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Tony Allen


Fri 3 May 2019

By Tony Allen

I’m pleased to tell you that the Surfers against Sewage national organisation has been able to designate Bovey Tracey as a Plastic-Free town. This is due to the stalwart work led by local champion Nicola Wilson. The necessary qualification criteria involved making educational presentations in the town, organising community awareness events, and working with local government (the Town Council and Teignbridge District Council), local businesses and other groups, looking for sustainable alternatives to one-time plastics.

As I write this, the Devon Guild of Craftsmen has just become a “Plastic Free Champion” for the town, joining Café 360, Dolly Tub, Bell Inn, Dartmoor Distillery, Wildmoor Delicatessen and Home Farm Café, as early “Champions”. The Guild of Craftsmen is taking action to reduce single-use plastic including replacing plastic straws with paper straws, changing from plastic wrapped biscuits in the café to home-made shortbread, using paper bags for purchases instead of plastic ones, and becoming a water refill station (to help reduce plastic bottled water purchases). It is also working on changing its sugar sachets to sugar cubes, using cardboard pens, looking into paper packing tape and working with suppliers to reduce use of plastic, for example removing glitter on greeting cards.

Other organisations, including voluntary groups, are looking at following suit, to become “Community Allies” in the campaign. I recently gave a presentation to 94 attendees at the Bovey Tracey Activities Trust about “Plastic Free Bovey Tracey”. I am told this was well received, with the Trust wanting to follow this up during the summer. I’m sure other groups, including Scouts and Guides and the schools, are also interested in taking this further. Now Bovey has received the official “Plastic Free” status, the campaign really needs to begin.

CASH OR PLASTIC?....................

Bank branches have closed and ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines or Cash machines to you and me!) are slowly disappearing with them. According to the Consumers Association, this is because the banks don’t want to have to pay the ATM network supplier Link for cash withdrawals made inter-bank (e.g. a NatWest customer using an ATM at Lloyds), while the card providers Mastercard and Visa are keen to see card readers installed at the tills in shops, restaurants, pubs and countless other outlets, to bypass LINK entirely by putting their own network in place with lower transaction interchange fees. All this is also being driven by the banks’ drive to electronic banking. It seems it’s all down to profit rather than consumer convenience, which I guess doesn’t surprise any of us at all.

Many rural communities have already lost their bank branches and their ATMs, and don’t have a Post Office where they can avail themselves of cash, having to travel many miles, often by occasional bus services (if they exist at all) to the nearest town to get the cash they need. The impact on local businesses is immense, as many rely on cash payments, and on paying local suppliers in cash. Facilities will close, which will only drive young people away from their rural home areas, and increasingly isolate the elderly and infirm. I would like to think this will never happen in Bovey Tracey, and that our three Post Offices (Bovey, Brimley and Heathfield) will continue to serve cash needs here, for which the community would be eternally grateful, if the remaining ATMs were ever to disappear. Fingers crossed!


For donkey’s years men with this written on placards have paraded at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park and in our high streets displaying this prophesy. Maybe they were not as crazy as it seemed. Thousands of children have taken days off school to demonstrate against climate change, recognising the seriousness of it, putting older generations to shame. We’ve all seen the signs with glaciers melting, rising sea levels, floods, abnormal weather around the globe causing catastrophic infernos with immense loss of life and property, and chronic illnesses through air pollution caused by the widespread use of coal, diesel and petrol fuels. Even here in our local communities, there are those who just don’t take it seriously, seemingly being totally unaware of the problems they are adding to, albeit in a very small way. But one plus everyone else is still bigger than just everyone else. We’re all playing a part in the rapid deterioration of the very environment which we need to exist in.

Now we hear that if things continue as they are, we will not have enough storage for fresh water for our needs. The continual push to build, build, build, is adding to demand that may be impossible to meet. Added to that, concreting over swathes of countryside is removing the eco systems that we need to provide food for ourselves, and eliminating the natural sources of nourishment that animal life needs to thrive in: birds, bees, insects and other wildlife and their food chains are all dependent on climate and suitable environments for survival. It’s up to all of us to address this problem urgently in the immediate years ahead wherever we reside.


I could never remember my computer password, so I changed it to “incorrect”. Now if ever I forget, it reminds me “Your password is incorrect”.  

Gerald gets a new computer but has difficulty getting it working. “I can’t understand it,” he says.  I’m putting in the exact same password it shows in the instruction book. “What password is that?” his wife asks. “Asterisk, asterisk, asterisk, asterisk1” says Gerald.

How many IT support workers does it take to change a light bulb?  I’m not sure, but have you tried just turning the bulb off and then on again?

Today is the birthday of the inventor of on-line shopping. I think we should all wish him “Many Happy Returns”.

Apparently, the Pope was the first head of the church to buy things off the internet. He used to fund them using his papal account.

I just sold my homing pigeon on eBay. That’s the 30th time this year.

Last night I went on eBay and ordered 1,000 bottles of Tippex. That was a big mistake,

A pessimist is someone who has had to listen to too many optimists.

What’s the difference between a pessimist and an optimist? A pessimist says, “Things are terrible, they can’t possibly get any worse”. An optimist says, “I think they can!”

The fact that there’s a highway to hell but only a stairway to heaven tells us a lot about the amount of traffic expected on each route.

A journalist is a media professional who carefully separates the cold, hard facts from the fantastical made-up garbage, then prints the garbage.

At the time of writing, 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

IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE........ - Thu 24 Jan 2019
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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