Cough up –It’s Council Tax time again

A thump on the doormat. Another brown envelope. “Please recycle”, it screams. Must be from the Council. Ah yes, the annual Council Tax demand.  Unchanged from last year, thank God,  but still an eye watering £27 per week for a band D property. The occupants of our grand houses, Horsington Manor, the Grange and Cheriton House pay £55 a week.

Local government finance is a labyrinth. During the run up to the elections we will try and unravel some of it for you in an attempt to see where our money went, and if any was wasted.

The lions share –nearly 70% of your council tax goes to Somerset County Council
11.4% goes to the police
10.2% to South Somerset District Council
4.9% to the Fire and Rescue service
4% to town and parish councils

Horsington raises some £588,000 in council tax. It will get £9,500 back for the parish council budget.(1.6%)
North Cheriton puts over £144,000 into the kitty, and the parish gets £2,512 back (1.7%)

This is not the entire picture. Both the district and county council get the bulk of their income from central government, which is still your money.

The district council gets £57.2 million from the government, The county council £153.3 million.

We will look at  each of these bodies in turn in future posts to see how they spend it.

Buses – more bad news for the over 60’s

One of the few things you could look forward to with certainty when you got to the grand old age of 60 was a shiny bus pass, entitling you to free off peak local travel anywhere in the country.

Not much use in Somerset, where peak and off peak buses are few and far between, but handy in big towns and cities nevertheless.

But the rules have changed, with scarcely an announcement. If your birthday was this week (congratulations Dave), the coveted bus pass is not yours until March 2012. Entitlement for everyone is moving north in line with the  pension age for women, which is gradually increasing to 66 between now and 2020.

If you were born before 5 April 1950, you can have a bus pass now.
If your 60th birthday is this summer, you will have to wait until January 2013.
Born after July 1953 and you will have to wait until November 2016.

By which time there won’t  be any buses anyway, at least in Somerset.

Check on your entitlement here

Diplomacy at Horsington Parish Church

If you’ve ever wondered what a High Commissioner does, get down to the St John the Baptist Parish Church on Friday April 8th at 7.30 pm. Sir Anthony Goodenough, KCMG, CMG, former High Commissioner to Ghana from 1989 to 1992, and High Commissioner to  Canada from 1996-2000, will be giving an illustrated talk on his time in Ghana.

Sir Anthony is a very distinguished diplomat, so no doubt he will be very discreet. So it’s up to the audience to bowl a few bouncers at question time to get him to spill a few beans!(Shocking mixed metaphors –Ed)

Entry by donation to the Parish Church – £8 please.

Horsington gears up to avenge cricket defeat

Members of the Pilgrims team relax BEFORE the game in 2010!

Horsington Cricket team is looking for players for a match on Sunday 29 May –the late May Bank Holiday weekend.

The opponents  are a London pub side – the “Tabard Pilgrims”. They are making a return visit, having enjoyed themselves so much last year.

Part of their enjoyment stems from the fact that they snatched victory following a miraculous catch on the boundary by one of their players with the implausible name of “Juggs”*, and went on to beat us by 35 runs.

This year we have to get even. So dust of your pads, start exercising your bowling arm, and volunteer to play. There will be a full social programme after the game, including attempts by the visitors to retain their place in the loo seat trophy hall of fame in the Half Moon (you have to drink a half from every tap  in the pub). Despite photographic evidence to the contrary, we believe they will dress normally this time!

We need you! Those interested should contact Andrew Tarling, Landlord of the Half Moon. email him

This match is an important event for Horsington. If the cricket pitch is not used, then we lose the legal right to play there – ever.

*All the Tabard Pilgrims have implausible names. Read their report of their time at Horsington last year.

Massive cover up at the village hall

Re-birth of a dining chair

It was a headline we couldn’t resist. This post is about a group of ladies who meet in the village hall every Tuesday to rescue old (sometimes antique)  furniture and restore it under the watchful gaze of master upholsterer Hugh Pamplin.

The cover-up in question is the transformation which takes place when the final layer of new material is carefully stitched in place.

There are a few vacancies for new members. So if you have the odd bit of Chippendale, or failing that, Parker Knoll, which deserves a new lease of life and pride of place in your sitting room, please come along, and learn as you go. No previous experience required.

There is a small charge to cover the cost of the village hall. And of course you need your own chair, pouffe or whatever, materials and tools, but Hugh can advise on these.

Tuesdays – 10.30 am.


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Sunday quiz raises £75.00 for local causes

Sunday’s quiz, which was won by a team including the Landlord, raised about £75 for the Lions and will be put towards supporting local charity initiatives.  They particularly want to support the Air Ambulance and are running regular quizzes around the area to further their aims.  The next quiz at the Half Moon will be Easter Sunday April 24th.

Landlored Andrew Tarling, who often sets the questions, wishes to make it clear that he had nothing to do with the questions in this quiz!