Sunday, 26 April 2009

Thats It For Now.

The blog will now be taking a break until May 7th. I shall be away in Scotland from tomorrow recharging my batteries and preparing for the final push to the first anniversary of Silvertonia on June 6th. Its been a busy few months, particularly with the ongoing travellers site issue, where I think, thge blog really has made its mark and done the job it set out to do when it was founded.

If you have any stories that you would like covered when I return, or upcoming events you would like publicised, email them on as usual.

And remember, if you cant be good be careful

Swine Flu And The Quiet Sun.

Just when you thought that things couldnt get any worse what with the international economic crisis, the budget and rising unemployment, we now seem to be under threat from a new strain of flu originating in Mexican pigs. It seems that whilst we were all looking out for sick swans and dying ducks with the bird version oif influenza, the pig population of Mexico were brewing up a nasty little virus of their own to knock us all for six, if it gets established.

And if that was not enough to make you want to climb under the duvet we are now told that the sun has gone quiet. Rather then chucking out its usual huge balls of hot gas, our nearest star has gone into a quiet period with its surface resembling a field of waving corn. Apparently, this state of affairs is not good news for the residents of our planet as other periods of the sun going through a calm spell have coincided with major human upheavels such as the French revolution and the First World War.

So it looks as though, if you dont lose your job or go bankrupt, or get poleaxed by a pig virus, you might just get caught up in a war or revolution due to disturbances in the magnetic field of the sun having a funny effect on human behaviour.

That duvet is looking very inviting again.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Advance Notices.

A couple of upcoming events worth noting. On saturday May 2nd The Lamb will be having a celebration of Alan and Jane having been in the pub, ten years. Does'nt time fly when you are enjoying yourself.

On sunday, May 3rd there will be a quiz night at The Three Tuns 8.00pm. Best to book your table early to avoid disappointment.

Royal City

I was not aware, as I suppose that most people might well not be, that we have a Royal City in Devon. Mr Frost brought this to my attention last night and even pointed it out to me on the map, but from what he says anyone expecting to find palaces, castles and the usual things that go to make up a royal city will be sadly disappointed.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Dog Gone.

In case anyone sees me about the village over the next few days, minus my companion, the black beast on the blog, Rory. No harm has befallen the noisy little fellow. He has merely gone into Kennels ahead of my trip to Scotland. He will be back to bark at the residents of Wyndham Road and their canine companions from May 7th.

The Plague.

Talking to Paul Frost yesterday, I hear that people are still being plagued by unwanted telesales calls, Mr Frost seems to have a particular problem with double glazing salespeople.

When I lived in Scotland these people were the bane of my life, especially when you had just come in from work. What makes threse people think that you are at your most receptive when you are trying to unwind after a days work is beyond me and I always had the urge to blow ac whistle down the phone at them although I never did so. Now of course, you also have automated calls from women with pronounced US accents telling you that you have won some fabulous prize, or from someone with an impenetrateable Asian accent apperantly informing you that you have won the holiday of a lifetime. At least with the current economic crisis the banks have given up trying to sell us credit cards.

I am sure that unwanted telesales are one of the reasons why people are abandoning landlines. Afer all, if you dont give out your mobile number to all and sundry you should be safely beyond the reach of the six o clock callers. Perhaps when the last ubfortunate phone owner has been driven onto a mobile the telesales gang will only have each other to phone up and annoy.

Happy Birthday.....Paula Frost.

Birthday greetings today to Paula Frost, second of the Frost sisters, now resident in Crediton. Have a good one, Paula.

Dont forget, the blog is always ready to pass on birthday greetings. If you would like your birthday recorded for posterity, or that of family or friends, just let us know.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The Budget.

Nothing to say about this really. Confirms we are all in a mess and that someone is going to have to pay for it and you can bet your last pound that it won't be those who created the mess in the first place. The idea that the recession, more like a depression, is going to be over by Christmas is fantasy and anyone who thinks that Britain can defy the forces of economic gravity should read the much more realistic economic outlook published by the International Monetary Fund yesterday. Any national budget produced in the current world economic crisis is a bit like using paracetamol to treat AIDs.

And Of Course.....

The other notable person remembered in England today is William Shakespeare, who both was born, and died, on April 23rd. This always struck me as being very convenient of him as it spared the tourist trade in Stratford Upon Avon the task of having to have two anniversary events per year, probably a bonus for them in these economically troubled times.

Happy St Georges Day.

Today is, of course, the day of St George, patron saint of England and I have no doubt that this auspicious day will be celebrated with roast beef sandwiches, morris dancing and copious amounts of Bombardier ale throughout the land. As well as being the patron saint of England, St George also serves the same purpose in a number of other countries and regions including Eithiopia, Palestine, Georgia, Lithuania, Portugal, Russia, Aragon and Catalonia.

Whether England should have someone who was probably a Roman soldier in the bodygaurd of the Emperor Constantine as a patron saint is possibly a matter of debate. Perhaps a more local candidate might be St Boniface who converted most of what is now Germany to Christianity and came from Crediton, but of course, he did not have a reputation for slaying dragons.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

No Prize For Observation.

Who was the well known local face who spent some time talking to our local methodist minister in The Lamb last night without registering that the person he was talking to was a man of the cloth ?.

And that despite the fact that the Reverend Brazier was wearing a very obvious dog collar.

Magnets Win.

The Magnets quiz team progressed to the 3rd round of the knockout competition at The Wellington Arts Centre last night. They will be playing again next tuesday with a slightly different team as I will be away in Scotland.

April Litter Collection.

The 'We Live Here' group will be organising another litter pick on April 25th. All are welcome to join in. The litter collectors will meet in The Square at 11.00am.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Behind The Bar.

Many reasons have been advanced for the decline of the local public house as a central part of the local community. Price, the competition from supermarkets, the smoking ban and changing social patterns have all been cited as factors. I would also cite the decline in quality of those who now work behind the bar.

We are perhaps lucky in Silverton in that most of the bar staff who work in our drinking establishments are cheerful and professional in the way that they interact with their costomers. Those who traditionally worked behind our bars were as much social workers and confidantes as just people who pulled pints and were regarded as vital members of the community by those who used their establishments. I dont doubt that a conversation with a friendly face behind the bar who could combine friendliness with discrection has probably saved not only a good few marraiges but in some cases, also some lives by carrying out the sort of work that counsellors and psychologists now carry out for considerably less expenditure on a few pints then some people now pay for the services of the modern specialists in emotional health. We are lucky that there are some bar staff that still live up to the highest standards of their calling, Brenda Gardiner who now works at The Lamb, but who has also worked at the other two pubs in the village remains a shining example. I doubt that there are many who work behind at the bar who still get regular visits from people who have known her from nearly every establishment she has worked in for over thirty years. She remains an example of the best of those bar workers who regarded their work as a pleasure beyond what they are paid at the end of the shift.

Unfortunately, the changfing nature of pubs and bars, particularly but not exclusively, in the towns and cities has meant that many of those who now work in them have little interest in pubs as a social institution and are only interested in getting through the shift and taking the money. Many only do the job to top up existing wages, or as a something to do in the university vacation. Some seem to have had their personalities removed at birth and some seem only to be interested in talking to their nearest and dearest and regard serving other customers as an unfortunate distraction and other seem to think that a quiet spell is the ideal time to play the fruit machine, or investigate whats on the juke box. People who work like that reduce pubs to simply places that sell drinbk rather then providing a place for social interaction and are undoubtedly one of the factors that contribute to the excessive use of alcohol. If drink is the only thing of interst in the place is it any wonder that people will drink til they drop ?. The old time bar staff knew where to draw the line.

If we ever want to stop the decline in the english public house, one factor that some owners of pubs, be they individuals, or some of the chains, are going to have to address is developing better standards amongst those that they employ and making sure that those who work for them have a higher standard of conversation then their last holiday and how 'hammered' they got last weekend. Given the numbers of public houses that are closing every week this is as much an issue that is as important for the future of the pub as whatever the chancellor has in mind for drinkers in tomorrows budget.


Having never been involved in Dowsing I was interested to hear a contribution at the SLHS meeting last night from someone who, while sceptical regarding this method of divining water and disturbances in the soil, had interesting experiences whilst using the rods on one of the Killerton farms. Later whilst discussing the mattewr with Paul Frost he said that he had been able to determine water courses and ground disturbances on John Lee's farm at Thorverton. My mother also says that when my father worked for the Engineering firm, Garton and King in the early 1950s he also had some interesting experiences with the dowsing rods when taking site engineers to locations where water courses needed to be determined. It would seem that this method of determining ground conditions is much more used, even by people witrh a degree of scientific training then might be imagined.

Killerton Farms.

As advertised here, Silverton Local History Society hosted a presentation by Mrs Isobel Richardson last night on the history of farmbuildings on the Killerton estate. This proved to be a most interesting presentation, supported by slides, following the development of farm buildings on the estate since its aquisition by the Acland family and covered the development of buildings such as threshing barns, Shippens, Linhays and stables over a period of some three centuries. Interesting to note that Yarde Farm, in Silverton parish, is part of the Killerton estate. The aqusition of the estate by the National Trust from the donation of the estate to the trust by the late Sir Richard and Lady Anne Acland almost certainly ensured that many of these historic farm buildings, many built of cob and brick, and some still having thatched roofs, could be preserved for the benefit of future generations.

The next meeting, to be held in May, looks to be equally interesting and will be a presentation by Mr Frank Gent on the Devon Witch Trials.

Monday, 20 April 2009


Interesting to see on the lunchtime news that Daffodils are now being grown in Wales to produce a chemical that can slow down the development of Alzhiemers Disease. This news reminds us again that cures and treatments for many of the serious diseases that afflict us can often be found in the plants and flowers that we find everyday in our gardens just as much as in the latest creations from scientists working in the field of genetic engineering.

Knocked Out.

The Lamb Inn quiz team was beaten in the Knockout Cup final at Hele last night by THe Crossways Tavern. The final score was 77-70. The only business now left for the quiz team now will be the get together of the league at The Crossways next sunday.

The reduced team that plays as Magnets will be playing again at The Wellington Arts Centre tomorrow night and will probably be returning to the monthly quiz at The Trout Inn, Bickleigh from the end of May.

Sunday, 19 April 2009


We hear that Shane and Amanda from The Silverton Inn are off to Egypt for a week with Dave and Barbara Langdon tomorrow. We hope they all have a happy holiday and that the scuba diving proves interesting.

Running Shoes.

It would seem that running is becoming ever more popular in the village, if the amount of people in running gear pounding the pavements in Wyndham Road is anything to go by. Looking out the window this morning people seemed to be hammering along at very regular intervals driving the dogs on the blog into fits of mad and prolonged barking. I often wonder if these runners are all really into keeping fit or in training for one of the many running events that seem to bepart of lfe these days, or are trying to sweat out the excesses of last night on the tiles.

I suppose that the one good thing about the running fraternity is that you can usually see them or hear them coming.....unlike their lycrad counterparts on the racing bike who are a danger to one and all.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

File Sharing.

The fines and prison sentences handed down yesterday by a Swedish court to the founders of The Pirate Bay file sharing network for breach of copyright laws are very unlikely to deter people from illegal file sharing. You get the sense with many of the cases that have been brought in relation to breaches of copyright law that it is a case of slamming as loudly as possible the stable door long after the horse has bolted in order that the noise might just pursuade it to come back. I doubt very much that anyone half computer literate has not come across an illegally shared music or video file somewhere in their career on the internet and stories of those who have downloaded whole music, film, and television collections are known to most internet users. You can bet for every attempt to shut down something like The Pirate Bay, there will be dozens of computer geeks out there somewhere who will be dreaming up even better and faster methods of file sharing. The attempts to enforce copyright laws are likely to be essentially useless even when backed by the might of the US government and the international legal establishment.

Perhaps what needs doing is having a total rethink of what the idea of copyright means in the digital age and rather then pumping endless sums of money court cases that have little or no effect, the multi billion do;;ar entertainment industry might be better employed leading and funding that rethink.

Update On Travellers Site Issue.

We understand that reports that the applicants for planning permission for the travellers site at Oak Meadow had withdrawn the original application, are incorrect. As we understand it, the original application for planning permission will be discussed by Mid Devon District Council planning committee on Wednesday, May 13th.

History Society Meeting.

The april meeting of The Silverton Local History Society will be held at the Community Hall on Monday 20th at 7.30pm. The topic will be 'The Killerton Farms' and the presentation will be given by Mrs Isobel Richardson.

Friday, 17 April 2009


I am glad to see that the government are going to clamp down on local councils misusing powers brought in for countering terrorism and serious crime that have been activated for snooping on dog fouling and people who put their bins out too early. We all know that some employees of local councils are full of self importance at the best of times and given the sort of powers that allow them to snoop on every minor allegation of minor misdoing are likely to create a class of state employees with pretensions to becoming an english version of the late and unlamented East German Stasi. The only pity is that the government have taken so long to act on this matter. Unfortunately this action in itself will not stop people in Britain being amongst the most spied on people in the western world under constant surviellance from vast arrays of CCTV and speeding cameras which only seem to displace crime and bad motoring behaviour from one location to another and government agencies with a seemingly insatiable appetite for obtaining every last scrap of information on us, our families and friends.

Its no wonder that mental health studies indicate that anxiety and depression are on the rise. In this day and age you really dont have to be paranoid to think that big brother is watching you.

Performance Anxiety.

Someone I know was told by an aquaintence that you can never have a sex life if you have a dog on the bed. As I have a dog, a bed but currently no sex life, I cannot comment on the overall truth, or otherwise, of that statement and on those occasions that particular part of my life was more interesting, dogs were kept well out of the bedroom.

It did however, set me thinking about other animals and how they might react to bedroom manoevres. Cats being generally aloof creatures I would expect to ignore the whole thing but would you want a parrot in the corner giving a running commentary on your performance. I am not too sure that I would be to happy with goldfish goggling at the action and those strange people who keep stick insects for pets might well have some sticky moments if they got loose at a critical moment.

As for spiders, thats a matter best not thought about in too much detail.

Plants might be a safer companion in the bedroom whilst such activities are taking place.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Fish and Chips.

Continuing our drive to publicise good, cheap, nourishing meals to be had in the village. Dont forget fish and chips can be purchased at The Lamb Inn on a wednesday, either at lunchtime or in the evening. You can eat them in the pub or take them away, all for the price of £3.75. All well cooked and ready to eat Eating your fish and chips in the pub in the evening is becoming a popular wednesday pastime and it is often best to get your orders in early.

Catching Up.

Nice to see that The Tiverton Gazette carried a report this week on the parish council meeting that discussed the travellers site issue. Better late then never, I suppose. Our local newshounds were not too quick off the mark on that one.

Unlike this blog of course.

Darts Trophies..

Congratulations to Lamb 'B' on their defeat of Lamb 'A' in the Knockout Cup final played on monday night. Congratulations also, to The Rewe Social Club on their victory in the Joe Bailey Cup played on the same night.

Time For An Overhaul ?.

Carolyn made the point last night that the blog is beginning to look a little tired. We have been using the same template for nearly a year now and perhaps it is time for a change in the way the blog is presented. The blog will be having a break soon, from april 26th until may 7th while I am on a scottish visit, and during that time I shall be having a few thoughts about what we can do to improve the look of the blog. Part of the problem is that there are only a limited amount of templates that Google/Blogger provides and I dont really know how to install templates from other sources. We shall be giving these issues some thought in the weeks to come.

I have in the meantime made some colour alterations to the blog

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A possible Future ?.

I saw on the lunchtime TV news today, that the former Admiral Inn near Exeter has now been turned into affordable one bedroomed housing and it is said that this is what has now become of a number of former public houses.

Perhaps this could be a useful future for the former Ruffwell Hotel. Very handy for public transport and the farm shop.

A Letting Agency's Market.

I understand that the house in Davies Close, formerly occupied by the Polish contingent is now up for rent at the price of £725.00 per month. Whilst this may seem an excessive rent to some, I think it needs remembering that with mortgages harder to come by, those in a position to rent out property in desirable areas like Silverton are on to a sure fire winner.

Quiz Answer.

The answer to yesterdays quiz. The MP in question is Pete Wishart, the SNP chief whip in the House Of Commons who represents the constituency of Perth and North Perthshire.

Good Meal.

Just a reminder that the meal and a drink deal to be had at The Silverton Inn on a tuesday evening is well worth the momey. I had an excellent pork loin steak with a apple and stilton topping, chips, peas and a pint all for the princely sum of £5.95. Well worth trying between 6.00pm and 8.00pm.

Early Risers.

Anyone aware of a post dawn disturbance in the Wyndham Road area this morning need not fret. It was only Carolyn and myself in pursuit of Rory who had taken advantage of an open gate to go off in pursuit of a large ginger cat, who I suspect, will now be several pounds lighter for the experience. Rory was eventually cornered and brought to heel in the school grounds. I am sure that the antics of his pursuers will be quite entertaining for the viewers of any CCTV footage taken.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Scottish Bands.

When discussing Scottish bands of the 1980's the other day, Dr Bob pointed out that I missed out Aztec Camera. I should, of course, also given mentions to Big Country, The Proclaimers, Simple Minds, Runrig and Texas.

Todays quiz question. Which former member of Runrig who was also in one of the versions of Big Country, is now an MP at Westminster. What party does he represent and what constituency ?.


Its that time of the year again when the pesky little yellow devils pop up all over all the nicely manicured lawns of the village driving all the gardeners into fits of apoplexy as they spend endless amounts of time trying to eradicate the little pests. Personally, I dont really mind yellow weeds myself as they add a bit of colour to the garden but those who like their lawns green and orderly certainly dont see them in quite the same light.

As far as I can see dandelions are part of the natural order in the countryside and its a shame that they cannot be allowed to live out their lifecycle in peace.Perhaps its time we spent less time trying to impose order on every facet of nature and let our nicely trimmed lawns return to something nearer to the meadows they would once have been.

Londis Poll Result.

It looks as though the masses have spoken, well about 25 of them anyway, and the popular choice of future for the former Londis building is that of a pole dancing club with a new health club as a close runner up. The obvious combination of these two ideas would be a pole dancing health club. Interesting to see that The Gypsey Travellers Advice Centre got a fairly good vote.

Not a lot of support for the kebab shop I am afraid, Mr Fox.

Greetings From Afar.

I received a couple of emails from down under today, one from Jim O Neal, former landlord of The Three Tuns and one from Chris Luck, who will be known to many here. Chris is currently staying with Jim and enjoying the delights of Perth. Both seem to be rather miffed that they were not informed of the recent demise of Flos, with whom they were both closely aquainted apparently. It would seem however that they have been celebrating her life and work with a considerable quantity of gin. I believe that Jim O Neal will be visiting Silverton for the Street Market.

Is the village really ready for this visit I wonder ?.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Poles Apart.

I hear that our Polish friends from Davies Close have now departed from the village. No more will we hear group discussions about car repairs conducted in Polish over open bonnets as darkness falls and parking in the area may well have been made a bit easier. You wonder what the inhabitants of Davies Close will have to talk about now. Perhaps some Gypsey travellers will head their way.

'Mamma Mia' Night.

Which of our local hostelries is planning to have a 'Mamma Mia Night' where the locals can come along and sing along with the songs of Abba. There will be long blond wigs, low cut tops and platform heels and that will be just the blokes. So wait on further information and get working on your personal versions of such classics as ' Dancing Queen', 'Super Trouper' and ' Money, Money Money.

I reckon a 'Village People' night could be just as interesting.

Easter Monday.

Today is traditionally the day when those into DIY head for the local branch of B&Q or one of the other superstores in order to stock up with those things necessary to begin the annual round of shelf erecting or door replacement or those other one thousend and one other little jobs that it is now traditional to undertake once the spring becomes official. I have no dout that the majority of items purchased end up getting put to good use, but you cant help wondering how much of it ends up at the back of the shed leading, in a year or two, to those who made the purchase in the first place, wondering what they had bought the stuff for. still, I dont doubt that the gatherings at the superstores provide a good opportunity to meet old mates and yo indulge in a bit of good okd fashioned male bonding in the tools and paints sections.

The next visit to the superstores will be for this years Barbie equipment. That day cannot be far off.

Sunday, 12 April 2009


its been good to have my nephew and neice, Mike and Sophie Carroll staying in the area over the past few days. Mike is continuing to do good work with Hackney Council and its good to hear that Sophie's first year studies at Swansea University are proceeding well.

just The Weather For It.

After the long cold winter, we are, just for once, having decent weather for the easter break with tourists flooding into the region in their tens of thousands. Given that it is an ill wind that doesnt bring somebody some good, its certainly the case that the westcountry tourist trade is benefitting from the decline in value of the pound against that of the euro. Perhaps if we get a better summer this year then we have had in the past couple of years people may get into the habit of staying at home for their holidays rather then heading for hotspots abroad which sometimes have little else to offer if the heat is not there at the required time.

A Happy Easter To You All.

Today, isthe high point in the Christian calender when those of that faith, celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life for those who follow his teachings. In the modern world easter provides one of those occasions when the heads of the various churches that interpret the teachings of christ, the opportunity to give us their thoughts on how the easter message relates to the way we live now. This year it seems some of the holy men are somewhat agitated about the fact that football matches are being played on easter sunday, a matter that I dont remember being covered in any of the books of The New Testement.

Which raises the question of which football club Jesus would have supported if he were alive today. There is of course only one answer to this. I am sure that JC would have been a supporter of the mighty Glasgow Celtic FC, the only club to play at a ground known as Paradise, and the only world class football club that I know of to have been founded by a monk, Brother Walfried.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Going Up.

Congratulations to Dave Langdon and his 'Leigonaires' Skittles team on their promotion to Division one of the local skittles league. Better luck next year to The Lamb tea\m.

Good Friday Night.

Good to see many people out and about last night, enjoying themselves despite the current economic depression. I noticed that the 'Honest John' gig at The Lamb was well attended and the village, in general, seemedc to be busy.

Rico Robbed.

We were sorry to hear that our regular commentator 'Rico' had his locker broken into whilst attending his Gym in Tiverton. A team of miscreants did the rounds of the lockers and 'Rico' lost a mobile phone and his car keys. Luckily, such occurences still seem to be rare in this part of the world, but it is probably worth remembering that just because something is locked it is not always secure and that one should keep ones portable valuables to a minimum.

Friday, 10 April 2009

More Music.

Just a few more albums I have been listening today and late yesterday. 'Raintown', Deacon Blue from that period in the late 80s when it was almost impossible to turn on the radio and not hear material from scottish bands such as Deacon Blue, Hue and Cry, The Blue Nile and at the more commercial end of the market, Wet, Wet, Wet. Then we listened to a collection of material by the great Gypsey jazz guitarist, Django Rienhardt. This afternoon I am listening to Unplugged by The Eagles.

Good Friday

We reach today, that most solomn day in the christian calender, when those of that faith mark the passion and death of christ. I suppose for most today, even those nominally christian, it is the first day of the easter break and time to head off for the coast, countryside or for those determined to defy the credit crunch, the airports in order to head for sunnier climes.

It was also, in the old days, the day when the gardeners 'planted their teddies'. Planting your potatoes before good friday wasa regarded as being a sure sign that your crops would be doomed to failure. I could never quite ubderstand the logic of this belief as good friday can vary over about a month from year to year and the 'teddies' were supposed to be ready for lifting in the first week in july, whenever good friday had occurred. it would be interesting to know if anyone still keeps up the old tradition.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Old Church House.

good to see that work is at last going forward on renovating The Old Church House, formerly The Gallery Shop. The house, which I believe, dates back to 1490, has been looking sadly run down of late. Its good to see one of Silverton's best known buildings getting a makeover at last.

How Low Can They Go.

Just when you thought that the lowlife who invent TV reality shows couldnt go any lower, one comes along to prove you wrong. In the USA, where 700,000 people lost their jobs last month the TV company behind Big Brother has come up wuth the cracking idea of setting up a small business employing 15-20 people then opening the books to show the employees that they are losing then making them justify their continuing employment for a week before getting the other employees to vote out the loser.

Turning the horror of unemployment into entertainment is heading towards the gutter but I bet that the employees of RBS and similar disasters wish that they had been given a similar chance to vote out some of their bosses before they jumped ship with the golden handshakes.

Ruffwell Rumour.

I have heard on the grapevine that the sale of The Ruffwell Hotel has fallen through. Story not confirmed though.

What Are You Listening To Today ?.

I dont know if many of our readers listen to music on their PC's/Laptops. whilst reading the blog but I thought that it might be interesting to find out what, if anything, takes their fancy, musicwise, in this situation. I have a portable hard disc with quite an extensive collection of music of the past 50 years or so on iy. Currently playing, we have one of the Buddah Bar series of chillout albums,yesterday, it was The Bonzo Dog Band complete BBC sessions and albums by Kitty Wells and Aretha Franklin. We do get about a bit musically.

Feel free to add your selections in the comments section.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

What Should Be Done With The Londis Building : Poll.

As the former Londis building has been lying empty for the past nine months I thought that I would ask our readers what they thought should become of the place. I have put in some not too serious suggestions.

Internet Mayor For Silverton.

As we have received no nominations for a mayor for Silverton I have decided to hold off on the poll for a while. I am however planning another poll on another issue of village interest. See above.

Application Withdrawn ?.

Rumours were circulating yesterday that the application for a travellers site at Oak Meadow has been withdrawn and a new one is to be submitted. I have spoken to a parish councillor today regarding this, but they apparently know nothing of it.

Sound Sense.

A last thought on the big meeting on monday. Given the notoriously poor sound quality in the Millenium Hall, could I ask that should the parish council, or anyone else for that matter, hold a large meeting in that hall in the future, that they try to ensure that they use some sort of amplification equipment so that those at the back can hear all that is said ?. These type of halls are notorious for poor sound and I remember attending a large meeting in Linlithgow a few years ago where exactly the same problems arose. Also, many of the attendees on monday were on the mature side, an age when hearing is not always the best.

Something to bear in mind.

Bus Stops.

Travelling the 55B bus route that takes us around Thorverton, many will have noticed that there is now an official bus stop at the Broadlands Estate. There is concern from bus users in the Wyndham Road area of Silverton that we have no equivalent bus stop here. Taking into account the well known parking problems in the area there are surely saftey issues around passengers having to step out into the road from behind parked cars in order to halt the buses.

More Planning Paranoia.

I hear that last nights parish council meeting was attended by a delegation of people concerned about the clearing of a site on Butterleigh Road, the fear being that this is yet another preperation for a building application. According to the parish council, no application has been received regarding building in the area. It is beginning to look as though planning applications of all kinds, are set to become the major issue in the vilage in the coming period.


a couple of corrections on yesterdays posts regarding affordable housing and the travellers site issue. As pointed out to me both by Carolyn and Maureen Haydon the name of the housing association is South West Housing, not The Devon And Cornwall Housing Association and the photographs of flooding were of the entrance to the site, not the site itself. Apologies, but as people present will recognise the content of the meeting was a lot to take in when you dont have shorthand.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Travellers Site Meeting.

Well over 100 people attended the extroadinary parish council meeting called to discuss the planning issues surrounding the proposed developments at Silverdale and the proposed travellers site at Oak Meadow. Not having shorthand I will try and summerise the outcome of the travellers site meeting as best I can.

The meeting was restrained, given the heat that this issue has generated, and generally stuck to planning issues although there was some criticism of the letter that was circulated a couple of weeks ago. The objections centred on the issues of access to the site, the disposal of sewage, the nature of the work to be carried out there and the numbers that might be accomodated. Most of these issues have been raised here previously and I dont intend to go over them in detail again, but just a few points.

In response to a question from the owner of Waterleat House, the official from MDDC who had been delegated to deal with the travellers site issue stated that there had been objections by the Highways Department on possible developments in Hayne Lane on previous occasions because of the crossroads at the Silverton end and because of the width of the lane. On the issue of sewage it had been stated by the owners of the site that sewage disposal would be through reedbeds but it was pointed out by a member of the public who had photographs of the site under water, that contrary to the view of the Department Of The Environment the site was prone to flooding, with all that was implied for the disposal of sewage. concerns wee raised when it was discovered that the site owners wished to install bowsers to store water.

Inconsistancies also emerged over the purpose for which the site might be used. The original application stated that the owners were involved in supplying beer gardens to music festivals but in subsequent discussions with the owners they stated that they were producing horticultural products for flower shows such as Chelsea. Doubts were also raised by an employee of the firm that had sold the land as to whether the purchasers of the land actually met the criteria for treatment as Gypsey travellers as they appeared to be using two settled addresses. Concerns were also raised about whether the horticultural business would be subject to business rates in the normal way and that rubbish was proposed to be disposed of on the land owned by an adjoining landowner

Aftera questionit was stated that the application would be decided by the full planning committee rather then just a planning officer as our local district councillor had applied for the matter to be so decided.

Afterf a very full discussion of the planning issues the public part of the meeting ended and the Parish Council voted on the matter. The Parish Council rejected the planning application oin the following grounds.

That the application contained too many inconsistancies.

That Access to the site is too restricted

That sewage disposal was too inadequate.

The planning application will now go before Mid Devon District Council planning committee.

The planning committee can consider the views of the Parish Council, but are not bound by them.

Silverdale And Affordable Development.

I was not aware until last evening that the special meeting of the Parish Council held last night was not just to discuss the travellers site issue, but was also to discuss the proposed development of land above Silverdale and Applemead by The Devon And Cornwall Housing Association. As I understand it, and due to the notoriously bad accoustics in the Millenium Hall it was sometimes difficult to follow the entire discussion, the proposal is to build one four bedroom house, three three bedromed houses, and two one bedroomed houses on the site. There seem to be a number of objections from the residents of Silverdale on the basis of parking on Silverdale and Applemead and also because many of the current residents of the area are elderly and bought property in the area because of the peace and tranquility that currently exists.

the DCHA representitives pointed out, in response to concerns voiced by those at the meeting, that these dwellings would be, first and foremost, for people either resident in Silverton, or for those who could demonstrate strong Silverton connections. Housing designs were then passed around which illustrated that the proposed developments would be of a traditionbal design and would fit into the existing development. They also pointed out that there would almost certainly be an ever increasing demand for affordable housing which has now been increased by the current economic crisis and the near certainty that mortgages are almost certainly going to be less obtainable whenever the current crisis ends. They also pointed out that, due to the changing demographic makeup of society, there will be an increased demand for one bedroomed properties for the foreseeable future.

This blog agrees entirely with the position expressed by DCHA and I make a more general point. The demand for affordable housing within this country is now so great that no government or local authority of whatever political persuasion is going to be able to stand in its way. Development will come to Silverton, as elsewhere, and available land will be used where planning regulations can be adhered to. Silverton has changed beyond recognition in my lifetime and no doubt, will change dramatically again innthe years to come both economically and probably culturally, in ways we cannot now imagine. The NIMBY element in the village have to ubderstand that they cannot purchase 'peace and tranquility' beyond the end of their drives. Change will come and houses will be built. The residents of King Street didnt want Silverdale built but they couldnt stop it. Thats the downside of living in a popular village. The pressures mean that others will always want to share in that popularity and that those already resident will want appropriate living accomodation to ensure that they continue to enjoy that popularity.

Anonymous, Anonymous.

Whilst we are on the subject of the blog a word on anonymous commentators. I decided to allow people to comment anonymously because of the very few comments we were receiving early on in the life of this blog. After the rules were changed we got more comments but the situation is far from ideal. OIne or two posters, particularly Foxy and Ken, post under their own names which is the best solution as people should be prepared to stand by the views that they hold, but if people feel inhibited about using their real names, the next best solution is to come up with an original penname as has been the case with posters like Babyblox and Rico. Surely our commentators can come up with something a bit more original then just an endless stream of posts credited to 'Anonymous'.

Do It Yourself.

Obviously, most of todays output will be concerned with last nights Parish Council meeting and its outcome but whilst we are here I might as well deal with a bit of criticism of the blog that came my way today. During a conversation with someone about the outcome of the travellers site/Silverdale Development meeting, I was told that according to some, this blog only reflects the views of the over 30s and those who drink in The Lamb Inn.

As I drink in the Lamb regularly, I am bound to reflect, to an extent, the views of those that I drink with, but I do visit the other two pubs at least once a week and have publicised events taking place in them fairly regularly. As far as I am concerned, I only put up items for discussion on this blog and anyone is able to comment on them whatever their age or views. I think that the comments on the travellers site issue reflect this very well. Also, there is a contact email address on the sidebar of the Blog and anyone can send in suggestions for topics at any time and its very likely that any suggestions sent in will be addressed. At the end of the day, if people are not happy with this blog and the way that it operates they have the answer in their own hands.

Start their own.

Its easy to set up your own blog. Anyone can do it in two minutes, the challenge comes when you have to find material to keep it going on virtually a daily basis, as we have for the past ten months. We do the best we can with limited resources, if others think they can do better lets see them have a go at it.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Poll Result.



YES 122 (50%)

NO 111 (46%)


DONT KNOW 9 (0%)

Well, thats the internet vote. Now on to the public meeting. It will be interesting to see if the internet vote is reflected in opinion there. Hopefully, both positions will be well represented.



Travellers Site Issue.

Two weeks ago, the blog first reported on the issue of the proposed travellers site at Oak Meadow in Hayne Lane. A good deal of comment, some of it less informed and useful than others, has been passed on the proposed site since then and this evening we shall see a public meeting on the issue that seems set to establish the position of the Parish Council on the planning application ahead of the decision on the matter to be taken by Mid Devon District Council planners next month.

The blog took the position from the start that the proposal should be opposed from the start and we continue to hold that position as long as the proposals from the new owners of the Oak Meadow site remain as they are. There are unanswered questions about sewage disposal, access, and the number of people likely to be using the site that need to be addressed. It has become clear, however, from conversations that we have had with people within the village, that if such concerns could be addressed, many of those currently opposed to the application would drop their current opposition. The blog has no hesitation in supporting such a position. Planning descisions should not, and cannot be decided on peoples predjudices about the purported lifestyles of those maknig the applications and what effects such lifestyles might have on peoples property values. We hope and expect, that any decision taken by the Parish Council will be taken on the merits or otherwise, of the application and the objections to it lodged on planning grounds only.

I shall be attending this evenings meeting and will attempt to give a report on the outcome of the meeting in tomorrows blog entry.

Winning Run Ends.

After a long winning run The Lamb Inn quiz team lost last nights match against The Clyst Hydon Cricket Club by a margin of one point. We did however win the beer leg by a margin of one point and as Merrymeade 'B; also lost their match against The Crossways Tavern, The Lamb are confirmed as runners up in the league this season.

The Lamb will meet The Crossways in the final of the Knockout Cup to be held at Crossways Tavern on April 19th.

Silverton Drama Group Meeting.

There will be an informal meeting of the Drama Group at The Lamb Inn on Wednesday 8th April at 7.30pm. The Drama Group is looking for people who have backstage and design skills as well as those with an aptitude for appearing on stage. If you have an interest in helping the Drama Group with its next production, pop along.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Poll: Last Day.

Just to remind people that our online poll regarding the travellers issue will be closing tomorrow. If you have not yet voted but still wish to, please do so as soon as possible.

Also another reminder that the public meeting on the issue of the proposed travellers site will be held at The Millenium Hall tomorrow night. Monday 6th April commencing at 7.30pm.

A Friendly Eye.

After I had written the peice regarding the travellers that used to pass through the village, someone pointed out that some of these, and the milkmen, postmen, and paper deliverers who used to come around the doors, were all part of an informal network of people who could, in the course of their work, keep a friendly eye on the older or more vunerable members of the community. They also often provided a friendly and trusted face, perhaps the only person that the lonely or isolated might see during the day. In the old days, you rarely, if ever, heard of people lying dead behind their doors for weeks on end, partly because of closer family links and closer relationships with neighbours but also because of the network of friendly tradespeople who kept a watch on their customers.

Now we live in an age where the milk delivery service is becoming more and more restricted, Newspapers are bought less and less and rarely delivered and postpeople have to work to ever tighter shedules and have less time for a friendly chat. In addition, people are afraid that the knock at the door might not be your friendly milkman but some criminal planning to relieve you of your posessions and so it becomes easier, even with the watch kept on the vunerable by medical professionals and social workers for people to retreat from the world and for tragedies to happen.

The days of the friendly eye are sadly missed.

Grand National Sweepstake.

The result of the Grand National Sweepstake held at The Lamb Inn yesterday was. Ist, Dave Langdon winning £25.00. 2nd. Jane Isaac winning £10.00 and 3rd, yours truly winning £5.00. Good to see a good turnout to watch the race on the big screen. Dont forget folks. For you horse racing fans the next big event will be The Scottish Grand National run at the Whittletts Road track in my former home town of Ayr.

Welcome Visitors.

Good to see that Bill Plackett and Lynn have been back in town over the past few days on a break from their home in Spain. Its always good to see some of the many Silverton exiles still keeping in touch with the old place.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Travellers Site Objections.

I have now seen two of the objections that are being submitted to Mid DEvon District Council regarding the proposed travellers site at Oak Meadow. As I do not have copies to hand I will try to summerise them from memory. If anyone thinks the summery is inaccurate could you please let me know and I will post a correction.

The first objection I have seen is from The National Trust. The NT is objecting to the site, basically, because the yurts and other buildings to be erected there will disturb the view that can be obtained of that part of the Culm valley from the nearby Killerton Estate, which is, of course, a National Trust property.

The second objection that I saw last night has been drawn up by Mr Mark Weekes the landowner who previously owned Oak Meadow. As I understand it, his objections centre on the following points. The question of access to the property down the very narrow Hayne lane and the difficulties regarding the crossroads at the Silverton end of the lane. The question of sewage disposal on a piece of ground that is part of a flood plain, the question of access to water supply to the property from a stream that passes through land owned by Mr Weekes, water which he is not prepared to supply to the proposed site. The question of ambiguity in the planning application regarding whether the business proposed for Oak Meadow is fixed or mobile. And Finally, objections regarding the planning regulations that apparently work differently for those wishing to erect the sort of constructions proposed for Oak Meadow, than they would for Mr Weekes if he wished to erect a dwelling for an employee.

As I say this is a very basic summation of the objections as I have seen them. Corrections or clarifications will, of course, be posted if received.

Parish Council Disclaimer.

I hear that the parish council now has a notice in the box in the square disassociating themselves from the now notorious leaflet regarding the travellers site issue that was circulated a couple of weeks ago. I really dont know why the PC felt the need to do this as I would have thought that no one with half a brain would have thought that they were involved in that misbegotten exercise in the first place.

Chicken News.

We have not reported much news of the Sheila Wilson-Louise Edwards, chicken co-op venture of late but we are glad to report that they are on the verge of obtaining a chicken house and that where the chicken house is, the chickens cannot be far behind. Doubtless managing such an enterprise will be a very eggsacting business, particularly when they come under attack from the local fox population. Just remember dont fire your shells until you see the whites of their eyes and then they will know that you are not yolking.

Crap puns, but the best I can do on a saturday morning.

Happy Birthday- Sophie Frost.

Todays birthday greetings go out to Sophie Frost, granddaughter of Carolyn and daughter of Emma, who is four today. We hope that Sophie has a very happy birthday.

Friday, 3 April 2009


Babyblox has already posted on this in the comments section but just to reiterate.

The sheduled parish council meeting due to be held on monday has now been postponed until tuesday. That meeting will follow the published parish council agenda.

Replacing it on Monday there will be a public meeting on the travellers site issue. This meeting will begin at 7.30pm and all interested parties are urged to attend. This meeting, unlike the previous cancelled meeting has been organised by the parish council and consequently, planning officials from MDDC will be in attendance. The public will be given an opportunity to speak following which the PC will vote on the issue.


Pie News.

Paul Williams at Cabbages and Kings has asked me to inform the good people of Silverton that they will be selling Mike Howe's pies as from Monday at the very reasonable price of £1.60.

If anyone else in the area has produce that they might wish to sell to a wider public, Paul asks that they contact the shop.


Rreading in the parish magazine about the latest activities of the twinning committee got me to thinking about how we could make the concept of twinning more popular. Personally, I am all in favour of developing better international relations by communities twinning but I wonder if our current twinning partners are the best we can get for making twinning a really popular activity to engage the people of Silverton. After all, I cant see the attraction of one rather damp and often chilly Devon village being twinned with an equally damp and chilly village in Brittany. I think we should go for a rather more radical alternative.

Given that this is the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, I think that we should go for a twinning arrangement with a similar sized community on that island, preferably on the coast. I bet that the thought of having a couple of weeks in Cuba, even if you had to spend some time being lectured on the merits of the local sugar plantation cooperative would have people flooding to join the twinning committee. Then of course the Cubans would come over here and we could exchange gifts, they could bring rum and Havana cigars and we could present them with a selection of Mike Howe's pies and a barrel of Exe Valley DOBS, thus would the cause of international understanding be advanced.

Perhaps the idea of a Cuba twinning link might prove a bit too radical for some however, so perhaps we could think of somewhere in Spain, or Greece, or Turkey, or anywhere where its warm for longer than its cold. Then again, given recent events, we could go for somewhere in Mongolia where the inhabitants could come and show us the correct way to erect a Yurt. That seems to be a skill we might all soon need if the current attempts to solve the global economic crisis come to nothing.

Persons Of Influence.

for the second time in a few months, I was approached by someone who referred to me as a 'man of influence' in this place. I have certainly never sought such status and am a bit nervous as to what this might entail. Does this mean that people in the village hang about waiting for my opinion on everything from the international financial crisis to dog fouling on Fore Street ?. If so, this influence business is going to be a heavy burden to bear. Being a man of influence doesnt seem to have had much effect on the fate of the old hall site, or the need for more affordable and sheltered housing, or much else as far as I can see except getting Brittany Fox into the Brownies so perhaps this influence lark isnt what its cracked up to be. The only real influence I would wish to have would be to make other people become people of influence in the community by getting them to become active in the village in whatever capacity best suits them. As someone else said in a very different context 'everyone has their part to play'.

If I am a 'man of influence' by writing this blog, my good friend Mrs Frost must therefore be a woman of influence by the amount of ideas she has contributed over the past ten months and that should also be recognised. Perhaps what we need are more women developing the confidence to become 'women of influence', from all walks of village life especially younger women and parents both single and in partnershi[ps. Too often in places like this it is the voices of the 'men of influence' that create a very one sided view of things.

We should not forget also, that on the blog we have the 'dogs of influence'. They have their own agenda about which they say nothing.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Catching Fire.

The poll on the travellers site issue certainly seems to have caught fire in the past 24 hours with a big swing towards the 'anti' position. We now have over 120 votes with 4 days to go. Hopefully the votes will keep on coming.

I now hear that part of the Parish Council meeting on monday will be turned over to a public discussion of this matter. Hopefully, there will be a good attendance and discussion of all the issues involved.


Our prickly friends seem to be coming to life after their winter hibernation and are now back feeding in our gardens. Like many, I have rather a soft spot for them but would rather keep them at arms length due to the parasites that they seem to carry with them. The dogs on the blog have no qualms about taking them on however, and there was a notable confrontation involving a large specimen of the species in the garden the other night. Its funny how dogs do not seem to realise that the spikes on a hedgehog are there for defensive purposes. You might have thought that many thousands of years of encounters with the spiky animals might have taught them this.

There is also the fact that, in general, when it comes to canine v hedgehog confrontations, humans may well take the side of the hedgehogs, as indeed happened in this case.

The dogs were forced to beat a hasty retreat.

Do Dogs Care ?.

We had a discussion last night about the shape of dogs food bowls. There is a certain dog which has always had a square shaped dog bowl and a certaiun person believes that if it is now given a round one it will become confused as to whether the new one is theirs.

I can only speak from experience regarding my own animal. He does not care what shape his bowl is as long as their is something edible inside it.

Happy Birthday- Jane Isaac.

Today we note the birthday of Jane Isaac, 'Mother' of Lamb Inn. WE wish Jane many hapopy returns on this day and hope that she will remain at the heart of the Lamb Inn culinary arrangements for many years to come.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Last Nights Result.

The slightly reduced Lamb Inn quiz team, playing under the name Magnets, the name that we use for the Trout Inn quiz, proceeded to the next round of the knockout competition at The Wellington Arts Centre last night. We shall be in action there again on april 21st.

April 1st.

Today, as everyone knows, is April 1st, the day when it is acceptable to play jokes of all sorts on your nearest and dearest and the day when the media seek to stage ever more complex hoaxes on their readers and viewers. This blog will not however be joining in. I really couldnt think of a suitable hoax and we have enough fools around the place to make having a special day for them on april 1st an idea which is a bit redundant.

A Shrinking World.

Someone we know recently met an aquaintance who had been in Lahore at the time of the attack by Islamic extremists on the Sri Lankan cricket team. The person concerned, who had been in that city visiting reletives, had then to spend nearly ten days in virtual hiding because of the security situation and the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan before being able to return home.

This should remind us that in an increasingly small world, What may be just another horrific news story on the evening news may well be of a much more immediate concern to those we work with, or meet on our daily rounds. It should also remind us that for many people in the world, The things that worry us would hardly register in their conciousness.

I doubt if too many people even in the wealthiest parts of Lahore would put the siting of a travellers camp at the head of a list of their priorities.

Things Your Mother Said.

Its a subject that we have touched on before, but we come to another saying that your mother used to use . We were urged to eat up our carrots so that we might see better in the dark. This one I think, originated in the second world war when it was said that night fighter pilots should eat more carrots, rich in vitamin A, which were believed to improve your eyesight at night. I always wondered if the most famous carrot eaters, Rabbits, had such cracking night vision, why was it that they always seemed to come out during the day ?.

Other Travellers.

I was thinking the other day about other travellers who used to pass through the village and who you never see any more. Back when I was young you used to get the turbanned Sikh salesman coming around the doors with their suitcases full of household goods. I often wondered what happened to them. I suppose that some made money and went into the restauraunt trade or into corner shops and the pound shops that you see on nearly every street. Some, I suppose, went back to their native Punjab in Northern India, where doubtless they told their friends and neighbours about an exotic land far away where it always rained and the people seemed to have an inexaustible appetite for hairbrushes and Meltonian shoe polish. Now their descendents, rather than coming to our doors with window cleaning materials, phone us at night with the latest offers from our banks and telephone companies.

Then we had the Breton onion sellers with their black berets and bicycles draped with strings of onions who passed through, along with the bearded, smelly, old blokes with their worldly possessions in a carrier bag, who were known to the older village people as 'roadsters'. One known as '40 Overcoats' immediately springs to mind. Occasionally also, you had the old gypsy women selling lucky white heather and offering to tell you your fortune, with the often not so veiled hint that your fortune might not be so lucky if you did not take up their offer, and finally the chaps who offered to sharpen your knives and cutting implements. The departure of these gentleman left a real gap in the market as where can you get your shears sharpened nowadays ?.