Colour photographs for the article on p19 of May 2021 PEW
False Oxlip (previously mis-identified as Cowslip)
Cowslip (L) and Oxlip (R) for comparison with False Oxlip
All images Creative Commons licence
We have revived the Westbury Parish Council newsletter!
For the first issue, for May 2021, click here: Newsletter
If you don’t currently subscribe to news updates and would like to receive email alerts, you can do so by clicking ‘Subscribe’ on the website Homepage.
Newsletter Editor – Martin West
An attempted phone scam has just been reported in the village. The caller claimed to be from Bristol CID and to have arrested someone with a large quantity of money on them.
These phone fraudsters are very persuasive, passing the call to their “inspector”, mentioning banks and credit cards and saying you have to act quickly. They then ask your help to catch the suspect’s accomplices – this involves you going to your bank and taking out a large amount of cash, which the “police” will then come and check for forged notes. They may also tell you not to talk to anyone about this or it could undermine their case.
The scammers may ask you to hang up, then call back to verify that they really are the police. When you hang up, they stay on the line then “answer” your new call. Therefore it’s important that you make any call to the police or to your bank to verify their story from a different phone line and use a number for the police or bank which you know is a genuine one.
Fortunately, our neighbour was very suspicious of this call, so hung up and reported it.
- it’s possible to ‘spoof’ phone numbers so it appears that scammers are calling from a genuine police number
- don’t give details like your credit card number and PIN over the phone to anyone unless you are absolutely certain you know who they are
Fuller details can be found here: https://www.herts.police.uk/Information-and-services/Advice/Crime-prevention/Protect-your-money/Scam-police-and-bank-callers
Wells Cathedral are holding a service of remembrance for The Duke of Edinburgh
Friday 16th April at 5.15.
please click on the link below for full details.
Please see the attached latest Takeaway menu from The Westbury Inn. It is expected to run for the next two weeks on Wednesday to Sunday lunchtime in each week. The Westbury is also open every day except Sunday afternoon and evening for service outside. If you want to come it is recommended to book a table ahead of time. 01749 870402 I believe that there will be a tapas menu available for those who come for outside table service. If you have any questions do contact Andy or Ann-Marie at The Westbury.
Coronavirus Community Support – Update 11/04/2021
Although the Emergency Planning Team has stopped issuing regular updates about the pandemic we will continue to keep the village informed when there are significant changes to government advice or regulations. Normally this will be as part of the new Parish Council Newsletter which is planned to come out monthly. Since there are significant changes happening from Monday 12th however and the newsletter will not be published before the end of the week this is an additional notice.
The rules are changing from Monday 12th April
Some of the restrictions on what you can and cannot do are changing from Monday with shops, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality opening as lockdown starts to ease. You should still not meet indoors however as the risk of spreading the virus is significantly higher inside. The current planned date for allowing households or groups of up to six people to mix indoors is 17 May at the earliest.
The changes after this weekend include:
- non-essential retail will be able to re-open
- personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to re-open
- public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to re-open
- outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen – table service only
- most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
- some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
- indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
- all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children.
- weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must be outdoors, not including private gardens
- self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble.
We should still work at home where that is possible and limit our travel though we are no longer asked to stay at home.
How to get a free test
The Government is encouraging everyone in England to access free, regular, rapid Covid-19 testing. This regular testing is for those without symptoms of Covid-19 and helps break the chain of transmission. Details on how to get a test and advice on other support available in Somerset can be found on the SCC website .
Lifting lockdown – summary timetable.
We plan to keep village noticeboards updated with headline information about the pandemic. If you would find it helpful to print off a similar copy for yourself you can find a useful one-page summary here.
Westbury Church – Book of Condolences for Prince Philip
St Lawrence’s Church, Westbury would like to draw everyone’s attention to the opportunity to leave a message in an on-line book of condolences for Prince Philip. The church website gives links to books made available by the Royal Family and the Church of England. It will not be possible to sign books in person because of the pandemic.
Sue Reece, 870618, Mick Fletcher, 870531 on behalf of the Parish Council
Report of Zoom Meeting 23rd March 2021
Our speaker for this Zoom meeting was John Barkle who spoke about his book – Memories of a Village Grocer, which had recently been published.
Sue welcomed 23 people to the meeting and extended a very warm welcome to those joining us who were not regular members, including visitors from Wookey and Wookey Hole. We were delighted to welcome John to our meeting.
John began by saying that he was thrilled to publish his book which he had been intending to write for the last 20 years! Lockdown does have its uses! John also thanked everyone who had bought his book – he had originally ordered 400 copies but only 50 copies were left so he has put in an order for another 250 copies as it was due to be advertised in Mendip Times. All the profits will go to the Children’s Hospice care.
John outlined his life growing up in rural Ditcheat, in his parents’ grocery shop, in the 30s,40s & 50s. Life was, of course, extremely different in those days long before supermarkets came on the scene. His shop sold everything from bacon and cheese to paraffin and candles! As a small child he was expected to help by filling up shelves with new stock. They cooked their own ham and as produce was not prepacked, the smell of ham, bacon, cheese as well as paraffin and soap powder pervaded the shop. Other smells lingered outside the shop especially when one customer brought her goats along when doing her shopping – not a sight seen these days outside Waitrose or Tesco’s! As the counters were made of polished oak there was also the homely smell of polish. There was plenty of time to pass the time of day with the customers who were all known to John and his parents.
All the accounts had be added up and checked at the end of the day – the book keeping was a huge task especially when the bills did not tally which was often the case. Much of the produce like sugars, flours and dried fruit was bought in bulk and had to be weighed out and put into bags. Even spices were weighed out in tiny amounts! A plastic – free era!
John, who has a great sense of humour and relates so wonderfully with people, loved engaging with the public and peppered his talk with amusing incidences concerning local “characters”. On one occasion when John’s toddler daughter Sue had wandered into the shop she was found sitting with one eccentric lady who was eating an ice cream but sharing it with her dog and Sue – each taking a lick in turn!
The shop also housed the Post office and the switchboard for the telephones as few people owned their own telephone then. John recounted the fun it was for a youngster to man the switchboard and connect people and of course to keep up with all the local news – listening in whilst holding one’s breath!
As many of John’s audience were “of a certain age” it was also a trip down memory lane as we could all remember going shopping in similar shops when items such as camp coffee, lifebuoy soap, angelica, butter being patted, cheese cut to order and loose items weighed out were the order of the day.
Julie Romeo gave the Vote of Thanks speaking for all of us by saying how delighted we all were by hearing John talking about our memories too. He was just such fun to listen to. Julie rightly called John “our village treasure!” -which is quite true.
Now that we are nearing the date when restrictions will start to ease and groups will be able to meet outside in groups of 6 once more we might be able to have small groups meeting outside for social chatting. Hopefully normal meetings in the village hall might resume in September. Until then we will continue to have meetings by Zoom, with a speaker on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, our normal meeting day.
The next talk will be on 13th April – when we are delighted to welcome Tessa Munt, our former MP, who will talk to us about her experiences. Please do join us for this as she is a really good speaker.
Our branch will hold its AGM by Zoom on May 11th.
Sue ended the meeting by thanking everyone for attending the Zoom meeting.