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Five ways you know you are in Somerset

THERE are several clichés associated with Somerset, some truer than others. As a relatively recent addition to this part of the country, I feel I can offer an outsider’s perspective on what really sets the county apart.

So here is my list of the five things which really stand out to me as being very, very Somerset.

Tractors

Somerset County Gazette: Competitors take part in the tractor handling event at the Ryedale rally

If you are on the road for more than five or ten minutes, you are guaranteed to come across a tractor either as it passes you on a narrow road or slowing you down up ahead.

Now, there was a time I would have been angry about getting held up in this way every single day, but here, I like to think these tractors are one of the ways this county forces you to slow down for a bit and just take a breather.

Most people could benefit from a less frantic pace of life and that is one of the many wonderful things Somerset has to offer. The city folk don’t know what they are missing.

And honestly, what’s the point of living surrounded by all this beautiful countryside if we’re speeding through it so quickly, we don’t have time to really appreciate it?

The landscape

Somerset County Gazette: SOMERSET CAMERA CLUB CALENDAR 2018: Picture 5 - View across Porlock Bay, by Pauline Watling

Talking of beautiful countryside, the next item on my list is the jaw dropping landscape largely taken for granted.

Offering variety as well as beauty, one minute you might be nipping through the rolling hills of the Quantocks, a place many people visit as a holiday destination, when a few miles down the road you are surrounded by one of the flattest and most breathtaking areas in the country, the Somerset Levels.

As well as the natural landscape, there are innumerable pretty towns and villages which are a pleasure to behold, such as Porlock, Somerton, Selworthy and Castle Cary to name just a few.

Honesty boxes

Somerset County Gazette: Customers were asked to leave money in the honesty box for produce taken

This is something I’m not sure I ever saw until I came this far south-west – people offering their wares outside their homes with an honesty box placed beside for payment.

Popular front garden offerings include eggs, fruit and veg, and plants.

To see this kind of local trade still going strong in the area is one of the most heart-warming sights and tells you much about the people of Somerset.

Cider farms

Somerset County Gazette: Cider festival at East Coker

Carrying on in a similar vein, we come to cider farms. I’m not talking about the big professional set ups, I mean the smaller operations happening in people’s back gardens. They are absolutely everywhere.

If you’re looking for a rustic rendering of one of Somerset’s most famous exports, you won’t have to travel far before you stumble upon a handwritten sign on a piece of cardboard declaring CIDER accompanied by an arrow pointing you in the right direction.

The roads

Somerset County Gazette:

Finally I come to the roads.

I confess when I first moved here, I couldn’t understand why Google Maps kept sending me the back way to everywhere. Through country lanes and, at times, up and down what were little more than dirt tracks. I honestly thought the sat nav had a glitch which meant it was avoiding main roads.

Having spent several years here I have come to realise, dual carriageways are few and far between and if a road can comfortably fit a passing lorry and tractor, and has a white line painted down the centre, then that almost certainly is the “main road”.

It took some getting used to but as the years have passed, it no longer seems strange to be turning up roads which look like a scene from Postman Pat. In fact, I love those roads just as I love the views surrounding them, along with the slower pace life of life, and the array of goods I can purchase from picturesque doorsteps along the way.

I’d love to find out what you find very, very Somerset so let me know in the comments below.

Also, as an adopted resident, share with me your favourite picturesque towns and villages to visit so I can make sure I’m not missing out.

Dramatic footage of major crash shows how quickly things can go wrong

Here’s a rather scary situation that, sadly, many drivers will face at least once in their lifetime. We present this dramatic video here for a few reasons, not the least of which being the camera’s proximity to the events. It’s about as close as you can get to a multi-car pile-up without actually being in it, but it’s also a slap-in-the-face reminder to always be diligent behind the wheel. Because things can go from normal to crazy in the blink of an eye.

Mercifully, only five minor injuries were reported as a result of this crash. It occurred during the morning rush hour commute on Highway 50 in Sacramento, California on 7 June, with The Sacramento Bee[1] reporting it made a complete mess of traffic for several hours. The above video comes from ABC10[2] and captures everything unfolding, and actually, it’s rather deceptive as traffic on the five-lane highway looks fairly light.

For reasons unknown, traffic in the second-to-right lane apparently slows and a beefy work truck isn’t able to stop in time. The large Budget box lorry in the centre lane obscures the view, but the work truck brakes hard and hits a Cadillac CTS, sending the work truck into the box truck as it passes. Meanwhile, behind the work truck is an ambulance that also can’t stop in time, rear-ending the truck as yet another pickup truck smacks the ambulance. Thankfully, reports state the ambulance wasn’t transporting anyone at the time.

Further up the road, the big box lorry is left swerving until it flips over and slides to a stop, blocking three lanes of traffic. It’s at this point we finally see the Cadillac, and we also see there was another white pickup truck nearly at a stop in front of the saloon. The truck drives away from the scene so presumably it wasn’t struck, but there’s no indication of slower traffic in front of it so yeah, the reason for the slowdown is a mystery. As for the box truck on its side, at least one car hit it after it flipped, so that’s six vehicles down and a five-lane highway closed in the span of eight seconds.

Reports don’t list a specific cause for the accident[3] or point to any one person at fault. It’s odd that none of the vehicles caught on camera reacted to potential slow traffic ahead until the work truck hit the Cadillac, but the outcome is the takeaway here. Stay safe out there folks, and don’t take that daily commute for granted. Giving yourself an extra second of reaction time can literally mean the difference between getting to work on time, or not getting there at all.

References

  1. ^ The Sacramento Bee (www.sacbee.com)
  2. ^ ABC10 (www.abc10.com)
  3. ^ accident (uk.motor1.com)

Hero truck driver parks under motorway bridge to save man’s life

A lorry driver who parked underneath a motorway bridge where a man was threatening to jump has been praised.

The heroic trucker moved his HGV onto the hard shoulder and parked it up directly underneath the part of the M62 bridge where the man was sitting over.

He then left it there until the man was safely escorted off the bridge by police.

An extremely distressing image emerged today showing the man, who had climbed over the bridge railing, sat on a ledge looking down at the carriageway while officers spoke to him him.

The image has now been shared by dozens of times on social media with praised being heaped on the lorry driver for his quick-thinking actions.

One person wrote: “Well done to that lorry driver. Hope the person on the bridge gets the help they need.”

Another said: “Trucker is a good human and deserves the utmost respect.”

Vulnerable Citizen Support Leeds posted: “IT’S OKAY – NOT TO BE OKAY.

“This is a picture from the M62 Motorway Bridge – a passerby has posted it to raise awareness of the situation at hand.

“What people don’t understand is that to jump on the other side of any bridge – indicates something drastically wrong with their mental health. But what’s next……..?

“I have family who have been at this point before and still had to wait a week for an appointment when she found herself on top of a bridge – this post is to raise that awareness that – IT’S OKAY – NOT TO BE OKAY – and you can or should speak out.

“What a trucker – stopping on the hard shoulder and leaving his truck there – to ensure when he did jump – it wasn’t a longer distance to the floor.”

Helplines and websites

Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected][1] , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.

For support for people feeling suicidal, if you are concerned about someone or if you are bereaved by suicide see http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk[2]

CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.

Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Beat Eating Disorders: Beat provides helplines for adults and young people offering support and information about eating disorders. These helplines are free to call from all phones. Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677, Studentline: 0808 801 0811, Youthline: 0808 801 0711. www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk[3]

Anorexia & Bulimia Care: ABC provide on-going care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends. Helpline: 03000 11 12 13. www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/[4]

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org[5]

For information and links to charities and organisations that can help with substance abuse, visit https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/[6]

Download the LancsLive app for free on iPhone here and Android here.[7][8]

You can sign up for free daily updates with the LancsLive newsletter here[9]

References

  1. ^ [email protected] (www.lancs.live)
  2. ^ http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk (t.co)
  3. ^ www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk (www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk)
  4. ^ www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/ (www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk)
  5. ^ studentsagainstdepression.org (www.studentsagainstdepression.org)
  6. ^ https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/ (www.supportline.org.uk)
  7. ^ iPhone here (apps.apple.com)
  8. ^ Android here (play.google.com)
  9. ^ the LancsLive newsletter here (www.lancs.live)

Hero lorry driver ‘saves man’s life’ after parking under M62 bridge

A truck driver has been praised after parking his lorry underneath a motorway bridge where a man was threatening to jump.

An extremely distressing image which has emerged today shows a man who had climbed over the railing of a bridge over the M62.

He was sat on a ledge looking down at the carriageway.

When the lorry driver became aware of this, they moved their vehicle onto hard shoulder and parked it up directly underneath the part of the bridge where the man was sitting reports Leeds Live.[1]

They then left it there until the man was safely escorted off the bridge.

The image has now been shared by dozens with heaps of praise being posted for the driver of the heavy goods vehicle.

One person said: “Well done to that lorry driver. Hope the person on the bridge gets the help they need.”

While another added: “Trucker is a good human and deserves the utmost respect.”

Vulnerable Citizen Support Leeds posted: “IT’S OKAY – NOT TO BE OKAY.

“This is a picture from the M62 Motorway Bridge – a passerby has posted it to raise awareness of the situation at hand.

“What people don’t understand is that to jump on the other side of any bridge – indicates something drastically wrong with their mental health. But what’s next……..?

“I have family who have been at this point before and still had to wait a week for an appointment when she found herself on top of a bridge – this post is to raise that awareness that – IT’S OKAY – NOT TO BE OKAY – and you can or should speak out.

“What a trucker – stopping on the hard shoulder and leaving his truck there – to ensure when he did jump – it wasn’t a longer distance to the floor.”

Helplines and websites

Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected][2] , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.

For support for people feeling suicidal, if you are concerned about someone or if you are bereaved by suicide see http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk[3]

CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.

Greater Manchester Bereavement Service Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can help to find support for anyone in Greater Manchester that has been bereaved or affected by a death. No one needs to feel alone as they deal with their grief. www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk[4]

Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Beat Eating Disorders: Beat provides helplines for adults and young people offering support and information about eating disorders. These helplines are free to call from all phones. Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677, Studentline: 0808 801 0811, Youthline: 0808 801 0711. www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk[5]

Anorexia & Bulimia Care: ABC provide on-going care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends. Helpline: 03000 11 12 13. www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/[6]

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org[7]

For information and links to charities and organisations that can help with substance abuse, visit https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/[8]

References

  1. ^ reports Leeds Live. (www.leeds-live.co.uk)
  2. ^ [email protected] (www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
  3. ^ http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk (t.co)
  4. ^ www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk (www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk)
  5. ^ www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk (www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk)
  6. ^ www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/ (www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk)
  7. ^ studentsagainstdepression.org (www.google.com)
  8. ^ https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/ (www.supportline.org.uk)