May 2020

©2020 Thornbury Magazine. Copyright of any article remains with the author(s) and Thornbury Magazine Ltd. Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the co-editors or Thornbury Magazine Ltd managing committee.

The co-editors are Pauline Montgomery and Linda Thornton.
The deadline for receiving articles, news around and what's on items is the first day of the month preceding the month of issue.

At the time of writing, the restrictions on all of us are still in place and likely to be so for some time to come. In the light of the current government directive that no-one should go out except for the most essential business or for exercise, we will not be delivering any printed copies of this issue of Thornbury Magazine. However, it will be available online, posted on our website. Once the government's medical and scientific advice allow a return to normality, and with the health and safety of our volunteers very much in mind, we intend to return to production and distribution of printed copies at the earliest opportunity.

Thank you

Many thanks to those readers who have responded to our plea to join our voluntary workforce of distributors; as we have said in our replies to each of you, we will be in touch again as soon as things return to normal. Anyone else who would like to help in future with either with distribution or at collation would be most welcome - just send the editors an email or give us a ring.

Contributions welcome

Thank you also to the people who have sent material for this month's pages. We have had some interesting articles and titbits, and poems from two local poets. Please keep your contributions coming - short articles, reminiscences, puzzles and anecdotes are all welcome. Is your group or club doing anything differently? We know that some clubs and groups have been keeping in touch with their members by holding virtual meetings and exercise sessions over the internet. We would love to feature any such enterprising efforts, so please do send any news of what your organisation is doing to the editors.

Where to send contributions

We are keeping to our usual deadlines, so please send items for the June issue to Linda Thornton by 1 May and anything for July to Pauline Montgomery by 1 June. We look forward to reading your contributions!

We hope that you are all keeping safe and well during this very testing time. Very best wishes from all of us at Thornbury Magazine.

Although our library buildings are currently closed due to COVID-19, our online library remains open 24/7 so if you are in need of a constantly updated supply of reading material to match your interests, delivered straight to your screen, it's all yours with free South Gloucestershire library membership through the LibrariesWest partnership.


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Get started here: Not a member? Don't worry, you can join online now at - membership is free. You will receive a Temporary ID number which will work for our digital services right away. *Where the form asks "Pin" and next "Re-enter Pin" it is asking you to choose your own 4-digit PIN and then to re-enter it to confirm your choice. Please provide your email address when you join online, as this will give you more control of your account and allow you to reset your PIN easily if you forget it* Already a library member? Get started straight away with your membership number as printed on your library card.

Lego Club Online: Look out on Facebook every Monday for Lego Club online, make a model on the theme for the week and share it with us!

Musicians from around the world have been finding ways of sharing their music with others online due to social distancing. One of the first orchestras to do so was the wonderful Rotterdam Philharmonic with a beautiful rendition of Beethoven's Ode to Joy played by members of the orchestra in their own homes. Click to watch, and listen to, the Skype concert.

Our second recommended piece features the Marsh family from Oxford with their stunning, and amusing, rendition of their adapted version of One More Day from Les Miserables which narrates the trials and tribulations of the family during the period of "lockdown". Click to watch parents Ben and Danielle Marsh and their children Alfie 13, Thomas 12, Ella 10 and Tess 8.

All Beat Surgeries and external forums have been stopped. We are still conducting hi-visibility patrols but we have reduced the number of stations we have open and would encourage members of the public to contact us by email when it is not urgent. There is obviously a demand on us for clarity around certain things being implemented and again would encourage people to refer to the Government websites and NHS websites rather than us. For the most up-to-date information please refer to this website.

It is with much regret that we advise of the suspension of all of our fund-raising events until September at the earliest. We will miss seeing you all this summer at our events, but are sure you will agree that this is the best course of action in the current climate. If anyone bought a ticket for the Flower Demonstration, upon receipt of the ticket the Town Hall (when open again) will be able to refund the cost. Any donated raffle prizes of chocs/biscuits/sweets have been given to the Thornbury Food Bank organised by the Thornbury Baptist Church, so will be used.

Thank you for all your support in the past and we will very much look forward to seeing you all again in the future. Stay safe and take care everyone.


The primrose is the sacred flower of Freya, the Norse goddess of love, but primroses also have a strong association with fairies and it is said that if you touch a rock with a posy of primroses a doorway to fairyland will appear. Hanging primroses outside your door will encourage fairies to come in, but equally, if you don't want them, scatter the primroses outside your door to form a barrier which fairies will not cross. To keep witches away leave a primrose on your doorstep on the eve of May Day, but don't let these primroses die or you may invoke a fairy curse!

Lily of the ValleyBirthstone: Emerald
Flower: Lily of the valley

The phrase "In the Merry month of May" first appears in 1599 in a play by the English dramatist Thomas Dekker, but beliefs in fertility and love linked to May have roots in the deities of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

May is when warmer weather begins and a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Officially, summer does not start in May, but May Day has traditionally marked its beginning and celebrations on this day have been going on in England for over 2000 years. Many May celebrations and traditions have survived the years, in spite of being banned in 1644 by the Puritans.

May Day

May Day dew was considered a guarantee of beauty for the following year if used to wash your face. May Day often began with villagers going out in the early morning to pick flowers and foliage to decorate their houses, the belief being that spirits of the flora would bring you good luck. This is where the phrase gathering nuts in May originates, the word nuts being a corruption of knots or bunches of flowers. The making of garlands, maypole dancing on village greens, crowning of May Queens and dressing of wells kept village folk busy for rest of the day.

One English tradition enjoyed by the young girls and boys was May Day lifting. A group of young men would lift a girl in a chair that had been decorated with flowers and the next day the girl would choose her favourite young man. It is also said that you will marry the person of whom you dream on May Day night.

Unlucky superstitions

The month of May has held many superstitions embracing the joy of the coming summer and love and luck. However, May has also been regarded as quite an unlucky month for some things. Marry in May and you'll rue the day, or Wash a blanket in May, Wash a dear one away. It seems, for some reason, one should never buy a broom in May and babies born in May were thought to become sickly. Kittens born in this month would never amount to much in the rodent catching stakes, and even worse, would bring snakes into your house! Safer not to take a bath in May, for the old saying says, Those who bathe in May will soon be laid in clay!

May weather

Ne'er cast a clout 'till May be out advises us not to discard warm winter clothing until the hawthorn blossom is seen, a clout being an old word for clothing. Old country weather forecasts claimed that a wet May makes a big load of hay and A cold May is kindly and fills the barn finely. Others predict that a swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay and for later in the year, Mist in May, heat in June, makes the harvest come right soon.

Remarkable events

Over the years, May has seen some remarkable events: on 5 May 1930 Amy Johnson flew solo to Australia, on 6 May in 1954 Roger Bannister ran the first sub-4-minute mile. 8 May 1945 became VE Day in Europe. On 9 May 1671 Captain Blood attempted to steal the crown jewels, on 17 May 1749 Edward Jenner was born in Berkeley and on 29 May Everest was conquered in 1953.

Here in Thornbury a joke that went out of control concerning the Loch Ness Monster was revealed on 2 May 1933. The camera used to take the now famous Surgeon's photograph was kept for many years after the event at Rosemount House, the home of the Chambers family.

Gardening in May

Gardens are well and truly coming to life this month and very many of us will be spending a lot of time in them, often more time than we have ever done before. Here are 20 things which can be done in May to make the best of your garden this year:

  • 1. Watch out for late frosts. Protect tender plants.
  • 2. Earth up potatoes, and promptly plant any still remaining.
  • 3. Mow lawns weekly.
  • 4. Regularly hoe off weeds.
  • 5. Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs.
  • 6. Empty pots of bulbs and replant them in borders.
  • 7. Check for nesting birds before clipping hedges.
  • 8. Thin out drifts of hardy annuals.
  • 9. Prune out overcrowded and dead stems of early-flowering clematis.
  • 10. Open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days.
  • 11. Harden off half-hardy plants by leaving them outside during the day and bringing them back under cover at night for 7 to 10 days before planting outdoors.
  • 12. Trim back spreading plants such as aubrieta, alyssum and candytuft after flowering, to encourage fresh new growth and more blooms.
  • 13. Continue dividing herbaceous perennials to improve vigour and create new plants.
  • 14. Divide hostas as they come into growth.
  • 15. Tie in climbing and rambling roses. Laying the stems horizontally will help to produce more flowers.
  • 16. Tie in sweet peas with plant support rings to encourage them to climb.
  • 17. Feed and water container plants and top-dress permanent pot plants to refresh the compost.
  • 18. Water early and late to get the most out of your water, recycle water when possible.
  • 19. Plant summer hanging baskets, adding good-quality compost, slow-release fertiliser and water-retaining crystals, to keep them in top condition. Protect them from late frost under cover.
  • 20. Plant out summer bedding at the end of the month if frosts have ended.

There are five of us and sometimes six who, when the days are long,
Meet up to volley, lob and smash now wintertime has gone.

There are five of us and sometimes six, who serve and run about,
When warmer weather comes at last and the days are drawing out.

There are five of us and sometimes six, in comfy shirts and shorts,
We all wear white to look the part before we go on court.

But the five of us, and sometimes six, who meet across the net,
Know we cannot walk on water and are starting to get wet.

For Rose has got arthritis, and Jean has slipped a disc,
Virginia's had her knee replaced and has a dodgy wrist.

Poor Angela - her ankles swell and although she can't be blamed.
She has to sit and rest and so it does affect the game.

And when Jill serves a mighty shot, soon followed by a shout,
You know she's over stretched again and put her shoulder out.

At 60 Ann's by far the youngest of the 'Thursday Set',
But had a dreadful accident whilst trying to jump the net.

She's now in plaster and cannot walk far without her sticks,
So the five of us still soldier on - whilst Ann's the 'sometimes sixth'!

Helen Wells

Thornbury Radio continues its online local radio service 24 hours a day at thornbury and has launched a number of new shows in its schedule. There are daily bulletins on Coronavirus news at 9am, 12 noon, 3pm and 6pm, complemented by regular Government public service announcements to help everyone stay safe during the crisis. On Saturday and Wednesday at 12 noon station Director David Wrench presents "Lifeline Thornbury" with a selection of local coronavirus-related news and easy listening music. On Tuesday evenings at 8pm, is Tony Bradley with his exciting new show, Anything Goes. Tony will be playing a wide variety of vintage music from many different genres, up to the early 1960s, with a focus on the popular music and singers of the 1940s and 1950s. There will be vintage broadcasts, spoken word, poems, comedy songs, and quizzes such as name that song and name the mystery singer, plus chat from Tony. This is a departure from his usual show, The Dance Band Days, Thursdays at 8pm.

Ryan's 24 Radio Stations In 24 Hours Challenge - Friday 8 May

Sussex radio presenter Ryan Millns has set himself a challenge to raise money to help the NHS by doing something that has never been achieved before - appearing on 24 different radio stations in the space of 24 hours, starting at 7am on Friday 8 May. Ryan has a very rare auto immune disease, Churg-Strauss Vasculitis, which led to a major stroke in 2019 that left him unable to walk or talk and needing a prolonged stay in hospital for his lifesaving treatment. Yet just four months later, Ryan was back presenting shows on his local radio station. To thank the NHS for saving his life, and for the incredible work that they are doing to save so many more lives from the COVID-19 Virus, Ryan has set up the 24-hour schedule with local radio stations in the UK and around the world and opened a "Just Giving" page named "ryan-millns" to accept donations to the NHS Charities Together Fund. Currently self-isolating, even from his own family, Ryan will be on Thornbury Radio from 12 noon to 1pm on Friday 8th May.

Young children have an insatiable curiosity about the world around them which will have presented parents and carers with a huge challenge over recent weeks. Hopefully, you will find these ideas useful in helping to keep your children busy.

Making and using Treasure Baskets with babies

Very young babies are dependent on the adults who care for them to provide a wide range of interesting multisensory experiences to support the healthy development of their maturing brains. Treasure Baskets are an ideal way to provide these experiences. A Treasure Basket is a collection of interesting natural and reclaimed resources and household objects put together to give a baby a safe, but interesting and intriguing, range of objects to explore. The collection of objects in the Treasure Basket offers a baby the opportunity to make choices about what to select, whether or not to pick up an object at all, when to do so and for how long. Treasure Baskets are designed to be used by non-mobile babies from the stage they can sit up comfortably until they are old enough to move around but you will find that, once hooked, babies will continue to use them once they are mobile.

How to make a Treasure Basket

Ideally the collection should contain between 80 to 100 different objects made from as wide a variety of materials as possible. These should be presented to the baby in a round wicker basket which is large enough to hold the collection but is also very stable and unlikely to be tipped over by a baby exploring its contents. However, you can use any stable basket you have at home or even a washing up bowl and fewer objects. The Treasure Basket collection should contain as wide a variety of objects as possible including things made of wood, cork, fabric, paper, card, metal, leather, rubber, along with natural materials such as large pebbles, shells, pine cones, large seed pods, natural sponge. Make a collection of as many things as you can from around your house and garden, checking that they are clean and of a suitable size to be manipulated by small babies. Too large and the babies will become frustrated, too small and the objects may present a choking hazard as the babies explore them with their mouths, lips and tongue.

Treasure basket

Different children will be interested in different objects so the key to creating a good Treasure Basket is to include as many different resources as possible. Add household objects such as wooden spoons, metal spoons, spatulas, whisk, pastry brush, nailbrush, bunch of keys, measuring spoons, bell, bangle, tea strainer, small purse, bean bag, door stop, small metal bowl, shoehorn, hair roller, glass stopper, coaster, nutcracker, garlic press, clothes peg, lemon squeezer.

Your baby should be seated close enough to the basket to be able to reach the contents easily and have clear space around so that he or she can discard objects removed from the basket. You should sit close by and observe closely, but not interfere. You can offer reassurance through gestures and body language, but this is a time to sit back and watch rather than trying to direct the activity that is taking place. By observing closely while your baby is exploring the objects in a Treasure Basket you will be able to learn a great deal about his or her interests and skills.

Heuristic play for toddlers

Heuristic play for toddlers builds on the exploratory play which babies enjoy using Treasure Baskets. The word heuristic derives from the Greek word eurisko meaning 'I discover'. It is used to describe an intuitive way of meeting challenges and solving problems - exactly what young children do when they are engaged in heuristic play.

Toddlers are fascinated by finding out not just what things are but also what they will do. Their natural inclination is to pick things up and explore what they feel like, using their fingers, hands, feet or other parts of their body. They are interested in the texture, shape, colour, weight, flexibility and malleability of different objects. They wave things around to see how they move, drop them to see what they sound like and bang them on a hard surface to see if they change shape or even break. They push and poke, squeeze and squash, pull and twist the different objects to see what they can do with them. They may be interested in finding out which parts of an object move and which stay still, whether objects will roll or bounce, whether things will stack on top of one another, which things will fit inside other things and how objects can be moved from place to place. There is no right and wrong way to play with heuristic play resources and the open-ended nature of the resources means that all toddlers can explore and investigate in their own way, applying their own creative ideas and building on their own experiences.

Things to use

Different children will be interested in doing different things with the resources so the key to creating a good heuristic play collection is to include as wide a variety of resources as possible.

Fill boxes with all sorts of small objects including:

  • natural materials such as cones, bark, large seeds and seed pods, shells and pebbles
  • wooden clothes pegs, large corks, lids, lengths of sink plug chain, bunches of keys, lengths of fabric and ribbon, rubber door stop
  • a variety of reclaimed materials from your recycling bag
  • rolling things - balls made of different materials, hair rollers, small tubes, cotton reels
  • stacking things - sets of coasters, blocks, mug tree with bracelets and wooden rings, set of nesting dolls
  • posting things - shoe box with a hole or slot in the lid, coasters, CDs, wooden pegs, large buttons of more than 50 mm diameter
  • carrying things - small baskets, paper carrier bags, ice cube trays

A variety of containers are an essential part of a heuristic play collection as toddlers will want to explore 'putting things in' and 'taking things out'. These could include tins with smooth rims, nesting baskets, cardboard tubes of different diameters, small bags and purses, wooden, metal or card boxes, wide necked plastic bottles, plastic flower pots. Clear a space on the floor and enjoy watching your toddler exploring the interesting everyday things in your collection.

Ideas for older children


Pictures of rainbows have started springing up in windows after schools closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Hundreds of schools are encouraging pupils to put up paintings to "spread hope" after pictures depicting the rainbows of hope started appearing in windows across Italy at the beginning of the spread of the coronavirus and is now trending online across the world. Why not help your children to create rainbows which can be seen and appreciated by neighbours and those who are still working to keep us safe and well. Rainbows can be formed in all sorts of creative ways, such as by arranging toy cars, people, balls and plastic fruit and vegetables on the floor! Give it a go, take a photograph and post in online.

More rainbows

Flower thank you

Primary age children have been painting pictures, such as this beautiful flower in a vase, saying 'Thank you to our NHS', and putting them in their windows in Thornbury where they can be seen by health and social care workers in town. Why not encourage your child to make thank-you cards which can be left for our rubbish collectors, postmen and women and those who are continuing to deliver food and essential parcels. You could always encourage older children to contribute an article, jokes or poems for possible publication in the June edition of Thornbury Magazine.

The Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme, George Plumptre, has made a very difficult decision in requesting that all garden owners do not open their gardens until further notice. This is totally unprecedented, as even during World War II the National Garden Scheme opened gardens for charity. This decision was obviously made to protect the health of garden owners and visitors. It will make a huge impact on all the charities the NGS supports. It was hoped to go beyond four million pounds of donations this year. There is much more information about the National Garden Scheme on their website.

National Garden Scheme

While Woodchester Mansion at Nympsfield, Stonehouse, has to be closed, visitors will still have the opportunity to see parts of the building digitally, in a short slideshow which is being posted on Facebook. See . It is planned to have a new show each week and every week there will also be a question for visitors. Save the answers for when lockdown ends!

On the evening of 10 March, the residents around St Mary's Hall in Thornbury may have been bolting their doors and barring their windows, and Thornbury town councillors quaking in their beds (those that were not complicit) as a series of raucous boos and resounding cheers went up from the hall. Was it the beginning of revolution in this hotbed of political agitation? No, it was just Garry Atterton working his audience at the March gathering of Thornbury History and Archaeology Society. But 190 years ago, Thornbury residents may have looked with trepidation towards the night sky over Bristol, glowing red from a conflagration as the city suffered two days and nights of rioting.

In 1831 the country was mired in social problems. There had been famines and epidemics of typhoid and cholera. But the biggest social issues were rapid industrialisation and the lack of political power of the masses. Bristol had a large population of poorly paid workers in dangerous and unhealthy jobs, living in squalid, crowded tenements. The mortality rate was exceeded only by Liverpool and Manchester. These people had no representation in parliament as only 5% of men had the vote. The merchants of Bristol, however, were extremely wealthy, and the wealthiest were in the powerful and corrupt Bristol Corporation, which had the MP in its pocket.

Many people in Bristol could see that reform was necessary if revolution was to be avoided. The city was generally pro-reform, but the rich were often anti-reform and one of the most 'anti' was Sir Charles Wetherell, a particularly outspoken politician and judge. He had lied to parliament, saying that Bristol was against reform so he was not at all popular here. Wetherell was due to open Bristol Assizes, and the Corporation were afraid his arrival would spark protests so they asked the home secretary to station a militia force in the city and hired some 'special constables'. The stage was set.

On the morning of Saturday October 29, Wetherell arrived at Totterdown to be escorted into the city by the mayor, Sir Charles Pinney. A large crowd had gathered to accompany him with a chorus of boos and hisses. Arriving in the city he was bombarded with mud thrown by 'women of abandoned character' who egged on the men to do likewise. The party arrived in Queen's Square to attend a banquet at the Mansion House. Some stones were thrown, narrowly missing Pinney's head and the 'special constables' piled in to apprehend the culprits. Up went a cry of 'To the Backs!' (the riverside) where supplies of wood for arms could be found. The situation escalated and the constables were overpowered. Pinney and Wetherell retreated into the Mansion House. The Riot Act was read three times, with little effect. The Mansion House was stormed, Wetherell escaped in disguise (perhaps as a washerwoman?) and the wine cellars were plundered, with predictable results.

On Saturday night the militia were called in to restore order (some things never change). However, their captain, Colonel Brereton, was known to the crowd as a pro-reformer, and he was welcomed with cheers and hurrahs. He tried to reason with the crowd but the unrest continued. Late on Saturday one of his troops, struck by a stone, shot a man dead. Some of the crowds dispersed into side streets to raid liquor stores and plot revenge. The rioting continued through the night and the Mansion House went up in flames.

By Sunday morning many properties around Queen's Square were in ruins or in flames. Some people had been attracted into the city by the unrest, such as miners from the Bristol coalfields, and the focus of the riots broadened. The New Gaol (at the back of M Shed) was attacked, the prisoners released and the building torched. The same happened to the Gloucestershire County Gaol at Lawford's Gate. Rioting, burning and plundering continued throughout the whole of Sunday and during the night huge crowds gathered in Clifton and other vantage points around the city to watch the conflagration. On Monday morning people woke up to see a city in ruins, as well as bloody mayhem. The Corporation had had enough. Pinney ordered Brereton to clear the remnant of rioters from Queen's Square. The militia went about its bloody business. Several people were killed and many more were injured, but the unrest subsided, the rabble went home, and artists came into the ruined city to paint pictures of the devastation. In the aftermath, four of the ring-leaders were hanged from the blackened gate of the New Gaol, and others were transported. Colonel Brereton was court-martialled for his failure to keep order. He shot himself during the trial. In 1832 parliament passed the Reform Act, giving the vote to more men but by no means to everyone. It was the beginning of a long struggle for votes for all.

Many thanks to Garry for firing us up into a state of rabid animation. It doesn't happen often. If you are interested in finding out more about the Society you can find us online and on Facebook.

Singing leaders from the much-loved Goldies Charity are doing their bit to reduce loneliness in these difficult times by keeping in regular touch across England and Wales with hundreds of isolated lonely people.

Goldies has been forced to cancel all its 220 sessions but is maintaining contact with its older folk through a variety of online options. The charity (better known simply as Goldies) started 13 years ago and has a huge reputation for the Songs&Smiles it brings to brighten lonely lives.

The Online Mini Sing&Smile Sessions are led by Rachel Parry and Cheryl Davies who are based in South Wales, but the sessions are being accessed by Goldies from across England and Wales. The response has been staggering as Goldies family members spread the word. A regular Thursday 2.30pm online session is receiving thousands of views plus many favourable comments from older people in their homes. The Goldies sing the popular hits of the 60s and onwards and the regular weekly sing-alongs include all the much-loved melodies that form an integral part of our sessions.

You can view the mini Sing&Smile sessions on YouTube. Rachel and Cheryl will also try and take requests if you want to send a message via Facebook.

Both Rachel and Cheryl can be contacted easily by email on or

The Charity is planning to extend the regular sessions in the weeks and months ahead looking forward to the day when Goldies starts back again in a community room, church hall or library near you.

Find out more information on Facebook and keep up to date with important news as it gets announced at our website.

  • 1. Which fictional detective had a brother called Mycroft who worked for the government?
  • 2. Which Italian detective lives and works in the fictional town of "Vigata"?
  • 3. This TV detective, created by Ann Cleeves, is an employee of the fictional "Northumberland and City Police"
  • 4. Which Belgian detective appeared in more than 30 novels and 50 short stories?
  • 5. Which long-running series starred a raincoat wearing, cigar smoking homicide detective of the same name?
  • 6. What is the surname of the two detectives who have been solving murders in the fictional county of "Midsomer" since 1997?
  • 7. Which detective made her first appearance in Murder at the Vicarage in 1930?
  • 8. In which Scottish TV crime drama series does DI Jimmy Perez star?
  • 9. What was the first name of the eponymous fictional character DCI Morse?
  • 10. This French police detective appeared in 75 novels and 28 short stories published between 1931 and 1972.
  • 1. Sherlock Holmes
  • 2. Commissario Salvo Montalbano
  • 3. DCI Vera Stanhope
  • 4. Hercule Poirot
  • 5. Columbo
  • 6. Barnaby
  • 7. Miss Marple
  • 8. Shetland
  • 9. Endeavour
  • 10. Maigret

Please help us gather and keep the history of coronavirus (Covid-19) 2020.

We are experiencing one of the worst times in our lives, just as people did during WW1 and WW2 because we are fighting a deadly virus. Coronavirus (Covid-19) 2020 will become history and in classrooms children will be learning about it.

As a museum, it is our responsibility to gather, document and keep preserved for the future any aspects of this awful time with regards to Thornbury and the surrounding district so we are hoping that those of you who are willing and able to do so would be interested in keeping notes or a diary, photos, of any/all that you or your friends and family experience, good and bad, during this time relating to shopping, medical, travelling, communication, entertaining and schooling at home, working, etc. We would like to hear about anything, no matter how insignificant you may think it is.

You can send us information at any time, or you may prefer to wait until this episode in our history has passed. By email:; or by post: Thornbury & District Museum, c/o The Town Hall, 35 High Street, Thornbury, BS35 2AR.

By submitting information, the museum will assume that your permission is given for the material to be used in the future. This could be in print, on-line or in one of our exhibitions.

When the museum re-opens we will start to go through all that we have received from you. We realise this is a huge request at this time but hope that you are able to help with this project.

Recent words from historian Lucy Worsley seem apt in the circumstances: "The past isn't a guide to the future and sometimes things go backwards, but history shows us that is doesn't have to be the way it is. Once you appreciate that everything changes all the time there is hope that the world will be better again one day".

We wish you all the very best and please stay safe.

The following report was received before schools closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Gillingstool Primary School: Inspire - Believe - Achieve
Riotous residentials at Gillingstool Primary School

The month of March saw Year 6 pupils from Gillingstool stretching their legs and visiting new horizons. The boys and girls packed their bags and spent an exciting five days at Morfa Bay Adventure, near Pendine, in South Wales. Morfa Bay provided an action-packed week of activities for the children, many of whom had not ever spent a week away from parents before. However, everyone agreed it was a fabulous visit and they can't wait for another residential.

The children returned to school buzzing about their week-long stay. This was a brand new residential for Gillingstool Primary School and we are pleased to say that the pupils had the time of their lives. The week was jammed-packed with outdoor and adventurous activities. Children dashed from zip-wiring and abseiling, to rock-climbing and mountain biking. They were challenged to push themselves to learn new skills, and again and again achieved amazing results. It was generally agreed that the favourite activity was the mud assault course, which involved crawling over and under obstacles through mud and water.

The headteacher and staff regard residential visits as important for developing children's independence and resilience. Camp is an empowering event for the children, who learn so much and have so much fun, trying an enormous range of new experiences. One Year 6 pupil commented that their time away really made them challenge themselves and said that the staff at Morfa Bay were lovely and she had gained lots of self- confidence from the experience.

Gillingstool Primary School is in a unique position in Thornbury, sharing its state-of-the-art building with New Siblands School, and accessing many of the specialist on-site resources, such as the swimming pool. For more information about the school please contact: Caroline Carter, Headteacher at Gillingstool Primary School; Office telephone: 866527.

Many charities, both local and national, are raising the alarm about the drop in funding they have available as charity shops have closed and fundraising events which they rely on are not taking place. If you are wondering about how you can best donate to charity, one of the safest ways of giving is to donate to the National Emergencies Trust. This charity is coordinating the UK Coronavirus disaster voluntary relief effort, providing a single online portal for donations from individuals and companies. The money raised will be rapidly distributed, in the form of small grants, to recognised local charities through 46 established regional community foundations covering the whole of the UK. You can find information at

Contacting us:
Go to for key contact information, or for information on council service changes. You can also email our contact centre at or ring 868009. See also for information about local community groups helping vulnerable people across the district, changes to council services due to the outbreak, and a regularly updated FAQs section. There is a new Freephone number for queries about the council's Covid-19 response: 0800 953 7778 and we can be contacted 8.45am-5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.45am-4.30pm on Friday. Our trained contact centre staff will answer calls and provide information as well as directing you to the right place for the right help. This line is only for Covid-19-related queries and we expect it to be very busy.

Service updates:
  • Libraries closed - all loans extended free of charge to 1 July
  • Play areas - closed but our parks and open spaces currently remain open for daily exercise but not gatherings
  • Public toilets - closed
  • Public transport - many services now reduced and some suspended for details see:
  • Concessionary fares - Diamond travelcard holders can now travel free at any time on bus journeys starting South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, and North Somerset. The restrictions have been relaxed to help older and disabled people take advantage of the dedicated early opening hours at certain shops.
  • Registration service - only available for registering deaths, via the phone. Call 863140 to book an appointment.
  • Waste services - Sort It centres closed, black bin waste collected as usual (but may take longer); recycling and food collections will change from weekly to every two weeks and will be on the same day as your black bin; large household waste item collections have been suspended. Garden waste service update: the green bin garden waste collection re-started on 27 April. Bins to be put out on the usual collection day (with the black bins) by 7am. Although the service is still short-staffed every effort will be made to collect bins on the scheduled day. If your garden waste is not collected please contact the day after your normal collection day. Even though you may have a backlog of garden waste please do not overload your bin. Active garden waste subscriptions on or after 23 March 2020 will automatically receive a five week extension to cover the missed collections. Garden waste sacks: If you have bought a sack you can book a one-off collection. The sacks are not currently available for sale.
  • Health emergencies - still open for anyone who needs them. If you have a serious or life-threatening condition you should go to A&E or call 999. For minor injuries please go to the Minor Injuries Unit at West Gate Centre, Yate.
  • Dental emergencies - you can get treatment in an urgent dental centre, commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement. The nearest one to Thornbury is in Bristol. Ring your own dentist first; if you cannot get through or you do not have a dentist, call 111.

Over the past weeks most of us have had to use our ingenuity when creating meals, whether we are cooking for one or two people or for a whole family. Here are two recipes which use store cupboard ingredients. With pasta and some pasta sauces being rare finds online and in stores (for those of us able to leave home) the first recipe uses up garlic and basil which may even have seen better days!

Tomato sauce with tomato and basil

This is a version of the sauce "alla carrettiera", named after the drivers of the mule driven, hand pulled, carts which were brought down to Rome laden with wine and olive oil from the seven hills which surround the city. The sauces for their pasta were made from the least expensive, most readily available ingredients. You can vary your ingredients, but the method remains the same.

  • 1. Pull all the leaves from the stalks of a large bunch of basil, rinse them briefly and shake off all the moisture. Tear all but the tiniest leaves into small pieces.
  • 2. Drain, and cut up, the contents of two tins of plum tomatoes and put them into a saucepan.
  • 3. Add 5 cloves of peeled and finely chopped garlic (the garlic is poached rather than browned so it won't be too strong), 5tbs of olive oil, salt and ground black pepper to the pan.
  • 4. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the oil floats free from the tomatoes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  • 5. Remove from the heat and mix in the torn-up basil. Serve with your favourite pasta.
Corned beef hash and fried egg

The second store cupboard recipe uses stalwarts including corned beef, onion, potato and eggs.

  • 1. Heat 2tbs of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add 900g diced white potatoes and cook for 15 minutes until lightly browned.
  • 2. Add one chopped onion and cook for 10 minutes until the onion is softened and the potatoes are golden.
  • 3. Stir in 340g of chopped corned beef and, if available, one red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced. Add a dash of Worcester sauce. Cook for 6-8 minutes until the hash is starting to become crispy and then season to taste. You could substitute the fresh chilli with chilli flakes or paprika if necessary.
  • 4. Top each portion of the corned beef hash with a fried egg and enjoy!
Izal ad

This advert is from the Radio Times for 6 March 1931 and seems particularly pertinent at the moment. It advises that "Soap and water is not enough to bring true cleanliness. You need Izal, the doctors' disinfectant ... because it is the strongest, safest disinfectant obtainable. Important! Izal does not burn or stain and is most economical because you use it by drops instead of by tablespoonfuls ..." A free 64 page book, published at 1/- (one shilling) was given away with each 1/9 bottle (one shilling and ninepence). This gave "Full instructions" on: "Disinfecting blankets, furniture, floors; Flushing drains, sinks, lavatories; and many other sections of vital importance".

Those of us over a certain age will also probably remember Izal toilet paper, which was smooth and rather hard and was best given a bit of a scrunch to soften it before use.

Businesses online

Some of the advertisers in Thornbury Magazine have moved their business online in the current circumstances so make sure you look at the adverts to see what is available. Sam Hutchinson has taken most of her classes online for the foreseeable future to help people keep active whilst social distancing and her adverts give you the information you need to join in.

Dementia Friends

If you are concerned about coping with dementia, the Alzheimer's Society initiative known as Dementia Friends could help you.

All of the team at Thornbury's Simpson Solicitors have registered as "Dementia Friends" to show those with dementia that they will receive a warm welcome. They have benefited from the Dementia Friends training programme so that when they are helping clients with Wills and Powers of Attorney, the members of the team understand how to welcome and support people with dementia along with their families. The Dementia Friends training has highlighted to staff how people with dementia can often still communicate their wishes - they just need more time to get their thoughts across. Those with dementia can be helped by not interrupting them but by smiling and being encouraging. Then with Lasting Powers of Attorney in place they can continue to make their own decisions for as long as possible.

Are you looking after someone through COVID-19? Families, friends and neighbours often provide crucial care for someone who couldn't manage without their help. You could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.

In this worrying time, Carers Support Centre urges carers to reach out to their support systems. All carers must consider what their contingency plans are in the event of them contracting COVID-19 and being unable to provide care. Is there someone who can support you if this becomes necessary? Talk to family and friends about this, to help reduce anxiety during this uncertain time.

It has never been more important to have a Carers Emergency Card. This card shows your name, a unique identification number and an emergency phone number. If you have an accident/emergency or are taken seriously ill, the card can be used to alert a 24-hour emergency call centre that the person you care for needs help. Steps are then taken to ensure the safety of the person cared for.

If you look after someone and you do not have a Carers Emergency Card, make sure you register for one now. You can do this on the Carers Support Centre website:

Carers Support Centre's wellbeing service is also here for local carers. It aims to give emotional support and help you become more resilient. This is a difficult and testing time for carers. The wellbeing service includes befriending, mentoring and counselling. It is free, confidential and is delivered by phone. Through the befriending service, the charity will match you with a trained volunteer, who can provide conversation, companionship and emotional support. Contact Maria,, or 07526 850 772 for more information

We are not the only Thornbury; several others share the name and some are named after us.

Thornbury, South Glos - that we know and love.

Thornbury, Devon - a small village (pop 290) near Holsworthy, North Devon. Named Tornberia in Domesday, its name like ours means the place of the thorn trees.

Thornbury, Herefordshire - a small village (pop 197). No naming information identified but as the area contains a substantial hill fort, it is likely to be another 'fortified place of thorn trees'.

Thornbury, Bradford, Yorkshire - originally a village, merged with Bradford in 1882. Proud possessor of 'the largest roundabout in Yorkshire' and the HQ of Morrison's. Buffalo Bill performed there in 1904. Name origin not identified.

Thornbury Hospital, Sheffield, Yorkshire - included for interest. Thornbury was a large house in six acres, built in 1864 by Frederick Mappin, local industrialist and Liberal MP. It is now a private hospital. Although he is extensively documented, no indication was found of why he called his house Thornbury.

Further afield

Thornbury, Melbourne, Australia - first settled in 1880, now a suburb of Melbourne, boasting a large food truck park. Named from a farm bought by Job Smith in 1854, in turn named after Smith's farm at his birthplace in England. We cannot be sure that this was 'our' Thornbury, but it is likely.

Thornbury, New Zealand - founded by pioneer settlers Matthew Instone and Robert Foster and named by Robert Foster after his wife's birthplace, Thornbury, Gloucestershire.

Thornbury, Ontario, Canada - first incorporated in 1833, the town is a lakeside port. Its name origin is disputed, either named after the wild thorn berries growing locally, or after a Thornbury in England (but which one?).

Thornbury Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania - established in 1687 and named by George Pearce whose wife Ann came from Thornbury, Gloucestershire.

Thornbury Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania - adjacent to its Delaware County namesake, the original town was divided between the two counties in 1798, creating two separate towns with a common origin. Pity the postman!

So as you can see, we have directly named towns in the USA and New Zealand, probably in Australia and just possibly Canada. Not too bad for a small place!

Understandably and rightly, we have seen major restrictions on our individual freedoms in the present Covid-19 pandemic. We are advised, even instructed, on our detailed behaviours. Jesus gave his followers just two simple rules for life. These can speak to us in the present crisis.

The first is: love God with all your being. However you understand the word "God", it signifies a greater reality that pervades everything. Often we are unaware of, or choose to ignore this. For Christians God is often equated with "love". Many will ask: where is God in the present crisis? Everywhere - God is where our NHS staff, emergency services, the growing army of NHS volunteers, carers, those who keep food in our shops, Foodbanks, kind neighbours and many more have put themselves at the disposal of others.

The second is: love your neighbour as yourself. In the present crisis we are learning the lesson that by respecting the space of others we help look after ourselves. Politicians may spin "we are all in it together", but the reality of Covid-19 has no room for spin. Never were John Donne's words more apt: "No man is an island".

When the health crisis is past, there will be the bigger task of rebuilding society, and an economy that should serve it. Pray the new order might be more closely aligned to Jesus' rules for life, than the inequalities and divisions of recent history. Keep safe.

Oh wondrous earth
Oh mighty river
To see such beauty
We quake and quiver

The life which you hold
In your shimmering waters
Is the heritage of
Countless sons and daughters

On your wandering banks
Sits the Concrete Tower
Blocking the skyline
Giving Nuclear Power

As earth's custodians
What right have we
To plunder your mystery
And destroy what is thee

Jenny Owen - 1993

Editor's note: Oldbury Nuclear Power Station was decommissioned in 2012 after 45 years in operation. Further upriver was Berkeley Nuclear Power Station, which opened in 1962 and was decommissioned in 1989.

Earlier this year the Almondsbury Gymkhana and Pony Show held a very successful charity fund-raising event at M&Co fashion store in Thornbury. Local volunteer models ranging from two years old through the generations to more mature ladies, delighted the spectators. The audience was further entertained when Josh, a paramedic with Great Western Air Ambulance, was also willing to "walk the catwalk" to model the menswear, accompanied by Charlie the GWAA bear mascot. The evening was captured "on camera" by a local professional photographer, Sarah Button, who kindly donated her photography skills for the evening, and donated a photo shoot raffle prize.

The wide range of choice at M&Co meant that all ages, heights and sizes could be easily catered for and we had a wonderful selection of clothes paraded before us. The tills were buzzing at the interval as people mingled and shopped. We are extremely grateful to Sue Kettle and her staff for hosting and running this event.

With donations from a number of local shops, we were able to run a great raffle, and overall, with the ticket sales, we were delighted to have raised just over £600. Thanks to everyone who supported this event.

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