Davidstow.info on BBC Radio Cornwall

I saw this “Tweet” from BBC Radio Cornwall’s Laurence Reed yesterday:

Since I’d already been writing to my MP about the probable problems of policing the new Covid-19 lockdown exercise guidance revealed by Boris Johnson over the weekend, the thought of asking Shaun Sawyer a question or two was irresistible! I duly dialled the listed number and was told to expect a call back once Shaun Sawyer was on air later in the afternoon.

Sure enough a couple of hours later I was listening to what Shaun had to say when my mobile phone rang. Now listening via my phone I heard Laurence frighten Shaun off by asking him about his worst ever date! Not long after that Laurence said my name. You can hear what happened after that by fast forwarding the following recording on BBC Sounds to 1:53:45

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08brmvq

The recording will be available for another 29 days, and during that time I’ll endeavour to post a more complete transcript below. For the moment here’s an extract to give you a flavour:

Jim – I was hoping to speak to our Chief Constable, but he’s gone… Can I make my point?

Laurence – Please do.

Jim – Lots of other people have made all sorts of other points that I was endeavouring to get across to our Chief Constable, but I’ll just quote one from Twitter, not written by me. He was “tweeting” to Shaun, saying “What do you make of the ill thought out, poor legislation made in haste by our Government?”. So my question would have been “Has the Government consulted either the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall or indeed the Chief Constable’s organisation before implementing these hasty, ill thought out measures that all of us in Devon and Cornwall are having to put up with?”

He’s gone, so I can’t ask him!

Here is the output of James Annan’s Covid-19 epidemic model, comparing what actually happened with what would have happened if the UK lockdown had been imposed one week earlier:

To summarise, that’s 11,000 simulated deaths if lockdown had taken place on March 16th, instead of around 43,000 actual deaths following lockdown on March 23rd.

Watch this space!

Covid-19 Lockdown “Lifted” in Cornwall

As the editor of Davidstow.info on Monday May 11th I wrote to Scott Mann, the Member of Parliament for North Cornwall, to express this view:

How on Earth does HM Government expect Devon and Cornwall Police to enforce the rules that from Wednesday “Driving from London to surf” in North Cornwall is OK but then “staying in a tent, B&B, hotel or second home” is punishable by an increased fine?

What if somebody drives down from up country in a traditional VW “surf bus” for example, and kips in the back for a few nights?

Scott Mann’s Parliamentary Assistant replied on his behalf as follows:

It would not be permissible for someone to travel down in a camper and stay the night.

In any case, the Government is largely relying on the public’s common sense – the regulations are there to provide some clarity. It is not, to my mind or yours I imagine, a good idea for people to travel across the UK and risk spreading this disease! Hopefully the public can deploy sufficient common sense for it not to be too great an issue.

The police are doing a brilliant job of enforcing these restrictions, and from following their social media I can see they have taken numerous actions to prevent people from breaking the regulations. Whilst they cannot stop everybody, they can certainly act as a disincentive.

I hope this helps.

Subsequently the Davidstow.info Twitter feed expressed this sentiment yesterday morning:

Yesterday we also reported the following:

Q.E.D. Scott and Selaine?

What’s up with Crowdy Reservoir water level?

On my habitual Covid-19 lockdown permitted cycle ride across Davidstow Moor earlier today I glanced in the direction of Roughtor and noticed something strange. I cycled across the moor, parked my bike by the fence, hopped over the stile and walked to the edge of Crowdy reservoir.

Here is what I discovered:

The part of Crowdy Marsh I crossed wasn’t marshy. What’s more the water level in the reservoir seemed very low for the time of year, particularly given the winter we’ve just experienced!

After I returned home the South West Lakes Trust web site seemed to confirm my suspicions:

What’s up with Crowdy Reservoir’s anomalously low water level?

Bodmin Moor Arson Redux

News has reached us via the What’s On in Camelford Facebook page of another big blaze on Bodmin Moor.

Emma Williams has a good view of the Moor from her garden, and reports this morning:

Another fire been started at the same place near Roughtor absolutely ridiculous! They are putting people’s lives at risk as if the fire service doesn’t have enough to deal with!

Graeme and I had just gone out into our front garden to let the dog out when we noticed it and phoned it in at 12.20 AM. There were cars up on Davidstow Moor. I cannot understand why anyone would be driving around there at that time, and when the blue lights appeared they turned their headlights off.

It was small when we first saw it but within 5 – 10 minutes it had got to the size of what you see in the first photo and then kept spreading. Which is why we were suspicious that it hadn’t long been started due to the speed it spread.

Thanks very much to Emma for these pictures of the fire and its aftermath:

P.S. After a bike ride up on to Davidstow Moor, here are my own images of the two big blackened bits of Bodmin Moor:

[Edit – April 22nd]

This evening we took a much closer look at the site of the second fire on the Moor:

Our sense of smell got a bit of a battering once on site as well!

Lisa the LEAF goes to the locked down doctors

A photo essay on my trip to locked down Camelford earlier today for essential medical purposes, courtesy of Twitter:

As is frequently the case, a trip to see the doctor is often swiftly followed by a trip to see the chemist. Boots in this case:

There was no queue outside when I arrived. I was allowed inside this building immediately! The counter staff were protected by perspex windows. Most wore masks as well.

In the early evening a cycle ride up to Davidstow Moor was the order of the day:

I did see a few masked up folk in the street today, but many more without. Several were evidently not conforming to the social distancing measures displayed in the gate to Enfield Park. Perhaps they hadn’t been to either the park or the doctors’ surgery recently?

What Constitutes a “Reasonable Excuse”?

This article is reproduced by kind permission of our sister website CoV-eHealth.org, for the benefit of surfers, coast path walkers and moor hikers resident in and around Camelford, North Cornwall. And elsewhere I suppose.

The United Kingdom’s National Police Chief’s Council has published new guidance on what constitutes a “reasonable excuse” to leave your residence during the current novel coronavirus lockdown. You can download a copy from:

https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/COVID-19/Documents/What-constitutes-a-reasonable-excuse.pdf

Of particular interest to me as a “silver surfer” is the part that states:

Exercise can come in many forms, including walks.

Exercise must involve some movement, but it is acceptable for a person to stop for a break in exercise.

It is lawful to drive for exercise.

Whilst surfing is not explicitly mentioned in the new document the current Police Commander for Cornwall has previously issued guidance on that form of exercise for the county:

According to “Cornwall’s top cop” before the new guidance was published:

Police BCU Commander for Cornwall, Temporary Chief Superintendant Ian Drummond-Smith said the recent guidance from the London-based National Police Chiefs Council was consistent with what his officers were doing on the ground but he reiterated that the public should not try and take advantage of the guidance.

He said: “Surfing has not been banned. It’s exercise and in Cornwall we know it’s a popular exercise. People can still surf. The question of driving a reasonable distance as per the NPCC guidelines, is ‘how far is reasonable’.

“The NPCC guidelines does not say whether you can or cannot drive to do your exercise. I am telling my officers people can surf and some may well drive to surf.”

Now all we denizens of the North Coast need to do is wait for the swell to be onshore and the wind to be offshore once again.

And to stay well over 2 meters away from anybody else with the same idea at the same time at the same beach!

Bodmin Moor Arson

This morning I read the following report on the Twitter feed of Mark Hewitt, Cornwall’s Chief Fire Officer:

Hence this afternoon Kasia and I decided to use our coronavirus constrained exercise period to investigate. Here’s our initial photo report:

 

 

 

On our way back to base we spotted these lambs in a field near the Moor. Please note that according to Julie Dowton of the Bodmin Moor Commoners this spring’s lambs haven’t been moved out onto the Moor just yet, and “no livestock were harmed” by the fire. However the High Moor is a site of special scientific interest, and all sorts of wildlife will undoubtedly have been terminally harmed.

Much more to come later, including a video we hope.

P.S. I just had a detailed description of the fire across 300 acres of Bodmin Moor from Rich Gibbons, Station Manager for the Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service. There are now lots more words to follow, but first some moving pictures from the middle of the Moor.

The only way to put the blaze out was to walk across the Moor to the fire front and use a traditional beater.

Something I hadn’t realised before is that soon after the fire on the Moor was ultimately extinguished another fire started in a building on Davidstow Airfield. Hence the confident use of the word “arson” in the title of this article. Here’s the site of the second attack:

Watch this space!

Spring Has Arrived?

February 1st finally brought an end to the wet (and often windy) weather.

Cycling around the local lanes I discovered this evidence that Spring is in the air at Trevivian:

My Journey in a Nissan LEAF

Having heard so much about electric cars, I was excited to get the opportunity to go for a longer journey in the 30 kWh version of the Nissan LEAF (range 120 miles):

Lisa, the V2G EVSE Limited vehicle-to-grid R&D Nissan LEAF
Lisa, the V2G EVSE Limited vehicle-to-grid R&D Nissan LEAF

We started the journey in Tremail, heading for IKEA in Exeter. Once we reached the A30, the car was cruising gently all the way to Exeter. The cruise control was activated at 60 miles per hour, leaving us free to chat during a relaxing journey. Once at IKEA, we headed for the electric vehicle charging point, where we met a fellow electric car fan:

Battery state of charge after our trip from Tremail
Battery state of charge after our trip from Tremail

He was enthusiastic about his Nissan LEAF but also told us that he had recently had a test drive in an electric MG (range 200 miles) which he said was a fantastic experience. He was in the process of charging his car and was kind enough to finish his charging session early to allow us to start charging ours, before we headed for IKEA:

Battery state of charge after charging at Exeter IKEA
Battery state of charge after charging at Exeter IKEA

The journey home was equally pleasant and I arrived back in Tremail a convert.

The future is electric!

Davidstow Electric Car Hire

At Monday’s meeting of Davidstow Parish Council the chair asked if there was any other business to be added to the agenda. I raised my hand to announce the birth of Davidstow Electric Car Hire, which was duly discussed towards the end of the meeting.

As a pilot for the Camelford Electric Car Club project V2G EVSE Limited are making two of their research and development electric vehicles available for hire by residents of and visitors to the Davidstow area.

Lisa the Nissan LEAF and Zoe the Renault ZOE are now available for hire by the hour, day or week via HiyaCar.co.uk:

If you have never experienced the joys of driving a 100% electric powered vehicle now is your chance to do so at remarkably little cost.

Here’s an extract from a recent Top Gear review of the Nissan LEAF:

The real joy of the Leaf isn’t the money, it’s the motor, and its charming grace. For the way most people drive (if not, literally, for petrolheads), it’s simply a better source of motion.

and here is Top Gear’s opinion of the Renault ZOE:

It’s not for everyone – power can be a little bit reserved, something you’ll notice more if your range-anxiety is under control and you’re brave enough to tackle motorway stints – but for more regular urban use this is more than good enough as an entry to the EV world.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask, using the space provided for that purpose below.