Horsington Open: Final version of Tee allocations

The Horsington Open tees off on Saturday with a record entry of 72 golfers – 24 more than last year. In fact the competition is now fully booked

. The prizegiving is around 2 pm on Saturday 5th September. Why not come and have a drink, buy a raffle ticket and cheerr on your local heroes, who will have been working all morning raising money for local charities. (And also enjoying a highly competitive but friendly game of golf

The latest (and hopefully) final list of teams and tee allocations can be downloaded HERE

A new perspective on Slavery

The fishermen and coastal dwellers of 17th-century Britain lived in terror of being kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa. Hundreds of thousands across Europe met wretched deaths on the Barbary Coast in this way. Professor Robert Davis investigates

Read this article on the BBC History website:


Wicked Stepmother turns the tables on the Seven Dwarves

Our parliamentary correspondent Harry Hansard is having a bit of a thin time at Westminster at the moment, so he has pointed his acid-dripping pen at Wincanton, where a dramatic council meeting took place on Monday 24 August. Over to you, Harry

Wincanton Council meeting. Spot the dagger.

Reminiscent of a Wagnerian opera, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and “Snow White and you-know -who”,  Armageddon made a brief visit to Wincanton on August 24th. Outside the wind crashed and the rain came down in stair rods. Inside, for the benefit of Zoomwatchers, a tragedy was played out.

The seven dwarves have it in for the Wicked Stepmother. She has been ingnoring some of them, harassing them by sending too many emails,  bullying,  fixing the minutes and other crimes. They have had enough. It was time to assassinate her. The knives were out. But in a supreme piece of procedural legerdemain, Standing Orders decreed that the assassins speak, not as elected councillors, but as ordinary  residents, thereby neatly blunting their daggers. (Whaaat? -Ed)

First to plunge in the dagger was Councillor Dawn Old, who read the charge sheet “ For 18 months I have been bullied and harassed;  you complain at every opportunity  at my behaviour, yet no reflection is taken  on your own behaviour. You have racked up over 100  formal complaints about you. I have seen you be the cause of 2 clerks going off sick, belittled my colleagues, picked people to co-opt and  scripting what they say,  fixing votes, minutes of meetings falsely changed. Spending money from reserves, conducting council business outside the full council, selling us out over car parking, and  lone meeting with property developers” (foot soldiers of the devil incarnate? -Ed).

She brandished a petition with over 507  signatures (nearly 100 more than the  votes received by the Wicked Stepmother) and demanded a vote of no confidence in the WS.

The WS was ready to cut her off at the pass. Step forward on cue, bag carrier Councillor Tudgay . Out of order, he ruled. (Follow this carefully) The councillor was speaking as a resident and not as a councillor and therefore could not initiate a vote of no confidence. That would have to wait for a slot on a probably very crowded agenda.

Councillor Eadington (speaking as a resident, but not as a councillor(!) said it was like being on the Titanic heading for the rocks skippered by the WS. She was off. Stab. So too was Councillor Sue Hinks, fed up with not being informed or involved in council business and excluded from the WS’s inner circle. Stab

Councillor Phil Rogers brandished his dagger. He was voted in to represent the town, he said. But he felt the council now merely represented itself.  He would not put up with bullying. Stab

Councillor Old re-entered the fray, her dagger flashing. She thanked the resigners for their years of service and said there was not one remaining councillor she had respect for or could vote for. This was the most corrupt council Wincanton had ever had. She resigned. Stab. Comedic exit to strains of “The Muppet Show”, which drowned out formal proceedings for the next few minutes.

Councillor Hearne complained she no longer had a voice on the council. Her suggestions often never made it on to the agenda. Resign . Stab.

The WS remained unperturbed throughout these assassination attempts. Icily emotionless, she batted away each mortal blow like someone swatting an irritating fly. The brave assassins were reminded that all assassinations had to be in writing, dated, and delivered to the Town Hall.

So rather than witnessing the the bloody demise of the Wicked Stepmother, we ended with the disturbing spectacle of the seven dwarves, well 5 of them, falling on their swords.

The WS had vanquished her foes without lifting a finger. She now reigns supreme, unchallenged and mistress of procedural chicanery. Where is Snow White when you need her?

This is not over.

Sue Shelbourn-Barrow, mayor of Wincanton

You can witness the meeting on YouTube-https://youtu.be/V3O9cSatiDU

(Skip the first 2 minutes)

Have your money ready at Bristol Airport

Once upon a time you could happily drive into Bristol Airport and drop off or pick up passengers for free.

There was outrage when they started charging £1 to deposit or collect a passenger. In October 2019 it went up to £3.00. Now it has gone up to £4.00 for a maximum 10 minute stay.

It seems grossly unfair that one should be charged at all for the privilege of simply dropping off or collecting people at a public airport for a few moments. The same principle applies to any public transport hub, such as railway or bus stations.

Bristol Airport has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on new barriers, payment systems, number plate recognition and all the paraphernalia of the Big Brother society. Someone has to pay for it -You.

If you want to avoid the charge you can park for nothing in a waiting zone near the Silver Zone Car park, where there is (allegedly) a courtesy bus to the terminal. We have doubts about its frequency or availability before dawn or in the middle of the night, when many holiday flights arrive and depart.

Or you can simply not travel. Why leave Somerset at all?

The Blackmore Vale Magazine is dead. Long live “The Leveller”

So farewell then, the Blackmore Vale Magazine, the local house hunters’ bible and the one place to look for gardeners, tilers, garden machinery and old cars. Oh, and the dating page, which used to have some of us in stitches in the pub on Friday nights.

But rejoice. A replacement is at hand. Enter “The Leveller”, which claims to be Somerset’s largest circulation newspaper, based in Langport.

It’s a monthly, and the latest edition is just out. Each copy has been treated with an anti-bacterial agent, so you have nothing to fear.

Unlike the BVM, The August edition of ”The Leveller” is packed with hard-hitting news and editorials.

  • The sudden cave in of Somerset’s District Councils in favour of a single unitary authority for Somerset.
  • The case for a single unitary authority
  • The Collapse of the planning departments in SSDC and SWAT
  • The questionable results of SSDC’s “transformation programme” and its budget overrun
  • Dubious behaviour by councilors in Wells over planning issues
  • The ongoing soap opera of Wincanton Town Council
  • The sale of Viridor (who collect your rubbish) to an American venture capital company
  • Somerset’s limited response to climate change
  • And much more

You would never find this kind of serious local journalism in the dear old BVM (or any  of its sister journals published by its owners Reach plc, who seem intent on putting all its publications on line in an annoying clickbait format which has alienated readers. The BVM was becoming increasingly advertising-driven, with the editorial team having a very minor seat at the bottom of the table. Sadly, they have all lost their jobs, which we regret. But in the blog’s view, the writing had been on the wall for years.

So we welcome “The Leveller”, and hope its talented editor Andrew Lee and team will continue the fight to hold the people who govern us to account. And lets have some ads for animals, old cars, garden sheds. Mowers, plumbers, plasterers and all sorts. No dating though.

You will find The Leveller in most of the places you would have picked up the BVM

The on line edition is here https://leveller.live/

It’s also on Facebook and Twitter.

Horsington Open fully booked with a record entry

A record 72 people will set out in pursuit of the coveted Claret Jug in the 9th Horsington Open at Henstridge Golf Club on September 5th. This is the maximum number the course can accommodate in two “Shotgun starts” – where everyone begins simultaneously on different tees.

The competition was fully booked two and a half weeks before the Off, another record.

Last year the Open raised £950 for local charities Wincanton Live at Home and St Margaret’s Hospice. This year organisers Richard Gaunt and David Blake are hoping to raise considerably more.

Good luck to all competitors. And remember to maintain a proper distance at all times. No jokes about touching the wrong balls -Ed