Tuesday, 31 March 2009

On the trail.

A slightly reduced version of The Lamb Inn quiz team will be off to Wellington this evening to play in the knockout contest organised by the Wellington Arts Centrte. The same team managed to get through to the second round last year, despite some of the questions being on the geography of the town of Wellington.

Back Home.

we are glad to report that Andrew Isaac has now returned to the village after his recent major hip operation at Guys Hospital in London. It never fails to amaze me how quickly people can be moved out of hospital after even very serious operations these days. I am sure that we all wish him well in what is bound to be an extended period of convelescence.

Poll Hotting Up.

It seems that the travellers site issue has been generating a lot of interest over the past 24 hours. An extra 14 votes have been recorded. the highest for a 24 hour period since the poll began last thursday. I also note from the profile statistics that an there seem to have been 20 new viewings of my profile, also a record for a one day period as far as I am aware. Again, you wonder at the mainstream local press missing out on an important local issue.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Porn On Expenses.

I see that the husband of the Home Secretary, Jaqui Smith has apologised for renting pay per view porn movies and charging them to his wife's expenses. Given that his wife has been a noted campaigner against the sex industry in all its forms and given that she presumably signed off on her expenses before the claim went in, it would seem that this is yet another case of certain politicians effectively saying do as I say, not what I do. It of course also pales into insignificance when placed against Ms Smith's £116,000 claim for expenses on a room in her sisters house as being her main residence.

I dont doubt that politicians of all the main parties have been at this sort of thing, in one way or another for decades and that its only because of legislation like the Freedom Of Information act that we know what we know about these things now. Its also instructive that none of these things seem to be actually illegal and that most of these MP's also pick up fat pay cheuques from outside employment.

Still, come the next election we can kick the current ruling bunch of rascals out and replace them with an almost identikit bunch, who will just change the rules to suit themselves and will carry on with business as usual.

Perhaps its time that elected MPs were banned from taking outside employment and forced to live on the wages of the average worker for the next four years. They might have to rent property in some of the areas of London where their next door neighbours are not likely to be another bunch of barristers and journalists.

The experience might just concentrate their minds on the everyday lives of those who cannot so easily fiddle their expenses.

We Need It Here.

I was glad to see, from the Homefinder website, that a substantial amount of new build social housing has now become available in Tiverton and Crediton. Whilst welcoming this development, its still the case that there is still a serious need for similar developments in the larger villages like Silverton, and it remains a mystery to me why a village this size still has no sheltered housing for the older and less able inhabitants. I would hope that the current 'we live here' campaign being run by the parish council might be brought to bear on the problem of making sure that those who want to, will be enabled to continue to live here.

Poll Update.

As readers will see, following the weekend, we have now had 56 votes on the travellers site issue with the two sides deadlocked at the moment. It does appear however, that there was a 'mini surge' for the anti's last night. Keep your votes coming.

Surprising really, given the controversy this issue has created that there has, as far as I know, been no coverage in the local press. It seems that for the last week this blog has been the only media outlet covering this story and providing a forum for public debate, limited as our resources are.

Birthday Greetings.

Birthday greetings today to Cyprus resident, and former Silvertonian, Sue Banks who is currently here on a visit.

Narrow Win.

The Lamb Inn quiz team scored a narrow 2 point win over The Merrymeade 'B' team at Samford Peverall last night, 79-77.The final league game of the season will be next week at The Lamb against the Clyst Hydon cricket club, with the Knockout Cup final, The Lamb v The Crossways at Hele two weeks later.

In other quiz news, dont forget that there will be a quiz competition at The Three Tuns on easter sunday night.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

They Dont Count.

A message to Carolyn Frost. According to the NHS 5 a day website, potatoes do not count towards your reccommended 5 a day intake of fruit and vegetables.

So there.

Hula Hoops

Not the tasty snacks but the real ones that people used to spin around their waists and hips. I remember the original craze for these when I was very young and I wondered if anyone in the village is still using them ?. Perhaps we could have a Hula Hoop team doing a demonstration in the square one day. Perhaps Rachel, Miss Silverton could be one of them.

Smashing Time.

I know its a bit late but we have had the small matter of the travellers site to deal with, but I was going to make a comment on the attack on the Edinburgh property of the notorious banker, Sir Fred 'The Shred' Goodwin.

Earlier in the week, on a forum elsewhere, I had a bit of an exchange with one Darren Redstar, who is I believe, a supporter of the anarchist grouping, Class War. Darren, as might be expected, thought that the attack on Sir Fred's house and car was a splendid piece of work and that such displays of anger might just persuade 'The Shred' and his like to mend their ways. I pointed out that this was unlikely because the likes of Sir Fred can write off such attacks on their insurance and that the long arm of the law was very likely to descend upon the perpetrators of the attack with all possible force, because, as we all know, crimes against property in this country have traditionally been taken much more seriously then crimes against people. The real task is to build alternatives to the system that allows people like Goodwin to flourish and these are long and difficult tasks that cannot be achieved by throwing a few bricks. Also, as pointed out by Dave Osler on the Dave's Part blog. what starts as attacks on property can end as attacks on people, as in thge case of the german Red Army Fraction and the banker Hans Martin Scheyer.

So however justified the anger operations like that carried out in Edinburgh are a dead end.

British Summer time begins

Yes, its that day when we all lose an hours sleep as the clocks go forward one hour. We are now officially out of the time of darkness and the lighter evenings are upon us. One advantage of this will be that at least, you can see the dog crap in the darker parts of Parsonage Lane before you stand in it. Also, according to the weather forecasters, the weather is set to improve this week so perhaps the last of the winter colds will be sent packing. The daffodils are out and spring has sprung. Is there anywhere better than Silverton in the springtime ?.

Poll Clarification.

It seems that it is possible to vote in the poll from the same email address...But not on the same day, so if you have other members of your household who would like to vote you will have to spread it out a bit.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

A Mayor For Silverton ?.

Its all the rage now for towns and cities to have an elected mayor. London of course, has had two very high profile mayors in Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson and I dont see why Silverton should be left behind. Once our poll finishes on the travellers issue I shall be starting one to see who would be the best candidate for this important position in the life of our village. Perhaps we shall see a flood of nominations for Donald Brady, or possibly Robert Vanneck. Perhaps Stan Chilcott mbe will have his supporters and I dont doubt that the Dave Haggett fan club will be clamouring to get their man in. Maybe we should break the mould and go for a woman ?. I am sure that many of our prominent village women residents will have their supporters.

Voting opens on April 6th. Nominations to the comments box.

Rachel. Miss Silverton.

Meanwhile beyond the world of the travellers controversy, and unknown to most, we appear to have had a Miss Silverton contest. You can see the fascinating interview with the winner on Youtube. Go to youtube and just look up Miss Silverton.

Rachel is obviously a lady of wit and erudition. Oddly, she seems to bear a strange resemblence to a rather well known local butcher.

Up In Arms.

Possibly the best quote of the travellers furore came last night when someone told me that they had been told that 'Millionaires Row is up in arms over this'.

Given the opinion pf some in the village about some who live on Millionaires Row, I should think that this particular bit of news will do the travellers cause no harm at all.

Class war anyone ?.

The Poll So Far.

The poll results so far, based on 40 votes by 10.00am this morning, make for very interesting reading. That a majority of those who have voted on a straight yes, no basis have voted in favour of the travellers site must have come as quite a surprise to many, not least those who launched the campaign against the travellers at the start of last week. I think though that you have to take into account that the demographic of those who read this blog is probably younger and more liberal in social attitudes then possibly the village as a whole. I also think that the notorious flyer that was circulayed earlier in the week may have made a number of people who otherwise might have been ambivalent on the matter come down in favour of the travellers. It will be interesting to see how the voting goes over the next few days.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Poll Extended.

I have now extended the closing date for the poll until the day of the parish council meeting on april 6th in order that we might be able to give the parish council and the MDDC representitives as up to date snapshot of opinion in the village as possible. Given that there is a problem about the fact that the poll will only accept one vote per e mail address, if people are unable to vote on the blog itself, e mail me your vote and I will add them to the final total.

Let Them Speak.

One voice that has not been heard from in the furore about the travellers site issue is that of the travellers themselves. Now the public meeting has been abandoned the Blog would be only too pleased to give them space to put foward their intentions for their site and their view of the current situation.

We can be contacted through the e mail address on the sidebar.

There Should Have Been A Meeting

Having though about it this morning I have come to the conclusion that the public meeting sheduled for march 30th should have gone ahead, even without the attendence of MDDC officials. A public meeting could possibly have allowed an extended discussion about the issues involved, outside of the format of a formal parish council meeting, that might have allowed people to clarify their thinking on the matter ahead of formal subnissions. Unless the Parish Council are able to suspend their published agenda in order to allow a full discussion on the travellers issue I can see the april 6th meetimg leading to a good deal of frustration.



It appears that because this was not an official parish council meeting and was to have discussed planning matters, the officials invited from MDDC would not have been able to attend.

People are now asked to attend the parish council meeting to be held on April 6th in the Millenium Hall at 7,30pm.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

A Right Bunch Of Undesirables.

The only factual charge made against Ms Adele Perrott, one of the travellers who have porchased Oak Meadow, in the natorious anonymous document being now circulated by opponents of the proposed travellers site, is that she signed a petition in support of the legalisation of drugs.

She did indeed.

She was one of the signatories of the petition in support of the legalisation of cannabis run by The Independent newspaper back in Nov 1997. Other signatories included, at a quick glance, such notorious ne er do well's as John Mortimer QC, author of 'Rumpole Of The Bailey' Tom Sharpe, author of 'Wilt', the actress Dervla Kirwan, Marianne Faithfull, and assorted members of the band, UB40 as well as prominent academics, artists and people from all walks of life. I would imagine that its quite possible that some resident of the village, past or present, was amongst the signatories. Signing a petition in a newspaper twelve years ago is hardly a hanging offence, is it ?.

Ms Perrott, at least I assume its the same one, also appears, according to my Google search to have been a member of The Volcano Theatre Company. Perhaps the Drama Group should approach her about future membership.


A group of people standing in a graveyard stood aside as a funeral party carrying a coffin came down the path. Half an hour later the same people were surprised to see the same funeral party again coming down the path still complete with coffin. When asked by one of the onlookers what they were doing one of the funeral party replied 'we seem to have lost the plot'.

Boom, Boom !.

Peggy French RIP.

I understand that Mrs Peggy French of Wyndham Road, passed away in hospital in Tiverton yesterday. We send our condolences to Stephen, Andrew and all family and her friends.

Public Meeting.

A public meeting has been called to discuss the issue of the proposed travellers site at Oak Meadow. The meeting will be held at The Millenium Hall, Monday 30th March at 7.30pm.

Hopefully, there will be a good attendance and that the travellers or their representitives will be invited to contribute.


In view of the heat being generated by the issue of the travellers site proposal, I have added a poll to the blog which you will find on the sidebar. Voting will close on April 1st.

Suicide Note

I have now had the chance to read the letter that is being circulated within the village by opponents of the proposed travellers site at Oak Meadow. This anonymous document contains not one argument for opposing the site on planning grounds,but is instead a rant against the new owners of the site on the grounds of their lifestyle. If this document is not legally actionable it must come very close to being so.

The position of this blog on the matter is clear. The blog opposed the establishment of the site at Oak Meadow on grounds of access to the site and broadly supports the objections to the site put forward by Derek and Lesley Vanstone in their submission to Mid Devon District Council. This blog was also concerned because, as in other matters, it seemed that a planning application was being rushed through with inadequate public consultation. What the blog will not be supporting is a witch hunt against the new owners of the site on the grounds of their percieved lifestyle, or views on the legalisation of drugs, particularly when such a document is being circulated by people without the guts to put their names to the views that they are expressing. This letter makes no contribution to the debate over this issue and should be withdrawn immediately. Anyone recieving this poisonous garbage should consign it to its rightful place.

in the bin.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Friends, Families and Travellers.

Again on the Traveller issue. The Travellers who have purchased the Oak Meadow site are being supported by the organisation Friends, Families and Travellers. Those wishing to know more about that organisation and what it does can visit their website at:


Quarter Day.

I note, from reports on the news that today is Quarter Day that day when shops are expected to find the next quarters rent upfront. It would seem from what the retailers association are saying that for many small businesses this could be the last straw as the recession deepens and that the Retailers want landlords to move towards monthly, rather than quarterly, payment of rent. We can only hope that our remaining retail establishments will be able to meet their rents and that people will make every effort to shop locally, where possible, in order to enable them to do so.

Sticky Wicket.

A question for the local historians. Did Silverton ever have a cricket team and if so, where did they play ?. I can never remember hearing that we ever had a team which seems strange given that there are well established teams at Thorverton and Bradninch, and there is, or was, one at Killerton, but not one here. It seems odd given that Silverton has always been something of a sporting village when it came to football with the famous DEvon Junior Cup win in 1950. Perhaps land was too difficult to come by for a cricket pitch, or maybe prospective players were snapped up by our better established neighbouring teams.

Half Truths.

Continuing on the theme of the travellers site project. I have been informed that the original owher of the land, Mr Mark Weekes, sold the land to the purchasers having only been told that it was for the purpose of growing small trees. As I understand the situation, nothing was said about the construction of Yurts, or stands for extended family and co workers. It would therefore seem that Mr Weekes is an innocent party in this affair having been told considerably less then the whole truth about the purchasers intentions for the land they had purchased.

From a comment attached to yesterdays item it would seem that a letter is being circulated in the village that contains material in respect of the purchasers of the land that goes beyond opposition to the purchase on purely planning grounds. If some of this material is as stated by the commentator, I would find this concerning but I would not wish to comment further on this until I have seen the letter in full.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Proposed Travellers Site.

Just a brief update on this. One of our regular readers has discovered that the decision on this will not be taken by the council planning committee unless there is a call from a district councillor for it to do so, rather the final decision will be taken by a planning officer. Given that this issue is generating a good deal of heat within the village, there should at least be an opportunity for our democratically elected representitives to debate and decide on the issue.

Your district councillor is.

Councillor Lucille Baker.

email. lbaker@middevon.gov.uk

Phone (01884) 243502

The Systems Get More Complex And The Service Gets Worse.

I had occasion to phonr two major national organisations yesterday about financial matters and was once again annoyed by the service provided by both. I could not get through an automated line on the number supplied on a letter I received because the system refused to recognise a customer number I had been given and it proved impossible to speak to a human being because of this. I eventually had to phone another number entirely to find that the debt referred to in the letter I had originally received and which had been the reson for the phone call in the first place, had in fact, been written off nearly a year ago but no one had found it necessary to inform me.

The second phone call was to the Pensions Service regarding information regarding a change of circumstances that I had supplied to one of their officers, based in Tiverton, on feb 9th. It appears that the information did not arrive at the offices of the Pensions Service in Swansea until March 2nd and that a determination on a change of circumstances can take up to twenty eight days.

We are continually told that organisations are constantly being updated with the latest technology and staff seem to undergo neverending programmes of training and yet the service provided seems to get worse. If you had an issue with organisations such as the DWP or similar it used to be easy just to walk into your local office or contact them by phone and answers could be obtained. Now it seems that often you will be told that your case is being dealt with by some sub department on the other side of the country, or that the person you are talking to doesnt have access to your case. Then there are the endless, if necessary, security checks that you have to go through if you talk to anyone on the phone, which in the case of the banks, usually involve trying to remember some password that you set up years ago and rarely, if ever use, You cannot of course, find the password because when you set it up you were told not to write it down. Gone are the days when you could phone up your local bank branch and talk to someone who you probably have had face to face contact with at some stage. Now you copuld well be talking to some unfortunate computer operator in some foriegn land who understands your version of english about as much as you understand theirs and whose general knowledge of Britain comes from being forced to watch old editions of 'Coronation Street' or 'East Enders' as part of their training programme.

So we have now reached the stage where, if you have to contact a large national organisation by phone, you approach the task with dread. Crap systems, bored and overworked staff and disgruntled customers are the order of the day.

And you can bet your boots that somewhere in the background there is some smirking management or technology consultant who set the systems up, pocketing a big fat wad before transferring it on to his bank.

In Switzerland probably, where you can be sure that good old fasioned types of service are still the order of the day.

Back From The Depths.

We hear that Andrew Isaac has now undergone his major hip operation, which lasted some seven and a half hours, and was able to text his parents last night to say that he was 'back from the depths'. He will now begin a long period of convelescence and pysiotherepy.

I am sure that we all wish him well over the next few months and hope that his recovery proceeds smoothly..

Monday, 23 March 2009

Why This Must Be Opposed.

I was surprised to be contacted by Terry Tree and Kate this morning to be informed that members of the travelling community have purchased land off Hayne Lane and that permission is now being sought to establish a travellers site there.. It would seem that the purchasers of the land run beer gardens at music festivals and wish to establish a horticultural business at Hayne Lane and intend to live in two yurts to be erected there. They also want an additional pitch on the Oak Meadow site for the accomodation of co workers and members of their extended families. Their application is being supported by Friends, Families And Travellers, a travellers advice project.

The issue of travellers is obviously a contentious one for many rural communities. Travellers, Romany and otherwise, have been part of the British countryside for the best part of the past thousand years and the travvelling and settled communities have co existed more or less peacefully for most of that time. Problems have increasingly arisen since the 1970s when urban dwellers seeking an alternative lifestyle have taken to a travelling lifestyle, whilst the countryside has come under increasing pressure from urban development and expanding road networks making sites for travellers more difficult to obtain. The situation has not been helped by the failure of successive governments to develop a coherent strategy to minimise conflicts between those who follow the settled and travelling ways of life.

The Hayne Lane proposal must be opposed, in my view, because first and foremost, Hayne Lane is totally unsuitable for this type of development.As Derek and Lesley Vanstone point out in a letter of objection to Mid Devon Council, Hayne Lane already has an 8ft width restriction and is a single track private road. The Lane, nearly as far as the proposed development at Oak Meadow is a public right of way used by cyclists, walkers and people with prams and pushchairs. Because of this public safety needs to be a prime consideration in any consideration of this planning application. It is also pointed out in the letter of objection, that the open ended proposal connected with pich 2 makes no mention of how many vehicles and people thispitch might be expected to take. I consider that these considerations should be at the centre of objections to this proposal along with some wider considerations.

This blog has commented before on the difficult situation facing walkers on the Babylon Road and New Barn Roads regarding increasing traffic flow. This proposal would undoubtedly make an increasingly bad situation worse. Silverton already has serious problems because of poor road access and, if approved, this proposal would only increase the strain. It has also to be pointed out that Mid Devon has no traveller sites and one must suspect that this badly sited project could become the basis for something larger causing increasing friction between the travelling and settled communities. I also think that this proposal should be opposed because, yet again, a contentious proposal has been amatter of discussion between local government agencies and other bodies, no attempt has been made to inform or engage with the local community over an issue that is bound to be of concern to many.

Unfortunately, as with the recent matter of the wind turbine, there is only a short time to register objections. Objections must be with Mid Devon Council Planning Department by April 3rd.

Mothers Day Out.

Good to see so many families out yesterday celebrating Mothers Day. From what I could tell the pub and resteraunt trade must have had their best dayfor months, no doubt aided by the excellent early spring weather. Given that Easter is only three weeks away, the hospitality industry will be looking for another bumper day then in order to help stave off the effects of the recession.

Crossways Thrashed.

The Lamb Inn quiz team thrashed their opponents from The Crossways Tavern at Hele by a margin of 27 points last night at The Lamb. This should set us up well for the cup final against The Crossways in a few weeks time. Next week we make our final visit to The Merrymeade at Sampford Peverall for our last contest of the season against Merrymeade 'B'.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Spring Pictures.

As we move into spring, some changes to the pictures on the blog. Some of the winter pictures have now gone and I have added a couple of pictures of my mothers garden in King Street.

Happy Mothers Day.

A happy mothers day to all the mothers out there. I hope you have all been brought your breakfast in bed and are being taken out for an excellent lunch somewhere. I hope that none of our younger readers, the little tinkers, will have been resorting to the old trick of nicking flowers from graves in the churchyard to present to mother on Mothers Day. It has been known to happen in the past on occasion.

Big Day Ends.

So the big day ended with Ireland winning The Six Nations championship to the great delight of the resident England support at The Lamb who had rallied behind the Irish for the occasion. The few Welsh supporters visable vanished into the night.

The televised Rugby was followed by a performance by the band 'Off The Square' who play Irish traditional music. I didnt sray for the whole performance as it had been a long day, but I was interested to note that the first vocal number was 'Green Grow The Rushes Oh'. words by Robert Burns who seems to have become an honourary Irishman for the occasion, partly on the ground that one of the band was born in Dumfries, the town where Burns is buried.

'Off The Square' do a very tasteful line in traditional Irish music but I prefer something a bit more racous myself. Something a bit closer to The Pogues, or The Dubliners, or even the Wolfe Tones. The sort of stuff you can roar along with after a number of Jamiesons or a few pints of the black stuff, if that is your bag. The splendid single by The Pogues and The Dubliners ' The Irish Rover' gets it about right.

When I was about Glasgow and had occasionly to visit pubs like Bairds Bar and The Tollbooth, the resident bands and musicians usually had a line in rousing songs about the Easter Rising and volunteers with armalites. Not the sort of material that would go down too well in The Lamb Inn, I suspect.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Its The Big Day.

Its the big day for those who follow Rugby as the six nations contest reaches its climax. With England out of the running to win the championship all eyes will be on the WAles-Ireland match. I would imagine that those hostelries who show the games will be busy this afternoon and evening and it will be interesting to see who the England fans will swing behind in the final showdown. I am not a Rugby fan, but for historical reasons I shall be looking for an Ireland win.

Dawn Chorus.

I am one of these people who, if awakened at about five in the morning, finds it very difficult to sleep again. Unfortunately, the bird population of the village have now decided that five is about the time to have their dawn chorus, thus acting as an alarm clock, whether you want one or not. Instead of slumbering peacefully under your Duvet you are subject to the sounds of all the birds in the parish staking out there claims on territory and seeking mating partners. Were it possible to impose ASBO's on the bird life I would be seeking one now. I suppose I could shut the window but I prefer to have fresh air in my sleeping quarters. At least the birds responsible for my sleep disturbance are not seagulls as I had enough of their dawn racket when I lived by the coast in Scotland.

And on top of the birdsong we also have that damned Woodpecker who has featured here before. Drilling and drilling and drilling away as the sun comes up.

Bloody wildlife.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Cutting The Grass.

I was out cutting the grass at the rear of our King Street office for the first time this year. Not having used a Strimmer for a number of years, I had forgotton how much hard work these things are. There is something to be said, in my view, in allowing your grass to grow longer and provide a home for the local wildlife. This is not the view of those who like their lawns neat and their edges tidy.


According to the BBC weather forecaster at lonchtime, we passed the Equinox this morning, the time when the hours of daylight become more then the hours of darkness. I had thought that this always fell on March 21st but it would seem that it is a bit more variable then that. Next week we see the start of British Summer Time, so its probably about time to start dusting off the barbie and getting ready for the fun in the sun to come.

Thats after we have had the inevitable cold spell and storms that come when we have the equinox and BST.

Mothers Day/Fathers Day.

On sunday we shall have what used to be known as Mothering Sunday and is now known as Mothers Day. When I was young this day was celebrated simply by children brining bunches of flowers to their mothers, but now, largely due to the greeting card industry, it has turned into a major event on the calender with fortunes being spent on cards and local hostelries being booked solid for family meals in celebration of the day of motherhood.

Later in the year, we now have Fathers Day, a more recent invention designed to get the cardmakers some more income celebrating fatherhood. The two days though are celebrated differently. Fathers tend to get beermugs and CDs rather then being taken outr for a meal and its interesting to speculate why. Do men still not have the culinary skills that they can cook a meal on Mothers Day rather then going out for one, or is it that Mothers Day is a far more established family celebration. On the other side of the equation, do women still feel inhibited about taking men out for a meal and paying for it, or do men still find being taken out by a woman problematic, or do women still not have the economic clout to take the family out.

One for the sociologists to ponder on.

Left Over Right, Right Over Left.

An interesting question for the psychologists out there. Mrs Frost is one of the lefy handed community and has noticed that when she sits on a sofa or chair with her legs crossed they are left over right. She has also noticed that right handers in the same position sit with their limbs crossed, generally, right over left. Does left handedness affect they way that people arrange their limbs in such situations ?. I would be very surprised if some research has not been carried out on the subject by somebody, somewhere.


Myself and Mrs Frost had occasion to look at the shopping channels on TV last night and if anything is gauranteed to make you question whether having another few hundred channels is a good thing or not, a quick view of some of the shopping channels is likely to make you wonder. Tat jewellry at knockdown prices and tat fasions that only those of a very eccentric turn of mind would be likely to wear, however much the prices are reduced. Then you have the presenters who have to sit there for hours promoting rubbish that in the world outside, they would go a thousand miles to avoid. Selling crap on the TV shopping channels must be the equivelant of what they did to disgaced officials in the old Soviet Union when they were packed off to run a power station in Siberia.

Shopping channels are definately not good for your soul, or your sanity.

Another Belated Birtday Greeting.

Belated birthday greetings for yesterday to Viv Catlin. The blog is always more than happy to post birthday greetings for Silvertonians and Silvertonians in exile. If you have one upcoming just email us.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Get Well.

I hear that one of our occasional comments contributors, Miles, has been unwell and has had a short stay in Hospital. We hope that he makes a speedy and full recovery.

Ruffwell Rumour.

Rumour has it, that The Ruffwell may have been bought by someone from the Crediton area, who already has an interest in pubs and restauraunts. We shall keep you updated.

The Road To Red Cross.

In the 'We Live Here' plan attention is given to proposals for a footpath leading from the square to the bottom of Upexe Lane. I would contend that there is also a case to be made for a footpath from the end of Park Road to Red Cross.

When I was young, the road from the village to Red Cross was a popular walk on a sunday afternoon and was a route often walked by those living in Ellerhayes. To walk this road now is taking your life in your hands due to the volume of traffic and the speed it travels along that road. Besides being the main route by which you can walk to Ellerhayes it is also the route that can take you to the longer route to Babylon and Stumpy Cross and if you turn right at Red Cross you can access the road to Greenslinch ,Ford Farm and the steep hill that takes you onto the Criss Cross- Bradninch roads. If we want to give people the maximum safe access to the countryside around the village a footpath to Red Cross would be a useful addition to the current plans.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

If Walls Could Talk.

The phrase 'if walls could talk' is probably one that intruiges us all. If the walls of Silverton suddenly developed the ability to talk I am sure that they would have much to tell us about the history of the village and the people that have passed through down the centuries. They could tell us about the old markets and those who traded there, about the armies that passed through and those who went off to fight in wars both foriegn and domestic, and never returned, and about the various fires that we know laid much of the village to ruin at various times in its history.

Whilst I am sure that the historians would be delighted with the talking walls of Silverton, once the walls moved on to talking about the doings of more recent times, many in the village might become a bit more nervous. I am sure that a good few relationships would be heading for the knackers yard if the walls started talking about who got up to what with who, where and when. I am sure that the nooks and crannies of this village have seen enough going on within our lifetimes to send many of our current neighbours heading for the first boat to Australia. And I suspect that some of the revelations would have more then a few looking very closely at their own parentage.

So we must all hope that the walls of Silverton retain their silence.

Now and forever.

English Culture.

I know its a bit early yet but its worth reminding ourselves that it is St Georges Day next month and I was wondering if anyone will be organising a celebration of English culture. If we have Irish night, and quite rightly so, surely someone could organise an English Night. The problem is, what does popular English culture consist of. The best that I could come up with was a couple of readings from Shakespeare, some roast beef sandwiches, a few pints of Bombardier, and a bit of Morris dancing.

Perhaps others can come up with their own suggestions.

Off The Square.

I have been asked by Dave Wright to remind our readers that the band 'Off The Square' will be playing traditional Irish music at the Irish Night event in The Lamb on saturday 21st march. Dave says that they will be kicking off at 8.30pm, Irish time.

Darts Update.

A brief darts update. Lamb 'A' defeated the Trout by a narrow 5-4 margin on monday night.

On The Hills.

Being that it was again a splendid spring morning I had the dogs on the blog on the march to the top of Criss Cross this morning. It is great to see the daffodils out now and the buds beginning to appear on the frees and bushes. The view from the top of the hill was diminished by some mist and low cloud however, and there is still a noticeably cool wind. All that being said though, it is great to see the spring coming upon us after such a cold winter. Good also to note that the top of criss cross seems to be free of litter dumping at present.l

Old Names

I was thinking this morning about old street names within the village that are no longer in use. As we have mentioned in an earlier post from last year, all the roads around what is now Coach Road were known collectively as Lily Lake until the late sixties. Sadly, none of them remained under that name, and from memory, the residents were never consulted on the name change. King Street was more popularly known as Back Lane well into my lifetime and the small track that runs from Silverdale towards Pigs Park was known as Forden Lane. The lane that runs from Newcourt Road to Exeter Road was Balls Lane and Church Terrace was still known by older residents as Navigators Row after the Navvies who lodged there either during the construction of the new Tiverton road that bypassed the village (1832 ?) or the construction of the Exe Valley line later in the nineteenth century, perhaps graham Parnell can put us straight on that one. Then of course there was High Bullen at the top of High Street, site probably of the Bullring from the days when Silverton was a market town. Finally we have School Road which was also known as Welsh Road at one time.

If anyone knows of any others let us know.


Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The Exorcists.

I see from the BBC News site, that following the removal of the President of Madagascar by an army coup, crowds have now moved in to excorcise the evil spirits they think occupied the presidential palace even digging up the floor in search of them..

I hope this does not catch on, There could be a nasty mess at 10 Downing Street if Gordon gets the boot and the state of the community hall floor after the next parish council elections would not bear thinking about.


I was interested to see that discussions are still going on about placing a BMX facility in the 'Rec'. I used to live not too far from such a facility in Prestwick and it was very well used and popular with those still young enough to risk their necks with such pursuits. Perhaps a Crazy Golf course on the Hall Site might also be a useful addition to Silverton's leisure industry.

Happy St Patricks Day.

Today, of course, is the day that the world turns green. This happens not because of ecological necessity, but because the Irish at home and abroad, together with those who wish they were Irish, celebrate the patron saint of that green land, not too far away, by wearing the green and, in some American cities, even dyeing the beer green. Also, in the US, as in Dublin, Belfast and all places with any significant Irish presence, their will be massive parades, although why the parades in the states are lead by what are essentially scottish pipe bands is beyond me.

So we say, happy St Patricks Day to all our readers who may be Irish, or those of Irish descent. I shall not be downing a pint of the black stuff this evening however as I find it rather heavy going.

A glass of Jamiesons might be in order though.

Another One Joins The Bus Pass Crew.

Birthday greetings today, appropriately enough given the day that it is, to Patrick Fleming who has now reached the grand old age of 60 and will be getting the gold plated bus pass. Dont forget, 60 is not the beginning of the end merely the end of the beginning and you will be able to stride forth across the hills and moors with Bobby secure in the knowledge that if the knees give out you can always get a free bus ride home.

Monday, 16 March 2009


With the departure of Flos from amongst us, we now have a vacancy on the blog for an animal senior citizen. If anyone would like to contribute a photo of their ageing moggy,rabbit or dog we would be only too pleased to publish it. Parrots are acceptable but no rats, snakes or creepy crawlies thanks.

Peerhaps someone has an aged Goldfish like the one that used to live in Bradninch.

Happier Times.

I have now added a photo of Flos and the last lamb that she raised which had been an orphaned lamb.

Thanks to Bob Lewis for the photo..

Fashionable Dogs.

I own a dog which is mainly Patterdale terrier. I had never heard of Patterdale's until a few years ago, although once I saw pictures of them, I realised that the dog that my late wife owned when I first met her in the mid 80s was a Patterdale rather than just being a mongrel as I had always though. It now seems that these hardy little dogs have become quite trendy and are now to be found far from their original homes in the Lake district and the south of Scotland. As I have never owned a trendy dog before, I suppose that I should take this into account to set against his rather unruly nature. Patterdale's are working dogs in their natural environment and although they generally have a good temprement can be rather difficult to train. They also tend not to like cats or anything small and furry, so they do best in households where the temptation to slaughter is not a major factor.

However trendy Patterdale's may be, I can assure all our readers that you are unlikely ever to see Rory parading about the village in a designer jacket and matching boots. He is just not that sort of chap. If he wore clothes I suspect it would be a very well worn leather jacket and some DM's.

Working class gear for working class terriers.

Lights Out.

I notice from the local papers that there seems to be increasing support for turning off street lighting for part of the hours of darkness. I dont know if the parish council has discussed this issue yet but those of us with long memories will remember that total darkness after midnight was the norm as late as the 1970s. Times are now different and I am in two minds as to whether this would be a good move or not. Obviously there is the issue of energy saving and less light pollution on one side of the coin, but on the other you have more crime and the fact that with the changes to the liscensing laws in recent years, there tend to be more people about later, especially at weekends.There are certainly people who I know who would be extremely hazardous to themselves and others after one too many shandy's with the street lights off. Perhaps it would be safer if total darkness was avoided on friday and saturday nights.

Something for our decision makers to think about

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Flos RIP.

I am sorry to have to report the death of Flos the sheep. Flos will have been familier to the fishing community who use the Prispen Pond and to readers of this blog from her photo. Flos, who waas aged about 17 and may have been the oldest sheep in Devon, was taken ill yesterday morning and had to be put to sleep yesterday afternoon. She will be sadly missed by all her friends and by those who followed her activities more recently on Twitter. We send our condolances to Biob and Sheila and a photo of Flos in happier times will be posted here tomorrow.

It Won't Work.

The cheif medical officer for England and Wales wants to introduce a minimum price of 50p per unit in order to feter binge drinking. I cant see this working as it will hit the middle class wine drinker disproportionately as against those who swill dirt cheapLager. I would have thought that a clampdown on some of the really cheap booze deals might be more effective but I would have thought that any government would be wary of introducing measures that might increase unemployment in the licensed trade even further in the midst of a recession


It looks as though spring is finally arriving. The birds are singing, the daffodils are out and the sound of the lawnmowers are beginning to echo across the land. Therefore, its time to get going in those dark corners of the house where the dust has been gathering through the winter and to clear out the rubbish from the garden shed. Out with the old !. Given the credit crunch, perhaps its time to organise a car boot, or garage sale as one persons junk is another persons dearest need. If the stuff is unsaleable, the tip awaits.

As with our houses, so wsith our minds. Time to clear out our winter blues and to look forward to the spring and summeer with all the promise that those seasons hold for new experiences and relationships and perhaps its time to get our bodies in order also. Get out those exercise bikes and rowing machines and try walking to the pub instead of getting a lift.

So throw upen your windows and your minds and get sprincleaning.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Phone Scam.

There was an item on the radio this morning about a new phone scam that is currently under investigation. It seems that purchasers of mobile phones are being phoned up by companies offering them cheap mobile phone insurance. The way this works is that the scammers buy a new mobile and then phone the numbers immediately ajecent to their own new number until they get an answer. Having obtained the bank details of their victims they then disappear.

A con to remember when buying a new mobile.

Life Is Like A Teabag.

Here is a thought.

Life is like a teabag. When your life is dipped into the greater cup of existence the longer your life is, the greater the flavour that it will add to the great cup of the universe. The flavour will also be stronger if it is stirred and added to the other strong flavours of those we meet along the way. So dont forget, whether you might be a pyramid or circular, with perforations or without, try to make sure that your flavour is at its strongest before your string is pulled.

That thought was brought to you by The Reverend I.M Loghtfinger, of The Church Of The Latter Day Adventist Martyrs, Cayman Islands. Donations welcme.

I am sure we will be hearing more of the wisdom of the reverend Lightfinger in the days and weeks to come.

Bunny Rescue.

Regulars at The Lamb Inn were able to reunite a lost rabbit with its owners last night. Maxine Edwards had found the stray bunny lurking in her garden after a confrontation with a cat and asked in the bar for advice on rabbit maintenance. It then emerged that the rabbit, a serial absconder, belonged to one of the waitresses and had escaped from a house in Wyndham Road. Rabbit and owners will be reunited today.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Sad Anniversary.

I had forgotten until I was looking at the BBC website earlier, that today is the thirteenth anniversary of the Dunblane Massacre when Thomas Hamilton gunned down 16 pupils and teachers at Dunblane primary school in Scotland before turning the gun on himself. I remember hearing the news of this on the radio whilst at work on my estate in Prestwick and experiencing a feeling of total disbelief.

While I know that many in the shooting community find the gun laws over intrusive, at least we in this country have experienced nothing like Dunblane since the availability of firearms was curtailed. Events this week in Germany and Alabama remind us that in other parts of the world it is only still too easy for those with disordered personalities to get their hands on firearms in order to fufil their most violent fantasies.

Irish Music.

The band, 'Off The Square' will be playing their brand of Irish traditional music at the Lamb Inn, on Saturday 21st march. So if you are up for a bit of belated St Patricks Day shenanigans the Lamb Inn will be the place to be.

After Ireland have beaten England in the Six Nations, of course.

Ruffwell Sold.

It seems that a 'sale agreed' notice has gone up at the Ruffwell Hotel. At the moment the buyer is unknown and consequently we do not know whether the building will continue as a pub and eaterie.

Friday The Thirteenth pt 2.

Just as you thought it was safe to come out from under the duvet, here we go again. That dreaded combination of friday and the number thirteen is with us for the second time in two months. I must admit that I did not hear of any major disasters in the village the last time the date came around, but perhaps fate is saving something really nasty up for us this time around.

Time then, to pull up the duvet again and wait til its its all over.

Under the duvet with your supply of chocolate and a cup of coffee within easy reach. You should be safe enough there.

Cue, creepy film music and a sinister shadow falls across the doorway.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Chocolate Tax Update

I see, that since posting the earlier item on the proposal to tax chocolate, Scottish GP's have voted to oppose the proposal.

Well done the Scottish GP's.


I wonder where our readers will be taking their holidays this year. I wonder if the credit crunch will be turning them away from Marbella and sending them towards Minehead, or whether Portugal has been binned in favour of Padstow, or are people just going to keep heading abroad as long as their financial situation allows. Many of course will do just that. I dont see the 18-30 generation heading for Weston Super Mare, or the Himalayan backpackers getting excited over a trip to Haytor, but I suspect a lot of families will be getting the tent out of the loft or looking for a bargain weekend in Brighton. Perhaps its time that we in the village looked at expanding our tourist facilities, perhaps some enterprising persons could redevelop the old Londis store as a youth hostel.

I shall be heading off for my break at the end of april and perhaps not unsurprisingly, I shall be heading for my old haunts in the west of scotnad and staying at The Carlton Hotel in Prestwick. http://www.carlton-prestwick.com Perhaps more people will be persuaded to explore areas like Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway now that the economic outlook looks set to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future.

Oppose This Suggestion.

I noticed on the lunchtime news today, a suggestion which will outrage all right thinking people. A doctor in Scotland, obviously a trained member of the healh police, has suggested that in order to fight the scourge of obesity, extra taxes should be placed on chocolate. It seems then, that after the attack on the soft target of tobacco and the mounting campaign against alcohol, chocolate is to be next on the agenda. Those who find simple pleasures in a chocolate buscuit with their cup of coffee will soon be subject to more taxation. I suspect that most chocoholics will sigh and pay up if the evil day ever comes.

Whilst understanding the dangers inherent in overeating and overindulging in drink, the current campaigns against even the minimum of what keeps people sane in an ever more insane world has sinister undertones of the past. I wonder how long it will be before we see endless clips in news bulletins showing masses of fit young persons doing exercises in stadiums and extolling the virtures of health and efficiency as was the case in nazi germany. The ever growing obsession with controlling and regulating our pleasures is just another example of the nasty smell of semi fascism that is creeping into so much of public life nowadays.

New Grandparents.

Congratulations to Cristine and Miles on the arrival of their first grandchild, Jackson Browne, born yesterday. Whilst welcoming Jackson to the world, we can only hope that he does not take after the title of one of his namesakes most famous songs- The Pretender.

Congratulations, of course also to Bill Hacking on becoming a Great Grandfather.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Lonely Hearts Club.

I wonder if its time we had a Silverton Lonely Hearts Club. There must be plenty of unattatched people in the village who would like to meet a significant other, from within our own community rather then trawling the internet, or contacting one of the overpriced dating agencies. Perhaps we could have speed dating in the community hall or perhaps one of the pubs could have an occasional singles night.

The drawback to the idea, I suppose, is that, even with the constant turnover of people in the village, most of the unattached will know each other either personally or by reputation, and doubtlessly in some cases the reputation will not be of the best.Who knows though, a specifically singles group might allow people to meet and get to know each other in a different light.

Has for those already attached who want to meet someone new to spice up your lofe you can always just do the usual.

Car keys in the basket after the next party/

Getting A bit Blogged Out.

The village seems to be very quiet at the moment and I am running a bit short of ideas for the blog.Its difficult keeping up the pace day after day and sometimes you get a bit flat. If any of our readers have any ideas for subjects that we have not covered we would only be too glad to consider them.

Dirty Dumpers Strike Again.

Sorry to see this morning that a small but noticeablr collection of bottles and cans seems to have been dumped at the side of the Meade footpath overnight.

No excuse for that at all.

Collectors Corner.

I suppose that many of us have been collectors at some points in our lives. Like many of my age and sex I was a collector of Dinky Toys when young, but also like many of my age and sex got rid of them and have been staggered in recent years to find that what I threw away is now worth serious money. I then moved on to stamp collecting for a while,, at one time having an interesting collection of stamps from countries and city states such as Danzig, thast no longer exist. In my mid and late teens I had a sizeable collection of 1950s and 60s Science Fiction mags such as Astounding Science Fiction and Galaxy and, of course, was a serious record collector for a time. My collecting habits of recent times, well the mid seventies on, has been collecting what would be termed, political ephemera, leaflets and flyers handed out at rallies, demonstrations and on the streets. Oddly, the one major event that I have little record of is the one being remembered now - the miners strike, but I have material from most of the other major events of the past few decades as well as a lot more obscure stuff.

Others collect even more specialist items. A neighbour of mine in Scotland had a vast collection of china pigs, others collect such things as thimbles and fountain pens and some have even been known to collect such things as different types of barbed wire. Collecting is usually, except when it becomes obsessional, a harmless and sometimes financially rewarding pastime where you can build up a varied and sometimes lifelong group of friends who share the same interests.

Whether that group of people who seem to find endlessly collecting members of the opposite sex should be encouraged is another matter entirely.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Jackdaws In Your Loft.

Bob Lewis reports that he had a busy day on monday removing Jackdaw nesting material from his loft. Although Jackdaws, like most of the Crow famiuly, are markedly intelligent, they are not one of my favourite birds being a bit too greedy and destructive for my likibg, although there are people I know, who have kept them sucessfully as pets. The real question is though, what other wildlife lurk in your lofts, bats maybe, or mice nibbling away at your stored posessions, or even their mored unpleasent rat reletives.If you are lucky you might have something like owls, but its more likely, I suppose to be the aforementioned rodents or matbe their squirrel cousins. Still, at least its good to be able to tell our friends that we are doing our bit for nature preservation.

Even if it is only in the loft.

More On Allotments.

Is it correct, as has been reported to us, that if more than twelve people in a village are waiting to get an allotment the local authority is obliged to aquire more land for the purpose ?>

I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor.

One of the great arena'a for making a prat of yourself is at the local disco after a few pints of whatever brew floats your boat. Even the most conservative and staid middle aged bloke gets a touch of the John Travoltas when they reach a certain level of inebriation and we have discussed womens capacity for handbag dancxing before. When this stage of the evening is reached inhibitions go out the window and arms and legs fly in all directions as males try and outdo each other in attemts at mad, drunken mating rituals and their fenale counterparts let loose their hidden talents as steamy seductresses of the dancefloor ambushing every stil verticle male in sight and envoloping them with their charms, however uninviting they might usually find their usually overwhelmed partners when sober.

And then of course, before the night is out, both sexes make total arses of themselves when performing to classics such as 'The Timewarp', 'Saturday Night' and 'The Birdie Song'.

You always look and feel good on the dancefloor until the photos come out the next day. Then with the woodpecker still firmly on your shoulder its time to hide under the duvet until other have become the object of embarrassment.

Mid Life Crisis.

We live in an age of ever extending lifespans and, in the western world at least,people are generally remaining fitter longer then at any time in history. In terms of people remaining active 70 is now the new 60 and even articulate and active centenarians are now not unknown.

So when are we now entitled to have the fabled mid life crisis, that time when the approach of old age and failing powers drives people into behaviour designed to reassure all that they can still cut the mustard. Years ago when men reached 35-40 they developed an interest in fast cars and traded their partners in for younger, sleeker models, or aquired their secretary as a secret mistress to be taken out to locations where they could impress even males who were strangers with their continuing pulling power. Meanwhile their female equivelants aquired boob jobs and headed off into the sunset with turkish waiters they had met on the last package holidays.

Now things are different, the age of foolishness has extended up the age range into the late 40s, 50s and even in some cases into the 60s and some seem now capable of having mid life crises that last for decades and involve multiple changes of partners, occupations and vehicles. The day cannot be far off when mid life crises will be even taking place after people enter care homes when, even with their memories failing, those affected still feel the pull of needing to stay long. Perhaps its time we all recognised that life is one long crisis from birth to death and no amount of turning back the clock can cha\nge the fact.

Perhaps we just have to learn to live with the fact that nothing we can do can stop the clock ticking.

As the Hymn teaches us.

'Time like an ever rolling stream bears all its sons away'.

No amount of new cars, mistresses or tummy tucks can beat that reality.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Napping Risk.

According to the BBC news website, a conference in Glasgow is to be told that napping during the day can increase your risk of developing type 2 Diabetes. So perhaps its time to ditch ' The Power Hour. and make sure you get a better sleep at night.

Crashed Out.

Interesting to see what 'spoofing' for shots of Jamisons can do to one. Iy can lead to people suddenly having the urge to dive off barstools with the consequent risk to life and limb.

Sticking to lager is probably safer.

Potholes Again.

Nice to see that the large pothole that we reported on near to Babylon House has now been repaired. Hopefully, we shall see some action soon on the potholes in New Barn Road.

Village Voice.

I understand that one of our 'Followers' Reuben Tubbs seems likely to become the 'Village Voice' for council tenants in our community providing a link between the tenants andMid Devon District Council. We wish Reuben all the best in his new position and hope that this will enable tenants to obtain better services from MDDC.

The Woodpecker On Your Shoulder.

Just at the moment, if you live around Wyndham Road or Coach Road, you can, from a very early hour, hear the sound of a Woodpecker at work drilling away somewhere in the branches of Broad Oak. After a heavy night in the pub someone we know said that it sounded and felt as though the Woodpecker was on his shoulder attacking his head. I am sure that most of us have had that feeling at some time in our lives. For some it is a regular occurance.

Yes, its that feeling when you wake up in the morning and realise that a bloke with a sledgehammer is at work in your head whenever you move and that it feels as though people have been dancing on your stomach. Whatever pleasures you may have temporarily gained from last nights excesses are now replaced by the dread knowledge that pleasures have to be paid for, up to and including in the worst cases conversations down the big, white telephone. As you suffer under the duvet you swear by all you hold dear that you will never touch another drop, but by lunchtime many feel that a trip to the pub for a 'hair of the dog' is just the thing to straighten you out. Usually this is not the case. The best thing in the circumstances is usually a brisk walk with the dog and a day or two on the fruit juice and to try to remember the full horrors of what happens when you get the woodpecker on your shoulder.

Sunday Quiz Result.

The Lamb Inn quiz team defeated Merrymeade 'A' at The Lamb last night by a margin of 70 points to 55. We have a week off next week and then it will be another home match on March 22nd, this one against The Crossways Tavern.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Skiing Party Back.

Good to see that the Lamb Inn skiing party returned all in one piece yesterdayafternoon. From the numourous phoiographs that are in circulation it would seem that a good time was had by all and from verbal reports it would seem that Anglo=Austrian relations were not too damaged by their visit.


Its often said that you can choose your friends but not your family. Good friends are often a lot closer than family just because they are apart from the sibling rivalry and internal jealousies that seem to mark out most family relationships. I suppose some of our closest friendships come about in childhood and adolesence but many do not survive the personal changes that we go through in those parts of our lives, I dont think that I have any close friends from that period. Then there are friends that you make through college or work and some of those can last a lifetime. Also, sometimes people who have been in a romantic relationship retain each other as friends long after the flames of love have died and there are those whose friendship stops just this side of an entanglement, so near but so far away.

Some people find it easier to have friends of the opposite sex then those of their own, My closest friendships have always been with women whether or not they have ever led on to relationships of a more intimate kind. I know that there are women who find the same degree of affinity with men, I suppose that we just enjoy the diffeent perspective that the other sex can give to life's ups and downs. The lucky people are those who can find a partner who is also their best friend. Its not always easy to find someone who is on the same wavelength in both departments, but sometimes it happens.

I would rather have one good friend in whom I can trust than a whole load of casual aquintences. Those who have pubs as the centre of their social life know that it is easy to mistake those with whom we become friendly after a couple of pints with friends for life. People who make that mistake often get a rude awakening when it turns out that a secret you have told to someone over a few beers becomes the talk of the Bar room. Friendships and alcohol do not always mix.

So lets hear it for our true friends. Those we can ring up in the night when yhings get bad, or those who will drop everything to come and celebrate with us when we have good fortune. Let us always be grateful for those who know our innermost secrets and our weaknesses and dont judge us badly for any of it. and lets always make sure that our friends always know how much we value them and what they bring to our lives.


Your schooldays are often said to be the best days of your life. I suspect that those who say that are either schoolteachers with a vested interest in promoting their profession or, former pupils who are now suffering from selective memory loss. School, like life in general was, unless you were lucky enough to have inspirational teachers, boring and often monotonous and when not in class, much of your life seemed to revolve around trying to maintain, or improve your position in the pupils pecking order.

There were of course, subjects you liked and those you loathed with a passion. I hated maths and could never get my head around any of it and I also struggled with science. Sport was a total turn off for me as was anything to do with woodwork and metal work. History, Geography, music and english were a different matter and I was not adverse to a bit of Drama. My artistic talents however are now, as then, next to zero. I cant say that I remember my schooldays as being the best days of my life merely as a part of life over which you had little personal control and which had to be got through.

So, if you have the urge to tell us which subjects you loved or hated, the floor is yours.

Saturday, 7 March 2009


More people than ever seem to use long distance coaches and yet the service provided has deteriorated steadily over the years. When I first started travelling fro Exeter to Scotland in the mid 1980s you had a direct service to Glasgow that only stopped in Bristol and Preston to change drivers and drop and pick up passengers. The coches had an on board hostess service and showed films and the journey took about eight hours. Now, you have to change in Birmingham if you go by day, their is no hostess service and you have to put up with rushed meals in service stations, and if you travel overnight you have to be prepared for a twelve hour journey. No amount of cheap internet ticket offers can disguise the fact that the service is worse and that the service only survives because it is cheap, if anything but cheerful.

Individul Darts Competition.

I see that The Silverton Inn is runnung an individual darts competition starting on saturday march 14th. Details can be found on the board outside the pub.

More Food.

Following on from roasts and the english breakfast does anyone still eat tea at five PM, complete with sandwiches, a cup of tea and sticky cakes to follow ?. When I was young my favourite sandwiches contained tomato and I ate them on a daily basis for years. We used to have our friends around for tea before going out to play, or when we got older, to do our homework. Back then of course, you didnt have the vast array of teas to drink that you have now and it was usually Brooke Bond or PG Tips as advertised by the chimps on TV.

When I think of the meals that we got through when young, its surprising that the obesity crisis did not start a lot earlier, but then, we were far more physically active. Even in winter you had burned off your tea before suppertime.

Six Inches Of Pleasure ?.

Whilst discussion portable entertainment devices yesterday, one that we missed wasa the small portable TV sets with six inch screens that had a brief period of popularity a few years back. I remember travelling on coaches with owners of these tiny sets who seemed to think that they werre doing well if they got some sort of fuzzy picture for ten minutes or so at a time. These now seem to have been replaced by the portable DVD player which, at leasst is viewable. I believe that the portable DVD is also now used to keep children amused on long car journeys. We only had i-spy in my day. At least that tested your powers of observation.

A Good Book...

It is often said that you are never alone if you have a good book at hand. There have been many times in my life when I have found this to be all too true. When unemployed and not in a position to go out much I made great use of the local travelling library, a public service like so many others that seems to have deteriorated over the years in terms of the service that it offers. A good book can take you out of your mundane existence and take to places that you wouldotherwise never have gone and brings you into contact with people, real or imaginary, that you would never otherwise have met and opens you up to ideas that you would never otherwise have encountered.

Now we have the internet and ebooks and bookson CD and podcasts of books and a whole vast world of literature is available to us by electronic means that those alive at the invention of the printing press, or even when the elder amongst us could never have imagined when young. Despite all that there is nothing quite like sittting down in a quiet place with a favorite novel, or the anticipation of opening a highly recommended new one.

Friday, 6 March 2009


Nothing to report today from the Austrian skiing front. I dont know whether there has been a communications failure, or whether no one is still fit enough to send Louise an update. Never mind, the whole story wil probably come out when the skiing party returns home tomorrow.

Community Hall Market.

Dont forget folks, The mini market will be held in the Miullenium Hall tomorrow morning starting at 10.00am.

Left To Their Own Devices.

One of the great change overe the past thirty yearss in the way that we experience music amd listen to radio, is the rise of personal listening devices from the personal stereo of the 1980s to the Ipod and the MP3 players on our phones that we know today. The first iconic listening device was the Sony Walkman cassette player which was soon followed by a host of imitators. The walkman seemed to become a particular favourite of the jogging classes who soon made it part of their uniform. It was followed in the 90s by the personal CD players which often had FM radio receivers integrated into them and then, in this decade by the Ipod and the mobile phone both of which often have enough storage to accomodate whole music libraries. We also now have MP4 players that you can store libraries of film and photographs on and devices like the Blackberry that integrate with the Internet. A long way from the humble Walkman.

Using any of these devices in public of course, creates types of behaviour, especially on public transport/ You have the type who puts on their headphones as soon as they get on the bus with the obvious intention of, by doing so, avoiding conversation with anyone in the surrounding area. Then you have the hummers and tappers and those who like to tell anyone who will listen about the extent of yjeir collection of obscure heavy metal bands, then there are, of course, those who just like to make sure that everyone on the bus is aware that they have the latest, and most trendy, listening device, not by telling people, but by having it prominently on display. I dont doubt that now we have devices that can display photos we probably have the type of bore who likes to show everyone two thousand photographs of his last holiday on the Norfolk Broads or Marbella, but luckily I have yet to meet one. Lucky also, I suppose that most public transport is designed in such a way to prevet people doing dance routines and personal Karaoke is definately frowned upon.

Myself, I just sit quietly in my corner seat and listen to whatever music takes my fancy with the simple aim of whiling the time away.

Breakfast Time..

We recently ran a post about where you can get a full english breakfast and this made me wonder how many people still regularly eat this nightmare of the health police? .When I was young I had a brekfast that consisted of fried egg, fried potato, bacon and sometimes sausage and it was only later in life that I turned to healthier eating to start my day. I cannot imagine, given the busy lives that those in work now have that the fried breakfast is much more then a weekend treat for most and I suppose that the rise of the Meusli munchers has also had a drastic effect on peoples morning diet but what do our readers eat ?. There are some, I know, who opt for a cup of coffee and a slice of toast or a bowl of cornflakes. Then there are those who hereoically plough through two Shredded Wheat. I must admit that I ring the changes a bit and aftedr a long period on Fruit and Fibre am now on peanut butter covered toast.

O restrict my sampling of the full english breakfast to when I am on holiday...

In Scotland.

Brelated Birthday Greetings- Bob Lewis.

Belated birthday greetings for yesterday to Bob Lewis now 64. After a distinguished academic career, Bib in retirement, is now well known for his role as Flos the sheep's publicist and close friend.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Snow Joke.

Just as you thought that spring had sprung and it was safe to take off a layer of clothes, we woke up this morning to snow on the ground and more traffic disruption in many parts of Devon. Luckily, now we are into march, most of the lying snow only lasted for a short time at our level. It does however remind us that march can be a very deceptive month weatherwise.

Down Hill and Out Of Control - Backwards.

The latest text received by Louise at The Lamb from the Austrian skiing front informs us that a certain well kmown local piemaker, whose usual forward speed on ski's is about 5 mph, was seen heading backwards down a slope at about 20 mph, narrowlyavoiding a steep drop. Luckily, no harm was done. Further updates from Austria when we have them..

Ruffwell Lane.

I noticed this morning that the top end of Ruffwell Lane is again almost blocked by flooding. I dont know whose remit this lane comes under, but this seems to be the second time in a month that this problem has arisen. Is it a blocked drain ?.

Happy St Pirans Day.

A happy St Pirans day to all our Cornish readers, if there are any, and to those of Cornish descent. We hope that you will be celebrating your patron saints day this evening with a pint of Tinners Ale and a nice, big pasty.


I think we may have touched on the subject of snoring and its disruptive effect on relationships before, but I was interested to see a discussion on this issue on television this morning. It would seem that for many women getting a good nights sleep has now replaced good sex on their personal agenda. It seems that when they meet each other and ask such questions as 'when did you last get any' 'how long did it last' or is it a regular occurance' they are not referring to nights of passion, but satisfactory periods of sleep, and snoring, along with Duvet hogging and partners flailing their limbs about like windmills seems to be the major consideration.

I cant believe, howevere, that women do not have similar habits, I know for instance that my late wife was a formidable Duvet hogger and I am sure that others could tell similar tales. If your female partner has disruptive habits in bed feel free to post them here.

Anonymously, of course.

Loo'ed Behaviour.

The question has arisen as to what men read when ensconsed in the loo. I am informed that women do not see the need to take reading material with them when they visit 'the smallest room in the house' so but perhaps men know otherwise. Still, as men seem to be the main participators in this activity, what do you read ?.

Some of course, will be students of the racing pages and others will be students of page three. The more monetary inclined will no doubt be studying the Financial Times whilst others perhaps follow more exotic pursuits and read such publications as 'The Ringing World'. Tof a political bent perhaps keep up with world events reading 'The Daily Telegraph' or those at the other end of the political spectrum may use their time in the loo to keep up with the class struggle in the pages of 'Socialist Worker', or, for the benefit of Steve B if he still glances at these pages from time to time, 'The Socialist'. Then there may be those who prefer literature to the newspapers and are working their way through 'The Collected Works Of William Shakespeare' or 'War And Peace' the slow way. If you have favourite reading material for the loo, please let us know.

As for your blogger, he is one of those lucky people whose trips to the loo are of short duration. I am rarely there long enough to keep up with the latest doings of Flos the sheep on Twitter.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Followers Of Flos.

Bob Lewis tells us that Flos the sheep now has ten followers on Twitter, some from as far away as the US. Why people in the US would be interested in the daily doings of an elderly sheep in a field in Devon is beyond me, but I suppose it takes all sorts to make a world.

Perhaps its time the Dogs On The Blog got a Twitter account.

Thick As Mince.

It seems that a Somerset man named Shane Burfield has been fined £200 for posting videos of the cannabis plant he was growing on You Tube. Police were amazed that he posted the videos under his own name.

Perhaps he should have been fined another £200 for being as 'thick as mince' as they say in Glasgow.

Another Useless Fact.

Continuing with our useless facts theme from yesterday.

Richard Milhous Nixon was the first US president whose name contained all the letters of the word 'criminal'.

William Jefferson Clinton was the second.

Update From Austria.

It would seem that events are still unfolding on the Lamb Inn skiing trip to Austria. According to latest reports it would seem that one member of the party has been disrobing in public. The identity of this person is known to our friendly barperson, Louise but she aint telling. I hope this stripping incident did not take place in the snow. Frostbite can be nasty.

A Wise Girl...

Whilst perusing the facebook page of the Scottish political activist, Rosie Kane, I came across this quote attributed to the late Marilyn Munro.

'A wise girl kisses but never loves, Listens but never believes and leaves before she is left'. I wonder how many of our women readers would agree with those sentiments ?.

Another quote from Rosie's page worth remembering is 'You cannot change the past nor predict the future The only time you own - is now.

Advice that most of us would do well to remember sometimes.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Friends Of Silvertonia marches on.

I see that in a rush over the past few days, the 'Friends Of Silvertonia' Facebook group has gone from 15 to 21 members. Welcome to all and keep them coming.

Near Miss.

I see from the BBC News website that the earth has just had a close encounter with an asteroid the size of a ten story building. Given that a similar size object that broke up over Siberia in 1908 flattened about two million trees had this one collided with us anywhere near a populated area we would have had a lot more to worry about then the credit crunch.

Gutter Flood.

I notice that the gutter below The Lamb Inn seems to have become blocked and water is running across the road. It would have to happen when Councillor Marsden is away snowboarding in Austria, rather than being on standby with his trusty rod to clear the offending blockage.

Rumours Have Reached Us...

Rumours have reached us of unseemly goings on during the Lamb Inn skiing trip. Who was Pole dancing and who had to be carried back to the hotel, tired and emotional ?. Is it true that our ambassodors in Austria were asked to leave the dining room of the hotel for being too noisy and that a window was broken ?...

One hopes that the twinning committee is not thinking of linking with a certain skiing resort in Austria.


I am sure that those in the darting fraternity and those beyond who take an interest in the flying arrows will be glad to hear that Lamb 'A' defeated The Rewe Social Club at The Lamb last night.

Score to be confirmed.

We are only too pleased to post darts results from the other village teams if we are given them.

Useless Facts

Mrs Frost informs me that if it wasnt for the additives in Coca-Cola, the well known soft drink would be green. Having been asked by her to come up with some more useless facts here are a few.

Again on Coca-Cola. When the drink was launched in China, the makers wanted to use chinese characters that sounded like the words 'Coca-Cola. unfortunately it turned out that what they meant in Chinese was 'bite the wax tadpole'.

A snail can sleep for three years.

And last for today.

Globally, more people are killed by Donkeys every year then die in plane crashes.

If you would like to add to our store of useless information, send it in.

Secure Your Networks.

I was checking around an area of the village this morning on my old laptop to see what wireless networks were operating and was surprised to come across an unsecured one. I would have thought that, in an age where internet security is a priority no one would be operating with an insecure network. Not a good idea unless you want people piggynacking on your internet connection or, hacking your personal files.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Allotments again.

Surprising to see that we have not yet received any information, from our usually knowlegeable readership, yet on the procedure for obtaining an allotment and how they are allocated.

Come on, someone must know.

Good Views.

We always try to remember that not everyone who reads this blog comes from Silverton, although we always hope that those who read the blog but dont know the village at first hand will pay us a visit. We are mostly friendly. Perhaps if they visit the village they will find places around and about our community where you can obtain both a good view of the village and the surrounding countryside, especially that part of the Exe Valley that lies closest to us. I will try to get some photos of the views around Silverton onto the blog in the next few weeks, but here are some of the places where you can see the village at its best.

Silverton, like most english villages, is dominated by its parish church, St Mary's, and from the top of the tower you can obtain a panoramic view of the village and some of the surrounding countryside. The tower used to be more accessible then it is now, but, I believe that you can still get access. Perhaps someone can tell us what the current procedure is.

A good view of the village can also be obtained by walking the footpath above the village that runs from the top of Roach Lane, the narrow lane that runs from beside the school in Coach Road to Roach Farm. The footpath, a steady climb, runs from Roach Lane across the fields to join the Butterliegh Road at Ash Farm. If you walk the footpath, you can see the village almost in its entirety, laid out below you on your left.

The other spectacular view. This time of this part of the Exe Valley, can be obtained from the top of the 800ft hill known as Christ Cross which stands behind the village. From the top of the hill it is possible to see into Somerset in one direction and as far as Dartmoor and the sea at Sidmouth in other directions. It is a steep hill and it is advisable for those not too fit to use a vehicle to make the ascent. Hopefully, the weather this year will be such that it will encourage people to visit us and explore the countryside around the village.

Opening And Closing.

Someone quoted me a line from a film earlier today about god never closing one door in your life before another one is fully opened. Whilst this might be a nice line from the pen of a Hollywood scriptwriter and leaving aside the existance of God, or otherwise, a subject well beyond the remit of this blog, it seems to me that life is never that simple. Some doors in life never fully open, some doors were best left closed altogether and some doors slam shut behind you leaving you shut out in the corridor with no way back or forward. I dont think that there are many occasions when one part of your life is fully closed before you move on to the next episode. Life is rarely as much like a novel as that.

Disturbed Weekend.

The village has had a rather disturbed weekend with a fight in Fore Street on friday night and birthday party that got very rowdy on Saturday evening. One hopes that this is not the sign of things to come now that we are coming out of winter. We can do without the village equivelant of 'the mad march hares' doing their stuff.

This Weeks Quiz Result.

The Lamb Inn quiz team defeated Clyst Hydon Cricket Club in a cup contest at The Lamb last night winning by 74 points to 60. We are still awaiting news on who we shall be meeting in the final. The Lamb Inn team will be at home again next week playing Merrymeade 'B' in the league.

Sunday, 1 March 2009


A thought struck me this morning. When you used to go on a night out in the seventies and eighties a common sight if you went to dances or clubs was groups of women, or sometimes women on their own dancing around their handbags.

Does this tradition still exist ?.

Sunday Lunch.

When I was growing up, you could always tell it was sunday by the smell of the sunday roast drifting over the village at lunchtime. Sunday lunch was the time when all the family sat down for the roast lamb, pork or beef followed by a filling sweet and followed then by parents retiring to bed and children getting out to play. Sunday lunch was an unchanging ritual.

Today things are different. The main sunday meal can be consumed anytime between midday and bedtime and the meal may well be anything from roast beef to nut cutlets and often accompanied by a nice glass of wine, something virtually unknown in my childhood. The one place that seems to remain a bastion of the sunday lunch tradition are the pubs that provide sunday meals where the traditional roast still predominates. I suspect that the emergance of pubs that provide reasonably priced sunday roasts may well have saved the sunday lunch tradition from near extinction, especially as such pubs are usually family friendly. Perhaps the relaxed liscencing laws have had the unplanned effect of saving a long established British tradition.

Happy St Davids Day.

Wishing any readers of Welsh decent that we may have a happy St Davids Day. Hopefully, you will all be wearing your daffodils and leeks with pride today and that your sheep will be in holiday mood.

Busy Night.

It was a very busy late afternoon and evening in the Lamb last night as a large crowd gathered to watch the Ireland v England rugby match. As all will now know, Ireland held off the English by one point, to the great delight of the small, but dedicated band of Ireland supporters present. Not such a big turnout for the earlier Scotland v Italy game, but supporters of these countries are not well represented in these parts these days.

March Hares.

So thats february dead and buried and we now move into march, the bridge between winter and spring when the mad march hares are boxing in the fields and the daffodils bloom. I expect that winter will still be hanging about and that there will be some night frosts and wintry showers but we know that by the end of the month British Summer Time will have begun and those with a taste for summer barbequeues will be getting their equipment out of winter storage.