Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Beer Best Forgotten

Does anyone remember the dire concoctions that passed as keg bitter back in the 1970s ?. Awful drinking experiences like Watneys Red Barrel, Whitbread Trophy, which still exists I believe, and the truly horrendous Saxon Bitter produced by Devenish. I once had a Watneys Red Barrel beermat shaped like a grenade with the immortal words 'Start The Red Revolution With Watneys Red Barrel' written on it. Such a beermat would probably now be banned under the Terrorism Act, as should have been the product it advertised for inflicting gastric terror on those unwise to drink too much of it. Whilst it may now be fashionable to have a giggle at the sort of people who now make up The Campaign For Real Ale there is little doubt that the dedication and committment of its founders went a long way to creating the sort of ale that many enjoy today. Lets hope that any approaching recession will not lead to a return to the 70s in terms of beer production.

If so, the cry may go up amongst former beer drinkers 'Anyone for a Cheeky Vimto ?'

The weather changes.

We are not even out of September yet and the recent spell of fine weather is over. Rain, wind and falling temperatures are again the order of the day and ominously, the first leaves are falling from the trees. Added to endless reports about the developing international financial crisis it all hardly is the most cheerful end to the month. Perhaps we should all cheer ourselves up, hire the community hall and some sunlamps, stick in a few paddling pools, stick on our swimming cozzies,put some reggae on the mp3 and pretend we are all on Fantasy Island. I am sure we could pursuade some of our better looking residents of whatever sex takes your fancy to come around and serve us all with long cool drinks of a strongly alcoholic content and after a while I doubt that anyone would be too worried about the cold or impending financial doom. You could spend a few hours gazing at a perfect sunset even if it had only been painted on a sheet by one of our trainee graffitti artists.

It would certainly be a different weekend experience then the Mini Market.

Clanadonia website.

I know there has been some interest in the mad, mental Scottish band Clanadonia, who appear in a photo on our blog. Those interested can find out more about Scotlands finest exponents of Gaelic/Tribal music at their website:


Monday, 29 September 2008

Nae Luck

This weeks 'Nae Luck' award (as they say in Scotland) goes to the mouse that Rory, the black dog on the blog, disturbed from the undergrowth at the top of Kenson Hill on Saturday. In its understandable haste to escape the jaws of the dog it ran onto the road and straight under the wheels of a passing car. Nae luck indeed.

Something to get used to.

Something we shall all be getting used to now that the new bus operation is running will be the sight of double deckers rumblig along Coach Road and Wyndham Road. Because there are few passing points on the two roads the Buses can only go one way which is up Coach Road and down Wyndham Road to the St Marys View junction. It was good to see though that on the first day of the new operation the buses I saw were getting quite well used. Lets hope that continues and Stagecoach will not be given excuses for cutting services when the routes come up for review next time.

Belated Birthday Greetings

Belated birthday greetings to Alan Issac at The Lamb who celebrated his 51st at the weekend, in the appropriate style so we hear.

Trout Quiz. A Win !.

Yes, the Silverton team won the main quiz at The Trout in Bickleigh last night, but sadly, the jackpot still eludes both us and everyone else. Having been within a few points of winning for months it was gratifying to take first place and walk away with the mighty total of £8. 75 each. Hopefully, we will all be back again next month for another crack at the jackpot, by then up to £260.00.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

The Fear Factor

It seems that we are now going to see an intensified drive by government to get smokers to abandon the dreaded weed. We are now going to have cigarette packets adorned with pictures of rotting corpses and other things designed to scare smokers witless. Whether such methods will be effective is open to question. You would have thought that anyone able to be deterred by such propaganda would have quit already but doubtless aome highly paid psychologists and media types have advised the powers that be differently.

Perhaps though, its now time to take a different approach to these matters. Instead of trying to frighten people off the bad things in life by heavy handed scare tactics its time to accentuate the positive. Maybe we could start putting positive images on things that are said to be good for us. Oranges, not the only fruit as we know, could be adorned with pictures of smiling children with glowing complexions and packets of raisens could show bronzed men with rippling muscles engaged in bricklaying, or some similar muscular activity. What might be put on cucumbers is probably best left to the imagination.


Sellotape is a useful tool around the house binding up parcels and taping together all those items you would rather not lose. If you are inclined towards practical jokes you can get up to all sorts of tricks with it like wrapping your mates cigarette packet in it when their backs are turned. The real question about sellotape is yhough, how do locate the end of the dtrip when it accidentally reattaches itself to the roll. A major question that science seems yet unable to answer.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Staring At The Stars

Whilst standing in the garden early this morning waiting for the dogs on the blog to perform their pre bedtimr duties. it occurred to me how lucky we are here that we can still see the stars. When I was young and a member of the boy scouts a highlight of our activities was taking part in night hikes and getting to learn about the stars and constellations that make up our night sky. Younger generations are now gaced swith the difficulty of looking at their universe due to light pollution. We should all take advantage of the opportunities we have in this respect.

One Hundred

Birthday greetings to Mrs Elsie Brady, formerly of Livingshayes Road who is 100 today. Mrs Brady, mother of our local residents Donald and Cynthia, was a well known figure in Silverton until moving into a care home in Cullompton only a few years ago. We wish her many happy returns.

A further thought on 100th birtdays. if the queen gets to be 100 who sends her a telegram ?.

Friday, 26 September 2008

At The Back Of The Cupboard

In these inflationary times and with the credit crunching all around us the time has come to utilise all your assets. This means its time to go into the back mof that large cupboard in the kitchen and use up those tins and packets that have been gathering dust for ages. Perhaps its time to find a place on the menu for that old tin of water chestnuts or for that bottle of pickled Gherkins that you wonn on the bottle stall at some forgotten street market. Perhaps that old tim of Spam might now come in useful and can that really be the packet of powdered egg circa 1944 that you inherited from great auntie Enid insted of the brass carraige clock you were expecting. If you are very lucky you might even find a tin of strawberries and as we all know strawberries are always worth a nibble. Who knows what culinary delights await as at the back of the cupboard.

Finally, of course in the darkest recess of the cupboard you come across the shortbread tin covered in dust that you can only vaguely remember having seen. On opening it you find a collection of letters from some long forgotten illicit affair that you would rather not remember but cannot forget. You decide that the best course of action where these aree concerned is to consign to the futherest part of the back of an even darker and deeper cupboard.

Road Closure

Just a reminder that King Street will be closed for three days from Sept 29th due to gas installation work.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Whistles And Bells.

A constant danger you face when walking on the lanes around the village is being run down by cyclists. Now I know that cycling is a healthy hobby and should be encouraged but why is it that cyclists now seem to be able to go about the countryside totally devoid of anything that warns of their approach. What happened to the good old fashioned bell that used to be part of every bikes equipment. Back when I was young cyclists without bells stood to have their collars felt by any passing constable.

And while on the subject of adequate qarning, what about some from the hordes of buggies for the disabled that seem to take over our streets.Whilst I fully support the disabled having greater mobility, surely they could advertise their presence by means of a bell or hooter when they are approaching you.

Carping On About It.

According to eyewitnesses, some of our Polish friends and neighbours have been having it away with some of the carp from the Prispen pond.It would seem that carp are something of a delicacy back in Poland.. Whilst obviously not condoning the theiving of the carp I have to say I have sympathy with the Poles on this one.With due respect to our fishermen friends, and the fishing fraternity are largely male, I have never been able to see the point of hauling fish out of a pond just to weigh them, measure them and chuck them back again. It seems to me to be a bit like trainspotting. My attitude is that if its edible and you catch it, eat it.

What goes with carp anyway and what wime would you serve with it ?.

A suggestion for a fortcoming Lamb Inn menu perhaps ?.


And now for the latest on the chicken co op. We are reliably informed that chickens are being purchased and named. Names so far suggested include Kentucky Fried, Tikka Masala, Supreme, Spicy and Lickin. Anyone with any further suggestions should contact Shiela or Louise. I expect that our readers wont need much egging on to come forward with a few suggestions but we think that you should get your selection in early in order to avoid the inevitable scramble that occurs in these circumstances.

Meanwhile reports that a crack squad of engineering foxes complete with tunnel digging equipment have been sighted lurking in the vicinity of the chicken run could not be confirmed at this time.

Bus Timetables.

We now have the new bus timetables available in the post office. One piece of good news is that we will now be able to get direct to the Morrisons store in Tiverton which, I am sure will increase the choice of supermarket available to those of us without cars.

Sorry to see though, that its still impossible to get a bus into Thorverton on a sunday. They seem to have failed less well then Silverton in yjis respect as now all the sunday buses will run via Wyndham Road.

Woth a reminder also, that the free bus runs from Silverton Square to Somerfields store in Broadclyst leaving the square at 2.10pm on Tuesday afternoons. You usually get about an hour at the shop.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Tansylegs updates her blog

Good to see that Tanseylegs has now updated her blog. I hope that she will continue to develop 'A Certain Age' and that our regular readers will give support to another local efforrt. You can find it at:


Contacting The Blog

At Silvertonia we are always glad to maintain personal contact with our readers, well most of them anyway, Anyone wishing to passon on any suggestions on improving the blog, any story you think might be of interest, or, indeed any other relevant comments can usually find me at The Lamb Inn early doors weekdays or, on saturday or sunday afternons.

Purchasing me a pint will usually guarantee my undivided attention as indeed will being approached by ladies of a certain age possessing an air of mystery and a sense of mischief..

Paper Making

Whilst Silverton is now mainly a commuter village it is worth remembering that we had a long and proud tradition of involvement in paper making. Down the generations hundreds of Silvertonians worked in the paper mills at Ellerhayes, Hele, Cullompton and Stoke Canon. indeed, paper recycling still is part of the old Silverton paper mill site beyond Ellerhayes.

Sadly, as far as I am aware there is no public acknowledgement of the paper making history of Silverton beyond a few mentions in books. Perhaps some budding oral historian should conduct some interviews with those who worked in the papermaking industry before the experiences that made up their working lives are lost forever.

Still No Lottery ?.

It is now some time since the Londis closed down and despite longstanding notices in the SPAR telling us that the Lottery is about to be relaunched from there we still have no sign of anything happening.. I wonder how many potential millionaires we have lost in the village due to people not having the chance to buy a ticket.

Whilst on the subject of the lottery and related matters, dont forget that you can support your local football team by buying a bonus ball at The Silverton Inn, or you can support the air ambulance buy getting one from the Lamb.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Change Of Outlook

As you will notice most of the photos on the blog have now been changed to local views. Some more will be added along the way. As some of our more perceptive readers may notice there is a rogue photo amongst the new batch. It is of the totally mad band Clann Nadonia performing in Buchanan Street in Glasgow early this month.

I really think we should get them for street market next year. They would certainly liven up the proceedings.

1960, Year Of The Floods.

Those wioth long memories may well remember when our part of Devon achieved regular national headlines due to repeated disasterous floods. In the autumn of 1960 a series of major storms combined with poor drainage and flood defences wreaked havoc on the Exe and Culm valley's and the St Thomas area of Exeter became famous on national television for pictures of people being rescued from their houses by amphibious vehicles and rowing boats.

Luckily of course, Silverton lies well above the flood plain and did not suffer flooding itself. There was however major disruption tom transport links in the area on a number of occasions particularly for those of us attending the newly opened Broadclyst County Secondary School. We became used to being sent home at short notice due to the rising river culm threatening to block the road between Ellerhayes and the Silverton paper mill. The flooding crisis reached its peak in late october when a major twenty four hour rainstorm led to the Ellerhayes road being blocked and our school bus being diverted back to Silverton via the back roads through Poltimore and Stoke Canon. Anyone who knows the area will be only too aware of the likely comsequences of that trip as it soon became clear that we were heading into even more serious flooding. The outcome was that we spent about an hour and a half trapped on a bridge with the water still rising while a tractor had to be found to tow the older school bus in front of us out of the water where it had broken down. I then remember us proceeding very slowly through Stoke Canon village where the water had risen well up the Tiverton road beyond the Post Office.

Following the floods major drainage and flood prevention work stopped floods recuring on the same scale again although flooding still happens from time to time. Now with climate change and the increasing frequency of major storms one has to ask if the floods of 1960 may have just been a portent of things yet to come.


I was musing this morning whether we could develop our internet presence even further with our new Facebook site. Perhaps we could have a few guests giving us their worldly experience. Alan Haydon on 'the joys of sax perhaps, or Frosty on how to use your tackle to the best effect. A few recipes from Jane Isaac and perhaps some relationship madvice from 'Auntie Carolyn'. We might even get some advice on stocks and shares from Mr Brady and of course a contibution from the chicken collective could be expected on not making an omlette without breaking eggs. A few russian lessons from Bob Lewis The possibilities are endless.

Perhaps we may even find out from Tanseylegs what happens when you reach 'A certain Age' as your blog seems not yet to be telling us..

'Friends Of Silvertonia' Facebook group.

You can now join the 'Friends Of Silvertonia' group that has just been set up on Facebook. Given that some seem to find the comments setup on the blog a bit difficult to deal with, perhaps using the social networking format may be easier.


Monday, 22 September 2008

A Question.

The eagle eyed Mrs Frost spotted yesterday that the minutes of the Parish council have not been updated since June. When are we due an update ?.


Gossip has probably been around as long as humans have had the ability to communicate by language. Some scientists have even proposed theories that the need to know who was going up and down in the social pecking order of the small groups of hunter gatherers that made up the basic units of early human societies contributed greatly to the development of language as we know it. Whilst the evidence for this is somewhat sketchy, it is undoubtedly the case that gossip of one sort or another is part of the glue that binds social groups together whether it be in the workplace or in the communities. Gossip in the workplace can often be a way of informally passing on information that enables colleages to have a better idea of how a firm is performing and informal systems of communication within the community can often be an early warning of developing problems as in the case of an older person whose health is deteriorating or a young person whose life is going off the rails.

The problem arises when gossip becomes malicious or in the case of some people, they start to believe that the lives of a family down the street, or in the next village, have about as much reality as the last episode of 'Eastenders'. To often these days, the line between reality and fiction gets increasingly blurred. People should remember that endless speculation about the lives ofthat in many cases they hardly know, can be hurtful and can sometimes have disasterous consequences. Perhaps in such situations the best advice is to do as you would be done by.

Better News On Buses

After some general alarms it now looks as though our bus service will remain generally the same and that there will in fact be some improvements with an hourly service, including Wyndham Road, through the middle of the day. Unfortunately, the Stagecoach Devon website:


Seems only to have the Tiverton-Exeter leg of the route posted at the moment.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Parish Council Website

I should really have put this link up before but better late then never.



The news that the new town of Cranbrook near Broadclyst has been put on hold due to the current economic crisis must have sent shivers down the spine of anyone involved in the construction industry. It is when you see the practical effects of the 'credit crunch' hitting home that you realise that the long term effects of this still developing situation are likely to hit families and employment prospects on a far bigger scale then a few thousand people in the banking sector getting their p45's. We all tend to forget how much of the economy even in an area like this, is now tied up with house and road construction now that much of manufacturing has gone. Now, may well be the time for those who have been dependent on construction for a living to start updating their broader skills or considering a total change of career. It could well be that those who want to remain in construction may well find that their best prospects for future employment might well be in the areas of the world who seem to be benefitting from rising energy prices, the gulf states, Russia or possibly even China.


For a good part of the twentirth century, Silverton like many villages in Devon, had an annual carnival. My mother can remember riding through the streets dressed as Joan of Arc on a poney hired from Walter Marsh who owned the Lamb Inn sometime in the nid 1920s Some thirty years later I can remember being dressed up as Sir Walter Raleigh, complete with cap, ruff and tights for the same event. In the 1950s, the Carnival processed around the village with some walking displays and some floats on the back of Lorries often supplied by Fred Davey who owned a haulage firm and kept his lorries at what is now the bottom of Applemead. I also remember as a wolf cub, riding on one of the floats desperately needing to relieve a call of nature and only just managing to make it off the lorry just in time. As I remember it the Carnival route went around the old part of the village and up as far as the old pond site at the turning to what is now Silverdale and then back down the main street again but maybe others have better memories of this. The carnival ended with a dance in the New Hall.

After the mid fifties the old Devon village carnivals went into decline due to rising costs and the changes in social life brought about by the spread of Television. The big carnivals like Exeter, and some smaller ones such as Broadclyst kept going longer but are now gone. The one remaining westcountry carnival that I know of remains Bridgewater, the big daddy of them all to which coaches ran from Silverton as far back as the 1960s.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

200 up.

So we hit our 200th post. Its gratifying to know that we are now attracting a steadily growing daily readership within the village and its also good to know that we now have readers as far away as Dundee. So whilst welcoming our growing band of Silverton readers I think its only right that we should say a big 'hi' to Alan Graham in Dundee, Denise in Irvine, a certain Mr B. Apron in Bristol and any others who have happened upon us along the way.

Perhaps anyone who thinks they may well be our furtherest flung reader might like to leave a comment giving their location.

I am considering setting up a 'Friends Of Silvertonia' group on Facebook. There may well be news on that within the next week or so.

Blackberry Way

As we mentioned the other day, late september was the season for 'scrumping' around the apple orchards of the parish. Late september was also the time when the children of the village spread ouit through the hedgerows and lanes collecting blackberries so that their mothers could cook delights such as blackberry and apple crumble. The sort of weather that we are now enjoying was ideal for blacberrying, the main danger that you might face being that you could attract the attention of wasps who are notoriously feirce at this time of the year.

I dont know to what extent blackberrying still goes on now, but I suppose it is somewhat curtailed now that access to fields is less easy. I suppose that blackberry and apple crumble served with lashings of clotted cream if served these days to children might well earn you a visit from the health police.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Street Market AGM.

The annual general meeting of Silverton Street Market Committee will be held in the Lamb Inn Shed on Tuesday 7th Oct at 8. 00 PM.

All welcome.

A change of outlook

It would seem that we are now aquiring a readership well beyond the parish bounderies and I shall be saying more about that in a forthcoming post. This being the case I hope within the next week or two to be replacing the current street market photographs on the blog with photos of scenes fro the village so that our visitors from the great beyond have a better idea of some of the things we talk about here. Perhaps it may encourage some of them to pay us a visit and perhaps if they do mthey may feel moved to buy this blogger a pint or two of the product of the Exe Valley Brewery.

We can but hope. Unattached ladies of a certain age in particular, are always ensured a warm welcome in these parts.

Also, if you are a regular follower of this blog, perhaps you would like to use the new 'followers' facility now included in the top left hand corner of the blog.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Blog bug

For some reason todays posts on the telephone box and the hazards of farming are being recorded on the blog as having been made yesterday. Given our proud record of publishing daily exect when stated otherwise, I wanted to point that out lest our regular readers think I have been sleeping on the job.

Dangerous work.

The recent tragic incident at Bickleigh where a farmer ran over and killed his father with a digger should remind us all that farming remains a hazardous business. However many safety measures are introduced it remains the case that the combination of heavy machinery and uneven and often treacherous surfaces can lead to death and serious injury. Whilst we all moan about our food producers from time to time its worth remembering that despite all the modern aids, farming remains a tough and uncertain life for those who engage in it.

Telephone Box.

Does anyone still use the telephone box in the Square ?. It is becoming an eyesore with its broken glass panel at the front, peeling paint and a seemingly inexaustable supply of litter that seems to accumulate inside. If it still provides a useful serevice to the village surely its time that BT cleaned it up and repaired it. At the moment all it seems to be used for is a vantage point from the top of which some of the youth of the village can survey the surrounding area. Perhaps if it is no longer useful as a Telephone box we could pursuade Damien Hirst to stick a pickled shark in it, flog it off to a collector of modern art for several millions and use the money to build a concert arena on the hall site.

IKEA could have the community hall.

A good day out.

It seems the over 60s had a good day out yesterday with their trip to the Cotswolds. They visited Stow On The Wold and Broadway in sunny weather the day only being partly spoiled by a late return caused mainly by the major ongoing maintenance work on the motorway at the bridge over the Avon near Bristol.

The next full day trip will be to the great city of Bristol itself.

Miles photos....Again.

Right. One more attempt to post the right link for Miles street market photos.


And this time...IT WORKS !.

Christine informs me that there will be some photos forthcoming of yesterday trip by the over 60s to the Cotswolds.


Why is it, that rather than disposing of their household rubbish in the appropriate manner, some seem to find it acceptiblr to dump bags full of their rubbish in the litter bins in the square.

Candidates for an ASBO, methinks.

Resist cuts to routes and services.

The word on the street seems to be that with the discontinuation of the bus service run by Cooks Coaches, Stagecoach are planning to cut both services and to discontinue the Wyndhan road leg of the current route. It is to be hoped that our local representitives will resist any cuts to either the current service or existing routes.

The case is clear. Silverton has a population of over two thousand many of whom are either elderly or have young families. More people would alnost certainly use the buses if they could if it remained frequent and accessible. The idea of people having to walk from the village to the main road to get a half hourly service given the danger of the hil they have to walk is absurd and the Wyndham road route has proved a major boon to the elderly, commuters students who live at that end of the village. If Wyndham road/Coach rod is not accessible to double deckers or large single deckers then surely Stagecoach could run the modern disabled and pram friendly minibuses that they are already running on the main Exeter-Tiverton route.

The whole issue reminds us of how disasterous the deregulation of bus services has been for rural communities throughout these islands. Whilst companies like Stagecoach have made billions ordinary bus passengers have seen their services cut to shreds Since the demise of Devon General our community has suffered cut after cut in bus services with the increasing reliance on the car which all political parties now deem unacceptible at its current level. When will any government be prepared to put people before profit when developing public transport policies.


We shall again have a fruit and veg shop at the Cabbages and Kings site as of Sept 29th opening at 9.15am. It looks as though the new shop will be carrying much the same range of goods as the previous establishment. Good luck to all involved in their new venture.

Worth remembering also, that a wide range of vegetables can always be purchased from David Vittles of Park Close who sells his produce at very competitive prices.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Ten minutes of pleasure.

In our incrreasingly busy lives surely we should find the time to switch off and enjoy a ten minute break of pure pleasure. For some this may be relaxing over a cup of coffee and a piece of shortbread, for others it might be walking the dog or looking at their stamp collection.

It is even said by some that they get their ten minutes of pleasure by reading this blog.

If so, they are probably the only ones ever to get ten minutes of pleasure out of yours truly.

The BNP are as welcome here as an outbreak of HIV.

AS an historian I was going to write a piece on the history and evolution of the British National Party. After due consideration I decided that I could be spared the effort of trawling through that particular sewer by directing people to http:///searchlightmagazine.com. Despite disagreements with Searchlight on some issues to do with the BNP it still remains one of the best sources of information available on the subject for the general reader.

Two developments within the last few days have been generally heartening regarding local attitudes to the BNP. One is the John Twyford column in this weeks Tiverton Gazette which exposes some of the realities of what the BNP really stands for, and secondly the response of Geoff Knowles and other members of the parish council to the BNP operation at the weekend. Both show that, despite its image, this area of rural Devon is not going to be the pushover for the BNP that they might be expecting,

The personal position of this blogger is that the arrival of the BNP in our community is the political equivelant of an outbreak of HIV. Behind the patriotic language and calls to a return to a semi mythical England lies the same politics of hate and division that lead to the holocaust and in more recent times in the former Yugoslavia, the death camp at Omerska and the massacre at Sbrenitsa. That is the reality of what the BNP stands for. They can replace the knuckle dragging skinhead image but essentially they remain the same. Anyone who wants proff of that need only look at the UK politics section of the Stormfront Bulletin Board where the BNP sit alongside their former colleagues now in openly Nazi groupings like the British Peoples Party and North West Nationalsts. The party itself remains the same organisation that spawned the likes of the Soho nail bomber, David Copeland.

This blogger will be fully supporting the forthcoming leafletting campaign that is to be mounted in the village by opponents of the BNP. As in Broadclyst we will be making sure that our communities will not be turned into breeding grounds for the virus of hate promoted by the BNP.

And that is the final word on the subject as far as I am concerned.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Holidays In The Sun ?.

Hopefully, not too many people from the village were affected by the recent collapse of several travel firms and airlines but it just goes to show how dodgy holidays of any kind are now becoming. If you take a holiday in Britain you stand to be stuck in a hotel or on a campsite in the pouring rain for the duration possibly in closer contact with your nearest and dearest then you have been for many years with the concequent damage to long standing relationships. If you head for foriegn climes you could end up stranded in some airport of dubious repute awaiting evacuation by Bucketshop Budget Airlines or the like.

Alternatevely, you could always forget the idea of a holiday altogether and work until you drop which seems to be the preferred option of or current political leaders and their advisors, who seem able to take their holidays free from such mundane worries.

Autumn Almanac

And so we move into the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, or more likely these days storms and bankruptcies. Back in my youth, September was the time when boys moved on from playing cricket to football and the youth of the village began the long task of collecting material for the big bonfire in the rec on Nov 5th, more of that another time, it was also the time when the great game of conkers was played with much enthusiasim and bruised knuckles and the annual ritual of scrumping took place with the children of the village looting the apple orchards and the farmers trying to stop them. The children often ended up with a good collection of loot and often a bad case of stomach ache when consuming too much of it.

Nowadays of course, you would be hard pressed to find an orchard to scrump from and if you were caught would probably be liable for an ASBO or community service. Not that one would defend such illegal practices of course, but probably a bit of scrumping was a lot less harmful then some of the things that young persons are alleged to get up to these days and it certainly sharpened up some peoples wits and athletic abilities.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Wall Street Shuffle

Although the collapse of the US investment bank, Lehmann Brothers seems unlikely to have a direct effect on odinary consumers like us the growing instability of financial markets worldwide must be causing a lot of people to rediscover the joys of keeping your hard earned cash safe in the form of notes and silver. One suspects that matress stuffing could become a very popular pastime.

I suspect there may well be a good deal less talk about the coming cashless society for quite a while..

Harvest Home.

Now we are at last getting some dry weather it should be possible for the farming community to finish getting the harvest in. Given the ever rising cost of food it is to be hoped that the current havest will be good enough that food prices might be at least stabilised a bit.

What constitutes a connection with Silverton ?

Anyone who has ever been involved with a tenents or residents association will know that one of the most contentious issues that can arise is always in relation to rules for the allocation of social housing. This now seems to be generating some ccontoversy in relation to the recent letting of houses at Prispen view.

As far as I and others are aware, the rules for the letting of properties there, which are managed by Devon and Cornwall housing association, state that to be eligable to obtain such housing you must be able to demonstrate a connection with the village. What, people would like to know demonstrates such a connection, Is it something along the lines of having a family connection here. Having been educated or working here, or once having slept on the seat in the Bus shelter for the night.

Perhaps Babyblox or someone with some knowledge of such matters could enlighten us.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Down they come.

Now we have a few fine days its time for all with gardens to start cutting down their bushes and clearing their weeds ahead of the coming winter. Given that many people have to use the council provided rubbish bags and given that in these times of the drive to get recycling established, surely its time that the council reviewed the price of their rubbish sacks. If we are supposed to have presentable gardens it is to be expected that when it comes to time to clear them large amounts of rubbish will be created. A larger number of free bags should be made available.

Parking in King street

Yesterday, there was a medical emergancy involving one of the residents of the bungalows in King street, Paramedics were called ou twice and could not get their vehicle into the parking space outside the bungalows due to the space being taken by vehicles belonging to non residents of the block.

Given that the bungalows are allocated to elderly and disabled people surely some steps should be taken to ensure that the parking space is reserved for residents and that a space should be made available for use by the emergency services.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

BNP leaflet the village

So, Blackbuck and his racial nationalist comrades have decided that Silverton is ripe for a recruitment drive and have come out to do some leafletting. I think its only to be expected that this blog will be making some comments on this development within the next few days.

Sign Of The Times

In another sign of the time of the year we have now reached, the local darts teams begin their new season on Monday. God luck to all the village teams in their quest for darting glory. Silverton has a long and proud tradition in relation to the throwing of the arrows. Its a local sporting tradition that all can parrticipate in and should be supported.

Some more on Scotland

Just a few more points about my recent scottish travels. Whilst I was there I paid a visit to Reg (the second half of Tobireg) he is alive and well and happy in his new home in Ayr. Although he has now reached middle age in feline terms he does not seem to be affected by the sort of mid life crises that seem to affect his human counterparts and continues to wreak havoc amongst the unsuspecting bird population of Glendale cresent and Peggieshill road.

Whilst in Prestwick I took a train trip to the neighbouring town of Irvine. It was interesting to note that the train journey, which covers about the same distance as Silverton to Exeter costs only £3.30 return and you can get trains every half hour. There is also a very regular and comparitavely cheap bus service. It certainly makes one a little jealous.

Irvine was a small clyde coastal town until the 1960s when it became an overspill town for Glasgow and one of a group of new towns that sprang up in the Scottish central belt at that time. Initially they attracted quite a range of new industries but were badly hit by the economic downturns of the late 70s-early eighties. The old part of Irvine remains reletively untouched but is surrounded by a number of disconnected housing estates often dominated by high rise flats. The town centre has at it centre, yet another huge shopping complex, The Rivergate centre, which dates to the early 1980s. Sadly, of course, the range of shops you find there are exactly the same as everywhere else in these islands. With much of its original heavy engineering gone Irvine is probably best known now for its excellent maritime museum.

And so that about finishes the reports on my scottish travels and not a deep fried mars bar in sight. There were however, quite a number of 'full scottish breakfasts', no beans added in my case, which probably have much the same effect on your cholesterol levels when you have components such as tattie scones and sliced sausage. One continuing complaint I have regarding Scotland though is the continuing difficulty of getting any decent beer. If in Ayr and wanting anything more refreshing then the usual Scottish and Newcasle breweries keg fizz, I can only recommend visitors go to the local Weatherspoons, The West KIrk in the Sandgate or the towns original real ale pub, Geordies Byre in the Main street. Both of these have in the past been known to sell the products of our own local Exe valley Brewery.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Local bus news.

Back to local matters now. As some may be aware by this time, the 355 bus route currently operated by Cooks/Stagecoach will be wholly taken over by Stagecoach Devon from the end of the month. What this means in terms of our local service is at the moment unclear, but it is to be hoped that our local parish and district representitives will do their utmost to see that our current service is at least, maintained in its current form in terms of both frequency and route under the new regime.

I think we should also extend a vote of thanks to Stephen, Jo and the other Cooks staff who have maintained such a friendly and efficient service on this route over the past few years. We hope that you will all find other employment very quickly.

On the buses

One thing that visitors to the west of scotland would find a bit of a culture shock would be the generally grumpy and unpleasent manners of a good few of the local bus drivers. Anyone expecting to get the friendly reception you normally find with our local drivers on Cooks or Stagecoach will be in for a rude awakening.. Certainly, in Ayr most of the local drivers seem to be more interested in the outcme of the most recent old firm or Ayr United fixture then being pleasent to the public. The exception to the rule seemingly being their endless conversations with some of the female 'groupies' who seem to follow them around on some routes all day long.

Glasgow humour.

Taken from the ever excellent diary section of the Glasgow Herald.

German tourist goes into a Glasgow Resturaunt and orders a steak. He wants it very rare but doesnt know what to ask for, The waiter asks what sort of steak he would like and the tourist says 'I vould like a bloody steak'. , The waiter asks him to repeat the order and he replies louder 'I vould like a bloody steak' The waiter without raising his eyes from the pad says, 'and will that be f***ing new potatoes with your steak sir ?'

Clann Na Donia

Anyone visiting Glasgow on a saturday might well run acroos a mad bunch of ageing hippie type gentlemen who perform with pipes and drums at the top end of Buchanan street under the name, Clann Na Donia. Not only do they provide a spectacular show where drumming is concerned but also do a nice line in Glasgow humour. The leader said that if their performance drew too much of a crowd they might get handed an ASBO, on the other hand, he said, getting an ASBO might well be the only way that people like them would get letters after their name.

The Carlton Hotel

Anyone who fancies taking a break in the south west of scotland could do worse then considering a stay at the Carlton Hotel situated on the Ayr-Prestwick boundery. The Carlton, long a popular hotel and eating establishment has now been extensively refurbished with all double rooms and en suite facilities, the food is excellent and the staff friendly and helpful. Roomms are\available from £47.50 per night and inn the opinion of this recent guest are a bargain at that price. For those visiting the area by air it is only a ten minute drive from Prestwick Airport.


Visitors to the Ayr area, and anywhere else in the west of scotland for that matter, will not get far before coming across empty bottles which formerly contained that product of those monks from our own dear county, Buckfast Tonic Wine. For those not familier with the story, 'Buckie' as it is universally known in those parts has become the drink of choice for the local 'Neds' (hooligan element) to achieve near instant oblivion. Despite the protests of sucessive Scottish Governments the trade in Buckfast wine has continued to grow to the extent that the holy men of Buckfast Abbey are now expanding their bottling capacity. Devon may be known elsewhere for cream teas and cider but in the west of scotland it is almost universally associated with the production of Buckfast and the havoc that consumption of the sticky mixture often leads to.

Auld Ayr toon

'...Auld Ayr Toon, wham none surpasses.
for honest men and sonsie lassies.'

Thus spake the bard, Burns not Shakespeare, regarding the town of Ayr about 200 years ago in his epic poem 'Tam O Shanter'. At the time that Burns was writing Ayr was the administrative centre of the county of Ayrshire, a port and market town. Later, in the 19th and for most of the 20th century it was Scotlands premier seaside resort where every summer thousands came down by train, and 'doon the watter' on paddle steamers like the famous 'Waverley' to spend the Glasgow and Paisley fair holidays enjoying the pleasures of Ayr beach, sampling the delights of Mancinis ice cream, dancing at the Pavilion or attending the summer variety shows at the Gaiety theatre. With the advent of package holidays Glaswiegans, like everyone else are more likely to spend there holidays in Alicante then Ayr and in the 70s and 80s Ayr, as a seaside resort underwent a sad decline. Recently it has undergone a considerable transformation with the construction of a massive new shopping complex in Kyle street and a major expansion of the holiday industry with incresed tourism from the North of Ireland.

Sadly, however , modernisation has meant the destruction of much of what gave the resort its distinctly scottish character. many of the small gift shops and bars have been swept away to be replaced by hair salons and coffee shops. It is ironic that at a time when nuch is being made of the activities of the Scottish National Party government in Holyrood, much of what made scottish towns and cities distinctive is being swept away by exactly the same multinational business conglomerates that are transforming the equivalents of Ayr, here in England. It would seem that whatever the political complexion of governments worldwide we are headed for a future where all towns and cities will be almost identical in appearence.

That being said Ayr is still worth a visit. It had close associations with William Wallace and of course there is the Burns connection. The Clyde coast is within easy reach and there are good transport links with Glasgow, and in the other direction, Stranrear and the ferries to the north of ireland. The golf course at Prestwick, Troon and Turnberry are nearby and it is within easy driving distance of the Galloway national park, part of Scotland that is, in its own way as spectacular as anything found in the better known Highlands. Finally, of course from Ayr you can easily reach the Islands of the firth of Clyde, notably Arran, known as Scotland in miniature Cumbrae and Bute. And it should be said, that as in Burns time, the natives of Ayr remain na friendly and outgoing bunch.

Blog On

Right. Normal service now being resumed after a week away in bonnie scotland. Mrs Frost says you have all been behaving yourselves so there will be no need for detentions or even more unpleasent forms of punishment. Obviously, we shall be resuming with some observations on our recent travels.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Blog Off

This will be the last time the Blog will be updated until Sept 12th. I shall be away from the village visiting old friends and colleagues in the Ayr, Prestwick and Glasgow areas. The comments section of the blog will remain open so feel free to continue to make your thoughts on the contents of the blog known. During my absence the blog will be monitored by my good friend Mrs Frost and anyone posting comments should be warned that, underneath her glamorous exterior there is a will of steel when it comes to detecting spelling mistakes.

So be warned, watch your P's and Q's and any other letters of the alphabet you may post. Mistakes could earn you a lenghty spell in detention.

Information centre.

While the Parish council noticeboard in the little rec is a useful resource would it not be a good idea to supplement it with another board outlining something of the history of the village and where facilities are located ?. I am sure that many of us have had requests from people from time to time as to the location of the health centre, community hall or perhaps one of the pubs. Perhaps a board with the location of such facilities outlined on a map of the village might make life for visitors to our community a lot easier, maybe also, such a board could contain a sheet or two giving a simple history of the village and the surrounding area. This would seem a simple and useful addition to the centre of the village that could considerably add to its attraction.

Obtainable Housing.

With the new housing at Prispen View now coming on line the question again arises as to what sort of social housing a village like this should be concentrating on building. While there is undoubtedly a need for family housing surely there is also a desperate, and increasing need for housing for one of the fastest growing sectors, that of the single occupant.

With increasing life expectancy, the breakdown of relationships and the simple desire of many to live alone the lack of single occupancy property in the social sector in this area is becoming stark. As far as I am aware only one single occupancy bungalow has become available in the vilage so far this year. Another noticeable factor in social housing here is that there is no provision for sheltered accomodation unlike the situation in a number of the surrounding villages. If the parish council are to take up the issues surrounding parking and transport, surely its time that they seriously considered issues surrounding the allocation and provision of social housing in the village.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The way we were.

Alan Haydon brought an interesting set of photographs to the Lamb last night. Dating from 1982 they show the last night of Richard Barron as landlord of The Three Tuns. One group of photos charts Richards expression when he found that his favourite pipe had been welded inside a set of miniature radiator pipes. Other photos show Tuns regulars of the period marking Richards departure a significant event in the recent history of the pub.

Some of those in the photos are still very much alive and kicking, notably Maureen and Alan Haydon, Rod and Chris Furlong, Julian Watson, John Mann, Richard and Davina, Marion and Sandra and a young Miles Snowden looking suspiciously like one of the runners in the 118-118 advert. Others, sadly are no longer with us, particularly noticeable in that category, Dave Clapshaw, Geoff and Peg Garner and most recently departed, Pete Vickery. Others there have just vanished into the mists of time. What for instance became of Helen and Hugh who lived in Hederman close at the time and were permanent fixtures on the Silverton pub scene for a few years.

Perhaps its time now that we have internet facilities like Flickr to establish a permanent archive of such events, complete with a written commentary identifying participants. Often local historians are approached by people looking for traces of reletives who nwere once residents. A photo archive would be a great help to those involved in such work in the future.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Another trip to the Trout.

Once more a band of intrepid Silvertonians visited the Trout Inn at Bickleigh last night to take part in the monthly quiz. Although depleted in number, but reinforced by Bernice from Tiverton, we managed to reach joint 4th and winning the princely sum of 37p each. Yet again, we managed to play our ace on the wrong round, fruit and nuts not being our strongpoint. Yet again, no one won the Jackpot which moves up next month to £250 if you answer 5 questions correctly.

The next quiz will be held on Sunday, 28th September commencing at 8.00pm.

It might as well rain until September.

Its now September 1st and it has. As we approach the end of what most regard as being the wettest summer in sixty years the rain continues to fall on virtually a daily basis. This blog was hoping to avoid too much concentration on the crap state of the climate but as its all that most people are talking about it seems unavoidable. Unless you are one of those people lucky enough to be able to escape to sunnier climes, its looking like a very long haul to next spring and hopefully, a better summer in 2009. The real voices of doom are already informing us though that you usually have three summers of similar weather so it could be 2010 before we can expect to see better times. The weather coinciding with a worsening economic climate should ensure that the manufacturers of anti depressant medicines are not likely to face bankruptcy in the near future, unlike many of those the medcines are designed to help.

Perhaps the only answer is to pursuade some american millionaire to buy up Silverton and its inhabitants, to dismantle the village and to ship us all across the Atlantic and reestablish us a theme park in some sunny location.

Well out of the hurricane belt, of course.