Some people really love Autumn, and I’m really trying to be one of those people. They talk about snuggling up in front of real fires, wearing cosy jumpers and woolly hats, drinking hot chocolate and pumpkin spiced lattes whilst walking the dogs in the park and watching the kids kick the piles of colourful frosty leaves. They love the fun of trick or treating, and the spectacle of huge extravagant fireworks displays and bonfires. Don’t get me wrong, I love a hot chocolate as much as the next person- but for me the clocks going back means darkness, and cold, and my birthday in November - getting older. Less daylight, the car’s MOT, rain and wind. Overwhelmingly a fear that my Seasonal Affective Disorder or general fragile mental health will mean that I’m pulled under into the darkness and I won’t emerge in the springtime but be swept away into nothingness and despair. Why can’t I just hibernate like a bear? Ok. So that’s a tad dramatic, but it’s important to understand that some people do struggle. World Mental Health day was recently, and I do hope that people listened to the message. It’s ok to not be ok – and it’s important to talk, and also not to judge. I will be ok. Ofcourse I will. I plan to keep physically active, see my therapist as needed, be kind to myself and also keep busy with the projects I enjoy like my comedy night ( Next Silly Sausage Stand-up comedy night is on Saturday 9th November at The Venue, Wells. Tickets £10 www.facebook.com/sillysausagecomedy) also Radio Shepton.
The Halloween party planned for Friday 1st Nov, at the Charlton, has sadly been cancelled , but we’re planning another brill fundraiser soon- and we will be covering loads of local events such as Spooktakular up at Collett Park today ( 31st) a Halloween family fun day from 11- 4pm. We’ve a lot of exciting things coming up so stay tuned www.radioshepton.com. Apart from that, I’m going to dress up with the kids and go trick or treating, eat toffee apples, drink pumpkin spiced lattes and watch fireworks displays. I’m going to kick the leaves, and wear woolly hats. I’m going to enjoy Carnival, and my birthday and embrace getting older- maybe even wiser?! I’m certainly not giving up yet. Bring on the darkness!
Some exciting changes are underway this week for our local online community radio station- Radio Shepton ( www.radioshepton.com) firstly it we said a huge thanks and emotional farewell to one of our original trustees, chairman and treasurer Nick Tolson, who has now resigned in order to focus on some other exciting projects.
Myself and Sue Ayton were elected temporarily into the vacant positions, and we were most happy to officially welcome as a new trustee, Doug Siddons from Maltings Audio, whos been helping behind the scenes for ages.
I’m bursting to reveal all the other new trustees who we’ll be welcoming to Radio Shepton over the next few months, as well as a new, very well known and beloved local patron. Considering we’ve run the charitable trust and media organisation between just three of us for the last 12 months, I’d like to briefly boast about some of our proudest achievements.
We’ve been playing out 24/7 with a wide range of music, talk shows, specialist music shows and streamed live shows from around the UK, for ten months now. Radio Shepton reporters have covered almost every main local event from Carnival, the lantern parade, the snowdrop festival, Armistice 100, Mid Somerset show, LGBTQ events, fundraisers, Godney Gathering, Pilton Party,and extensive coverage of Glastonbury Festival. The shows are also uploaded to our ‘on demand’ mixcloud account’
( mixcloud.com/radioshepton ) and five of these shows have been the most listened to ‘community radio’ shows on Mixcloud worldwide !
Our social media is very active and we’ve facebook live streamed and instagrammed over 100 local bands, acoustic nights, and talks. We have welcomed and trained up over 20 volunteers, who give a varying amount of time, and we are looking forward to training up a whole host of interested newbies soon. The long term plan being to be able to provide training and projects to engage ‘at risk’ young people in the community - possibly alleviating some of the unfortunate antisocial behaviour we’ve seen in the town. We are most grateful for the ongoing support from our Town Council who partially funded our initial set-up, and will hopefully help us to take this to the next level. Tesco bags of help and The Rotary Club have also donated, and of course we have held two very successful 80’s vs 90’s night fundraisers.
The people of Shepton do love a bit of fancy dress and a boogie, so, we have planned a Spooktacular Halloween Party & Fundraiser , to be held at The Charlton Inn on Friday 1st November . I’ll be spinning the tunes, along with a live stream from Godney Gathering DJ Paul Owen. There will be a prize for best fancy dress, and a boozy raffle, with glow sticks on sale, fire pits, mulled wine & cider. Tickets are only £5 on the door or £4 in advance via this link ! https://www.ethertickets.com/Event/Details/t-sAlmSETUWzzbvgeGBTpg
I’m so excited for Halloween I have 3 different outfits! The kids aren't that fussed, and will probably be happy wearing bin liners , so long as they bag a respectable amount of ‘trick or treating’ goodies.
The kids have now been back at school for three whole weeks! And as much as it’s been about settling them in to new routines, and even the heartwrenching three days when my eldest went off on his first school trip to Kilve Court. It’s been about taking care of myself again.
I’d really felt quite low, and a little thing like getting my nails done really perked me up. Last week, I finally booked myself the cut and colour I’d been needing since July. I’d been loyal to my previous hairdresser ( as we tend to be) until she moved all the way to Weston-Super-Mare, then I thought it would be kind of ridiculous to not find someone local instead.
Luckily, a friend recommended the lovely Charlotte at The Lodge, Hair & Beauty, based just over the road from me in Haskins retail park, Shepton.
My experience was just fabulous from start to finish. The start, including a slice of lemon drizzle cake and a cup of tea as I waited, and discussed how I’d like my colour and style. Conversation flowed light and freely during the next few hours of having foil highlights applied. We all know how excruciating it can be to be sat in the salon chair in silence with someone you don’t click with. Luckily we chatted about everything from children and weddings, to this years Love Island !
I might not have found a new BFF , but I definitely found my new hairdresser. The colour, cut and soft wavy blow dry were exactly what I’d dreamed of, and I bounced off full of confidence, having already booked in my next appointments up to Christmas. This week, I made it my mission to discover exactly what was going on in the new “Glow Skin Clinic” on Town Street, and accidentally ended up having a full on 90 minute “Ultimate Glow Treatment”( 90 Minutes) I think I was expecting a finger massage, then maybe some aromatherapy oils, and a hot cloth. Well, let me tell you, how wrong I was! First I had a full medical and lifestyle questionnaire to look into the causes of any skin damage, then sub dermal photographic images were taken using state of the art equipment, which showed up exactly where any damage was. Next I went into the treatment room , and had three state of the art intensive treatments - not a light massage at all! The website really explains it best : “Our revolutionary medical grade bespoke treatment, is a stunning combination of the finest parts of all of our facials. Radio frequency delivers controlled heat energy deep into the skin to stimulate collagen, elastin and growth factors. Whilst our active serums & hyaluronic acid will ensure you skin is feeling plump & glowing. Finishing with Advanced let light therapy to encourage blood circulation and promote cell regeneration.” Afterwards my turkey neck felt tight and my jowls lifted, my skin was soft and I honestly am still glowing. Amazing! Special offers on now follow @somersetskincare.
I can’t believe it, I’ve had to do it, I really wasn't going to, but it just happened- I turned the heating back on! I feel like the summer is now officially over and it’s a tad depressing. I do love the autumn in a nostalgic romantic sense. Kicking up colorful crisp dry leaves as we frolic in the park, walking the dogs. Hot chocolates round outdoor fires, marshmallows, enjoying the last long bright sunlit evenings. In reality, it was like - kids back at school? Yeh? Have some torrential rain and miserable grey clouds.Cold? Put the heating on. Finally booked some more gardening work in - how about a nice big downpour so you can’t use the strimmer. Thanks! Well, in an effort to ‘embrace’ the seasons and be mindful, I’m going to just try and enjoy each wet , windy day as it comes. There’s lots going on in Shepton and Wells. If you’re an absolute nutter - you might enjoy spending the night of Friday 13th in a haunted prison cell. No really! Check out Jailhouse Tours latest event description -
“It's time for the return of the ultimate Sleepover... this time on Friday 13th September.
Grab your friends, pick a cell, get comfortable, because you’re here for the night.
The experience includes a 2 hour guided tour around the Prison in the dark.
During the night you can head out into the Prison & wander the wings alone, or buddy up with your fellow inmates. You may choose to head off in search of spirits or simply experience sleeping in a real Prison cell; it’s your night so it’s your choice!
The bar will be open for purchasing alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks, throughout the evening, plus Porridge!Ticket price: £47.50 per person.The event is 18+ only.
Call 01743 343100 or visit www.sheptonmalletprison.com “ For the less brave- don’t forget Shepton’s regular Sunday Market is back on September 15th. Loads of stalls, local produce and activities in the marketplace. There’s also a ton of stuff happening at the wonderful Art Bank Cafe- including Spoken Word , Accoustic evenings and Rainbow LGBTQ friendly nights. I’ve heard a rumour there will even be a fabulous comedy event happening next month, keep an eye out for details! My second comedy night ‘Silly Sausage’ wel very well last Saturday. It was almost sold out in advance, and I had brilliant feedback from the audience and performers. A big massive thank you to all the acts, my husband who’s become known as ‘Security Sausage’ and most of all Georgie and Tony Robbins from The Venue, South Street in Wells. Next event will be on Saturday 5th October- don’t miss out and get your advance tickets from www.facebook.com/sillysausagecomedy. I’m off to dig out my woolly jumpers and raincoats now, but I’m not packing away my sandals and sunglasses just yet. Not just yet.
Isn’t it crazy how we all know what's good for us, yet we sometimes do the exact opposite. For example, I know it's not healthy to eat Greggs sausage rolls, cream slices and chocolate chip muffins. Yet here I am near the end of August and all logic has gone out of the window! For Wells readers, you may not be aware, but the biggest news recently in Shepton Mallet
( apart from that we have possibly/probably/hopefully save our beloved town centre library, there have been a spate of arson attacks, and there are 6 new fairy doors about town!) is that we have our own Greggs store !
Since I'm on a 'break' from my regular slimming club - i have no idea how much damage this has done to waist line. But I'm pretty sure it's not been doing my wallet any good. I find myself 'bribing' the kids to come with me to do our necessary and affordable ALDI food shop, by promising them a treat from Greggs. By the time I've got them both a sausage roll or cheese and bean melt, drink and a donut - I've spent almost a tenner. That's about how much I've spent on three days worth of meals, and snacks in the supermarket,and I'd fuming with myself...but 5 weeks into the hols I haven't the energy to say no.
Oh, and I also feel the guilt of not supporting our high street shops, so some days on the way to the park, I stop into our lovely ‘Denelas’ bakery or a local cafe, where I do the same thing again. In order to fund our guilty family pie habit, I began selling stuff online.
Has anyone else experienced the joys of advertising a ‘bundle of 6 xbox games’ on marketplace for £10 only to be bombarded with annoying messages like
“How much for one game? Will you take a fiver for all of them? and ‘Can you save till a week on Saturday please hun?” To be honest, no, Bunnyfilter96, I’d rather stick pins in my eyes or give the blimmin things to charity.
My roots need doing, my nails are chipped, i hardly know up from down. I know the kids need new trousers and shoes, and haircuts. But what all felt perfectly easy to manage in the optimistic early days of the balmy summer hols now feels quite overwhelming. And, so I crawl to the sofa, rip open a pack of ‘everyday’ saver digestives, and dunk them mindlessly into a cuppa.Next, I scroll through facebook, and to my horror see that SUBWAY is opening nextdoor to Greggs. Ha,ha , “Grubway” I chuckle deliriously to myself, before breaking down in tears. Roll on term time!
So how are you all enjoying the summer holidays so far? The lovely weather has been a blessing, as it means the kids can potter about in the garden or play at the park. Shepton Mallet is great as there are lots of little play areas, as well as our fantastic Collett Park. We have the magical fairy trail ( maps from the Fairy Godmother Shop on Town Street or the TIC) and the secret gardens at Kilver Court. The lido has been really busy on the hottest days, so it’s worth calling up or booking in advance to ensure entry. Shepton Mallet Leisure Centre are also running kids multi sports holiday clubs this summer in conjunction with All Star Multi Sports! Kids aged 7-11 cost £22 a day (8.30am - 3.30pm) Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August (Tues-Thurs in final week due to Bank holiday )
‘We aim to promote fitness and healthy living through sports with positive encouragement and support. By building sports confidence in children in a team environment we hope to make a difference in their physical and mental well being.’ – All Star Multi Sports Manager
Parents can leave their children, safe in the knowledge that they will have a fun time in an inclusive environment making new friends and trying new skills. There will be sports, dance and general fun and games available throughout the day.
I’m lucky to work from home and have flexible hours, so I'll be able to do things with the boys too. We like to catch the bus into Wells and visit Bishop’s Palace , which does crafts each Tuesday, Nature Ninjas, and will have a Midsummer Mayhem day on August 4th. In Glastonbury, The Somerset Rural Life Museum charges an entry fee only once then you can visit unlimited times over the school holidays! At nearby Paddington Farm,don’t miss ‘Family Festival’ from 2nd-4th August - with Performance, music and workshops in an idyllic setting.
With help from my long suffering hubby, I’m also continuing to evolve our online community radio station - Radioshepton.com. We’ve a new batch of enthusiastic reporters and volunteers who I’ve been helping to train, and they’ll be out and about to interview local people and promote more local events. Midsomerset Show- we haven't forgotten you! I’m also mega excited to be bringing seven amazing stand-up comedians to the launch of a brand new comedy night in Wells.”Silly Sausage- Breakthrough Act Showcase” is this Saturday night ( 3rd) at 7.30pm at The Venue, South Street. I’m urging people to buy tickets ( only £10) in advance either from the bar, or online via the facebook event link on the page facebook.com/sillysausagecomedy as I’ve a feeling we may sell out ! These acts aren't all brand new , some have been gigging for years but haven’t quite made it to ‘Live At The Apollo’ just yet. Many have taken shows up to The Edinburgh Fringe- and many may well be booked for Wells Comedy Festival in future years.
Finally recovered from a truly wonderfull sunny happy Glastonbury Festival. If I feel tired, I can only imagine how young parents of 4 month Noah ( one of the youngest humans at the festival) must be feeling. Michael Smith, formerly of Shepton Mallet and his partner Emily Close decided to take in their little baby each day, but didnt camp. They said everyone was really helpful, and they all had a lovely experience despite some unneccesary 'mum shaming' on facebook. When I saw little Noah he was slathered in factor 50 suncream, wearing cute baby ear defenders, being shaded by a parasol and happy as anything! Hear my interview with the family, and all our other 'Glastonbury Insights' on www.radioshepton.com and our mixcloud account.
When I wasn't reporting for Radio Shepton, I also took my two boys and hubby along. The heat, crowds and toilets were their least favourite part of the experience, but they absolutely loved the energy, the amazing kidz field and especially the green kids field with giant pirate ship and sand pit. We all watched 'Years & Years' and ofcourse 'Kylie'. Up at the stone circle ( where i'd been part of the huge Extinction rebellion human sculpture and protest march on the Thursday, they were handing out free food. It had been gathered up from across the site. Food which would otherwise have gone to waste. It was delicious, saved us money and also the planet!
A huge surprise highlight was when Sir David Attenborough came onto the pyramid stage and praised the festival and people who have made changes to their lifestyle to minimise plastic and waste. All the big stage headliners were great, but lets not forget the hundreds of bands, musicians, performers, comedians, poets and speakers all around the site. My top tip for anyone going next year, is to go off the beaten track. Especially check out circus, cabaret and theatre fields and the Green fields including green futures, tipi field and the wisdom keepers. My kids really loved Glastonbury-on -sea too, with dodgems, puncjh and judy and candyfloss!
Michael and Emily Eavis - another small request. Next Year, for the 50th anniversary, please can you invite back some of the older local people who came to your very first festival up pilton? Our nextdoor neighbour would love to see how far the festival has come since 1970 #Glasto70
I’m back, and with loads of exciting news! Our family thoroughly enjoyed our annual ‘Haven’ holiday at Doniford Bay. During half term the kids also had a fab time horse riding with Divoky Riding school - organised by CAOT ( Childrens Autism uutreach team) for children with special needs.For me, Half term kicked off with the brilliant Wells Comedy Festival held over the bank holiday weekend. I caught as many shows as I could. I adored Shappi Khorsandi’s show - Skittish Warrior, she is such a likeable comic, and a total pro ( well she’s been doing it since the 90’s!) I also loved TV favouorite Nish Kumar - who sold out two daytime shows at the huge Cedars Hall, plus the evenings. After watching him at 1pm I popped into Cafe Nero for a coffee and cake, before heading down to watch Kiri Pritchard-McClean. After a few minutes, I nearly choked on my muffin as Nish himself walked in. I’m ashamed to say I grabbed him for a selfie, luckily he was really kind and courteous. I spent lots of time chatting to people who were attending the Wells Comedy Festival, and many people were a little sad and confused as to why their little City doesn’t have it’s own regular comedy night. They also wanted to see more new and breakthrough acts, not just big names. Luckily, I have a plan to do just that. Introducing ‘Silly Sausage Comedy’. If you see me around town dressed as a sausage/hot dog...this is the reason why! On Saturday 3rd August, at The Venue, South Street.The people of Wells, and surrounding areas will be treated to a feast of new, breakthrough and a couple of seasoned comedians - eight acts all together for just £10 ( early bird tickets available for just £8 now) I’ll be hosting the night, and we have the gorgeous and talented ‘Sam Fraser’ to open. Sam has been working as a TV weather girl and radio presenter for BBC South since 2004. In 2017 she turned stand up when she was invited to perform alongside Shappi Khorsandi and Dane Baptiste,on a charity bill. Striding onto the stage in a silver shirt and awkward length trousers, she decided she'd quite like to make comedy her career. Headlining the night is the loveable Richard James, who has been performing comedy since 2012. In 2014, he was a finalist in Foster's South Coast Comedian of the Year.
He has performed across the UK on pro-bills alongside the great and the good, from festivals to corporate functions, to theatres and little pubs. In Feb 2015 he majestically crossed the Atlantic and performed in the USA. What the critics say about Richard - 'Quick wit and hilarious anecdotes quickly endear him to an expectant crowd.' New Life Magazine.
Other talented breakthrough acts performing on the night will be Katy Trevor, Becca Walters, Hafren Holbrook, Dan Hershbein and Alexa Gibbens. Get your tickets, and find out more at www.facebook.com/sillysausagecomedy
What an amazing night we had last Saturday at the 80’s vs 90’s Radio Shepton Fundraiser in Shepton Mallet. Tickets once again sold out, as did the glow sticks! Party goers made a real effort with their fancy dress costumes you can check out the photos on facebook.com/radioshepton and some live videos too. Thanks to the amazing DJ Keaty and DJ Paul Owen. Not forgetting our volunteers Amy Andrews, Ethan Andrews, Tracey Lye and my husband Wayne ‘My BigHandyman’ Banks. The night raised £355 in total, which will really help with the ever increasing ongoing costs of Somerset’s fastest growing online community radio station. Our shows are not only broadcast on air, but also playout on demand our mixcloud account mixcloud.com/radioshepton - roving reporter Susan Ayton’s exclusive report on the brand new ‘Arcadia’ spectacular stage at this year’s Glastonbury Festival was actually rated 19th most listened to show in the global mixcloud radio chart ! We will be doing loads of Glasto festival coverage as well as covering all the local events and gossip as usual. Which leads me neatly onto ..the Sunday Market. What Sunday Market? You may well ask. Yes, It was a major let down. But no fault of the traders or organisers. Once again this was a huge #Fail on behalf of Mendip District Council - who have responsibility for the running and promotion of the market NOT the lovely Helen Reader ( market champion) who was unfairly accosted in her beautiful Fairy Godmother Sweet shop on Sunday, by a very unhappy out-of-town visitor who had made the effort to come and support the market, all 6 stalls, and was , quite rightly annoyed!
Helen was forced to clarify the situation on social media the following day explaining
“The market is run by MDC, the volunteers arrange the entertainment with the town council funding this. Jude Jackson and myself had a meeting with Mendip on Monday regarding taking over the market as an independent. Unfortunately it is not going to be as straightforward as we had hoped. As for the market not costing money to put on, it's actually very expensive! There are staff costs (at MDC), road closure cost to Somerset County Council, additional waste collection and insurance.” So what do you think? You can email the chief executive at Mendip Stuart Brown - email@example.com
Back on a positive note. The next dress up retro party at The Club, will be on Saturday 27th June. Though both myself and DJ Keaty will be on the decks, it’s not a Radio Shepton Fundraiser. Instead it will be in support of local eating disorder charity SWEDA and OUCH UK a small charity who raise awareness and support sufferers of Cluster Headaches, a cripplingly painful neurological condition which my husband suffers from. It’s his birthday bash, and another close friend. They both chose a charity, and we’re adding a bit of hip hop and 00’s music into the mix next time too. Look out for a very tall, white , MC Hammer !
Last week , a new Greek restaurant opened in Shepton Mallet! And we were first in line to try it out. Rosemary Greek Restaurant, is at 19 High Street, where the wine vaults then the mexican used to be. Inside it looks really lush, and the food is absolutely amazing. There are plenty of healthy and vegetarian options, alongside Greek meaty classics like chicken Gyros and Pork Souvlaki. Starters include delicious spicy mussels, calamar and grilled halloumi cheese. For mains, my hubby chose the beef stiffado, from the daily specials board. It was so tender and tasty, I had to have a bite! I enjoyed my very generously sized ceasar salad. The boys loved their cheesy pizzas. It’s a really family friendly place, with kids eating half price burgers, pizza or pasta dishes. The highlight of our meal was the delicious chocolate and banana mousse on biscuit base- to die for ( atleast gain a few pounds for !) Check out fb.me/RosemaryGreekRestaurant or call 01749 346667 to book.
We have a lot to be proud of in Shepton right now. I was so happy for local band No Thursday War, who won their heat of ‘Metal To The Masses’ Somerset 2019, at The Cobblestones. The melodic hard rock band with a charismatic frontman, rehearse right here in Shepton Mallet at Pocket Money studios. They’ll now go on to battle it out at the semi-finals on Sunday 19th May. Follow them @nothursdaywar.
On Easter Saturday it was my mum’s 75th birthday. Rather than watching a rock band, we thought she’d rather go for a nice lunch. And so we introduced her to arguably the best beer garden in Somerset, well atleast the best view. The New Inn at Blagdon, serves delicious fresh trout caught in Blagdon Lake, along with other fresh locally sourced dishes. It has a nice selection of real ales, and has far reaching views over the lake, villages and valleys nestled in the mendip hills. You can even see the planes taking off from Bristol airport , far in the distance ! After eating our yummy lunch in the sunshine, we crossed the road to have a little look around St. Andrew’s church. It’s open most of the time, and well worth a peek inside. Easter has been so nice, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who is a bit cross with MDC for not managing to pull off a much anticipated Sunday Market this month. Councillor Helen Reader, who sadly wont be standing again this year, had really pushed for an Easter market. Mendip District Council dragged their feet as usual, and it resulted in nothing happening at all. Such a disappointment. But well done Helen for all your hard work in reviving our friday and sunday markets. There will be big themed markets on 19th May, 16th June and 21st July 2019. Come along and support them. Our beloved Fairy Godmother will still be sprinkling her magic around Shepton, who knows what she’ll do next!
I'm a 43 year old, mum of two little boys- currently living in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. I'm the Founder and Creative Director of Radio Shepton, a Stand up and comedian and spoken word performer, and write a regular column for The Wells and Shepton Mallet Journal. Which is the basis for my blog usually. I lived in Swedish Lapland for 7 years until 2014 where my boys were born. My partner and I ran a husky dog sledding business. Before that I was a poet, radio presenter, media lecturer, writer, TV producer, actress and burlesque performer ! I never want my life to be boring :)