Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Popular Villager Celebrates Her 80th!

Popular villager Doris Chapman celebrated her 80th birthday today and the occasion was marked by a presentation by her colleagues at the Parish Council. Vice-Chairman Bev Slaughter presented Doris with a bouquet of flowers and, after the Council meeting was finished, there was a birthday cake and some non-alcoholic bubbly.

Bev with Doris and Hilary Boot-Handford, Chairman of Council.
Picture by Mike Benson

Monday, 28 November 2011

Pleasant Surprise in the Pub

There I was, sitting quietly supping a pint of ale in the pub tonight, after a pleasant meal with Juli, Lesley and Rob, when in walks Trevor (albeit slowly). What a surprise, but it gave me a chance to get the news from the man himself. He has cardio myopathy, which is a failure of his heart to function properly. It is not beating properly, it's out of sync, if you like.There is no surgery that can cure this, it is not a matter of repairing a valve or anything. Trev has to go back to Derriford next week and, basically, they will stop his heart, then restart it, to try and get it to beat normally.
The docs have told him there are three options following this: 1) the heart starts beating normally again and, after a period of taking drugs, Trev will be back to normal; 2) nothing happens and he continues on drugs for the rest of his life, or 3) nothing happens immediately, but the heart deteriorates and a transplant is the answer.
But the hospital is confident that Trev is young and in good health (apart from the obvious) and there should be no problem with achieving option 1.
In the meantime, Trev is at home, he is being fed and he has a 'nightwatchman' who is a phone call away if needed. The downside is that he's only allowed one and a half pints a night!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Budapest Cafe Orchestra Short Video

Trevor Home For Now

Trevor is back home for now. As he posted on Facebook: 'Home after 19 days in Derriford. Diagnosed with cardio myopathy which is a bit of a bummer. Still keeping positive, going to have heart stopped and hopefully started again on 8th Dec, fingers crossed.'

Posse Rides Into Bere Alston

A posse of cowboys, a couple of bar girls, several Indians, a shifty-looking Mexican and a dubious builder (think about it!!) rode into the Bowling Club last night for the celebration of Ian 'Woody' Wood's Old Timer birthday.
Ian is well-known in Bere Ferrers as 'The Cowboy Singer' at the regular jam sessions in the pub and it was fitting that many of his musicial friends turned out like it was a river crossing camp meeting to help him celebrate!

The New Old Timer

Doc Holliday with two saloon girls

Gunfighter with an Indian

Doc with another pioneer

A roasted pig was brought into the saloon and soon the Westerners were tucking into pork and beans, with a delightful selection of salady bits, followed by pud. (I don't remember ever seeing John Wayne tucking into puds!).

Woody helps with the pig.

Sheriff Kelly kept the saloon in order (nearly!) as the musical part of the hoe-down started, with the Blaxton Band first up. Lizzie and Mike did a couple of numbers each, followed by Squandered Youth. The main attraction was the debut of A Bit On The Country Side, a new band put together by Mike Grimshaw.

A Bit On The Country Side.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Budapest in Bere

The cream of cafe society crammed into St Andrew's church last night for a concert by the Budapest Cafe Orchestra, a talented quartet from, yes, you've guessed it, Harringay, a tiny settlement south of the small village of Hemel Hempstead.
The Orchestra consists of Christian Garrick on violin and doumbeck, described as probably one of the finest jazz violinists alive today and indeed his virtuosity was incredible.
Eddy Hession, a former UK accordion champion and accompanist to Pavarotti, played the difficult button accordion. Kelvin Cantlon played double bass exceedingly well, while the fourth member was Adrian Zolotuhin, a Russian from Hampshire, who showed his skills on the guitar, saz and balalaika.

The ensemble.

As you would expect, the music was mainly of central European origin, including Rachmaninoff's Squeezebox Concerto and Hungarian Dances by Brahms. An unusual version of Gershwin's Summertime enthralled the audience, as did a new number by Andy Zolotuhin called Travelogue, played on a Turkish stringed instrument called a saz.

Christian on the violin.

Eddy on accordion.

Adrian playing the saz.

Kelvin thumps that bass.

Before Bob Turner welcomed everyone to the concert, Marcel presented a gift to Ann Turner for all the hard work she does with Villages In Action on behalf of the village. A band of volunteers were on hand in the interval to dispense soft drinks and wine, donations to which will go to the Children's Hospice South-West. Yet again, another excellent evening's entertainment organised by Ann and Bob - well done!

Ann, Bob and Marcel.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Quelle Nuit du Beaujolais Nouveau

Good moaning! It was 'Allo! 'Allo! time again dans le pub la nuit derniere avec lots of outrageous French accents, funny 'ats and absurd Franglais (particularly down my end of the table) as a merry crowd of villagers joined in the Beaujolais celebrations. For some reason, the merriment kept other drinkers away from le pub, except for a hardy bunch of gig rowers in the lower bar.
Sarah et Ted had decorated le pub dans le drapeau tricolore and le vin flowed like wine!!
Il y avait un superbe repas: starters ranged from delicious goats' cheese, through soup to perhaps not so delicious escargot (a matter of taste here!). Main course consisted of a choice of Coq au Vin, Beef Bourguinon, Moules or a veggie option. There were several puds, including tarte Tartin and an excellent conseil de fromage.
Another brilliant evening dans le pub - tres bien!

Michel Grimsheau et Tilly Kelly

Les diners

Penny Grimsheau avec les escargot
Sophie takes les orders

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Post Office and Newspapers

The Villagers' Group committee held a meeting this evening to try and formulate some suggestions about the temporary(?) closure of the post office and the loss of the newspapers, due to Trevor's serious illness.
POST OFFICE It was agreed that we could not support any suggestions about the post office until we were aware of Trev's intentions, and this would be inappropriate at this time. Mention was made of the mobile post office or setting up a temporary post office somewhere in the village, but it was thought that this may affect the attitude of the Post Office to the need of a branch in the village.
NEWSPAPERS The problem here is of finding someone willing to receive a paper delivery from the wholesaler at 6am! There are villagers who have their newspaper delivered before they go to work. Unfortunately, this would not be possible under any alternative plan. We have already spoken to the Spar shop in Bere Alston and they are happy to deliver pre-ordered papers to a pre-determined location in Bere Ferrers, but not until about 11am, which is too late for most.
CAR ROTA A suggestion was put forward that a rota be organised of cars and drivers to take villagers to Bere Alston at pre-determined times during the week, to collect pensions, etc. As well as being a service to the elderly, it would reduce the number of vehicles going to and from Bere Alston.

OPEN MEETING A meeting has been arranged at the Social Club at 8pm on Monday 5th December for villagers to come along with their suggestions for all or any of the above. Please come along if you can -your input is vital!


The latest I heard about Trevor was that they have almost got rid of the pneumonia, which means that soon he will go for heart surgery.
In the meantime, I contacted the Post Office (with not much confidence for a positive reply) notifying them of the position and how the elderly in the village rely on the post office for pensions, cash and stamps. I asked when they will be sending a replacement postmaster; they said they would reply within 10 days - I'm not holding my breath!
However, the Villagers' Group committee will be discussing what we can do, if anything, about newspapers and post office services and perhaps a car rota service to Bere Alston. In all likelihood, an open meeting will be called for villagers to put their views.

Candy Girls

Oh dear! I just went to the surgery for a blood test and I thought they were having a sale of pink pyjamas! The new uniforms have arrived, though why they had to change I don't know - the old ones are fine. Soon we will have the Candy Girls on Reception.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Remembrance Day

A large crowd of villagers gathered at the war memorial in Bere Ferrers this morning in warm but windy conditions to remember those who gave their lives in two World Wars and other conflicts so that we could be free.
Stan Sherrell read out the names of those from the village who had fallen, including the New Zealand soldiers killed in the tragic accident at Bere Ferrers station in 1917. Stan and Bev laid wreaths on behalf of the Royal British Legion and the Parish Council respectively, while Caroline and Val laid other wreaths.
Following the wreath-laying, the was a service at St Andrew's church.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

More on Trevor

More news last night on Trevor's condition: he is suffering from pneumonia, a viral infection and a serious heart problem with one of his valves not working. The doctors at Derriford are trying to cure the pneumonia before Trev can go for a heart operation.
Trev's recovery will take a long time and I think we can say that the post office and the newspapers will not reappear in Bere Ferrers. How much we all relied on Trevor - up early in the morning to receive and sort the papers, then deliver them, running the post office in the morning, followed by an afternoon's building work! It isn't until something like this happens that we realise how much we depended on Trev. But his health is of paramount importance and we have to look at other ways of receiving the papers and using the post office.
The Villagers' Group committee will be meeting shortly to suggest alternatives (if there are any) before calling an open meeting to discuss what the village wants to do. Look out for posters about the public meeting.
In the meantime, our thoughts go out to Treveor and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Trevor Latest

Various villagers have been to visit Trevor in Derriford. Colin Street reports that at the moment Trevor is very weak and cannot walk more than a few steps and needs a wheelchair to go to the toilet. The bad chest infection he had last week really worsened his condition. Trev is about to move to a heart ward prior to an operation, but is still laughing, which is a good sign.
We have to be aware that the post office and the newspapers may not be available for some time ahead.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Trevor in Hospital

Our popular Postmaster, Trevor, is in hospital with what could be a serious heart problem. He did not feel well last week and had what he thought was a bad chest infection, which caused him to close the Post Office on Thursday - an unheard-of event!
He was taken to Derriford on Saturday, I understand, and a heart problem was discovered. I will update with more news when I have it.

Apple Fest Wash-up and AGM

The Tavy & Tamar Apple Group held its Annual General Meeting in the Plough Inn last night, when 17 members attended and were welcomed by Chairman Brian Lamb.
Apple Fest
First item on the agenda was a wash-up of the recent Apple Fest. Everyone thought that it had gone very well and the Fest Treasurer, Steve Rickhards, reported that it made a profit of £559.19. It was agreed that a donation of £100 be made to the Devon Air Ambulance and the remainder retained for a possible forthcoming project.
Joyce reported that there were no cakes donated this year to the cafe, which meant that funds were spent to buy cakes. It is hoped that cakes will be donated next year.
Bev said that he has produced new signs for the Apple Pie competition and showed these to the meeting. He also said that the Poetry Competition was poorly supported and suggested resting it. Several replacements were suggested, including an apple quiz, but it was agreed to hold an Apple Art competition.
Next year is the 10th anniversary of the Fest and discussion was held as to who should open the Fest. Several names were suggested and these will be followed up.

Apple Press
The press was used 15 times this year at various events and produced approximately 2,388 litres of juice.

Patrick reported that membership is increasing and spreading outside the parish.
The following were elected for 2012:
Chairman Brian Lamb
Vice-Chair and Chairman-Elect Richard Peden
Treasurer Will Spearing
Marketing and Webmaster Bev Slaughter
Meetings Secretary Frances Gorringe
Membership Secretary Patrick Waterfield
Committee Steve Rickhards Ann Crozier Tim Peden
Brian told the meeting that this will be his last year as Chairman.

This will be on Saturday 7th January, in the church hall and the orchard. The Dartmoor Border Morris and the Tavy Tars will be helping with the celebrations. Tickets are £5 and will be available during December from Margaret's.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

A Hot Time in the Olde Plough Tonight!

The invitation was to Dee's birthday party, but it turned out that her birthday was ages ago and the evening was an excuse to get the village together. And so it proved! Everyone who is anyone in the village crammed, yes, crammed, into the pub for a superb curry meal and musical entertainment.
The only one missing was Trevor, who apparently is in hospital.
First up was Paul, who sang a few songs, then he was followed by Louis, Steve and Dyno, with an excellent version of 'Sweet Child of Mine' and a Gerry Rafferty number.
The popular Ed and Sadie didn't let us down, with Sadie showing us how to play a violin! While the stage was set up for Two Blondes and a Bloke, Tim Hampson gave a rendition of a couple of ancient tunes on his Scottish harp, which were well received by the audience. The aforementioned Two Blondes and a Bloke kicked off with a Dusty Springfield number, 'Little By Little', followed by a couple of favourites.
The Paul White Blues Band finished off the evening in fine style.

Rockin' at the Club

Ron and Margaret rockin' to George Nixs.

George in full swing.

George Nixs rocked the joint at the Social Club last night as many of his local fans danced and rocked with him. All the favourites were there: Dire Straits, The Shadows, Santana, etc, including a solo rendition of 'Duelling Banjos'!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Coming Soon! Irish Night

Get this down in your diary - Irish Night in the church hall, with a licensed bar - yes, a bar! This is another music night organised by Dude Music Promotions, and Louis tells me that he has the licence and that Nick the Vic has given his approval.
Admission is by ticket only; they will be available at £10 each, only from the Plough and the Post Office in Bere Ferrers.
Differing types of Irish music will be on offer, from gentle acoustic folk through to raucous foot-stomping Irish rock.
The date: 16th December. Get your tickets early, there will be a big demand!!

Beautiful Autumn Day

After a week of rainy weather, today has been brilliant! The sun has been out all day and made everyone feel good. The colours in the trees are starting to change and should be at their full glory in a couple of days.
A leisurely walk through the woods and along the river bank was called for before the sun set.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Grass Cutting

There is a problem with mowing the Recreation Field at the moment. Recently, a farmer in North Devon was prosecuted for mowing the local football pitch using red diesel in his tractor, which is illegal.
Consequently, the Parish Council are having great difficulty in finding someone with suitable equipment to regularly mow the Field. Understandably, farmers are reluctant to do this work.
The Villagers' Group have used a small ride-on, but while it is sufficient for something the size of the five-a-side pitch, it is not suitable for the whole Field.
The Parish Council are working to find some way of mowing the Field as soon as possible.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Villagers' Group Committee Meeting

A committee meeting was held at the Club last night.
Present: C. Grills, B Slaughter, D. McDonald, D. Mitchell
Apologies: None
Missing: R White, J Gallagher, D Mills
Villagers: J. Slaughter, K McDonald

Minutes of the Last Meeting were read and accepted; there were no Matters Arising except that the goalpost has been removed.

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 2012
Bev reported that he and Sarah at the Olde Plough have started the ball rolling with something to commemorate the Jubilee. They thought of a rustic bench for the Recreation Field, with a suitable design etched into the seat back. Sarah has already contacted Andy the wood turner for a price.
Chairman thought that it was not solely the Villagers’ Group’s responsibility to arrange this and that all groups in the village must be contacted. Bev said that he had already contacted the WI. Parish Council have been asked to consider precepting for money to somehow commemorate the event.
Bev is to contact all groups in the village (shop, church, music groups, etc.) to ascertain the level of support.

Daphne suggested that we consider the purchase of a minibus for the village. The idea is to reduce the amount of cars going to and from Tavistock for shopping, etc. and wasting petrol. The minibus would be no more than a nine-seater to remove the restrictions of a PSV licence. The idea did not receive much enthusiasm from the other members for the following reasons: a) the cost of purchasing it, b) the cost of maintenance, c) who will have the time to drive it? d) where would it be garaged? and e) would anybody use it?
There is already Ring and Ride and the TASS bus, so why would a minibus improve the situation?
Daphne will conduct a survey at the shop over several weeks to see whether anybody would be interested in the service.

Recreation Field Report
Zip Slide Diana said that Ian has started dismantling the zip slide prior to the new structure being assembled. He found that one of the legs was totally rotted through.
Mowing Mowing of the Field is a concern. The apparent recent mowing has made no difference and there have been complaints to the Parish Council. Bev reported that the Council will be mowing very soon. The problem has been caused by the red diesel dispute.
It was unanimously agreed that funds be made available immediately for Paul Willmott to strim the banks of the football field.
Inspections Someone is urgently needed to make regular inspections of the play area equipment, as the fence is loose in parts. Diana will contact John Gallager and Bev will contact Stewart to see if they are interested.
Work Parties More work parties are needed to keep the Field in order. The Scouts did a great job recently, but it needs to be looked after regularly. Diana suggested a day once a month, when villagers who are available and willing to help would tidy up the Field. It would not be on an individual regular basis, but folk could join in when they can. The first Sunday in each month was suggested.

Agreement with Parish Council
An initial three-year agreement between the Parish Council and the Villagers’ Group was signed in 2004 and has never been reviewed. This will be done soon by the Parish Council and a discussion took place about what needed clarifying. It was agreed that the mowing areas be defined; Parish Council should mow all of the Field except the banks of the football pitch, the cycle track and the bird hide and leave the marsh.

Rail Mast
Bev gave an update on the meeting with Geoffrey Cox MP last Friday.

Cllr Robin Musgrave briefly joined the meeting to ask if anything could be done about the large potholes developing on the track from the causeway to the Field. This was a matter for Highways, but it appeared that a lack of budget was causing problems. Neither the Group nor the Parish Council have funding to do this work. Bev suggested that some spoil from the Hub Club development could be used.

No date was fixed for the next meeting.