Oh Dear!

School children of Year 6 age who live in Bishops Nympton are in the top ten of the country . . .  when it comes to being overweight that is!

According to data published by Public Health England an incredible 50% of Year 6 school children who live in Bishops Nympton were considered to be overweight – almost 30% were considered to be obese. This puts Bishops Nympton in eighth place in terms of being overweight, with the Town and Pier ward of Dover in first place, with just over 56% of Year 6 children classified as being overweight.

In bottom place (or first place from a health perspective!) was the ward of North in Oxford with less than 8% of Year 6 children being classified as overweight. That’s an extraordinary difference.

South Molton comes out reasonably well. But none of these figures are good, and it shows how many health problems (e.g. Type II diabetes) will come to the fore in a generation’s time – or possibly even sooner.

Childhood Weight

Childhood Obesity

It’s probably quite difficult for you to see these graphs in detail, particularly on a mobile phone, but in both cases Bishops Nympton is the longest bar, South Molton is in green, and England, North Devon and Devon are in red.  On both graphs the scales run from 0% to 50%.

Instow and Lynton and Lynmouth aren’t shown on the “Overweight” graph because their sample sizes were too small. The former plus Marwood and Georgeham and Mortehoe aren’t shown on the “Obesity” graph for the same reason.

All this data, plus explanatory comments, can be found on the Public Health England website here.


I think that the upper echelons of the Tory party are acting rather like schoolchildren.

The House of Lord didn’t like a piece of legislation and voted against it (sort of) and now Cameron, Osborne and others are throwing a hissy fit.

It might well be the first time in 100 years that the Lords have voted down a piece of financial legislation, but the whole reason we have a second chamber is to act as a moderating influence on the first chamber i.e. the Houses of Parliament.

But they didn’t really vote it down.  They actually wanted more information on the affects of the government legislation. The motion was (my italics):

“this House [the Lords] declines to consider the draft Regulations laid before the House on 7 September until the Government lay a report before the House, detailing their response to the analysis of the draft Regulations by the Institute for Fiscal Studies [IFS], and considering possible mitigating action.”

Apparently Osborne, in the past, said this about the IFS, describing it as one of the most “credible independent voices on the public finances, taxation and public spending”.

What’s changed?

Do you trust Cameron and Osborne?

I certainly don’t! Mind you, I wouldn’t want Corbyn in charge of anything either!


There’s an awful lot of nonsense spouted about e-cigarettes. One of the most nonsensical things being said is that they’re more dangerous than ordinary cigarettes! They’re categorically not!

In August, Public Health England (PHE) published a report about e-cigarettes. (PHE is the government body which aims to protect and improve the nation’s health.)

I’ve extracted some key points from that report:

  • The current best estimate is that e-cigarette use is around 95% less harmful to health than smoking;
  • e-cigarettes release negligible levels of nicotine into ambient air with no identified health risks to bystanders;
  • the relatively small number of smokers who have combined e-cigarettes with expert support have had high rates of success [with giving up cigarettes];
  • among adults and youth, regular use of e-cigarettes is found almost exclusively among those who have already smoked;
  • given the potential benefits [of e-cigarettes] as quitting aids, PHE looks forward to the arrival on the market of a choice of medicinally regulated products that can be made available to smokers by the NHS on prescription.

Organisations and establishments that ban the use of e-cigarettes are actually acting totally irrationally and should stop trying to jump onto a  PC health bandwagon. They’d be far better off banning sugar and products containing sugar!

Moving with the Times

South Molton’s gained a new shop!

E-Cig Shop [Website Landscape]

The small shop opposite the Tourist Information centre has been refurbished and opened as an e-cigarette shop today. These are very common on the continent but it’s the first I’ve seen in North Devon.

I wish them luck with their enterprise.


Several weeks ago I took this picture of a caravan parked in the Gavel.

Caravan [Website Landscape]

Note how it’s propped up very unsafely, completely obstructs the footpath and is  partially on the carriageway.

It’s still there, with the only change being it now has a cover over it.

Why do caravan owners think that they can leave their caravans wherever they want?



Sheep Pen Car Park

It’s very good news indeed that the old sheep pens behind the Town Arms have (finally) been removed and the area is being converted into a carpark which should be open for business in the next couple of days.

It’s also excellent that the pay point for the current parking spaces has been moved to the Amory Centre end of the carpark where it’s in close proximity to the newly created disabled parking bays. This makes it very much easier for the disabled.

However, the downside is that of the five new disabled bays only three are actually usable. This is because, of the two bays to the east, one is extremely narrow and too close to the wall, it is also obstructed by a large rubbish container. In similar fashion, of the three bays to the west the western most bay is tightly up against the hedge.

Disabled Parking Bays [Website Landscape]

Apparently the hedge will be trimmed back and the rubbish container has now been removed. But the bays do apparently comply with government standards so won’t be changed.

YMCA Sleep Out

It’s a couple of weeks now since I took part the YMCA Sleep Out in the Pannier Market. They did very well and raised about £2,500 and I’d like to thank all those people who very generously sponsored me to the tune of roughly £450. As almost all of this was Gift Aided it means that the YMCA will actually benefit by about another £100 as they can claim tax back from HMRC. If you pay tax in the UK and give money to charity always try and Gift Aid it, as it means that the charity concerned actually receives about 25% more than you Git Aided.

Sleeping out for one night in a covered space wasn’t too much of a trial. I was warm, as I had a decent sleeping bag, but the concrete floor was very hard and a layer of cardboard didn’t do a lot to alleviate things.  I also had access to a loo and running water and could go straight back to a nice comfy bed when it was all over.

For people who do actually have to sleep rough, keeping dry and warm must be a major concern. The almost total absence of public toilets must also make life very, very difficult or them.

Community Hospital Bed Closures

The Board of Northern Devon Healthcare Trust are meeting tomorrow to consider and vote on the proposal to cut community hospital beds, and where those beds should be.

The document to be presented to the Board will ask the Board to:

” CONSIDER the preferred consultation option of beds remaining at Holsworthy and South Molton.”

I’ve yet to read all the documents, and obviously this decision will have to be voted on by the NDHT Board, but it could be good news for South Molton and Holsworthy!

All the relevant documents can be found here under Agenda Item 5.1.