How much for one of those posh-end retirement flats in Tavistock where, if you believe the advertising posters, the widder or widderer next door looks like Joanna Lumley or Jon Snow, and you are surrounded by laughing people, all good for their age, who have two colours of wine to offer, from Creber’s, and rarely get any noisier than doing the Telegraph crossword?

Rumour said it would be half a million quid at least. But rumour was quite a bit out.

The Shed, where the Horrabridge Times is put together, has friends in the target demographic, shall we say, and fixed a call at the opening of the sales drive at the bowls club on Plymouth Road, almost opposite the building site, today (Thurs. May 16, 19).

The building work is still under wraps but show apartments should be ready by the end of August and first occupancies are scheduled for end of this year. Meanwhile, bookings are being taken for tours of similar developments by Churchill Retirement Living, in Truro, Torquay and Penzance. And Churchill and all the local estate agents were at the bowling club today to answer the obvious questions frankly.

The development is 48 high-spec flats in a two-floor block, surrounded by communal garden – private homes but with a warden always around or on call. The one-beds are £230,000 on average and you might get one cheaper. The two-beds average £330,000 but you could get extra space by paying more – floor areas range from 750 to 1000 square feet. For that, you get a 999-year lease and you sign up for £3,000 worth of service charges, covering heating, gardening, building maintenance and insurance, and communal facilities including guest rooms, in-house coffee bar and so on. There is no room for private gardening. Pets are allowed. There are strict rules about dogs in the gardens. Forgot to ask about cats.

We got quite a nice little shopping bag. But it says Churchill Retirement Living in big letters and The Shed hasn’t got anyone with the cojones to take it out.
Email to claim it.


The Shed’s remorseless work schedule also took in a trip to see Bill Bailey’s new tour at Plymouth Pavilions – a useful but unlovely space, designed for big basketball matches, which Bailey said had the vibe of a “zombie apocalypse assembly station”. Devon roared at that one and almost everything else he did over a joyous two hours, culminating with a Led Zeppelin number he played single-handed from a table full of cowbells. His musical jokes, including a pinwheel of lights and murmurs which can go from jazz club to Irish show when he steps on a button, are labours of love and genius. Catch him if you ever can: tour is called Larks In Transit. Oh and it turns out he’s a Bristol boy: gets a cheap laugh at the expense of Taunton.


Last week, we hadn’t been able to work out how the electoral system was going to print and count a ballot paper with 42 wannabe Members of the European Parliament on it in the South West region alone, competing for six places. In Tavistock, returning officer Steve Mullineaux’s team have been able to help a bit.

We will all get one vote and cast it for one of the 11 group categories – eight parties and three individuals. Then, after the count, the highest scorer gets to choose an MEP in return for cashing in enough votes. Then the next grouping to be at the top of the table chooses one. And so on until six places are filled, far away from here.

It’s called the DHondt system of Proportional Representation and every bar must surely have a vacancy for an expert on it. Bone up



The loyal members of St John’s Church, and neighbours in five parishes of the West Dartmoor Mission of the Church of England, are heading for change, one way and another, with two key players on the move. Nick Shutt, the rector overseeing, has been promoted to become one of four Archdeacons working directly under the Bishop of Plymouth and is already semi-detached from the Horrabridge end of the patch, where Gary Shirley lives and has lately organised most of the services. He is retiring. And there has been some speculation about how St John’s will keep going until the church can find one priest to replace both Mr Shutt and Mr Shirley. But in the course of a chat with the Horrabridge Times this week, Captain Gary said plans were being made and a new roster would be drawn up to keep Sunday services going. Meanwhile, the Methodist half of the alliance which uses the church has plans for a new Friday night service, starting May 31, using modern Christian music and a less traditional structure.

Read more here next week.


Leaping Salmon has Cornish entertainer Alan Moorhouse booked for Sunday night. Find some sample tunes on his Facebook page at

And for his and other event posters, see our regular Postboard page HERE – it does us good when you check it.


Barnstaple is planning a makers’ market in November and inviting enquiries from possible exhibitors at


With Devon Day coming up, local cooks might be interested in a couple of tips culled by our experts from the endless food pages of Devon Life. The Lookout Cafe on the Hoe found a reference to a Plymouth pasty in 1510 and set out to reproduce it. The meat was venison, not beef, for one thing. Leeks would have been more likely than onions for one of the veg and turnip more likely than swede in those days. Take it from there, Horrabridge – valuable Churchill Retirement shopping bag for the best recipe. Devon Day is Tuesday June 4, for some reason we haven’t noticed.


* Devon Show this Friday and Saturday.

* Funny violent new western, The Sisters Brothers, at The Wharf this Friday and next week.

* Bohemian Rhapsody at Yelverton Cinema, Saturday.

* The Little Unsaid at Calstock Arts on Sunday.

* Angus Deayton and friends at The Red House Theatre in Plymouth on Sunday.

* Plymouth History Festival, various events, all next week.

* Horrabridge’s annual parish meeting, followed by AGM of parish council, at village hall on Tuesday evening, from 6.30 pm.

* Various events all week in annual show by Plymouth performance students, listed HERE

* The Cavaliers looking for bookings for their big summer quiz night, Saturday July 13, 7.30 pm. Call Bill Mullery on 854819 and make him a promise.

For more details and more events, far ahead as we can see from here, check the Horrabridge Times calendar regularly HERE

allfornow …

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Editor of The Horrabridge Times.