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

McDonalds shows no mercy and scores an own goal.

McDonalds, whose chief executive earns USD 7.9 million a year, and whose UK employees are on strike against low wages and zero hours, has scored an own goal over a parking fine. It has refused to intervene in a parking dispute where a man on his way to a funeral was fined £100 by McDonalds’ parking company MET Parking Services for overstaying in their car park on the A 12 near Chelmsford. He was in the restaurant the whole time, where parking notices were not visible.

Richard Gaunt, of Horsington, Somerset, has paid the fine under protest as he didn’t think he stood a chance of winning a court case.

But he has retaliated by downgrading his regular, loyal customer status to “Boycott”. It could cost the fast food chain thousands.

Richard is retired, but delivers new cars around the country. He reckons he  spends between £8 and £10 in McDonalds most working days, 4-5  days a week. Say £600 a year.  If his 60 colleagues delivering cars out of Henstridge join the boycott, that’s £36,000 lost to McDonalds every year.

If the 980- members of Trade Platers United Facebook Group join in, the multiplier effect will be very serious.

Said Richard “I will never go to a McDonalds again, and many of my colleagues could join me. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.”

Richard appealed both to McDonalds and to the parking company. They turned him down flat. A request to Paul Pomroy, McDonald’s UK CEO to act as an “honest broker” to resolve the dispute, was ignored.

Said Richard “I made an honest mistake, but, acting as judge and jury in their own cause, they made no allowances for my age, my ability to pay, my preoccupation and distress at attending a funeral, my tiredness after a long drive, my unfamiliarity with the location and the fact that I was a customer inside the restaurant for the duration of my visit.

“In this case a little mercy and justice would have been appropriate and admirable. Their behaviour exemplifies the arrogance and disdain with which large companies increasingly treat their customers.”

Looks like McDonalds is not just screwing its staff, but its customers too.

If you want to write to Paul Pomroy, the chief executive, his address is
McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd
11-59 High Road
East Finchley
N2 8AW

Richard Gaunt note: The fine was reduced to £50 as it was  paid within 28 days. They have the cheek to charge an additional sum for any kind of card payment, including debit cards.

Get that Treorchy sound in Sherborne Abbey

There is still time to get  tickets for the  world famous Treorchy Male Choir’s Sherborne Abbey  Concert on September 16th.

The choir’s close harmony singing coupled with the Abbey’s renowned acoustics will make for a very special evening.

George Wagland, the Blackmore Vale Lion’s president reports brisk ticket sales. This is definitely not one to be missed

7pm tickets £25, £18, £12

Book online Very simple, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 2 clicks and you’re done!, or at the Sherborne Tourist Information Office

Horsington Open’s charity fund rises to £800

Thanks to a generous donation from, a regular resident at the Half Moon, the Horsington’ Open’s charitable fund now stands at £800.

The pot will be divided between St Margaret’s Hospice and Wincanton Live at Home shortly.

This is a serious amount of mony, raised by golf competitors and other donors, and demonstrates how far this competition has come since its inception in 2013, when it raised £113 for the church roof.

In 2014 the competition raised just £64.00

In 2015, thanks to  a number of generous sponsors and some determined fund raising by the organisers, the total rose to £600.

And this year (after a year off) the competition raised £800.

Organisers Richard Gaunt and David Blake put this down to staging the competition in the summer, which attracts more, and better entrants, and the improved playing conditions at Henstridge, where they have worked very hard on both the course and the clubhouse.

They said” We thank everyone who played or supported us very warmly for their generosity.”

Next year the target is £1,000. Now that would be an achievement.

Round the World Race: A carrot lands from above

Horsington’s Mark Tucker’s  yacht Great Britain is lying second, about 18 miles behind the leader, in the Round the world Clipper race halfway through the Doldrums corridor.

The conditions here are tricky. Some boats have started their engines (which they are allowed to do for 60 hours if they meet certain conditions). Others are sailing on. Big winds and challenges (like a new embryo hurricane, Jose), lie ahead.

Most days the crew take it in turn to write and publish the Crew diary.

Mark published his first report on Monday September 4th. Here it is, fresh from somewhere near the Equator. We like his style, very reminiscent of the Blog….

“Day 16: The Curious Case of the Carrot and the Kite

Strange things happen at sea. Very strange things. But, when a carrot dropped out of our hoisted windseeker this morning, the oddness reached a new level. Skipper Andy suspected foul play and ordered a full investigation; GREAT Britain‘s former police officer and recently promoted Chafe Inspector Ian Medland was to head up the inquiry and was determined to, er, ‘root’ out the culprit. Was this a ploy by the General Woollers Union to use carrotic acid to destroy the sail? Was this an attempt by a crew member to hide and secure additional rations? Medders had to find out and wasted no time in setting up a makeshift interview room; 20 Superkings, a vat of coffee and a supply of doughnuts were duly ordered.

First in the frame was Sailmaker and Watch Leader Simon Speirs. He certainly had the motive; one less sail would be one less sail to have to repair. Speirs had an alibi though – he’d barely taken a step away from the sewing machine over the last few days and certainly hadn’t been anywhere near the carrots. Medders deduced that Speirs and his apprentice seamstress accomplice, Tessa Hicks, could not be to blame.

Focus moved to the other Watch Leader, Spencer J Bienvenue III. Bienvenue was known to have a large appetite and could have hidden the carrot for later consumption. Forensic tests revealed the carrot had no trace of Sriracha sauce and Bienvenue was released without charge.

Medland worked his way through the watch rota and, one by one, suspects were brought in and ruled out. Graham Bell, our ultra-competitive Olympian, had neither the time nor the motive; Mark Tucker had been busy baking flavoured loaves and filing race reports; our resident Aussie Ray Gibson had been fully occupied fixing just about everything; Ian Munford had been leaving cheesy biscuits for sleeping crew mates (a separate investigation is to follow); Krish Patel had spent too long working on her stand-up routine to have come up with any vegetable related pranks; Catherine Foster had been reminiscing about her Grandmother’s peculiar shopping habits; Commodore Timothy Jeffrey (RN Rtd) had barely stepped away from the facts and figures on the screen in his stateroom; Gareth Blanks had been erecting a sunshade for the helm (but clearly is more used to horticulture than naval architecture – think fruit fly more than fly deck); Jon Milne had been keeping the deck gear in fine fettle; Pip O’Sullivan had been busy auditing rice pudding supplies; Antonia Hiesgen had been brushing up her Spanish ahead of arrival in Uruguay (Inspector Medland failed to note the Spanish for carrot in his notebook); Phil Gunn had been either too heavily engrossed in Modern Family or The Perkins Marine Diesel Service Bulletin to care and GREAT Britain‘s media mogul, John Olson had been busy processing photos and typesetting his memoirs.

Inspector Medland had more trouble ruling out the two remaining crew members. Nicola Thurlow, who had assisted O’Sullivan with victualling and had therefore had more access to carrots than most, was shifty and evasive. Edmund Aldworth (who immediately arose suspicion by also going under the names of Ed, Eddy, Edward and Eduardo) was unable to provide an alibi and was known to have close ties to the GWU.

With insufficient evidence to prosecute, Inspector Medland added the case to the dusty pile of unsolved crimes on his desk and joined the rest of his watch to spot sharks and head south.”

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.

Best Welsh Choir comes to Sherborne Abbey on 16 September – (Booking link now works!)

The world famous Treorchy Male Choir are celebrating their 75th anniversary at a concert in the spectacular setting of Sherborne Abbey on September 16th.

The choir’s close harmony singing coupled with the Abbey’s renowned acoustics will make for a very special evening.

This concert is being hosted by The Blackmore Vale Lions who are celebrating their 100th anniversary Proceeds will be donated to The Gryphon School’s Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Ten Tors Challenge Scheme

7pm tickets £25, £18, £12

Book online (Very simple, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), or at the Sherborne Tourist Information Office

Apologies that the link did not work in the last version of this article – Ed

Best ever Horsington Open raises £781

44 players took to the field to battle it out for the coveted Claret Jug in the Horsington Open at Henstridge Golf Club on Saturday September 2nd. The weather was sunny and warm, the course beautifully prepared, and nothing could go wrong. And it didn’t.

The event raised £781, to be shared between St Margaret’s Hospice and Wincanton Live at Home, thanks to the generosity of the players, sponsors and prizegivers. The Open also received generous donations from potential competitors who were unable to play this time.

As usual the competition was stiff and the winning scores very close. Some very good golfers turned out and the Henstridge course, thought to be rather easy by the unknowing, served up several traps for the complacent, as demonstrated by the lost ball count – 40.

A special mention goes to the Ashford Family, whose team Wrong Direction played impeccably, but were beaten for honours by the handicap system. Elizabeth Ashford, aged 12 and playing off a handicap of 10(!) achieved the longest drive by a lady. Ron Ashford achieved the longest drive by a man, on the tricky  dog-legged 7th hole.

Edward Malcolm of Gnashers United achieved the Nearest the Pin prize with a spectacular shot on the short 8th hole, which was as close to a hole in one as it was possible to be.

Horsington Open Winner Jon Banfield collects the Claret Jug from organiser Richard Gaunt

The Overall Winner was Jon Banfield of the White Horse Wishfulls, which also won the team prize with 50 points. Jon achieved 26 stableford points off a handicap of 28. (Report to the handicap secretary -Ed).

The Claret Jug will now reside in the White Horse until the next competition. Go and check it out, Steve has got some decent beer in.

Second was Lynne Williams of the SLAGS (Sherborne Ladies Amateur Golfing Society, in case you wondered), with 23 points off a handicap of 19. The Sherborne ladies all played impeccably, and came second in the team competition, with 49 points

Third was Steve Penny from Henstridge A with 21 points off a handicap of 18. Henstridge A Team also came third, with 48 points. Steve also collected the lost ball lottery, correctly guessing 40 balls would be lost. Funny, he also walked off with this prize a week earlier at the Henstridge Open.

At the prizegiving at the Half Moon Mark Warren generously bid for the foursome at Woodbury Park. Exeter, kindly donated by Hunts Foodservice..

Many thanks to The White Horse, the Half Moon and Henstridge Golf Club for a very successful day and the best Horsington Open yet.

Full Results and Prize list
Photo Gallery

Horsington Open 2017 – All the action

We will update this as more pictures and captions come in. Please email any pictures to Please add a caption to identify people.

Full Report
Final amount raised

Sean Riordan,Mark Warren,David Blake and Phil Warren of Hackers Galore
The SLAGS (Sherborne ladies Amateur Golfing Society): Sylvia Blackwell, Jenny Scarth, Carol-Anne Raisbeck and Lynn Williams
Teabags: John Scarf, Bryan Stringer, Martin Coulsey, Mike Davies
Peter Garbo, Neil Edwards, Ray Phillips and Richard Gaunt of The Beggars
George Wagland,Chris Bailward, Chris Ralston and Peter Gripper of the half Mooners
The Whippets: David Shephard, Anthony Ward,Peter Munro, Ken May
Andre Blond and Jon Banfield of the White Horse Wishfulls – winners of the team and individual competition
Horsington Open Winner Jon Banfield collects the Claret Jug from organiser Richard Gaunt