The Shed is hq of the Horrabridge Times – back a bit and round the corner from our cover picture, which is reproduced courtesy of local artist Shirley Kirkcaldy, who sells through Wildwood Arts in Chapel Lane – re-opening this weekend, by the way, with new exhibitions, after a winter break.

Burglaries round yer

The national epidemic of thieves targeting vans and outhouses continues to move this way. On Wednesday this week, police reported a burglary disturbed on a Chagford farm and said they were looking for two men in a white Transit with chevrons across the rear. On Thursday, on the Horrabridge Noticeboard pages on Facebook, two men in a similar van were reported looking suspicious at Sampford Spiney and other local locations.

Last week, the Horrabridge Times reported a van seized with stolen goods reportedly aboard after burglaries at Whitchurch and Sampford Spiney just after New Year. Two men were found wandering in Horrabridge in the early hours, after a chase involving the police helicopter.

Police said last week that inquiries were continuing. But this week they said: “Following a full investigation, no further policing action will be taken against the two suspects.”

Meanwhile, Lynne Owens, head of the National Crime Agency, has been quietly complaining that she is losing her battle with the international mafias behind this and other organised crime waves, according to the Guardian. They are getting away with murder (and billions of British £s) because the war against them is being left to local forces, who rarely work together.

Her agency estimates that nearly 35,000 professional gangsters are working in Britain for more than 4,600 syndicates and milking £37 billion a year from the economy – nearly two percent of Gross Domestic Product.

Coming up round yer

Amdram panto on at Buckland for three nights. See our Postboard page by CLICKING HERE

Christopher Robin, the AA Milne film starring Ewen McGregor, is on at Meavy Hall evening of Friday Feb 1 (POSTPONED). Withnail & I at Yelverton Sat Feb is CANCELLED.

Also Saturday night, a “Devon Cabaret” of music and comedy at South Brent Village Hall. And young duo Mac & Laura, singing folk and Americana, are at Tavistock Methodist Church. Sample them HERE

Sunday Feb 3, Jim Causley presents songs and poems taken from and inspired by his uncle, Cornish poet Charles Causley, at Tavistock Wharf.

Also Sunday night, new friendly poker night at the Leaping Salmon. See our Postboard page by CLICKING HERE

Tuesday Feb 5, all Horrabridge allotment holders are asked to a meeting in the parish hall, opposite London Inn, from 7.30 pm, to be chaired by councillor Andrew Moorhead.

Pubs round yer

After a short run as a cafe, The Royal Standard in Mary Tavy is closed again and the freehold is on the market at £295,000. Stonesmiths of Exeter are handling the sale.

Noted in The Shed

* Ozzie Osbourne has been explaining why he is famous for biting the head off a bat, 37 years ago. Somebody threw it on stage and he thought it was a rubber one until he sank his teeth into it.

* Punk poet John Cooper Clarke has made it to respectable, with the inclusion on a GCSE syllabus of his poem I Wanna Be Yours:

I wanna be your vacuum cleaner, breathing in your dust/ I wanna be your Ford Cortina: I will never rust.”

* Some useful wisdom for our Mps, perhaps, in these words from Stanley Baldwin, PM three times between the great wars of last century, quoted in The Guardian:

I would rather be an opportunist and float than go to the bottom with my principles around my neck.”

Chagstock line-up

From The Jam, a mod band led by Bruce Foxton who recently played The Wharf, have been booked as headline act for the opening Friday of Chagstock Music Festival in July. Also lined up are the Fun Lovin Criminals and Plymouth heroes Mad Dog Mcrea.

Notes on the Shed

The Shed has been closed for a few days for repairs and maintenance, including a project to expose old floorboards. The 100-year-old boards were essentially good – six-inch oak planks – but there were a lot of gaps big enough for a pound coin and they were covered in paint splashes recording a century of bad DIY.

For the worst gaps, we spent about £50 on postal delivery of a couple of bundles of pine slivers – essentially offcuts from reclamation cutting, tapering to various widths. It seemed like a lot for scrap wood but nothing else was going to do the job for gaps up to a cm wide and we could not find a local source. Glued, hammered in and taken down with a flushing saw and plane, they did the job well, although at some cost to our knees and backs. For the narrower crevices, we spent another £30 on a product called StopGap – a reel of plastic strip, creased so it will fold into a V, to stop draughts and catch debris. Went in easily once the gaps were cleaned, with a credit card and a dental cavity brush.

For the paint splashes, there was nothing for it but to scrape. Hard work but a heavy-duty Harris scraper from Shields of Tavistock, about £15, made all the difference and with scrapers, green scratchy pads, sandpaper and a bit of water, we ended up with a half-decent finish for now, without filling the whole house with sawdust.

Still got some pine slivers and some StopGap left over – free to a good home. Apply by email to

allfornow …

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Editor of The Horrabridge Times.