Life stories from a village postcode.
Latest Podcast Episode
Tiggi, lives in a gorgeous Somerset village . Always on the move with her assistance dog Jackie, she pops in along the way to see friends and chat about community and life. Everybody has an untold story and Tiggi’s on a mission to dig them out !
Recent Podcast Episodes
I had a real scoop this month. For our Draycott Diaries Jubilee Special, I chat with internationally acclaimed choral conductor, composer and organist Barry Rose OBE.
As resident organist and Master of the Choir at St Paul’s Cathedral in London from 1974, Barry participated in many royal services. These included the 1977 Silver Jubilee and the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.
Barry’s glittering career started with no qualifications whatsoever, just a love for pipe organ music – practising regularly on a harmonium and the local cinema’s Wurlitzer-type organ to learn his craft. This eventually allowed him to get away from working in an insurance office (much to his Father’s disappointment). A lucky meeting got him an audition for the Royal Academy of Music, and determination and talent did the rest.
We learn that conducting a famous Cathedral choir has its hazards – including flying lampshades. More importantly, how was he allowed to turn his back on the Queen?
The romance of an historic steam train, puffing along through the gorgeous Somerset countryside. Children waving as passengers disembark at Draycott Station. Watched from the windows of the Railway Inn opposite. This was the Cheddar Valley Line, later re-named The Strawberry Line due to its delicious cargo of rich, red, ripe and juicy strawberries heading for the dainty plates of royalty and top restaurants. From late Victorian period to the early 60’s as transport needs were ever changing.
As Tiggi chats to local journalist and train enthusiast Harry Mottram, we learn about this iconic section of railway line, sadly stopped on its tracks in the mid 60’s, impacting on the local community. Espionage or a need for modernity? Only time will tell.
Where the tracks once lay and with some tunnels still standing firm, the environment may yet re invent itself as a pathway for nature. Both Tiggi and Harry hope this is the case.
(Strawberry Line Photos courtesy Harry Mottram)
Village resident Adam Clark had two passions as a boy, soldiers and trees. As he chats with Tiggi we learn so much from his past experiences. As a student army cadet Adam once organised an expedition in Nepal to the base of Mount Everest. On this trek he met some retired Gurkha soldiers they inspired him with their integrity and fiery spirit.
Adam went on to train as an Officer at Sandhurst, for the Royal Gurkhas Rifles as part of the British Army. He was delighted to be stationed in Nepal for a time, to recruit Gurkhas amongst his military duties. Around 2012 he and his Gurkha regiment were deployed to fight in Afghanistan.
Leaving the army was a tough choice but Adam wanted to start a family and lead a quieter life. A gift from his wife inspired him back to his love of trees and conservation. Putting himself through a myriad of training Adam is now a fully qualified Arborist. Having settled into the village for seven years, Adam and his wife recently bought their own piece of heaven. A plot of land at the top of the Mendip hills. Not the steep hills of Nepal, but close!
ADAM CLARK TREE SERVICES
Tiggi and her guide dog Jackie set off three years ago to record stories from a rural village. Many said this wouldn’t work. How very wrong they were.
As a special guest on BBC Radio 4 and other media platforms, growing an international following, the proof is in the listening. Tiggi is convinced she has only scratched the surface of what is possible.
50 episodes on, and now with a production team of six. Celebrate with us and listen to a compilation of favourite clips selected by the Draycott Diaries team. With such a girth of Life Stories and Documentaries, it was a tough choice. We are very proud to have achieved such a powerful audible account from one community. Especially in light of pandemics and current world unrest, coming together has never been more important.
Learning a new craft is never easy. Tiggi and Rob, as the Producer and Series Editor, kick off the show chatting about the ups and downs of making a Podcast. Especially as all face to face contact stopped for over a year during COVID-19 restrictions. How the team battled forward adopting new ways to produce the Diaries remotely.
Join us on our journey looking back over the last three years and what’s next on the horizon for Draycott Diaries.
John Connor is this months podcast guest.
Tiggi learns that every person she chats to on Draycott Diaries have hidden depths, and village resident jet pilot John Connor is one of them. A true biography of extremes.
Thrills of flying at over one thousand miles an hour in the notorious Phantom jet. Aerobatics at incredibly low levels and teaching rookie pilots that wont stop, regardless of the length of runway. Eject or die potentially the only option.
After a dazzling 22 years flying with the RAF, for John commercial flying became a realistic option. Tiggi tries to break code words and meanings between cabin crew and pilots in emergency situations. How badly behaved can passengers become after early morning airport drinking. And most importantly, how robust is a commercial aeroplane today?
After the smell of jet fuel subsides and with mandatory retirement, what next for John? Maybe a gentle form of flying nearer home and much nearer to the ground. A new world of discovery.
A brand new year and a brand new pantomime for the local community. This month Tiggi hooks up with three members of the local drama group Mendip Players.
Revelations include the debacle of walking on heels for the first time and the perils of business negotiations dressed as a pantomime dame. However, the group have covered a wide variety of genres in their time.
It was surprising to discover how the group was formed almost sixteen years ago. It seems that hidden talent was lurking in the village shadows just waiting to be launched by support and encouragement.
After many years of successful productions for “the seniors” a youth group was formed for “the juniors”.
With sell out shows every time, the group has been able to buy technical equipment and offer support to the local community.
There is nothing amateur about this group of thespians. With pride and friendliness as their mantra, and never taking “you can’t do that” for an answer, performances compete with the West End and repertory theatres.
“Frankenpanto” 3rd, 4th, 5th February 2022
https://www.themendipplayers.co.uk for further information