Utopia comes to Milborn Port after Easter

utopia-posterThe award-winning Milborne Port Opera’s next offering ”Utopia Limited” (April 23-26) will delight  anyone who  believes our present situation has been caused by the antics of bankers, politicians, financiers and the absurdities of health and safety bureaucrats.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera is a satire about  finance, royalty, bankruptcy,  celebrity media and the mafia. It revolves around the small South Pacific island of Utopia’s attempts to turn itself into a limited company – with the help of British management consultants. En route, it also takes a swipe at the British Empire, overseas aid, The Lord Chamberlain (plays were censored by him right up to the 1968) and courtship rituals.

The Milborne Port production team have sharpened its satirical edge with some judicious re-writes and updating, which makes it as relevant today as it was to Victorian audiences. In fact it will leave you with the feeling that nothing much has changed.

It is one of G&S’s less well-known works. “ Utopia Limited” is Gilbert and Sullivan’s penultimate collaboration, and it the only G & S opera which has yet to be performed by the Milborne Port company.

Utopia stars its regular singers, including Horsington residents Richard Gaunt, playing the King of Utopia, and Chris Bailward.

Musical director Caroline d’Cruz conducts the talented orchestra. Stand by for a cracking evening.

The show runs at the Milborne Port Village Hall from April 23-26, the week after Easter. Tickets from boxoffice@milborneportopera.co.uk Telephone 07926 983585.

Visit Utopia and meet its citizens on www.visitutopia.co.uk

More about Milborne Port Opera on www.milborneportopera.co.uk

Click on image to see MPO's web magazine

Click on image to see MPO’s web magazine

Horsington has been a great supporter of the MPO over the years, and this year is no exception. The Half Moon is running a minibus/coach to Utopia on Thursday 24th April. It will run from Wincanton via the Cheritons, Horsington, Templecombe and Henstridge. Cost will be £18 per head including admission ticket, interval drinks and canapés. A bargain start to the “season”.

Details and bookings from the Half Moon 01963 370140


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April Diary

It’s all happening in April! Spring is in the air!
 Anything missing? Email the editor editor@idnet.com

Regular activities (village hall unless stated).
Mondays Pilates 6pm
Tuesdays Upholstery 10.30 am , Badminton 8pm,  Curry Night, Half Moon (until Easter)
Wednesdays Adult tap dancing 6.15
Thursdays Art 10.00
Fridays Art 10.00

Other Events
Wednesday 2nd April   Wincanton Races, 2.15,  “ANVIL” Discussion group – “Freedom of Expression”, Quaker Hall, Wincanton 7.00 More. . .
Thursday 3rd April Music Night, Half Moon,  8.30
Saturday April 5th Horsington Music and Craft Festival. From 10am-late. More…
Spectra Music  at St Luke and St Teresa’s Church, Wincanton at 7.30pm
Monday 7th April  Ladies lunch Group, Rose &crown, Trent
Tuesday 8th April North Cheriton Gardeners Society, North Cheriton Village Hall, 7,30
Thursday 10th April Parish Council, 7.30, Village Hall
Wednesday 12th April Live screening from the Royal Opera House of Mozart’s “Don Giovani”. 6. 45 Cineworld, Yeovil. More. . . 
Saturday 13th April Wincanton Races, (Childrens day) 2.30
Sunday 20 April  Easter Sunday Quiz, Half Moon, 8.00
Wednesday 23rd AprilHitchcock “, starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson - Wincanton Film Society, King Arthur’s School, 7.30
Wednesday 23rd April  – Saturday 26 April “Utopia Limited”, by Gilbert & Sullivan, performed by Milborne Port Opera. Milborne Port Village Hall, 7.30 More. . .
Thursday 24 April Coach trip to see “Utopia” at Milborne Port. Various departure points include the Cheritons, the Half Moon and Templecombe. Details from the Half Moon 01963 370140 More 
Thursday 26th April
Wincanton Races 2.20
Monday 28 April Horsington Parish Church Annual Meeting, followed by Annual Parochial church meeting, Parish Church, 7.30
The Royal Ballet – The Winter’s Tale, Live relay, Cineworld, Yeovil, assume 6.45 More . .

St John’s Church services
6th April
9.15 am Holy Communion with Sunday School
13th April 11am Palm Sunday -Morning Prayer
17th April 7.30 pm, Maundy Thursday  Holy Communion, St Mary the Virgin, Templecombe
18th April Good Friday, 7.00pm, A service of Hymns and readings
20th April Easter Sunday, 9.15am Holy Communion
27th April 8.30 Holy Communion (BCP)

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Wanted: A new Parish Councillor

The Parish Council is looking for one new member and co-option will take place at the meeting of the Parish Council to be held on Thursday  8th May 2014  at 7.30pm  at St Margaret’s Village Hall, Horsington.

Anyone  from  Horsington or South Cheriton wishing to be considered for co-option onto the  Parish Council should contact the Clerk Mr D Chapman,  7 Slades Hill, Templecombe,
Somerset BA8 0HF.

 Or email horsingtonpc@hotmail.co.uk
Telephone 01963 370527 by Friday 2ndMay 2014

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Racing news from Winterbourne Longjohns

Other than Balthazar King,  (which I had at 20-1!- Ed) this years Grand National brought very little joy and even less profit to us all on Saturday. Except perhaps to those of you who had been fortunate enough to follow this column’s advice to back Peter Hobbs’ runners on an each way basis and who were rewarded with a gratifying 12/1 winner in Duke of Lucca.

So onto better things with other horses and courses. This country’s most promising young trainer, Harry Fry from Seaborough, just south of Crewkerne, is sending two horses up to Scotland on Saturday. Mendip Express is likely to start favourite at 10/1 or thereabouts for the Scottish Grand National at Ayr while on the same afternoon and at the same meeting Bold Chief , a winner last time out , is likely to start at a somewhat shorter price in the three mile chase at 5.05pm.

This same yard has a number of entries for Wincanton on Sunday and should be supported if they run Fair Dreamer and Vauban du Soleil in the 2.50pm  , Presenting the Way in the 4.30 and or Oscars Lad in the 5,05pm race. While Sir Ivan may run in the bumper at 5.40pm.

Proper flat racing is usually believed to start with the Craven meeting at Newmarket on Wednesday of the following week from where I shall expect my ever hopeful colleague Swinley Bottom to have gleaned some useful insights into likely future winners when he makes his debut before the Horsington Blog’s faithful readers later in the month.

He hasn’t mentioned Mrs Badger, so it seems that she is probably a non-runner. Many of our readers, (including the editor) are possibly more interested in this match than in the four-legged wonders -Ed.

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Mrs Badger writes . . .

Good morning ma’am, we are always happy to hear from you-Ed.

Dear Mr Editor,

I have been following your new racing correspondent Winterbourne Longjohns with great interest, and not inconsiderable  profit, and I wonder if there is some way you could introduce me to him. My late husband (my third, alas) was a noted point-to-point rider in his day, and there was nothing he liked better than a joyous gallop over the jumps. But I digress!

Perhaps he knew Winterbourne Longjohns? There is nothing I would like more than to sit with your esteemed tipster and reminisce about the good old days at Goodwood, Badbury Rings and Charlton Horethorne over a glass of two of something special. I should also like an opportunity to reward him for the good fortune he has brought me.

Do you know who he is? Could you perhaps furnish a photographic likeness of him?

Yours, fondly,

Amelia Badger (Mrs)

LongjohnsWinterbourne is a very private man. When I say he shares a postcode (well part of it) with Her majesty the Queen, you will surely understand that we have to be discreet. However he does make the occasional foray into Somerset,  often for the Wincanton race meeting associated with your good name. He asks whether you are perchance connected with that great brewing dynasty responsible for Badger ale?

A positive answer, he assures me, may result in a rapid take up of your kind invitation.

Meanwhile, here is a picture of Winterbourne Longjohns, not taken in the Royal enclosure at Ascot.

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Aintree – Friday

Winterbourne Longjohns writes:

I understand Phillip Hobbs is s very optimistic about all his Aintree runners today( Friday) and tomorrow and Wishful Thinking (Melling Chase, 1505)  is perhaps the most likely of all.

It lost- Ed

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Winterbourne Longjohns – 2 winners and a second!

Racing results from Winterbourne Longjohn’s tips

Thursday 3 April
12:15 Maisons-Laffitte (France), Orienteer, WON odds 3.3/1
2.00 Aintree, Actival  placed 8/15 LOST
3.05 Aintree, Rock on Ruby, 2nd, odds 10/1
17.35 Taunton, Polelamico, WON, odds 12/1
Garton Star ,Non-Runner

Winterborne Longjohns reports:
Rock on Ruby denied Aintree prize by a head after running a wonderful race at 10/1. I had backed it earlier in the day at 15′s and was almost counting my 0000-’s ! Magari. Polamico went in at Taunton at 12/1 somewhat unexpectedly however Orienteer did the business for us in France at a gratifying 33/10.



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Winterborne Longjohns’ Late Wire

Flushed with his success at Wincanton Yesterday, Winterbourne Longjohns turns his attention to  some races outside Somerset. Ooh la la!

Methinks the asparagus will be early this year and should be matched to a Sauvignon Blanc.

Meanwhile. In order to celebrate yesterday’s win,  I  intend to help myself to a little of the 20/1 available for Balthazar King on Saturday, as  selected by our winning trainer of yesterday  Harry Fry, who,  as I learn this morning, is also most. enthusiastic concerning   his charge Mendip Express’s  chances in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr in ten days time.

Meanwhile Andre Fabre’s Orienteer runs at midday  today in France and Harry Fry’s Garton Star and Polelamico are no more than a modest interest this afternoon at Taunton while our main interest will be with our two previous selections at Aintree.

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Blog’s tipster scores on debut

Our new racing tipster, the legendary Winterbourne Longjohns, landed a 9/4 winner – Jollyallan, and a 5/2 2nd – Henryville, at Wincanton today. Both horses could have been secured at much better odds early in the morning when the blog appeared.

His other two tips were non-runners.

A very good start. We hope his luck – and judgement- will continue. Well done.

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Up the Downs

A view from the  stable yard by our man of the turf, Winterbourne Longjohns.

The Blog is fortunate to have secured the services of the first class racing tipster, Winterbourne Longjohns. His maiden column is timely, for today is a Wincanton race day. Our tipster has been a lifelong reader of the Horsington Blog, but he brings an altogether new style, a welcome relief from the stark, functional prose of your editor.

Over to you, Winterbourne. . .

On this auspicious date I thought that you should be the first to know that  owing to  my strained financial situation I have now reluctantly decided to come out from a long and hard earned retirement and once again take up the rigours and shackles of employment.

I have no doubt that this will come as some considerable shock to you but as from today’s date I will be working as the National Hunt correspondent of the Horsington Blog covering the jump racing scene under the pseudonym Winterbourne Longjohns ,while my alter ego Swinley Bottom will from time to time advise the Blog’s readers and subscribers on flat racing prospects.

It may interest you to learn that Swinley’s first 2014 selection Orienteering, an Andre Fabre trained Juddmont home bred three year old from whom all expect a great deal, will be running at St Cloud later today. Incidentally Swinley Bottom’s European counterpart Captain Krumpnick can be reached c/o The Hayloft . L’ Ecurie des Nags, Chantilly , France and we very much hope that he will be able to provide us with profitable overseas information from time to time.

The thought has occured to me that with such world class information at my finger tips  my syndicated services might be of interest to such other magazines as Prospect, The Fortean Times  and Horse and Hound and I will be pursuing this possibility in due course of time. Hoping that this statement of intent proves as exciting to you as it does to me.

My Wincanton selections are all Harry Fry horses, viz 2.45pm Presenting Arms. 4.15pm Henryville. 4,45 pm Oscars Lad . 5.15pm Jolly Allan.  (looks like he’s going for a Yankee –Ed). Then I am going very strongly on Actival in the 2.oopm at Aintree, and Rock on Ruby in the 3.o5pm the following day.

My Grand National  (which will be shown in the Half Moon during the Music and Craft Festival on Saturday) selections are Tea for Two (Surely Teaforthree? –Ed)  and Shakalakaboomboom.

Well, there you are. We wish everyone the best of luck. Can’t wait for your next dispatch, Winterbourne.

Winterbourne . . . Really!

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Horsington to declare war on Milborne Port in Twinning row?

Twin2An ugly spat has broken out between two Somerset villages over a controversial “Twinning” arrangement.

It was all the rage in the 1980’s to “twin” with a similar town in France or Germany, so all the bigwigs could go on expenses-paid “fact finding tours” and come back with loads of cheap (or even free) booze.

Milborne Port, famous for its, award-winning opera company, has gone one better and is twinned with Utopia, an island in the centre of the Pacific Ocean.

Now they are up in arms because Horsington wants to get in on the act.Twin3

It all started when the EU’s External Action Service (equivalent to the UK’s Foreign Office/Overseas Aid department) began throwing money at Utopia for wind farm development. Then, before you could say “Geoffrey Boycott”, they were giving grants to Utopia’s cricket school, and finally their tourism website.

Before long it was rumoured that leading citizens from Milborne Port were flying off to the Pacific and indulging in so-called “cultural exchanges”, the considerable cost of which was being borne by the EU. (And therefore YOU, the British Taxpayer –Ed)

This tourism website picture shows the kind of people visitors on "Twinning" trips might meet

This Utopia tourism website picture shows the kind of people visitors on twinning trips might meet during “cultural exchanges”.

Sure enough, Milborne Port  then announced that it was to stage a lavish production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s rarely-performed comic opera “Utopia Limited” in the village hall, a clear case of bribery,  favouritism, nepotism and patronage (Steady –Ed). The Opera is about what happens on a Pacific island when British management consultants get involved.

Horsington’s gripe is that a number of Milborne Port performers live, or have lived, in Horsington and believe that it  is deeply unfair that Horsington should miss out on a potential investment  and cultural bonanza. Chris Bailward, a longtime resident of Horsington and member of the MPO told the blog “If anyone who should go on all-expenses paid trips to the South Pacific during the wettest winter on record, it is us. It can be very damp on the Marsh.”

Neil Edwards, spokesperson for the Milborne Port Twinning Association responded angrily:” I cannot believe the cheek of Horsington to even attempt something like this. They’ve overstepped the mark. Milborne Port has a long standing tradition of twinning, already sharing links with  the town of Rederring which is on the border between Denmark and the UK and of course, Titipu, Japan. The Utopia Chamber of Commerce left me in no doubt that any approach from Horsington would be met with stern opposition there. If you ask me, Horsington should twin themselves with Brigadoon and disappear for a century”.

Utopia's celebrity magazine seems familiar - and so do its celebrities!

Utopia’s celebrity magazine seems familiar – and so do its celebrities!

The blog has looked at the Utopia website and admits that Utopia is a fascinating place, well worth a visit

It even has its own celebrity magazine.

Several of the members of the ruling clique look strangely familiar. Click on the image on the left to enter the website.

1 April 2014

Click on image to see MPO's web magazine

Click on image to see MPO’s web magazine

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