All posts by Claire

Westfield sunset

A Letter to Dad

Dad The stag returned, this time he brought his season’s companion, he looked towards where you lay (during your last days), then startled by us noticing, he turned away, vanishing behind hedgerows. From your window’s view rabbits seemed subdued, munching under-growth. Under clear glass skies, shafts of light cut through resting upon Westfield. “The good man is the friend of all living things”, you were tuned to nature’s beat.  We grew up around your open heart, an owl under your Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

An open letter to City & Country following the rejection of their plans for Shepton Mallet Prison – “please live up to the high standards and integrity you set yourself”

[For background information and a timeline of the prison sale, click here] Dear Tim and Helen, [Tim Sargeant, Owner of City & Country Group, Helen Moore, City & Country MD] Your plans for Shepton Mallet prison (146 homes and only 150 parking spaces) were rejected in part this week in an extraordinary planning board decision that didn’t align with the Council’s own planning officer's recommendations.  The main sticking point was the parking provision and you have put on public Read more [...]

A history of selling an ancient prison in Shepton Mallet

January 2013: Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced that Shepton Mallet would be one of seven prisons that would be closed in a bid to save £63 million a year in running costs across the six prisons. The proposed super prisons would be around 25% bigger than Britain's existing largest facility and a feasibility study into its construction is to begin. The super prisons would be in London, north-west England or north Wales. The prisons that are to close are Bullwood Hall in Essex, Canterbury, Read more [...]
Balloons in the sky, never forgotten

For Croscombe Primary School, in memory of our special friend Lydia on her birthday May 27th, 2016.

Special friends are warm like sunshine Special friends play together, even if the rain wont stop Special friends do hide and seek Special friends forever in our hearts Special friends are a twinkle twinkle little star Special friends play together, even when the skies are dark Special friends when we tag and chase Special friends forever in our hearts Read more [...]
The Hunters Lodge Backroom Bar

The Hunters Lodge – the Pub that is what it was.

Roger Dors has featured at The Hunters Lodge (near Priddy, Somerset) since 1946, obtaining the publican licence in the early 1970's following  in his uncle's footsteps. Much is the same as it always was, dimly lit, bare stone floors, open fires (required the entire year owing to solid walls and no central heating in the bars).  There are lots of nooks and crannies here, bar and back rooms . I challenge you to remember which door leads to where.  It's popular to those who like to pothole I'm Read more [...]
Writer Stephen Harding

The dark history at Shepton Mallet Prison during World War II? Was the Dirty Dozen inspired by Shepton Mallet’s gaol and were World War II US servicemen put to death because of their race?

Stephen Harding is an Army veteran, a long-time defence-affairs journalist and his New York Times best-seller “The Last Battle”— the true story of the only time in World War II when American and German troops joined forces and fought together—is currently in film production.  Stephen is fascinated by the history of Shepton Mallet prison, researching it extensively with the help of local history books from Franics Disney and Alan Stone (Shepton Mallet Local History Group). In a recent Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison - turning a prison into luxury homes

“Plushly renovated prisons make for secure, quirky homes with colourful histories”, but should the bodies stay or go?

The Daily Mail recently trumpeted that: "Plushly renovated prisons make for secure, quirky homes with colourful histories".  The article about Shepton Mallet Prison was discussing the merits of moving into  a £125,000  cell turned  flat with one or two bedrooms, up to £500,000 for a family — or gang-sized — four-bedroom home. While the idea of living in a secure  quirky new luxury home in an old Somerset market town was being pushed out to the media, there was another more pressing Read more [...]
With my team from Pearl College, Cochin

India must nurture its home-grown digital entrepreneurs, here’s why.

Returning from Kerala -  my third visit in two years – I find myself impatiently counting down the days until I can return.  I have got to know Kerala over the past five years through working with a chain of Keralan restaurants in the UK. Kerala has been a prominent spice exporter since 3000 BCE – drawing traders, explorers and adventurers from all corners of the world.  In Kerala, food is a passion, philosophy and a way of life. Today Kerala is one of the world’s great culinary regions, Read more [...]
Staringinthefaceofgrief

Staring into the face of grief

Waking to a BBC news alert - presented as an almost triumphant musical signature on my mobile ,  I learnt, like so many others, that David Bowie had died. This was shocking. Many of us had his smiling face imprinted on our minds because of a photo posted on social media of him celebrating his 69th birthday just a day or so before his death was announced.   He looked fine, handsome, characteristically debonair. The internet lit up with Bowie from then on – the visionary starman – who gazed Read more [...]