New hall news (August 16th)

The latest Hall news update from Rob:
Last Saturday (August 7th) saw the third annual Cider Festival held at the Gerrard Arms in Colyton. Several members of the Umborne Valley manned the door & enjoyed an afternoon of competition as 29 different ciders were judged to produce a trophy winner, the judge was noted to be grinning & staggering at the end ! All 23 Cider makers were from an area bounded by Chideock in the east, Stockland to the north & Sidbury to the west. The resulting range of ciders gave an indication of the effects of soil type, altitude, apple variety, fermenting methods, & storage vessel on the finished product, even in such a small geographical area.
What some may at first have thought to be an excuse for a drunken knees up turned out to be a very pleasant afternoon with a chance to speak to some real characters of the cider makers’ art, many of whom who have forgotten more than most of us will ever know. This coupled with entertainment provided by the most surreal band you will ever come across, who really have to be seen & heard to be believed, guaranteed that we all left with a smile on our faces, even those who hadn’t sampled the cider.
The end result was that surplus from the event has been very generously donated by the Landlords of the Gerrard Arms (pub details on our website under “pubs”)  to Umborne Hall building fund & a cheque for £300 was presented at the hall site on Wednesday. Big thanks to all who came & helped out, especially Ruhi who turned up in place of Andy who was still in bed with a hangover from the previous evening’s party ( what a lightweight).
Do come to this event next year & please support the Gerrard Arms in the mean time.
Previously to this, many residents of the valley were involved as competitors, exhibitors or simply visitors to the Honiton Show on August the 5th.  I have been informed that next year there will be a new star attraction. As most of you will have missed this year.s performance, I can inform you that some time after 6.00pm in the main ring there will most probably be a repeat performance of that death defying act know as ” The Tumbling Rugg”  !!!
For those of you who may complain about farmers & their tractors on the roads, please take note: This week some of our local farmers have provided materials for and  the means to convey them to the new hall car park, plus the facilities to dispose of materials surplus to requirements of the car park build to the value of many thousands of pounds, yes thousands of pounds ! It is gestures like these & the many other voluntary acts that have made this project viable, so many thanks to those involved.
As I have implied, the car park has now been constructed surrounded by a traditional Devon bank. The bridge has been installed over the stream & its banks straightened & tidied up. The electric cable has been dug in as have the drains. The Bird Family also have a new gateway to their field, so real progress has been made. I must mention the immense level of skill & care of Mike Trim who operates the digger & of the generosity of his employer Brian Chidley who has donated a considerable proportion of his time. In the words of Paul Galloway “It is entertainment to watch the digger working”
There is however still much to do. We still need help with the decoration in the hall. There has to be a lot of fencing & landscaping ( any help, donations, expertise would be most welcome here) done around the car park & stream. We are now waiting for tradesmen to lay the kitchen & toilet floors, electricians to complete second fix & plumbers to install plumbing. We are now ready for the decking to be completed & then the tarmacing to be done.
The answer to the question I am most asked  “When will the hall be opened ?” is very simple: ” when all the jobs are done” . If you wish to help but cannot make it when we set times, please ring me & let me know when you can help. 07770 916120. I nearly always have the phone with me except when the battery is flat (sorry Ted).  Rob.