Surf’s Up at Black Rock

These images are from beyond the parish of Davidstow, but the long beach at Widemouth Bay is a mere 15 minutes drive up the Atlantic Highway for any visitors to the area:

This was the Magic Seaweed surf forecast that tempted us away from Tremail:

Despite my advanced age and the impressive waves I somehow managed to battle my way out back! I patiently bobbed about on my sponge waiting for the perfect set. Eventually it arrived and I was in the perfect place!

Then a young gun on a pointy thingumajig took off just inside me.

Davidstow Church at Camelford Show by Bill Pearce

For many years I have been a chronic insomniac – trouble sleeping at night. In our house the light and the telly are on all night; I spend most of the long hours in my study on my computer – browsing, reading the newspapers or playing Scrabble. Most nights I do sleep for a couple of hours or so on my recliner chair. The night before the Show, when I needed some sleep, it was particularly bad however – I remember seeing 5.00 am and then did drop off only for my alarm to go at 6.30 am. The last thing I wanted to do was to spend a day at the Show, but my mate was on his way to collect me so I had no choice When we arrived at the Showground the wind was blowing, rain seemed imminent, and there weren’t too many visitors around. Mid morning a huge black cloud did lash the Showground for several minutes, but then it cleared up, and we had visitors in number.

This year’s Show Presidents were two sisters, Camelford to the core, Madge and Sally Walkey (Moore). Congratulations to the Show Committee who could not have chosen two more worthy patrons. They toured the ground in a Land Rover Discovery driven by Preston Baker, accompanied by wife Fran. Honoured we were when the vehicle stopped outside our gazebo and I was able to exchange niceties with the two dear ladies and reminisce briefly with Sally who was a 5A class mate at Sir James’ way back in 1950. Keeping it in the family, soon after brother Johnny and his wife stopped by. Me being me I asked her her name and was momentarily confused when she replied Sally Walkey. She was of course the daughter of Bert Collins, the Butcher.

I have to admit my grey matter is in gradual decline and it bothers me when people stop for a chat and though I recognise the face I can’t recall the name. I have to excuse myself and usually make some bland statement about being old but still the right side of the grass’. Throughout the day I reckon a dozen or so stopped to reminisce on my time at Plymouth Argyle or with Cornwall Air Ambulance. It is always a dangerous occupation selecting individuals so I won’t fall into that trap. Having said that I will tell you of one visit which really pleased me. Brothers John and Percy Treleaven came and shook hands. We were at St Teath School back in the 1940’s.

We were busy walking memory lane when sister Marina arrived on the scene and gave me a heart warming hug. Couldn’t resist having a photograph taken with them. And a brief mention for Julian Harman, Branch Chairman Camelford Royal British Legion, and his colleagues who joined me for a photo call but for reasons known only to the camera the damned thing didn’t print.

Readers may be forgiven if they conclude this was a day release for Billy and his carer. There was of course a far more important reason for us being there as we have not one, but two Concerts in the next four months. On 13 October we welcome back the Callington Community Gospel Choir to be followed in December by the greatly anticipated Military Wives Choir and our main ambition was to promote these events. Along the way we sold a few Cornish Passports to help defray the costs of being there. Did we succeed? Unquestionably. How successful only time will tell. We sold tickets for the Military Wives Concert. With four months to go I personally had sold over 40. With less than 200 seats available this event is clearly on course to being an early “Sell Out”. On the day we distributed over 500 flyers and await a response to those. Admission to the Gospel Choir event is free.

Appreciation of fellow Churchwarden Ann Hayne, PCC Treasurer Reg Statton and Verger Edwin Dickinson who popped in to render their support.

A mention in dispatches for Robert. A major frustration of being 80+ is the loss of ability to do manual things and being reliant on others. Have worked with Robert, who lives in Plymouth, since 1988. He is always on call to help and single handed managed our event display. And a thank you to the missus for her support on the day.

Robert - an invaluable help
Robert – an invaluable help

At 6.30 am the day was a chore, twelve hours later I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. A generous plate of pork in a fruity BBQ sauce with rice at The Wilsey on the way home crowned a day to remember!

The Royal Standard Flew over the Cornwall at War Museum by Bill Pearce

On Tuesday 31st July HRH Princess Alexandra visited the renowned Cornwall At War Museum to meet Volunteers and Supporters and to have a conducted tour of the Museum. Colonel Bolitho, the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, introduced her to Scott Mann, the constituency MP, and local dignitaries before meeting Sheila Perry BEM and Steve Perry.

On a perfect summer’s afternoon the party then toured some of the Museum’s display buildings meeting Volunteers and Supporters on her way round. The Princess took great interest in chatting to the people she met including members of the general public. She was very impressed with the Museum displays and dioramas.

The Museum was open as normal. Among the many present whom she met was the Acting Station Commander of RAF St Mawgan, San Ldr Nicholas Justice and Mr Ron Wellbeloved, formerly of the late Queen Mother’s Household. Air Cadets from Wadebridge under the command of Fit Lt Darren Saddler were on parade to greet the Princess on arrival and bid her farewell at the end.

Steve Perry said a few words of thanks and HRH unveiled a plaque commemorating her visit. A posy was presented by Elsie Seamarks (2yrs) and a copy of the Museum Book and DVD were presented by Bertie Cholerton-Perry (6yrs). San Ldr Saddler presented a hamper of cheeses courtesy of Dairy Crest next door. After signing the Visitors Book the Princess departed for her next engagement in Camelford.

All at the Cornwall At War Museum feel very honoured to have had a visit by HRH Princess Alexandra. Her kind, friendly demeanour put everyone at ease and the inevitable nervousness soon evaporated, well almost!

Gardening on the Moor by Carolina Langthorne

Your mobile in the garden!    I have often thought that young people seem so attached to their mobile phones that they barely notice a thing about their surroundings, but recently I have discovered that those mobile phones are just the next best thing to sliced bread in the garden! And, no, I haven’t lost my mind! The thing is, a smartphone is brilliant for all of the other things they do, rather than their use as an actual phone!

First of all, you can take pictures with them. Now this is excellent when, in August, you are standing in front of a bush or tree in full leaf and flower… come February, when you are looking at the barren branches, you will be wondering which twigs to prune…a photo is a perfect reminder and guide to ensure successful pruning. Or when you stand in front of a plant with a nasty case of insect damage, you will be in the shop next looking at the back of that product that lists the creepy crawlies that it will deal with and you are wondering, “what did it look like again?” Or you want to explain to that very knowledgeable person in the Garden Centre what you want their excellent advice on… really a picture tells a thousand words! Moreover, your mobile will have some ‘note pad’ function, when you are in the garden you often think something like, next time I am out in the garden section of a shop we will need X. By the time you will be in the house X has slipped out of your mind and the next time you are in the shop, you either haven’t got “that” shopping list with you or standing there thinking “now what was it again we needed…”

If your phone is connected to the internet, you have even better options than all of the above, because you can Google or YouTube it and you will have answers in front of your nose as fast as you can type the question into your device!

To say that it has changed the way in which I garden is an understatement!! But now for the very most important function on the device when gardening…the Silent Mode!

This will increase your gardening pleasure and you will still be able to read your texts when you want a short break from doing something heavy, like digging!


Carolina Langthorne farms Higher Penhale, just over the cattle grid on the left hand side heading for Altarnun with a roadside stall selling produce

Davidstow Parish Council September Meeting

I attended the meeting of Davidstow Parish Council in Tremail Methodist Hall yesterday, where much discussion took place regarding the plans by Dairy Crest to invest £85£75 million in their creamery at the top of the hill. The odours apparently still emanating from the Dairy Crest water treatment plant also got a good airing!

The Chairman of the Parish Council mentioned that there had been a meeting of the Davidstow Residents Action Group (DRAG) on August 2nd to discuss that issue:

Scott Mann, the M.P. for North Cornwall, had been in attendance, but the Environment Agency and our local County Councillor Rob Rotchell had not.

A resident of Trewassa reported that due to the easterly winds over the preceding weekend the smell had been “awful” on that side of the plant. The chairman said that Dairy Crest had attempted to implement “6 solutions that haven’t worked” and reported that the Environment Agency had given Dairy Crest 6 weeks to provide an explanation for the latest odious odours.

Getting back to Dairy Crest’s expansion plans, Reuters reported back in May that:

The company said it would expand its cheese production facility at Davidstow, in southwest England to 77,000 tonnes from 54,000 tonnes a year by raising cash through a share placement.

It would place 14.1 million ordinary shares, or about 9.98 percent of current issued shares, at a price of 495 pence per share.

The cost of the expansion is expected to be 85 million pounds and will be carried out over the next four to five years, Dairy Crest said.

Dairy Crest have employed the services of St. Austell based consultancy Situ8 to handle the planning issues associated with the expansion. Situ8’s Angela Warwick was at the meeting, and she explained that whilst plans for upgrades to the creamery itself were well advanced nothing could be implemented until the waste water treatment plant was upgraded and the current issues solved. Plans for that are less advanced it seems.

In addition there are also plans to construct a solar photovoltaic “farm” near the “cheese factory” as it is frequently referred to locally. There will be a consultation with Dairy Crest in Camelford on September 21st to discuss all this in greater detail.

Watch this space for more news as and when we receive it!


[Edit – September 8th]

I received the following letter in today’s post. It seems Reuters neglected to mention that “£75 million of which will be spent in Davidstow” regarding the planned investment by Dairy Crest.

Dear Mr Hunt,

I am writing with reference to two matters – firstly to update you on works to alleviate the odour emissions and secondly with regard to our planned investment at Davidstow.

As you know, permanent covers were fitted to two of the tanks at the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) at the beginning of this year. The initial results following the installation were good, indicating a substantial reduction in odours, as we had expected. Since then, we have had some further challenges due to the build-up of sludge in one of the covered tanks. lt has taken some time to safely remove this accumulation but the works have now been completed. Additional work is now being undertaken with an external consultant to check what further improvements can be made.

I am also writing to you about our recent announcement to undertake an £85 million investment to increase our cheese production capacity and improve our environmental credentials, £75 million of which will be spent in Davidstow.

This is a long term project which is expected to take place over the course of the next four to five years and will involve a small amount of additional construction on the site. A major part of this project is to make further investment in the WWTP to improve its efficacy and minimise the potential for it to impact on you, our neighbours. We will be installing new equipment, inside a process building, which will reduce the load on the current plant and thereby the potential for odour issues to occur. We also intend to develop a solar installation to generate electricity for our own consumption, thereby reducing the load on the local grid as well as reducing the site’s carbon footprint.

This investment is also good news for our 330 supplying dairy farmers, all of whom are in Devon and Comwall, and our 200 employees at Davidstow. Our existing farmers will be able to invest in their businesses and it will secure jobs at the creamery, thereby having a positive impact on economic activity in the region.

Please find enclosed an invitation to a public consultation regarding our intention to submit an application for planning permission for these projects. This will take place on Friday, 21 September from 4pm to 7.30pm at Camelford Hall, Clease Road, Camelford PL32 9QX.

We would encourage you to come to this event so that you can learn more about the proposals directly from us and so that we can answer any questions you may have. All the feedback we gather will be used to inform the planning proposals.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Evans

Site Director, Davidstow Creamery

OpenReach Reroute Their Cables

Heading for the post box in Tremail I spotted yet another “cherry picker”:

I feared the worst, since the last time such equipment was deployed in the vicinity Western Power cut off our electricity. Without telling us in advance. Twice!

Peering around the corner nobody could be seen working on the local substation, which was certainly a comfort in all the circumstances:

However a figure up a pole was visible in the distance. This proved to be an OpenReach engineer moving our telephone cables onto the new poles recently erected by Western Power:

I was assured this would take place without cutting anybody off!

Filming on Davidstow Moor

I wondered why this mysterious construction had suddenly appeared at the edge of the airfield:


The next day I discovered the answer. The road was blocked. Men sporting walkie talkies were everywhere. I wasn’t allowed to follow my usual route across the airfield.

The standing “stones” are merely a prop for the filming of “The Kid Who Would Be King“!