Monday, 16 January 2017


Ben Harris announced at the Acoustic Night at the Olde Plough last night that the magnificent sum of £3,055.90 was raised during the Musicathon over the weekend!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Excellent Musicathon Raises Funds for Air Ambulance

What a musical weekend! The Olde Plough Inn held a 24-hour Musicathon, to raise funds for the night landing area in Bere Alston for the Devon Air Ambulance. In actual fact, the marathon extended to 28 hours, finishing somewhere near 11pm on Saturday night. 
Now, my days of grooving for 24 hours have long gone, so I rationed myself! After watching Geoff Lakeman on the Facebook Live feed at a dinner engagement, I went to the pub to watch Lizzie Spiers produce a superb set, but not long enough. She was followed by local favourites Lazy Divide. Many local favourites followed, including Sounds of Sirens and Mad Dog McRea, before the pub was locked down at 1am for an acoustic jam session until 7am. This was, as told by folk who were there, an absolute treat! They paid £30 for the privilege of being “locked in” for the evening with fantastic musicians, listening to the music that poured forth.
When the pub unlocked itself at 8am on Saturday, breakfast was available to anybody who wanted it. Unfortunately, family commitments prevented me from taking breakfast or enjoying the music throughout the day. However, I popped in at 5:10pm just to see the Tavy Tars; but the music was so good, particularly an excellent blues guitar set from Russ Sinclair and blue grass and country from the Kit Hillbillies, plus excellent company, that I went home at 10:10pm having had a very enjoyable evening.
Tavy Tars in action. Photo: Ruth Luff
Thanks go to Sarah, Ted and their staff and to Ben for arranging the musicathon. After 26 hours they were only 13 minutes late in the scheduling! An excellent event for a worthy cause! Well done to everyone who supported this tremendous event. All the money for the cost of the night landing area has now been raised and planning permission received, so it’s all systems go!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Avian Flu

How to keep your birds safe from Avian Influenza (bird flu)
Avian Influenza, also known as bird flu, is a disease that affects all types of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese. A severe strain of the disease, H5N8, has recently been found in wild and captive birds in the UK. This guide is designed to help keepers of small flocks of poultry look after their birds while there is a prevention zone in place.
This information has been put together by Defra with the British Veterinary Association (BVA), Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and British Veterinary Poultry Association (BVPA).
How bird flu spreads
Bird flu can be passed from wild birds to poultry, causing birds to fall ill and die. It can be transmitted directly from bird to bird or via the environment, for example in wild bird droppings.
To reduce the risk of bird flu spreading from bird to bird there is currently a legal requirement for all birds to be housed or otherwise kept separate from wild birds.
This means if you keep poultry, including chickens, ducks or geese, even as pets, you must take action to prevent contact with wild birds and protect them from this potentially fatal disease.
Risks to human health are very low and bird flu does not pose a food safety risk.
Protecting your poultry
Where possible, move birds into a suitable building, like a shed or outbuilding adapted to house them, or a new temporary structure like a lean-to or a polytunnel.
Put netting over openings to stop wild birds getting in and remove any hazardous substances.
It is your responsibility to ensure your birds’ welfare while indoors and keep them calm and comfortable:

If you keep several types of birds, house chickens or turkeys in separate enclosures from ducks and geese. Check the birds regularly to ensure they are healthy and have enough food, water and dry bedding.

Keep the environment interesting to reduce the risk of feather pecking. Add fresh bedding, straw bales, perches and objects such as cabbages, scatter feed or grain on the floor and add grit to litter to encourage birds to scratch.

Make sure birds have natural light where possible and are not permanently in the dark. Light should ideally follow typical day and night patterns.

You may want to consider nutritional supplements in drinking water that can help keep birds calm.

Skin parasites like red mite can be a problem in birds kept indoors and can make birds more irritable. Advice on controlling parasites can be obtained
from your vet.
Reducing the risk of infection
If you don’t have a suitable building to move your birds into, or the welfare of the birds would suffer if moved indoors, you must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds.
You should follow these steps to reduce the risk of infection via the environment, for example in wild bird droppings, even if your birds are inside.

Keep food and water supplies inside where they can not be contaminated, feed birds inside and keep them away from standing water.

Where birds remain outside, set up a temporary enclosure covered with netting that wild birds
can not access.

Minimise movement in and out of your birds’ enclosure and clean footwear before and after visits.

Keep the area where your birds live clean and tidy, removing spilled feed.
Signs of Avian Flu
Signs include loss of appetite, swollen heads and respiratory problems. If you suspect bird flu call the Defra helpline on 03000 200 301.
Further information
Further details can be found at
6 January 2017

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Air Ambulance Musicathon

Olde Plough Inn, starts tomorrow at 7pm.
Here is the Friday line-up as given on Facebook:
Friday night
7pm Geoff Lakeman and Guest
7:45pm Lizzie Spiers
8pm Lazy Divide
9pm Olivia Dunn and Graham Anderson
9:30pm Suzie Mac
10:15pm Sound of the Sirens 
11:30pm Phil D'glass
12:00pm Mad Dog McRea 
1am Pub closes for the all-night Jam Session until 7am. It's a Lock-in! Tickets still available from the pub.
This is not exact,but will give you a rough idea. Please don't hold us to exact times as loads of musicians are travelling from Plymouth and surrounding areas.
07:00 Chris Bailey
07:30 Kris Oxland
08:00 Tei Daratsa
08:30 Joseph Marc Watson and Virginia Rich
09:00 Antisocial
09:30 Justine Prior
10:00 Mike &Tilly
10:30 Ellie Wellie
11:00 Charlie
11:30 Calvin Harley Thomas
12:00 Eilidh Sinclair
12:30 Alice Gullick
13:00 Jay Carter
14:00 Erin Osborne
14:30 Rosamonde Birch
15:00 Tom Baker
16:00 Alex Hart
17:00 Tavy Tars
Matt Brenton 
18:15 John Charlton Woodgate
18:45 Paul White
19:15 Russell Sinclair
20:15 Roisin Ferrier
21:00 The Kitt Hillbillies
22:00 Envy of Angels
Timings are approximate and artistes may be amended.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Rail News

Tavistock Reopening
The dedicated officers who were dealing with rail affairs at Devon County Council have not been replaced and it would appear that the thrust has diminished. However, Devon County Council are still progressing with land purchasing and considerations on how to reduce costs. The Peninsula Rail Task Force (for the South-west peninsula, not the Bere) applied in November 2016 for £1.5million for the Bere Alston - Tavistock Line for final preparations, physical, land and legal for the project to be tendered. It is their hope that a private contractor can be engaged and not Network Rail! (This follows a recent announcement of the same for the proposed Varsity Line.)
At present there is an estimated cost for reopening this line and Okehampton to Exeter of £48.5 million.

New Sunday train!
A new summer service will run from May to September.  The last train at present is 1741 ex Plymouth, returning from Bere Alston at 1855.  New service will leave Plymouth at 1948 and return from Gunnislake at 2040 (Bere Alston at 2120).   A refreshing step forward!