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#LOVEWHEREYOULIVE THE

M I N E H E A D & E X MO O R

CH RO N I C L E

a free newspaper for the communities of minehead and exmoor

issue 2 november - december 2016

EXMOOR PONIES LOOKING FOR GOOD HOMES See page 14


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N EWS

Welcome

to the second issue of the Minehead & Exmoor chronicle a new free newspaper for the local community.

THE MINEHEAD & EXMOOR CHRONICLE Cover picture by Dawn Wescott The Exmoor Pony. The Minehead & Emoor Chronicle is a free local newspaper published by and a wholly owned subsidiary of Phototouch UK VAT Reg No. 132 6393 23 The views expressed by contributors to the Minehead & Exmoor Chronicle are not necessarily the views of the editor but we do try to allow free speech.

To enquire about placing an advert, submitting an article of local interest or just to say Hi! email us at mineheadandexmoorchronicle@gmail.com

chronicle

noun. a factual written account of important or historical events in the order of their occurrence. synonyms: record, written account, history, annals, archive(s), register; log, diary, journal, calendar, chronology; narrative, description, story verb. record (a series of events) in a factual and detailed way. synonyms: record, put on record, write down, set down, document, register, report, enter; narrate, relate, recount, describe, tell about, retail “the events that followed have been chronicled by many of those who took part”

Firstly we would like to extend a huge thank you to all our readers, advertisers and contributors for their support in getting the first edition onto the news stands. We have had some great feedback and have taken on-board the suggestions that were offered. The lead feature this month is about the Exmoor pony, this hardy little equine along with that other denizen of the moor the red deer can often be seen roaming the wilder parts of Exmoor and have come to be worthy ‘Figureheads’ of our national park. With the winter months now well and truly knocking at the door one thing that will be on some Minehead folks minds is herrings. These nutritious little fish begin to shoal in our neck of the Bristol Channel at this time of year in order to spawn. Several Minehead boatmen still set out to catch them so why not pop down to the Harbour to see if there are any available. Staying on the topic of winter which brings with it an inevitable drop in temperatures we would like to encourage our readers to check in on any elderly neighbours or folk less fortunate than themselves to make sure they are OK and to extend a little kindness to those who find the winter a lonely and cold time. Wrapping up on a positive note we are pleased to say that this edition has almost been self funding from the sale of adverts and any profits in the future will be reinvested to improve the paper. We sincerely hope you enjoy reading this edition. The Editorial Team...

TH E MINEH EAD & EXMOOR C H RONICLE

view point... topically humorous & slightly tongue in cheek social commentary from our staff columnist J Hogarth Trusspot (Mr) LETTER TO THE EDITOR Sir, Much comment has been appearing of late in the columns of your rivals in the local media sphere on the matter of an alleged ‘housing crisis’ within the confines of Exmoor National Park. In detail, there are allegations that what available housing stock there is is being acquired by ‘outsiders’ with no local connections to the exclusion of ‘locals’; that such properties are then occupied only spasmodically; and that village shops and other local services are suffering economically as a result of the commensurate decline in customers and, indeed, takings. Let me assure your readers, however, that no such crisis exists and, furthermore, that such fulmination is being fuelled by a vocal minority of disenchanted malcontents who, were they gainfully and wholly employed in the financial sector as am I, would scarcely be able to find the time to put pen to paper to pursue such a fatuous crusade. My personal experience, on the contrary, is that housing on Exmoor is readily available as long as one talks to the right people. As to my own ‘local’ connections they are impeccable: my wife’s second cousin’s butler actually grew up in Porlock – though had to leave the village somewhat precipitously after an alleged (though never proven) incident involving a sheep and a tin of Swarfega. Accordingly I felt no compunction about acquiring a farmhouse which had become surplus to requirements, the previous owner having – so he informed me – ‘been unable to make ends meet for years’. Though as my interior designer commented, with a slight shudder, as she surveyed the premises and prepared estimates, people who couldn’t keep their homes properly decorated, furnished and, indeed, heated really didn’t deserve to own them. I am forced to say however that my proposals for developing the property initially met a level of opposition of surprising virulence. When I provided my plans for the creation of a suitably imposing paved driveway, Italian-made steel security gates and the miniature pagoda imported (at no small expense) from the Far East in order to provide my

wife with the ‘personal contemplation space’ she required in the garden we were proposing to lay out across some 30 acres there were indeed objections from the parish council. (Insofar as I could make out, that is: I always found their discourse somewhat difficult to follow in view of their impenetrable dialect.) However we reached an accord after my offer of £5,000 towards the tower restoration appeal at the parish church and an endowment to fund an annual Christmas dinner at the pub. The planning authority similarly raised opposition to my plans, even after my assurances them that we would be using the house not merely for a fortnight’s annual holiday but at other various times, such as half-terms and family birthdays. But I always find the services of a planning barrister represent a very sound investment in such circumstances – and that the mere suggestion that one might be prepared to take an unwise decision through the process of Judicial Review can frequently result in a satisfactory outcome. Since that first venture I have acquired two further properties in the immediate vicinity which I am converting into accommodation for my gardener and for my wife’s beautician, who invariably accompanies us when we visit – further proof, if any were needed, that housing is abundantly available on Exmoor. As to the use of local shops we indeed are proud to do so: all our household requisites are purchased online from and delivered by Waitrose, from the roof of whose Wellington branch the southern foothills of Exmoor, I am reliably informed, can be glimpsed on a fine day. My only experience with the ill-lit, cold and distinctly damp ‘village shop’ was, I have to report, a complete disaster: when I asked the proprietor whether he stocked my favourite Gourmet Kitchen brand readymeal of Fusilli con fegatini di pollo he looked at me as though I were speaking a foreign language. Yours faithfully J. Hogarth Trusspot

Stuart Lowen

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Stuart Lowen Quality Butcher, Farm Shop & Home Brew Centre: 4b Hawksworth Road, Minehead Somerset TA24 5BZ Opening Hours: 8am - 5.30pm Mon - Fri / 8.30am - 5pm Sat E-mail: info@stuartlowen.co.uk | www.stuartlowen.co.uk | Tel: 01643 706034


T HE M INEH EA D & EX MO OR C HRON ICLE

N EWS & REC IPE S

from both visitors and residents alike. The diversity of talent and professionalism never ceases to amaze me. We have some of the best artists, crafters, photographers and sculptures in the country, many of whom draw their inspiration from the beauty that is Exmoor national park.

Exmoor Driftwood Arts Autumn Catch Up And Art & Crafts On Exmoor By Ian Turnell

Since my last article and introduction to my artwork I have been busy coming up with new creations, boats and other sea faring vessels……sculptures and mystical,mythical objects both physically and in planning. I have spent some time out of the country recently and collected a few amazing pieces of driftwood and other natural objects that although not from the West Country, has yielded some interesting and exciting material. A long weekend in Cornwall with stops to my favorite beaches on the way down and back has provided

and now the

FISHING FORECAST

issued by James Wigglesworth at 04:00 on the 23rd October 2016.

As the nights close in and the temperature starts to drop there’s only one thing on any sea anglers mind…. Cod! Here in the Bristol Channel we are incredibly lucky to have some of the best winter cod fishing our country has to offer. In Minehead we are fortunate enough to have a fantastic fleet of charter skippers who will work tirelessly to

me with more potential stock. With the arrival of autumn and the inevitable storms that accompany her I can’t wait for the opportunity to scour the beaches and coves for unusual pieces. You never know what will be discovered on the various beaches! Wood and flotsam that may have travelled the Worlds currents, only to be washed up, found and transformed into sculptures and artistic interpretations of natural form. The arts and crafts scene in Exmoor continues to attract tremendous interest

The Indian ocean sailing kat ! A fine example the the diversity of talent can be seen at the “Corner Collection” in Swain street, Watchet. Here you will find a mutitude of gifts and artwork, knitwear and jewlery, handmade cards and naturally a small sample of some of my work. The shop is run by the artists and craftspeople on a no profit basis. Likewise the Exmoor producer’s association shop in Friday street, Minehead runs on a similar basis with the addition of an excellent range of preserves and other local produce. I would like to take this opportunity in wishing you all a very merry Christmas.

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Christmas Cake Recipe As the Yuletide season is quickly approaching our thoughts turn to the inevitable Christmas feast, with this in mind regular reader Kat Priddy sent us this Christmas cake recipe which if started now should be ready for the big day...

Christmas Cake Ingredients One or two 100g tubs of glace cherries 200g dried cranberries 130g dried dates 500g sultanas 70g dried apricot (Mixed peel and nuts can be added in addition but I prefer without) Enough Booze of choice to cover the fruit (I typically use amaretto but sherry or brandy are good, traditional, options.) Two oranges (zest and juice) 250g butter or spread (room temperature) 250g soft brown sugar (The darker the sugar, the richer the cake) 2tsp Vanilla extract 4 medium eggs 200g plain flour 2tsp Mixed spice. Preperation: Put all the fruit in a bowl. Zest and then juice your oranges in to the bowl with the fruit. Pour over enough booze to immerse the fruit. Cover and leave for 24 hours. Preheat the oven to about 160 (reduce to 140 for a fan oven) / gas mark 3.

put you on the fish. They have accounted for some colossal cod over the years with some specimens weighing up to 40lb. That being said, the shore fishing can be as productive as the boat with several fish between the 20 and 30lb bracket being landed from our local beaches in the past couple of years. Fishing anywhere from Minehead Gasworks to the beaches beyond Watchet will put you in with a good chance of finding one. As for bait you wont go wrong with a tub full of lugworm but rag worm, squid and crab are all worth chuck as these bucket mouthed critters will pretty much hoover up anything they come across. There’s nothing too scientific about it either. In fact the simpler

Line a 23cm/9” round cake tin with baking parchment, leaving it an inch or so higher than the tin. Wrap several sheets of newspaper round the outside for more even cooking. Fix with string.

the better. The key is to put in the hours and don’t get lazy. Keep that fresh bait going in and you will be rewarded. If you want an up to date picture of what’s happening on the fishing front in our local area then pop down to the harbour and have a chat with Craig who inhabits the kiosk. He will only be too happy to point you in the right direction or share his wealth of knowledge on the species.

Making the cake: Beat butter, sugar and vanilla together until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add flour, mixed spice and the contents of your fruit bowl. Stir until well you have a consistent mixture then empty mixture in to the tin. Bake for an hour and a half. Reduce temperature by 20 degrees, or to gas mark one. Cover the top of the cake with foil. Bake until a skewer comes out clean (another 40-80 minutes) and then give it another 5-10 minutes. Remove from the tin once cool, wrap with parchment and keep in an airtight tub. Feed once a week with a tablespoon or two of booze after poking a few holes in the top Extra tips! Make the cake around the middle of October to get it really flavourful for the big day. Juice your oranges through a sieve to keep the pips out. If you forget to prepare the fruit in advance you can microwave it in a covered container or heat it on a hob to help it absorb the liquid more quickly. Butter your tin before lining to make the parchment stick. Attaching the newspaper is the most frustrating part! Get another pair of hands involved if you can. For a flatter cake, make a dent in the middle after your pour in your mixture. Push the skewer right to the bottom when testing to see if it’s cooked.


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THE MIN EHEA D & EXMOOR CHRONICLE

N EWS & FEAT U R E S

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ANYONE FOR TENNIS?

Minehead Tennis Club welcomes new players of all ages and abilities. Situated in Townsend Road it has 4 hard courts two of which are floodlit, a clubhouse with changing facilities, showers, a kitchen and a social area. Non members are welcome to play every Saturday afternoon from 1.30 – 5.00pm at our RUSTY RACKETS weekly session and this is an ideal way to give tennis a try without having to join the club.

For members there are regular weekly club sessions open to all plus arranged group sessions and coaching for all abilities. The club runs eight summer teams and five winter teams playing in three different leagues. Minehead First and Middle Schools use our courts weekly and there is both junior and adult coaching available. Full adult membership is less than a pint of beer a week and everyone can be sure of a warm welcome. There are regular social

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events throughout the year and the club has links with two clubs one in Jersey and the other in Hertford which makes tennis available “on tour”. If you’ve never been to Wimbledon the club has an annual ticket allowance through its LTA Affiliation and holds a ballot giving all members the chance to have tickets. Members are able to book a court on line and play 365 days a year, the club has around 110 adult members and about 20 juniors, is very

sociable and if you like fresh air, exercise and making new friends you really ought to give us a try. Beginners are especially welcome; don’t worry if you haven’t a racket we will lend you one. Telephone Paul on 01643 705381, e-mail mineheadlawntennisclub@gmail.com or put Minehead Tennis into your search engine for further information. Better still pop along to the club on any Saturday afternoon for a session with our Rusty Rackets Team.


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CR EAT I V E FEAT U R E

T H E MINEH EAD & EXMOOR C H RONICLE

AlyKat Images Dave Roberts

From an early age, my passion for the sea has helped sculpt the path that I have taken through life. As a young boy, I spent many hours circumnavigating the treacherous waters of Morecambe bay in my father’s trusty old clinker built ships lifeboat. Trusty as I believed it was, I was never aware of any lifesaving appliances or fire fighting equipment aboard the boat, but then as an impetuous young man whose only interest was going to sea and catching a few fish, these items were never overly important were they? By the grace of God and a fairly competent Father,

I survived to tell the tale! Towards the end of my teenage life, the call of the sea increased and my fate was sealed by a dogged determination to make a career from this often hostile environment. The waters of Morecambe bay were left behind as I moved to the south to start what turned out to be, a lifetime at sea. Minehead was the obvious choice as I had family friends who had already moved here and were prepared and willing to accommodate me in my new venture. An open carvel built vessel by the name of “Lillian” was

my first command. She was owned by the then harbour master at Porlock Weir Arthur Ley and served me well for the first couple of years until I had accrued enough money to buy my first cabin boat. In the mid seventies, a move from Porlock Weir to Minehead harbour was to be a turning point for me as my charter angling business began to flourish. Somewhere around the mid nineties, with my business still growing rapidly I was approached by the editor of a sea angling publication by the name of Boat Fishing Monthly. He had heard of the work that I was

doing in the Bristol Channel and was keen to get up to date information on the angling activities here. This was when the photo/journalistic side of my business was born. After a few years with BFM the magazine sadly came to an end. I was then immediately approached by the editor of probably the largest sea angling publication in the country, Sea Angler Magazine. To this day I still write on a monthly basis for SA telling tales of what’s being caught and how to catch it! Of course, as well as simply writing articles,


‘‘

THE MIN EHEA D & EXMOOR CHRONICLE

I needed to provide top quality images to enhance the stories. This was where my interest in photography really took a hold. I found that there was much more to camera work then just taking pictures of fish and their captors. It soon became obvious that I had at my finger tips a whole world of photographic opportunities. I now have a fantastic charter vessel. She is a 10 mtr catamaran powered by twin 315 hp diesel engines and has a top speed of around 27 knots. She is named “AlyKat” after my two daughters Ali and Katie (that solves the puzzle for a few I know!). With a vessel such as this at my disposal, I can access the diversity of life that abounds both beneath the waves and in the skies above the waters of the Bristol Channel. My area of operation is from Bristol to the east as far as Lundy Island and beyond to the west. In the western approaches to the channel, sharks, common dolphins, seals, various whales and sunfish are frequently sighted in these crystal clear waters. Lundy is special in that it frequently hosts many unusual species of birds as they call in during their migratory travels. Puffins, gannets, shearwaters, skuas, petrels and terns are just a few species of sea birds that we frequently encounter during our trips there. Over the past few years, my passion for wildlife has grown even further. My wife Liz and I frequently travel to foreign countries to admire and photograph the amazing animals and birdlife to be found. Amongst our favourites are the big cats of the Masai Mara in Kenya where I spend many hours photographing their activities. We also visited the mountain gorillas of Rwanda but I’m afraid these yarns must wait for another day! At present my photography website is undergoing a massive reconstruction so unfortunately, I can only show images by prior arrangement though I do have a facebook page showing a collection of wildlife shots. I would be pleased to quote for commissions, printed images or canvases, Visit us on facebook at Alykat Images Wildlife Collection, or contact me for a private viewing.

CR EAT I V E FEAT U R E

From an early age, my passion for the sea has helped sculpt the path that I have taken through life

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Lundy Island in the mist.

The Paddle Steamer Waverly entering Minehead Harbour

Lobster up close!

I also have a few images on display at the Britannia Inn Alcombe by kind permission of Ken and Kate Cox and at The Washford Inn where Cyril and Ness are in charge. Both these hostelries provide fantastic value for money with great beers and food and are well worth a visit I can assure you! I conclude with a special thanks to my wife Liz whose patience, support and excellent spotting ability has helped me to achieve some amazing images of wildlife from around the world.

Playful seals at Lundy Island.

Gannet at 100 mph!

The Brittania Inn Alcombe The Britannia Inn is one of the oldest free houses in the Minehead area serving real ales in a traditional environment. We serve great food & offer angler friendly accommodation

The Britannia Inn, Manor Road, Alcombe, Minehead, Somerset TA24 6EH

TEL: 01643 702384 - www.britanniaalcombe.co.uk

WASHFORD INN

The Washford Inn offers a warm welcome atmosphere with a light airy bar, as well as a stylish dining area with great home cooked food. We offer a small private function room for meetings and functions. We also offer great hotel accommodation with 8 hotel rooms.

Station Road, Washford TA23 0PP | Tel:01984 248648 Up close and personal with a common dolphin!


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T H E R EGA L

Regal listings Sept - Oct 2016 Wednesday November 2 at 7.30pm JETHRO – 40 YEARS THE JOKER TICKETS: Adults £20.00, Friends £19.50 A memorable evening of hysterical nonsense – age guidance 16+ years

WHAT’S ON? AT THE REGAL THEATRE The Regal Theatre programme heads towards Christmas with plenty to choose from including seasonal shows – two shows from our home-grown Regal companies, Barnstormers and Minehead Dramatic, as well as ballet and our much anticipated end of year pantomime. Go to www.regaltheatre. co.uk to download the current brochure from the home page and book your tickets on-line. Friend us on Facebook to get the latest news and information or email us from the web-site to request monthly updates to our programme.

Thursday 10 - Saturday 12 November 16 at 7,30pm Minehead Dramatic Society - DOUBLE DEATH by Simon Williams TICKETS: Adults £7.50, Friends £7.00, ES40s/Students £4.00 Max and Ashley Hennessy are twins and one is trying to kill the other, but which? Tuesday November 15 at 7.30pm The Regal Film Society - 99 HOMESTICKETS: Members £3.00, Guests £5.00 Dir: Ramin Bahrani USA 2015 112 mins. A taut drama of greed and foreclosures in post economic crisis Florida. Thursday 24 – Saturday 26 November at 7.30pm Barnstormers - LAYING THE GHOST by Simon Williams TICKETS: Adults £8, Friends £7 50, ES40’s/students £3 50 Chaos and hilarity as ex actress Margot celebrates her 70th birthday in a retirement home. Tuesday November 29 at 7.30pm PUBLIC FILM SCREENING - HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE (Cert 12A) TICKETS: £5.00, Film Society members and

Gents, Fed up with queuing for a haircut? Why not give us a call to book a time with us. No extra charge to make an appointment and we don’t get booked up weeks in advance. So why not give us a try!

TH E MINEH EAD & EXMOOR C H RONICLE

under 14s £3.00 Dir Taika Waititi New Zealand 2016 101 mins This award-winning comedy-drama starring Sam Neill is based on Barry Crump’s novel ‹Wild Pork and Watercress›. Wednesday November 30 at 7.30pm Ballet Theatre UK - ROMEO AND JULIET TICKETS: Adults £17.00, Friends £16.50, ES40’s/Students£10.00 The tragic tale of star-crossed lovers danced to the music of Prokofiev. Thursday December 1 at 7.30pm GreenMatthews (formerly Blast from the Past) - A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS TICKETS: Adults £10.50, Friends £10.00, ES40’s/Students £6.00. Historical musicians GreenMatthews with a festive romp through 600 years of Christmas music, songs and stories. Thursday December 8 at 7.30pm Chapterhouse Theatre Company - A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens TICKETS: Adults £12.00 Friends £11.50, ES40’s/Students £10.00. Family of 4 £40.00 On Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge is whisked away on a journey through the past and into the future, accompanied by three fearsome ghosts. Friday December 9 at 7.30pm SING4FUN AT CHRISTMAS TICKETS: Adults £8.00, Friends £7.50, ES40’s/Students £3.50, Family ticket £19.00Sing4Fun community choir are back for a Christmas concert. Led

by Sarah-Jane Cross and accompanied by Keith Jones. Tuesday December 13 7.30pm Regal Film Society - THE CROW’S EGG TICKETS: Members £3.00, Guests £5.00 Dir M. Manikandan India 2015 91 mins. Laughter and tears evoked by the struggle of India’s poorest to put food on the table Subtitled. Wednesday 14 December at 7.30pm 5 Star Swing Big Band - BIG BAND AT CHRISTMAS TICKETS: Adults £15.00, Friends £14.50, ES40’s/Students £8.00 Enjoy all your favourite Christmas songs with the dynamic Big Band treatment. Friday December 16 at 7.30pm PETER GILL AT CHRISTMAS TICKETS: Adults £15.00, Friends £14.50, ES40’s/Students £8.00 A Swinging Christmas Evening of sublime, cool, boogie and blues. Friday December 30, 2016 – Saturday January 7, 2017 Minehead Panto People present THE PIED PIPER by Alan Frayn Tickets: Adult £10.00, Friends £9.50, ES40’s/ Students and Children £6.50, Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £30.00 Set in the rat infested town of Hamelin, Pippen the Piper rids the town of a plague of rats but unfortunately all the town’s children are led away to the Magic Mountain as well.

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THE MIN EHEA D & EXMOOR CHRONICLE

H EA LT H & W EL LBEI NG

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“All disease begins in the gut “ Hippocrates

By Sally Eveleigh, Toucan Wholefoods

Digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome,reflux, constipation,abdominal pain and bloating, affect at least 10% of the population. When people have these symptoms it can have a crippling effect on their lives. Most of these digestive conditions are preventable and the symptoms can often be eliminated or reduced naturally. In this article I will focus on one 'food' which is responsible for so many of our health problems.....sugar. We we're brought up on it, either hidden in our food or directly on it .... and we love it! The real extent of how bad it is for us is not generally fully understood. Back in the day, we thought it was just about tooth decay, and if we brushed our teeth regularly it would be ok. Sugar is poisonous and addictive. It is a public health issue, responsible for many detrimental health conditions. We each eat, in Britain, between 11.7 and 16 teaspoons of sugar a day, almost 500grams a week. In our population we have unprecedented amounts of obesity, heart disease and digestive problems ranging from the mildly uncomfortable to life debilitating. What is even more alarming to me, is how many children are suffering from obesity and diet related diabetes. We are of a generation where our children are more likely to die

before us! 70-80% of our packaged food has added sugar. Sugar creates an inflammatory cascade in the body which contributes to inflammation in the gut,allergies, gout, and many other inflammatory conditions. Antiinflammatories are the highest selling over the counter drug.Sugar destroys brain tissue ,the brain needs good fats, definitely not sugar. If you are interested in attending a talk on digestion covering irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, reflux, indigestion and constipation, Toucan Wholefoods are proud to be hosting a talk by Ben Brown, a leading expert in nutrition. His book, The Digestive Solution, is a groundbreaking and extensively researched work on natural solutions for optimal digestive health.Ben is an acclaimed international speaker, teaches nutrition and regularly writes in scientific journals. His presentations are not to be missed. Tickets are £3 from Toucan Wholefoods (in advance). The talk is on Thursday 24th November at The Northfield Hotel. Admission is by ticket only. Sally Eveleigh, Toucan Wholefoods, 3 ,The Parade ,Minehead Somerset TA245NL.

THE DIGESTIVE HEALTH SOLUTION IBS | BLOATING | INDIGESTION | CONSTIPATION

Talk on digestion with Toucan Wholefoods Ben Brown is Technical Director at Viridian Nutrition and a leading expert on nutritional, herbal and lifestyle medicine. His new book “The Digestive Health Solution” is a groundbreaking and extensively researched work on natural solutions for optimal digestive health. Ben is an acclaimed international speaker, teaches nutrition and regularly writes for industry magazines and scientific journals. His presentations are not to be missed!

Thursday 24th November 2016 7.00pm - 9.00pm Ask Instore for more details


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FEAT U R E

TH E MINEH EAD & EXMOOR C H RONICLE

Shutting (or shooting) the nets. Photo courtesy of AlyKat Images.

HERRINGS FOR TEA! By Adam James

Hauling the nets. Photo courtesy of AlyKat Images. Records of herring fishing from Minehead date back to before the 15th century. By the 17th 18th century it was a major source of wealth for the town with up to 4000 barrels of herring, especially smoked, being exported every year to Portugal, Spain, Italy and further afield. There herring shoals arrive in our neck of the Bristol Channel in the late autumn to early winter in order to spawn, so when they reach the waters off Minehead they are in peak condition. An old Scottish friend of mine once remarked that as a child the Minehead herring was well spoken of even as far north as his hometown of

Glasgow. The aroma of fried herrings has pervaded the late autumn months all of my life and even to this day it’s still something I relish. The words ‘herrings for tea’ and the sound of half a dozen of these silver darlings sizzling in the pan are music to my ears. My family has fished for herring for generations and as a child I often helped my grandfather, father and uncles ‘shut and haul’ the nets and it’s a ritual that I still enjoy to this day. The anticipation of hauling the nets after a drift fills me with excitement as you never know how many you will catch - if any at all as the herring

can be a fickle beast especially when the wind is coming from the eastern quarter - in fact a brisk easterly wind seems to have a detrimental effect on all types of fishing from Minehead, as the old saying goes ‘when the wind’s in the east the fish bite the least.’ Up until the 60s it was still common for herrings to be sold door to door from a handcart arond the town. During the 1970s the declining stocks prompted herring fishing to be banned for several years. The ban was lifted in the early 80s but even then the catches didn’t really recover to a great extent. But over the last 5 years hauls have dramatically

improved in the Bristol Channel and last season catches of several thousand fish were recorded in a single drift. The herring makes for a very tasty and nutritious meal, it is easily prepared by cutting the head off and pulling out the guts leaving the roe intact then just scrape off the scales with the back of a knife and with a quick rinse and pat dry with kitchen roll its ready for the pan, grill or barbecue. My favourite method of cooking is dusting the fish with seasoned flour and slowly shallow frying it in olive oil until golden brown and crispy on both sides and serving with crusty bread and butter.


THE MIN EHEA D & EXMOOR CHRONICLE

FEAT U R E

Dastardly Deeds In The Bristol Channel! Oh yes these things have always happened and Porlock fell victim over 100 years ago. The story of oysters in Porlock Bay started about 1836. The Pollard family, of which there are still many descendants in the village, were oyster fishermen operating out of Porlock Weir. There were known oyster beds off the South Wales coast, which they used to fish. Now Imagine if you will the conditions these fishermen endured. They had no fancy lightweight and waterproof clothing. Instead they had thick woollen clothes that must have soaked up the water. The oyster dredgers were small open topped sailing boats so life in the winter must have been somewhat challenging. A really hardy lot. Well the story goes that one day the uncle of Noel Pollard had returned from fishing off the Mumbles and was waiting for the tide to come up so that he could get back into the harbour at Porlock Weir. Bored, he threw his dredger overboard and to his surprise pulled up lots of lovely oysters. Thus started oyster fishing in Porlock Bay. It was very successful; by the 1850’s 1200 oysters per day were being caught. They used the old fish pens just outside Porlock Weir as holding pens. These are now called Oyster Perch and the remains of the stone walls can still be seen at low tide. Then the railway from Minehead to London opened in 1874 and oysters harvested at Porlock in the morning were on London restaurant tables that evening. They enjoyed a national reputation for taste and quality.

All was going well until the 1890’s. We now know that oysters were dying around the British coast, it was probably a virus. There were particular shortages at Whitstable and Colchester. One day boats arrived in the Bristol Channel and dredged out all the oyster beds. There were no river police then and there were more of them than the locals so it couldn’t and wasn’t stopped. But in doing this they destroyed the spawning grounds (the native oysters spawned naturally on the seabed), and that was the end of oyster fishing in Porlock Bay. There were a couple of attempts at trying to find oysters and fish them, but all failed. Come full circle to today. Porlock Bay Oyster has started to farm them again. But we are growing them contained in plastic nets and get the seed stock from a specialist supplier at Morecombe Bay. However, the South West Heritage Trust, based in Taunton at the Museum of Somerset Life featured a painting by Charles Napier Hemy of an Oyster Catcher at Porlock Weir. This was used by 4 – 11 year old children from schools all over Somerset as the basis for there school projects. We were privileged to have a fine selection of the children’s work on display in Porlock Visitor’s centre over the holidays. The standard and imagination was wonderful. I’ll leave you with my favourite, written by a schoolboy ‘Oysters are grey and slimy and look like snot………. for some people to eat them is a delite but for others it would be a terrible punishment.’! Bit like marmite really – you love it or hate it. Fortunately lots of people love them and we are hoping that next summer, when we will start full production, we attract lots of people to the area to enjoy them in our local restaurants. Roger Hall For more information visit our website http://www.porlockbayoysters.co.uk/

pallet wood productions the new shop in town

Do you love wood? Do you love recycling? Then you will love a new little shop opened just off The Avenue, in Minehead town centre. Pallet Wood Productions is a totally handmade recycled shop, specializing in making lovely items from old wooden pallets. All their wood is sourced locally too. Owners Andy & Dawn are very welcoming shop keepers, and are more than happy to chat whilst you browse. As you enter the shop, the warm aroma of wood & oils make it a very pleasant shopping

experience. Items that Andy has created include coffee tables, shelving units and wall hangings, to garden planters, candle holders and word blocks - where any name can be created into a solid sturdy block. More items are added to the shop weekly, and Andy is always creating new lines to sell. Pallet Wood Productions is open 7 days a week, from now untill the New Year, through January and February they will close on Sundays. They also offer a free delivery within the Minehead to Williton area.

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FEAT U R E

T H E MINEH EAD & EXMOOR C H RONICLE

M57 ring nebula observatory viewed through 7” refractor

EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK INTERNATIONAL DARK SKY RESERVE

Home to some of the darkest skies in the country – perfect for star gazing Leave behind the modern world, with its glaring lights and fast paced style of living to revisit a world of tranquillity and wonder as you gaze at the star filled skies so often hidden beyond our sight by the light pollution of our cities, towns and motorways. Exmoor was the first in Europe to be designated an International Dark Sky Reserve and one look at the inky backdrop to millions of twinkling stars and you can understand why. You can also understand how these skies have fired man’s imagination and given rise to legends and myths over the centuries. Dark sky awareness in the park bloomed in 2009 with a variety of programs on astronomy and conservation held during UNESCO’s International Year of Astronomy and to help appreciate what Exmoor has to offer, Exmoor National Park Authority has produced a Dark Skies Pocket Guide, which can be found at their National Park Centres, where you can also hire a telescope, in Dunster, Dulverton and Lynmouth, local tourist information centres, such as Minehead and Porlock, or

downloaded from their website - http://www. exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/stargazing – where you can also enjoy ‘In Starlight’, a short film made by Somerset based artist Frances Harrison inspired by Exmoor’s Dark Skies Where to go? Find somewhere away from the glare of lights without tall buildings or trees so your sight line is clear. Good places are shown on the map in the guide and include Holdstone Hill, County Gate, Brendon Two Gates, Webbers Post, Anstey Gate, Haddon Hill and Wimbleball Lake. Once you have found your spot, look for constellations: groups of stars that appear to be distinctive or form patterns, such as Orion, to act as your guide around the night sky. Other groups, such as The Plough, are not official constellations, but are known as asterisms and are equally helpful as well recognised guides to reading the skies. Exmoor National Park Dark Skies guide highlights three things for beginners to find amongst the seemingly limitless stars, planets,

Half moon over Exmoor

Asia on Exmoor looking at Orion with binoculars

constellations, galaxies and meteors – firstly the Moon, which makes an ideal starting point for astronomy – even using just binoculars, the meteor pockmarked surface can be clearly seen. Orion, the Hunter, is visible above Exmoor between November and February – look for a belt made up of three distinct stars – Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka, together with raised sword and shield – a useful constellation for finding other stars such as Sirius. The Plough or Big Dipper resembles a large ladle and comprises the brightest seven stars of the constellation Ursa Major or Great Bear. Want to know more? Want to see for yourself what is so exciting about this? Exmoor Stargazers are a group of amateur astronomers who gathered together last year to hold regular observing nights, viewing amazing sights. Bring your own telescope or look through a variety offered by the club, benefitting from their knowledge and experience in showing you the wonders of our star studded skies. All are welcome to join the Exmoor Stargazers Club, who hold membership in the Federation

of Astronomical Societies and who, as well as the observing nights, hold friendly meetings at a variety of local pubs - where you can also sample some excellent Exmoor food! Meetings are held on the first Monday each month at the Luttrell Arms, Dunster, starting at 7.30pm and usually finishing at 10pm. Feel free to share your astronomy tips, photos and experiences. These meetings are also a good place to start astronomy discussions and ask questions.To keep up with the Club’s activities and make contact, go to their website - http://www.exmoorstargazers.co.uk/ pages/contactform – or message via their Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/ ExmoorStargazers. Their Twitter address is https://twitter.com/ExmoorSGazers. For those of you lucky enough to live on Exmoor, you have only to step outside your door and look up to the heavens to see the panoramic and awesome sight of a multitude of stars. For the rest of us, step outside the town, leave the lights behind and it’s just a short journey to enjoy the wonders of the universe.


THE MIN EHEA D & EXMOOR CHRONICLE

FEAT U R E / W H ATS ON

MORE DARK SKIES PHOTOGRAPHS By Keith Rendell

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These photographs were not taken from Exmoor in fact they weren’t even taken in the UK. On a recent trip to Iceland Chard based photographer Keith Rendell captured these wonderful images of the northern lights. It just goes to prove that there doesen’t have to be bright sunshine to take good pictures.

WHATS ON NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2016 Porlock Santa Festival Weekend 26th & 27th November

01643 863150 http://www.porlock.co.uk/events A special Christmas shopping weekend in the village with a fun Santa trail for all the family to explore. Many of the shops will have extended opening hours and whilst you’re browsing will you be able to find all the Santas and which will you vote the best?

Queen Caturn’s Christmas Street Fair, Watchet

Saturday 26th November 4pm contact Molly Quint tel: 01984 632592 or email: quint407@btinternet.com On a visit to Watchet over 352 years ago, the Portuguese wife of King Charles II, Queen Catherine of Braganza, was delighted by the colour of cloth once produced in the town, she gave spiced cider and hot cakes to the people as a token of her appreciation. The event is celebrated with an evening of festivities, combined with the switching on of the town’s Christmas Lights. The event begins at 4pm with the Caturns Parade, complete with Queen Catherine and King Charles, townspeople in costume and other exciting participants. There will be a Christmas Street Market, Punch and Judy, mulled cider and cake, plus an early appearance by Father Christmas.

West Somerset Railway

Christmas Market: 30th November 11am to 5pm Santa Express, Santa Special, Sherry & Mince Pie Special - all on selected dates in December Carol Trains: Monday 12th & Tuesday 13th December Winter Steam Festival: 29th & 30th December See website for further information westsomersetrailway.vticket.co.uk

Dunster by Candlelight

Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd December 5pm-9pm http://dunsterbycandlelight.co.uk The 30th year of an event that raises substantial funds for St Margaret’s Hospice. This remarkably preserved medieval village turns its back on the present and lights its streets with lanterns. Free street entertainment includes Rimski’s Piano, Kwabana Lindsay (the Fiddler on the Rope), The Greens (an enchanting musical theatrics duo), Bowlore Flaming Swords, Fire Spinners and Punch & Judy.

Dulverton by Starlight

Sunday 4th December www.dulvertonbystarlight.co.uk Every December the pretty Exmoor town of Dulverton is decorated with Christmas trees festooned with lights, and for one Sunday all of the shops are open for people to do some local Christmas shopping. Festivities take place all afternoon and into the evening, including Captain Coconut Bubble Magic, Merlin the Magician, Phantom Chic, Wiveliscombe Brass Band, carols under the Christmas Tree and a grand firework finale behind the backdrop of the Church tower.

Revive Minehead’s Community Christmas Extravaganza

Saturday 10th December Midday to 10pm Following last year’s spectacular event, this year’s Community Christmas Extravaganza promises even more and will be running ALL DAY from midday - featuring amongst other things: Fun Fair, Christmas Market, Circus skills, Music Stage with bands, singers and dancers, Christmas Parade, an official photographer and of course NO Christmas event would be complete without a visit from Father Christmas and his Reindeer.


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FEAT U R E / R A LEGH ’S CRO SS

Moorbred Exmoor Ponies Looking For Good Homes Dawn Westcott

T H E MINEH EAD & EXMOOR C H RONICLE

After enjoying a wonderful start in life living wild and free on the beautiful moorland of Exmoor, autumn sees the rounding up of the freeliving Exmoor pony herds, where the foals are inspected and weaned from their mothers. The grazing quotas are strict so not all fillies can be returned to the herds. Colt foals, of course, have to leave the moors as only registered stallions are allowed to cover mares. So at this time of year, the farmers are looking to find good homes for a number of foals. The Exmoor pony breed is endangered and the free-living moorland ponies critically so. Living and breeding in their indigenous natural environment of Exmoor enables them to retain their superb qualities, characteristics, intelligence - and their ‘true moorland type’. This includes excellent conformation and movement, strong build, robustness and stamina and the charisma and resilience to withstand whatever challenges Exmoor throws at them. In short, Exmoor produces beautiful ponies.

Kate South bringing in the Farleywater herd last week.

Ralegh’s Cross Inn CHRISTMAS PARTY NIGHTS

@ £21.50 per person Friday 9th, Saturday 10th Friday 16th & Saturday 17th December

Wine & Canapés on Arrival at 6.30pm Meal to be served at 7.30pm

MAIN COURSE

served from Buffet Table Choice of Slow Roasted Turkey Honey Glazed Gammon Topside of Beef Roast Lamb or Salmon en Croute or Stuffed Flat Field Mushroom Accompanied with our famous roast potatoes, fresh vegetables and our homemade gravy

FOR THIS YEAR WE HAVE A BUFFET WITH A WIDE SELECTION OF DESSERTS!!! To include: Fruit and Cheese Platters Teas, Coffee & Fruit Mince Pies Dance the night away with our resident DJ We also, have 17 ensuite rooms, available at a cost of £50.00 per room, based on 2 persons sharing, which includes breakfast.

Exmoor ponies, when handled with patience and kindness during early socialisation, can go on to be the most wonderful riding and performance ponies - excelling in every discipline, including endurance, dressage, ridden showing, driving and in recent years, horse agility. The free-living Exmoor foals are unused to being

handled and they need to find understanding new owners relatively soon after gathering as, due to practical limitations, if they aren’t sold, they can sadly face being culled. Taming the foals with a gentle approach is fun and rewarding. Dawn Westcott has written two best-selling books about Exmoor ponies, explaining how to handle and train them through the real-life stories of orphaned wild-born foal Monsieur Chapeau, in Wild Pony Whispering, and stallion Bear’s journey from unwanted moorbred foal to winning world championships in horse agility, in Wild Stallion Whispering. Both are full of helpful tips and advice and profusely illustrated with colour photographs. See www. wildponywhispering.co.uk for more information. “A number of wild-born colt and filly foals have already found good homes this year and are bonding really well with their new owners. However, there are more hopeful foals so please do get in touch with the farmers now.” said Dawn. If you’re interested in taking on an Exmoor pony foal this autumn, see the Moorland Exmoor Breeders Group MEPBG Breeders Directory for contact details of farmers at http://www. exmoorponyclub.co.uk/index.php?/forum/48the-moorland-exmoor-pony-breeders-groupmepbg/

Christmas & NEW YEAR 2016 CHRISTMAS DAY LUNCH to start promptly at 12.00

Adults @ £49.95 per person Children @ £23.00 (4yrs - 12yrs)

NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER DANCE @£45.00 per person

Come and celebrate New Year’s Eve here at Ralegh’s Cross Inn Start at : 7.00pm. meal served: 7.30pm

TRY OUR NEW STARTER BUFFET!

Glass of Wine or a Traditional glass of mulled Wine on arrival

MAIN COURSE BUFFET

Selection of hot and cold starters, soup, freshly baked crusty bread rolls

Variety of Starters, Salads, Fish, Freshly baked bread rolls and many to choose from

to choose from:-

Roast Turkey Honey Glazed Gammon Roast Beef Medallions of Pork Lamb Racks Chicken a la King A Selection of Vegetables, Bowl of Fresh Green Salad Roast and New Potatoes Sausage and smoked bacon wraps Homemade Stuffing and Gravy Assorted condiments

DESSERTS

served from the buffet table Freshly Prepared Dessert Buffet to include Fresh Fruit and Cheese Platter Freshly Brewed Filter Coffee or Tea with Mince Pies We are open Christmas Evening as normal for drinks and light bites

NEW!! Starter Buffet

MAIN COURSE

served from our carvery Buffet:Rib of Beef on the Bone or Salmon en Croute or Mushroom and Spinach Florentine Roast Potatoes Dauphinoise Potaoes Vegetable Bake Fresh Garden Salad Mini Yorkshire Puddings stuffed with parsnips Homemade stuffing & Gravy

Desserts to be served at the table

Tea coffee & cheese board served on the buffet table Dancing till midnight with a glass of Champagne Bucks Fizz We also, have 17 ensuite rooms, available at a cost of £50.00 per room, based on 2 persons sharing, which includes breakfast.

To Book Please Call 01984 640343 or Email: raleghscross@gmail.com


THE MIN EHEA D & EXMOOR CHRONICLE

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üCommercial & Domestic üIndustrial üVentilation üElectrical repair üEmergency Lighting üFire Alarms üSecurity Alarms üPAT Testing üCCTV Systems

Tel: 07815 867805 22 Dovetons Drive | Williton | Nr. Taunton | Somerset | TA4 4ST


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WOOL

M.W G.C .S.

TH E MINEH EAD & EXMOOR C H RONICLE

Minehead and West Somerset Golf Club

Clubhouse Hire

Business Meetings, Conferences, Private Family Functuions, Birthdays, Christenings, Anniversaries, Weddings, Events & Functions FLEXIBLE ROOM STYLES: THEATRE - BANQUET - CLASSROOM

●Projector & Screen Available ●WiFi Enabled ● In-house Catering to suit your requirements For further information go to our club website or contact our clubhouse manager Steven Archer WEB: www.mineheadgolf.co.uk | EMAIL: stevearchermwsgc@gmail.com | TEL: 01643 702057 - OPTION 4

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