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Tony Allen


Thu 24 Jan 2019

By Tony Allen

The awards of the Bovey Tracey Young Citizen of the Year and of the Honorary Representative of the Lord of the Manor of Bovey Tracey are two of the items in the Town Council’s annual programme These cover our young people aged 8 to 18, and our older residents who have lived in Bovey Tracey parish over a long period and have made a significant contribution for the benefit of the town in that time. The recognition given through these awards is very much appreciated by the recipients, close families and friends.

This has led me to think about whether such positive recognition could be taken into other fields (e.g. Business of the Year and New Business of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Eco-Friendly team of the Year), I’d be interested to know whether this is something you would like to see, and whether you have any other ideas along these lines, as I (or indeed you) can put the idea to the Town Council for consideration. There is no doubt that just being nominated can have a good impact all round, with such awards setting levels of achievements for those who would like their service or impact recognised. I believe the reputation of our community would benefit from recognition of excellence in this way. What do you think?


Looking at the whole question of how to reduce one-time use plastics seems to have had benefits in other areas. During and after the Second World War clothing was mended, collars turned, and socks darned when showing signs of wear and tear and children’s clothes were handed down between siblings as they grew up. Nowadays it seems clothing of all sorts is purchased new (often over the internet) to replace things that are just thrown away. Often the new clothing is made by children and women for a pittance in sweat shops in far-away countries, impacting on CO2 emissions while being shipped over here.

However, groups in some localities are now restoring old clothing at activity sessions in classes set up just for that purpose. This practice has even extended to restoring old bicycles and electrical equipment, which has enabled many to buy such goods at prices more akin to what they can afford or would otherwise be asked to pay. Arts and crafts groups are collecting waste materials from coves, beaches and woods and are using the materials to fashion items that can decorate homes and offices anywhere. I believe the Devon Guild of Craftsmen has recently had an exhibition of such items. With this growing awareness of the sense of waste, are we slipping back into old ways that our predecessors were well aware of and made the most of. Is there an interest in the Bovey area for establishing such “repair shops” for any of the types of items mentioned above? It would be interesting to know. 


It was sad news to learn that former Cllr Fernley Holmes had died on 23rd November aged 88. Fernley had been a member of the Bovey Tracey Town Council for over 40 years and stood down in 2013 due to failing health. Fernley had also been a Teignbridge District councillor. I got to know him quite well on Bovey council. He would joke that he had been a Labour supporter but then turned Conservative and could have been Lib Dem as well. However, I felt his interest in politics seemed to be far outweighed by his feeling of serving the electorate well rather than any particular party. He was very much his own man and would look at cases coming up at council from his own knowledge and experience. A favourite topic was warning about developers building in areas where flooding was prone to occur, citing the Bovey Straits near Pottery Road roundabout and Bradley Bends as two in particular. I did think about his comments when the Bovey to Chudleigh Knighton Road near Denley Cross became impassable after the heavy rains in late November. I’m sure he would have had strong views about Challabrook too. Fernley was quite a character and I hope his service for the community over such a long period has been appreciated, as it deserves to have been.


Well done to all those involved in this year’s event, which was very well organised and attracted what might have been a record attendance. I thought the addition of so many street stalls helped with the whole atmosphere of the afternoon and hopefully will be repeated for the future. I did notice some people on social media having a go about the timings and the acoustics. They were quite rightly reminded that the whole event is organised by volunteers under the auspices of the carnival committee, and if they would like to help out next time to improve the things they think could be done better, I’m sure they would get a positive response. I feel congratulations should go to all those who participated in the event and those who spent such a lot of their own time planning and setting the whole thing up. Well done!!


What's the biggest rope in the world for British politicians to hang themselves with? – Europe.

The only time a fisherman tells the truth is when he calls another fisherman a liar.

Who invented the fountain pen?  - The Incas.

Why did Henry VIII have so many wives?  -  He liked to chop and change.

Where did Napoleon keep his armies?  -  Up his sleevies.

What are the four seasons?  -  salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Did you hear about the man who got into trouble for throwing a £5 note into the monkey enclosure?  -   The sign said “Do not feed. £5 fine”.

A young woman falls into conversation with a wrinkled old man in the park and asks him what his secret is for a long, happy life. “I smoke a packet of cigarettes every day” the old man explains, “I drink a bottle of vodka every weekend. I eat only fast food and I never exercise”. “That’s incredible!“ says the woman. “Do you mind me asking what age you are?” “Of course not” says the man, “I’m twenty seven.”

A lion meets a leopard in the jungle and snarls menacingly at him. “Who is the king of the jungle?” the lion growls. “You are” says the leopard hastily as it backs away. Next the lion meets a monkey. “Who is the king of the jungle?” the lion roars. “You are” says the monkey and quickly runs up a tree. Next the lion meets an elephant. “Who is the king of the jungle?” demands the lion once again. The elephant picks up the lion with his trunk and hurls him repeatedly against a tree before dropping him in a heap in a patch of bramble. “All right, all right” gasps the lion. “No need to lose your temper just because you don’t know the answer!”  

An expectant father rings the hospital to find out how his pregnant wife is getting along, but accidentally gets the cricket results service instead. When he asks about the latest progress he is told “We’ve got three out and hope to get the rest out by lunch. The last one was a duck.”

Tony Allen is a Bovey Tracey Town Councillor. This column is written in a personal capacity and not on behalf of any group or organisation. The jokes are all in the public domain, so you may have seen some or all before! If you’d like to contact me about my column, please do so via the Cottage Magazine website:

Other columns by Tony Allen

Young people in the community - Thu 15 May 2014
Moving Bovey Tracey forward - Tue 4 Mar 2014
Is Bovey Tracey too shabby and run down to attract visitors? - Mon 9 Sep 2013
A public consultation should be just that - Mon 11 Mar 2013
Athletes, young people and rural watch - Tue 13 Nov 2012
Bovey Beats Most Of The Summer Weather - Wed 5 Sep 2012
What sort of Town do you want Bovey to be? - Sun 1 Jul 2012
Awards, Traffic, Policing & another Top Shop! - Thu 3 May 2012
RUBBISH, SPEED, LIGHTS OUT, BADGERS and more! - Mon 7 Nov 2011
Newspapers, Tragedy, Cheques and MORE! - Sun 11 Sep 2011
Community Matters - Mon 11 Jul 2011
Growth of Neighbourhood Watch In Bovey Tracey - Tue 3 May 2011
Which would you rather have: A PC (Police Commissioner) OR Several PCs (Police Constables)? - Thu 10 Mar 2011
Helping Ourselves In Time Of Austerity - Sun 9 Jan 2011
Security in the current Economic Climate - Thu 4 Nov 2010
Security Matters - Spelling it Out - Mon 6 Sep 2010
The Ultimate Deterrent or Not - Tue 6 Jul 2010
NHS Summary Care Records  Will Your Personal Health Information Be Secure? - Mon 3 May 2010
Social Networking - A risk or a good thing? - Sun 28 Feb 2010
Security Matters - Back to Basics! - Thu 3 Dec 2009
Security matters - are you being conned? - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - ID cards and hotel key cards - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security matters - Personal security - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Who owns your identity? - Wed 4 Nov 2009
Security Matters - Victim of crime - need help? - Wed 4 Nov 2009

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