All posts by blagdonvillage

Book club – March 2016

We had a very lively discussion at the Seymour Arms this month, ranging across all kinds of literature from crime thrillers – Donna Léon a particular favourite with some – to brilliant first novels, to novels that involve cultural and historical travel, and back to Virginia Woolf. We reflected that some books, though worthy, can be a chore to read, while others are engaging on every level, so that one postpones and postpones those last ten or fifteen pages, reluctant to terminate what has become a thrilling, or delightful room in one’s life; an obsession, even …

Rosamunde Pilcher’s Coming Home comes with a recommendation this month from Pauline White. It is a hefty book, but not a heavy read, that deals with the experience of the Second World War, not just in Europe but also in the Middle East and in Burma; a vivid and salutary reminder of what our parents’,grandparents’ and, for the younger readers, great-grandparents’ generation went through in the war. And what, after all that, does ‘coming home’ mean? For the heroine it means a large house in Cornwall, which she eventually inherits, and while the world is in disintegration all around her, with family members being lost and found, she does seem to fall on her feet at each stage.

Opinion is divided on Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins with some readers unconvinced by her account of the hippy years of communes and squats, others finding the reconstruction authentic. Most people loved the hero, Teddy. More opinions would be welcome.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is on my list for the next month. It is a first novel, set in 17th-century Amsterdam, the story of a dynastic marriage among merchant families between a very young girl and her much older, burgher husband. He gives her, as a wedding present, a miniature version of their house. Then she begins to receive, anonymously, characters to put in the house, resembling actual inhabitants and reflecting something of their state or situation. These little figures unfold to the girl a story …

Elena Ferrante’s Naples quartet, about two friends, Elena and Lila, both bright girls, very different, but whose lives are intertwined through the academic success of one, through sheer hard work and determination, and the brilliance of the other, who is more constrained by social and familial circumstance. They grow up in a very poor area of Naples, and their relationship seems to remind many women of intense friendships they have had. The first book is called My Brilliant Friend. Intriguingly, as part of the message of these books is that no-one can escape their past, very little is known about their author. To read them, you have to be prepared to become obsessed. Some of us are, others are wary …

The wary are reading Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse.

Lindsey Shaw-Miller
01761 463,659

Blagdon School Play Project opens the doors of its new Scrapstore PlayPod® in November 2015

On the 9th of November, Bristol charity Children’s Scrapstore will supply Blagdon Primary School’ Play Project with an array of weird and wonderful resources to enhance children’s play. Waste things become play things with the help of the scrap, which is a collection of sustainable materials routinely thrown away by businesses. Children’s Scrapstore collect scrap from far and wide to fill their PlayPods with as much exciting scrap as possible, from giant flexible tubes to old tyres, netting and fabric to old telephones and chairs.

These materials encourage children of all ages to play together and build friendships whilst playing creatively. Using their imaginations to play in a more active way is proven to reduce playground disputes and has direct benefits to children’s health and mental wellbeing.

Thanks to the support from Lottery and the Blagdon Primary School PTA, funding has been gained to improve the quality and opportunities for play for children in Blagdon and surrounding villages, including Butcombe and Ubley.  This will include working with leading school improvement experts from OPAL to transform local outdoor spaces for the long term.

Over the course of the year, the scrap will be used to support Blagdon’s village events and play-led activities in the community, with ideas so far including a scrap orchestra, shelter building and puppet shows!

Children’s Scrapstore’s expert play team will also provide a training package to school staff and community youth leaders, to ensure the materials are facilitated to their maximum potential. Brand new scrap is provided six times a year, ensuring that there’s always something new to discover and explore. Over the year the Scrap will be used in play worker led activities supporting Blagdon’s Village events for the community, ideas so far include a scrap orchestra, shelter building and puppet shows!

“Playing is the most important activity children can do. Play teaches them so many skills they will rely on for their whole life including problem solving, co-operation, conflict resolution and creativity.” – Andy Rhys-Jones, Blagdon Primary School.

“We noticed that children in our village school were not getting the same creative opportunities as those in Bristol. There will be regular new and exciting workshops linked to the Pod which will offer more opportunities and inspiration to children and the wider community without people having to travel miles. We want to bring the skill, fun and variety of opportunities in art, music, drama and more to local people.” – Nicky Orr, Parent Focus Group

“Creative thinking is a life skill that increases our chances of success in the future and can feed into many career areas including design, engineering and any field of innovation.  It is also a skill essential for our future entrepreneurs.” – Dominique Moreton, Governor.

For information about the Blagdon School Play Project please contact Dominique Moreton on 07834 382 163 or email
To arrange a viewing at the school please contact Mr Rhys-Jones on 01761 462 416 or email