Saturday, 31 January 2009

Gearing Up.

I note, from radio and TV adverts, that the media are gearing up for the start of the six nations rugby contest. Time to dig your old England rugby shirts out of the wardrobe and to start practising 'swing low sweet chariot' in the shower. Time also, to start reaquainting yourself with the taste of Guinness which seems to be the required drink for the rugby internationals.

Personally, although not a rugby fan I always like watching the warm ups to the game, especially the singing of the respective national anthems. Its always iinteresting to note that some players are not too sure of the words of their particular anthem and which of the respective groups of fans performs best. My own favorite anthem, performance wise, is always 'The Marsailles' probably the best national anthem ever written followed by 'Flower Of Scotland' and the welsh doing there thing.

About our own dirge, the less said the better.

One Down.

So this is the last day of January which means that we say farewell to the first of the months of 2009. January has proved as bleak and wet as always, although we have now reached the stage of the year when the days are beginning to draw out and we can look forward, hopefully, to the first signs of spring. Its always best to remember though that February can spring some nasty surprises before winter departs completely.

The Big Pick

Glad to hear that the big litter pick went well and that it might become a regular feature of village life with, hopefully, more peoplejoining in. I understand that the most unusual item found was a childs cricket bat.

Some of us with very long memories will remember when a certain employee of the postal service with a drink problem, now no longer amongst the living, used to dispose of his empties at locations around the village. Thankfully, none of our current team of postal workers add to village litter problems in that way. I also notice that they do not seem to litter the place with elastic bands, as used to be the case when I lived in Prestwick.

Friday, 30 January 2009


As you will see, I have now added a photo of Reg, the feline half of Tobireg. Sadly, no photos of Toby are available as he died in 2001.

Non Smoker Discrimination.

Someone we know who works in nursing homes is becoming increasingly peeved because, as a non smoker, they see the smokers disappearing to the smokers shelter on a regular basis while they do not manage to get the equivalent ten minutes off the job themselves. While its undoubtedly true that smokers are, in general, a persecuted minority these days, when it comes to fag breaks non smokers should get equal opportunities.

Mental Health.

Those of us who enjoy reasonably good mental health, sometimes take our ability to deal with lifes knocks for granted. I was reminded of this earlier this afternoon when talking to a friend who is currently suffering mental distress, brought on lcurrently by reaction to a number of physical health problems. Most of us will never know what it is like to have your life brought to a standstill by extreme anxiety or depression to the extent that you need medication to help you eat and sleep, or worse, suffer from the horrors of disorders such as Scizophrenia. I know that most of us are inclined to make jokes about mental illness from time to time but those who have had to deal with the realities either as carers or sufferers know the reality is anything but funny. We can only offer our support to those who suffer from mental health conditions and their families and work to make sure that those who work to help the mentally ill are properly renumerated for their tireless and often unrecognised work.

Silverton Inn and Breakfasts

Shane Radmore at The Silverton Inn has asked me to point out that he still does a breakfast on a saturday between 12.00 noon and 1.30pm. Only too happy to pass that information on, Shane.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

An Original

Sad to see the death reported today of the folk singer, John Martyn. He was one of the true originals to come out of the folk/rock fusion of the late sixties and the first white artist to be signed by Chris Blackwell's Island label. His best known album was probably 'Solid Air' (1973) and he has been cited as an influence by artists as diverse as U2 and Portishead. After a long battle against the effects of drugs and alcohol his death was reported from Ireland earlier today. He was sixty.


Its the time of the year for soup. I note that The Lamb has had Cock A Leekie soup on the menu this week in connection with Burns Day and with the weather we are having I am sure that many will have the favourite soup that keeps them warm through the cold winter days. When I lived in Scotland I had an elderly neighbour who would regularly bring pots of soup to those who lived in our block of flats, usually it was vegetable and very nice it was too, then of course, the restorative powers of soup are well known. I am sure that many of those who suffered from the recent spate of virusus, who had their appetites revived by a bice warming bowl of chicken soup and I have heard of some people who think that a good bowl of soup is just the thing to beat a hangover.

So lets hear it for soup, the bowl that cheers.


Watching the horde of disability scooters that run around the village, it occurs to me that one thing that is missing from these vehicles, as with modern bicycles, is something that warns of their approach. Perhaps they should be equipped with bells or horns as they can sometimes come upon you unawares. Unplanned contact with these vehicles could render you in need of the use of one. I had a close encouter with one of these buggies once whilst living in Prestwick, which was being driven by an elderly lady who seemed to be in training for Formula One. Useful as this means of transport undoubtedly is in aiding the mobility of the disabled, some of those who drive them would not seem to be as aware of what they are driving as maybe they ought to be.

Then of course, there is the well known village character who carries his dog on his buggy. The sight of a dog on a buggy drives my dog, who does not like wheeled vehicles of any kind much, into a total rage. He still looks at the wheeled rottwieler with a good deal of suspicion

Cold Weather On The Way Again.

According to the forecasters, cold weather is on the way again next week with icy blasts from eastern europe. Time to get those logs in again folks and get out your thickest jumpers and thermal underwear. Perhaps the village will get snowed in again this february and we will again see people skiing to the pub. One can only hope, yjere is nothing like a good blizzard to boost community spirit and encourage a general air of togetherness.

This year will mark the 31st anniversary of the great blizzard of 78 and I shall be having something to say about that major weather event nearer the time.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


As we all know, this is a family blog that takes a usually light hearted look at life in Silverton and the world, but with its serious side when necessary. Given though, the reletive sucess of this blog, I sometimes wonder, when awake in the darkest hours of the night, that even as I am writing this blog, some anonymous, disturbed soul, is out there working on his own project.

Could it be, that someone is out there working on another blog, 'Silverton Exposed !' or something like it, that will lift the lid on the darker side of the village ?. Perhaps an unknown person is, even now, gathering information on who ripped off who, who slept with who and whose children are not really their own. Perhaps he, for I reckon it would probably be a 'he', is waiting until his project is complete before releasing it on the world and with a maniacal cackle, sits back to watch the result of his handiwork..

Such are the nightmares of bloggers.

Another good reason not to eat cheese before bedtime.

Short Trouser's

When I was young short trousers were a nightmare at this time of the year. I can still remember being in the old school canteen playground in the middle of winter with my knees turning blue with the cold and you knew that if you fellm over on the ice you were bound to end up with cut knees. I expect that many of us, of a certain age, remember our mothers saying about one of our classmates 'He's too young to be wearing long trousers yet', whilst we tried to work out exactly how o;d you had to be to escape the torture of shorts. Of course, if you joined the Boy Scouts you then had to endure another few years wearing that dreaded form of apparel.

My youthful encounter with shorts gave me an aversion to them that has lasted a life time. I am not one of those chaps in late middle age, who you will encounter striding across hill and dale bearing their knees to the elements, beer bellies flopping over their belts. You can be at one with nature without freezing your extremities off. I seem to remember that Hitler and his mates had a passion for shorts.

Perhaps the health police could issue warnings on the dangers of short trousers, it might be a more useful excersise then some of what they do.

Most Haunted.

Returning to my place of residence of an evening, I often find Mr Frost watching 'Most Haunted' on Living TV, in which a group of intrepid volunteers spend a night in darkness in some allegedly haunted location hoping to encounter some ghostly manifestation. Usually they set out to provoke the spirits by bringing in Mediums and oeija boards and running around shouting 'is anyone there !' and similar things. They some times hear noises, see shapes and have lumps of coal thrown at them.

When they visited Fort Delaware in the United States which weas a former prison at the time of the civil war and did their investigation, a disembodied voice shouted 'get out' which frightened them no end.

Personally I am with the ghosts, there you are, hanging around for a few hundred years with nothing else to do but play a few hands of spirit poker with your mates sand do a bit of odd chain rattling and moaning to keep your hand in and along come a bunch of noisy people from the other world with tape recorders and infrared cameras, shouting and bawling and disturbing the peace by demanding to talk to some spirit who ran off with some woman from another astral plane years ago. Were I a ghost I would be throwing more then lumps of coal at them I can tell you.

Perhaps we could set up our own Most Haunted team to investigate the local pubs, two of which are reputedly haunted. I think that in a night in each we could reliably be expected to contact the spirits.

Whether the landlords would be too pleased by that sort of contact might be another matter.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Another Game For A Wet Afternoon.

Following on from our 'Googleable' post of last week, I thought I would find out which of the surnames we used in that one was the most common amongst British surnames.In reverse order,

10. Haydon. The 3,444th most common surname in Britain.

9, Isaac, The 1, 147th most common surname in Britain.

8. Carroll. 315th on the list of the most common British surnames.

7. Fleming. 287th on the list.

6. Frost. 216th on the chart.

5. Fox. 115th on the list.

4. Jackson. 26th on the chart.

3. Lewis 23rd most common.

2. Wilson 7th most common.

1, Williams. 3rd in Britain and winner of the Silvertonia ' Common As Muck' surname

You can have fun with this at:

Geographically Embarrassed.

Another of Mrs Frost's encounters. Travelling to work ther other night she told the driver that if she had to get off at the next stop from the one that she usually uses, she would have trouble finding the place where she works. The driver replied 'Ah, then you would be geographically embarrassed''.

So, remember folks, if your satnav sends you somewhere unexpected, or you lose your way in a strange town, you are not lost but 'geographically embarrassed.

Not To Be Sniffed At

On her way back from work yesterday morning, Carolyn fell into conversation with a couple of other passengers waiting for the 55A at Exeter bus station. One of the other passengers said that he had been feeling down earlier in the morning but was now feeling a lot better. The conversation then went something along the following lines.

Carolyn : 'Perhaps meeting me has helped cheer you up ?'.

Passenger: 'No, actually I think its the smell of the fumes from the buses'.

There really are none so queer as folk.

Monday, 26 January 2009

The Lamb Inn Quiz Team Marches On.

The Lamb Inn quiz team scored their biggest victory of the season last night when they defeated The Merrymeade 'A' team by 77 points to 54 At Samford Peverell. No match next week then we visit The Crossways Tavern at Hele on February 8th.

A 95th Birthday.

Yesterday was the 95th birthday of Mrs Eva Gooding of High Street. For those of a certain age, Mrs Gooding will be remembered as the caretaker at the old primary school at the bottom of School Road and akso as a worker in the old school canteen, later the British Legion Club. It was good to see Mrs Gooding on good form and enjoying a meal with her friends at The Lamb yesterday lunchtime.

We wish her many happy returns.

The Sound Of Gunfire.

As we move towards the end of the shooting season the sound of gunfire can still be heard around the village as whole flocks of pheasents go to meet their maker. Given that pheasent shooting is quite a business these days its good to see that people are still able to be kept in employment organising shoots even in these recessionary times. Unfortunately, shooting has its downside for those dogowners whose animals are on the nervous side. Whilst Rory the black dog on the blog has little concern about gunfire, Lilly, the other one, hates gunshots and heads for home at the first sound of firing. I have been left holding a lead and collar one at least one occasion due to her ebthusiasm to escape from the unwanted sound.


As you will note, I have now added the picture of Floss, reputedly the oldest sheep in Devon.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Burns Day.

Today is the 250th anniversary of the birth of the poet, Robert Burns. This is the day when haggis, tatties and neeps are eaten, Whiskey is drunk and kilts are worn, even by those without a drop of scottish blood in their veins. For the first time in many years Silverton will not be having a formal Burns night celebration. Hopefully, the tradition that became established in the village over a number of years will be revived in the future.

What Burns, born into a poor farming family in Alloway, South Ayrshire, would have made of the multi million pound industry that now surrounds his name its hard to imagine. Burns, like many people of genius, was a contradictory figure who railed in his poems, against those Scottish aristocrats who had sold Scotland into union with England in 1707, as well as injustice, slavery and superstition , but was quite prepared to mix with the literary establishment in Edinburgh and to seek employment as a British government excise man in Jamaica towards the end of his short life. He spoke up for the rights of women, but many of his personal relations with women would now be regarded as exploitative by many.

All that being said, I hope that many of those who will be celebrating the life of Burns today, wherever they may be, will at least take the trouble to read some of Burns poetry, difficult as I know 'The broad scots tongue' can be for english readers. Burns was an acute observer of his world and the human condition and is a literary figure well worth celebrating.

Give The People What They Want !. All Day Breakfasts.

Several people have said recently, that one thing that is lacking in Silverton is anywhere that does an all day breakfast. The Silverton Inn used to do a breakfast on a saturday morning but does no longer. The saturday breakfast was ideal for those who needed something substantial after the excesses of friday night.

Perhaps this would be an idea for the former Londis. Turn it into a cafe where you could get a decent coffee through the day, but also a decent english breakfast consisting of eggs, beans, sausages, bacon, mushrooms, toast and tea. Peerhaps you could have an alternative of a scottish breakfast, all the above but with square sausage, tattie scones and black pudding.

Having written this, I suspect I am now due a visit from the health police on the grounds of spreading propaganda in support of an unhealthy diet, but perhaps some budding entrapeneur in the village might wish to take the matter forward.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Bedroom Performers.

Mrs Frost and myself were watching a programme on one of the digital channels late last night and early this morning. The programme featured a selection of some of the cheesier pop songs to have featured in the charts over the past three decades or so. We were wondering how many in their younger days sang into their hairbrushes, pretending to be Abba or Bananarama whilst watching their performance in the mirror, or practiced being Michael Jackson in the 'Thriller ' video. Then of course, you had the legion of air guitarists who thrashed their arms along to AC/DC and Guns and Roses. I would imagine that if you had an air guitarist and an air drummer performing in the style of the late Keith Moon performing in the same bedroom it could have created some serious health and safety issues.

Luckily, we restrained ourselves from performing with hairbrushes or the like and retired to our seperate beds in good order. It may of course be, that out there are some sad, middle aged souls, whose bedtime routine is not complete without standing in front of the mirror, giving it their all as Rick Astley, or Tina Turner.


Ann Mattock has asked that it be pointed out that her disqualification from the parish council was for non attendence at meetings rather then for anything more serious. Ann, of course, remains heavily involved in a number of other village organisations as she has now for a number of years. Ann is one of that reletively small number of people in the village who are the backbone of many of our local organisations and they all deserve a hearty vote of thanks from the village for the work that they do, often when they also have busy working lives.

Ann's departure from the parish council means that there is a vacancy to be filled. Hopefully, someone will be prepared to fill the position.

Let There Be Light.

Listening to the news this morning, I note that organisations representing the blind and partially sighted are complaining about the phasing out of the traditional light bulbs in favour of the low energy variety. It seems that the low energy bulbs emit a type of light that is unhelpful, and sometimes dangerous, to those with visual impairments.

I think that the problems with the low energy bulbs have been obvious to many, even many of those without eyesight problems, for many years. They often seem to take a long time to reach full power and the light they emit seems often less strong then that emitted by traditional bulbs. It seems to me that in the rush to reduce carbon emissions and to reduce the amount of power used domestically problems with the low energy bulbs have been sidelined. As with wind turbines the downside of such devices doesnt get the sort of attention it deserves when it clashes with the prevailing orthodoxy

Friday, 23 January 2009

60th Birthday.

Although I know she does not have internet access, I would like to put on record the 60th birthday of my friend, Jan Runciman of Prestwick, South Ayrshire. Jan was thge lady I wrote about recently who brought up two children singlehandedly, and sucessfully, against heavy odds. Jan has been suffering extreme pain in the last couple of years because of a failed hip replacement operation which has recently been replaced again, with sucess at the moment. Hopefully she will be able to return to a painfree and more active life by the time I see her again within the next few months.

The Oldest Sheep In Devon ?.

Floss the sheep, who lives in the Prispen Field, must be a contender for the title of the oldest sheep in Devon. Floss, who is fifteen, is still mobile but having no teeth, has now to live on a diet of bread which she seems to enjoy immensely.

Hopefully, a photo of Floss will appear here soon.

Wine Whine.

According to the Daily Telegraph the ever watchful health police are now closing in on the seven million people who allegedly enjoy a glass or two of wine after work. Too many people it seems, are enjoying too much of the product of the grape to be good for their health.

Perhaps the health police should concentrate a little more on what makes people want to relieve their stress by imbibing a glass or two in the first place. Long hours, often insecure terms of employment and rubbish pay for many combine to create conditions where stress relief is a often a necessity. Perhaps a concerted drive to reduce the stress factors in employment might do more to reduce the need for a glass or to of the old el vino then pious lectures from nanny.

The joke about the health police is that their work is ultimately self defeating. If much of their work is aimed at helping to reduce the burden on the NHS by pursuading us to live longer, healthier lives the aim is futile for the simple reason that if we do manage to live longer and healthier lives the end result is that more and more of us will end up needing constant care due to developing the horrors of Alzhiemers or similar conditions that affect the elderly and for which there are no known cures.

The best course of action is to be aware of the dangers but go on doing what makes you happy. If your life is shorter maske sure its enjoyable.

Who Controls ?.

Who controls the remote in your house ?. Is there an equitable distribution of control over the control or, does one member of your household have disproportionate control over whats watched. Perhaps its the partner who has a passion for Emmerdale or maybe its the one who watches Setanta Sports all night. Maybe you have to sneak down in the middle of the night to watch the omnibus edition of Corrie at some uneartly hour to avoid the steely gaze of the great controller eager to get their finger on the button, or perhaps you have to wait until someone goes out with the dog to get your fix of Celebrity Big Brother. On the other hand, perhaps the younger members of your family monopolise the button to watch MTV. at least when they can drag themselves away from the Nintendo in the bedroom.

It just goes to show that to maintain harmony in the family circle another TV set somewhere in the house is a necessity

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Creative Advisor.

As some will realise, quite a number of recent posts have come from the fertile, if quirky, mind of Carolyn Frost. In honour of her contributions to the blog I have decided to change her title to that of creative advisor, I hope she will not be too 'miffed' at the change.

I think its time that Carolyn stepped forward and created a blog of her own. Given her many and varied experiences of life in a number of fields of employment and her wide circle of friends and aquaintances I would guess that she has many an interesting tale to tell.

More Googling.

Following on from yesterdays post, a few more Silvertonians who seem to have other lives. Sheila Wilson writes christian musicals while Bob Lewis is a traditional folk singer in Sussex. Paul Fox is an estate agent when he is not being a yoga teacher, a spot of yoga being no dout, necessary for driving trains. Jane Isaac resides in Chicago when not at The Lamb and Maureen Haydon apparently had a past life as an actress appearing in such masterpieces as 'Take Off Your Clothes And Live !'.

Richard Jackson is the gardening guru on QVC, Patrick Fleming is a singer/songwriter and Brenda Gardiner, when she is not working behind the bar at The Lamb at the weekends is a psychotherepist.

Am Dram Production.

Passed on at the request of John Kirkcaldy.

Silverton Broadcasting Company


Televisual Delights.

The First Ever Show By Local Television Pundits.

Feb 20th-21st.

Silverton Community Hall.

Doors Open 7pm For 7.30pm Start.

£3.00 Adult. £1,00 Child.

Tickets At Spar Shop.

Licensed Bar..

The January Lamb Quiz.

The 'At The Bar' team consisting of Patrick F, Phil P, Bob P, Vivian C, Mandy and myself cruised to an easy victory in last nights quiz at The Lamb. Thanks to Duncan Harrington for setting the questions, five rounds of which were based on the events of the decades from the sixties to the noughties.

Hopefully, there will be a quiz around about Valentines Day as in preceeding years.


While on the subject of food, do people still pull the wishbones when eating a chicken and make a wish ?. I remember doing this when young but I cannot remember whether any of the wishes ever cane true. Perhaps this is yet another old custom that has died the death in our ever changing world. many of the old superstitions still linger on however. My late wife had a lifetime aversion to friday the thirteenth and had a whole host of other superstitions including the dangers of spilling salt and not putting shoes on a table. The continuing power of superstion is easily measured by a simple test.

Put up a ladder on a pavement and note how many people will risk death by walking on the road to avoid passing under it.

Finger Lickin Good.

The question has arisen as to whether men, rather then women, are likely to use their hands to eat. Mrs Frost asserts that men are the ones who use their digits to demolish chicken legs and spare ribs, whilst women tend to prefer to use knives and forks. She also says that women tend to avoid eating things like spare ribs because eating them means that the ladies have to keep 'redoinng their lippy'.

Any of our female readers wish to disagree ?.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Have you Googled yourself ?. Looked yourself up on the mighty search engine to see if you appear there, or who you might see who shares your name. If you look up some of the names connected with, or readers of, the blog we find that the top ranking James Carroll on Google is a writer on the crusades who also writes a column for the Boston Globe. Jim Carroll, on the other hand, is a poet, author and punk musician. The top ranking Carolyn Frost has a facebook page, but looks nothing like our Carolyn. Another Carolyn Frost is a dancer at The Jaime Araxa Academy in Brazil. Alan Isaac is a Professor Of Economics, whilst one Paul Frost was a Tv Presenter for Tyne-Tees Television in the eighties, while another is a wedding photographer. Alan Haydon is, or was, project director at the De La Warr Pavilion in Rotherham and Paul Williams of Cabbages and Kings doubles as one of The Temptations.

Shane Radmore is, er, Shane Radmore of The Silverton Inn

Endless fun on a wet afternoon.

Drama Group Needs Help.

The Drama Group needs help with the backstage work for their revue due to take place on Feb 20-21st. Volunteers should contact Portia Smith.

Make Your Heart Smile.

Carolyn came up with a phrase the other day which I have not heard before, but I think we know what she means. She said that something 'made her heart smile' which seems to mean something unexpected that happens that makes you feel better about life. It could be a ray of sunshine on a rainy day, meeting an old friend unexpectedly, being paid a compliment... any one of a hundred and one things.

We all need something to make our heart smile especially at this dark and dismal time of the year.


Unless you are one of that fast diminishing band of unreconstructed male chauvinists, all of us, male and female alike, have to take a hand with the domestic chores and the question arises, which ones do you really dislike ?. I was never keen on toilet cleaning and Mrs Frost informs me that changing the duvet cover is high on her list of dislikes. So what are the pet hates of our readers ?. Perhaps its the hoovering, dusting or window cleaning, one of my pet hates. Perhaps you cant cook, won't cook, or, hate rubbing down the dog when its wet. Maybe doing the washing or, hanging out the washing causes you grief.

Feel free to tell us your pet hate on the domestic front.

Sleeping Arrangements

Given that we spend a considerable amount of our lives in bed the arrangements we make for our comfort while resting there are of more then passing importance. This becomes so, when as often is the case, we have to share our beds with a partner. Some can only sleep on the right side and some on the left. Some like a cool bed and some like it hot (no sniggeing at the back ,please) One person we know, in order to escape the ferocious snoring of their partner has been known to sleep upside down.

Sleeping arrangements, like much else in life can be a tricky business. If you have any particularly interesting tales to tell, post them here.

But keep it clen if you could. This is a family blog after all.

A New Start ?

The inagauration of President Obama seems to have been greeted with something like the enthusiasm you might expect for the second coming in many quartes. Time will tell how much of a real new start this event may be for America and the whole world but it is worth reminding ourselves that the decisions that the new president takes will have ramifications for us all. After all, it was the decisions taken by his predecessor, George W. Bush in the aftermath of 9/11 that led to members of the military from our own region fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Wireless Connectivity.

I liked the story I heard last night about the person who installed a wireless doorbell in their house and was then amazed to find that every time she answered a ring at her bell she found her neighbour across the road coming to the door at the same time in search of a non existent visitor.

It turned out that the two bells were on the same frequency.

The wonders of wireless.


Anyone know how they draw them up ?. The thought came forth when I heard that a delivery driver who should have been delivering to Parsonage Lane ended up in Davis Close because the Close and parts of Parsonage Lane share the same postcode but there is no road link between the two meaning that the driver had to do a tour of the village to get to his destination.

Shop For Rent

I see that a sign went up on the former Londis building this morning stating that the shop is now for rent. I wonder who might be interested in taking that one on in these difficult times. I would like to see Aldi or Lidl taking an interest. They would certainly give some of the local outlets a run for their money. Or maybe someone closer to home will give it a go.

Given the economic climate perhaps the time is right for a pawnshop.

Holidays In The Sun.

I was talking to Sheila Wilson last night who is off to South Africa next monday. She says that the temperature there at this time of the year is usually between 30-40c. We also have Louise, The Lamb Inn barperson, who is currently sunning herself in Barbados.

Given that we have now reached what most experts agree is the most depressing week of the year, perhaps we should all take a holiday in the sun. Perhaps we could hijack a few of the 'jolly green giant' double deckers that ramble around the place and, following in the well worn footsteps of Sir Cliff in 'Summer Holiday', head of for warmer climes. Things being what they are however, the 'jolly green giants' would probably break down before they got to the ferry at Plymouth.

We shall just have to put on an extra jumper or two, have a glass of something warming and envy those lucky enough to be under warmer skies. They should think themselves lucky. With the decline of sterling and the credit crunch its doubtful that many will be seeing anywhere warmer then Torquay this year.

Monday, 19 January 2009


Now let me get this straight...The banks make crap investment decisions and the taxpayers, in all their various forms have to rush to bail the banks out or it will be the end of civilisation as we know it.

Joe and Josephine Public make crap investment decisions and go bankrupt with all that entails.

Back in the old days the various factions of the left routinely called for the nationalisation of the banks as an answer to every economic crisis and were routinely denounced as nutters for doing so. Now, in practical terms, nationalisation is exactly what many western governments are effectively engaged in..

Strange days indeed.

Arm Wrestling

I note, that after a few drinks taken by both parties, there was an arm wrestling session in The Lamb yesterday. A note to Kath, if you want to take on Alan Isaac at that game, I suggest that you get a bodybuilding programme for your wii-fit.

Food For Thought.

We had Pizza last night as part of the post quiz refreshments and it brought to my mind the fact that food like pizza was unknown to most of us over 40 when we were children. I dont ever remember eating pizza before the mid eighties, about the same time I first encountered chinese food. Indian food was slightly different as my granny made curry when I was young, having been taught how to do so by a former employer who had been an army officer in India under the raj. We also had garlic bread last night something I dont recall ever eating until sometime within the past ten years.

While as children we avoided Burgers and the like, it has to be said that much of our diet was fairly limited in nature, if always plentiful. Whereas the moderen child might have pizza or burgers after school, we had to make do with an assortment of sandwiches, tomato being my favorite for many years.

While its true that much of what is eaten today is not particularly healthy and contributes to obesity, I doubt if many of us would want to return to a world completely devoid of pizza, garlic bread or the occasional chicken kung po or lamb balti. Perhaps veggiburgers could go though, as I suspect that most of them are even offensive to vegetarians.

Good Quiz Result

After a somewhat shaky start, The Lamb Inn Quiz Team defeated Clyst Hydon Cricket Club by a comfortable 9 point margin last night. We also won the beer leg. Its not often we manage both.

Back to The Merrymeade at Samford Peverall next week, then we get a week off.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Some Good News From Scotland..

I had a phone call last night from a friend in Scotland. She broke her hip in a fall a couple of years back and had to have a hip replacement that went wrong and she then got a series of infections that meant that the hip could not be put right as quickly as it should have been. She now tells me that she has had her operation and is now out of hospital and is recovering slowly, but again not without some complications.

Jan has been a close friend of mine for some sixteen years and has had long struggles with both poor physical and mental health. Despite being a single parent with persistant health problems, and living on a council estate with entrenched social problems, she sucessfully brought up two children, one of whom works as a personal assistant to one of the scottish MP's at Westminster, the other is a chef in Sydney, Australia. Hopefully now, Jan will be able to have better health and a chance to enjoy the company of her family and friends free of the pain she has suffered in recent years..

Jan's story is worth remembering when we read the rash of stories about feckless single parents. The reality is that the majority of single parents, often singlr through no fault of their own, struggle to bring up their children sucessfully, and often against the odds suceed. It would be better if some of the papers who publicise the negative stories published some positive ones, but some of the newspapers, as we all know, have their own agendas.

Worrying Times Again.

Thalking to a few people lately, A common observation they are making is that driving around the area lately, they are surprised at the number of pubs that are still shut at lunchtime. I suspect that this is a sign of things to come and I doubt that part time working will be confined to the licensed trade. Closures of businesses are still going on and I notice that the Victoria Wine shop in Tiverton has now gone.

More locally, as is now fairly well known The Ruffwell Hotel is in the hands of the receivers.


Watching the demonstration in support of the people of gaza passing through the streets of Exeter yesterday lunchtime (I would estimate about 300-450 in attendance). I heard a chant coming from part of the crowd that I have not heard before. It went.

George Bush where are you ?.

I want to hit you with my shoe.

inevitably, someone was carrying a placard saying 'We are all Palestinians'. Sorry to disabuse you folks, but Palestinians you aint. Mainly, you are middle class English persons who will never have to live in squalid refugee camps and face the possiblity of being blasted into eternity because your next door neighbour happens to be someone on an Isreali hit list. You can go out for a meal and a drink after the demo. For the people of Gaza, thats not on the agenda.

And the same applies to those who demonstrate in support of Israel. Whilst you might support the cause, you are not likely to have a long range rocket drop into your bathroom.

Support the causes if you will but lets keep a sense of proportion.


Yes, the little flowers are out in the gardens now, despite the recent cold spell. They certainly brighten up up our gardens a bit in this dreary time of the year. I suppose that in another couple of months the grass will be growing and we shall hear the happy clatter of the lawn mowers on a sunday morning. A pleasent thought to hold on to in the depths of winter, although many of those who have to drive the lawnmowers might well not be looking forward to their springtime reappearence in quite the same way.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

A Positive Note On Buses.

I was in Tiverton yesterday and returning to Silverton on the bus, it was good to see that a good few people now seem to be using the bus service beyond the regular travellers. Hopefully, this will ensure that the current improved timetable will be maintained when it comes up for review again.

On a slightly less positive sorry to hear that passengers were left behind when a 55A took off early from Paris Street yesterday morning.

The Lottery Returns.

I am informed by Steve at The Spar, that the national lottery will be returning to the village next week. I am sure that many in the village will be chomping at the bit for the chance, however slim, to become a multi millionaire. The main problem would be in the current climate, where to invest your winnings.

You could buy The Ruffwell for a start, I suppose.

Village Litter Pick.

Hopefully, as many people as can make it, will take part in the great village litter pick which will be going ahead on Saturday Jan 24th. Those wishing to take part should meet in The Square at 11.00am.

This is being held as part of the parish council's 'We Live Here' initiave.

Friday, 16 January 2009

The Pieman Cometh.

There was much relief yesterday when Alan Haydon set forth on his regular mission to bring Mike Howe's fine meat pies and pasties to Mr Haydon's regular customers. Those needing their regular fix of Steak and Ale and Chicken Curry pies had their appitites satisfied. There is always much joy amongst the people of Silverton when the pieman cometh.

Perhaps Alan Haydon, in his musical capacity could record a tune in honour of the pies that he could broadcast from his car when he is doing his rounds.


Passing this on by request.

Demonstration in support of the people of Gaza.

Assemble outside The Odeon Cinema, Sidwell St , Exeter.

Saturday, January 17th (tomorrow).


Called by Exeter Stop The War. Exeter Palestine Solidarity Committee, Exeter University Friends Of Palestine.

Red Mole

Not the radical publication of the 1970s, but presumably the colour the little fellows turn when tunnelling away under our red clay. It seems that the little tunnellers are multiplying and causing havoc with their underground activities just at the moment. Apparently, molehills are appearing everywhere.

People should remember that moles have brought down kings, King William 111, died after his horse fell after stepping into a molehill leading to William's Jacobite opponents toasting 'The little gentleman in velvet'. So dont forget folks, dont mess with the moles.

Next Lamb Quiz

The next Lamb Inn Quiz will be held on Wednesday 21st January, starting at 8.30pm.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Wind Turbine: Update

According to a message received from Tansylegs, the planning application for the wind turbine proposed for the Ash Farm area has now been withdrawn .

Wonky Bread

Mrs Frost bought an uncut loaf yesterday and when asked if she wanted it sliced said she would do it herself. Surely, that is the idea of buying uncut, that you can cut it to your own dimensions, some cut it thick, some cut it thin, few cut it to exact matching slices and life would be boring if they did.

However you cut it, enjoy it.

Tales From The Park.: The Siege.

As its a quiet day on the home front, another tale from my time as caretaker on the Arran Park/Woodpark estates in Prestwick, South Ayrshire.

Picture, if you will, a sunny august day in the summer of 1996. Being that it was a nice saturday morning, I commenced my duties early. I collected my equipment from my store cum office in Birch House and began picking up the friday night litter along the main drag of Arran Park itself. I started at Torbeg House and Proceeded along the green space at the front of Laggan House stopping for a chat with Hugh Steven, a retired train driver who was a mine of information on the estates and those who lived there. I noticed, as I moved further on, two sdited gentlemen standing at the corner of Laggan House, very obviously CID members, the CID often being as recognisable out of uniform as they are in it. Given that visits to the area by various branches of the police were a fairly regular occurrance I did not take a great deal of further notice.

I continued down the Park, past Kildonan House, Corrie House and Bennan House until at the end of Arran Park I met my wife returning from work and returned to my flat in Kildonan House for an early tea break. My wife remarked that there seemed to be a number of police cars in the area, but I still didnt see the significance. Imagine then my shock on looking out our bedroom window and seeing a policeman stationed on our drying green with a holster and revolver on his hip.

Returning to work, I again met the redoubtable Hugh Steven and the course of events became clear. A local criminal had held up the Woodfield stores on the main Ayr- Prestwick road about a quarter of a mile away and was now holed up at his girlfriends flat in Laggan House. Therefore when I had been picking up litter and talking to Hughie outside the building earlier, Someone with a firearm had probably been watching from less than a hundred yards away.

Whilst I was talking to Hugh the police began closing down the Park completely and as normal business was obviously off the agenda, I retired to my flat to observe further events. Looking down the Park, a police car was parked outside Pine House on the opposite side from me. The door was open and a policeman with a rifle was positioned behind the door. Residents were being escorted up and down the park at angles out of the line of potential fire. My friend Jan, from upstairs was with us on our balconey exchanging a commentary with her friend Margaret who lived opposite and had a better view of the besieged flat. Margaret reported that the Gunman's girlfriend and child had been released from the flat although the offender was still holed up.

At about lunchtime I managed to get my dog out and walked by the Portacabins at the end of the Park beside the Centrum Ice Hockey Arena. Behind the Portacabins were the black uniformed members of the Strathclyde Police Armed Response Unit shifting equipment and laying cables and it was obvious that the end game was in sight.

As is often the case in these matters, the end when it came was swift. According to the late Jean Brock, who llived immediately opposite the gunmans flat, at about one in the afternoon, a squad of the black clothed ones crept along to the main door of Laggan House equipped with a battering ram and stormed up the stairs returning shortly thereafter with the disarmed offender. Life in the Park rapidly returned to normal and the gunman was subsequently sentenced to twelve years.

I, of course had to note the event on my worksheet. For the only time on the job I recorded 'Work suspended due to armed siege'.


One of the regular users of the 55 A/B service, tells us that she got on a bus from Exeter the other day and realised that the bus was proceeding at a snails pace. On enquiring from the driver what was causing the bus to proceed so slowly, she was told that the vehicle would not do more than 30mph. I bet he was popular on the A396.

Assuming that the problem was mechanical in nature, one is again left wondering why a multinational transport firm like Stagecoach cannot keep their buses better maintained.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Dog Fouling

I notice that we are now informed by a large metal board on the corner of Fore St and The Square, that because of continuing dog fouling problems in the area, dog wardens are now on patrol.

Any sign of a dog waste bin in the Square yet ?.

Belated Result.

On monday night The Lamb Inn 'B' Darts team defeated Lamb 'A' by a margin of 8 games to one. It would seem that Lamb 'A' suffered badly from the non appearence of their team captain due to illness.

On The Market

According to an advert in The Tiverton Gazette, The Ruffwell Hotel, on the nain Exeter-Tiverton road just beyond our parish boundary is on the market for offers in the region of £500,000. Given the size of the property this seems a bit on the cheap side.

The Ruffwell has had a somewhat chequered history. When it was tenented by the late Joe and Flo Bailey in the middle of the last century it was a sucessful local pub with sucessful darts teams and later Country and Western nights and had a good local trade from this part of the Exe Valley. Since it became a free house and successive owners tried to move it up market its fortunes have been mixed at best, and lately apparently lately near disasterous, with the current owners coming up with every gimmick in the book in order to revive trade. It would seem they have not been sucessful.

Whether there is any place for the type of hostelty that the Ruffwell is in the age of ever tighter drink drive laws is open to question, but it is certain that if the Ruffwell does not continue as a pub a well known, and once well loved part of the local landscape will have been lost.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Happy Trails.

I note that young Phil Frost is off on his travels again today, this time heading for India. One can only envy him heading for warmere climes whilst we are stuck here enduring a dreary January. I hope he enjoys his stay in the sub continent and has a safe journey there and back..

Get Well Soon

We are sorry to hear of the illness of Jane Isaac who is suffering from a chest infection. We hope that she will be well again soon.

Homer's Travels

I know its a bit late, but we now have some photos of what Alan Isaac's alter ego, Homer, was up to in the time he was away from The Lamb. Hopefully, they will be posted shortly.

They are now up and as you will see, Homer had a real Odessy


So now we know. Primark's famously cheap prices are down to the use of sweated labour by some of their suppliers, not in Bangla Desh or India but in Manchester and London. I dont know if I am the only one but I found the apology from Primark for profitting from such practices laughable. Are the directors of such a successful company that naive that they did not suspect that they were able to make a good profit out of clothes that sometimes only cost a few quid retail might just be an indication that the business practices of those that they were dealing with might just be a little dodgy ?.

And what about the rest of us ?. I dont suppose that there are many of us who dont have a few items with the primark label on it somewhere in our wardrobe. I dont suppose that too many of us lost too much sleep over the fact that those knocking out the clothing might be working for what amounts to little more then starvation level wages.

And then of course there is the fact that many of those who were involved in producing the clothing were working illegally. Given the fact that most condemn illegal immigration, if they were true to their principlals they would be marching into Primark and dumping their Primark bought goods on the floor but I very much doubt that they will. A bargain is a bargain after all.

Sadly, the economic climate being what it is and is likely to remain, I doubt that such practices are going to go away and I suspect that as the drive intensifies to produce cheaper goods that generate higher profits we shall see more examples of cheap labour being used and given the rapidly rising levels of unemployment you can bet that it will not all be immigrant labour that is on the recieving end. If the exposure of Primark leads to people thinking more about where the goods they buy come from, who produces the goods and at what costs and what the knpck on effects can be, some good may come of it all.

Monday, 12 January 2009


Man walks into cake shop and asks the shopkeeper how much the cake at the front of the cabinet is "a pound" replies the shopkeeper. The man then asks how much the next cake on the shelf is and the reply is again a pound , An enquiry about a third cake on the shelf again brings the reply "A pound".

The customer then looks at the shelf above and asks the shopkeeper the price of that cake. The shopkeeper then answers "One pound. Fifty". Customer then asks "Why the difference in price ?.

To which the shopkeeper replies "Thats Ma deira cake".

Thenkyou and Goodnight.


Good to hear that at least part of the former Bristows confectionary making business in Crediton has been saved. Beyond the fact that jobs have been saved it will ensure that those with a sweet tooth and the money to support their habit will be able to keep chomping away through the recession ensuring that dentists are kept in employment.

As they say,Its an ill wind that blows nobody some good.


So, The Bank Of England tells us that the outcome of the round of interest rate cuts in recent months has led to the banks cutting the interest rates paid to savers whilst failing to pass on the interest rate cuts to mortgage payers.

Given that large chunks of the banking sector are now publicly owned is it not time that Gordon Brown rediscovered some of his early radicalism and started forcibly reminding some in the financial world who now calls the shots ?.


We were having a discussion last night about the sitcoms of our youth. Some expressed a certain nostolgia for politically dodgy productions like 'Love Thy Neighbour'. I suspect that a viewing of some of the sitcoms of our youth now would probably be embarrasing in the extreme although I do have a certain nostolgia for 'On The Buses'.

Were the TV sitcoms of our youth, or indeed TV in general better then what we get now ?. I suspect that we all view our TV pasts with somewgat rose tinted glasses often accompanied by a yearning for a simpler age. That being said, I dont think that many would argue that the vast increase in the amount of channels available yo viewers has led to an increase in standards. Given the amount of repeats on offer it would seem yjat perhaps even the TV companies admit that the TV of the pre digital era still has something to offer.

Or, is it just that repeats are cheaper to run then making new programmes.

However, if you have a favourite TV sitcom, or indeed any other TV programme you would like to tell us about feel free to post a comment.

Sunk By Harry Potter

The Lamb Inn quiz team visited Sampford Peverall last night to play The Merrymeade 'B' team. We were romping ahead until we got stuck with a round of questions relating to the Harry Potter novels of J.K Rowling. We scored a mighty zero out of ten on that round and ended up losing the contest by three points, although we did have the consolation of winning the beer leg.

Whilst I can understand the attraction of the Harry Potter novels if you are between say, ten and fifteen, I cannot understand the attraction of them for the older generation. Perhaps many of the older readers of Rowling's novels are former public school pupils who fantasise about what their old school might have been like with the addition of a bit os sorcery.

As a quizzer, I get a bit fed up with the amount of questions you get on Bond films and Harry Potter.

Give us more history questions, I say. Less muggles and more Muggletonians.

If you dont know who the Muggletonians were they were a seventeenth century religious sect. Google, as always is your friend in these matters.


Mrs Frost says I seemed grumpy on the blog yesterday. I hadnt noticed it myself and I certainly had not set out to be grumpy. I suspect its the time of the year. I suspect that having to crawl out of bed at eight in the morning in the near dark in order to take the dog out is not a recipe for making one jump for joy and perhaps it creates a degree of grumpiness that those with antennae finely attuned to grumpiness can pick up.

I shall have to keep a close watch on my grumpiness levels until the mornings get lighter.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Warming Up.

No frost on the ground this morning for the first time for a while. It looks like the recent spell of very cold weather is on the way out to be replaced, no doubt, by the wind and rain that we all love so much at this time of the year.

Hopefully, when the cold weather departs it will take with it the collection of illnesses that have been afflicting the village over the past few weeks. The idea that cold weather kills off the colds and flu would seem to have little basis in reality given what many people have been suffereing lately.

Tales From The Park.

As mentioned in a previous post, I worked for seven years on the Arran Park housing estate in Prestwick, South Ayrshire. The Arran Park estate was built in the mid 1950s and consisted of 72 flats grouped into 6 Three storey buildings named after places on the island of Arran, clearly visible on a good day from the end of the road. Ajoining Arran Park was the Woodpark Estate, built in the late 60s which consisted of 6 blocks of maisonettes, 10 maisonettes to a block. I had responsibility for keeping the public areas of both estates clean and tidy, and as it was put to me at the job interview "being the council,'s eyes and ears on the estates'. The latter half of the job description was where a good deal of discrection was needed given that I lived there for most of the period as well as working there.

When built, both Arran Park and Woodpark had been inhabited by predominantly mining families , the men being employed mainly in the Glenburn pit but with the decline of mining and the passing of the older generation, the estates had become by the late 80s when I moved there, something of a dumping ground for families and individuals with social and medical problems, but without the drugs problem which was to become rife by the time I had to leave the job in the early part of this decade. Juvenile crime was though, a constant factor during my time there, excaerbated by the removal of the one community worker who had a positive relationship with the kids. We certainly had our fair share of criminals but break ins and car thefts on the estates were rare with people sticking to the unwritten rule which ran on a good few estates in the area that you did not rob your own.

We certainly had our share of eccentrics and charactors, and having set the scene, I shall be returning to them in the days and weeks to come.

On the quiet days.

When little is happening here.

Tally Ho !.

While I was walking the dog yesterday morning, a rather elderly woman pulled up alongside me in her car and asked. "have you heard the foxhounds ?", to which I very nearly replied "No, are they any good ?", before deciding that she did not seem the type who would have seen the joke.

Tally Ho !.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Off Their Trollies.

One thing we are lucky about in the village is that we do not suffer from the curse of the stray supermarket trolley. When I lived and worked on the Arran Park estate in Prestwick, supermarket trolley's were the curse of my life. The local branch of the now deceased Safeways was at the end of the street and unlike many of their competitors, Safeways, at that time did not charge a deposit for thye use of their trolley's. Needless to say, the locals took full advantage of this, especially at weekends , bringing endless convoys of shopping down the road and leaving the trolley's wherever they wished. It was then my sorry task to round up said trolley's on a monday morning and contact Safeways to get them to send a lowley member of their staff to the collection point to remove the offending vehicles.

Needless to say, stray trolley's got used for much else beyond carrying shopping. The local children used them as a form of transport and I have even seen people moving house with their aid. I must admit that I was not averse to using them myself as a form of transport when the need arose.

Thankfully no pictures exist of the blogger pushing a trolley loaded with old carpets.

Possibilities pt 2

The charity event we mentioned yesterday is beginning to take shape. A committee is in action and certain technical detals are being clarified. Continue to watch the blog for further developments.

The Friday Night Tour

The blogger was out on the friday night tour of our drinking establishments last night. A group of the locals from The Three Tuns were off to the Twyford Inn in Tiverton to see one of our local bands, Indigo Charlie, in action. Then on to The Silverton Inn where the juke box was still suspended from action due to the demaNDS OF THE FOODIES AND FINALLY ON TO tHE lAmb where a party was in progress to celebrate the 18th birthday of Dominic Fleming. Mr Fox also had a discussion with a young lady about the supernatural goings on at the house where he once resided and where she is now resident.

A good night out was had by all.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Oldest Car

I wonder who has tyhe oldest car in the village ?. Are there Model 'T's lurking out there somewhere or an old Austin Seven or, do we have any any original Ford Cortinas lurking about. Feel free to tell us if you have an old banger still in working order, or even an old commercial vehicle.It would be particularly interesting if they have always been in your possession and if there are any interesting stories attached to them.

Clean stories, naturally.

My Old Granny Used To Say....

Like all good grannies, my Granny, Mabel Rutland (1892-1981) was a fount of knowledge and a repository of profund sayings. One of her favourites, and one very appropriate to the times in which we live was 'look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves'. That particular saying is, of course quite well known but she had some others I have not heard elsewhere. When she heard a particular piece of music that she did not like, she was apt to say 'It's enough to send the cows up the teddy field looking for mangles'. About a particular young lady of the village who was rather well known, shall we say, for having rather loose knicker elastic, she said ' for her one man isnt enough and forty five isnt too many'.

If your old granny had similar wise and witty sayings feel free to post them here.


I nelieve that there are proposals for a rather interesting charity event that may be staged in the village in the next few months. Things are at a very early stage as yet, but details will, of course, appear here if things develop.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Suggestions Wanted.

Since they reopened, Cabbages and Kings have come to provide an important alternative for shoppers in the village. In addition to the fruit and veg for which the previous establishment of that name was known, the new Cabbages and Kings have expanded into new ranges of products such as sweets, bread and cakes and are hoping to introduce yet more products such as fair trade goods, jams and teas.

Like all good businesses however, Cabbages and Kings are always seeking to develop further and would be interested to hear from their customers about other possible items that they could stock. If you are passing, pop in and see the proprietors. All suggestions would be welcome.

Internet Shopping

The TESCO van delivered my shopping, ordered over the internet by the ever efficient Mrs Frost, well within the alloted time slot, this morning. Even with the delivery charge it was still a good deal cheaper then you would get in the village and without the hassle of dragging it from Tiverton or Exeter on the bus. When we discussed this later we found that even with delivery charges, its cheaper to buy through the internet then to pay parking charges, or if you are of working age, to pay the extortionate bus fares.

I cant see this trend being reversed and I think that also with the changes in peoples working patterns, the only growth sectors you are likely to see in the coming years are the type of convenience stores for emergency stock ups that we mentioned yesterday. I suspect that the current recession will only accelerate the trend towards internet shopping. The loseers will inevitably be those without internet access, the elderly without internet skills and the poor..

Ice Cream

Perhaps not the time of the year for it, but we were recently discussing the variety of ice cream vans that used to come to the village. Way back when I was very young there was an Italian bloke with a tricycle who used to come around on a sunday and, of course, there was always Wall's. We also had, at various times, Mr Softee, Mr Whippy and Fortes all recognisable by the different chimes on their vans.

When I moved to the west of scotland I found that the ice cream van was alive and well, but besides selling ice cream they were mini mobile general stores touring the estates from the moment the kids left school until late at night. You could get bread, milk, potatoes, crisps , cigarettes and a variety of soft drinks as well as your cornets and cornetto's.

Sadly, as some will remember, in Glasgow the vans were also used for drug dealing which led to a lethal feud amongst dealers known as 'the ice cream wars'. This feud over territory culmonated kin the incineration of several members of the Doyle family in an arson attack and the wrongful imprisonment of two men whose convictions were subsequently quashed.

A long way indeed from 'Mr Whippy'.


I dont know why this came to my mind recently, but I wonder how many people remember the plimsoll footwear known popularly as 'daps' that most kids wore in the days before trainers took over. I never had the feet for daps myself but most others of my age did.

Daps give rise to the expression ' Dapping about' which meant to walk, or run quickly. I always thought this a useful and descriptive expression. 'Trainering about' wouldnt have the same ring somehow.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


Is anyone actually watching the current series of Celebrity Big Brother ?. I did have a look the other night just to see how 'comrade' Tommy Sheridan was fareing. To be fair to him, Sheridan seems to be doing quite well, but given the collection of numpties present, Terry Christian and Ulrika Johnnson excepted, that would not be too difficult. There is a lot I could say about Sheridan, but given his current legal position the less said the better. I suspect though that he will not fall into the same sort of degrading nonesense that his pal George Galloway did when he got into the cat antics with Rula Lenska a couple of years back.

I dont think I shall be watching anymore of it however. Even my occasional insomnia is not bad enough to require that kind of regular treatment.

M & S

I am glad to see that our local M&S 'Simply Food' store in Tiverton is not amongst those scheduled for closure in the current restructuring being carried out by Marks and Spencer. You pay a bit more at SF in my experience but get more for your money in terms of quality.

I fear that what we may find at the end of this recession is that the likes of the big four supermarkets, ASDA, TESCO, Morrisons and Sainsbury's will have moved back on to the high street with their express type operations diminishing choice even further.

Still, I suppose we should be glad that we have a choice in shopping at all when we see what is happening in Gaza, where people dont even have much choice over whether they live or die.

After The Ball Was Over

The decorations came down in the pub last night and its amazing how the removal of the bright lights made the pub feel even colder then it really was, even with a good log fire going. Good to see the drama group at their planning session reminding us that preperations are already being made for warmer, and hopefully, happier times.

It's Bleak Out There

Out with the dogs this morning on the footpath between Roach and Ash Farm. No worries about the path being overgrown now as most of the vegetation is firmly in the freezer. A cold, bleak morning after the coldest winter night for years. Solid ground , oce patches on the road and a daft person in a 4x4 who decided that the only way to avoid a minimal ice patch on the road below Ash was to drive on the wrong side of the road. As if things were not bleak enough already we have to put up with the over cautious.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Another Milestone.

I see, that today, we passed the 500 post mark on the blog. I had hoped that we might make it on January 1st, but sadly, we missed the target. On now to 1,000.

Charity Jump : Update

More details have now reached me. Steve from SPAR will be doing this jump as part of a tandem on June 9th at Dunkeswell Airfield, Steve will be dressed as Superman and will be doing the jump in aid of The Exeter Leukemia Fund.

Steve can be contacted at the SPAR, 2pm onwards.

Recycling Christmas Cards

Is anybody locally still recycling christmas cards ?. I know that the market has currently dropped out of recycling paper but people have asked me about this.

The Winter Of 63

The current cold spell inevitably brings back memories for those of us of a certain age of the winter of 1963. For anyone between fifty and sixty this was one of the outstanding periods of our childhoods or teenage years. For us, the winter of 63 was the big one. The mother of all winters. The winter against which all other winters since would be judged. Starting with a huge snowstorm which rolled in not long after christmas 1962 and lasting until another big snowstorm that turned to rain ended it at the end of february, the period between was one of undingly sunny days where the temperature struggled to get near freezing and nights when you would be probably as warm in a freezer. We travelled to school at Broadclyst through snow canyons along Park Road towards Red Cross along narrow tracks cut through the snow and ice by the snow ploughs. Icicles hung from the trees and treacherous surfaces were always ready to lead to the downfall of the unwary.

The youth of the village responded to this unprecedented event by pressing into service every item that could be utilized as a makeshift sledge. Teatrays, old car bonnets, lumps of old galvanised sheeting were all comandeered and put to good use on the slopes around the village, particularly as I remember, the field opposite Park Close that appears to have been terraced at some stage. The giant steps gave the sledges that extra bounce. Bums were battered and hands and feet brought close to the edge of frostbite, but I doubt that so many of the youth of the village from that period had such fun in their lives before or since.

Inevitably though, you can have too much of a good thing and by the end of february, I suspect that a good few of us were secretly relieved when the thaw came, especially as the ensuing chaos meant a day off school. That being said, patches of snow could still be found on the hills until easter.

I think that unconciously many of us have been waiting for another 63 type winter ever since, a winter where the normal rules are suspended and we could let our hair down in the knowledge that everyone else wasa doing the same. There have been some other major winter weather events such as the great blizzard of 78 and some periods in the early eighties when snow prevailed but all proved to be damp squibs in the end, Given climate change its probably unlikely that we shall see anything like 63 again and if we did I doubt if our ageing bodies would stand up too well to the wear and tear of being bounced down a hill on a sheet of galvanised metal. Its the case then, that we can only hold on to our memories of when the sun glared down onto frozen snow and when Silverton got as near as its ever likely, to a winter in Siberia.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Charity Event.

We understand that a member of staff at SPAR is intending to take part in a charity skydiving event later in the year. More details when available.

If anyone has details of news or events they would like covered could they please contact me direct, or by email at

Worrying Times.

There has been much talk in recent days about the threat that the recession poses to the pub trade locally. Although there seems to be no immediate threat to our local village hostelries, there are persisrant reports that at least two pubs not far away could be under imminant threat of closure. Whateve the truth of thyese reports it is undoubtedly the case that one of the major institutions that defines English village life is now under very serious threat of being reduced to a shadow of its former self. Perhaps if large amounts of cash can be found to keep the banks afloat the Government might wish to take steps financial or otherwise, to help save a part of the backbone of community life.

Another Noteable Birthday

During the holiday period, Mrs Molyneux of The Meads reached her century. The blog sends its congratulations on this remarkable achievement.

Back To The Grindstone.

So, the christmas season of 2008/09 passes into history and those with jobs to go to return to their workplaces. They will either have tales to tell of having had a quiet holiday, or boasts of what they can remember of the wild times they have enjoyed over the past fortnight or so. Doubtless there will be exaggerations on both sides of the coin. What some people might think of as 'a quiet time' might be regarded as an orgy.

There will also be those who will just be glad to get back to work to get clear of their nearest and dearest who they have been cooped up with in closer proximity then normal for an extended period. There are those for whom absence, most of the time, really does make the heart grow fonder.

Back In Action

The blog has had a couple of days off to reorientate itself after the excesses of the holiday period. Normal service will now be resumed.

Friday, 2 January 2009

No One Escapes.

As normal, The christmas season was marked by a wave of colds and flu which few seem to have escaped. I must admit that I have been fortunate so far, but I expect its only a matter of time. Perhaps its a good excuse to move christmas to june to escape the winter bugs, but if we did I suppose we would all be down with hay fever.

New Year photo's

As requested by some of our readers, we are now posting a number of photo's of the new year celebrations in the village the highlight being the one of a very happy Louise from the Lamb Inn and chicken co op. And being a gentleman I shall mention nothing about knicker elastic.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

The Morning After

Small bands of the hardened drinkers and those who had enjoyed a quiet night, gathered in the pubs at lunchtime. As far as is known, last nights celebrations passed without incident except, no doubt, for the usual hangovers and regrets about what embarrassing incidents one might have been involved in.

None of these things trouble your blogger. We observe rather then participate.

In many respects, I am a camera.

New Year In Silverton

new year was seen in traditionally in the village at midnight. Despite the cold weather a good crowd assembled in the square at midnight 'Auld Lang Syne' was sung, kisses exchanged and fireworks were exploded. Surprisingly, none of the young ladies who were scantily dressed for the occasion appeared to be suffereing from hypothermia but they did seem to have come prepared with a good deal of alcoholic lubrication. Celebrations continued well into the early hours, although it all proved too much for one well known face who was found asleep in the early hours in the Lamb Inn resteraunt

Some photos of events will be pposted, hopefully tomorrow.

Happy New Year

Heres to a happy and prosperous new year to all followers of the blog, wherever they may be.