Sunday, 31 May 2009

Invisible People.

I was interested to meet John Berry, who is seeking reelection to Devon County Council in the pub yesterday. I doubt that John Berry and myself have much in common politically as he is a Conservative, but by all accounts he has been a good local representitive for this part of mid Devon. Mr Berry had spent yesterday morning at a Coffee Morning in Bradninch and had then been canvassing in Silverton. In contrast, we seem to have seen and heard nothing of the other candidates standing for election to the County Council which is, after all, the body that has most influence on the provision of local services and looks after much of our local strategic planning.

Given that the days of the mass political party when most of the main parties had branches in the villages that could distribute literature and provide local candidates are gone, perhaps one of our local organisations could in future arrange a local hustings or 'Any Questions' meeting where candidates for local office could be questioned by members of the public on their policies and outlook. At least we might then get a better idea of the people who seek to represent us.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Another Cure-All Bites The Dust.

So now we know. According to research reported by the media yesterday, whilst a daily dodse of Aspirin may well be beneficial to those who have already suffered heart attacks or strokes, there is no evidence that it is beneficial to those who have not and, as has been well known for years, Aspirin can, in some cases, damage the lining of the stomach and cause internal bleeding.

It now turns out then, that Aspirin is not the universal cure-all that it has been portrayed as for years, in terms of clotting prevention. Perhaps this should be a warning to both the medical profession and the media in terms of their eternal attempts to portray various drugs as 'magic bullets' that can universally prevent medical conditions occurring. This is particularly important at the moment when there are attempts to medicate all those over fifty five with blood pressure pills and we are being sold the idea of daily doses of vitamin D as a cancer prevention. Skepticism is the best policy in dealing with all these claims.

I wonder if anyone will be compensated for stomach bleeds caused by the prescribing of Aspirin to the healthy ?. Somehow I doubt it.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Poll Extended.

As the poll on voting intentions is now beginning to pick up some momentum I have decided to extend the voting period until June 6th, the day before the Euro election results are due.

Its worth reminding ourselves that although you may vote in the Euro elections next Thursday the votes will not be counted until the following Sunday to ensure that the results appear at the same time as the majority of european countries for whom sunday voting is the norm.

Hotting Up Nicely.

As we reach the end of may it would seem that the weather is hotting up nicely for the weekend and the fine, warm weather seems likely to extend on into the first week in june. We can only reiterate however, the advice given out by health professionals about protecting yourselves from the harmful effects of the suns rays at this time of the year. Besides being cancer inducing in the long term, overexposure to the sun can have painful effects as someone we know found out recently when certain parts of their anatomy not usually exposed to the afternoon sun got somewhat scorched.

Happy Birthday....Nikki

Today we wish happy birthday to Nikki, partner of Dougie Traill. I know that Nikki is a Polish speaker but unfortunately I do not know the Polish for 'Hasppy Birthday'.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Twinning Ceremony.

A reminder that the twinning charter between Silverton and the Breton/French community of St Thegonnac will take place in the 'Little Rec' on saturday May 31st at 11.00am and will be followed by a reception in the Community Hall.

All Silverton residents are invited to attend.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Recent Incident.

I was sorry to hear of the recent incident when police were called out to deal with a group of drunken young people in The Square. I know that drink is much more available then when I was young but given the stringent checks that most shops now carry out to prevent young people aquiring drink you wonder how they still manage to get their hands on it I am certainly not accusing any of our local outlets of selling it to them nut obviously someone, somewhere was less then vigilant.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

One Thousand Posts.

This is the 1,000th post on the blog since it began on June 6th last year. It has certainly been a long haul and I certainly hope that we can contine to generate enough material to get to the 2,000 mark. Beyond marking the 1,000 posts I will leave a retrospective look at what the blog has done until saturday of next week. The day of the anniversary.

Mackeral Fishing.

I heard today of the first Mackeral catches of the new season. I dont know to what extent it is still the case but I remember when I was young that Mackeral fishing was a very popular pastime in the village and that your house would often be visited by friends who had breen in in Dawlish or one of the other south coast towns and had brought back enough Mackeral to supply half the village. I was never that keen on that particular fish myself due to the bones that always seemed to be left on the thing when it came to being served but for many Mackeral were, and probably still are a cheap and easy source of Protein.

I only ever went sea fishing once myself and although we caught a large number of fish I found it all a bit boring as the things were so plentiful at that time that they were practically jumping into the boat. I dont dout that it is a very enjoyable hobby for those who participate regularly especially when accompanied by a few cans of something cool. If the weather is as the forecasters predict over the summer perhaps Mackeral fishing will become an even more popular hobby.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Spring Bank Holiday.

I hope that you arer all enjoying your spring bank holiday break, or those that get one anyway. At least the weather seems to have turned out better then expected so far today. It is a happy thought is it not, that we have only the bank holiday at the end of August to go and we shall be looking forward to Christmas again.

Who knows where the time goes.

Why are nearly all our public holidays in England concentrated at this end of the year and isnt it time that something was done about it. Given that nearly all european countries get more public holidays then we do its time that we had a public holiday in early October before the weather goes too far down hill.

A Day Off.

As our regular readers will have realised the blog took a day off yesterday. There was not one particular reason, it was more a case of rearranging the mental furniture and deciding if it was time that certain items were sent to the dump. At the end of the day I decided that just a bit of rearranging was in order No big changes, just perhaps a bit more realism of what you can achieve with the situations you have to deal with.

I know that to the general reader this has the sound of a newspaper horoscope but it makes sense to me.

89th Birthday.

Slightly belated greetings to Bill Hacking who celebrated his eighty ninth birthday at the weekend. We certainly seem to celebrate a number of quite advanced birthdays in Silverton. It must be something in the water I suppose.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

How We Do It.

Many of our readers must wonder what process is involved in writing the blog and where the ideas come from. Much of the material we have published over the past year has come out of my knowledge of Silverton gained over a period of nearly 60 years but much of the other material has come from late night conversations between Carolyn and myself whilst watching, or trying to avoid, the fare on offer on Television. We dont set out specifically to devise material for the blog but will often come to the conclusion that some subject that has come up in conversation could create the basis for a post. The usual way I will indicate that I am planning a post on something is to say that 'the blog will speak on this' and as long as I can remember the subject the next day, the blog usually does. Carolyn and myself might seem an unlikely creative partnership to many but, on the whole it works. Frankly, I could not have produced the blog the way it has been over the past year or so without her input and its only right that her contribution is publically acknowledged. A well kown Silvertonian greeted me in the street recently by saying 'Ah !. the blogman'. I may be the blogman but behind the blogman stands the blogwoman the sort of combination that exists in most areas of life in one way or another.

Thankfully, the combination can work the other way around these days and who knows, Mrs Frost may be pursuaded to write her own blog in time. If not, I suspect that you will be getting her somewhat individual outlook on life filtered through the mind of the blogman for a long while to come.

400 Channels Of C**p ?.

So the digital age is now with us and we now all have access to more than the four original Television channels. Some of us, of course, have been able to access many more channels via the Sky satellite system. Those who have viewed the mass of digital channels available through Sky know that much of what is on offer is rubbish. Sky does well at sport and movies for those interested in either, but much of the rest of the output consists of reruns of material originally shown on BBC or the independent channels. We complain enough about repeats on BBC and ITV without having to watch whole channels of it. The only other good thing about Sky as far as I am concerned is that it gives access to a wider range of news and views particularly through stations such as CNN and Al-Jazeera.

The Freeview platform seems likely to be like Sky on a smaller scale. True you now can see BBC 4 which does produce a lot of original material and the childrens TV channels for family viewing but much of the rest of it is instantly forgettable, overall, access to the many new channels available through digital TV reinforces the old axiom that more does not always mean better.

Friday, 22 May 2009


We hear that with more people falling into debt due to the recession and credit crisis, some of the debt collection companies are turning to ever more intimidating tactics to recover debts that are still outstanding. We hear that at least one company has been phoning those who owe money demanding that they make substantial down payments before they will arrange payment plans and suggesting that people take on extra financial burdens to pay off existing debts. Such tactics are in contravention of the debt collectors own code of conduct and should be reported. Anyone receiving threatening or intimidatory calls from debt collection agencies should contact National Debtline by phone for advice, or, visit their website that contains a large archive of material regarding debt and how to deal with it at all stages. The NDL website can be found at:,uk/

Phone. 0800 808 40000

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

It is often said that women cope with the breakup of a relationship or a divorce by getting new clothes and a hairdo whilst men cope by going down the pub and getting drunk. I am not sure about this. Admittedly, some men deal with the situation by getting wrecked, but then, on the other hand, so do some women, usually in scotland they seemed to do so very loudly and in the company of their friends who seemed to feel that it was their duty to feel the pain by sinking large quantities of vodka. Some men behave as women are supposed to by getting a haircut, or shaving their heads and getting a few tatoos to change their appearence thus signifying a new chapter in their lives, whilst others deal with these matters by entering new relationships, sometimes of the most unsuitable kind. The wealthy of both sexes, of course can, besides all of the above turn to world cruises and new cars and houses to dull the pain and signify that they are moving on. Whether any of this really deals with the inner turmoil inherent in such situations is impossible to know but at least such diversions prove to the outside world that wjere there is life there is still the possibility for change and in the case of the drinkers there is still the capacity to find something to help them rage against the injustices of an unfair world.

Those who care about those who go through these processes will take it all in their stride and just go on giving the best support and help they can. After all, we all have our ways of dealing with loss and change and who is to say that one way is better then another.

Looking Ahead.

We are now getting to the time of the year when we begin to get the first intimations of events likely to be happening, or not happening, on Street Market day. I understand that the jazz band that has been playing outside the Lamb Inn on Street Market afternoon for many years will not be appearing this year. I also understand that Cabbages and Kings will be selling Mike Howe's pies from a Gazebo outside the shop through the day along with fresh strawberries. We must hope that the weather is up to its usual Street Market standard.

We will report other Street Market advance news as we get it.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Conversation Stopper

Whilst in Scotland recently I went for a meal with an old friend who, unfortunately, does not always enjoy the best of mental health. When we met for lunch her first words were 'My doctor came in this morning and as I was going out for lunch with you he said he had better give me some Diazepam'.

It comes to something when a woman has to take a major tranquilizer before they can have lunch with you. I dont usually have that effect.

Storm In A D Cup.

Mrs Frost informs me that research has found that the average woman is the proud owner of no less then fifteen bras. One wonders how such research was carried ot. I have a vision of Bra Intelligence Teams (BITs) sweeping through the land rooting through the underwear drawers and counting the number of bras on the washing line. And who is this average woman ?. I have yet to meet one but I suppose the statisticians will have worked out what one consists of. I wonder if the BITs teams are so experienced in these matters that they can spot at a distance whether the bra they are inspecting was bought from Primark, Next or M&S ?. Probably we shall never know until a book appears titled something like 'Confessions Of A Bra Spotter'.

Given that the government is trying to get consumers to spend more money to get us out of the recession, there will soon be teams out on the streets questioning women as to whether they have 'got their fifteen' in yet and TV adverts will be telling the ladies that it is their patriotic duty to upgrade their collection. Doubtless there will be a special drive aimed at Transvestites to make sure that no potential group of customers are neglected. The Cup Final will take on a whole new meaning.

Then of course, there will have to be a push on knickers.

But I think we will draw a veil over that one.

Wind Farm Applicaton Back Again.

For those who have not seen the comment from Babyblox on the travellers site issue its worth pointing up the fact that the wind farm application for the site at Ash Farm has been re submitted and that objections have to be in by June 4th.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Travellers Site. Planning Application Withdrawn

As regular readers of the blog will be aware the planning application for the proposed travellers site at Oak Meadow was due to go before Mid Devon planning authorities last week. I understand that the application was withdrawn prior to the hearing. There is no information on whether the application is to be resubmitted.

Silverton's First Car ?.

I see from the Express and Echo that pupils at Silverton Primary School are researching who had Silverton's first car. My understanding was that it was the local GP, Dr Jones the early part of the twentieth century but there could be other candidates. A man named Perkins had a vehicle that was used as a taxi in the 1920s but I dont know when either he, or the doctor first aquired their cars. Hopefully, the primary school pupils may find out something more definate.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Two Polls

Given the continuing crisis over the MPs expenses scandal and the call by David Cameron for a petition for an immediate general election I have added two polls to the blog to give some idea of what people are thinking locally. The first poll asks if people support the call for an immediate general election and the second poll is to find peoples voting intentions in the event of an election being called. I have noted 5 parties, Labour, Tory Lib Dem, Respect and UKIP (Respect and UKIP one each) who have seats currently in parliament plus 2 others, BNP and Greens who have sizeable blocs of councillors, and in the case of the Greens a euro MEP and who might be expected to challenge the major parties in any upcoming general election.

Community Band...Update.

Anne Mattock informs me that the recently formed community band have now had their first meeting and that about 10 musicians were in attendance. The first practice was a sucess and future practices will take place at the community hall under the leadership of Dave George Holland. Any other musicians who are interested will be welcomed to join the band in their practice sessions on a Tuesday and it is still hoped that the band will have its first publicperformance at the Street Market.

Learning The Hard way.

I was returning from Tiverton this morning on ther bus and whilst the bus was coming up Upexe Lane into the village a small red car came down the hill at some speed, hit the bank and crashed into the front of the double decker. No one on the bus was injured but the driver of the car seemed to be in a state of some shock. The car was extensively damaged. When are people going to learn that Upexe Lane is a narrow unclassified lane which is now carrying traffic of a volume and size for which it was never designed and that people should curb their speed accordingly.

Todays events should also be a further incentive for the parish council to pursue the part of the 'we live here' plan that relates to Upexe Lane with the utmost vigour to reduce the possibilities of future crashes having a more tragic outcome.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Silverton's Got Talent.

Watching the success of the 'Britains Got Talent' programme on TV, is it not time that we did something similar in the village ?. I am sure that we could hire one of the meeting rooms in the village, assemble some Simon Cowell type judges and invite along those who consider that they have a talent in a specific area of entertainment whether it besinging, playing an instrument or tapdancing whilst dressed as a giant rabbit. I have no doubt that we have a wealth of local talent at present practicing their arts in front of the bedroom mirror who could be pursuaded to put in an appearence.

I am sure that we could find a suitable prize for the winner. How about an MP for a day visit to the House Of Commons.

All expenses paid of course.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Rolls Royce Pictures

I have now added some photos of the classic Rolls Royce vehicles that visited The Three Tuns this morning. The oldest car in attendance was a model dating from 1927.

Hall Site On The Market....Again.

So the sorry saga of the site of the late, lamented, New Hall rolls on once more with the 'For Sale' sign erected yet again. You wonder whether the site will ever be used as anything but a scrapyard. Perhaps those who cajoled and pressured people who were then involved with the Parish Council and the Hall Management Committee into the demolition of the old hall and the erection of the glorified Badmington Court in Wyndham Road might consider their role in creating the eyesore in Fore Street, but as most of those directly responsible are no longer amongst us and have gone elsewhere I somehow doubt it. Lets hope that this time something useful is done with the site and at least something can be salvaged, at last, from the whole sorry mess.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Someone recently told me about a plaque they had seen in a shop which read 'you will always be my friend because you know too much about me'. I dont know how many of use retain friends for that reason but I have no doubt that some friendships run on beyond their time precisely for those reasons. I suppose that the statement on the plaque counteracts another famous one about keeping your friends close but your enemies closer as obviously you wouldnt want youir enemies to have the sort of knowledge of you that your friends have.

Apparently scientists have now worked out that, whilst we individually know something like 150 people, we only really have three friends. Real friends, if they are that scarce should be cherished at all costs as they are the only relationships we choose in life for as they say 'you can choose your friends but not your familty'.

I think that as you get older you realise the fragility of human lives and relationships more and that real friendships become more important. Thats why I think that it is imprtant to always let your friends know the importance of the ro;e that they play in your life even if you might sometimes feel a little embarrassed about doing so. One of the saddest things in life is when relationships and friendships are suddenly terminated through illness or death with real feelings left unexplained.

Organised Rage.

I turned on the radio this morning to yet more news of MP's and dodgy expenses. I remember the days when people used to laugh at the corruption of the french or italian political systems. No one is laughing now. The rage over the obvious stench of corruption emenasting from Westminster is now palpable and its time that the rage was organised. There should be an immediate general election and the existing parties should be challenged by a national citizens movement standing on one platform, a root and branch overhaul of the entire existing political system to ensure that all elected representitives, are made fully accountable to those that elect them and that all financial renumerations and outside interests are fully accounted and transparent.There should also be a complete overhaul of the current party system and public representitives should be subject to recall by those who elect them where they are failing to perform their duties adequately.There should also be a close look at whether the British constitution as it currently exists is adequate for the complexities of the modern world. If a national citizens movement obtained a majority it would exist for one parliament only and would then disband having achieved the tasks it was elected for.

Thats my suggestion for an answer to the present crisis. Others of course are always welcome.


Cheapest In The Village ?.

We did the usual friday night tour last night and Mr Fox believes that he has established that the cheapest round of drinks to be had in the village at the moment are to be found in The Three Tuns.

If this is indeed the case it is to be hoped that this information will not be the green light for the owners to increase their prices.

Friday, 15 May 2009

A Line Dance To The Music Of Time.

Someone told me yesterday that their life was like a line dance-two steps forward, one step back. I am not sure about this as line dances are controlled by a caller and if you have a control freak in your life who sends you two steps forward and one step back its best to get out of the line. The idea of peoples lives as being like dances does though have an appeal. You have those who waltz through life, gliding across the floor effortlessly dancing to the music of time without once faltering, you also have the jivers who throw themselves and their partners in all directions, never losing control altogether amd whose spectacular moves thrill every audience they encounter, then you have the experts in the Latin American styles whose passion for what they are doing heat up the temperature wherever they go and of course there are those solitary souls who just prefer to dance around the handbag of life being rather afraid to venture outside the tiny circle that they have created for themselves.

There are others of course, whose lives are a bit like the country dances'strip the willow' and 'The Gay Gordons' but I suppose that Gay Gordon and his friends are into other forms of dance these days. I am sure that others can think of other forms of dance that their lives might resemble.

The best advice we can give those trying to master the dance steps of life is to practise your steps as often as possible, show some originality and dont step on your partners toes too often.

And there ends todays sermon.

Roll On.

For those with an interest in classic cars, about 20 Rolls-Royce vehicles dating from 1930 to the present will be passing through Silverton on sunday morning and will be stopping over at The Three Tuns car park for a drivers break at about 10.00am.

It should be quite a sight.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Sad Sight.

The condition of the former Ruffwell Hotel makes a sad sight with all the windows now boarded up. It now must be very problematic as to whether The Ruffwell will ever reopen in its previous form. Whatever now happens to the building let us hope that it is not left long in its current condition.

Quiz Night

A good turnout for The Lamb Inn quiz last night with eight teams playing. Another excellent quiz produced by Duncan Harrington saw some high scoring particularly in the 'Marathon' round where it was necessary to match albums to the artists that featured on them. Hopefully, we can get back to the situation where The Lamb Inn quiz is once more a monthly event.

The winning team was 'The Wise Monkeys'.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Excellent Articles.

A couple of fine articles on the MP's expenses fiasco can be found on the blog of the ever excellent, Dave Osler at:

Well worth a read although why Dave remains a member of the Labour Party is beyond me.

Busking Out All Over

I see that The Burns Festival to be held in Ayr, Scotland, later this month is to feature a two day busking featival when buskers from all over Scotland will be invited into the town to perform along the streets to give the town a real festival atmosphere. Perhaps the street market committee could consider doing something similar here to liven up our annual summer event. Of course, they would have to ensure that the performers were providing a wider range of music then 40 different versions of ' Wonderwall'.


Whilst viewing the Morris dancing last night I had the chance to congratulate Maria Moore on the sucessful completion of her MA through The Open University. The blog also passes on its congratulations and it is a useful reminder of the very considerable extension of access to education that Open University has provided over the past half century or so.

Morris On

The Wheal Sophia Morris team duly appeared and did their thing outside The Lamb last night. Morris dancing is not one of my favourite spectator events but there seemed to be a fair few people watching the event. Its noticeable that Morris dancing seems to be still a predominatly middle aged affair, unlike its Scottish or Irish folk dance equivalents which perhaps goes to show that the revival in English identity that has been much written about in recent years still has some way to go before it puts down the popular roots that exist for folk music and dancing in the Celtic nations.

Perhaps the fact that there does not seem to be funding for English cultural traditions as there is for such traditions elsewhere may be a major factor.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Barbeque Time.

Going around the village before the binmen over the last few days I noticed that there seemed to be a number of boxes that had contained barbeque kits had been put out for removal. I know that the long range weather forecasts are predicting a good summer but I suspect that buying in new barbeque equipment may be tempting fate just a bit. Long range forecasts have been known to be wrong and it would not be nice to think of all that new equipment going damp and rusty in the garden shed.

The only saving grace, I suppose is that the stench of burnt animals will not be purvading the countryside and we shall not have the sight of fat, drunk middle aged people attempting to emulate the latest dance craze or groping each other falling all over their back gardens. Personally, I think that the barbeque should be left to those who live in warmer climes where the barbeque is a more integral part of the social scene.

Morris Dancing.

Just a reminder that The Wheal Sophia Morris Dancers will be appearing outside The Lamb Inn at 8.00pm this evening.

I wonder if they will replace their handkerchiefs with tissues in line with government advice regarding swine flu.

Treasure Hunt.

Interesting to see the treasure hunt organised by a womens group from Pinhoe proceeding around the village last night. They certainly had some some clues. The clue 'Liverpudlian group with Beatle connections' turned out to refer to the scaffold at the former gallery and 'Victoria's other half' is Albertine cottage in King Street. My favourite however was 'Not HBOS' which referred to the house called Fairbank.

Monday, 11 May 2009


Some time ago we published some very favourable comments from one of our shopkeepers about the behaviour of the village children when they visited their shop. Its now with some sadness that we have to report complaints about the behaviour of some of our local youngsters at the park on saturday. It seems that a group of them were engaged in bullying a young girl and when asked to stop by an adult proceeded to give her a stream of abuse.

Hopefully this is a one off incident but if whats been reported to me is a correct version of events perhaps some parents need to take more responsibility for the behaviour of their offspring.


Is it just my imagination or is it really the case that there seems to be a higher number of properties for sale or rent in the village then is usually the case ?. I dont know whether there are a lot of people moving out of the village at once or whether there are repossessions going on, but there certainly seem to be quite a lot of 'for sale' and 'for rent' signs up around the place at the moment Perhaps we shall be having an influx of new blood into the village. Thats always welcome as long asincomers always remember that the village had an existence before they came and will be there after they have gone. Shared histories existwhich do not always stand up well to newcomers who behave sometimes in the manner of a bull in a china shop.


Just a reminder that King Street is closed for four days from today due to gas pipe laying.

Dental Hygene.

Yesterdays anecdote about the 'albino rats' at The New Inn reminded me of another story from the same pub, although of a slightly earlier era.

Back in the mid 1970's, most pub food still consisted of the sort of rolls and pasties that could be found under the old fashioned plastic covers resting on shelves. At that time The New Inn had just about reached this stage of cuisine and one saturday night an outsider to the village came into the bar and purchased a pasty and a pint of cider and retreated to a table near the door. Although not the centre of attention when he entered the bar he was by the time he left it when one of the regulars saw that, having demolished his pasty, he removed his false teeth and proceeded to wash them off in his pint of cider. The spotter, a well known village resident to this day, proceeded to inform the rest of the bar in a very loud voice as to what had occurred and the embarrassed denture washer removed himself quite rapidly from the pub thereafter.

Whether rough cider is good for cleaning dentures or not I would rather not speculate on, but I suspect that many of the regulars carefully examined the state of cleanliness of their pint mugs for some time afterwards.

Any Photo's ?.

If anyone has anyphoto's taken at The Lamb 10th anniversary bash that they would like to share with us could they please send them on ?. I suspect that we shall be taking some photo's at the 'Abba' event next weekend which will hopefully be online by this time next week.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Sweat Shirts.

And whilst on the subject of The New Inn during the time of John Neary, does anyone else remember the nice range of sweat shirts that he sold featuring a logo featuring a Galleon on the left breast ?. I had a bright red one for some years which unfortunately got incinerated in a washing basket when a frying pan caught fire while I was writing an essay.

I was nearly as upset about the loss of that sweat shirt as I was about the near loss of my kitchen.

Albino Rats.

There was a popular urban myth some years back about the alligators that were supposed to inhabit the sewers of New York. The legend was that the reptiles had been aquired as pets and when they started growing they were released into the sewers and lurked below the surface living on a diet of rats and anything else they could find in the sewers of that city. The myth became so well established that it even appeared in one of the novels of Thomas Pynchon, 'V'. or 'The Crying Of Lot 49' I think. It turns out that Silverton nearly had its own urban myth regarding vermin.

Back in the day, when The Silverton Inn was still The New Inn-as it still should be-it had a landlord named John Neary, an ex Royal Marine RSM who bore an uncanny resemblance to the late Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. On one occasion, Neary was troubled by a particularly active rat which eventually he trapped in a pipe and disposed of by the use of caustic soda which had the effect of turning the corpse of the deceased rodent white. When the white corpse was removed from the pipe the word got around that The New Inn was infested by a colony of albino rats.

Luckily for the current and future owners of the pub the myth never became as established as that of the New York sewer alligators, although perhaps if someone wants to rename the pub in the future The Albino Rat might be a possibility.

And Another Thought.

A last thought on the MPs expenses saga. Doesnt it make you sick when you see certain government ministers on television proposing ever tighter regulations on 'benefit cheats' when they are all cheating the system on a bigger annual basis then most benefit claiments could ever dream of.

And I suspect that the reason why the official opposition doesnt really havea lot to say on this issue is because, as the editor of the Conservative supporting Spectator magazine points out in one of todays sunday papers, the current system of MPs expenses came into being during the premiership of the blessed Margaret Thatcher.

One thing is for certain, if as I have heard, The Daily Telegraph paid £150, 000 for the details of MPs expenses they certainly got their moneys worth.

Which is more then the rest of us do from the current inhabitants of Westminster.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Expenses, Expenses.

I dont intend to write much on the issue of MP's expenses, an issue that it is receiving massive publicity at the moment, but it is worth pointing out again that few of these people have the house of commons as their sole source of income. A certain well known MP was reported to have been paid something like £75, 000 per year for writing a weekly column for a sunday newspaper a few years ago on top of his MP's salary. Many others of course, have nice little earners in other areas of the media as well as professions like law, not to mention that they are entitled to generous pensions when they lose their seats.

And they still wonder why people get pissed off when they see them putting in expenses claims for bars of chocolate ?.

Jazz Fakirs.

A good performance by The Jazz Fakirs at The Lamb last night. Unfortunately due to dog walking duties, I was not able to see all of it but there was some musicianship of a high order in evidence.

Whilst I know that modern jazz is not to everyones taste, and would not necessarily be my first choice in music, its good to see that people have the chance to hear it in one of our local hostelries. This blog has supported more live music in the village since we started and hopefully we may get to see a wider range of performers.

Perhaps its time for a Country and Western revival.

Swine Flu Joke.

For anyone who has not heard it yet.

'I phoned the swine flu hotline and all I got was crackling'.

Boom Boom.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Odds And Ends.

Nice to hear that The Lamb tenth anniversary bash went well. Nice to hear also that there are still those who can party until a quarter to three in the morning and can still be up again for fishing by five thirty.

Thats the spirit !.

Dont forget, that 'The Jazz Fakirs' are playing at The Lamb tonight and That The Wheal Sophia Morris Men will be appearing outside the same establishment on Tuesday12th May at 8.00pm outside the same establishment. The ever popular Lamb quiz will be back on Wednesday 13th May at 8.30pm and that The Lamb will be staging 'Abba Night' on Saturday May 16th at 8.30pm.

So get your blonde wigs, mini skirts and silver boots on and head on down and karaoke along to the sounds of the super Swedes.

It sounds like one not to be missed.


Whilst in Ayr I paid a visit to the cat on the blog, Reg. He is fit and well and still living in Glendale Crescent and sends his best wishes to all readers of Silvertonia.

He also says that any unwanted Budgies would be much appreciated.

Girls In Alaska.

I have been asked to link to a blog following the adventures of Emily Andrew and Cat Freeman on their adventures on one of the highest peaks in Alaska. I therefore urge all our readers to follow the link and to give the girls their full support in the challenges that lie ahead of them.


I was in Glasgow for that annual celebration of labour, in its broadest sense, the annual Glasgow mayday march and rally. Unlike many other parts of the UK, Mayday events still a\ttract quite a turnout, about 3, 000 at best estimate, in Glasgow and it was good to see a sizeable contingent from the Glasgow Save Our Schools campaign continuing to vocally protest the ongoing attempts by Glasgow's New Labour city council to close many local schools which are often the only community facilities that exist in deprived areas of the city. Glasgow is still a city wherepeople are prepared to fight to retain what services they have and that any campaign such as this always produces articulate and effective spokespersons even from the poorest areas.

I suspect its the sort of spirit bwe may all need to find in our own communities in the years to come as the cost of the current economic mess comes down on our own heads.


Good to seewestcountry ales on sale in Scotland during Wetherspoons recent beer festival. Good especially, to see one of our semi local breweries, The Otter Brewery, represented by one of their newer beers, 'Otter Amber' and also good to see the two Cornish breweries, Sharps and Skinners, also represented. Beer lovers should also watch out for a Scottish ale, Caledonian Breweries 'Raspberry Fool' should it ever come this way.

A Little Plod Music.

Whilst in Ayr I visited, as I always do, the local branch of the Wetherspoons pub chain for an afternoon meal and during one of my visits two members of the local CID were also in attendence investigating dud cheques or dodgy notes or something of that order of business. Whilst they were interviewing members of staff the phone of the more senior of the two began to sound out its ringtones.

You might well ask yourself what particular piece of music you might find on the mobile phone of a CID officer. The theme from 'The Sweeney' perhaps, or maybe 'The Bill' or. given the part of the world I was in, perhaps the theme from 'Taggart'. Any of those suggestions however would be well wide of the mark. The music that actually rang out around 'The West Kirk' was, in fact, the opening to 'Eine Kliene Nachtmusik' by Mozart.

One can only imagine the hilarity this must cause amongst the local hard men if he forgets to turn his phone off during interviews.

The Train Kept A Rolling.

My recent trip north of the border gave me the first opportunity I have had to use the cross country service since Arriva took over the route from Virgin. The drawback, for anyone from this part of the world wishing to travel to the west of Scotland, is that there is only one train per day that goes to Glasgow direct and that takes something like nine hours. otherwise you have to change from Arriva to Virgin at Birmingham New Street.

I was pleasently surprised therefore, to find that, even with changes at Birmingham and onto Scotrail at Carlisle, I was in Ayr in just under eight hours and on the return journey was back in Exeter in under nine. There seemed to be few holdups and the trains ran pretty much to time. My only gripe about the Arriva service is that it only uses a trolley service for refreshments which means less choice then the shop which still operates on Virgin. All in all good journeys in both directions.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Back On Line.

I am now back from Scotland and normal service will be resumed as from tomorrow. I hope you have all been behaving yourselves while the blog has been away and that if you couldnt be good, you have at least, been careful.