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Tony Allen


Thu 8 Nov 2018

By Tony Allen


Why is it that the human race seems to be heading inadvertently towards destroying our planet? First the big issue to arise was that of climate change, and we can see the impact of flooding and forest fires devastating countries and communities. Let’s face it, we have been very slow to react to this, while some still don’t believe in it at all, despite observing the obvious. Now the massive issue of plastics pollution has become exposed through documentaries such as “Blue Planet”, showing the impact on the whole water life food chain from whales to plankton. Research has exposed the infinite amount of microplastics washing up on our shores from plastic-based products being washed down water courses or flushed down the drains, or even through recycling. Whole beaches and fields seem to be covered in the stuff. We’ve seen film of birds and animals choking on plastic, and of course we humans ingest the micro nodules in our own food stuffs. At last people all over the world are sitting up and taking notice, and many want to do something about it. I’m pleased to say that this includes those in our own local communities.

The “Surfers Against Sewage” group, based in St Agnes, Cornwall, is helping to organise and motivate communities to fight back against this difficult issue with planned activities to reduce one-time plastic use, and removal of plastic waste from our open spaces. Bovey’s very own Nicola Wilson has taken on the challenge to set up a steering group to identify what we can do in Bovey to help this cause, by involving local organisations and individuals who want to help. You, or an organisation you work for or are a member of, may be approached soon to join the steering group or to volunteer to help in some way. The first scheduled community challenge was in late October to help clear plastics and litter on Bovey Heath at the entrance from Heathfield industrial estate with some associated public education thrown in. It’s obviously early days yet, but you can expect to hear more about what the people of our town are doing to help fight this problem and achieve the desirable status of “Plastic Free Bovey”.  


It seems people like to criticise their local authorities as a matter of course, and as a Councillor or Officer you may start thinking that your council can never get anything right, and whether it is all worthwhile serving in this public rôle. So, it was very nice when one of our well known and respected local journalists John Balment (now retired but still writing an occasional column in the Mid Devon Advertiser) praised Bovey Tracey Town Council for how efficiently it is run on behalf of the townsfolk, and how well council meetings are managed and delivered (without undue verbosity, deviation, hesitation or repetition). This isn’t the case all the time of course, and speakers aren’t tied down to speaking for Just A Minute (thank you BBC Radio Four) but John’s observations as the reporter of many a council meeting do indeed have great credence for us. The photos he published of the floral displays outside the Cromwells Arms and along the approach to the bridge over the river showed just how nice the town looks for most of the year. It really is a welcome change for someone to state their appreciation in a newspaper, so “thank you” John, and I’m sure my colleague Town Councillors will share that response with me.


Talking about our local council, this piece is all about thinking ahead. By the time this magazine gets published, we will only be six months away from the local government elections for Town, Parish and District councils. By then the Brexit shambles will, we trust, be all over, one way or the other, and we can start refocussing on what needs there are to be tended to at a more local level. In the light of John Balment’s comments above, and the need to keep our town running smoothly, the opportunity is there for you (if a resident of Bovey parish which includes Heathfield) to stand for election in April. If you really care for our town and community, then this could be for you. My own feeling is that our non-political council should have a better representation of women and from the younger age groups. There are 14 councillors for the town (12 for Bovey itself and 2 for Heathfield). Regardless of who may be re-standing or not (and I don’t believe all current councillors will be) if you are at all tempted, and would like to discuss what’s involved with a councillor or the Town Clerk Mark Wells, then do get in touch (contact details are on the council website and in the council’s Quality Update newsletter). Greater choice of candidates in our local elections is certainly good for both our community and for democracy.   


“Waiter, waiter, this food isn’t fit for a pig.” “One moment sir, I’ll bring you some that is.”

“Waiter, waiter, bring me some tea without milk.”  “We haven’t any milk, sir. Will tea without cream do instead?”

Sam is at Bill’s house when he notices an empty milk bottle in the fridge. “What’s that for?” asks Sam. “Oh,” says Bill, “that’s in case anyone asks for a black coffee.”

A police patrol car is overtaken by a car driving at high speed by a woman busy knitting. The policeman rolls down his window and shouts, “Pull over”. The woman shakes her head and replies “No, socks”.

A lorry carrying a consignment of Vick’s Nasal Spray has shed its load on the motorway. Police have warned motorists to expect no congestion for up to eight hours.

Before he passes away, a 100-years old man tells his grandson the secret of his great age. “Every morning when you have your porridge, sprinkle a tiny bit of gunpowder over it..” The boy follows his advice and does this every day for the rest of his life. Finally, he passes away aged 120, leaving 3 wives, 14 children, 40 grandchildren, 78 great-grandchildren, 167 great-great-grandchildren, and a hole half a mile wide where the local crematorium used to be.

Definitions: with apologies, here are a few for you to consider:

Abundance: a dance in a bakery.                    Anarachnophobia: A fear of anoraks.

Catastrophe: First prize in a cat show.                        Fjord: a Norwegian car.

Grammar: a female grandparent.                   Juggernaut: a jug of nothing.

Kindred: a fear of relatives.                            Lavish: like a lavatory.

Polygon: a dead parrot.                                  Syntax: a collection in church.

 Tony Allen is a Bovey Tracey Town Councillor. This column is written in a personal capacity and not on behalf of any organisation or group. Jokes are included because people say they like them. They’re 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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