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Letters, after several phone calls to outsourced call centres, to Mr John Cartwright -  Senior Manager of Collections and Extra Support - Électricité de France - in Britain

To EDF - I have just received this 'auto' reply which I disregard. The e-mail below is clearly addressed to the responsible officer - Mr John Cartwright.

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Seventh TreeDear Suzannah,  Clerk to the Haccombe with Combe  Parish Council

First - no response to two e-mails of 30-10-22 - docx. attached. Account for £180 rendered 2 years ago - for repair of small part of criminal damage to the ancient hedge bank. I have recently met with Jonathan Rowlands, the PRWO, and my new and conscientious neighbour Mr Paul Mair. The PRWO has arranged for DCC to deal with this small account - very kindly.

Second - I noticed last Saturday that another tree - I think the seventh, had fallen across my hedge bank.  Paul Mair sends a photo as seen from the drove track.  Attached.

I see there are at least 5 stems. I note that the roots are dead. I have no doubt that the trampling caused by the 4WDs + the use of a tracked mini-digger by the current deputy PC chairman, has caused root disease in the many fine wild cherries, and that has spread to other species. The crown of the newly fallen tree looks like a field maple. I am not a mycologist but I suspect that honey/bootlace fungus is involved, and a mix of other plant pathogenic fungi. The arson of the Ford Focus in June 2020 was a material culmination of the constant criminal damage to this ancient drove track.  The trees that have been made sick in their roots are the culmination in our natural world of the long continued criminal damage. That a parish council has actively sanctioned this is extraordinary and outrageous.

Third.  All costs that I will bear in dealing with this destruction will be passed directly to the PC, and I ask for prompt payment.  I attach an invoice for the 4 hours I spent with a skilled tree surgeon dismantling the cherry and hazel in drenching rain in November. - £60. £15 per hour - labour and power tools.

Dear Sarah,

I will try to be brief Sarah.  I meet many people, mostly the 'common' man.  Men and women who actually do things that are useful unlike the loudmouths in the Commons with their infinite conceit.  Their loathing of those in the 'House', but especially,for the present, in the opposition benches is plain but is expressed quietly.  Ms Swanson and the LIBERAL and DEMOCRAT party are good metaphors.  The party of Cleggover, now in Ca. with Facebook and in a 'mansion' we are told.  The party of coalition that drove the April 1st 2012 Health and Social Care Act which removed the duty of universal care from the NHS and made the moves via destabilise>demoralise to the eventual dismantling almost complete.  Still recoverable by a people that will get together when a yoke is taken off.  The party of coalesced austerity - the latter so successful that our National Debt is at its highest - 86% aside from those post WW2 years (at least 150%) when bankrupted again to the US, fighting for the freedom of Europe in WW2 as against for the ragtags of Empire with Germany and France in WW1.  The party of weather cock politicians.  But nothing new there in our representational '''democracy'''.  Peterloo, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Diggers, the Cornish Rebellion truer samples.

Summary re track leading straight up from four cross way to Ridge Road: It is not 'Gulmswell Lane'


No apologies for length. This is a very important business


Farms in hilly parts of Devon were poor. Wagons were not afforded. Pack horses were used to bring the crops in. Small numbers of animals would be driven up to pastures as they greened up. If wagons were available they could not be driven up this track or driven down given the steepness.

My custodianship

I opened up the long disused buddles/drains before we bought the 25 acres from the Boyds – about 32 years ago because I like to see things working and damage reversed. After the purchase I attended to them about 3 times a year and often with paid help. (Buddles above Home House Orchard and up Barcombe Lane were also opened up.) Later, when I was chairman of the Village Hall committee, heavy concrete lintels were spare. These being ideal for diverting water into the buddles, one was used for each buddle. They were fastened to the bedrock. Mark helped me in this - paid. There had been two 'rallies' prior to this – Midland Motor Club. The rallies involved at least 100 VW Beetles ?2WD. Some needed extraction by tractor. The track was widely flattened including the primroses and other flowers. Mrs Sutton, a widow of the Paignton Park Superintendent who lived by the road to Stoke, liked to walk the paths. She wept at the vandalism.