Saturday, 28 February 2009

Sad Loss.

Not related to Silverton I know. But I was saddened this morning to read on the BBC website that The Gaiety Theatre in Ayr, Scotland has been closed by the local council as part of a programme of cutbacks. Anyone who knew The Gaiety will remember it as a classic example of a late nineteenth century seaside theatre which in its heyday and until the late eighties provided the venue for many of the best known light entertainment acts from Scotland and beyond, as well as being a venue for concerts of all kinds and drama productions. I attended it several times during my time in Ayr and it was always a major part of the cultural landscape of that part of the west of scotland. Far too many of these venues are being lost right across Britain and we are steadily losing an important part of our popular culture and history with their closure.


Those with an interest in the still unfolding scandal of RBS and its losses, along with the rest of the continuing banking crisis could do worse than take a look at the Leftbanker site.

The Leftbanker is a former senior banking insider who explains in reasonably understandable terms what is actually happening in the unfolding banking disaster.

Quality Status ?.

I see from the Parish Newsletter section on the parish Council that The Parish Council is committed to obtaining Quality Status. Perhaps someone from the PC could tell us what Quality Status, in terms of a Parish Council means and who you obtain it from ?.

Some Reminders.

A few reminders of upcoming events in the village.

Silverton Over 60's Coffee Morning. Thurs 10th March, St Mary's Church Hall. with Tombola. Starts 10.15am.

Monday Afternoon Whist Club. Alternate Mondays, St Mary's Church Hall. 2.30pm start, next one Mar 2nd.

Silverton Local History Society. First meeting of the new season will feature Carol McFadzean giving a presentation about lace making in Devon. Meeting starts 7.30pm in the Millennium Hall , Monday March 16th. All Welcome.

Down Hill and Out Of Control

Not a description of the way that many of us feel our lives are usually going, but the response of Mr Frost when asked if he was going on The Lamb Inn annual skiing expedition which begins today. His exact words were "I dont do down hill and out of control", a sentiment with which I am sure many of us non skiiers would heartily agree.

We wish Alan, Jane and the other thirteen members of their party good luck on their trip to Austria and hope that all will be returning intact next saturday. Given the reported price of beer in Austria, I suspect that there will be perhaps more concentration on the skiing then the apres ski activities.

Charity Update.

Steve at the Spar, tells me that he has been pledged about £600 towards his charity parachute jump in aid of the Exeter Leukemia Fund which he is due to undertake in june. I am sure that more offers of sponsership would be welcome.

Lambs, Puppies, Kittens.

Now that spring is now upon us perhaps its time that the blog introduced a bit of the 'Ahh' factor with pictures of puppies in baskets, kittens climbing over each other and newborn lambs gambolling in the fields, although pictures of new born lambs gambling in the fields complete with dark glasses, cigars and a glass of scotch might be funnier. If You have any photos of new born innocents that you wish to pass on, send them in.

Friday, 27 February 2009


According to new scientific research it seems that, rather then being a sign of a lazy mind, doodling may rather be an aid to mental concentration and that firms should encourage their staff to doodle.

This may be all well and good but what happens if your boss decides to submit your doodles to a doodle expert who interprets your efforts as a sign that you are totally unsuitable forthe job you are currently doing and you find yourself reallocated to some task of extreme unpleasentness, or in the worst case scenario, 'downsized' out of the door altogether.

The best advice might be to doodle to your hearts content, but shred it afterwards.

Poker Tournament.

There is to be a poker tournament at the Silverton Inn next thursday (March 5th) starting at 7.45pm. Given the current popularity of poker, I dont doubt that this event will generate quite a bit of interest.

Hopefully though. it will not generate the sort of passions that led to the demise of that legendary figure of the old west, James Butler 'Wild Bill' Hickock who was gunned down while playing what became known as the Dead Mans Hand.

Perhaps one of the other pubs could put on a strip poker tournament. I bet that would generate even more interest.

Singing In The Bath

I dont doubt that we have a number of reasers who like nothing better than to sing in the bath. There is nothing better when having a good soak and a scrub with the loofah, then to lose your inhibitions and to let loose with a rip roaring vocal rendition. Some like to do a selection from the classics and some give their interpretations of the Elvis catalouge. Some of the younger readers might well be more likely to give forth with a burst of The Arctic Monkeys although looking good on the dance floor might be a bit difficult in the bath tub.

For myself, I tend to be a bit more eclectic. I used to perform 'Abide With Me' on a sunday mprning to the annoyance of family, but have also been known to do Little Feat numbers (Not Fat Man In The Bathtub, however) some of the songs from 'I want To See The Bright Lights Tonight' by Richard and Linda Thompson and even a bit of a humalong to some Frank Zappa tunes on occasions. I do draw the line at Westlife however. My favourite, usually though, is the Glasgow Celtic FC anthem 'The Fields Of Athenry' which is just the thing for a bit of a vocal belting.

As usual, if you have a bathtime favourite, tell us here.


So, where do you keep your mobile phone ?. A lady of our aquaintence says she always keeps hers in her bra, a fact I am sure could give rise to a number of interesting comments, but this being a family blog, perhaps they are best kept to ourselves. Others, of course, keep them in jacket or trouser pockets, in handbags, and in the case of some that we know, in the front glove compartments of their vehicles rendering them incapable of contact when they are elsewhere.

I always keep mine in the left breast pocket of my shirt which means that when certain ladies call me I can say with honesty that they are always next to my heart, which must be one of the worst lines ever.

If anyone keeps their phones anywhere interesting that we have not covered, within the realms of decency, of course, perhaps they would like to share it with us.


Mrs Frost wants to know if its time yet to put away your Wincyette pajamas. I think we should perhaps follow the sound advice in the old proverb 'Ne'er cast a clout, til May is out'.or, perhaps we could adapt it for nightwear to.

'Dont dispense with your cozy nightie.
Until the weather's really right-ie'.

I'll get my coat.

Dirty Dumpers

Whilst walking the dog this morning, I noticed that a large collection of beer cans have been dumped in the gateway leading to the sewage farm in New Barn Road. Are some people terminally lazy, or is this another consequence of rubbish bins being used for disposing of domestic rubbish ?.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

You couldnt Make It Up.

The Royal Bank Of Scotland records the biggest corparate loss in British history and we find that its former chairman waltzes off with a £600,000 a year pension. The government says it is looking at ways of clawing some of it back.

Some of it ?.

End Of The Line ?.

I see that cigarette vending machines are to be banned in Scotland along with displays of cigarettes in shops. England, I suspect, will not be far behind. Cigerette machines were always a rip off for smokers, with the numbers of cigarettes to be found in their packets usually being less then you would find in the packets you bought in the shops. Its a pity that the machines were not banned long ago, not just for health reasons but because they were something of a rip off. If they are now reaching the end of the line, its not before time.

Good Deals.

Given that socialisation is generally accepted by the medical profession as being essential to enable the elderly to live a long and active life, we are lucky in the village in that two of our Hostelries provide meals during mid week priced in such a way as to encourage our older residents to get out and meet people. The Three Tuns provides a two course meal at a very reasonable £5.95 on Wednesday and Thursday lunchtimes and The Lamb provides a special two course menu on Thursday lunchtimes.

Excellent value and a great opportunity for meeting people.

Parking Problems Again.

Perhaps someone can explain why there is a notice outside the bungalows in King Street which states 'Council Tenants Only' rather then the more accurate 'Council Tenants Parking Only'. Given that the bungalows are supposedly only let to the elderly or disabled, surely there should be restrictions on who can park there. After all, there are other places in the village where its made clear that parking is restricted to disabled residents of the area.

Bonfire Problems.

Picture the scene. Its a nice sunny day. Windows are flung open and washing adorns the lines and children play merrily in the sun.


A bonfire is lit. The sun disappers, washing is hastily removed and children are rapidly called indoors. Additionally, those suffering from respiritory problems are forced to stay in and take their usual precautions.

This is what seems to have happened in the Wyndham Road area recently when a fire was lit in a nearby field. I must admit I was always a bit of a one for a good bonfire in my youth- mainly because ways of disposing of garden refuse by other means were close to non existant. We live in different times now and there are many cleaner ways of disposing of garden rubbish without causing harm to those with breathing problems and harming the environment.

Think before you light.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

A good Walk.

I took the dogs on the blog to the top of the hill popularly known as Criss Cross this morning. I took them first across the footpath from Roach Lane to Ash Farm, which is clear and firm underfoot at the moment, and then up the hill right to the top. The dogs would have liked to have continued in the general direction of Butterleigh, but I decide that one and three quarters of a mile in each direction was enough for one day.

Perhaps rather than engaging in pointless, and usually self defeating acts of abstinance, during lent, we would all be better served in mind and body if we just took more exercise in the beautiful countryside that we have to hand.


Growing your own veg has become very fashionable in recent years and the demand for allotments is no longer confined to old blokes in flat caps and Corderoy trousers, who after a bit of gentle digging and a natter with their mates, retire to their sheds for a puff on their pipes, a cup of tea brewed on their calor gas stoves and a quiet flick through their hidden stash of porn mags. Now the young and trendy want their own strip of garden in order to do some organic growing so that they can talk , with some degree of knowledge, to any serious gardeners they might run across in the pub. The queues for allotments are lengthening.

One of our regular readers and contributers, Foxy, has been on the waiting list for an allotment for eight years and wants to know what the criteria are for getting the lease on an allotment. Obviously there may well be a situation where leases do not come up for award very often but resentments are bound to build up when it is rumoured that at least one individual has aquired more then one allotment and are using them for commercial purposes.

Perhaps someone involved with the allocation of allotments can set the record straight.

Ash Wednesday.

The day when the religiously observant of the more orthodox branches of the Christian faith go to have ashes placed on their foreheads and a lot of the less religiously inclined decide it is time to give something up for lent, for the possible good of our souls or our waistlines. As we said on the blog recently, giving up chocolate for lent may not be altogether healthy. Giving up alcohol might also be a bridge too far given that we are not far into the Six Nations, and that great day on the drinkers calender, St Patricks Day, falls within the period. Sex could also be a problem given that we all know what a young mans, and often womens fancy turns to when the spring arrives and we all know that in the modern age, youth lasts until about seventy. So what can we usefully give up without causing too much physical or emotional distress ?.

Perhaps I could give up writing this blog for forty days but I suspect that some people would have something to say about that. Perhaps I will just restrict my abstinance to making no mention of Double Deckers for the Lenten period.

Toad On The Road.

I have never been a great fan of toads. When I was young I used to keep Lizards and even Grass Snakes and Slow Worms on occasions, but I am afraid that I never had any affection for the smelly, poisonous amphibians that lurk in our gardens. That being said they have their place in nature and I am saddened to hear that quite a number of them have been coming to a squashy end under the tyres of cars on Parsonage Lane while attempting to cross, or sometimes mating.

Perhaps the district council, when and if, they remove the redundant 'Humps' sign in the square could replace it with an illuminated sign at the entrance to Parsonage Lane reading 'Caution, Toads Crossing'. Or perhaps 'Caution, Toads Humping'.

Either would be more useful then the one we currently have in the square.


Monday nights darts saw a reversal of fortune for The Lamb 'A' darts team. After their 8-1 victory last week they lost this week by 8-1 to The Crown and Sceptre. Only Mr Frost managed to keep some dignity for the team it seems.

Belated Snow Photos.

I know its a bit late, but I have now added a couple of photos from the recent snow event.

The photos were taken by Erica Ginn. Thanks to Erica for passing them on.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Arthur ?.

I hear that the pies on sale at the SPAR are now marketed as 'Arthur's Pies'. I hope that this refers to Arthur the butcher and does not mean that the pies are filled with the brand of catfood that the famous TV cat, Arthur, used to take out of the tin with his paw.

Much Better.

I am glad to see that many of the hedges along the lanes around the outskirts of the village have now been seriously trimmed back. This is particularly true of Upexe Hill where, at last, the bus drivers seem now to be able to have better visibility as regards oncoming traffic. I would hope that this exercise can be repeated before the hedges become too overgrown in late summer.

I hope also, that the footpaths are being cleared. Some of us will be using them again on a regular basis as the weather improves.

Wash Your Mouths Out.

Sorry to see from a comment regarding Silverton AFC that they are almost as well known for their facility with four letter words as they are for their goal scoring abilities.

Perhaps a swear box could be provided on the touchline.


Whilst we in England are tossing our pancakes far more enerrgetic pursuits are going on across Latin America and the Caribbean where Carnival is celebrated. The decorated floats bedecked with flowers and adorned with scantily clad young women head through the streets accompanied by steel bands and samba dancers as everyone as a thouroughly good time before the onset of Lent. Not surprising therefore, that increasing numbers of tourists from these parts are heading down to Rio to join the fun. Given the English winter weather, who can blame them. Its also the case that they know how to let their hair down in style down Rio way. I rather suspect that even if you flew the entire population of Silverton out to Brazil to observe the celebrations the Street Market version of Carnival would still end up as being little more then what it usually is, the chance for the middle aged and middle class to indulge in a bit of fancy dress. When it comes to Carnival the English, in general, still retain too much of the stiff upper lip.

Best to stick to pancake racing.

Pancake Day.

Its that day of the year again when local TV stations used to run items featuring women running through the streets of some village or another tossing their pancakes into the sky and, if they were lucky, catching them with their pans before the pancakes made a nasty mess in the street or, connected with some poor souls head. I bet TV producers love pancake day as it provides easy material to fill a slow news day.

As far as I can remember, Silverton has no great tradition of pancake racing. I do not ever recall hordes of pancake racers heading down Fore Street tossing their wares with gay abandon. Silvertonians, it seems, prefer to keep their pancake pleasures behind closed doors, hopefully with a nice drop of lemon juice and a dollop of sugar. Probably pancake racing is frowned upon by the health and safety police these days anyway. Enjoy your pancakes and toss one for me whilst you are at it.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Save Clyst Vale Community College.- Dont Forget !.

Good to see a number of Silverton names on the online petition to save Clyst Vale Community College in its present form. If you have not yet signed, it would be good if you could do so.

The web address can be found earlier in the blog.

Why Do They Do It ?.

Whilst waiting for a bus in the square this morning, I again noticed that people have been dumping plastic bags, presumably containing domestic rubbish, into the litter bin beside the bus shelter. Whilst I am no fan of fortnightly bin collections, surely people have enough space in their Wheelies, refuse sacks and black boxes so they do not have to dump their litter in the Square. I dont see this as any less anti social then those who allow persistent dog fouling.

I hope that those dumping their rubbish in the litter bins are not the same people who complain about the litter in the bus shelter. Given that it remains a popular meeting place for the youth of the village, people can hardly complain about the state of the bus shelter if the litter bin is full of plastic bags full of household waste.

Still Hanging On.

We heard last night of a local resident who became stuck in snow on Dartmoor yesterday. Driving on one of the higher parts of the moor he turned a corner in the road and ran into a large patch of snow and became stuck. After contacting The Dartmoor Rescue Group for assistence, he was subsequently pulled out of the snow by a passing pickup truck.

This is a reminder, if one were needed, that despite the rcent mild weather Dartmoor has a climate all of its own and its also a reminder that with the volume of snowfall a couple of weeks back, snow can take a long time to clear completely. I think that we have mentioned before that after the big freeze of 1963, snow could still be found lying around in patches, until Easter.

Lamb Quiz Team Result.

The Lamb Inn Quiz Team played Clyst Hydon Cricket Club at The Five Bells at Clyst Hydon and scored a 19 point victory, 75-56. Unfortunately, we lost the Beer Leg by one point. Next week we shall be meeting Clyst Hydon once more, this time at home in the cup.

Tae Kwon Do.

Maria Sowden has passed on some information regarding the progress of some Silverton residents in the sport of Tae Kwon Do.

The following have passed their grading in the sport and have moved up to their next belts. Phil Holmes, Suzanne Selley (A Pass), Lauren Selley, Abbie Selley, Bethany McCord, Matthew McCord, Karyn McCord, Gabbi Payne, (A Pass), Hannah Payne, Oliver Andrews, Alison Harper (A Pass and grading award and Joseph Harper.

All are now getting stuck into their new patterns and line work.

Anyone interested in more information about Tae Kwon Do should contact Shane Knight on 08781520903

Sunday, 22 February 2009

CB Radio.

Back in the days before the advent of email and the mobile phone, there was of course, the communications medium known as CB radio. This was the one where people sat in their bedrooms with a two way attached to a big ariel and pretended that they were american truckers when communicating with each other using handles such as 'Big Bird' and 'Bouncygirl'. The problem with CB was that the radio transmissions did not always just reach those that they were intended for, but had a nasty habit of breaking into your neighbours TV in the middle of 'Coronation Street' with sometimes saucy messages being accompanied by loud bursts of static. The other problem was that, as with the internet, you might never be quite sure who you were dealing with. The girl who advertised herself as 'Babyblond' might just turn out to be 40, size 22 and with a bad case of Halitosis.

I wonde what happened to all that CB equipment when the craze passed. I wonder if there are still sets tucked away in the attic somewhere whose owners drag out sometimes and gaze nostogically at wondering wistfully if their lives would have taken a different course had they actually kept the date with 'Wonderwoman'.

If you were into CB, and would like to tell us your handle, the comments section is at your disposal.

The First Lawnmower Of Spring ?.

I hear that the distintictive sound of a lawnmower at work could be heard in the King Street area yesterday. I wonder if this was the first lawnmower to be spotted in the spring of 2009. Perhaps we should start a special section for early lawnmower reports as some of the papers do for reports of the first cuckoo.

I also noticed yesterday that there are the first signs of daffodils appearing. Signs of approaching better weather no doubt, but I shall not be putting away my winter woolies just yet. You never know whats around the corner.

More Music.

'Michael G' will be appearing at The Lamb Inn next friday. According to his publicity material, Micheal will be performing a selection of songs from the 1950s to the present day. So, perhaps if you want a bit of nostalgia, The Lamb will be the place to be next friday.

A Good Night Out.

Our special correspondent, Mr Paul Frost, reports that a good evening was had by all who attended the 'Eventine' gig at The Silverton Inn last night. Mr Frost reports that the pub was packed for the bands appearence and that they performed a good cross section of rock music professionally. Hopefully, they will be back again soon at that The Silverton will be able to put on this sort of gig more often.


I thought that would get your attention.

In a time when we are constantly being reminded to save energy, why do we have an illuminated road sign at the top of school Road warning us about road humps that no longer exist, in fact, leaving aside the energy factor, why is the sign there at all ?. Presumably most of the boy and girl racers in the area are well aware that the humps are no longer there so any deterrent effect that such a sign might have in reducing speed without the actual humps being present will, by this time be non existant.

It makes you wonder how many other useless road signs there are scattered about the countryside, any examples would be welcomed in the comments section.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Old Skool Night.

I hear that there are possible plans afoot to have an Old Skool Night at one of our hostelries, starting off with a recreation of school dinners and ending with the sort of old skool disco which seems to be quite popular these days.

Why anyone would want to subject themselves to a meal which would probably consist of soggy chips, mushy peas and almost inedible toad in the hole followed by nearly cold rice pudding with a dollop of watery looking strawberry jam is beyond me. My most vivid memory of a school dinner was of having to report to the canteen staff that a large, and voracious looking caterpillar was sharing my lettuce. That experience put me off lettuce for a very long time, as well it might. From memory, School dinners also often consisted of a meal involving the eatingb of baked beans to which I have a life long and deep rooted aversion.

The Old Skool Disco might well be more fun thougfh if we have to dress in some approximation of school uniform. I think we can all imagine what some in the village might look like if they are forced, thirty or more years after necessary, to squeeze into shorts and gymslips, blouses and old school ties. Should such an event come about, you can nbe sure that the blog camera will be on hand to record the event for posterity and that no blushes will be spared.

Rugger Blues.

What are the six nation obsessives going to do this weekend without their fix of big blokes getting up close and personal over an oval shaped ball. I suppose the male rugger fans will have to resort to cleaning the car and getting their household chores done before it all starts again next weekend and the female followers of the oval ball will be able to return to watching builders bums rather then the oak like thighs of the England team.

My tip for the six nations, at the moment is Ireland, but not being a Rugby obsessive myself I shall not be losing sleep over the outcome of this competition. Silvertonians would be better employed in my view in following the forward march of Silverton AFC who seem to be having their best season for years.

Ruffwell Gone ?.

It seems that the Ruffwell Hotel has been shut since monday. Is this the end for the once popular hotel ?. It would be nice to think that some good use can be found for somewhere which was once a popular meeting place for people from all over this part of the Exe Valley and beyond.

Good to hear though, that The Stoke Canon Inn is up and running again We hope that those now running it will have better luck with it then some of their predecessors.

Best Wishes.

Best wishes to Phil Madams for his upcoming interview for the post of conductor on First Great Western trains. Hopefully, if sucessful, he will not repeat the error made by a conductor on another railway who removed a ticket from the hand of a customer and put it back again not realising that the customer was dead.

Atlantis Not Found.

It seems that the lost civilisation of Atlantis has not been found off the west coast of Africa after all. According to The Daily Telegraph, the grid lines spotted by Google Earth were caused by Google themselves when they surveyed the area. Oh well, perhaps our Prispin Pond claim was a better one after all.

Reviews Wanted.

Would anyone like to write a review for the comments section on the Drama Group production at the Community Hall ?.

Friday, 20 February 2009

No Snogging.

I see from an entry on another Blog, that the authorities at Warrington Bank Quay Railway station in Cheshire have banned kissing in the vicinity of the taxi rank because apparently, such displays of affection are upsetting the cabbies.

So if you are travelling on the west coast mainline and your train gets delayed at Warrington no nipping off the train for a quick snog.

Try Wigan instead

Atlantis Found ?.

According to your soaraway Sun newspaper, the lost city of Atlantis may have been found via Google earth as a series of grid like lines lying off the coast of west Africa. Apparently, the bloke who made the discovery said that the grid, about the size of Wales, looked like a street map of Milton Keynes.

This discovery, if proved, will have scuppered the researches of the Silverton Institute Of Alternative History, which after many years of research and several barrels of DOBS, was about to announce that it had conclusive proof, having reread the works of Nostrodamus, and having consulted David Icke, that the lost city of Atlantis was, in fact, lying at the bottom of the Prispen Pond..

Never mind. We will soon have proof that The Holy Grail is buried under The Londis.


Just a reminder that The Silverton Drama Group production, Televisual Delights' will be playing at The Community Hall tonight, Friday 20th and tomorrow night, Saturday 21st. Doors open at 7.00pm and there are still tickets available at the door for both performances.


What is this sauce that they have at The Three Tuns that I hear has the destructive power of several nuclear warheads. Those who have tasted it say that it has a devastating effect on the tastebuds or any other part of the body that it comes into contact with.

I think we should be told.

Foot Rails.

All good pubs should have a foot rail. One of those brass rails that run along the bottom of the customers side of the bar, where the seasoned barfly can place one foot when planted in his favourite spot. Foot rails always take me back to the 70's when the bars in city pubs would often be populated by middle aged men with camelhair coats and pencil thin mustaches who lent on the bar with one foot on the rail and greeted each other with lines like 'Whats your poison, squire' and when someone bought them a drink would often thank them with the phrase ' You are a gentleman and a scholar, sir'. Such fellows inevitably smoked small, and very smelly cigars and spent the entire evening gazing down the cleavage of the rotund, middle aged barmaid who usually bore a striking resemblance to a character in a painting by Beryl Cook no doubt wondering if they just had a couple more scotch on the rocks whether they might invite her out after the pub closed, although one doubts that many of them ever got that lucky.

The female partners of such flash gents rarely got near the bar, being usually confined to the snug with their glasses of Snowball to be eyed up from a distance by the spotty teenage lads trying to get a drink underage in the 'Jug and Bottle'.

The flash gents are now gone along with the cigars into pub folklore but in a good pub the foot rails remain, lets all ensure that they do so.

Along with the barmaids with the cleaveges, of course .

Lucky Escape.

We were sad to hear that one of our readers, and a member of 'The Friends Of Silvertonia' Facebook group, Emma Frost lost her car in a fire yesterday afternoon. We are happy to report however, that Emma and her two children escaped the fire uninjured.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Blog Hour.

I hear that a certain family have now taken to gathering around their PC in the afternoon to read the blog as it publishes. I wonder if this will now become an established part of family life as watching childrens hour was on TV in the 1950s.

From Childrens Hour to Blog Hour.

The Blizzard Of '78.

The 19th of february 1978 saw one of the most severe weather events of my lifetime strike the village when the south of England was swept by a massive blizzard. My personal recollection of the event runs as follows.

The blizzard struck on a saturday afternoon. Snow and ice had effected the areea for most of the preceding week causing some disruption but not, at that stage, making travel impossible. As I always did in those days, I went into Exeter to meet friends on the saturday morning and went for a lunchtime drink. The morning was cold, but very overcast. Leaving the pub I went to the High Street to watch the student rag week procession. It began to snow, but the snow was wet at that stage and not settling. I went to the underground toilets situated behind St Stephen's Church and in the five minutes, or so, before I reemerged, snow was settling everywhere in large quantities. Realising that travel disruption was now almost inevitable I headed for the Paris Street bus station where it soon became obvious that large scale cancellations were then in progress. Eventually a bus was announced for Tiverton but we were informed that it would not be going up the hill to Silverton and we would have to walk from the bottom of Upexe Hill.

The journey up the Exe Valley road was an extroadinary one with all the side windows on the bus plastered in snow and the bus skidding about. Reaching the bottom of Upexe Hill a couple of people got off and began the walk up the hill in the face of an unceasing easterly gale and continuous driving snow. By the time I reached the top of the hgill I could appreciate why people lie down and die in such conditions and I arrived at my home in Coach Road with icicles hanging from my hair.

The blizzard continued into the evening, but being the hardy soul that I was back then, the adverse weather did not prevent me from wading through the snow to The New Inn. Perhaps not surprisingly, the saturday night attendance was sparse and most were huddled around the calor gas heater which was the only source of heat there at that time. Leaving the pub in the snow at closing time we attempted to push a car down Fore Street with very limited sucess. Wading back down the hill was more difficult then getting up it.

The snow had stopped by the next morning but all travel within the village, let alone beyond it, was totally impossible. That was when the village acting as a community swung into action with neighbours helping to clear each others paths, the Scouts visiting the elderly and the late Tony Baker clearing roads with the aid of his JCB.

The snow slowly cleared during the following week, but I have one other memory of this event. A couple of days after the blizzard I walked, with a friend, up the hill towards Christ Cross. turning the corner at Asg Farm we encountered a wall of snow between Nine and Twelve feet high. Climbung up the wall we found we could see right along the road to the final hill which goes to the top of Christ Cross. All along the road the snow was hedge high and in the middle of it all we could see a blue lamp and a radio ariel. Walking across the snow we found that this was all that could be seen of an Ambulance that had attempted to evacuate a patient from Silverdale to Tiverton Hospital and whose occupants had been rescued before the vehicle was buried, by a police 4x4. Sadly a photograph of this event was lost after my friend died.

That then was the blizzard of 78, those who were here at the time, are unlikely to ever forget it either as a weather phenomena, or for the way the village pulled together. Recent events, severe as they were, count as small beer beside it.


Bob Lewis reports that two heron have come to a bad end recently at the Prispen Pond, apparently as a result of fox activity. Given that Heron are not particularly meaty birds, the fox would seem to have put in a lot of work for no great return but at least, I suppose, it stops them from becoming overreliant on the contents of your refuse bin.

In other wildlife related news, Rory the dog grabbed what appeared to be a frog in Parsonage Lane this morning and found it not to his taste at all. Having now recovered from much headshaking and a degree of foaming at the mouth I hope that it will deter him from further attacks on amphibians.

Good Darts Win.

Slightly late I know, but just to report that Lamb 'A' beat the Silverton Inn 8-1 in the semi final of the Joe Bailey Cup played at the Three Tuns on Monday. Lamb 'A; will now be playing Lamb 'B' in the final.

Brownies Update.

I am glad to hear that the problem around the admission of one of the younger members of the community have now been resolved and that she will be joining them next week.

Thats what the blog is here for, to try to help facilitate resolutions to problems such as these.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Useful Hobbies.

According to scientists in the US, it seems that hobbies such as reading and knitting can delay the onset of dementia so perhaps its time to get down to reading all those unread books that we were talking about recently, or getting the knitting needles out to knit that scarf that you might need for the next time that winter hits these parts. Hobbies like crosswords have long been known to be something of a defence against dementia, as indeed are some of the games you can find on a Nintendo DS if you can afford one.

Watching TV does not seem to count however, To watch stuff like Celebrity Big Brother you have to be fairly well brain dead even before dementia sets in.

There seems to be no research yet on what the effects of writing blogs are . Perhaps some learned scientific foundation with a large bank balance could fund some. I would be happy to take part if the price was right.

I am always glad to aid the advancement of science.

Back To Work On An Egg

I am glad to hear that after twenty years, scientists have now decided that eggs are after all, not hooching with cholesteral and are indeed, a valuable source of protein. Those who until now have eaten their egg soldiers as a guilty morning pleasure can now consume them without fear of inducing a heart attack and those lucky enough to still have a job can resume the old practice of going to work on an egg.

Live Music At The Silverton Inn.

On Saturday Feb 21st. The band 'Evantine' will be playing live at The Silverton Inn. Start time will be 9.00pm.

Street Lighting

Has anyone else noticed the black hole that currently seem to be engulfing parts of Parsonage Lane ?. There seems to be no street lighting currently outside numbers one to five. Can someone from the Parish Council gee up the relevant contractors ?. Parsonage Lane may not be a major artery within the village, but it is much used by pedestrians, particularly in the evening.

Careful With That Camera.

I see that under the provisions of the new Terrorism Act you can be held in breach of the act if you take pictures of members of the armed forces or members of the constabulary if it is thought that you might be collecting them for the purposes of terrorism. So be very careful who you are photographing from now on, particularly if you might be of a somewhat darker complexion than your average White Anglo Saxon Protestant.

I wonder how long it will be before there are restrictions on taking photo's of politicians.

More Blasts From The Past.

The subject of once fashionable drinks came up again in the pub last night. We had mention of vodka and lime, lager and lime, snowballs, Cherry B, brandy and Babycham, Black Russians, Brown Split (often known in the non pc 1970s as 'Nancy Boy Specials) Light Split and of course, the notorious Watneys Red Barrel. Sheila Wilson also remembers, when working in The Lamb in the early 80's, some people drinking what sounds like a partricularly nauseous mixture of lager and tomato juice. If thats what they were drinking in The Lamb, I am glad I was drinking in The New Inn at the time.

Talking about Watneys Red Barrel, I remember that in the very early 1970's, Watneys produced a beermat for that particularly awful brew of a beer barrel shaped like a hand grenade and bearing the caption 'start the red revolution with Watneys Red Barrel'. One suspects that if you produced such a beermat today you might get a visit from PC Plod and a consideration as to whether you were in contravention of The Terrorism Act.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Seven Stone Weakling.

One of the quiz questions the other night related to the man whose body building plan turned you from a seven stone weakling who had sand kicked in his face to an Adonis who could see off the bullies with one and a half hands tied behind his back. The man was of course, Charles Atlas and advertisements for his plan appeared all over the papers and magazines back in the fifties and sixties.

I never met anyone who used the Atlas plan. I was never seven stone myself and was rather more inclined to be overweight. I must admit that had anyone had the inclination to kick sand in my face I would have been rather more inclined to belt them about the head and body with the nearest blunt instrument then head home and spend three months or whatever following the Atlas plan before exacting my revenge. I suspect the only ones who did were probably the nerdy types who lost interest after a few weeks and went back to building do it yourself radio communication equipment. Atlas did well out of somebody though. He certainly didnt die poor.

The other one with the master plan as all of a certain age will remember, was Horace Batchelor of Keynsham (Spelt K.E.Y.N.S.H.A.M as all listeners to Radio Luxembourg will remenber) who had the plan which would enable to scoop the football pools, no one ever seemed to wonder why, if the plan was so great was he flogging it to all and sundry.

And a blog question to our older readers. What instrument was Horace Bachelor alleged to be playing on The Bonzo Dog Band classic 'The Intro and The Outro'?.


Sorry folks, those not wishing to read a political rant should turn away now.

Many agency workers watching the way that other agency workers on the Mini production line at Cowley were sacked at an hours notice yesterday must have asked themselves if employers can really do that. Sadly, they can under British labour law and I am afraid that in current conditions we are likely to see a lot more of this type of activity. Its doubtful also that agency workers will be the only victims as conditions worsen.

Sadly, we are now beginnig to see the brutal realities of the situation we are in spelt out in living colour on the 24 hour news channels. Whilst the bankers whose mammoth cock ups caused this mess in the first place appear before House Of Commons committees, say sorry and head off into the sunsei with their golden handshakes, shop floor workers of all kinds are being bundled onto the dole qeues with indecent haste with hardly enough time to pocket their P45s. We now know who is going to pay the price for the mess the bankers and their political puppets have landed us with.

And its no good the union leaderships crying about the unfairness of it all. Had they spent more time fighting for the interests of their members rather than cosying up to Blair, Brown and the New Labour establishment perhaps some of the aspects of 'flexible' labour laws that they are now weeping about would have been removed. Perhaps, union members should be taking a look at some of their leaders who have had their noses embedded too deeply in the New Labour trough and be asking if its time that new and more representitive faces came to the fore.

Moonlight Walk

I am posting the following at the request of Louise Banks on behalf of The Exeter Leukemia Fund..

'Fancy a ladies night out with a difference ?. Then gather your friends and register for the first Exeter Night Walk, the first ever ladies only midnight walk in Exeter. Supported by the Express and Echo we hope to see 2,000 ladies take part in one of the largest charitable events the city has ever seen.

This special moonliit walk promisis to be a special night out with refreshments and plenty of giggles aloong the way. About twlve miles in length (you may opt out at the halfway stage) the circular route takes in The Exeter arena, the Cathedral and the Quay, Wyvern barracks and Countess Wear. Go to for more details.

For entry forms phone the event line 01392333777 during office hours

Carolyn Frost And Chairman Mao.

A couple of days ago I mentioned a somewhat incomprehensible saying, originating with our very own Carolyn Frost, that life was like a babbling brook and you can meet yourself coming back. One of our regular readers says that this put him in mind of one of the sayings of the late Mao Tse Tung, that you can never step in the same river twice. We suspect that this is the only time that the thoughts of Carolyn Frost and Chairman Mao have been mentioned in the same breath.

As is well known at the time of the Chinese cultural revolution millions of little red books containing the thoughts of Chairman Mao were produced and distributed throughout the world. Not to be outdone perhaps we should produce a little book containing the thoughts of Carolyn Frost and distribute it widely.

Perhaps rather than bright pillar box red, the cover however should be in a rather more tasteful shade of strawberry.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Back On Form.

The Lamb Inn quiz team played the Merrymeade 'B' team at home last night and emerged victorious by a twelve point margin. This now moves The Lamb up to second place in the league.

It has also now been decided that, as last year, we shall be entering a team in the Wellington Arts Centre knockout competition which begins in mid march.

Luxury Or Necessity.

The time of the year known as Lent is fast approaching when we are urged to give up luxuries Not being of a religious persuasion myself, I have never felt the need to give up anything for lent, luxurious or otherwise, but there are many who do. One item which many give up, or attempt to, for the lenten season is chocolate which many classify as a luxury.

I suspect that many, ladies in particular, might well disagree with the description of chocolate as a luxury and there may well be some scientific evidence to back them up. The action of eating chocolate seems to boost the output of serotonin in the brain thus enhancing a feeling of well being. Given that we are only just coming out of the darkest time of the year and given that many suffer from various types of depression during the winter months, there is a good case for saying that chocolate, for many, is a necessity.

So our advice for lent is not to bother about any religious restrictions and to get stuck into the chocolate treat of your choice. Its probably less harmful then antidepressants.

Own Up.

Who, we wonder, was the mysterious hand behind the valentines day card recieved by a very well known female member of the Lamb Inn bar staff at the weekend. Whoever it was seems to have very elegant handwriting.

Just the sort of handwriting to win a ladies heart I should think.


Walking the dog this morning in the vicinity of the chicken farm at Babylon, I was startled to be confronted by a small pickup truck coming at high speed, that seemed to swerve to avoid me at the last minute. Walking on, I realised that the truck had been unable to take evasive action earlier because of a large pothole in the road. It would appear that the recent bad weather has caused a deterioration in the condition of road surfaces throughout the area and it is to be hoped that, despite the financial restraints on local authorities, that attempts will be made to make sure the necessary repairs are undertaken.

Sunday, 15 February 2009


Have you ever heard someone come out with a phrase that at first hearing sounds profound, but when you hear it again sounds incomprehensible. A certain lady came out with one yesterday. 'Life is like a babbling brook, sometines you meet yourself coming back'.

Thinking about that one too much could drive you mad.

How Quickly It Changes.

Last week at this time we were all trying to keep our feet in the snow and ice, this weekend its almost springlike. No matter how long you live in this country the raptdity of the changes in the weather never cease to amaze you. Given another few days of this and people will begin to turn their eyes to their lawns knowing that it will soon be time for the sound of lawnmowers to be heard across the land. Spring may not be quite here yet, but you can hear its footsteps approaching.

Back To The Seventies.

We were discussing last night, meals you had on a good night out in the seventies and early eighties, that no longer seem to be around. Those were the days when you went to lost venues like the Burston Inn at Bow to partake of prawn cocktails followed by Chicken in The Basket, the meal ending with the obigatory slice of Black Forest Gateau. It would, of course, all be washed down with a bottle of Lambrusco or Blue Nun. Ah, what memories come flooding back, driving through the Devon countryside after such a meal, stopping only when one of the party felt the otherwhelming need to throw up.

Now of couse, its all different with every pub in existance treying to outdo its rivals in the scope of its menues. Lovely as it may all be, dont you just sometims get the urge for a bit of the old Black Forest and a glaas of one of those good old sparkling wines ?.

Correctly Dressed For The Blog.

I am aware that one of the regular readers of this blog has been known to read this blog while dressed only in her bath towel. This reminded me of when, a few years back, I looked into the plethora of so called ,business opportunities' available on the internet. Of course, it turned out that most of them were scams, one of the selling points being that you could run your business whilst sitting at your computer dressed only in your underwear. As this blog is not a scam, and we try to maintain some standards, reading the blog whilst in various states of undress is not to be encouraged.

We would prefer, ladies, if you did not access the blog whilst wearing nothing but skimpy black underwear, although if you must photos would be appreciated. We would prefer it if you read the blog whilst dressed in that nice evening gown with mascara and lippy fully applied. You may have a drink beside you while reading but we would prefer it if you had a long glass containing a sophisticated cocktail, rather than a tumbler of vodka and tonic. If you must smoke, cigarettes in holders please and no wacccy baccy.

Gentleman will be expected to wear at least a decent lounge suit, cravats and dickie bow ties are acceptable but not silk ties with naked women on them. Our scottish readers may, of course, wear the kilt and full regalia, but no 'Rab.C.Nesbitt' style semmits (string vests to you english lot) please. Members of the armed forces can wear full dress uniforms, but please be careful what you do with your ceremonial swords.

And a word to all. No bondage gear or shellsuits.

The blogging team will of course be maintaining their usual high standards. Mrs Frost is nothing but elegant and glamourous when advising on the contents of the blog and I shall be dressed in my usual uniform.

That of the commander of the starship 'Enterprise'.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Blasts From The Past.

You hear from time to time about people who have met people that they were at school with, or worked with when teenagers, through Facebook or Friends Reunited, rekindled long dormant passions, and run off and start new lives together. I wonder if this is the norm or wheter in the majority of cases, meeting up with old classmates through the social networking sites might turn out to be a severe disappointment, or a shock for other reasons.

Imagine, the hunky bloke who was the school rugby captain and who had all the girls swooning over him, now is a balding, middle aged, overwieght guy with two divorces and six children behind him but still thinks he is gods gift to women after half a dozen pints and keeps telling the women that he insists on chasing that despite his disasterous love life so far 'its time I got back in the saddle'. Then there is the girl who had all the blokes after her for years who now turns out to have been a closet lesbian all the time. The class joker, when he turns up on Facebook is now a minister in some obscure religious sect and the cass swot previously know as Graham is now a gorgeous blond called Sheila. You, of course are exactly the same as you always were, but it just so happens that your Facebook photo is five years old.

So, perhaps its better to leave the faces from the past in the past unless we meet them in the street. Perhaps its best just to let our memories be and also remember, To quote the novelist, H.E Bates that'The past is another country and they do things differently there'.

My Funny Valentine.

The Jam Roly Poly said to the Sherry Trifle 'we may be just desserts but we can still make sweet music together'. The papers will be full of those sort of messages today, and why not ?.

Much is made of the fact that St Valentines Day is now just another commercial festival increasingly designed to make fat profits for the manufacturers of greetings cards and the entertainment industries, whilst this is undoubtedly true, its worth remembering that the fertility festivals of early spring long predate either St Valentine, or Clinton Cards. Such festivals probably go back to the earliest days of agriculture when our early ancesters, seeing the first signs of the seeds they had planted in the autumn beginning to poke through the snow, began to think about planting other kinds of seeds elsewhere. As with all such festivals, as society became more developed the customs became more organised and complex and developed religious overtones, eventually as we know, commerce got in on the act.

Whilst, of course we should show our feelings to the ones we love every day of the year, I dont see why there should not be one day when we make that special effort to show how much we value someone who is, or should be, at the centre of our lives. Whatever some may say, humans are at their best when they have that special someone in their lives who makes their heart beat just that bit faster and lightens the day by their prescence. So if you have that special someone in your life make today that special day but try to make every day special in some way or another. St Valentines day should not be the be all and end all of our emotional lives, but it should set a standard that we should try to live up to the rest of the year.

Recession, What Recession ?.

Looking at the packed tables in The Lamb last night made me wonder if Silverton is immune from the effects of the world recession. Eating and drinking seemed to be continuing undimished and apparently, people were being turned away. Perhaps people have decided that with the recent cuts in the mortgage rate they can afford to continue to have a social life or, perhaps its a case of eat, drink and be merry for tommorrow we die. Odd to see the pub so busy the night befor Valentines Day though. Perhaps its because the England v Wales rugby match is on the day itself and people wanted to enjoy the game.

Perhaps Rugby now takes precedence over love. Perhaps watching England scoring a try is now an acceptable alternative to scoring in other ways.


I had a complaint last night from a parent who was concerned that his daughter had been on the waiting list to join the Brownies for the past three years. Having no children myself, I am not up on the details of how long it takes to get your offspring into youth organisations theses days. When I was young, such organisations always seemed to be crying out for members. Perhaps someone connected to the Brownies would like to comment on that organisations admissions policy.

Ten To Nine.

During the weekly tour of Silverton's drinking establishments last night, we were present at The Silverton Inn when the foodies authorised that the juke box could be played. For those interested in the details, the authorisation time was ten to nine. It was asked that this historic event could be recorded for posterity on the blog and of course I was happy to do so.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Details, Details.

Someone raised the point in the pub last night that women are like to have the precise details of proposed social events then men. Therefore, when booking for sunday lunch they prefer to book for a specific time then just booking a table. I must admit that I am always very correct about booking tables for specific times so cannot comment on whether or not men generally fall short in that aspect of organisation. One thing I do know howevere, is that when being told a story, or related the details of an event, women always like to know the precise yimes that things occurred whereas men tend just to like the broad outline of events. maybe it is womens attention to detail that makes them so successful at organising events in an age when time is of great importance to commercial success.

Or perhaps it is down to their legendary skills at multitasking. I bet when we eventually get the first woman US president, she will not be accused, as was a previous male occupant of the post, of not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

A Shock To The System

Sheila Wilson has now returned from her trip to the cape and told us last night that returning to Silverton from a place where the temperature was usually about 40c was a bit of a shock to the system. Not as much of a shock as it would have been had she returned a week earlier, I suspect. Nice to hear though, that the blog is now being read on the Cape. Nowhere is beyond the reach of Silvertonia. Who knows, passing intergalactic starships might be having the occasional read, although what the inhabitants of Planet Zonk might make of it all one can only guess.

Another Facebook Group.

It has been brought to my attention that there is Facebook group celebrating our very own Lamb Inn. I believe it waas started by some of the Blundellians who frequent the place from time to time and is called 'The Lamb Inn...Eigth Wonder Of The World'.

Given that social networking is all the rage these days, perhaps those who frequent The Three Tuns and The Silverton Inn should consider setting up their own Facebook or Myspace groups.

Black Friday.

Today is of course, Friday the Thirteenth when the superstitious hide under the duvets and even the supposedly unsuperstitious take that extra bit of care, just in case. My late wife hated black friday, although as far as I am aware nothing unpleasent actually ever befell her on that day.

This year, we have two black fridays in february and march so I suppose a good few will be preparing to have a duvet day on both occasions. I think that I will just take my chances and hope that friday the thirteenth might turn out to be a lucky day after all.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Friends Of Silvertonia.....Now We Are 13

Nice to see that the Friends Of Silvertonia Facebook Group has expanded overnight. Welcome to Emma Louise Frost, Dave Cole, Ann Elaine Mattock, Liz Park and Jess Harris. interesting to note that of the thirteen on the group, only three are men. It seems that women are more comfortable with the social networking sites then with some of the older forms of bulletin boards and e lists that I have been involved with. Many of those remain very male dominated. Hopefully, people will begin to use the facilities available through the facebook group.

The address of the group for those who cant be bothered to hunt through the archives is......


Having escaped the virus storm that swept the village around christmas and new year, I now seem to have aquired a cold. This one seems to be one of those that involves a lot of coughing, not good for nocturnal peace either for the sufferer, or for those in the vicinity. Hopefully, this peice of unpleasentness will be of short duration unlike the cough that I developed last spring that lasted about a month.

The only thing to do is to drink plenty of fluids, some of which may will consist of Famous Grouse.

Nothing else for it.

Community Band.

I see from posters that there is a move to start a community band in the village. Those players of musical instruments who like playing with other people are asked to gather at the Community Hall on Sat 14th Feb at 4.30pm. The group is open to players of all levels of ability and the sessions will be led by a professional musician. The idea is to have a functioning musical group ready to play at Street Market.If you are interested, but cant attend on saturday, contact Anne on 01392860576.

Silverton has, of course, had town bands in the past. Some of us older residents will remember seeing the old instruments stored away in the loft at what was then the school canteen, later the British Legion Club, before they were taken off to Tiverton and cannibalised. I dont know what sort of community band is being proposed, but I somehow doubt if we shall see a silver band marching through the streets as in days of yore.

In my previous place of residence in the west of scotland, beginning about easter and going on until mid august, we had an entirely different type of marching band passing through our towns and villages when the Orange lodges marched with their uniformed flute and accordion bands complete with the thunder of the Lambeg drums. People who complain about the bass on some disco equipment being loud, probably have never encountered a Lambeg at close quarters. Some parts of Glasgow and Lanarkshire also have the republican marching bandscomplete with colour parties carrying the irish tricolour and the Starry Plough. A very different musical scene to anything we are likely to find at Silverton Community hall I would think.

Ticket Draw.

As requested by Dougie, The result of the draw for rugby tickets held at The Lamb Inn last night.

And the winner was.....

Bob Lewis.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Should We Do It ?.

I know its months away yet, but I am toying with the idea of having a Silvertonia 1st anniversary birthday bash in june, where the readers of this blog could come out of the closet and have a few drinks.

It might be an idea.

Floss is Flos.

The Sheep hitherto known as Floss wants it made clear that her name, for reasons that cannot be disclosed on a family blog, is actually...


Apologies to Flos.

Friends Of Silvertonia- Update.

I notice that our 'Friends of Silvertonia' facebook group now has 8 members. Good to see people taking an interest, especially Sue Banks over there in Cyprus.

Nice to see the snow photos that have been added.

Meanwhile, I note that the old forumup bulletin board which was hardly ever used has been deleted.

Under The Clock.

Continuing our St Valentines Day theme, I wonder if people headsing for a romantic liason still meet their intended partner under the clock. In the movies, in literature and even in real life people met under the clock in bus or train stations before heading off to restauraunts or hotels.This was especially true, allegedly, of those who embarked on blind dates and were told to turn up at the meeting point carrying red roses, handkerchiefs in their top pockets or, rolled up newspapers.

Presumably, if some of these clocks were popular meeting places things must have got complicated with, often the wrong people meeting up. Perhaps some of these clocks had marshals standing on a soap box directing those with red roses to stand in one line and shout out the name of their intended to the waiting crowd whilst the group with the top pocket handkerchiefs or the rolled up newspapers stood in other lines. Probably there would be one poor soul with a rolled up trouser leg who discovered that he was in the wrong place entirely. Then of course, you would have the spies who used similar methods of identification, but with the added use of passwords and the muttering of strange phrases such as 'the red cardinal sends his regards'. I imagine life beside some of these clocks was anything but dull.

Now of course, things are different. The clocks hands no longer sweep towards the appointed meeting time, now we have the digital numbers changeing. Gatherings under such clocks would probably now lead to gatrherers getting ASBOs and probably most people meet up in the local Burger King or down the pub.

Somewhere out there though, there might still be the odd couple or two who still meet up under the clock.

We can but hope so anyway.

Books You Never Read.

I suspect that all of us have books on our bookshelf that we have never read. I expect that some were given as presents by people who had no idea what our reading tastes are, or are books that we bought at sometime or another because they were fashionable but we never got around to reading. In that respect, I admit to having owned a copy of 'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins that I have never read and probably never will. Then there are classic works of one sort or another that we may have bought at sometime hoping to improve our minds but then gave up the effort. Anything by James Joyce often comes into that category, and probably for the generation radicalised in the 1960s and 70s, 'Das Kapital', although from what one hears, given the current state of the world economy, study of the latter may well be becoming fashionable again. Then there are the vast selection of cookery and self improvement books again given as presents by reletives anxious that we should improve our culinary skills, or our emotional intelligence, but end up gathering dust when old habits prove too hard to break.

So these volumes end up untouched while our shelves get taken over by well thumbed copies of the works of Jack Higgins, or possibly the collected writings of Emma Blair. All our unread literary good intentions end up on the back shelf of the bookcase ready to be passed on via the next car boot sale to yet more people who will never read them.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

It Could Be Worse.

Whilst our own recent severe weather was unpleasent and disruptive, its effects pale into insignificance when measured against the fire disaster that has engulfed parts of south Australia. There can be few things worse I would think, then being trapped in a fire zone where a fire wall can travel faster then the speed of a car destroying everything in its path. Hopefully the weather conditions there are now improving and hopefully, those arsonists alleged to have been behind at least some of the fires will be speedily brought to justice. It seems to be a sad fact of life that every time these fire disasters happen anywhere in the world, arson seems to be a factor. One can only assume that those inadequates who undertake such actions, get a sense of power through causing this sort of death and destruction that they are unable to achieve elsewhere in their lives. Hopefully, these people will soon be consigned to places where they have no power over anything.

Best Wishes.

Best wishes and we hope a speedy recovery to John Parry, Lisa Dolman and anyone else who received injuries as a result of the recent severe weather.Thankfully, the forecasters are now forecasting a spell of drier weather until at least the weekend.

Floss Goes Twitter.

Our resident celebrity, Floss the sheep, possibly the oldest sheep in Devon, has now joined the latest celebrity craze and joined the latest social networking site, Twitter. If you are subscribed to Twitter you can now keep up with the thoughts of Floss, in short bursts of 140 characters, as she relaxes under her tree in the Prispen Field.

Being a sheep she will probably soon have a big fan following in Wales.

They Got Back.

The Lamb skittles team returned, unscathed by the recent severe weather, from their weekend in Newquay yesterday. Much beer was drunk and a splendid time was had by all, despite the fact that the team was eventually knocked out in the semi finals. Doubtless, they will be back next year to do it all again.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Dont Forget Folks.

This saturday is that annual festival of 'lurve' known as St Valentines Day. I hope that you will all be buying cards for the significant other in your lives and, where possible, will be taking them for a romantic meal in a candlelit restauraunt somewhere. Of course, if you have more than one 'significant other' in your life things could get tricky. Fitting in two romantic meals in a day might be a strain on your capacity for deceit, your bank balance and your waistline, but I am sure that the readers of this blog have much more straightforward lives.

Of course, the comments column of this blog will be open to all those who wish to send greetings to their beloved, even if the messages may be of the 'Tinky Winky loves Diddly Pooh' variety. Who knows, if the blog ever goes into marketing, we might start selling St Valentines mugs with cuddly bears on them saying 'I love you' or, if we are really feeling daring, perhaps a range of black or red, skimpy, underwear. You never can tell.

Spare a though though, for those without significant others who can only send cards to themselves and dream of better times.

Rose Tinted Glasses

I heard this phrase used yesterday and I wondered if anyone has ever actually worn rose tinted glasses. It would create a rather dull and unifom effect I would have thought.

There are those who tend to view friends and loved ones through the proverbial rose tinted glasses but I wonder how long that effect really lasts in most cases. If the person concerned has multiple personal failings I would have thought that anyone having to deal with such problems up close and personal, would soon have their illusions stripped from them. There are of course othyers, who know the bitter truth but deny reality. They have as serious a problem as the people they are involved with.

Leaving aside those who have dependecy problems, all of us probably need people who are prepared to see the better side of us even if we cannot see it ourselves always. Its better by far to have such people around us then those who criticise at every opportunity or, equally as bad, take our good points for granted. Some of those who appear to be wearing rose tinted glasses may just be wearing the ones with the stronger lenses that can see where the good points in us considerably outweigh the bad.

Back To Work Blues.

I bet that those who managed to get a day or two extra off due to the weather over the weekend are suffering from the back to work blues today. Not only is the snow mwlting but its also pouring with rain. Whats the betting the next outbreak of colds and flu will be along shortly.

In recent years, by this time in february or shortly thereafter, we have become accustomed to nature watchers telling us that it is going to be the earliest spring on record. I suspect that this is not going to be the case this year. It should remind us that climate change, whatever its cause, is not a uniform event and can mean more than just the weather being warmer. It can also mean that weather events of all kinds become more severe.

Not A Good Night

Despite the continuing poor weather and driving conditions, The Lamb Inn quiz team visited The Crossways Tavern at Hele last night and suffered an eight point defeat. The beer leg ended as a draw. Next week we are at home to The Merrymeade 'B' team.

We have also been invited to enter a team for the annual knock out quiz which runs over a number of weeks at The Wellington Arts Centre. Given that those who took part found last years contest highly enjoyable, we shall be seriously considering entering a team, existing fixtures permitting.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Snow Photos

Readers may have noticed a distinct lack of photos on the blog, of Silvertonians froliking in the snow, or intrepid sledgers flying down Pigs Park. The sad truth is that it seems that my digital camera has decided to choose this moment to develop a fault. If anyone has some photos of fun in the snow I will post them on the blog if they send them to me via email.

Davies Close Parking Problems...Again.

Rrsidents of Davies Close are becoming increasingly annoyed by people parking on the pavements and blocking the entrances to houses. Apparently, one resident waas forced to climb over his garden wall the other day in order to exit his house because of a car parked across his gateway. People in Davies Close seem to think that some of the problem is being caused by those from parsonage lane where there is very limited parking.

Leaving aside the obvious annoyance and inconvenience caused by bad parking, people should also think about the need for possible access by emergancy services. A little more thought in these matters would not go amiss.

Down We Go.

It had to happen, I suppose. While taking Rory back to Wyndham Roads last night, I fell into a pile of snow. No damage was done, I am glad to report, but Rory took the opportunity to do a runner and go chasing cats. Risking life and limb, Carolyn, Lilly and myself went on a Rory hunt before he turned up near the Wyndham Roads flats.

The miscreant was recaptured and returned to base without further incident but I think, like most people, I have decided that life will be a lot more pleasent when the snow and ice departs.

White Chargers.

We were discussing last night whether anyone has ever owned, or heard of, a white mobile telephone charger.

Dont ask why we were discussing that. The topics can get wierd after midnight.


Mrs Frost and myself were doing our usual late night TV viewing last night and early this morning when she pointed out something that I had not previously noticed. That the highly paid and well dressed newsreaders usually have old Biro's sticking out of their top pockets. You might think that such people might sport a nice Parker pen or two, but it seems not.

This then led on to a discussion about pens in general. I didnt know, until last night, that you can get left handed pen nibs, Mrs Frost being a left hander, and we also expressed a nostolgia for the days when you could refill your fountain pen with Quink Ink.

I suppose though, that writing with a fountain pen is now a dying art with the rise of texting and emails. I met my late wife through a penfriend club and actually had to write letters on paper to her and that was as late as the mid 1980's. I suppose that penfriend clubs where you have to use pen and ink have gone the way of the penny farthing bicycle and the usual way of communicating with potential partners is via sites like Facebook and MySpace. We also now seem to have something called Twitter which is supposedly the latest aid to social interaction.

The thing about writing with pen and ink was that it enabled you to think about what you were writing before you wrote it. I suspect that many bad decisions have been made by people dashing off texts and emails without always thinking through the implications of what they are writing. Instant is not always to be equated with good.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Battling On.

Good to hear that despite the appalling travelling conditions, stagecoach buses were again doing the Wyndham Road leg of the Silverton rooute this morning. Hats off to the drivers of public service vehicles for the work that they do in these treacherous times.

They Got There

The Skittles weekenders sucessfully reached Newquay yesterday. It seems that all the teams from the south west who were going to be there made it. The problem with the Silverton contingent was that the coach would not risk coming into the village.

Pasties and crisps were packed in case of travellers becoming stranded, but it seems that some of those travelling had eaten their supplies before they got to Rewe. It would seem that they thought that if they got stranded they would survive better if they had a full stomach.

CVCC Campaign. Online Petition.

There is now an online petrition aimed at boosting the campaign to save Clyst Vale Community College in its present form. Hopefully, all former pupils of the school or parents of current and former pupils will feel able to sign it. The petition can be found at:

The Iceman Cometh.

Any excuse to use the title of the famous play by F.Scott Fitzgerald. I have never seen the play, but have always liked the title. I had a good joke based on the title on a certain bulletin board once, but got told to remove it for legal reasons.

Such is life.

Anyway. I have had a happy half hour this morning clearing snow away from the path outside my mothers bungalow in king Street. There is nothing like a bit of snow and ice clearence to get the circulation going and to boost ones energy levels. Its also one way of disposing of a packet of Lo-Salt that was once bought by accident.

All in all a good job, well done.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Feed The Birds.

Let us not forget that our feathered friends will be needing some extra sustenance during the current inclement weather conditionsso hang out your fat balls and nuts.

Lets make sure though that the extra food is strategically placed so that our feathered friends dont fall foul of our feline friends.

Newquay Or Bust

The winter weather has not deterred a number of intrepid souls from heading off to Newquay for the annual skittles event. As Mr Frost put it, 'There is one lane open on the A 30 and one lane is all you need'. The hired coach was unable to reach the village and so a number of private vehicles were pressed into service. We shall doubtless hear how they all fared when they return on Momday.

Yo, Ho, Ho. We're Up To Our Knees In Snow.

Those of us who thought that the wintry weather was going away had a severe awakining last night. When I went to the pub at six o clock it was dry, by seven people were coming in reporting that it was raining, by q quarter to eight sleet was reported and by eight thirty, Mr Frost requested Alan Isaac to take in the smokers awning as it was full of snow. By the time I left at nine snow was settling quite readily and continued to do so throughout the night giving us about 4-6 inches of lying snow (my estimate) by morning. The snow was accompanied during the night by a series of power cuts, none of which lasted long enough to cause szerious problems, luckily.

As might be expected, schools wewre closed and transport links disruped and, as indicate in previous posts, as in post such events there was an almost festive atmosphere in the village with crowds of people going about the streets and a very busy lunchtime in the pubs. Hopefully, the snow will not be followed by severely icy conditions, but we shall have to wait and see.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Clyst Vale Update.

A message I have received from the 'Help Save Clyst Vale CC' Facebook Group, informs me that Devon County Council have now revised the PAN (planned admission numbers) for Clyst Vale back up from 120 to 160. This increase however, would still represent a 15% cut on the current figure of 180 and would still lead to cuts in staff numbers and be a continued threat to the continuing existance of the 6th form without which the viability of the college in its current form would still be in doubt. Those resisting the cuts are determined to fight for the restoration of the figure of 180 planned admissions which is vital in securing the future of Clyst Vale at the heart of secondary education in this area.

We shall continue to post updates as we get them.

Nodding Off.

Does anyone else ever have that problem ?. You are watching an interesting programme on the TV and, inexplicibly, you nod off in the last ten minutes, thus missing the whole point of the thing. Luckily, in this age of digital recording we can now rerun the programme if we have the equipment but it is still annoying nonetheless.

The other annoying thing is when someone phones you just at a crucial moment in the programme. Now that we have mobiles you get texts as well and get the added annoyance when it turns out that it is Orange, or whoever, texting you with their latest unmissable offer.

Perhaps the best course of action to avoid such problems is to make sure thgat you sit on an upright, hard seated chair when watching TV and to lock your mobile away under the duvet in the bedroom upstairs. Should you get phoned landline by a call centree during your programme make sure that you have a tape of the old 'Top Of The Pops' album you aquired from Oxfam to play to the caller. That should deter further interruptions.

Laugh Like Pixies ?.

On of those strange expressions that people use. Do pixies really laugh excessively ?. Has anybody ever heard the little people having hysterical fits of hilaritty ?. I cant say that I have ever heard pixies l having a good giggle even when I have had a few pints of Dartmoor IPA, but perhaps experienced pixie watchers know otherwise. Perhaps I should take a course in pixie observation at one of the colleges. They seem to run courses in most things these days and I am sure that a diploma in pixie watching would probably be more useful than one in flower arranging, skateboarding or media studies.

Some expressions of course, are only expressions understood amongst friends. The expression 'well done' has a totally different connotation to some of us then that which most people would understand.

But you would have to be initiated into the secret knowledge of the blog to understand that one.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Normality Returns.

It seems that the recent weather events are at an end and that the population can get off their sledges and get back behind their desks. Still, its only early in the year yet and other opportunities for unofficial holidays could arise through extreme weather. There is the perennial favourite of floods cutting us off from Exeter at Stoke Canon and Ellerhayes, Ice could still be a problem and perehaps, if we get a long hot summer, we could have melting tar causing traffic chaos.

Otherwise folks, its just a case of hanging on for the best part of two decades before you can dig those sledges out of the attic again.


I see that Cabbages And Kings are going to start selling freshly baked croissants from saturday. Perhaps this is a move towards a continental style saturday in Silverton. Perhaps some enterprising person will take over the old londis, stick a few tables ouside and stasrt selling croissants and coffee to the sound of accordion music and the smell of the dodgy french fags that many of us smoked in our youth.

Given that this scenario is highly unlikely however, we shall just have to head for the mini market in the community hall once a month for a cup of tea and a bacon butty.

Its on this saturday, by the way.

Clearout ?.

I notice that Age Concern has been collecting via its plastic bags, clothes to sell through its charity shops. Given the current recession, I wonder if people will be so keen to clear out their wardrobes as in previous years. Obviously, there are still items that can be passed on, such as that dress that you have not been able to wear since 1986, or the suit that you bought for your best friends wedding and thought it best never to wear again after the incident with the bridesmaid in the broom cupboard, however, I suspect that many will be less inclined to throw away anything still halfway wearable as the threat of potential unemployment looms.

I had a clearout of my own wardrobe recently, and was embarrassed to realise how much of the clothes I was throwing away had already been through the charity shops. I wonder how many items of clothing get bought in charity shops, on a whim because they are cheap, and then get passed on to other charity shops when the purchaser realises they are too embarrassed to wear them. Rather more than you might expect I suspect.

And talking of charity shops, Nearly always, the record section would contain those awful 'Top Of The Pops' albums, usually with covers containing pictures of nubile young women in miniskirts, grinning inanely, which consisted of cover versions of hits performed by people who were unamed and probably no one would have heard of if names had been mentioned.

Vast numbers of these things seem to have been sold new at one time but I have only ever met one person who admitted to buying them.

Perhaps people bought them for the covers.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

A Query.

I thought that roads used as bus routes were a priority for treatment with grit and salt during periods of snow and ice. It was noticeable that Wyndham Road was not treated last night.

Perhaps the relevant authorities are unaware that Coach Road and Wyndham Road carry regular bus trasffic.

Welcome Back.

Welcome back to Phil Frost after his recent trip to India. He says he was most impressed by Mumbai, especially that well known example of victorian artitechture, the central railway station. He also got in some rest and relaxation in Goa. Luckily for him, and to the relief of his anxious mother, he made it back safley to Silverton before the current snows hit Heathrow.

Welcome back also, to Del, who is for the next week or so, back in his accustomed seat at the bar of The Silverton Inn presiding over the sale of the Bonus Balls and has been helping Simon celebrate his birthday.

Slipping And Sliding.

Slipping and sliding seem to have been the main activities in Silverton last night and this morning following the snowfall and the subsequent freeze. Hordes of would be sledgers gathered at Pigs Park yesterday afternoon to take advantage of the snow, but motorists and pedestrians risked life and limb last night and early this morning when ice became the main hazard. There was some further snowfall through the day but also a steady thaw, so those who had thought to get a second days sledging out of the weather situation seem to have been thwarted.

Never mind, forecasters are giving early warnings of the possibility of more heavy snow on thursday and friday. Perhaps better luck then.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Save Clyst Vale Community College.

Thanks to Graham Parnell for drawing my attention to this..

Devon Education Authority want to cut the 7 form intake at Clyst Vale Community College to 4 thus forcing parents to send children to the 'new' Exeter schools which are PFI funded and currently undersuscribed. This would lead to Clyst Vale CC being downgraded, losing its sixth form, the only one within reach of Exeter and would inevitably lead to redundancies within the college. The situation is made more serious by plans to delay the devo;opment of the new town of Cranbrook where a replacement for Clyst Vale CC was to have been sited.

In response, a group of ex pupils, prominent amongst them a former Silvertonian, Ross Bibey, have launched a campaign to help save Clyst Vale CC. They have launched a Facebook group which can be found at

I was one of the original pupils when the then, Broadclyst County Secondary School opened in 1960. Whether as Broadclyst County Secondary, or Clyst Vale Community College this scool has been an excellent centre of secondary education for the best part of half a century and has been, and remains a vital educational and community resource for this part of East and mid Devon. Generations of Silvertonians have been educated there and I hope that all who have passed through its doors down the years will now join the fight to retain the school in its current form.

Be Warned.

I understand that forged £20.00 notes have been found circulating in the area. They are apparently of very good quality and can only be detected by a difference in texture on part of the notes from the real money. Best to be checking your change and to also remember that even bank cash machines are not immune from containing fakes.

Funny though, isnt it ?. That every time that new banknotes are produced we are told that they will be forgery proof and every time it seems to prove not to be the case.

The Snow Arrives

I was phoned by my sister in law at lunchtime to say that the Enfield branch of the family are snowed in. I told her, rather smugly, that we had only had a few snow flurries. I should have known better as before I was off the phome, the white stuff had started descending in sizeable amounts. Time to get the non slip shoes out. I bet the younger members of the community are hoping that this keeps up until morning and that the schools will be shut.

Doubtless, some older villagers will be looking for the possibilty of a long lie in as well.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Not Always Greener.

I hear there was a programme on TV the other night regarding the plight of the Brits who went off to Spain to seek a cheaper life with better weather and are now living to regret it due to the collapse in the value of the pound. Its surprising that otherwise intelligent people seem to have forgotten that exchange rates are not fixed and can move in all sorts of directions. If they had read any economic history they should also have realised that such changes can often be very sudden events.

Whilst you can understand the motivations behind their decisions to move abroad, I suspect that some of it would have been down to simple herd mentality. X gets bored with life here, moves abroad at a time when property in the land of choice ius cheap, has a good time and contacts Y who moves and contacts Z. of course, they are all encouraged to jump on the band wagon by unscrupulous estate agents who know the possible economic drawbacks, but dont go out of their way to point them out to potential clients. Now the chickens have come home to roost with a veangence with people unable to sell property there in order to get back here and couldnt afford the property here even if they could sell there. Many of them, being retired are in a far worse position then, for instance, the people of working age from Poland who came to Britain, made money, sent it back home, while retaining family links and even sometimes homes in Poland so tat now that its no longer financially advantageous to remain inn Britain they have something to go back to.

Which all goes to prove that while the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence its often best to have an escape route worked out in case the grass that looks better turns out to be a bog.

When Is 'New' New ?.

Its interesting when you think about it, but when does something stop being new ?. A newborn baby seems to stop being newborn a few days after its birth, but a new car can still be referred to as being new for sometime after its purchase. Something similar seems to be the case when describing a recently aquired partner in a relationship, or a new house.

A concept of newness that seems to annoy some people is when a work colleague, trying to avoid responsibility for not carrying out a task, or carrying it out wrongly, states, 'but I am only new here' and it then turns out that they have been in their post for a couple of years or so.

Newness does indeed seem to be a very flexible concept.

Very Annoying

One of the most annoying things on Television is when you have people like Chris Tarrent on 'Who Want's Io Be AMillionaire' spinning out giving the answers to questions to make tension last over a commercial break. As far as I am concerned, rather then raising my excitement level its just downright annoying and makes me want to switch to another channel. Its like the false long pauses you get on some of the reality TV shows before they announce the winners, or who is getting thrown off. I think that most people could do without a false sense of excitement and would rather just get to the business in hand.