee, have been instrumental in bringing the Burke Trophy to the West Country

this year. “And they have an excellent history with it, as Henry Dart won it with his Devon cattle, Mike Yeandle won it with his Charolais cattle and David Barker has judged it. We are very excited to be hosting this prestigious competition this year, and it is very fitting that this coincides with our 150th show.”

Competition entries for the show, which will be held from May 29th to June 1st, are now open, with early bird saver tickets available online now at www.bathandwest.com or by calling 0844 7765777.

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rot in sheep, machines for reaping, sowing, drilling; the double-furrow plough, ploughing matches, chemical laboratories, schools for agriculture, dairying, poultry breeding, bee-keeping etc. etc. ‘Whenever a farmer throughout the English speaking world today reaches the haven of success, some measure of that success, be it small or great, can be directly traced to the incomparable work of the Bath and West of England Society during the 119 years it has existed for the benefit of mankind’.” Alan added: “Today, 236 years since the Society was founded and with our 150th show, we will be looking back but also looking to the future as we will continue to showcase the latest in technology and the best of the livestock bred in the UK. “Just as there was in 1852, 2013’s show will provide plenty to see and do for all generations whether they are involved in the agricultural industry, commerce or education or simply

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ROYAL BATH & WEST SHOW

Judging cider in 1951

looking for a good value day out.” An exhibition of memorabilia will be staged in one of the permanent buildings on the showground site and the village

The schedule for this year’s Shoeing competitions

green will have a distinctly Victorian theme, with the school, forge and shop all taking part.

This year’s Livestock schedule

This year’s show takes place from Wednesday, May 29th to Saturday, June 1st. For more information, visit: www.bathandwest.com MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 85


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Clash of the choirs

A TELEGRAM from BBC TV choirmaster and presenter Gareth Malone kicked off this year’s Clash of the Choirs at Wedmore Church. The inspirational personality behind the Military Wives sent his best wishes for the occasion which was staged by the Friends of St Mary’s. This was the second time the clash had been held in the church. Organiser David Hopkins was delighted with the event which packed out the pews and attracted 180 singers including long-established choirs such as Cheddar Male Choir and small singing groups of young people. He said: “I think it was even better than last year. About 450 people had enormous fun during the evening which was very informal. There was a nice mixture of performers and for some of them the event gave them a rare opportunity to sing in front of a big crowd. “For the children it was an enormous life experience; for those who are keen on pursuing singing as a career it allowed them to perform for the first time in a public place.” Expertly compered by Alan Philps, the choirs taking part were: Cheddar Male Choir, Wedmore First School Academy Singing Club, Somernotes, the adults and children from Cheddar Valley Voices, St Mary’s Choir, St. Andrew’s Choir from Cheddar, The Keynotes and Moor Harmony. PAGE 86 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Honour for Brian

Brian Attwood (left) and Les Debenham

MENDIP Male Voice Choir has honoured its longest-serving member, Brian Attwood, who has been a member of the choir for 40 years. He joined Timsbury Male Voice Choir in January 1973 and within a year he was elected as the music librarian. By 1980 he became assistant vice conductor and in 1985 he rose to conductor when Ken James retired after 33 years service in that role. Brian continued to conduct the choir for 18 years and he only retired back to the singing ranks with the baritones in 2003 when the choir’s current conductor and musical director, Kate Courage was appointed. Now the choir are again looking for a replacement musical director as Kate will be leaving in August. Musically talented people looking for a challenge are invited to apply for the post by contacting the secretary@mendipmen.co.uk Brian was presented with an engraved Bristol Blue Glass tankard by choir secretary, Les Debenham.

Rickford rises to challenge

THE good folk of Rickford Rise, near Blagdon have been entertaining in aid of charity for the second year running. An audience of 120 saw Rickford Rise and Shine, with a packed programme of sea shanties, folk songs, piano recitals and more in Burrington parish rooms. With a raffle, the sale of paintings, wood turning and glasswork, as well as donations on the night, over £2,000 was raised for the Children’s Hospice South West. Organiser Jeff Martin said: “Everybody involved has worked tremendously hard to make the evening a success. It’s tough to dig deep when we are all feeling the pinch, but the generosity of everyone who came along and surge of goodwill towards such a good cause is truly moving.”


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MUSIC

Remembering a legend

IT was a special moment as we walked across the soft green grass at St Martin’s Hospital in Bath towards a black and gold memorial stone, which stands in front of the hospital chapel. The memorial stone was originally set up by the Eddie Cochran Memorial Trust Fund, in memory of one of the most iconic rock and roll artists of all time. It was also a special moment for rock and roll star, Vince Eager, as he read the words on the stone, and was taken back in time to Easter Sunday April 17th, 1960, the last time he had been at the hospital. It was the day that Eddie Cochran died, after a car carrying him, Gene Vincent and Sharon Sheeley back to London had crashed at Rowden Hill, Chippenham the night before. Vince, who was born Roy Taylor in 1940, and who had started off in the musical world by setting up a skiffle group with friends in 1957/8 called the Vagabonds, first met Eddie Cochran after becoming a member of music impresario, Larry Parnes’ stable. He had to change his name to Vince Eager, as he joined the likes of Marty Wilde, Billy Fury and Dicky Pride. He had also become a familiar face on TV appearing in popular television shows of that time, such as Oh Boy and the Six Five Special. He toured the UK with various shows featuring such stars as Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent and Eddie

(left to right) Vince Eager, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran with some of their fans during the 1960 tour.

Cochran, first meeting Eddie on January 24th, 1960. He said: “It was the first night of the Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Vince Eager tour at the Gaumont, Ipswich. I followed Eddie and closed the first half. As I was towelling myself down there was a knock on the door. I shouted ‘Come in’ and the door opened revealing a very handsome heavily made-up guy in a bath robe, who looked like a cross between James Dean and Elvis. “He said ‘I’m Eddie, and that was the best version of It’s Only Make Believe I have ever heard’. From that moment on it became a mutual admiration society, and we just became good mates.“ Now 52 years later Vince has been recording at Alan Wilson’s Weston Star Recording studio in Paulton. Alan said: “We were working on an old Cochran song, along with ex-Blue Flames and Shirley Bassey’s ex musical director Colin Green. Colin also knew and worked with Eddie. After recording Three Steps to Heaven I told Vince it was Oct 3rd and we all looked at each other in shock. Unwittingly we were recording Eddie Cochran’s song on Eddie’s birthday, just 15 minutes from where he Alan Wilson and Vince Eager at the memorial stone to died. Eddie Cochran, set up in the grounds of St Martin’s “As part of that Hospital in Bath conversation I mentioned the

stone at St Martins Hospital. Vince was aware of the roadside memorial on the crash site, but hadn’t realised there was one at St Martin’s, so I promised to take him there someday.” Vince said: “I was surprised as I had no idea it was there, and I have great admiration for the people who put it there. It was so tastefully done and the setting was just right. The fact that it was a short distance away from where Eddie had passed away made it even more poignant. I found it very touching and quite overwhelming.“ Vince’s new album will be out in the summer on Western Star. Meanwhile his last album 788 years of Rock n Roll (featuring guests such as Chas Hodges (of Chas & Dave) Marty Wilde and many more) is available now at www.westernstar.co.uk and selling fast! Ros Anstey MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 87


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Badminton is back

AFTER the disappointing washout and cancellation of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials last year the event is back with a bang and takes place over the weekend from Thursday May 2nd-Monday May 6th. The horse trials calendar has already With CELIA started with some early events in March GADD proving popular but Badminton is the one that everyone has their eye on from the beginning of the season. Fingers crossed that the weather is kind to us this year for this great event, and ticket prices have been held at the 2012 prices for most of the events. Go to www.badminton-horse.co.uk to find out more. The waiting list for the trade stand village is as long as ever and many traders will be anxious to try and re-coup some of their losses from last year. All the top international riders are expected including Michael Jung from Germany who is a double Gold Medallist and World and European champion but interestingly enough he has not yet ridden around Badminton. New Zealander Andrew Nicholson finished last year in tremendous form, and having been the bridesmaid several times at this event will be very keen to clinch the trophy after winning at Burghley and Pau at the end of last year. William Fox-Pitt from Sturminster Newton in Dorset is still hoping to win and take the Rolex Grand Slam for which he is still in the running after winning Burghley in 2011 and Kentucky last year. This will be last year that the cross country day takes place on a Sunday with the nail-biting finale of the show jumping being on Bank Holiday Monday. The charity chosen for this year’s event is the Alzheimer’s Research UK and there will be a fence dedicated to this hard-

April 2013 show dates

Monday 1st Taunton Vale Harriers Point to Point Kingston St Mary Wednesday 3rd Lower evening show jumping at Badgworth Arena, Axbridge Thursday 4th Taunton races at Taunton racecourse Saturday 6th Polden and Bridgwater Riding Club unaffiliated dressage at Cannington Equestrian Centre Sunday 7th Brent Knoll Riding Club Open Show at Stretcholt Equestrian Centre Kingfisher unaffiliated show jumping at Kingfisher Equestrian Centre, Castle Cary

PAGE 88 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

working charity and many fundraising initiatives going on over the weekend. Many people make the most of this weekend and camp out and bookings for camping slots are now available on 01454 218375. The shopping village at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials is a shopaholic’s dream and this year will be no exception. Whether you are looking for clothes, saddler, outdoor furniture or a new kitchen the wide array of stands really does cater for everything. There is food and drink aplenty although the British tradition of a ‘picnic in the park’ is still going strong and hundreds of picnic hampers will appear out of the back of cars in this magnificent setting. There is plenty for the children too with a fun fair and plenty of toys and gifts on offer. We are very lucky to have this fantastic event on our doorstep and if you haven’t yet visited then don’t miss out this year.

Wednesday 10th Higher evening show jumping at Badgworth Arena, Axbridge Thursday 11th Wincanton races at Wincanton racecourse Sunday 14th BHS Somerset unaffiliated dressage at King Sedgemoor Equestrian Centre, Greinton West Somerset Point to Point at Wincanton racecourse West Somerset Pony Club show jumping at Stockland Lovell Manor, Fiddington Brent Knoll Riding Club Spring Show at Stretcholt Equestrian Centre Wednesday 17th Lower evening show jumping at

Badgworth Arena, Axbridge Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st British Dressage at Badgworth Arena, Axbridge Sunday 21st Kingfisher Winter dressage at Kingfisher Equestrian Centre, Castle Cary Children’s Day at Wincanton Racecourse Wednesday 24th Taunton Races at Taunton racecourse Higher evening show jumping at Badgworth Arena, Axbridge Sunday 28th Blackdown Mendip Riding Club dressage competition to be held at the RDA Centre Bristol. Details: www.blackdownmendiprc.co.uk


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Heart or head

I AM often asked what I think ‘makes a good horse’ and this is a very difficult question to answer. If you look back at some of the equestrian greats, Red Rum, (prolific race horse, Grand National winner), Milton (top show jumper), King William (winner of Badminton horse trials and numerous eventing medals), and more recently Charlotte Dujardin’s Valegro, (Gold medal winner at London 2012 Olympics), it is obvious that all these animals exude talent. And yet, they were probably all completely different in character, conformation and breeding. Obviously a winning race horse will be a thoroughbred and from a completely different stable and upbringing than a winning dressage horse but without doubt all of these horses will have had to more than put up with their human companions when it comes down to training and discipline. The hours of training that goes into competing at the top in any of the equestrian disciplines dictates that the horses must have a really good temperament, and also have the ability to ‘dig deep’ and be courageous too in the face of extreme tests. For the racehorse it is stamina that is really put to the test, for the show jumper it is the scope over a fence, the event horse must be not just a ‘jack of all trades’ but a master of them all too to excel in modern day competition. The dressage horse must have power, exuberance but also the most trainable of minds to make it to the top and so it is difficult to judge whether head or heart rules in these horses. Intelligence and courage can come hand in hand but not

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RIDING

always and one thing that is terribly important with any hard working competition horse is that they are sound and fit. And so, when looking for a star in the making perhaps the most sensible thing to do first is to check that the horse will stand up to the work. Clean limbs, a generous girth and a strong and well muscled body is a good place to start, and then paces and suppleness need to be assessed. For me it has always been a ‘gut’ feeling about a horse from the first minute we meet, and I have to admit I have not always been right. Mostly though if a horse is brilliant it is because it wants to be, in some that means a really trainable attitude and a horse that will try until the very end, and for others it is sheer talent that can make them rather arrogant and not for the faint hearted rider. It is this that makes the equine world so interesting though, no two horses are the same So is your horse a potential star? Please contact news@mendiptimes.co.uk or write in and let us know about your horses and what you are doing with them. Celia Gadd

Time to think about fencing

Martin has recently completed fencing work at Paul Nicholls’s home

SHEPTON Mallet Fencing is reminding owners of horses that they should make sure their fencing is in good condition as they start to turn out their animals for the summer. Martin York, who has run the company with wife Kay for the past 25 years, offers a wide range of estate services in addition to building and maintaining fences. One of his biggest clients is Paul Nicholls and Martin has recently completed a project at the champion trainer’s new home at Ditcheat. Martin – known by many as Yorkie – also provides services for the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Point to Point and for the Mid-Somerset Show but can often be seen working on domestic projects. Martin, who lives in Shepton Mallet, said: “We are very much a family-run business and we can take on large or small-scale jobs.”

SHEPTON MALLET FENCING Estate Services

Are you ready for turning out? Are you completely stock proof? We install new fencing, and offer repairs and maintenance. 25 years’ experience. Contact Martin York Tel: 01749 342005 Mob: 07980 723777 E-mail: kayyork@tiscali.co.uk

EVERYTHING FOR THE SMALLHOLDER AND YOUR PETS Pig, goat, sheep, turkey, poultry and horse feeds Complete dog food, 15 kilo bag – £9.50

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 89


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Learn to play golf!

WHEATHILL Golf Club is looking forward to introducing lots of new golfers to the game. With its ten-acre practice ground open to everyone, 8-hole par 3 academy course as well as the main 18hole course it’s the perfect venue to learn. With three PGA qualified professionals, a well stocked pro-shop and friendly clubhouse there is something for everyone. There are some very special green fee offers during Golf Week, April 8th – 12th and with £12 Tuesday throughout the season, golf doesn’t have to hit the pocket. There are Learn to Play Golf in a Day classes throughout the summer, as well as some great Junior Boredom Buster groups and summer holiday Junior Academies. Junior membership is available for only £50 for the season and includes full use of all the facilities, unlimited driving range balls and free EGU coaching sessions. All juniors are encouraged to get a handicap and play in competitions.

Charity golf day

A CHARITY golf day in aid of the Special Care Baby Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Bristol will take place on Thursday, July 4th, at Mendip Spring Golf Club. For information and entry forms contact either Howard Walton on 01275 463405 or Eric Crawford on 01275 855396.

Liam tees off for Somerset

FROME Golf Club member Liam Copp, 17, has been selected to play for Somerset County U18s at this year’s Four Counties Championships which start on Tuesday, April 9th at Knighton Heath Golf Club in Dorset. He will be taking part in both stroke play and match play formats over the two days of competition.

Golfers help hospice

MEMBERS of Burnham and Berrow Golf Club have raised more than £8,000 for St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice. Golf club captain, Geoff Robinson and ladies’ captain, Sarah Champion, chose the hospice for their Captains’ Charity in 2012. The local community of Burnham-on-Sea certainly pulled out all the stops when it came to sponsoring the Charity Golf Day, with local businesses represented on every hole.

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PAGE 90 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Bill takes charge

GOLF

FROME’S new seniors captain Bill McCullum started his term of office with a fine win in the first seniors match of the year. Forty hardy souls braved the course to play a full round in freezing temperatures and biting wind. Bill’s total of 34 Stableford points just pipped Tony Doman (33) into second place, with George Tyrell in third. It was agreed by all members that the course is in very Bob Mills presents the Reg Wheeler good condition following a trophy to captain Bill McCullum really wet winter. The match followed the annual meeting for the Monday/Thursday seniors, when the seniors captain Harold Lidbitter handed over to Bill McCullum. It was agreed by all that Harold had had a very successful year and was congratulated by the incoming captain and thanked for all his hard work. Rick Head was voted in as the new vice captain following years as secretary and Bob Mills was coerced into being the new secretary.

Seniors launch their 2013 season

ON the finest day of the year, so far, Mendip Spring Golf Club seniors played their annual captain versus vice-captain team match, with vice-captain Dave Rawles’ team defeating captain Mike Dury’s team by eight matches to three. The Mendip Spring course was in excellent condition for the match, despite the poor weather of recent weeks. Dave Sparrow won the ‘nearest the pin’ trophy, and had a birdie on the par 3 second hole. Brian Burge won the ‘duck trophy’ for the most balls lost in water hazards and Alan Brown won a ‘plastic beach set’ for going into the most bunkers. An excellent day was rounded-off with a late lunch in the clubhouse during which the awards were presented.

Tee off for Goldies

THE Goldies Charitable Golf Day returns in April, raising funds for a charity based at Westfield, near Midsomer Norton. The event, at Lansdown Golf Club near Bath, is being held on Friday, April 26th and is open to players of all abilities. The Golden-Oldies charity works with the elderly and isolated across the West of England. As in previous years the golf comprises a Bowmaker Stableford competition in teams of four players. There will be a two-course meal, prize table and a prize giving to include longest drive and nearest the pin. The entry fee is £160 per team of four. For more information, contact Emma or Rosie on 01761 470006 or via email: events@golden-oldies.org.uk


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Boxers pay tribute

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AMATEUR boxers and fight fans at a tournament in Shepton Mallet paid tribute to Ray Lyons, the former secretary of the town’s boxing club, who died in January. Ray, a former assistant national secretary of the Amateur Boxing Association, was a big supporter of the club when it launched last year. A big crowd packed Shepton Mallet Leisure Centre for the club’s second showcase event, which featured the first round of the Senior ABA Boxing Championship. Boxers came from across Somerset and further afield. Paul Warren, club chairman, said: “With the success of the two events we have held so far, we have shown that there is a big demand in this area from boxing fans.” G Ray was also a past president of the Somerset Amateur Swimming Association.

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 91


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Presentation night

Terry Priddle, Teresa Hawkins and Jim Towells.

IT was a packed clubhouse for Purnell Bowls Club’s annual presentation. Jan Palmer and Di Crouch organised a great meal and were thanked by President Bryn Hawkins before the presentation of trophies. John Hansford, captain, and the selection committee were thanked for putting out teams that finished with the A team losing just one game and going up into Prem One, playing the likes of Bath, Bristol, Clevedon and Ilminster. The B team consolidated their position in East One League and the newly-formed C team got the runners-up spot going up into East Two League. Purnell ladies didn’t do as well as they had in previous years but Ann Ferris captain and June Jameson vice-captain were thanked for putting out a team every week. The club’s summer competition presentation took place, with Jan Dart ladies president and Don Dart chairman, making the presentation of trophies, with Chris Godfrey winning the ladies’ singles, Terry Priddle the men’s singles, Teresa Hawkins the ladies two-wood and Jim Towells the men’s twowood.

Sports awards

THE achievements and dedication of local sports people, volunteers and coaches were celebrated by the chairman of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Rob Appleyard, and special guest, paralympic swimmer Stephanie Millward, at the Chairman’s Sport Awards 2013. Councillor Appleyard said: “I’m delighted to celebrate the marvellous achievements and dedication of our local sports people, volunteers and coaches. I hope that their devotion to sporting activities in our communities continues to inspire others.” PAGE 92 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Somerset rugby

CONGRATULATIONS to Chris Tout, Luis Davilla and Tom Chard, who were selected to play for Somerset county under15s rugby against Devon at Barnstaple RFC, helping the team to a 14-10 win. All three boys performed outstandingly well in the game. Chris and Luis from Writhlington School and Tom from Norton Hill already played for the Mendip Lions, one part of a sixregion development team for Somerset, from which these three county players were selected. The boys also play for their local club, Midsomer Norton, every Sunday morning.

Rebels raring to go one better

THE 2013 speedway season gets underway at the end of March, with the ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels looking to go one better than in 2012 when they were runner’s-up in the Premier League Championship Play-Off Final. Despite 2012 being a highly successful year – the Rebels did have the consolidation of winning the League Cup Final – a number of changes have been made to their 2013 septet. Whilst four of last year’s side will be returning to the Oaktree Arena, they will be joined by three new faces. Along with last year’s skipper and number one, Jason Doyle, Somerset fans will be welcoming back his Australian compatriot, Alex Davies and two British riders, Kyle Newman, the 2012 European Under-21 Finalist and Tom Perry, who was runnerup in last season’s British Under-21 Championship. Joining this quartet are the three “new-boys”: Australia’s Josh Grajczonek, the four-times Queensland State Champion, and Nick Morris, who was a member of the Scunthorpe team that defeated Somerset in last season’s Championship Play-Off Final, with the septet being completed by the current British Under-19 Champion, Stefan Nielsen. Club promoter Debbie Hancock said: “We will be going all out to go one better than last season and bring that Championship Trophy back to Somerset after narrowly missing out last season.” Ian Belcher, Somerset Rebels Details of all Somerset’s matches can be found on the club’s website: www.somersetrebels.co


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Building on success

CAMERTON and Peasedown Croquet Club report a successful year, despite the appalling weather, which has meant calling in drainage experts to improve the lawns. With membership up by 20 per cent, and members now competing in national competitions, all looks set fair for 2013. The club has scheduled a beginner’s course – five sessions on Sunday afternoons from 2pm to 4.30pm, starting on April 7th. The cost is £20 for all five sessions and £10 is refunded when you join the club.

SPORT

Kingfishers cheer on Robins

Children from the class wrote letters to the club saying why they should be chosen as mascots for the day. It was a tough choice for club officials but in the end Maeve, Jenna, Finlay, George, Lucas and Lewis were chosen

Details: Mo Boys 01225 708540 or email: moboys@talktalk.net

Colts have horsepower

CASTLE Cary Rugby Club’s Colts squad members have been presented with new shirts after attracting new sponsors. The team is being backed by Rowcliffes car dealers of Yeovil. Their business manager Paul Marsh, a former rugby player who spent several years playing in Australia, presented the shirts to the team.

FROME Town Football Club welcomed 29 special guests at their vital home game against Hitchen as children from Kingfisher Class of Bishop Henderson Primary School in Coleford visited to lend their support. As reported in last month’s Mendip Times, the class has become the first official primary school to link with The Robins and have been piloting a new programme designed around education through football which has been well received by children and parents alike. When they arrived they were met by club officials and ushered through the players’ entrance straight into the changing rooms where they met the players, asked questions and gathered as many autographs as possible. They then had a tour around the ground, including a stop off in the boardroom to sample the biscuits before taking their seats in the Andrews Coaches Community Stand to roar on Frome as they went on to beat Hitchin 2-1. Nicola Coles, the club’s Education Liaison Officer, said: “The children all had an amazing day and we can t thank everybody at the Club enough for making it so special for them and I know its memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives. The reception the whole club has given to this project, from supporters, to management, players and directors alike has been incredible and I would like to thank everybody for their support and encouragement.” Jeremy Alderman, the club chairman, added: “It was great to see and hear the enthusiasm from the children on Saturday and the work that has been done in just a couple of months has been superb and we congratulate Nicola on her work and her own passion for not just the project but also the club as well. The children on the day were a credit to their school, their teaching staff and their parents who should all be very proud of them.” G Frome Town FC Supporters Club has also made Kingfisher Class honorary junior members.

The excited children made banners and flags for the occasion and were in good voice throughout the afternoon MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 93

Photos courtesy of Jon Curle

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ACROSS: 1 Langford Court, 9 Fewer, 10 Free press, 11 Jerseys, 12 Drayman, 14 Clotted cream, 16 Corn on the cob, 22 Sapling, 23 Merrier, 24 Eyeballed, 25 Cameo, 26 Priddy Circles. DOWN: 1 Life-jackets, 2 Newsroom, 3 Ferment, 4 Refused, 5 Cheddar, 6 Uppsala, 7 Thelma, 8 Yes, 13 Nine Barrows, 15 Schimmel, 17 Origami, 18 Niggled, 19 Nomadic, 20 Hire car, 21 Upkeep, 24 Eau.


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MEMORIAL THEATRE FROME

Saturday, April 6th at 2pm HIGH JINX MAGIC AND ILLUSION SHOW

Matinee performance only. Tickets £8.50/Family Ticket (2 Adults and 2 Children) £30

Saturday, April 13th at 7.30pm THE SEARCHERS Tickets £19/Conc (stalls) £17

Saturday, May 4th at 7.30pm THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL Tickets £16.50

Tuesday, May 14th - Saturday, May 18th FAOS PRESENTS: THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Tickets £15/Conc (stalls) £13. Evenings: 7.30pm plus matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm

Saturday, June 1st at 7.30pm PHIL COOL “THE TOUR OF NO RETURN” Tickets £16. (Also appearing ‘Fake’ Thackray)

Saturday, June 15th at 7.30pm THE BIG CHRIS BARBER BAND Tickets £20

Shows promise something for all ages

A BRAND new variety show and the return of one of Britain’s most popular bands are amongst the line-up at Frome’s Memorial Theatre in the coming weeks. High Jinx – featuring magician and performance artist Michael Jordan and actress, dancer and singer Tamsin Sear – is sure to have everyone on the edge of their seats as it presents a fast paced mix of magic, illusion, escapology, circus skills and music. Michael was voted Young Magician of the Year by the world-famous Magic Circle between 2009-2011 and made a recent appearance on the Penn and Teller TV series. High Jinx comes to Frome on Saturday, April 6th and the following Saturday (April 13th) sees a concert by The Searchers, now celebrating their 50th anniversary. Their remarkable career saw huge chart successes with songs including Sweets For My Sweet, Needles and Pins, Don’t Throw Your Love Away, Sugar and Spice and When You Walk In The Room. The Searchers still have great appeal to audiences of all ages and are enthusiastically and warmly received throughout the world. Their highly entertaining show includes all their famous hits, plus many album recordings, B-sides and a selection of other well-known favourites. For details, visit the theatre’s website: www.fromememorialtheatre.org.uk

Festival is blooming

Saturday, June 22nd at 2pm THEO’S SUMMERTIME PARTY

Tickets £8.50, £7.50 for under 16’s or £24 for a Family of 4 (at least 1 adult)

Friday, July 5th-Sunday, July 7th DANCEWORKS 2013

Performances at 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday – matinee 2.30pm Sunday Tickets £10 (adults)/Conc £8 (stalls)

Friday, July 26th at 7,30pm BUBLÉ FEVER inc support

Tickets £17.50, £15.50 for Concessions. Family tickets £60 (2 Adults and 2 Children under 16) (Also coming in 2013: Jimmy Tarbuck, One Night of Queen, Sgt Peppers Only Dartboard Band and Jackson) For information on future presentations Visit fromememorialtheatre.org.uk Or find us on Facebook Pre-show meals available – check website or Box Office 01373 462795 (24hr) for details

Christchurch Street West, Frome, BA11 1EB PAGE 94 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

A scene from last year’s festival

THIS year’s Mells Daffodil Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever, says its new chairman. But Jake Shaw admits his predecessor Martin Cox will be a hard act to follow; last year’s event alone raised more than £10,000 for local causes. The festival takes place on Easter Monday, April 1st from 11am and will feature around 200 stalls, said Jake. Eight bands will provide live music during the day in a 50-metre marquee which will also feature a 35-metre long bar! There will also be displays of classic cars in the Main Field and The Medieval Combat Society will also stage demonstrations. Jake said: “It will be very difficult to follow in Martin’s footsteps, but I really want the festival to be a showcase for local business and enterprises and for it to benefit the local economy. “Despite the rain last year, we had around 7,000 visitors – that’s a big market for local people to tap into.” For more information, visit: www.mellsdaffodilfestival.co.uk


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Music and wine in Henton

ACCLAIMED wind ensemble Syrinx is returning to Henton Village Hall for a series of four Sunday evening cheese and wine concerts. The unique combination of a relaxed, cafe-style atmosphere and a varied programme of music for wind instruments and piano has proved so popular with audiences that Syrinx has decided that Henton Village Hall, between Wells and Wedmore, with its fine acoustic and larger seating capacity, is the ideal venue. Audience members can book a whole table for up to six, or come along and meet new friends. Syrinx comprises several of the finest chamber musicians in the South West. Leslie Sheills (flute), Jane Finch (oboe), Colin Parr (clarinet) and Martin Gatt (bassoon), all of whom have played with major orchestras in the UK and abroad, are joined by pianist Jacquelyn Bevan, who gives regular chamber concerts with Duo and Trio Paradis. Jacquelyn said: “The addition of piano to the wind ensemble means that we have a wonderful, and much wider, choice of music.” In addition to existing works, Syrinx arrange music for each concert and are equally at home in a range of musical styles, including jazz numbers and humorous Victorian songs. Combined with Martin et al’s light-hearted and anecdotal style of presentation, it all adds up to a highly entertaining evening. The first concert, An English Spring, is on Sunday, April 28th

Syrinx will be joined by Jacquelyn Bevan for the concert series

at 7.30pm (doors open at 7.15pm) and will include mostly works by English composers such as Vaughan Williams, Frank Bridge, Gerald Finzi, Peter Warlock and Madeleine Dring. Future concert dates are June 16th, September 22nd and December 1st. Tickets are £15 including cheese and wine supper (under-16’s £5) and are expected to sell quickly.

To book, call: 07595 671116 or email: jacquelynbevan@yahoo.co.uk

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Easter treats

HUNDREDS of people are expected to cross the drawbridge at The Bishop’s Palace to enjoy events, Easter treats and beautiful spring gardens. The Easter Feast trail will have a chocolate egg for everyone and there will be a host of other activities in the palace gardens. Also during Easter they will be giving you the chance to make your medieval costume and banner in preparation for their Museums at Night Event on May 18th. The palace is also looking for volunteers to join their team of guides to extend their range of tours, adding Palace Water Walks and Horticulture Tours, which will tell visitors about the history of the gardens and the flora and fauna that grows there.

Details: Anneli Connold on 01749 988111 ext 202 (Weds – Fri) by Thursday March 28th

Some of the wonders of Wells Cathedral

WELLS Cathedral has some of the best medieval stained glass windows in England as well as some fine 19th and early 20th century windows by famous stained glass designers. The 14th century Jesse window is undergoing extensive conservation at present by the Holy Well Glass workshop in Wells and some of the panels from the window are on show in the Cathedral where it is possible to see a “before” and “after” panel. Visitors can see close up the fine details on the glass and the vibrant colours brought to life in the nearly 700 year old glass. As usual during the summer season there will be a short talk on Wednesdays and Saturdays on a chosen window in the Cathedral. It lasts 15 minutes and will describe details in the window and the story behind the people featured. Wells Cathedral also boasts some exquisite embroideries in the Quire and talks will take place on Wednesdays on some of these. There are over 40 embroidered banners commemorating the Bishops who have served the Cathedral over the centuries as well as seat cushions and backs with other relevant motifs. Starting on Wednesday April 3rd and throughout the season until the end of October these talks will take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11.15 am for the stained glass and Wednesday only at 10.40 am for the embroideries. Binoculars are useful, though not essential, to see the fine detail in the windows. Everyone is welcome, no booking required and the talks are free. Enquire at the information desk for directions and details are on the website – wellscathedral.org.uk

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Get active and learn about healthy living with the Hawthorns

THE Hawthorns is a holding a special activity and healthy living day aimed at over 60s on the morning and afternoon of Thursday May 2nd. Retirement is a great time to learn a new skill, activity or hobby. It is also a time when many people take more of an interest in retaining their health and being able to keep active. For that reason the Hawthorns Retirement Complex is opening up its doors to over 60s in the Mendip area to sample some taster sessions of activities and learn about diet and nutrition for older people. The event is called ‘Retain and Regain’ and sessions will include Thai Chi, Pilates, circuit training and much more. There will also be experts on hand to give advice about diet and nutrition and information about foot care. Goldie Tripney, Facility Manager at the Hawthorns said: “In my job, working with many older residents who are in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, I find there are a lot of positive sides to growing older and age really shouldn’t be a barrier to doing anything you want to.” Details: The Hawthorns 01275 790060

Kids at heart

WHAT’S ON

Return of Jack and Jill

AFTER a year’s Jubilee-enforced rest, the Kilmersdon Village Day committee have reunited and planning is well under way for ‘The Second Coming’ on Bank Holiday Monday, May 27th. The main attractions of the day will be the Novelty Dog Show and the increasingly renowned Jack and Jill Dash, both of which provide excellent entertainment for all ages. In addition there are street stalls, a car boot sale and a range of attractions like bouncy castles and fairground rides in the village hall field. Details: Chairman Anthony Dutton on 07958 793873

Love film but have trouble hearing?

WELLS Film Centre is offering a special series of subtitled screenings of some of the latest releases for people who have hearing difficulties. The shows take place every Tuesday afternoon when the centre holds Tea Matinees, where one of the films will be shown with subtitles in English. Amongst the films scheduled to be screened (subject to alterations) include The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (U certificate) on Tuesday, April 16th, A Late Quartet (15), on Tuesday, April 23rd and GI Joe Retaliation (12a) on Tuesday, April 30th. Visitors to the tea matinees enjoy tea or coffee and biscuits in the £6.50 ticket price.

WINCANTON Racecourse’s infamous Children’s Day is being held on Sunday, April 21st. The day features a feast of child-friendly activities from pony racing to a donkey derby as well as the chance to practice ball skills with Yeovil Town Football Club and to ride a rodeo bull simulator! Steve Parlett, Wincanton’s General Manager, said: “Children’s Day has grown in stature and attracts the future racegoer. This year, with live pony racing, we are able to make racing more accessible to the next generation.” Gates open at midday. The first race is at 2.10pm and the last is due off at 4.40pm.

Princes Road, Wells, BA5 1TD

From Friday April 5th From Friday April 12th From Friday April 19th From Friday April 26th

COMING UP:

A Late Quartet (15) The Odd Life of Timothy Green (U) Oblivion (cert tbc) GI Joe: Retaliation in 2D & 3D (12a) Snitch (12a) Iron Man 3 in 2D & 3D (cert tbc)

G Book in person G Online 24/7 @www.wellsfilmcentre.co.uk G Over the ’phone: 01749 673195

MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013 • PAGE 97

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WHAT’S ON

The Mendip Times What’s On Guide for April Thursday March 28th Chew Valley Wildlife Trust: Fantastic Wildflowers a talk by Pat Chant and Chris Phillips celebrating the best wild flowers and plants and the best places they have found them in this area. Chew Magna Millennium Hall, 7.45pm, £2.50 inc refreshments. Friends of Weston-super-Mare Museum agm, 7pm at the museum, followed by talk: “Hans Fowler Price, Weston’s finest architect” by John Crockford-Hawley. Friday March 29th – Monday April 1st Sculpture Trail at University of Bristol Botanic Garden, 10am-5pm, entry £3.50, children and Friends free. Details: 0117 331 4906 www.bristol.ac.uk/botanic-garden Good Friday March 29th Sandford Station Railway Heritage Centre re-opens for 2013 – it will be open weekends and Bank Holidays, 11am-4pm, until the end of October. Admission free. www.sandfordstation.co.uk Easter Skittle Weekend and Vintage Tractor Road Run, Railway Inn, Meare, Glastonbury BA6 9SX. Tractor run leaves 11am for a run of around 20 miles, with a halfway stop at the Rose and Portcullis at Butleigh around 12 noon. Return to Railway Inn around 2.30pm for refreshments, skittles competition and raffle. Skittles will run from Good Friday afternoon until skittle off qualifiers on Sunday, March 31st at 8.30pm. Cash prizes for men and women. Supporting Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. For info call Ivan Sparks 01458 259401 (eves). Easter Monday April 1st Mells Daffodil Festival. Live music all day, the Medieval Combat Society as well as all the usual displays from vintage vehicles, dog agility, circus skills, Zumba etc and over 100 stalls. www.mellsdaffodilfestival.co.uk Tuesday April 2nd Marvels in Silver, Georg Jensen Jewellery, talk by Ms Sally Hoban for Mendip Decorative and Fine Arts Society, 10.30 for 11am in the Westex Suite, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet. Contact 01749 670652. Wednesday April 3rd Yeo Valley Probus meeting, talk about Backwell Playing Fields. Meeting at Backwell Bowling Club, 10 for 10.30am. Thursday April 4th Wells Evening Society, the drama behind the Taj Mahal, with Oliver Everett, Wells Town Hall, 7.30pm. Friday April 5th Open Mic Night at Redhill Village Hall from 8pm, hosted by Jerry Blythe. Free admission, all welcome. Tel: 01934 862619. Saturday April 6th Fundraising concert at Paulton Rovers FC, the Athletic Ground, Paulton, BS39 7RF, Appalachia, the Cathy Judge Band and Mike Scott. Tickets £8 in aid of RUH new cancer centre scanner appeal from 01761 452714. Organised by Radstock & Midsomer Norton Lions. “Fantasias” – a concert by Mendip Consort, a group of Somerset recorder players, at Holy Trinity Church, Frome, at 6.30pm. Tickets £6 (children free) from Cheese & Grain, in aid of the church. Nailsea & District Horticultural Society Spring Show, 12.30pm, Nailsea School. Entry fee £1, details: 01275 855342. Photography exhibition. A show by Ian Sumner of traditional black and white photographs going back to 1969 from Britain and overseas. The Visitors’ Centre, next to the Tithe Barn in Pilton. Exhibition runs until Saturday, April 13th 11am-4pm. Photographs available to purchase. For more info call: 01749 890534. Parking available behind the barn. Follow sign towards Worthy Farm from A361 and turn left up track towards the barn. Sunday April 7th Cranmore Tower walk – for details: www.dontwalkalone.co.uk Tuesday April 9th “Meditation for Everyone – Modern Buddhism” – a free public talk by an English Buddhist monk, 7-8.15pm at Street Quaker Meeting House, 36 High Street, BA16 0EQ. Everyone welcome. Details: teacher@meditationinbristol.org Wednesday April 10th “All sorts of fruit” – a talk by John Mason for Nailsea & District Horticultural Society, United Reformed Church Hall, Stockway North, at 7.30pm. Wells Civic Society, the future of the Bishop’s Palace, with Sarah Duthie, Wells and Mendip Museum, 7.30pm. Thursday April 11th Somerset Smallholders Association – tour of the animal auction with an explanation about buying and selling stock, 7pm at Sedgemoor Auction Centre, Junction 24, North Petherton, TA6 6DF. Saturday April 13th “Fantasias” by Mendip Consort at Bath Abbey, 1.30pm. Usual Abbey admission fee, no charge for the concert. Timsbury Art Group Exhibition at Conygre Hall, Timsbury, BA2 0JG. 10am-4pm, entry free. Ploughman’s lunch. Artisan Spring Fair, 11am–4pm, Browne’s Garden Centre, nr Wells. Tables Available (£15). From jewellery to jams, organic clothing to ornamental garden pots, cakes to cushions. For more information and to book a table please contact Vanessa Lancaster: Vanessa@vlancaster.co.uk or 07789 874402. PAGE 98 • MENDIP TIMES • APRIL 2013

Sunday April 14th The Daffodil Society Wessex Group 25th annual show, 2pm -4.30pm, Henton Village Hall, Henton nr Wells. Admission free. Details: 01275 855675. Tuesday April 16th “John Opie: the Cornish Wonder”- a lecture by Viv Hendra for Mid Somerset DFAS at Caryford Hall, Castle Cary, BA7 7JJ, 10.30 for 11am. Details 01963 350527. Poetry Liaisons – share a poem – with guest poet Daisy Behagg, 7pm -8pm at Midsomer Norton library, 119 High St., BA3 2DA. Admission free. Wednesday April 17th ‘Joined-up Writers’, 10am-12 noon at Midsomer Norton Library BA3 2DA. A creative writing workshop for beginners and the more experienced. Admission free, tickets required: 01225 394041. Nailsea Coal and Glass, a talk by Trevor Bowen for Yeo Valley Probus Club at West Backwell Bowling Club. 10 for 10.30am. Friday April 19th Acoustic evening with Tom & Jo Lee Vowles and friends at Redhill Village Hall, from 8pm. BS40 5SG Tel: 01934 862619. The Croutons vocal trio + Simon Allen at Kilmersdon Village Hall, BA5 3TD. 8pm. Tickets £8 from 01761 433980. Details: thecroutonsvocaltrio@gmail.com Saturday April 20th Sing into Spring workshop – a morning singing spring related songs – mainly for ladies to sing simple harmony. Aimed at beginners, no need to read music. £5/session – contact Janet Wilson to book, 01749 840409. www.naturalvoices.net Bleadon Village Market, 9am-12.30 in the Coronation Halls. Details: www.bleadon.org.uk/market Park Lane Big Band Dance Night at Timsbury Conygre Hall, BA2 0JG, 8-11pm, prebook £10 or pay on the door. Bar, food, donation to Kenyan Orphan’s Project. Details 01761 471245 or www.mendipmusic.com Sunday April 21st Compton Dando walk – for details: www.dontwalkalone.co.uk Tuesday April 23rd Book Chat World Book Night at Midsomer Norton Library, BA3 2DA, 7-8pm. Join library staff and share your favourite books! Free admission but advance booking required. Friday April 26th Wine Tasting Evening at Binegar Memorial Hall, 7 for 7.30pm, tickets £12.50 from: bpfg@mail.com, 07747 763066 or the village shop in Gurney Slade. Organised by Binegar Playing Field Group. Book early! Saturday April 27th Churchill Music! Internationally celebrated musicians Peter Donohoe and Tim Hugh performing works by Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms at St John the Baptist Church, Churchill BS25 5QW. Details: www.churchillmusic.org.uk Tickets: 01934 852919. Jumble Sale in aid of the Winscombe & Sandford Millenium Green, 2pm at Winscombe Community Centre. Details: 01934 843868. Bag a Bargain at the table-top sale at Barrow Gurney Village Hall, 10.30am-1pm. Clothes, toys, plants etc. Refreshments. Sunday April 28th Syrinx Ensemble presents An English Spring. Enjoy a candlelit supper in a cafe-style atmosphere whilst listening to a varied programme of music for wind instruments and piano, 7.30pm, Henton Village Hall (on B3139 Wells-Wedmore road). Tickets £15 (incl. cheese & wine supper) 07595 671116 jacquelynbevan@yahoo.co.uk Vintage at the village, a nostalgic village fair at Puriton Village Hall, 10am-4pm. Adults £1, children free. Details: 07506 726652. Tuesday April 30th Storytelling with Martin Horler and Colin Emmett at Midsomer Norton Library. 19.00 to 20.00. Somerset storytelling at its best. Free admission but advance booking required. Wednesday May 1st “Putting us in the Picture” – a talk by John Penny for Yeo Valley Probus Club at West Backwell Bowling Club, 10 for 10.30am. Saturday May 4th Plant Sale and Open Garden in aid of Somerset Wildlife Trust, Rookery House, The Causeway, Mark (on the B3139),10.30am-1pm. Entrance £2 including coffee. Cakes on sale, exhibitions, a raffle and activities for the children. Easy parking in field opposite by kind permission of M/s G.Isgar Sunday May 5th Plant Fair at Yeo Valley’s Organic Garden, Holt Farm, Blagdon, BS40 7SQ. 10am5pm, entry free. Details: www.theyeovalleyorganicgarden.co.uk Wednesday May 8th Baskets and Containers –a talk and plant sale with Valerie and Martyn Davis for Nailsea & District Horticultural Society, United Reformed Church Hall, Stockway North at 7.30pm. Saturday May 11th May Fair on the Green, Old Station Millennium Green, Winscombe. From 2pm. Maypole, choir, barbeque as well as stalls and games. Enquiries: 01934 843868. Somerset Singers concert, St. Mary’s Church, Wedmore, 7.30pm, includes Rutter’s Requiem, Janacek’s Otcenas and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Tickets £12 in advance from Wedmore Post Office (£14 on the door). Details: 01934 732855 or 01934 743965.


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Mendip Times  

Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas