Category: West Country Weekend

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What not to dare

Andrew Levi

The terrifying, chaotic incompetence of the last ten days in the UK is characteristic of a failing state, says Andrew Levi – a veteran of numerous hair-raising disintegrations of order around the world – in a long read. Feeling able to pretend we’re immune from such disaster is a luxury only available because, imperfect though […]

Is Town Twinning winning?

Mike Zollo

A review of town twinning schemes after Covid… and Brexit Over the past year or so, WCV has published articles which demonstrate clearly the degree to which Brexit is having a negative impact on educational and cultural contacts between the UK and the EU… It’s almost as if this is a conscious policy of this […]

Alfabetti spaghetti – become a pasta masta!

Mike Zollo
alfabetti pasta

It was probably due to World War Two and the British servicemen returning from Italy that interest in Italian food began to take off in the UK… as immortalised by Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers. As regards pasta, in the 1950s one had to shop at International Stores or J Sainsbury to buy macaroni and […]

A year of very British scandals

Sadie Parker
meme of the big figures of political scandal in 2021

Has there ever been a British government this rotten, this out of touch with the public and this much of a danger to British democracy, public well-being and our international reputation? Judge for yourself as we take you on a whirlwind tour of the highs and lows of 2021, a year many of us might […]

Egyptian artefacts and enchanted arbours at Kingston Lacy

Valery Collins
Illuminated trees at Kingston Lacy

During the medieval period, the grand estate known as Kingston Lacy was part of a royal estate within the manor of Wimborne in Dorset. The manor house stood to the north of the present palazzo, close to a deer park. Supporters of the Crown were allowed to let the estate. After it was sold at […]

Heaven is a boggy bit of Devon

Steve Haworth

Swapping scouse for pasties, misguidedly dissing Dartmoor and a stroll up the Cowsic. When I was 28 work took me from Merseyside to Cornwall: I traded a lively metropolis with easy access to the mountains of Wales and the north west, for the dramatic, breathtakingly-beautiful coastal scenery and pristine sandy beaches of the West Country. […]

“The Politics of Climate Change:” – what can WE do?

Belinda Bawden
art work of politicians trying to avoid drowning in climate emergency

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published on 9 August 2021 was clear: “Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying” The Guardian’s verdict on the IPCC report: “As a verdict on the climate crimes of humanity, the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report could not be clearer: guilty as hell. The repeatedly-ignored […]

Brownsea Island: private paradise to national treasure

Valery Collins

Brownsea is a small island at the entrance to Poole Harbour in Dorset. In the past it has been vital to the defence of the harbour and Poole itself. Originally the island was owned by the church and under the auspices of Cerne Abbey but it was claimed by Henry VIII when he dissolved the […]

The rough stuff!

Jon Vernon
Rider's view from a mountain bike on Dartmoor

I realised a few weeks back that I’ve been riding bikes off-road, in one form or another, for well over four decades. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of a friend’s older brother rescuing rusty bikes from skips and the local scrapyard, and repurposing them as cow-horn-barred “tracker” bikes which we’d spend the summer […]

How to change the future?

Robert Golden
young people demonstrating

This artice came out of West Country Byline’s recent online event on the true cost of cheap food. You can listen to the session here: A list for change We are ordinary people facing the huge wealth of the 1 per cent and the power of the state in an assumed democracy which is in […]

“Get Britain on its bike”- part 3: E-asy cycling!

Mike Zollo
two mountain e-bikes

In Parts One and Two of this Cycle-paths series, we covered the subject of cycle routes, both on and off-road, for commuting and for leisure. However, ‘leisure’ can be a misnomer where the physical effort to cover distances and climb hills is concerned. If you, Dear Reader, feel a degree of cynicism stemming from concern […]

Pop-up glamping in Somerset

Valery Collins

Everything seems to pop up nowadays – restaurants, shops, bars, campsites. But a glamping campsite? I was not sure about that. However, I was willing to give it a try and set off for Pop-Up Somerset in the depths of rural Somerset. Pop-Up Campsites Visions of compost toilets and bucket showers played in my mind […]

“Get Britain on its bike” – Part 2: cycling home and away on routes with roots!

Mike Zollo

“Boris Johnson ‘obsessed’ with encouraging cycling” “Cycling is a top priority in Prime Minister’s drive to tackle obesity in fight against Covid-19 in the UK.” So said Cyclist magazine on 15 May 2020, adding that “Boris Johnson believes that the coronavirus crisis presents the perfect opportunity to ‘get Britain on its bike’ to enable social distancing […]

Cae Hir: a gem of a garden in Wales

Anna Andrews
Cae Hir Gardens - the circuar pond and wedding cake tree

Cae Hir is one of the most beautiful gardens I have visited and if you ever get the chance to see it, I would absolutely recommend you go. It sits on the side of the valley of the little Bran river, near Lampeter (Llanbedr Pont Steffan) in west Wales.

“Get Britain on its bike”- part 1: cycle-paths

Mike Zollo
Boris Johnson on a pushbike

what might encourage people to take up cycling, and what support and infrastructure exist to foster cycling … and what might put potential cyclists off! ‘Cyclist’ is a very broad term, ranging from those using two wheels to commute to work or to travel from a to b, through leisure cyclists and touring cyclists to serious club and competition cyclists.

The culture test: Welcoming new citizens or a way to stop immigration?

Mike Zollo

An elderly Italian lady, who has lived in the UK for 75 years and has British citizenship, was hoping that her niece could come over from Italy to be her ‘badante’ (carer). She said recently that her niece “can just come over with her ID card”… NO, post-Brexit she would now need an expensive passport, […]

Natural remedies: how you can help address the bio-diversity crisis

Anna Andrews

“The UK has ‘led the world’ in destroying the natural environment” The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) produces a ‘Red List’ of threatened species. Of 8341 UK species assessed under IUCN criteria, 41 per cent have declined since the 1970s and 15 per cent are threatened with extinction; 133 are already extinct. Those […]

Who rebuilt Blandford Forum? The Ingenious B’stards!

Valery Collins

Blandford Forum is a pretty market town on the River Stour in the depths of the Dorset countryside. Visitors will be enchanted by its unique Georgian market-place and fascinated by the story of how the town recovered from a disastrous fire in 1731, which destroyed 90 per cent of the old town. An unusual chain […]

Nine investigations into misconduct: is Johnson on his last political life?

Sadie Parker
Boris Johnson and 9 cats

Former President Donald Trump once boasted, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Impunity makes for arrogance and a blindness to reality, which eventually brings bad leaders down. Johnson appears to have reached Trump-like levels of hubris, with the blindsiding, deflection and outright lies in […]

Spring Bank Holiday cryptic crossword

Anthea Bareham

Most cryptic crossword clues are in two parts: (i) something to indicate the answer and (ii) the word play – references to the letters that make up the answer.  However, in this crossword there are 10 theme words for which there is only the wordplay – nothing to indicate the answer other than the knowledge […]

Stop spraying dandelions and start feeding bees!

Anna Andrews

There is a tragedy unfolding across Britain’s fields, gardens and parks. Its victims may be small and easily overlooked but its consequences could affect us all. We are killing bees. Not usually deliberately; but we are poisoning them. In our quest to get rid of weeds and other unwanted plants, to cut down on work […]