Would you put up a French twinning family?

Karen Pinder writes:
Hopefully you all know that Clayhidon, Culmstock and Hemyock are twinned with a group of villages in the Loire valley in France very similarly sized to us.
This year it is their turn to visit. We are very keen for families to take part and the French are even keener! I have just had the list through and we need to find some new host families. We have one family with three children aged eight, 11 and 14 years and another bringing three 14-year-olds and a child of ten. They very much want to meet with English families, don't mind bunking down on floors, put-you- ups etc and are always very hospitable on our return visit.
They will arrive early evening on Thursday 14 May. They are taken out for whole day on Friday 15th with a dinner party for all in the evening. Saturday is a day free with the host family, when we usually get together with friends and do something. They then leave on Sunday morning for their return journey.
Through joining the association many of our members have made long lasting friends in France and have enjoyed many independent holidays across the channel.
 If you are interested in hosting a family or maybe know someone that might be please contact me kazapinder@hotmail.com  01823 681043.

Fast broadband plan for dead-slow parish

High-speed broadband could come to Clayhidon - if enough people are interested in signing up. 
CFB Solutions, a Crewkerne company, has told the parish council it could set up a wireless network for the parish. Small aerials would be erected on buildings to receive the signal on the ridges and bounce it down into the valleys.
If you are interested in finding out more about the CFB proposal contact the Parish Council. If there is sufficient interest the council will invite the company to attend a parish meeting to provide more information 
The firm promises speeds of 10mbps for downloads and 5mbps upload, up to seven times faster than some BT landlines in the area.
It is already working on the Blackdowns - in Combe St Nicholas - and in other parts of Somerset.
Wireless is more expensive than most landline packages. But it's a lot cheaper - and much faster - than satellite broadband, which a few people in the parish have adopted.
CFB charge between £25 and £55 per month, according to the volume of material downloaded, plus an  installation fee. People habitually streaming films and music via the internet would pay more than those using it mainly for emails and browsing the web.
You can find out more on http://www.cfbbroadband.co.uk/ .
Dead-slow broadband is a common complaint among parishioners. When Clayhidon.org checked BT download speeds on TestMy.Net we consistently found them to be 89 per cent slower than the UK average. BT has shown no interest in improving its broadband service to small communities.
You can email the council on this link. For councillors' contact details click here.
Broadband campaign public meeting
Neil Parish MP is to chair a public meeting on Friday, February 6 to continue the campaign for faster broadband in the Blackdowns. It's from 6pm to 8pm In Upottery Manor Rooms EX14 9PL. 
>Read more

The fabulous, folky diddlers 

kick off 2015 season at hall 

Be prepared to be 'diddled' on Friday 20 February when an extraordinary all-female folk trio, Lady Maisery, open Clayhidon Parish Hall's 2015 entertainment season.
They are one of the first UK groups to explore the tradition of diddling or tune singing, which has nearly died out in England, but is still prevalent in Scandinavia  and other parts of Europe. You can get a flavour of their fabulous folky sound by visiting www.ladymaisery.com
Lady Maisery  were nominated for the 'Horizon' BBC Folk Award 2012 and for 'Best Debut' at the Spiral Awards 2012.

<Click here to enlarge poster.

Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans explore vocal harmony to breathtaking effect, through their fresh interpretations of songs and ballads. Whether singing unaccompanied, or with backing from their combined instrumental talents on accordion, harp and fiddle, they offer rich harmonies and sumptuous clashes. >Read more

Ketchup for Christmas

Ketchup, the Shetland pony, was once again one of the stars of the annual crib service at St. Andrews Church, Clayhidon, on 21 December.
Others included seven year old Casey Clements, who was Mary on the pony, Drew and Molly Upton, Grace Pepperall, Lydia Persey, Jarvic and Emelia  Lumb, Kim, Gabriel,Grace and Thomas.
The candlelit service was completely led by children of the parish who read lessons and prayers, announced the carols and took a collection.
The congregation was welcomed by the Rector, the Rev. David Burton, who thanked the people who had worked very hard to put the service together, particularly Nicky Lumb, Sue Upton and Ann Persey, and said everyone was in for a treat.
Church warden Maurice Bendle said the children looked wonderful and also thanked the organisers and 13 year old Ketchup, of Fields Farm, Clayhidon, who by then was grazing in the churchyard.
Tea and cake were served after a presentation  to Margaret Blackmore, 88, who was standing down from much of her work with the church after many years of service, including several years as church warden. Mr. Burton presented her with an inscribed plate made by potter Nicola Werner.
Thanks for everything: The Rev David Burton makes a presentation to former church warden Margaret Blackmore.

Cider Drinkers win again
Clayhidon’s Quiz Night on 14 November proved to be yet another intellectual triumph for parish masterminds, the Cider Drinkers, in the face of the stiffest competition in years.
Winning for the umpteenth time, Margaret Blackmore and Alex Hill were this year without Bee Hill, who died in May. Lucy Ball took her place. They are pictured with quizmaster Peter Walter and scorer Sue Johns.
The Parish Hall was packed. Fifteen teams entered and organiser Caroline Bendle had to turn away late entries for lack of space. The hall committee laid on snacks and a raffle.

Parish remembers its dead
The Remembrance Sunday service at St Andrew's Church, Clayhidon on 9 November was followed by a short service outside by the village war memorial.
Led by the Rev John Bolton of Sampford Peverell, the congregation sang the National Anthem and observed the silence along with millions of others countrywide.
Mr Bolton read the names of those lost in the First World War, Hubert John Bright, Reginald Charles Bright, Frank Drake, John Honniball, Gilbert Hutchings, William Richards and William Trickey, and in the Second World War, Wilfred E Greenslade and Frank A J Hutchings.
We will remember them.

Thankyou to post lady Marion
Thanks for everything: Richard Kallaway and parish councillors make a presentation to Marion Tuckey.

Clayhidon’s answer to Postman Pat has retired after 17 years chugging around the parish in her little red van with a box of dog biscuits.
Training puppies to sit when she arrived with the mail was Marion Tuckey’s survival strategy after she was savaged by a spaniel.
Apart from the odd nip from a puppy and the occasional scrape trying to avoid other drivers in the narrow lanes, Marion’s long stint as much loved parish post lady has been quiet – sometimes a little too quiet.
>Read more.

Hot on Your Heels . . .
Hot on Your Heels jive classes started in Clayhidon Parish Hall on 16 October. A dozen jivers braved a thunderstorm for the first of an eight-week series. Gordon Coomber and dance partner Clare (pictured left) led them through the basic steps, to the sounds of classic rock’n’roll. The weekly lessons, formerly held in Hemyock, will progress from beginners through to intermediate. Book ahead on 077481 54897 - £3 for individuals and £5 for couples.


Family announcements 
To share your  family news >click here.



      Mend your own potholes, parish council is told
      Clayhidon has been told by Devon County Council to mend its own potholes ­and clear its own lanes of debris. And there is no hope of a speed limit on the dangerous stretch of road past the Half Moon Inn until someone has been injured. This catalogue of "sorry, we don't have the funds" was reported to Clayhidon Parish Council at its last meeting. >Read more.
      Bacon butties, hot coffee - and a cleaning blitz
      Would bacon butties and hot drinks be enough to tempt you to join a three-hour cleaning blitz on Saturday 7 February?  Clayhidon Parish Hall Committee are planning a spring clean  to make sure our precious asset, which serves all the communities of the Upper Culm Valley, is kept up to standard.
      They would appreciate some help!
      The start at 9am and promise to finish by 12 noon at the latest. If you would like to volunteer to join our tiny band of sweepers, scrubbers and polishers please call Lucy Ball on 01823 680607  or email lucyball132@btinternet.com .
      Latest planning applications
      Plans have been submitted by Mr and Mrs G Slabbert for a pitched roof with storage space over their existing garage at Barpark, Clayhidon.
      Mr M Goodridge has applied for change of use of an outbuilding to additional accommodation at Knowle Farm, Clayhidon . 
      They are among the latest applications submitted to Mid Devon District Council

      Terror stalked our ghostly old roads
      The ghosts of hanged rebel soldiers and “Spunkies” or "Will-o’-the-Wisps" (unbaptized children) were widely believed to haunt the wastes and moors of Clayhidon and other remote parts of the Blackdown Hills, according to an academic study.
      Stories of lost souls wandering the hills were common and bandits and thieves traded on local superstition and fear to move through the landscape unchallenged, says Lucy Ryder.

      Have you got news?
      If you have news of a Clayhidon event and would like to use this website to publicise it, or if you have any local information or pictures worth sharing, email websiteclayhidon@gmail.com   or call Gareth or Alison on 681093.