Fab night out – don’t miss it: Moscow Drug Club at Compton Dundon 10 November

Moscow Drug Club is a fabulous band. To quote their website: ”


Is a curious musical place where certain elements of 1930’s Berlin Cabaret,
Hot Club de France, Nuevo Tango & Gypsy Campfire meet, have a few to drink and stagger arm in arm into the darkness of some eastern European cobbled street on a mission to find the bar where Django Reinhardt & Tom Waits are having an after hours jam with the local Tziganes.”

And all this is happening at the Compton Dundon Village Hall, just up the road from the Podimore roundabout. The date: Friday 10 November. Time: 7.15 for 8pm.

You will be welcomed to a candle-lit hall decorated to suggest a nighclub behind the iron curtain, plied with suitable cocktails and offered nibbles before the evening begins. There will be a bar.

Tickets are £17.50.

Reviews of the \Moscow drugs club:

“Nothing but praise for your performance, absolutely knock out, great musicianship and very entertaining!!”

“when Moscow Drug Club made their first appearances last year it seemed that they were artfully designed for success”

“Moscow Drug Club played a beautiful set consisting of musical talent beyond technology, beyond fx pedals and amp make, reminding us all of where music came from and what it is about.”

“the best entertainment we have ever had!”

“the music, songs and your voice were amazingly evocative, beautiful and inspiring, such originality just like the band’s name. ”

Your editor has seen them – Fabulous – Ed

You must book in advance. Contact howardbm@uwclub.net or telephone 01278 423110 to book by credit/debit card

Facebook link



Mark Tucker has withdrawn from the Round the World Race

Facebook watchers will have seen the announcement  that Mark Tucker from Horsington has decided not to continue in the Round the World Clipper Race.

He has kindly furnished the Blog with an explanation of why he has taken this decision.

Mark Tucker (Foreground, right) with members of the GREAT Britain crew

Around The World (or, maybe, just around the corner…)

Sometimes in life things just don’t pan out exactly as you think they’re going to.  Situations often work out better than you expected but other times they don’t quite live up to their billing.  My round the world yacht adventure rather falls into that latter category.

For some people racing a sailing yacht around the world has been a childhood dream.  For others it’s an important tick box to go with climbing Mouth Everest, running the Marathon Des Sables or hiking to the North Pole.  For the rest, like me, it’s simply a personal challenge, an adventure.

You’ll probably all have read the previous posts about the Clipper Round The World race but, for those that don’t know, it’s an organised event that runs every two years and provides paying amateurs the opportunity to race a fleet of twelve ‘matched’ racing yachts over 40,000 miles around the world, or part of it if time, money or enthusiasm doesn’t stretch that far.  As the Blog’s Editor previously attested, these are proper racing yachts – designed to be fast, hard work and uncomfortable!  The race is staged over a series of eight legs – Liverpool to Uruguay, Uruguay to South Africa, South Africa to Western Australia, Western Australia to The Whitsundays (including the Sydney-Hobart Race), The Whitsundays to China, China to Eastern USA, Eastern USA to New York and New York to Liverpool.  It had been my plan to do the lot.

‘So, what happened?’ is the question everyone asks when they hear that finishing the 6,400 mile race to Uruguay was going to mark the end of my Clipper adventure.  I think they’re looking for some earth-shattering event; a massive argument with my Skipper, ending up overboard mid-Atlantic or my bunk buddy wetting the bed perhaps?  Disappointingly for them, none of those things are true.  It was more a realisation over time (and, believe me, five weeks at sea gives you plenty of thinking time!) that the race, for me at least, wasn’t as fulfilling as I had expected it to be.

I had massively enjoyed my training.  Clipper provide everyone, regardless of experience, with four weeks of compulsory training.  Additionally I had been selected to act as a Crew Coxswain (one of the people that take over if the Skipper becomes incapacitated) and had received a further couple of weeks of, mainly theory, training for that.  It had been great fun; I was learning lots, experiencing new things, was physically demanding and I was meeting lots of new friends.

I had expected all of that to continue into the race but, perhaps a little like a failing marriage, once the honeymoon period had worn off the realities of life started to hit home.

Sailing a yacht across a vast expanse of ocean is rather different from racing ‘round the cans’ or even cruising around islands or down the coast.  For the vast majority of the time, sometimes for days on end, the boat needs only a couple of people to sail it – someone to helm and another to ensure they’re making good speed and course.  Whilst these roles are rotated around the watch of about ten crew it can mean that, save a little sail trimming, for most of a four or six hour watch there is little, if any, sailing to do.  Fantastic when the sun’s shining and there’s dolphins on the bow, not so great when it’s dark, cold and pouring with rain!

So, what does occupy your time?  Well, clearly talking complete rubbish to fellow crew mates is an important time filler and aside the more interesting tasks such as an hourly log of position, a daily check of the received weather information, an occasional glance at the display to check for other vessels nearby and the six-hourly review of our race position against the rest of the fleet, it’s a long list of cleaning and maintenance chores. It’s amazing how dirty a small space can become, even when in the middle of the ocean, when there are 21 people living in close proximity.

It’s equally surprising how much maintenance a yacht can require.  The regular list of duties includes cleaning heads (toilets), pumping out and cleaning bilges, ‘making’ fresh water (from sea water), emptying waste water holding tanks, checking for any chafe (signs that ropes have been rubbing and are likely to fail) and performing any maintenance required – anything from servicing pumps to repairing cookers and generators.

All very necessary, none very inspiring!  Add to that the sea sickness (far worse than I’d experienced ever before), the tiredness (it’s really not that easy to sleep in a roastingly hot bunk, in an ocean swell, with someone operating a winch inches above your head) and uninspiring food (sorry Pip!) and you couldn’t be much farther from the sailing pictures you see in the back of the colour supplement.

Life is about balancing things to make decisions; often there’s no correct answer, you just have to do what feels right at the time.  I thought long and hard about my decision and, ultimately, the lack of that childhood dream or tick box meant there wasn’t enough on the ‘keep going’ side of the scales to offset the boredom, sea sickness, exhaustion and risk of injury.  Ocean racing is something you have to be 100% up for; there is nothing more annoying and, in some cases, dangerous than to have a ‘passenger’ on the boat – I promised my Skipper and my crew mates that I’d either be completely in the boat (pardon the pun!) or I’d walk away.  Could I have completed another leg or even finished the race?  Absolutely, but it wouldn’t have been fair to them or true to myself.

So, after a few days in Buenos Aires, I’m now enjoying the South African sunshine as my crew and the rest of the fleet race towards me.  How do I feel?  Content, I guess.  I had set out, with the best of intentions, to conquer the world and I won’t have achieved that.  But I will have completed a long ocean crossing (the longest in Clipper’s history), I’ve sailed across the Equator (whilst Neptune transformed me from Slimy Pollywog to Trusty Shellback), I’ve learned loads about the oceans and about sailing and I have made great friends along the way.  Was I a little naive?  Maybe, but my training and discussions with everyone I talked to suggested it was going to be a blast.  Do I regret it?  Absolutely not.  I’m proud to have achieved what I have and would make a similar decision given my time again.  I’m just ready to fill my time with the next, different, adventure.  After all, that’s what life’s all about.

Looking forward to seeing you all about the village, or in The Half Moon for a pint, for the unabridged version very soon!  And please keep supporting the GREATBritain crew; I certainly will be and knowing there’s a ton of people out there willing you on makes a huge difference!

We thank him for his openness and honesty, and wish him the best of luck -ED

Postscript – Horsington’s other adventurer, Chris Bailward, cycling home from Sicily via Italy, Swizerland and France, is now in Paray-le-Monial a day’s cycle ride this side of Macon. With a following wind and no punctures, he might be back by the end of the weekend. 1800 miles in the saddle, another epic ride.

Half term and Halloween cinema treats

WhereWestBegins, the cinema venture masterminded by Horsington’s Penny Nagle, has some half term treats in Wincanton, Bruton and Yeovil.

(1) 30th Anniversary Screening of The Princess Bride –Wincanton Town Hall  Friday 27th October 2-5pm

A cult film that has survived the test of time, The Princess Bride convincingly carries everyone from Mel Smith, Peter Cook, Billy Crystal to Wallace Shawn (“Incon-theeeee-vable!) to Andre the Giant without puncturing the fairytale bubble.  It’s funny, it works on many levels (as the best children’s films do) and you will enjoy it as much as your children.

Before the film there will be a creative workshop with actor Agni Scott (Bridget Jones’s Baby, The Hamburg Cell) on how make a fairytale.  She says :

“Enter a world of a magical adventure inspired by this great classic film.  Ever wanted to be a pirate, a knight, fight an Evil prince, a Giant? Want to know how to cross the bog of eternal stench? Scale a three hundred foot mountain? Come along and discover how. Bring clothes you can move in, and your imagination.”  Recommended ages for the event: 7 to 11 years old (younger children considered but must be accompanied).


(2) My Life As a Courgette with Clay Animation Workshop from Jim Parkyn of Aardman Animation. Guided Discussion after film.   Hauser & Wirth Somerset – Saturday 28th October 2-5pm (Tickets are FREE to children on Free School Meals or in Care)

This is a wonderful Oscar nominated Swiss French stop animation film about children in an orphanage.  It is gentle and funny, and much cheerier than the subject matter suggests.  There is a guided discussion afterwards for children to talk openly about what it’s like not to have a parent.  (Or if your parent is a courgette-ED)

It’s so life affirming that Bristol’s Aardman Studios (Chicken Run, Shaun the Sheep) are supporting the release, and Jim Parkyn, their senior animator is coming along to run a clay animation workshop beforehand.  He looks like Father Christmas and made Shaun the Sheep – what’s not to like…

He says “Anybody can make a model but it’s the little tweaks that make it a character. In the model making class we’ll make it easy by breaking it right down into basic shapes that fit together. The clay has to be warm and in the workshop we’ll be warming it up by hand to make it flexible and workable and then everything we’ll do will be by hand, no tools required. It’s amazing the different effects than can be created by finger and nails. You’ll be able to take your model home and experiment even further.”


Finally, a Halloween treat at the newly refurbished Westlands Cwntre, Yeovil:

(3) Nosferatu – With Somerset Brides of Dracula providing live music  – Westlands Yeovil Tuesday 31 October at 7.30pm. 

The 7th Best Horror film of all time (The Guardian), this silent German Expressionist film from Murnau is the original using all aspects of the film – visual and narrative to tell the story of Dracula.  A must see if you are at all interested in German Expressionism or want to take your children to a classic on Halloween.  Amazingly this is a PG, because it shows so little but the images stick.  Recommended for anyone over 10.


WhereWestBegins is a not for profit organisation bringing film events to Somerset.

Thanks to the BFI Neighbourhood Cinema Fund which has made all this possible.

More information from Penny Nagle
mob + 44 7768 832954


Local Councillors’ surgery in Horsington on Friday 6th October

Horsington’s local Councillor Hayward Burt and County Councillor William Wallace (also the Somerset CC Chairman) will be holding a surgery in St Maragaret’s Hall, Horsington on Friday 6th October from 3pm to 4 pm

This is your chance to raise any issues or bring important matters to their attention.

State of the roads?

Have your say!

Bailward’s on his bike again, cycling home from Sicily

Ready for the Off

Horsington resident and intrepid cyclist Chris Bailward has embarked on another epic cycle ride – this time to cycle from daughter Kate’s house on the slopes of Mount Etna, Italy, all the way home to Horsington. He set off at 8am on Wednesday morning and is now on top of a hill in Calabria.

He has been training by doing punishing 80 mile rides around Somerset and Dorset, and on the slopes of Mount Etna.

This is his fourth cycling adventure. Previous expeditions include Lands End to John o’Groats, the Bailward Tour de France and an 1800 mile trek around the County Towns of England.

You can follow Chris’s adventures on his very entertaining Blog, and the Horsington Blog will also follow him and publish highlights from time to time.

Good luck Chris.

Round the world clipper race set for a nail-biting weekend finish

Should be a close finish

The race hots up with only a few days to go to the finish of the first leg in this race, a mere 6,000 miles from Liverpool to Uruguay.

GREAT Britain, with Horsington’s Mark Tucker on board in the Round the World Clipper race, has fought back to regain third place, but they are over 100 miles behind the leader and there’s less than 350 miles to the finish in Punta d’Este.

Can they catch up? It looks doubtful. Their current speed, 8.6 knots is a full knot slower than the leaders Sanya Serenity Coast and PSP Logistics. And other boats are creeping up on them. It should be a nail-biting finish.
The latest estimate is that the fleet will cross the line some time between 1400 Thursday and midday Sunday. Great Britain is expected in the early hours of Saturday Morning.

Villagers turning up at the Half Moon for Strictly Come Drinking on Saturday evening will be able to reflect that Horsington’s finest will probably be enjoying his first beer for over a month at the same time. Cheers Mark.

Current position and chart. (In real time)
Crew diaries 

Mark is supporting  UNICEF, the Round the World Race official charity. You can donate to Mark’s cause by visiting his “Just Giving” page.

Round the World Race – learn how to pack spinnakers in you own home

Mark Tucker, has dropped back to 7th (oh dear) in the closely-fought Clipper Round the World Race somewhere off the coast of Brazil, with 1400 nautical miles to go to the finish of leg l.

He  has written another entry in the crew blog of GREAT Britain:

Day 25 – Build your own woolling simulator! (Wooling is what you do to spinnakers the minute they come down below, so you can get them up again as quickly as possible without snagging or wrapping – Geddit? -Ed)

Here on board GREAT Britain we know you love to follow us online and in spirit, but now we’ve teamed up with our friends at the General Woollers Union to come up with this helpful guide to building a woolling simulator to give you a taste of ocean racing at home!

You will need:

  • Several large pieces of fabric. About the size of a tennis court should suffice. Have your favourite haberdasher trim each into a rough triangle. These will be your kites.
  • A small caravan.
  • Friends or family.
  • A child’s paddling pool. Fill with water.
  • Wool. Colour and fleck to your preference but a brighter shade will bring joy to your day.
  • A rugby team (optional).
  • A fiery furnace or 100 stage lights (optional).
  • Blackout curtains and dim red lights (optional).
  • Patience.
  • A good sense of humour.
  • Plenty of tea.

Basic simulation

Install at least one of your friends in each of the caravan bunks and allow them to slumber; it is your mission for them to remain asleep until you’ve finished. Get into the caravan and shut the door. Have your remaining friends take one of the kites and dip it into the paddling pool. Once thoroughly wet, ask them to bundle, twist and generally contort it before feeding it to you through the caravan skylight. Now your fun begins!

The first step is to make sure it’s flat by removing the twists. Start at one of the triangle corners (we suggest taking it up to the end of the caravan with the vase of plastic flowers and copy of Puzzler), work your way down the edges until your as sure as you can be it’s flat.

Top GWU Tip: You’ll never be completely sure! Once you’re happy, bring forth the wool for now the actual woolling can begin! Starting at each of the corners, roll the edges in on each other and tie with a short length of wool. Aim to use as much or as little wool as possible depending on your mood; as a rough guide every inch is too often, every meter too little.

Work in from each of the corners to form a three pointed star of which Mercedes would be proud – get it wrong and nappy rash will be your downfall! Once complete, take your star and carefully pack into one of those blue bags from your favourite Swedish home store that everyone has in their cupboard. Stuff into the wardrobe. Drink tea.

Advanced Simulation 1 – Multiple Kites

As above, but ask your friends to stuff multiple kites through the skylight consectuively; the less time you have between drops the more fun you’ll have!

Advanced Simulation 2 – Night Kites

As per the basic simulation, but use the blackout curtains to make the caravan dark and push your woolling to a whole new level. The use of dim, red light is permitted.

Advanced Simulation 3 – Heavy Seas Kites

Employ the services of your local rugby team to violently rock the caravan as you work. Both sideways and forwards/backwards motion is encouraged – the more random, the more violent the more fun!

Advanced Simulation 4 – Tropical Kites

Make use of your fiery furnace or shine your stage lights to really heat things up! It’s what you wear that really makes this simulation shine. This year for him it’s all about turquoise silk boxers whilst for her, sweaty sports casual will really see you stand out from the crowd.

Advanced Simulation 5 – Multiple Night Heavy Seas Tropical Kites

This simulation is not recommended. Just say no.

We hope you enjoy your simulation as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you.

This simulation is fully endorsed by the General Woollers Union. GWU: Working for our flock.

Mark Tucker

Current position and chart. (In real time)
Crew diaries 

Mark is supporting  UNICEF, the Round the World Race official charity. You can donate to Mark’s cause by visiting his “Just Giving” page.

Cheese awards – look out for these prizewinners

Marcus Fergusson’s success in the Global Cheese Awards begs the question “What is the best cheese you can get locally? It’s worth studying the list of prize winners before you go shopping for cheese.

Here are some of the winners from the world’s top cheese makers, many of them local.

Long Clawson Diary in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, won both the Global Champion and the UK Supreme Champion for their Stilton cheese. It’s also worth looking out for their Red Leicester, and their  Cave-aged Cheddar

Wensleydale Creamery won awards for numerous cheeses, including their eponymous Wensleydale variety

Local companies, Longman, Wyke, Barbers and Keens also featured in the prize lists, along with Arla Foods (Taw Valley) and Dairycrest.

The Co-op, Asda and Bookers all featured in the prizes for major producers.

Click here to see a full list of prize winners at the 2017 Global cheese awards


Marcus walks off with the Gold for Renegade Monk

Top prize for Renegade Monk in the Global Cheese Awards.

Congratulations to Marcus Fergusson at Felthams Farm, Horsington. He has just scooped the Gold Award at the Global Cheese Awards in Frome with his “Renegade Monk”, a soft beer-washed blue cheese. A considerable achievement, as he only started production in March this year.

The Global Cheese Awards in Frome is Britain’s longest running cheese show, dating from 1861. It attracts over 1,000 entries from across the world.

Renegade Monk was in the Artisan Cheese Maker Class – for producers making less than 5 tonnes per week. This still includes some pretty big producers – Marcus makes less than 50 kilos of cheese per week (around 850 cheeses per month).

Renegade Monk is now being stocked in 20 outlets across Somerset and Dorset and is beginning to be sold in London, debuting at the Cavalry & Guards Club. It is also now available at the Half Moon, as well as the Charlton Horethorne village shop.

Marcus commented “We are thrilled to have won this award – and feel pretty pleased with ourselves considering we only sold our first cheese in March. There has been a swift surge of interest from other outlets and wholesalers – one in particular is keen to get the cheese into Fortnum & Mason.

This all means that we will be moving forward with plans to expand the business  earlier than we had anticipated – and indeed we are looking to employ someone on a part-time basis with immediate effect. Adrian Pratt has already volunteered himself for the role.

Yet another achievement for Horsington to be proud of -Ed