A Good Man and a Brave Man

A Good Man and a Brave Man

Swindon Civic Voice seem to be something of a literary lot. Chair Angela Atkinson, aka Born again Swindonian, is now the author of three Swindon related books – the second of which – Swindon in 50 Buildings is out now. But she’s not on her own! Oh no. One of their trustees, Alan Gaunt, can also claim authorship as a a thing with his book, A Good Man and a Brave Man.

A Good Man and a Brave Man

‘This is not the story of a traditional hero in the mould of Nelson or Wellington but that of a village shepherd, a local man who did not come from the nobility or the ranks of the nation’s leaders but simply loved his family and died in the service of his country.’

Cecil Packer was a farm labourer, a factory worker, a shepherd and a devoted family man. Like so many others he went to France to fight for his country in the First World War and never returned. Cecil survived both the Gallipoli and Somme campaigns. So for his descendants, his death on the Western Front when his battalion was far from the front line was a mystery as well as a tragedy.

Alan Gaunt, whose wife Shirley is Cecil’s great-granddaughter, set about researching Cecil’s humble but interesting life and finally established the tragic circumstances of his accidental death in December 1916, aged 31.

Cecil Thomas Packer was born in 1885 in Minty, Wiltshire and grew up in Poole Keynes, Gloucestershire. He enlisted in 1915 in Cirencester and served with the 8thService Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. He died on 13th December 1916 in Flanders.

he book is a moving account of a humble man who fought for King and Country, and will appeal to all those with an interest in military and social history; local historians (in Gloucestershire/Wiltshire) as well as anyone who wishes to research their own family history.

About the author

Author, Alan Gaunt was born in Salisbury (Wiltshire) and grew up in South Cerney(Gloucestershire). He was educated in Cirencester and, later, in Bushey (Herts). He is a retired Civil Servant. Alan is married (with two grown-up children) and lives in Swindon.

By the same author:

A QUIET AUTHORITY – George Gaunt: A life (2013 Mereo Books).

George Gaunt was a quiet and gentle man who served with honour in the Coldstream Guards. George became a respected publican in a Gloucestershire village, and the entire community mourned his early passing. Thirty years later, his son Alan learned that George had been married before and had two other children. Alan set off on a trail of enquiry to piece together a comprehensive and fascinating account of the father he had lost when he was only 13 years old. This book is the result of Alan’s research and tells the story of his father and how Alan learned about his half-brother.

See also by Alan: https://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk/2019/11/ron-spencer-cerneys-hero-policeman/

Final push for Beat the Street in Swindon

Final push for Beat the Street in Swindon

Players of Beat the Street are being encouraged to make one final push to see how far the town can travel.

See also: https://swindonian.me/2019/09/13/beat-the-street-is-back/

Taking place until 6 November, the game has once more transformed the town into a giant game. One where residents are rewarded with points and prizes for walking, cycling or scooting around their community, tapping Beat Boxes along the way.

Final push for Beat the Street in Swindon - last year's winners with mayor Kevin Parry
Last year’s winners Ferndale Primary School

Way more than 500 miles

Residents have already travelled an incredible 217,000 miles so far in the competition. However, with a mere one week left, players are encouraged to push themselves even harder to see how far Swindon can go and if players can beat last year’s record-breaking total of 313,353 miles.

Schools, community groups and workplaces are battling it out for the chance to win prizes of up to £200 in vouchers for books, sports or fitness equipment.  

The team currently topping the total points leaderboard is Haydonleigh Primary School. Their 956 team members have travelled more than 12,000 miles so far.

However, everything could change at the top of the 16 leaderboards as this week’s theme is ‘Go Celebrate’ and every Beat Box in the game will be giving out double points until 6 November.

Additionally, all Beat Boxes will give out triple points on the final day until the game ends at 7pm.

The winners will be announced shortly after the competition ends.

Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “We’re already seeing the top schools and teams in Beat the Street going the extra mile as we enter the final part of the competition. With the chance to score double and triple points during the final week, all teams have the chance to climb the leaderboards and take home one of the top prizes.

“It would also be a bonus if we could beat our record-breaking total from last year. So let’s get out there and get tapping!”

Visit app.beatthestreet.me/swindon to keep up to date with the leaderboards and to find out more.

No 4: Prosecco

No 4: Prosecco

On a recent night out at The Weighbridge Brewhouse, down near the Outlet Centre, one of my dining companions and myself decided to have a glass of Prosecco. Which gave me the perfect opportunity to do this post, No 4 Prosecco, in my series Swindon in 50 drinks.

The Prosecco served in The Weighbridge is from Berry Bros and Rudd see image below. And it wasn’t a bad drop I have to say.

They also serve a rather nice Berry Bros and Good Ordinary Claret – of which I’m rather fond.

The Prosecco served at the Weighbridge

The Rise and Rise of Prosecco

It’s interesting how, in recent years, Prosecco has blown the Spanish Cava out of the wine rack when we’re looking for a more wallet-friendly celebration drink than Champagne. Something I wrote about in this piece: https://swindonian.me/2018/05/16/the-prosecco-party/

‘Prosecco, like it’s big sister, Champagne, takes its name from its place of origin. In this case the village of Prosecco, a suburb of Trieste. Even if you knew that you may not know that, as this Vine Pair blog all about the stuff points out, ‘the name ‘prosecco’ is actually Slovenian, from prozek, or “path through the woods.” Prior to being called Prosecco, the region was known as Puccino. Today, Prosecco production extends beyond the small village, but that’s where it all began.

DOC and DOCG

DOCG and DOC are quality classifications. Italian wine law states that DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantia –  is the highest quality designation.

DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata – is an Italian assurance of quality for wine and food. To get this label a product must stick to the quality assurance rules and the location defined in the rules. Since 2009 Prosecco has had to have at least DOC accreditation.

The difference between Champagne, Cava and Prosecco

For the full lowdown on the above read this blog here: https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/whats-the-difference-between-prosecco-champagne-and-cava but the key thing to remember is that for a sparkling wine to call itself Champagne it HAS to be made in the Champagne region of France with the Méthode Champenoise – thought to be the invention of a monk by the name of Dom Perignon. And later refined by the widow (veuve) Cliquot. Two names that remain the most famed of all the Champagne houses. I’ll drink to that!

Unlike Champagne, which is fermented in giant metal vats, Prosecco is fermented in the bottle in a process called the charmat method.

And on that note, there’s little else to say other than Cin Cin, Salut, Cheers and Salud!

3D Printing – SED Developments

3D Printing – SED Developments

3D Printing: it’s older than you think

It might surprise you to know that 3D printing has been around since the 1980s. Yet it’s only been in recent years that the technology developed to the point where it allowed printing on a small scale. And with that, the explosion of 3D Printing into the home began. 

See also this post, Additive Manufacturing and how it all began.

What does this mean for you?

It means that we, as SED Developments, can offer you a 3D printing design service that works for you. The only limits on what we can design is that of your imagination. The free reign of creativity allowed by 3D printing has led us to creating, amongst other things:

  • Diddy dog-bone-shaped zip pulls for Hannah Dosanjh wash bags
  • A remote-controlled, model snow plough
  • Personalized key rings
  • Models of the Eiffel Tower 
  • And a badge for a 1930s vintage Vauxhall car – where it wasn’t possible to recreate the badge

    You have only to ask us. But, if you have a 3D printer tucked away at home that you’re not using to best advantage, we can help you produce designs so you can get it working for you.

Cookie cutters and more

Here at SED Developments we love baking. Our baked goods taste fab but aren’t, we’re happy to admit –not the prettiest. That’s why we provide the tools for all you talented creatives out there to do what you’re good at it.

We love design and innovation so there’s no run-of-the-mill, bog standard cookie cutters here. Oh no. Hence, we have a cow face (it’s moos to us too!), a poo emoji, a Christmas jumper and an outline of Africa. To name but some. 

In fact, we’ve got dozens of designs for every occasion. You can see a mere few of them in the gallery below and the rest are in our Ebay shop.

And we’ll create a cookie cutter just for you… send us a silhouette or outline of your desired shape (royalty free of course!) and we’ll print your cookie cutter.

Let’s create with SED Developments 3D Printing

So, if you have a cookie cutter design you want customising, or a creation you want either printing or designing, then let’s have a chat. Contact us on 01793 705380 or email us at jo@sed-developments.co.uk. We’re also on Facebook and Instagram, catch us there.

Last Orders – by John Stooke

Last Orders – by John Stooke

Wow! Yet another Swindon-related book. How fantastic. Hot on the heels of Swindon in 50 Buildings and the Ken White Bio/retrospective – both by me – and France Bevan’s recent book we have Last Orders by John Stooke.

John Stooke’s new book, Last Orders, is launching at Swindon Central Library at 11am on Saturday 19th October. You’ll be able to buy the book in the library shop after the launch.

About Last Orders

Last Orders is the result of four years of meticulous research by John – and hours spent writing in The Blunsdon Arms. Well it would have to be a pub where John worked wouldn’t it?

Supporting Charity

Some of the book’s proceeds are going to support Swindon Women’s Aid. The charity will receive a direct donation of £3 from each £10 selling price.

The book runs to 400 pages, includes 800 images and is an impressive heritage record of Swindon’s best known disappeared alehouses.

Natasha Moyles, spokesman for SWA said, “We at Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service are delighted to have been chosen as the beneficiary of this fascinating project. It is a continuing challenge to raise adequate funds for the essential work we do locally. Initiatives such as John’s enable us to continue to help more victims of domestic abuse within Swindon”

Other Events

John is giving a talk to Swindon Civic Voice on Thursday the 7th November – more information on that here: https://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk/2019/10/talk-john-stooke-last-orders/

The Swindon Civic Voice talk aside, John book sales and signings at:

  1. The Designer Outlet Centre: November 16th
  2. The West Swindon Centre: November 23rd
  3. STEAM Museum: November 30/31
  4. The Brunel Centre: December 8th
  5. The Old Town Co-op: December 14th

An ideal gift for the CAMRA and real ale lover methinks. And one that supports such a splendid cause.

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