Notes From The Shed is what gets put together while we are waiting for news at our headquarters, back a bit and off to the right from the locator map below …

  Picture by Dartmoor artist Shirley Kirkcaldy, by permission arranged through Wildwood Arts of Horrabridge – best little gallery for many miles.


Nobody can resist this one once they’ve heard of it. The New York Times has been taking an interest in the range of Brit dialects – a matter of bafflement and wonder to American visitors here – and is working on a quiz which is supposed to identify where in Britain or Ireland a set of words and pronunciations is likely to come from.

Here in The Shed, we went through the first 25 questions in 5 minutes and got matched up with Devonshire, Wales and North West of England, which makes some sense except for Wales. The less you have moved house, the more accurate it is likely to be.

Try it at

and send us, if you would, so we can argue with the New York Times, one of three verdicts – SPOT-ON, NOT BAD or RUBBISH – to


In The Shed’s experience, the best way to organise travel is to go to a travel agent. But for those who enjoy beating the system, we pass on the tip that airlines have been trying to shut down a service called Skiplagged which halves the cost of some long-haul journeys by telling you where to get off at a stopover hub and pick up a flight which is crossing paths with you. For some reason, it is often much cheaper to pay two full fares for a dog-leg route than to pay the market rate for a direct route. The airlines say it is a con on them, leaving them with empty seats. But it’s hard to stop you, apparently.


Buckland Monachorum Snooker Club has refurbished its table in the village hall and is looking for customers, at £2 an hour. For details, go to:


Boffins are at war over a plan to send a radio transmitter out into the cosmos, broadcasting a coded list of the elements of the periodic table – the building blocks of matter – as so far discovered on Earth.

Martin Dominik, an astronomer at St Andrew’s University, is one of the opposition. He argues that any intelligence which could decipher the message and trace it back might just see Earth as “a good place to find lunch”.

But the American scientist behind the mission says if they are that clever, they could find us anyway. The point is to announce ourselves as something worth trying to talk to.

He told the Times: “If you go into the zoo and see a herd of zebra, they’re just zebra. If one turns and taps out a series of prime numbers with its foot, though, that becomes a radically different relationship.”

Possibly, of course, zebra are tapping out prime numbers all the time and none of us have noticed.

* For music in Horrabridge this weekend, details of upcoming flood advice meeting, local am-dram productions and more, take a look at our Postboard page …

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Editor of The Horrabridge Times.