Curry nights return at the Half Moon

The Half Moon’s curry nights – a tenner for two on Tuesdays – have returned due to popular demand.

Originally a post- Christmas promotion, Andrew has extended the offer until 19th April.

Tuesdays are turning into a major social evening at the Half Moon, and its a good opportunity to meet your neighbours for a glass or two and a chat. Summer time begins on the 27 March, so you can even walk down in daylight.

Debate: What’s to be done with the pond?

What’s to be done with Horsington Pond? Either it sits there full, dark and rather sinister or we see a trickle between muddy banks. There seems to be no in-between.

The ideal pond is deep enough in places for fish to survive in times of heat but with shallow, sloping margins that encourage plant growth to support both flora and fauna.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the young children of the village could play in it without fear of falling into deep water, catching minnows in jars and learning about the multitude of wild-life that it could support? The kingfisher, even now an occasional visitor, could be seen more regularly in all his iridescent glory.

For starters the current sluice gate is incapable of controlling the pond level: it is all or nothing. If we want to be able to empty the pond then the sluice must be set lower.

However the problem seems to be more fundamental than that. We are told that the pond has a stone base and that when it was cleaned, it was excavated to that level. But looking at the profile, this seems far too deep. If the base level was raised by a couple of feet the pond would become a much more welcoming haven for wildlife. The addition of several lorry loads of stone and the formation of a weir, to take the place of the sluice, would give the residents of Horsington a much more pleasant village feature but no doubt the Environmental Police will throw up their collective hands in horror at such a suggestion.

For starters how about employing a hydrologist to prepare a feasibility study? This is the sort of project beloved by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and the Somerset Wildlife Trust would surely love to have some input.

Come on Parish Council – do something positive.

Chris Bailward
We thank Chris very much for his contribution, and hope other readers will comment or make constructive suggestions -Ed

Fabulous Folk Band at Horsington Village Hall – 16 April

Saturday 16th April 2011 at 7.30 p.m. (doors open at 7.00 p.m.)

 In memory of ALFIE JACK MORLAND
(Adored 5 month old grandson of Anthea and Paddy Hughes)

In aid of brain tumour research.

Another magic night!

The Fabulous Folk Band
“String Whistle”
With guest singer Anne Rickard.

“String” is DAVE RICKARD who plays keyboard and guitar and sings. “Whistle” is ROB MITCHELL who plays every wind instrument from tin whistle, pan pipes, flutes and the family of recorders to clarinet and a set of saxophones; he sings too.

Guest contralto who has her own close harmony group is ANNE RICKARD.

Their repertoire ranges from Irish jigs to ethereal Enya-like airs, from Highland and Island laments to a quaint Elizabethan Pavane, from Bob Dylan to blues from the “deep south”.

You will be enchanted.

Tickets are £10 each and proceeds will go to  “The Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust (Alfie Morland Fund)”

Tickets Available from Paddy Hughes (01963 370323) Rose Lawn, Broadmoor Lane, Horsington, BA8 0EQ or Richard Joyce (01963 370749) The Old Toll House, South Cheriton, BA8 0BE. Email Joycerichard60@yahoo.co.uk

Please make cheques payable to “The Samantha Dickson BTT (Alfie Morland Fund)”

If you can’t be there, please consider a donation.

Thanks for making Alfie’s short life even more worthwhile.

“Three Peas” are the key to perfect vegetables

 Our resident garden guru Silas Silage advises on how to achieve vegetable heaven
Silas Silage - Horsington Blog
"There's performance for you -straight through the hedge"

There’s nothing more delightful than picking your own fruit and veg on a summers evening and sitting down to a healthy meal twaddling with vitamins and goodness, straight from Mother Earth, with a little help from the April showers, May’s dazzling sunlight, high summer’s heat -plus careful weeding and hoeing by yours truly. Savoy cabbage, Cos lettuce, King Edward potatoes, cauliflower, beetroot, carrots, peas, parsnips, turnips, broccoli -the list is endless (You bet it is –Ed)

When it comes to growing vegetables successfully, it’s all down to what I call my “three peas” – Preparation, Preparation and Preparation.

These frosty days in early March are ideal for preparing your vegetable patch and getting it into prime condition to receive bounteous  nature’s fertile seeds (I’ve warned you- Ed)

 This week I’m trying out my new TinyTurbo  Bonka Stompa® rotavational tool which I got on e-Bay for only £39.00 +p+p. This little miracle of Asian (N Korea, I think) engineering has all the bells and whistles you’ expect, and I’ve made few modifications to improve its performance way into the next price bracket and beyond.

 I’ve bolted on the twin turbo booster thrusters from my old Trubshawe Troubabour Groundmaster®, and retro-fitted a carburetor pre-warmer and supercharger which I adapted from an old Primus stove.

Just top up the pre-warmer with meths, adjust the choke, light it, wait five, pull the handle and…the beast roars into life. My, it’s quite a noise.

Slip the clutch, and we’re off. The triple action “Bonkas” are whirling around, and getting down to really rip the ground apart, scattering stones and debris, and cutting a satisfying trench.

I must say it’s a bit fast, and I’m having to walk very quickly to keep up with it. May have overdone the twin turbos a bit. The revs are still building and it’s going even  faster, with the” Bonkas” going berserk, and it’s going to be quite tricky to turn it round at the end of the garden.

Well there’s performance for you! Straight through the back hedge and onto my neighbour’s lawn. He’ll get a free makeover and no mistake.  I’m now having to run quite hard, and we’re out of my neighbour’s front gate and into the lane, with the tarmacadam flying off in all directions.

The trees are whizzing past and I’m not sure if I can….. (To be continued –Ed)

Under starters orders for the election

Nominations to stand in the District Council  elections on May 5 opened today. Why not stop critisising the local authority and stand for election instead? You can help  take the blame for some of the crazier planning decisions, and you will earn over £6,000 a year, plus expenses AND a laptop computer. No naughty downloads though!

Full training (or is it indoctrination?) given. You will be up against the mighty party machines of the Tories and the LibDems, but “The Blog” will give a platform and a fair hearing to any candidate who puts themselves up. That includes the main parties too by the way, but we suspect they won’t bother.

“Blog” readers might do particularly well – the very helpful and informative leaflet issued by the council stresses a sense of humour is an important qualification!

Nominations close at noon on the 4th April.

Download the council’s information on becoming a candidate

Parish Councils too! Get involved

Closer to home,  The parish council elections will also be held at the same time. The parish council normally recruits by co-option, and elections are rare. So, over time, parish councils  can become cosy, self perpetuating bodies which end up representing themselves, not their villages.

We are not suggesting this is the case in either Horsington or North Cheriton, we merely warn of the danger.

You do not have to be invited or ask permission to become a parish councilor. You can apply for a nomination paper from the Returning Officer at SSDC, Brympton Way, Yeovil BA20 2HT, and it must be returned to him before noon on the 4th April.

If there are more nominations than vacancies, an election will be held on the same day as the District Council elections.

Now is the time to get involved. There will not be another open election for another four years

NB .Unlike their district council colleagues, parish councilors are unpaid. No computers either.

Download a leaflet with the details

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.