DorsetLife The Dorset Magazine
The best of Dorset in words and pictures
No.405 December 2012 £2.60
Holes Bay wrecks
Poole's incredible hulks
Weymouth TF Buxton: anti-slavery MP
Christchurch Marie Curie's Highcliffe hideaway
North Dorset A year in pictures
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in this issue
contents County comment & Letters
From 'primitive' beginnings
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The story of Colehill's methodists
David Hansford's images of the North
Steve Davis on a peregrine's training flight
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Alan Chedzoy on Thomas Hardy's The Oxen
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Colin Varndell's wildlife year
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The work of Diverse Abilities Plus
27 The incredible hulks
Poole's Holes Bay boat graveyard
Stuck for present ideas?
The county's many football clubs
A map showing Dorset places mentioned in this issue
The Palaeogene period
Options for private healthcare
When Marie Curie hid in Highcliffe
Restaurant review, food and drink listings
Anti-slavery campigner T Fowell Buxton
A Naga saga in West Bexington
Upcoming events in Dorset
The wrecks to be found in Poole's Holes Bay
David Hansford photo essay
Just how well do you know Dorset?
Apodemus sylvaticua – the woodmouse
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Llewelyn Powys on Christmas in Dorset
The Palaeogene period's influence on Dorset
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Roger Guttridge on terrible news at school
35 Weymouth's Wilberforce Anti-slavery MP, T F Buxton
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Marie Curie's time in Highcliffe
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This month’s cover Kingston church by Mark Bauer
This month’s centre-spread (pages 50-51) Avenue at Moor Crichel by Guy Edwardes
53 Colehill's Primitives
Methodism in East Dorset
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editor's letter ¿-Êv>ÀÊ>Êv>VÞÊviÜÊ ÜÕ`ÊÜi>Ûio¿Ê Thomas Hardy is not generally remembered for his ability to look on the bright side, but Dorset's best-known grouch was not entirely without that most precious and intangible of human gifts – hope, as can be seen from his (and our) Christmas poem: The Oxen. The year 2012 will be remembered for many things, and, whilst it is certainly true that not every one of them was good, this was also a year when even cynical and jaded individuals could gauge the happiness of the county in proportion to the number of yards of bunting on display. It was a year in which our athletes and our volunteers excelled themselves; it was one when the most flint-hearted of republicans could admit that sixty years of dedicated service warranted some celebration… or at least use it as an excuse to enjoy a long break. It was a year in which the broader national economy both went into, and ultimately came out of, a double-dip recession, when public sector cuts bit deeper and Dorset's public bodies and charities were squeezed until they squeaked under the financial pressure. Equally, though, it was a year when, despite floods and other natural disasters, acts of inhumanity and examples of human frailty, this was a year which, although sometimes dark, had many moments of brilliance. So, in this month of miracles and goodwill to all men, perhaps we should all take a leaf out of Thomas Hardy's book and, even if only for a moment, remember that without dark, the light seems less bright, that there is also good in the world, and to allow ourselves to believe in better times ahead, for ourselves and those to follow.
DorsetLife The Dorset Magazine
is published on the last Thursday of each month by The Dorset Magazine Ltd from 7 The Leanne, Sandford Lane, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4DY. ISSN 0959-1079. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited without permission.
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letters to the editor We slept in Mrs Thatcher's room October's Dorset Life contained a piece by Roger Guttridge about nearly meeting Margaret Thatcher at a hotel in Wimborne. In 1982, just after her visit, but before we moved to Dorset, my late husband and I were booked into the same hotel. Owing to my husband then being wheelchair-bound, we requested an easy-access room. On being shown the room, which was on the ﬁrst ﬂoor above the main entrance, my husband, who had been listening to the Test Match cricket on our journey, was disappointed to discover that the room had no radio, or rather that it had been removed. On enquiring at reception about this, we were told that the radio had been removed by the Thatchers, who had needed the space and power socket for some other 'equipment'. J ELLIOTT Ferndown
Ode and Hambledon Hill I was delighted with the Hod and Hambledon hills article in Dorset Life (Dorset Walk, November 2012). As a child, I played many times in the shadow of Hambledon Hill and I have written a poem about this wonderful place for you to read. I lift my eyes unto the hill Half-hidden in the haze The grasses whisper, as my mind Remembers childhood days The battle raged above our heads We did not feel the pain We danced among the buttercups, Played hopscotch in the lane The young men died to save that hill And keep the children free While we had eggs for breakfast And bread and jam for tea The hill's still there – it always was A sentinel of war Tomorrow's children, guard it well As we, who've gone before P LANGRIDGE Bournemouth Publisher Lisa Richards.................................. firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Joël Lacey ..................................... email@example.com Advertisement Sales Director Dave Silk 01305 836440 ....................firstname.lastname@example.org Business Development Manager Julie Cullen 01258 459090 ................. email@example.com Advertising copy/website administration Eve Baker ........................................firstname.lastname@example.org Accounts/subscriptions administration Bryony O’Hara ................................email@example.com Editorial Consultant John Newth Editorial Designer Mark Fudge .........www.fudgiedesign.co.uk
If you wish to comment on anything whichh has azine, or sha hare appeared in Dorset Life -The Dorset Magazine, share your views on an aspect of living in Dorset, send aann Editor, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The Editor, Dorset Life - The Dorset Magazine, 7 The Leanne,, Sandford Lane, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4DY.
Are there any other copies? James Ismay, the 'model squire' of your article of July 2012, presented a book entitled Iwerne Minster to my father-inlaw. The hand-written inscription reads: To Harold Cuff. I hope you will accept this book as a token of remembrance. It records the fortunes of those who girded themselves for battle in the Great War 1914-1918, and the humble, but not less important, services of those compelled by age or necessity to stay at home. Yours, James Ismay, Iwerne Minster, May 1923. Only 500 copies of the book were printed; mine is number 164. I would like to know if any of your readers is aware of the existence of any other copies. Mrs CUFF Wareham Right and below Mrs Cuff's copy of James Ismay's book on Iwerne Minster, which was presented to her father-in-law, Harold Cuff, in 1923
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Shot on a crisp New Year's day, the first two hills moving upwards from the bottom left are Fontmell Down and Hambledon Hill, with Bulbarrow and Ibberton beyond and as one's eyeline continues to travel towards the south-west, two more ranges of hills can clearly be seen
Between the lower and higher Blandford roads from Shaftesbury sits Melbury Mill, its pond slightly ruffled by the February wind
Twelve months in North Dorset David Hansford captures the rural splendour of the north of Dorset in a picture for each month of the year
Twelve months in North Dorset Poplar trees by the crystal-clear waters of the River Allen at Wimborne St Giles, get ready to burst forth into life in early March
South-east of Sixpenny Handley, Wyke Down is home to burial mounds as well as the more modern face of the English countryside: fields of rape. This crop and barn were shot in mid-April
Covering an area of over 370 square miles, but with a population of under 90,000, the rural northern and eastern parts of the county are a photographer's dream. With the predominance of green grass, rolling hills, of pasture and arable land, and boasting some of the best views in Britain, this part of Dorset may be less favoured with visitors than Purbeck, the coast and West Dorset, but for a photographer it presents a tremendous wealth of opportunities. From Ashmore and the Cranborne Chase in the east, to Stalbridge in the west, with the Blackmore Vale and Stour valley, the chalk downs around Shaftesbury, the hill forts of Hod and Hambledon and the Dorset Cursus, rural North Dorset has everythingâ€Ś, but the sea.
The area from Stubhampton up to Chettle and Tollard Royal is peppered with green tunnels, beautifully cropped fields with sheep and a succession of treelined roads, perfect for pottering along in the May sunshine
Top The Blackmore Vale, with a stunning sky, captured on the cusp of spring turning to summer in June Middle Just behind the point of shooting is where the River Lyddon joins the Stour at Kings Mill (between Stalbridge and Marnhull) and captured at the height of summer Left A breezy August day on Cranborne Chase, with just a few buildings dotted around the otherwise wholly rural scene Opposite page Top left Often described as the prettiest valley in Dorset, Longcombe Bottom is showing to its best advantage on a sunny September day Top right The village of Fontmell Magna (centre of image), although bisected by the A350, disappears into the rural environment in this October shot Middle Sheltered from the worst excesses of the wind, Melbury Wood has managed to keep much of its autumn colours beyond Armistice Day Bottom As Dorset's highest village, Ashmore is, like Shaftesbury, 'an overcoat colder' than nearby villages. This early December shot makes one glad to be indoors.
Twelve months in North Dorset
David Hansford was educated in Weymouth and then Dorchester, and now lives in Gillingham, North Dorset. An annual exhibition displaying prints of his work has been held in Shaftesbury for some years and he has established a studio and gallery â€“ the Shearstock Gallery, near Gillingham, which is open to visitors by appointment. His work can be seen online at www.davidhansfordphoto.co.uk and he can be contacted by email on david@davidhansfordphoto. co.uk or by phone on 01747 831082.
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Living in Dorset
Anna Bowen’s stone carving of Paul Hyland’s words in close-up
Written in stone
Elm tree watch on Brownsea
Walkers along the South West Coast Path can now, as part of their ramble, enjoy the work of local poet Paul Hyland, whose words have been carved into stone by Anna Bowen. Volunteers from the Dorset branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association laid the stones along a 600-metre stretch above Chapman’s Pool. ‘I think what makes this project so special is that the words and the carved Purbeck stone relate so intimately,’ says Anna. ‘On the whole I think it is very difficult to marry poetry and lettering in stone as most of the time you only want a few words and fragmenting a poem is not always suitable. The idea of the design of the letters is that they are tooled – reminiscent of fossils – and are loose in their arrangement like stones in the surrounding dry stone wall.’ The poetry stones are part of a larger project to improve the condition of the path wall, funded by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team and the Purbeck Keystones project.
It is hoped that a group of rare native elm trees on Brownsea Island will be protected from Dutch Elm disease thanks to a new monitoring scheme by Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) and the National Trust. The disease claimed two trees on the island in 2009 and although the smooth-leaved elms proved to be survivors of the epidemic in the 1970s, they are still at risk. The group of 80 trees was discovered by DWT Brownsea Island warden, Abigail Gibbs, in 2004 after rhododendron clearance. They are thought to be the only such group of semi-mature elms in Dorset and Abigail says their presence on the island is something of a mystery: ‘Now it is vital that we maintain a close eye on them as an attack on one tree could easily spread and begin to destroy the collection,’ she says. Meanwhile, there has been a more recent rare find elsewhere on the island by DWT, that of the seaside moth, gymnancyla canella. It follows the return of prickly saltwort to the beaches of Brownsea, a plant that provides food for the moth’s larvae.
Bournemouth's Pavilion Dance South West is one of three music and dance companies to be chosen for mentoring by the Royal Opera House (ROH). The ROH Links scheme is part of wider programme to support the arts by sharing knowledge, experience and skills. Deryck Newland, artistic director of Pavilion Dance South West, said: ‘We both have a local community to serve and engage as well as a broader regional and nationwide role to fulfil and we both present the very best performance at our respective scales and also champion participation. Our selection by ROH for its scheme indicates a confidence in us as an organisation of national significance with the potential to develop, and a capacity and will to go on this journey.’ >>Ê >ÊÜÜÜ°>À>}i°V®
Below Hold Everything Dear, by Pavilion Dance South West developed in partnership with ROH
Above Elm stump with dark lines showing Dutch elm disease in 2009 Below Elm trees on Brownsea Island taken in October 2012
Pavilion picked for mentoring scheme
Volunteers from the Dry Stone Walling Association after the final poetry stone is laid
Flood intelligence agents wanted A team of community flood wardens is being assembled in an effort to prevent a repeat of the severe flooding that took place around Bridport earlier this year. The Environment Agency has already signed up a number of volunteers who will be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the town and play a key part in its resilience plan but it is keen to further boost the community network. Nick Reed, Environment Agency flood resilience officer, says a number of concerns were raised at recent drop-in surgeries but adds that it is ‘specific detail’ which is extremely important for flood prevention. ‘And that is where flood wardens can really help us with their local intelligence,’ he says. ‘We want to create a good core of volunteers who will work with the town council to produce the flood plan.’ 11
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Living in Dorset Cross-Channel energy saving initiative
Shaftesbury’s history in one place
Milk monitors in the classroom may no longer exist but an important new role is being created at some schools: the eco-monitor. A number of schools across the county have signed up to take part in a project funded by the European Union to learn more about saving energy. Called Sustainable Energy across the Common Space, the initiative teams up children from The Eco-Monitors at St Mary’s Church of England First School in Charminster are among those who will be Dorset, Devon and exchanging ideas and advice on being more green with Wiltshire with pupils fellow pupils in France from schools in France. As well as exchanging tips and ideas on looking after the environment, they will also learn about each other’s language and culture. Among those to sign up are Colehill First School, St Mary’s Church of England First School in Charminster and Wool Church of England Primary School. ‘Our school has a very active Eco-Schools team and we are keen to blog and email schools all over the country and in France as part of our multicultural curriculum,’ says Wool Primary’s eco-co-ordinator, Sally Warburton
Some 700 years of Shaftesbury history has been brought together and newly indexed at Dorset History Centre in Dorchester. Housed within 188 boxes, as well as featuring outsize materials, it includes Royal Grants, electoral rolls, court records, council minutes, property information and more to help trace the development of the The image is possibly the personification of town. Volunteers from Gold Shaftesbury on a deed of gift from 1557 Hill Museum in Shaftesbury were also involved in the project. Some of the illuminating items in the collection include a woman’s will from 1348, which archivist Stephen Forshaw says marks roughly the same time that the Black Death was present in the town, and a property deed of gift dated 30 September 1557, which appears to feature the figure of a man personifying Shaftesbury. ‘A common alternative name for Shaftesbury was/is Shaston,’ says Stephen. ‘We think that the man is a personification of Shaftesbury with a pun/play on the name Shaston, i.e. Shaft (arrow) and tun (the type of barrel his left arm rests on) forming Shafton.’ The catalogue can also be accessed online and Stephen says enquiries have already been received from as far afield as Canada.
Portland sailing Paralympian piped aboard Portland resident and Paralympic Gold Medallist Helena Lucas has been appointed as a director to the board of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA). It means that the inspirational sailor will provide the academy with valuable insight into the challenges faced by all disabled sailors Portland resident and Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas, and play a key part in who has been appointed to the board of the Weymouth and ensuring a long-term Portland National Sailing Academy future for Weymouth and Portland as an internationally recognised water sports venue. ‘Helena will be a very positive influence on the Academy,’ says John Tweed, chief executive of WPNSA. ‘To win a medal at the Paralympics is a phenomenal achievement but to win with a nine-point lead in front of an all-male fleet is truly outstanding,’ Helena, a regular at the Academy for the past four years, won her gold medal in the 2.4mR class after an intense 11-race series.
Dorset librettist wins international recognition Dorset writer and librettist Ben Kaye has won an international award for writing the story and lyrics for an opera based on human trafficking. He won the best film/stage production category of the Human Trafficking Media Awards in which writers from BBC television and radio, the national press and other world media were also recognised. Ben, who lives in Hazelbury Bryan, wrote the opera, Anya17, to raise awareness of human trafficking and has received support and praise from bodies such as the United Nations. ‘I had no idea that I could possibly win,’ says Ben. ‘I was happy enough just to be shortlisted and to be in such prestigious company.’ Ben’s upcoming projects include writing a large-scale work for Paul Mealor, the composer of Wherever you Are by the Military Wives, and the words for a new Christmas carol by renowned composer Judith Bingham. Anya17 composer Adam Gorb, director Caroline Clegg and writer Ben Kaye receive the award
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Living in Dorset Alien alert
Councillor Hilary Cox, chairman of Dorset Waste Partnership, opens the biogas plant
Dorset feed mill first for renewable energy A Dorset village has become home to the first feed mill in the country to be completely run on renewable power, thanks to a multi-million pound anaerobic digester that turns food scraps into energy. The new biogas plant on Bourne Park Estate in Piddlehinton is supplying electricity and gas to Mole Valley Farmers’ neighbouring Dorchester Feed Mill. Operated by Eco Sustainable Solutions, it sits on a twoand-a-half acre site which was previously used for pig units. This is somewhat appropriate since as well as taking in up to 15,000 tonnes of organic waste annually it also uses up to 6,000 tonnes of pig slurry to create methane gas. Dorset Waste Partnership helped Eco to realise its ambitions and it is likely the plant will act as a blueprint for similar ventures in the future.
Dorset firm beats off e-commerce giants A Dorset family business in the Blackmore Vale, which began life as the town blacksmith, has beaten major retailers such as Amazon, Littlewoods and Lakeland to win a national trade award for the quality of its service. Harts of Stur in Sturminster Newton won the Direct Retailer in Housewares Award, confirming its position as a leading online retailer of cookware, kitchenware and kitchen electrics in the UK. The company was founded in 1918 and Graham Hart attributes its success to having a team of conscientious and hard-working staff who have in-depth product knowledge and dedication to customer service. ‘We treat our online customers exactly the same as shop customers,’ he says. ‘Most consumers have a greater confidence in shopping online when they know they are dealing with real people working from a real shop rather than a faceless warehouse.’ Harts of Stur managing director Philip Hart (centre) receives the award from Masterchef presenter Greg Wallace and a representative from category sponsor Insight Housewares
The Natural Environment Team at Dorset County Council has received a healthy response to its call for sightings of alien species. Worry not, we haven’t been invaded by extra-terrestrial beings but rather the call relates to unwanted plant species such as Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed. Members of the public are invited to log sightings of such pests using the Living Record software on Dorset Environmental Records Centre’s website to help highway engineers and rangers concentrate their efforts on stopping their spread. The Knotweed can damage hard structures such as buildings and roads while Giant Hogweed produces toxic chemicals than can cause burns. Ecologist Annabel King explains that previously highway rangers recorded sightings on paper while out and about which proved time-consuming. Living Record uses an online map to record them so it is much easier to build a picture. ‘Anybody who can recognise these plants can help us by visiting our website,’ she says. ‘We are concentrating on Japanese Knotweed first, but the full list of plants we are interested in can be found at www.derc.org.uk and clicking on the Living Record link.
Le monsieur aux camellias Camellias grown in Dorset have become unlikely stars on Scottish television. The producers of long-running BBC Scotland gardening programme Beechgrove Garden decided to tackle the challenge of growing camellias and for advice turned to Trehane Nursery in Wimborne, one of the country’s leading authorities on the subject. David Trehane and his team went one better by supplying plants to help the show start its collection. The programme’s garden is set on a two-and-a-half acre site on the outskirts of Aberdeen on what can be a rather cold and inhospitable slope for plants so the camellias will over-winter in a conservatory. ‘I’ve made a point of watching Beechgrove Garden for the first time and it was good to see our camellias had arrived safe and sound,’ says David. Beechgrove presenter Jim McColl described the hybrid Nicky Crisp plant supplied as a ‘wee cracker’.
David Trehane who is keeping up with the progress of his camellias on the Scottish gardening programme
One of the camellias supplied to the Beechgrove Garden, the C.hybrid Nicky Crisp, described by presenter Jim McColl as ‘a wee cracker’
Wareham Choral Society present
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Saturday 8th December 2012, 7:30pm. Lady St Mary Church, Wareham Tickets ÂŁ8.00 to include refreshments Programmes from Joys or enquiries to 01929 552272 Photograph courtesy of Ken Ayres
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Focus on Wareham
Within these walls Sue Weekes looks at the work of Wareham's District Development Trust Just over ten years ago, a group of dedicated volunteers from Wareham came together in the belief they could turn good ideas into reality for the benefit of the community. Since then, the Wareham and District Development Trust (WDDT) has helped to establish an online learning resource, mobility centre, BMX and skateboard parks, several green spaces and conservation areas, play parks and sensory gardens and a range of support facilities for young and old. Earlier this year, it secured the return of the famous Wareham Bears teddy bear collection, finding it a new home at the Blue Poole near Stoborough. ‘When the members of the Trust first came together it was simply to respond to a request from the community for an online learning centre,’ says John Scott, development manager at the Trust. ‘No one realised at the time that the success of that project would lead to another and another. Ten years on we cannot believe what we have achieved with the community, and for the community.’ The Trust achieves its aims by fund-raising, Lottery grants, help from organisations such as Viridor and Sita, local groups and schools as well as the town and district councils.
The artwork from a south-western point along the Wareham Walls walk.
Two of its ongoing projects are designed to enhance a walk along the town’s famous Saxon Walls. Seven interpretation boards are being installed along the 1200m route so for the first time the entire history of the Walls will be available to walkers. They have been written by local historian Lilian Ladle and Dorset Wildlife Trust and graphics provided by local illustrator and designer Maria Burns. Where possible, the Trust always uses local people and suppliers to realise its aims. It is also working in partnership with students from the Purbeck School, English Heritage and Maria Burns to turn the Town Pound into another attraction. The site is being cleared and Maria is working with the students to create a number of life-size farm animals which will be positioned in the Pound. John adds though that there is a still a funding shortfall for this project. ‘Our two current projects have involved a lot of hard work from a lot of people,’ he says. ‘But all that effort will result in a long-lasting legacy for the community and will encourage even more visitors to our wonderful Saxon walled town.’
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Focus on Bournemouth
Gardens of delight
Bournemouth's Central Gardens
Bournemouth's gardens have been recognised for their outstanding achievement, as Sue Weekes reports It’s official: Bournemouth Borough Council’s parks and gardens are blooming marvellous. The council’s gardens scooped a host of awards in this year’s regional Southern and East England In Bloom Awards while 13 Green Flags were awarded to the town’s parks, which recognise the best green spaces in the country. And as if all this wasn’t enough, the council also won a silver gilt award for its first show garden, A Very Victorian Fantasy, at the prestigious Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. ‘Bournemouth is a major tourist destination and is recognised for its environment. The awards are part of keeping that environmental package at a high level so we continue to be a resort people want to come to,’ says Andy McDonald, parks service delivery manager. Among those gardens winning gold were Boscombe Gardens and the Lower and Upper Gardens (large garden category), Tuckton Gardens (medium gardens) and Bournemouth Crematorium and North Cemetery. Andy says the council was especially chuffed that the latter won at the first year of entering: ‘Some of the old cemeteries are stunning places,’ he says. ‘Some are extensions of a green space in an urban area.’ Boscombe and Tuckton claimed the honour of winning their
category and alongside the golds there were silver-gilts for Seafield (medium garden) and Swanmore Gardens (small garden) while Bournemouth also struck gold in the Coastal Town of the Year category. Although not council driven, Andy also wants to highlight the achievement of Mrs Duddon of Ravine Road, Bournemouth, who won the front garden of the year award. Meanwhile the council built on its reputation in the Green Flag Scheme. Lower Gardens claimed the council’s first Green Flag more than 12 years ago and this year Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve and Springbourne Gardens joined the roll of honour. Andy is keen to credit the input from the community in helping to achieve such high standards in all of its gardens and parks. He cites individuals such as Bournemouth in Bloom stalwart and chairman Di Parker and the council’s nursery manager Chris Evans, and is also keen to acknowledge the part played by the community. As well as the many friends of the park groups and other volunteers, help also comes from those involved in community payback and back-to-work schemes. ‘The collective of all of these people is really important to us to maintain the high standards,’ he adds. ‘We couldn’t do it without them.’
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Focus on Gillingham
Where there's music, there's brass… and silver Gillingham's Imperial Silver Band is marching to a new beat, finds Sue Weekes When musical director Paul Williams
Another milestone for the band turned up at the bandroom of the was an open day held in September Gillingham Imperial Silver Band in this year. The public were invited 2010 for the first time there were just to come into the bandroom and the over a dozen players in attendance, day also saw both the senior and less than half strength for such a band. training bands play on the street. ‘But we have worked hard to attract Nick Crump, the Dorset musician new players,’ says Paul, who studied famous for his amazing collection at the Royal Northern College of of weird and wonderful brass Music and has also held the principal instruments, such as the boghorn percussionist’s chair at Woodfalls Band A young visitor has a go on a tuba at at the Imperial Silver Band's made from an Armitage Shanks in Wiltshire since 1988. ‘We also have open day toilet bowl, also took part. ‘There a training band where anyone – no matter how young or were also plenty of opportunities for youngsters to come old – can come along and learn an instrument. And thanks and have a go on a huge variety of instruments,’ says Paul. to this set-up we have seen lots of new musicians graduate ‘I am delighted to say that as a result of this, our training into the senior band.’ band has now attracted lots of new budding musicians.’ Gillingham Imperial Silver Band describes itself as a The band is just about to embark on another nautically community brass band in the heart of rural Dorset. A ‘silver’ themed project when it travels to Weymouth this month band is similar to a brass band except it has mostly silver (December) to compete against many other brass bands from instruments. A band has existed in Gillingham since the around the Wessex region. Paul explains that it has chosen 19th century (although there was a break between 1914 and to play a new and ‘quite challenging’ piece called Penlee by 1927). It began as a jazz band supporting local charities the composer Simon Dobson. ‘The music tells the tale of the and playing at hospitals and then in 1928 developed into 1981 Penlee lifeboat disaster and to help us get to grips the town band as it is known today. Since then it has with the music the composer visited the bandroom to give a played an important part in the community, whether it be workshop on the piece,’ says Paul. at civic events, fêtes, carnivals or church services and is As well as his other role at Woodfalls, Paul works as available for private hire. a music tutor and percussionist around the county and The band competes in a number of contests throughout regularly plays as a guest for other bands while his music the year and has qualified for national finals on four is published by the New York publisher HaMaR Percussion occasions. Paul, who attended Oakmead School just outside Publications. He has a hectic musical schedule but is Bournemouth where he learned to play the cornet (he also clearly devoted to his role at Gillingham. ‘Conducting the went on to master the tenor horn and percussion), led the band is a brilliant experience. For a start, they really are a band to win the third section at last year’s 2011 Wessex great bunch of people and very sociable,’ he says. ‘And it’s contest and it is aiming to return to second section national very satisfying to put some new pieces on the stands, and take the band through the process of learning and then grading as soon as possible. It isn’t just about playing performing music.’ competitively, though, and Paul is delighted at the way the The Gillingham Imperial Silver Band has a series of band has thrown itself into new ventures. ‘As a band we Christmas concerts including on 9 December in Semley are trying lots of new ideas out, in particular the way we Church and 16 December in Gillingham School, featuring the hold concerts,’ he explains. ‘For example, back in April we training band. held a Centenary concert for The band is always the sinking of the Titanic. I keen to hear from new went away and researched the members and beginners actual music played on board for the training band the fateful liner, we searched meet on Mondays the library, dusted it off and while intermediates are performed it to a packed welcome on Wednesdays. out audience. The concert, For more information with the help of slides and and to see a full diary of video, helped tell the tale of events for the Imperial the Titanic and of the eight Silver Band, go to musicians in the ship’s band www.gisb.co.uk. who went down with her.’ The training band in action outside the Gillingham Imperial Silver Band's HQ 21
The Geology Of Dorset
The Palaeogene rocks In the fourth part of his series, John Chaffey looks at the rocks of the early Tertiary period The Tertiary Period is now often referred to as two separate divisions, the earlier Palaeogene, and the later Neogene. The Palaeogene rocks of Dorset only appear in the east of the county, where they are preserved in a huge downfold in the strata, known as the Frome syncline, which is part of the much larger Hampshire Basin. They are first encountered to the east of Dorchester, where they occur as a feather edge on the underlying Chalk. Eastwards they increase steadily in thickness and extend as far as the Hampshire border. To the north and the south they are bounded by the outcrop of the Chalk. In the north the Chalk of the Dorset Downs dips gently beneath the Palaeogene rocks and underlies the Palaeogene rocks at depth (in the Wytch Farm borehole, near Wareham, at depths of 500 feet) before reappearing to the south in the Purbeck Hills and the downland to the west beyond Lulworth. Here, in the Purbeck Hills, the Chalk is dipping steeply to the north: in some places it is almost vertical. Only two divisions of the Palaeogene are represented in Dorset, the highest strata of the Palaeocene and most of the Eocene. Towards the end of the Eocene, southern England began to be affected by the distant effects of the Alpine orogeny or mountain-building episode. Folding affected the newly deposited rocks then, but the main folding occurred later about 20 million years
ago. This was responsible for many of the important structures found along the Dorset coast and inland, such as the famous Lulworth Crumple exposed in Stair Hole at Lulworth, and the spectacular Ballard Down Fault seen in the cliffs to the south of Old Harry. After the Chalk had been folded, tilted and uplifted, there followed a long period of erosion by rain and rivers. The latter carried sediment down to the open sea which now lay some distance to the east of Dorset. This sea encroached towards the west from time to time, but for most of the Eocene, Dorset was the site of large tidal estuaries of rivers that flowed into the area from the west. Sediments were laid down in migrating river channels, swamps and lagoons, and along coastal beaches and sandbars. During this time a low lying plain was gradually built out towards the east. Dinosaurs and ammonites had become extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, probably caused by the impact of a large extra-terrestrial body with the Earth. Palaeogene times saw the proliferation of mammals, and smaller invertebrate groups such as molluscs. Remains of the rich flora of Palaeogene times are common in the Palaeogene beds of Dorset and include leaves and fossil wood preserved as black lignite. The oldest surviving Palaeocene rocks are the Reading Beds, although these have now been subsumed into the overlying London Clay formation on modern maps of the British Geological Survey. At the southern end of South Beach Studland is one of the most important sites in Dorset geology. At one time it was thought that the Reading Beds could be seen resting on an eroded surface of Chalk; the junction was regarded as an unconformity, representing a long period of erosion separating the uplift of the Chalk, and the deposition of the Reading Beds. Recent work by the Geological Survey now considers this junction may well be a fault, and that the overlying beds are younger than the Reading Beds, possibly being the Creekmoor Clay of the Poole Formation. Elsewhere the Reading Beds are made up of coarse sands and sandstones that form a prominent escarpment overlooking the lowest parts of the Chalk, particularly west of Bere Regis at Black Hill, and north of Morden, and around Chalbury, north of Wimborne. The overlying London Clay is seen in the cliffs to the north on South Beach, but, because it was deposited in relatively shallow water, occurs The Lulworth Crumple at Stair Hole
Broadstone Sand, south of Redend Point, Studland, with concentric bands of ironstained sand
as grey sands, rather than the stiff clay that is found further to the east in the Hampshire and London Basins. Dark iron-rich sandstones from within the London Clay have been used as a building stone in churches at Lytchett Matravers and Almer. Above the London Clay in the Palaeogene sequence is the Poole Formation. This consists of sands and sandstones alternating with beds of clay that have been widely worked in the Isle of Purbeck and the Poole area. These are mostly riverine or estuarine deposits, with occasional beds of marine origin. The beds of the Poole Formation are well exposed along the eastern coast of Purbeck in South Beach Studland and Redend Point to the north. The exposures, known as the Broadstone Sand, on South Beach Studland show remarkable red and yellow sands, with concentric bands of deposition, which occurred in a water-saturated sediment. On the northern side of Redend Point the sandstone contains some unusual iron-rich pipes, the origin of which is not clearly understood. Above are grey clays that are very rich in fossil leaves and lignite (fossil wood) fragments. Although there are no exposures of the overlying Parkstone Sand along the coast of Purbeck there is one spectacular exposure inland on Godlingston Heath, the Agglestone. The huge mass of gritty sandstone crowns a small knoll about a mile to the west of Studland. Until 1970, the mass, which is said to weigh over 300 tons, rested on a pedestal, but it collapsed in that year to rest in its present uneasily balanced position. Within the yellow-orange sandstone there are bands of quite coarse grit, with fragments of quartz, suggesting an origin in the south-west, where the mineral may have come from granite outcrops. There are various versions of legends that suggest it was thrown by the Devil at Corfe Castle or Studland Church, but he missed! Over a quarter of a mile to the west is the Puckstone, a similar but much less prominent feature. The clay strata within the Poole Formation contain some of the most important deposits of high quality ball clay in Britain. Ball clay owes its name to the fact that it was worked in the past by using spades known as â€˜tubalsâ€™: alternatively the name may be derived from the fact that once worked, it readily formed into rough ball-shaped masses. It seems to have originated as a weathering product (kaolinite) of feldspar within the Dartmoor granite. It was then transported eastwards (the clay particles being suspended in rivers), into the Dorset area, and then deposited in shallow lagoons in coastal estuaries.
It was initially worked in shallow trenches, later in shallow pits, and more recently in large open-cast pits. In the 20th century it was mined from adits under Creech Barrow, and also near Norden, but the last mines were closed in 1999. The clays within the Poole Formation have also been worked extensively in Poole and Parkstone, mostly for brick-making. The clays were also worked
The Agglestone, made of gritty Parkstone Sand, Godlingston Heath
Branksome Sand, showing dark river channel deposits, in cliffs near Branksome Dene Chine
Boscombe Sand, overlain by Barton Clay, The Batters, Hengistbury Head
Warren Hill, Hengistbury Head: Boscombe Sand and overlying Barton Clay with doggers, Warren Hill Sands above
on Brownsea Island, where a tile-making industry flourished briefly in the second half of the 19th century. Rivers continued to flow across the area of East Dorset during the deposition of the Branksome Sand, which overlies the Poole Formation. Repeated cycles of sandy deposits in the Branksome Sand can be seen in the exposed cliffs to the west of Branksome Chine. Each cycle consists of sands that become progressively finer upwards culminating in a layer of silty clay. These sands were deposited on the edge of the channels of wide, slow-flowing rivers. Occasionally, during a period of increased flow of the river, a deep channel was cut in these sandy deposits, and was subsequently filled by darker sandy clays. Such an infill deposit can be seen at the bottom of the cliffs immediately to the east of Branksome Dene Chine. Leaf beds are common in the Branksome Sand, and include fragments of lignitic wood, that sometimes exhibit boring by marine molluscs. The Branksome Sand forms the face of the cliffs from Poole Head eastwards to Durley Chine, and the lower part of the cliffs as far east as the low-lying land just to the west of Hengistbury Head. It is likely that the sea later invaded the low lying estuarine plain that existed in the Bournemouth area during the time that the Branksome Sand, which
underlies much of Bournemouth, was deposited. Hence the Boscombe Sand consists of beach sands and other sands deposited immediately offshore. Pebble beds are important in the upper part of the Boscombe Sands, and these represent the remains of old beaches. The Boscombe Sand first appears in the cliffs just to the east of Durley Chine and then forms the upper part of the cliff as far as the end of the promenade at Southbourne. It reappears in the bottom section of the cliffs in the Batters, at the western end of Hengistbury Head. Here it consists of buff-or brown-coloured sands, with a remarkable band of dark-coloured bituminous sand. Above are two lines of pebble beds, separated by greyish sand; these are clearly visible in the cliff profile as they decline in height to the east â€“ they reach beach level just to the east of Warren Hill, the highest point of Hengistbury Head. The uppermost part of the Palaeogene sequence in Dorset is marked by the marine beds of the Barton Clay which forms the middle and upper parts of the cliff at Warren Hill, Hengistbury Head, indicating that the sea flooded into the area again. Here, the Barton Clay is composed of greenish-grey clay, with an important glauconite content, a mineral that gives the clay its distinctive colour, and confirms its marine origin, probably in water rarely disturbed by waves. Within the Barton Clay there are four discontinuous bands of ironstone nodules known as doggers. These were quarried in the mid nineteenth century on the far side of Hengistbury Head, and were also collected from the base of the cliffs. From here they were taken to Southampton in barges and then shipped to South Wales for smelting. Once they had been removed from the base of the cliffs their protective function ceased, and the subsequent erosion dramatically altered the shape of the Head. The extraction of the ironstone ceased in 1870, but the cliffs remained unprotected until the building of the Long Groyne in 1938, which led to the accumulation of sand and shingle at the base of the cliffs, thus affording protection once again. The sequence is completed by the muchgullied Warren Hill Sands at the top of the cliff. Their yellow/gold colour contributes much to the attractive appearance of Hengistbury Head.
Colin Varndellâ€™s Wildlife Year â€“ December
The woodmouse (also known as the long-tailed field mouse) is abundant throughout Dorset. Typically it lives in hedgerows, copses and gardens feeding on seeds, fruits and invertebrates. In rural areas of Dorset, this small mammal enters human dwellings in winter, seeking warmth and food.
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The strikingly modern Twin Sails bridge is in stark contrast to the maritime detritus in the foreground
The incredible hulks Graham Hobbs looks at the astonishing number of wrecked vessels abandoned in Holes Bay Holes Bay is the site of Poole's prestigious new Twin Sails bridge, designed to reflect the nautical history of the town and of its famous natural harbour. The entrance to Holes Bay is straddled by the multimillion pound world-renowned luxury motor-yacht maker Sunseeker. A little further along its eastern shore, next to the Twin Sails bridge, lies the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) training college; a little further inland along the western shore is the busy Cobbs Quay Marina. All in all, Holes Bay has impressive credentials as a hub of the ocean-going community, whether travelling in sumptuous luxury, sailing more modest craft or indeed needing to be rescued at sea. Yet on arriving in Hamworthy on the western shore of Holes Bay, it is none of these that is likely to catch the eye; it is more likely to be the sheer number of wrecks rotting slowly into the mud of the bay. Some might regard these wrecks as clutter â€“ navigational hazards or unsightly litter that spoils a beautiful wild place. However, they are something else altogether: they are a connection with the past, with the countless generations of people who have lived and worked around the shores of the bay in days when it was not common to understand the thinking behind environmental protection. To these people, for whom the landscape was a resource, Holes Bay didn't need to be 'protected' because they would never exploit it, just live on it and off it. There is something compelling about the appearance of wrecks; they are a visible and palpable
connection with past generations and the marks they left which still scar or adorn the landscape â€“ depending on one's point of view. Pristine wilderness is lovely, assuming such a thing is still to be found on this planet, but this scatter of socio-industrial artefacts has its own impact on the imagination; one is seduced by the thought that one might be seeing a scene that would be instantly recognisable to the first human being ever to have laid eyes on
The RNLI headquarters acts as an ironic backdrop to the clearly distressed abandoned boat in the foreground
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The incredible hulks
More memory than boat, this rusting hulk has an abstract serene beauty all of its own
it. It is the opening scene of the drama that was our ancestors' lives â€“ the stories one imagines on seeing something from the past. Not necessarily the true stories of what actually happened and when (although researching their history can be fascinating and rewarding), but that comes later, if one is interested and motivated enough to do the lengthy research work required. No, these are the first stories that spring to mind on looking reflectively upon a scene; they are the ones that engage one's interest and forge a personal connection to a place where there was not one before. The stories one creates can be as imaginative or prosaic as one's temperament demands, but when it comes to wrecks, the imagined stories are usually sad ones. They are stories about dreams that have quite literally run aground, or been holed below the waterline, they are about the once-bright hopes and the excitement of possibility, lying forgotten due to accident or injury. They represent the struggle to hold on in hope against the commercial pressures of a changing world - or, in more human terms, simply the inevitable decay wrought by the passing of years. All sorts of rib-like remains of past craft can be seen emerging from the mud of Holes Bay at low tide, representing many older generations of boats that have been abandoned or wrecked over hundreds, or thousands, of years. It makes one wonder what ancient wreckage might lie now entirely below the mud. The 2000-year-old Poole Logboat, which is on display at Poole Museum, demonstrates that Poole harbour has been navigated by boat for a very long time, and we also know that the Romans set up a base on Hamworthy, which would have been a landing and embarkation place. It seems logical also to suppose that early settlers would want to cross the narrow entrance to Holes Bay by sea rather than walk all the way around its perimeter. Lying right on the edge of Holes Bay, next to an open recreational space, there is an old rusting iron boat which is probably the most accessible of the Holes Bay wrecks, although it is difficult to see now how it came to arrive at its present position. It might have passed up the channel on a Spring tide, but why was it abandoned? It is now well-and-truly holed below the waterline, but the hole must surely have come since it reached its final resting place as an
iron boat with a hole in the prow would sink like a stone. Of all the boats that are no longer seaworthy around Holes Bay, perhaps the most surprising feature is just how many of them have simply been abandoned at their moorings â€“ some are still chained or tied to mooring posts. Many of these are quite old, and so must have been abandoned some time ago, reflecting the changing pattern of employment in the community as few old working craft are still used. Nonetheless, the process of abandonment continues, with more modern dinghies also lying forlorn and forgotten, tied to their posts like a faithful hound, too dutiful to leave the spot where its owner left it. The well-maintained yachts and motor-launches kept at Cobbs Quay stand in notable contrast to the rotting and rusting working boats they have now largely replaced on the waters of Poole Harbour, but even though the working boats have been abandoned by their owners, they have not been abandoned by all: wrecks showing above the waterline are popular perches for gulls, egrets and cormorants and, ironically, serve as mooring points for newer boats. Holes Bay is at its narrowest and deepest at its entrance where it forms a single permanent channel. Unsurprisingly this is where there is the most boating traffic both now and in years gone by. The neck of
A swan surveys the wrecked boats and the pristine pleasure yachts in the marina beyond
This group of wrecked boats has more of the look of an installation artwork, than of a collection of working boats
the bay is heavily developed on both sides, with the eastern shore of the bay further built up, but the western shore â€“ fenced off by the old power station, has been little used for many years. These factors combine to make it rich in old wrecks now clearly visible from the Twin Sails bridge. It is perhaps amusing that these boats in distress are also so clearly visible from the RNLI training college, but the
wrecks have been there a lot longer. Most of the now-visible wrecks and abandoned boats are on the Hamworthy side of the bay, but while this is by no means an exhaustive survey, it would not be complete without what is probably the most often seen of the wrecks lying, as it does within view of the A350 Holes Bay Road at Sterte. A large iron vessel, now rusting gently into the bay at the northern end of Cobbs Quay, could only have floated to its current position on a high tide and tells of a time when the bay was used for more than light leisure pursuits and occasional seasonal fishing for prawns or flounder. There are some more recent real wrecks, though maybe not quite so dramatic or picturesque as some of the old ones, like the fibreglass dinghy which sits out on the salt-marshes and which must have been washed up on a very high tide, maybe with the help of a strong wind. Wrecks, like derelict buildings, are graveyards that connect us with our history and remind us of our own mortality, they are places where the words sic transit gloria mundi (thus passes earthly glory) resonate with their own melancholy truth. However, like graveyards, they also help us reflect on what really matters, and resolve again not to waste our lives on the things that do not. Clearing Holes Bay of its wrecks would be a form of cultural vandalism, of saying that the past maritime culture of Poole and its generations of sailors, fishermen and port workers simply did not matter. Top The most accessible of the Holes Bay wrecks is right by an open recreation area. It is hard to see how this boat came to be here, though. Left Within view of the A350 Holes Bay Road at Sterte, this is probably the most visible of the wrecks
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Lifetime partnerships Diverse Abilities Plus helps some of the most challenged children and adults in Dorset to maximise their potential. John Newth has learnt more about its work. ‘The Paralympics showed that disability doesn’t
Diverse Abilities Plus has a sensory room at Langside School to improve engagement with children
necessarily exclude you. It made people more accepting and admiring of the fact that those with disabilities can do amazing things.’ The speaker is Mark Powell, Chief Executive of Diverse Abilities Plus, but for the origin of the charity he heads, the clock must be turned back 65 years to the very different attitudes to disability that were the norm in another year of London Olympics, 1948. In that year Marilyn Edwards was born in Bournemouth with what was eventually diagnosed as cerebral palsy. Her mother, Phyllis Edwards, was given advice that was standard at that time: ‘Put her away in an institution, dear. She’ll never be more than a
cabbage.’ The redoubtable Phyllis, sure that there should be better opportunities for children like her daughter, wrote a letter to the Bournemouth Echo and had a response from a handful of other mothers in a similar position to hers. From that initiative was born in 1955 the Bournemouth and District Group of the National Spastics Society. Today, as an independent charity and re-named Diverse Abilities Plus, it supports 450 families across Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth, involving a variety of disabilities and no longer just cerebral palsy. As the name implies, the emphasis throughout is not on disability but on what can be achieved. ‘Terms like cerebral palsy or autism don’t define people’, says Mark Powell. ‘Their abilities do, and we look for those individual abilities and work on them to maximise potential.’ One of the earliest and most lasting achievements was the establishment of Langside Centre, now Langside School, in Alder Hills, Poole, in 1959. There were fifteen pupils to begin with, a number that has now grown to 32, ranging in age from 2½ to 19. It caters for those so profoundly affected by learning and physical difficulties that not even the excellent local special schools can cater for their needs. With a ratio of more than one member of staff to each pupil, it has extensive medical facilities. Just as important, it uses tools like a sensory room, specialist training areas, speech and language therapy to develop even the most limited abilities to the maximum. Mark explains: ‘The aim is to find the right trigger, and then pupils at Langside can do things that most people, including much of the medical establishment, would say that they cannot do.’ Langside is only one of the means by which Diverse Abilities Plus supports families with profoundly disabled children. Smithers is a home where up to four children can stay for a few nights. Not only does this give a break to their parents – some of whom are getting up every two hours during the night, every night – it provides the children with new activities and improves their social skills. Shapes is the name for the service that the charity provides for children in their own home; again, the object is to give the parents a respite, but also to take the children out, perhaps to a youth club or just shopping, so that their horizons are widened. Tensions can inevitably arise in families where parents are giving the lion’s share of their attention
to a disabled child, and Diverse Abilities Plus is very aware of the need to embrace the whole family. Coping with CHAOS is a branch of the charity which supports siblings and parents as well as the child with disabilities. Started by two local mothers, it recognises that the long summer holidays are a particularly stressful time, and organises holiday ‘Play Opportunity’ sessions. For the disabled children to embrace fun activities and challenges independently, the charity runs another scheme called Project My Time, which provides holiday activities ranging from camping to speedboating. But disabled children grow up to be disabled adults, a process which in the early days of the charity was, in the words of Mark Powell, ‘like falling off a cliff’. In 1974 Edward House was opened as a residential care home for adults. Thirty years on, the preference was for its potential residents to live as independently as possible in the community and the charity chose to close Edward House and to develop its Supported Living service, which enables adults with disabilities to live in their own homes, if necessary with 24-hour support from a care team. Often these bungalows are provided by Diverse Abilities Plus. Until he died two years ago at the age of 88, one of the bungalows was lived in by Hugh, who had spent 55 years in institutions. He called the bungalow ‘About Time’, and said that the best thing about it was that he could choose the colour of the walls himself. Many of those in such housing will attend Barnabas, a day centre where up to thirty people can socialise and try new activities. And again, those responsible for the disabled person are not forgotten: support is provided as they work their way through the maze of benefits, administration and legal implications. The charity, which employs some 370 people, including those on a part-time or casual basis, derives most of its income – currently £5.1 million a year – from local authority grants and through the government’s direct payment system. However,
about £½ million has to be raised to provide many of the children’s school holiday projects, the charity’s advice service and specialist equipment, and to make adaptations to the Supported Living properties. As for all charities, the current economic climate is providing a challenge, but Fundraising Manager Helen Mortimer continues to be impressed by the generosity of the Dorset community. Local authority cuts have also affected revenue but Mark Powell does not see Diverse Abilities Plus as a political pressure group: ‘We just want to be good at what we do,’ he explains. And what they do is to give a lifelong commitment. ‘Youngsters whom we are helping now are looking to us to be still here, and still helping them, in sixty years’ time,’ says Mark. ‘It’s a big responsibility.’
Many of the activities, whether at Smithers, or as part of the Shapes scheme, improve social skills and interaction, as well as being fun and providing respite to parents and carers
If you wish to donate to, or otherwise help the work of, Diverse Abilities Plus write to: Unit C, Acorn Business Park, Ling Road, Poole, Dorset BH12 4NZ, call 01202 718266, or visit www.diverseabilitiesplus.org.uk
Phyllis Edwards (centre), the founder of Diverse Abilities Plus, was honoured with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the Wessex Charity Awards in October 2012
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Weymouth’s Wilberforce The abolition of slavery is usually attributed to William Wilberforce, but the man who turned his dream into reality was a Weymouth MP, Thomas Fowell Buxton. Tony Burton-Page tells the story of a forgotten Dorset hero. It is not always wise to dig too deeply into the
A portrait of Thomas Fowell Buxton
Belfield House, beloved home of Buxton's grandmother, was once a country home, but is now a part of the suburb of Wyke Regis
past of any port. Dark deeds lurk very near the surface of any coastal town with a seafaring history. Many of these are linked with smuggling of some sort, but even trade which was legally sanctioned seems unpalatable to a 21st-century conscience: in particular, the slave trade has cast a grim shadow on the reputation of such venerable ports as Liverpool, Bristol and London. Even some smaller ports played a part in this despicable trafficking – ships from Poole, Lyme Regis and Weymouth made the terrible journey across the Atlantic from Africa to the West Indies. But of all the ports tarnished in this way, Weymouth has the greatest justification in claiming that it redeemed itself. For its townspeople elected – and then re-elected six times over the next two decades – one of the great champions of the antislavery movement in Great Britain: Thomas Fowell Buxton. The name forever associated with that movement is William Wilberforce, the strength of whose fame has led to Buxton being forgotten by all but students of 19th-century history and some dedicated Weymouth campaigners. And yet his image is at our fingertips every time we pick up a £5 note: he is the man in glasses on the extreme left of the illustration on the back, which features the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry reading to prisoners at Newgate. Wilberforce is to this day the best known of the anti-slave trade campaigners, primarily because of his success in getting the Slave Trade Act on the statute book in 1807. But the Act only abolished the trade: it did not abolish slavery itself, which remained legal in most of the British Empire until the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, by which time Wilberforce had retired from Parliament and Buxton had taken over as the leader of the campaign there. Ironically, Wilberforce died before the Abolition Bill was passed, and it was
more than a year after his death that slavery was actually abolished, on 1 August 1834. This may seem disconcertingly recent, but in Britain itself slavery had been illegal since the Council of London in 1102, a ruling strengthened by Magna Carta in 1215; and in 1701 the Lord Chief Justice had decreed that any slave became free as soon as he set foot in England. Nevertheless, it needed men like Thomas Buxton to disseminate the concept of emancipation beyond the shores of Britain. As early as 1816, Wilberforce had become aware of Buxton’s talent and written him what we would now call a fan letter. By 1821 he
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Weymouth’s Wilberforce Left A statue of Thomas Fowell Buxton, 'friend of the negro', in Sierra Leone in Africa
Bank of England
decades later, he began thinking recognised his suitability as his about standing for Parliament, it successor. In a letter written in was almost inevitable that he May that year, he asked him to would choose Weymouth as his form an alliance with him ‘that constituency. may truly be termed holy’ and if Before that time, however, he Wilberforce were unable to finish was completing his education. ‘the war against the abuses of our He had made little progress criminal law’ that Buxton ‘would at school but a visit to the continue to prosecute it’. house of his friend John Gurney Buxton came from a well-off inspired him to greater academic background, having connections efforts. John and his ten siblings with the Hanbury brewing dynasty, were given instruction on a an old Essex family who had a daily basis, either at the village seat at Holfield Grange. He was school or at home, and Thomas born in the village of Castle was struck by their intellectual Hedingham on 1 April 1786. His curiosity. This was not the father (also called Thomas Fowell family’s only influence on his Buxton, in the fashion of the life: John’s sister Elizabeth was times apparently designed to the future Elizabeth Fry, prison confuse biographers) was said to reformer and philanthropist, and have been High Sheriff of Essex, her sister Hannah would become although his name does not Thomas’s wife in 1807. But a appear in the official lists. But more immediate effect was a Thomas junior did not know him new-found enthusiasm for his for long. At the age of four, he own educational future, and he was sent to a boarding-school in set his sights on going to Trinity Kingston-upon-Thames, and he College, Dublin. This was not did not leave it until the sudden as strange a choice as it might death of his father at the early seem, as he was due to inherit age of thirty-seven. Thomas was property in Ireland. In fact, this never materialised, then seven years old and, as the eldest son (there but Thomas did not waste his time at Trinity: he were four other children), he became the head of the graduated with distinction, gaining the university’s family at that tender age. Adulthood was thus thrust highest honour, the gold star. A month after upon him: a contemporary report said of him that ‘he graduating, he married Hannah Gurney. They spent never was a child; he was a man when in petticoats.’ their first few months together in a cottage near his At about this time Thomas was taken out of the beloved Belfield. school at Kingston, where he had apparently been Next year, at the age of 22, he started his first ill-treated and malnourished; indeed, he suffered from job. This was at Truman, Hanbury and Co., the weak health for all of his life. He was moved to a famous brewery in Spitalfields run by Thomas’s uncle, school in Greenwich run by Dr Charles Burney, son of Sampson Hanbury. He worked there for the next ten the identically named music historian and brother of years, gradually introducing many changes to improve the novelist Fanny Burney, and there he found a more both the efficiency of the firm and the working congenial environment. Life at home was dominated conditions of its workers, including a scheme to by the stern Quaker principles of his mother, although ensure that they could read and write. he never resented this: many years later, he wrote His zeal for social reform was manifest further that he constantly felt ‘the effects of principles when he joined the campaign for the relief of London planted early by you in my mind’. But the happiest weavers who were on the poverty line because of times of his childhood were the days spent at his grandmother’s country house near Weymouth, Belfield. the new factories. His speech at Mansion House in 1816 raised £43,369 for a benevolent fund for Nowadays it is in the residential area of Wyke Regis, them and was the inspiration for Wilberforce’s fan but in the early 19th century it was surrounded letter. As his posthumous biography (by his son) puts by lawns and gardens and had beautiful views of it, ‘Mr. Buxton’s public career may be said to have Weymouth Bay and the Isle of Portland. The house commenced.’ The next year he joined his sister-inhas been described as Weymouth’s finest and most law Elizabeth Fry’s important Georgian Association for the house and has Improvement of the recently undergone Female Prisoners an award-winning in Newgate, and restoration. Thomas in 1818 he stood was enchanted by as an independent Belfield and he candidate for never lost his love Buxton appears on the very left of the Elizabeth Fry side of the current five pound note Weymouth and for the place; when,
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Above The proposed Weymouth monument to Buxton Above right A silver snuffbox presented to Thomas Fowell Buxton when he lost the election of 1837 and left Parliament for good
Melcombe Regis in the general election. Winning six further elections, he was their MP until 1837. He summed up his stance in a contemporary letter. ‘I care but little about party politics. I vote as I like... but I feel the greatest interest on subjects such as the Slave Trade, the condition of the poor, prisons, and Criminal Law: to these I devote myself, and should be quite content never to give another vote upon a party question.’ He was as good as his words. He campaigned for a reduction in the number of crimes that had the death penalty, including forgery; he helped to bring an end to the practice (known as ‘suttee’) of the burning of Indian women at their husband’s death; he even supported Catholic emancipation in Ireland, a highly risky and controversial position. But it was the abolition of slavery which absorbed most his time and energy during his parliamentary career. After assuming the leadership of the antislavery campaign in parliament from Wilberforce in 1821, Buxton submitted a motion that ‘slavery is repugnant to the principles of the British constitution and of the Christian religion; and ought to be gradually abolished throughout the British Colonies.’ But by 1830 nothing had been done, so he organised petition after petition. he managed to persuade Parliament to vote for his bill by agreeing that slaveowners should be compensated, which angered many abolitionists. He received vitriolic letters from both sides, which took a toll on his health, but eventually his cause won the day. He left Parliament in 1837 but continued to press for further improvements in Africa. His health declined and he died aged only 58 in 1845. But
Weymouth’s Thomas Fowell Buxton Society has ensured that there will be a memorial to this hero, with a monument planned for Manor Roundabout at the end of the new relief road – a fitting position at the gateway to Weymouth.
A student from Weymouth College next to the portrait of Thomas Fowell Buxton, which he has carved for the proposed monument
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'Like a beast at bay' Ian Stevenson recounts the little-known story of Marie Curie's secret stay at Highcliffe The pale, rather gaunt widow attracted hardly a glance from other holidaymakers enjoying the sand, sea and sun at Highcliffe in the summer of 1912. She was only 44, but looked older. Her hair was already turning grey and a kidney operation a few months earlier had left her thin and weak. Hundreds of people must have passed by her on the beach or cliff top during her two-month stay at Highcliffe. None recognised the frail figure in a long black dress as one of the most famous women in the world, Madame Marie Curie. Being incognita was vitally important to Marie, the brilliant pioneering scientist, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win it twice. For she had come secretly to Highcliffe not just for her health but also to escape from French newspapermen who were hounding her over claims of a scandalous love affair. Marie’s much-needed break had been arranged by Hertha Ayrton, a valued friend in England. Hertha’s appearance, with her mass of frizzy black hair and sparkling green eyes, could hardly have been more different from Marie’s as they regularly walked together on Highcliffe beach and along the cliff top. But the women had much in common. Both were physicists and the widows of physicists. Marie had two daughters, Hertha a daughter and a step-daughter. Another link was their Polish ancestry. Marie was born and raised in Poland, later going to study, live and work in France. Hertha was born in
England to a Polish father who had fled from Tsarist persecutions against Jews in Poland. The women had first met in 1903 when Marie visited the Royal Institution in London with her French husband, Pierre. That was the year the Curies jointly won the Nobel Prize for physics. Their discovery of radium – a radioactive metallic element found in pitchblende and other minerals – and the effect of radiation on cells was to revolutionise the treatment of cancer. After Pierre’s tragic death in 1906, when he was knocked down by a horse-drawn wagon in Paris, Marie carried on their research and went on to win the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1911 for her work on isolating radium and studying its chemical properties. Hertha had done ground-breaking research work on the hissing caused by an electric arc and on how sand ripples are formed at the seaside. Although she had full encouragement from her husband – and former tutor – Professor William Ayrton, she constantly came
The right-wing French press, including the daily Excelsior, attacked Curie's candidacy for the French Academy with scurrilous and racist claims based on supposedly scientific analyses of her handwriting and facial characteristics.
Highcliffe beach in 1912, with changing huts and a cliff-top cafe. Author’s collection
'Like a beast at bay'
The widowed Marie Curie with her daughters Eve and Irène in 1908, four years before their holiday at Highcliffe
Right The Mill House where Marie Curie stayed. This postcard, sent from Highcliffe on 3 September, 1912, by a woman named Elsie, carries the message: ‘This is the house Mrs Ayrton has taken for the summer, we are here till the end of the month.’ No mention is made of the famous guest.
up against gender prejudice in getting her work recognised. And that was another link with Marie Curie. When Pierre Curie died, many English newspapers acclaimed him as the discoverer of radium. Hertha wrote to the Westminster Gazette: ‘Errors are notoriously hard to kill, but an error that ascribes to a man what was actually the work of a woman has more lives than a cat.’ She proceeded to show that radium had been discovered by Marie – alone and unaided – though her husband afterwards helped her to extract if from pitchblende. Hertha, writing in French, had kept in touch with Marie since their first meeting and had visited her in Paris. So she had great sympathy for Marie when in 1911 she was battling against ill-health and scandal. French newspapers had discovered that Marie was having an affair with a married colleague, Paul Langevin, a former pupil of her late husband. Some that had once extolled her now branded her as a Polish temptress and a home-wrecker. Because of the scandal, some people tried to discourage her from going to Sweden in December 1911 to collect her Nobel Prize. But she insisted: ‘I cannot accept the principle that the appreciation of the value of a scientific work can be influenced by the distortion and slander concerning my private life.’ Overwork and the anguish caused by the Langevin affair had already debilitated Marie when she went to Sweden. She returned in excruciating pain from a serious kidney infection – possibly a symptom of radiation sickness – but she was considered too weak to survive an operation, so it was postponed. Hertha Ayrton, knowing the stressful problems that Marie was facing, had been pressing her for some time to come for a holiday in England. In February 1912, she wrote to Marie: ‘I shall take a house by the sea in Devonshire or Cornwall for the months of
August and September, so you and your daughters will be able to have two months of sea bathing..... ‘You will not need to come to London before going there. I will meet you at Dover, or whichever port you come to, and we will all travel along the coast… in this way no one will know anything about your visit and if you come under another name you will be absolutely safe from intruding visitors…. If we can quite re-establish your health during your visit it will be a real joy to me.’ Marie had her kidney operation in March, soon after receiving Hertha’s letter. After a stay in a sanatorium she felt just about strong enough at the end of July to take up Hertha’s offer of a clandestine holiday in England. The destination was not to be Devon or Cornwall but the Mill House at Highcliffe, hidden away in the wooded Chewton Glen. The building, originally the 18th-century Chewton Mill, had been extended into a spacious house when it ceased to be a working water-mill in 1906. Marie, travelling alone as Madame Sklodowska, her maiden name, crossed the Channel on the CalaisDover ferry and was escorted to Highcliffe by Hertha. Her daughters, Irène, just coming up to fifteen, and seven-year-old Eve, who were then on holiday on the Brittany coast with their Polish governess, joined Marie a short while later. No friend was better suited than Hertha to offer secret shelter and nursing care to Marie. As a leading campaigner for women’s rights, Hertha had made her house in Norfolk Square, near London’s Hyde Park, a haven for suffragettes. Many suffragettes arrested for their ‘Votes for Women’ activities went on hunger strike in prison. Instead of force-feeding them as was done initially, the Government adopted a ‘cat and mouse’ policy of releasing them when they were near starvation, then re-arresting them after they recovered. Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel, the movement’s main leaders, who were so weak that they left prison on stretchers, were among
the so-called ‘mice’ nursed back to health by Hertha at her home. Apart from Hertha and the three Curies, the holiday party at Highcliffe included Miss Manley – an English governess for the children and, at times, Hertha’s daughter Barbara, a militant suffragette who had recently spent time in Holloway Prison. Another guest was Evelyn Sharp, who would later write a biography of Hertha with the dedication: ‘To Marie Curie – This memoir of her friend.’ ‘We were a merry party in spite of many preoccupations: the children saw to that,’ Evelyn recalled in her book. ‘Irène Curie already showed promise of the genius for mathematics one would expect to find in one bearing her name ... little Eve, adored by her mother and spoilt by everyone else who came under her sway.’ In France, Marie’s illness and her need to hide away from the newspapers had meant long separations from her daughters, who were cared for by their governess. Now, at Highcliffe, she could enjoy time with them and record their progress in a notebook. ‘Irène learns English and is in good health,’ she wrote. ‘Eve takes bathes in the sea despite the cold.’ The amiable Hertha took to the children, holding adult discussions on mathematics with the serious Irène and giving piano accompaniment for the lively Eve to sing French songs. Marie’s health slowly improved in the refreshing sea air, though she was still in pain. In a letter from the Mill House dated 19 August, she told Ellen Gleditsch, her Norwegian laboratory assistant and friend: ‘Unfortunately I am still suffering and can’t write at length.’ Importantly for her peace of mind, she remained just another holidaymaker at Highcliffe. ‘Her secret was so well preserved (naturally, in a household accustomed to sheltering "mice"!) that no newspaper discovered her presence in England,' wrote Evelyn Sharp. Two years after that memorable Highcliffe holiday the First World War erupted in Europe. Both Marie and Hertha used their different skills to help Allied troops. Marie, who had found that X-rays could locate objects such as shrapnel inside a body, established a fleet of X-ray vans that helped to treat wounded troops. She drove the vans to the front herself. Hertha invented the Ayrton fan, a flapping device used to clear battlefield trenches of noxious gases and bring in currents of fresh air. It was credited with saving many Allied lives during gas attacks. After the war, Hertha and Marie exchanged letters right up until Hertha’s death in 1923 at the age of 69. Marie was 67 when she died in 1934 of leukaemia, possibly a result of repeated exposure to high levels of radiation during her research. Just a year later her daughter Irène and son-inlaw Frédéric Joliet-Curie won the Nobel Prize for chemistry. They had discovered artificial radioactivity and shared the prize for their synthesis of new radioactive elements. Marie’s other daughter, Eve, became a journalist and later toured the world with her American diplomat husband, Henry Labouisse, after he became executive director of the United
Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). In a remarkable link with his wife’s family, one of Labouisse’s first tasks on his appointment was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of UNICEF in 1965. The Curie girls never forgot Hertha Ayrton’s kindness to their mother at Highcliffe. In her biography of Marie, Eve recalled her suffering in 1912: ‘Tracked down by physical ills and human baseness, she hid herself like a beast at bay .... In the summer her friend, Mrs Ayrton, received her and her daughters in a peaceful house on the English coast. There she found care and protection.’
Hertha Ayrton in her laboratory
The beautiful game in God's own county Stephen Roberts presents a short history of football in Dorset Dorset could hardly be considered a hotbed of football; it cannot be talked about in quite the same breath as Manchester, Merseyside or Tyneside perhaps, but wherever the game is played in the county it is played with a passion and besides, Dorset has certainly had its moments. It is difficult to trace the origins of football in Dorset for there are so few references any further back than Victorian times. One that we do have is to the Shrove Tuesday football ceremony of the Purbeck Marblers in Corfe Castle, which dates back some 700 years and involves a custom of kicking a football around the boundary of the village on the day that new apprentices are admitted to the Company of Marblers and Stonecutters of Purbeck. The ball is never touched by hand and is just trundled along in a ceremony, which is not at all reflective of any football ‘match’. Another mention of football (but sadly a gruesome one) comes in the 17th century in Dorchester when, just prior to the English Civil War, Hugh Green, a Catholic chaplain was executed there. Afterwards the Puritans were alleged to have played ‘football’ with his head. The game of football that we know today really
The 34,000 plus Cherries fans at the Auto Windscreens Shield Final, Wembley, 19 April 1998
began in Victorian times though and the oldest of all football teams in Dorset is claimed to be Gillingham Town in the north of the county; not to be confused of course with the Kentish version (just plain Gillingham with a soft G), Gillingham Town were formed as long ago as 1879. That claim to be Dorset’s oldest is complicated, however, by the county reorganisation that occurred in 1974, which led to towns like Bournemouth and Christchurch entering Dorset. Bournemouth FC (or the ‘Poppies’) can trace their ancestry back to 1875 when they were formed as Bournemouth Rovers, making them not only the oldest club in Bournemouth, but also one of the oldest in southern England. In 1890 they moved into their current ground, Victoria Park in Winton and also took up their current name. Bournemouth’s more famous neighbour, AFC Bournemouth, did not start up until 1899 and were known originally as Boscombe to distinguish them from the Poppies. As Boscombe flourished, to make its name more reflective of the district in which it played, it changed its name to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic Football Club, for many years the longest name of any club in the Football League. The more streamlined AFC Bournemouth came into being in 1972. The club is known as the ‘Cherries’. AFC Bournemouth is of course the most senior football club in the county and following the 1974 changes, its only Football League club. To illustrate that Dorset has had its high points, the club once reached an FA Cup quarter final losing to Manchester United’s famed ‘Busby Babes’ in front of a record Dean Court crowd of over 28,000 in 1957. Revenge was achieved in 1984 when a Cherries side, which was struggling in Division 3, beat United’s FA Cup holders 2 - 0 in the 3rd round, a result which brought their young manager Harry Redknapp to national attention. Under Redknapp, the Cherries reached their highest position in league football, the old Second Division, which they occupied for three seasons at the end of the 1980s. The recent return of Eddie Howe to the Goldsands Stadium has immediately re-energised the Cherries and reawakened fans' dreams of eventual promotion. Some of the lesser lights of Dorset football have also had their day in the FA Cup, none more so than Weymouth, who reached the 3rd round in 1949, losing 4 - 0 to Manchester United and then the 4th round in 1962, where they lost 2 - 0 to Preston. Weymouth FC was founded in 1890 and was nicknamed the ‘Terras’ almost immediately on account
Wimborne Market Square April 26 1992, the day after winning the FA Vase at Wembley
of its terracotta strip. During the 1930s Weymouth became a power in Western League football, but during World War 2 their Recreation Ground was requisitioned for the war effort and by its end it had become so dilapidated that much work was required to bring it up to scratch (it wasn‘t just Weymouth who were adversely affected by the war; Blandford United‘s ground was unplayable for some time after due to anti-tank traps). Weymouth’s ‘Rec’ was one of the earliest grounds to have floodlighting, installed in 1952, with a match against Southampton on 3 November being the first ever floodlit football match played in Dorset. Weymouth, for all its illustrious history, has had almost as many financial problems as the Eurozone in recent years, so has been supplanted as the county’s senior non-League club by near neighbours, and bitter rivals, Dorchester Town. Dorchester has usually been in the shadow of its more powerful neighbour, but has had its fair share of famous faces, including Harry Redknapp and former England stars Graham Roberts and Martin Chivers amongst its past players. The club moved to a new purpose-built ground in the south of the town in the early 1990s. Having been built on Duchy of Cornwall ground the word is that Prince Charles had some input to its design, which may explain the attractive gable on the roof of the main stand. The Weymouth - Dorchester rivalry demonstrates the passions that can be aroused by football,
Dorchester Town's ground (The Avenue Stadium)
particularly where local bragging rights are at stake. Another example occurred between Verwood and Cranborne in the years after World War 2 where de-mobilisation brought the local hostilities back to the fore, with police being called from Wimborne to control the crowd and restrain the Reverend Williams from striking the referee with his walking stick. Another Dorset side to have its brush with the FA Cup is Poole Town, who reached the 3rd round as long ago as 1927, only to be felled 3 - 1 by Everton in front of over 60,000 at Goodison Park, with legendary striker Dixie Dean scoring a hat-trick. Poole has been another club to fall upon hard times, their nadir being the 1995-96 season when they lost every single league game played, except one, which they managed to draw. Thankfully they are now
Wimborne Town's ground (Cuthbury)
The beautiful game in God's own county TIER
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Shaftesbury's ground (Cockrams)
in the ascendant again having won three successive Wessex league championships and are moving up through the leagues once more. No Dorset side had played at the country’s national stadium, Wembley, until 1992 when Wimborne Town reached the final of the FA Vase, beating Guiseley from Yorkshire 5 - 3 in the final. As an illustration of how football can unite a community, some 7500 fans travelled up to the final from the small town of Wimborne Minster for the proudest day since the club’s inception in 1878. This feat was to be repeated in 1998 when AFC Bournemouth reached the final of the Auto Windscreens Shield, but sadly the Cherries lost 2 - 1 to Grimsby Town in front of over 34,000 Cherries fans, to a ‘golden’ goal in extra time. There are many famous people who have some association, in one way or another, with football in Dorset. When Hamworthy United moved to its current ground, The County Ground, in 1950, the grandstand was officially opened by Sir Stanley Rous CBE, the 6th President of FIFA, secretary of the Football Association from 1934 to 1962 and an international referee. Former Christchurch defender Jody Craddock has played for Sunderland and now plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the npower Championship. Sherborne Town was founded in 1894 and plays its home games at Raleigh Grove, which recalls Sir Walter Raleigh’s historical connection with the town. The ground used to be a grazing field. Merley Cobham Sports FC changed its name from Flight Refuelling in 2001 to reflect the title of the sports and social club which it’s associated with at its Merley Park home, near Wimborne. The name also commemorates
Hamworthy United's ground (The County Ground)
DIVISION Barclays Premier League npower Championship npower League 1 npower League 2 Blue Square Premier Blue Square South Evostik Southern Premier Evostik Southern Division One South & West
DORSET CLUBS In alphabetical order, not position
– – AFC Bournemouth – – Dorchester Town Weymouth Poole Town
Wimborne Town Sydenhams Wessex League Step 5 Bournemouth FC Premier Christchurch Hamworthy United Verwood Town Toolstation Western League Bridport Premier Gillingham Town Sydenhams Wessex League – First Division Toolstation Western League Step 6 Sherborne Town First Division Magna Housing Dorset Step 7 Blandford United Premier League Bridport Reserves Chickerell United Cranborne Hamworthy Recreation Hamworthy United Reserves Holt United Merley Cobham Sports Parley Sports Poole Borough Portland United Shaftesbury Sherborne Town Reserves Swanage Town & Herston Weymouth Reserves Puma Engineering Bournemouth Sports Hampshire Premier League
Sir Alan John Cobham KBE, AFC, the aviation pioneer famous for his experiments with in-flight refuelling. The Parley Sports clubhouse was opened by cricket commentator John Arlott on 13 October 1961. Parley also had its very own legend in the late 1960s and 1970s, striker Terry Mitchell, who broke all goalscoring records, firing in 661 goals in only 537 appearances over a twelve-year period. His season’s best came in 1977-78 when he pummelled 75 goals in 38 matches, a strike rate the centre forwards of today could only dream about. Watching games of football in such exquisitely named places as Cockrams (Shaftesbury), Gaunts Common (Holt United), Potterne Park (Verwood Town) and Cuthbury (Wimborne Town) it is simple to conclude that, whilst Dorset may be no Manchester, Merseyside or Tyneside, it nevertheless has an abundance of characters and more than its fair share of footballing passion… and that's without mentioning any of the clubs in the Dorset Senior League, nor the five divisions below it.
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Dorset's Call my Bluff
Deduce the correct definition for each of the following three Dorset words from the three options given. Answers at foot of page 49.
1) emmetbut 2) gnang a) scum found at the surface of old wine a) to mock with jaw waggings and noise b) an anthill b) a babyâ€™s tooth c) daybreak, early morning c) a loathing Adam Jacot de Boinod is author of The Meaning of Tingo and The Wonder of Whiffling.
3) dadder a) to amaze or bewilder b) an old garment scarecrow c) to walk like a child copying its father
The Dorset night sky this winter Jupiter is our brightest beacon in the sky during the winter months and reaches opposition on 3 December. At this time of the year the ecliptic, or path of the planets, appears highest in the sky, and so we will have our best telescopic view of Jupiter for many years. It can be seen in line with the northern arm of the V shaped Hyades cluster, which defines the face of Taurus the Bull. The Pleiades lie to the west of Taurus, rather like a swarm of flies buzzing around the shoulders of the bull. This star cluster is composed of hot blue luminous stars that formed around 100 million years ago, and lie at a distance of 425 light years. They appear at their highest at 8.00 on January evenings. Long-exposure photography reveals them wreathed in an intricate blue filament of gas and dust. Although astrophotography had not been attempted at the time he wrote this poem, Alfred Lord Tennyson very accurately describes them in his poem Locksley Hall: Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro' the mellow shade, Glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid.
From the Dorset County Chronicle, 11 December 1912
Timely warning by a cat What might have been a much more serious fire than was actually the case was averted by the timely warning given by a cat on Sunday morning to Mr and Mrs RC Clarke, living at 16 Frome-terrace. About 5.30am, Mrs Clarke came downstairs and set light to the fire in the kitchen grate for the purpose of preparing tea for her son before he started on his work to deliver milk, and afterwards placed some wearing apparel on a chair in front of the fire in order that it might be aired. She then returned to bed. Shortly after seven o'clock a cat which had been left in the kitchen was heard to be frantically scratching at the door and mewing continuously. 48
Otherwise known as the Seven Sisters, the cluster is associated with much star lore. A famous myth links the Pleiades with Orion. Pleione (an Oceanid nymph) and her daughters were one day walking through Boeotia when Orion tried to ravish her. They all escaped, but Orion pursued them for seven years. The gods immortalized the chase by placing the Pleiades in the heavens where Orion continues to chase after them, even today. A prehistoric star map discovered at Lascaux (in the French Dordogne dĂŠpartement) in the 1940s depicts this part of the sky as a cave painting. There is a magnificent painting of a longhorned bull, while above his shoulder is an array of spots, which are in the correct position to suggest that they represent the Pleiades. Spots painted on the face of the bull may represent the Hyades, while a further group to the left seem to represent the Belt stars of Orion. What is remarkable is the fact that this cave painting dates back 16,500 years ago. Does this represent mankindâ€™s earliest interest in the stars? David Strange
Mr Clarke was impelled to go and see what was the matter and, on opening the door, made the startling discovery that the kitchen was on fire. He gave the alarm to his neighbour, Mr J Northover, who proceeded to North-square and rang the fire bell to summon the assistance of the Fire brigade. Firemen Membury, Payne, Inkpen, Napper and Harris, who live close to Frome-terrace, obtained the hose cart from the fire station and hastened to the scene of the fire, where they were joined by officers (Captain H Watts and Lieut. W Clist) and other members of the brigade. Fortunately the fire was nearly extinguished, in great measure due to the strenuous efforts of Mr Clarke in stamping out the flames and in removing burning articles, an operation in which he sustained burns to the neck, hands and arms; it was unnecessary to bring the hose into use. When it was possible to ascertain the extent of the damage, it was discovered a canary had suffocated in its cage. It was a providential circumstance that the cat did not fall a victim to suffocation and needless to say, the value which Mr and Mrs Clarke now place on their domestic pet is priceless.
Dorset nature note A friend of mine once told me the thing he liked most about winter bird-watching was that ‘that warbler identification suddenly becomes easy’. By the start of December, one of ornithology’s great challenges is reduced to a choice of four basic species. Probably the most familiar known of these is the blackcap, a sleek, grey-ish little bird, which has a particular liking for well-stocked bird tables where, despite its size, it will fiercely defend its feeding territory against all-comers. Only the adult male displays the eponymous ‘black cap’, the female’s cap is a gingery brown colour. The chiffchaff (illustrated) is the only classic 'little green warbler’ likely to be seen in winter. It is an unobtrusive little bird, often noticed by its insistent ‘wheet’ call or by its fly-catching sallies from a favoured perch. Ringing studies have shown that many of our wintering blackcaps and chiffchaffs actually migrate north from Germany to avoid the colder continental winter. The other two of Dorset’s wintering warblers are more specialist in their requirements. Cetti’s warblers are birds of reedbeds and wetlands, their retiring nature and loud, abrupt song means they are far more often heard than seen. The Dartford warbler, one of our iconic species, favours heathland areas with scattered gorse where its rather sneezy 'churr' often betrays its presence. Hamish Murray
The musical inspiration of Dorset Maiden Castle and John Ireland's Mai-Dun Catch it in the summer sun, and it is hard to associate Maiden Castle’s radiantly lush and peacefully sheepbespeckled slopes with gory battles and final stands; yet this impressive set of defensive earthworks featured in a multitude of mêlées from the Iron Age through to the time of Roman occupation. As such, it has fired the imagination of some of our greatest authors and composers, immortalised by Hardy as Mai-Dun (Maiden Castle’s old Celtic name) in his short story A Tryst at an Ancient Earthwork. John Ireland, ever drawn to historical sites of dark power, religious import or mystical connotation, was gripped by both Arthur Machen’s tale The Hill of Dreams, which told of malevolent spirits haunting an old hill fort, and by Hardy’s musings upon the relationship between the landscape
and man, and the strong effect – sometimes uplifting, sometimes terrifying – that the former has upon the latter. Pondering these, Ireland undertook repeated visits to Maiden Castle to immerse himself in the atmosphere of the site and, typically, his thoughts and emotions coalesced into music. Mai-Dun, as his symphonic rhapsody of 1921 was also named, portrays with alternately mysteriously beautiful episodes and strident brass, menacing percussion and martial rhythms, the violent struggles between the defending Britons and Vespasian’s slaughterous Romans. It ends with an ambiguously triumphant blaze that leaves us wondering whether Ireland’s sympathies lay with the conquerors or with the vanquished Durotriges, whose mangled remains – according to archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler - were left liberally littering the bloody ramparts. Em Marshall-Luck
Dorset place name Whatcombe (in Winterborne Whitechurch) This name may well date back to the Saxon period although it is first on record in the 13th century with spellings that include Watecumbe and Whatecumbe in 1288, Watecumbe in 1316, and Watecombe in 1332. The earliest spellings are slightly ambiguous and there can be no certainty regarding etymology, but the original meaning may well be 'the wet valley' from Old English wœt and cumb, rather than 'the valley where wheat was
grown' with a first element Old English hweete. The identical name Whatcombe Down in Kingston Russell, on record from the 14th century, is also ambiguous in origin, although yet another similar name, Watcombe Bottom in Alton Pancras, is certainly 'wheat valley' because of a definitive early spelling Whetecombe dating from the late 9th century. A D Mills
Overleaf: Avenue at Moor Crichel by Guy Edwardes
CALL MY BLUFF ANSWERS 1b) emmetbut - an anthill 2a) gnang - to mock one with jaw waggings and noise 3a) dadder - to amaze or bewilder
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Colehill's Methodist chapel today
From 'primitive' beginnings Paul Allen charts the course of Methodism in Colehill from its beginnings to the present day and marks the centenary of Colehill's Methodist Church It seems only appropriate that a group of churchgoers calling themselves Primitive Methodists should meet for worship in a mud-built hut, but these were the early days of the Methodist Church in the village of Colehill, just outside Wimborne, in the latter part of the 19th century. In May 2013, Methodists at Colehill will be celebrating the centenary of their chapel building in Lonnen Road and looking back across the years of change in the village church. Those Primitive Methodists, singing hymns and praying in their mud hut, were ‘primitive’ in the sense that they were the product of open-air worship meetings, simple and straightforward in their faith and without the ‘finery’ of the established church. These open air meetings began after the death of Methodism founder John Wesley. Wesley himself, after his conversion on May 24, 1738, when he felt his heart ‘strangely warmed’ by the love of God, had travelled the length and breadth of the country to preach the gospel in the open. Methodism was a nickname that just stuck after people remarked on how brothers John and Charles Wesley were so methodical in their ways and the denomination was noted for its concern for social
welfare. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was a Methodist and preached in the Methodist Church in Wimborne in the early 1900s. In late 1912 the time came for the Colehill congregation to plan a move to bigger and better things, leaving the dubious comforts of their hut – known as Little Lonnen Chapel in Four Wells Road – and to set about building a new chapel near the crossroads in the centre of the village. Twenty perches of Bankes Estates land, on a yearly rent of £1, were leased and builder William Habgood constructed the new chapel for £400 (plus £3 for the purchase of oil lamps). It was opened in May 1913 when, it was reported, Mrs Dorcas Habgood played the harmonium outside the chapel, accompanied by three fiddlers. Methodism had always been known for the enthusiasm of its music and hymn-singing. The chapel was heated by two stoves, one at each end of the building, which could be very temperamental at times. One member of the congregation recalls: ‘In the very cold winter days there was a competition to see who arrived early enough to sit around the stove. Eventually, as the stoves and their faces became redder and redder, one by one they started moving to seats further away.’ 53
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From 'primitive' beginnings The opening ceremony of the Methodist Chapel in 1913; the sign on the right is for William Habgood's building firm, who built the chapel
And the only lighting came from those £3 lamps hanging from the ceiling. Visiting preachers were clearly a tough breed and in those early days, when owning a car was not the norm, they would cycle to Colehill from as far afield as Wareham, Lytchett and Poole, no doubt asking for God's strength to make that final mile or so up the steep hill before endeavouring to get their breath back and lead the service. As the community of Colehill grew with more housing being built, so did the church. Women's Fellowship, youth groups, Sunday School, charabanc outings, Young Wives, summer picnics, trips to the beach... all became regular fixtures in the busy church calendar. The late Dot Humphries (née Moody), recalling her memories of the church for the 75th anniversary, wrote this evocative description of the time: ‘Going to chapel played a big part in our lives. Anniversaries, Easter with new dresses and big straw hats, Harvest with an auction of the gifts a night or two later, with baked potatoes to eat. Prayer meetings followed the Sunday evening services with loud "Amens" and "Hallelujahs". Good old days.’ A native of Guernsey in the Channel Islands played a big part in those ‘good old days’. She was Pamela Le Poidevin, known to all in the church as Sister Pam and who took the unusual course of setting up home in a second-hand caravan alongside the church from which to conduct her ministry as Deaconess and resident caretaker. Pamela moved south after five years in Manchester and arrived at Colehill with a bicycle and nowhere to live. From her retirement home back in Guernsey, Pamela recalls: ‘There was no accommodation – the church authorities didn't worry too much about how a deaconess lived – and I was in lodgings in a bedsit which was no good at all... no phone, no proper living accommodation, and the circuit couldn't provide a house.’ Salvation came in the form of a holiday caravan, offered to the circuit and towed from its pitch at Burton Bradstock to Colehill. ‘It had six berths but I had to put the bed down every night,’ says Pamela, ‘and in the winter the Calor gas cylinder outside would freeze. I must confess I wonder how I coped in such cramped conditions but I look back on many happy memories of what was my first taste of independence in my own home. It was of course handy so far as the chapel's 'mod cons' were concerned and the vestry at times became a guest room.’ Pamela spent eight years in her Colehill caravan, during which time her bicycle was upgraded to a moped and, eventually, a Morris 1000 car whose registration number was 23. ‘How I appreciated the words of the 23rd Psalm which I always associated with it in my early days of motoring.’ As the population of Colehill grew, the church needed to expand. Pamela, who was later to move on to ministry in Devon, had already overseen the
removal of the church pews to allow more space in the chapel for a wide variety of events. ‘When I first went to the chapel it was full of pews and nothing else,’ she remembers. Taking pews out of a church can be a sensitive business – in the Church of England such action can meet with strong protests from the more traditionally-minded members of the congregation and it is not unknown for the incumbent considering such action to be hauled before a consistory (church) court for a decision to be made. In this case, the operation was carried out rather more painlessly. The pews were unscrewed from the floor and stacked up outside the chapel, where passers-by wondered what was going on and whether the chapel was closing down, says Pamela. But putting chairs in the chapel made it ‘dualpurpose’, a place both for worship and for reaching out into the families of the growing community around in Colehill. The new arrangements, along with improved kitchen and toilet facilities, meant that the chapel building could become a home to a Young Wives' Group, formed by Sister Pam in late 1963. Activities included quizzes and outings, candlelight services and Christmas parties, and the Young Wives went on to start an over-60s group, helping with
The church is still active. This image is from the Wimborne Jubilee fair in June 2012
From 'primitive' beginnings
The original entrance door is now a low-key etched glass window. Four of eight foundation plaques are also visible in this shot.
refreshments and entertainment for the older members. Moving forward in another direction, the chapel was, in 1967, registered for the solemnization of marriages and the first couple to be married there couldn't have been more local – they were Mr and Mrs T Speed, of Lonnen Road. By the early 1970s, it was decided to expand further to meet church needs. After the removal of
Although the mock-Tudor Anglican church of St Michael and All Angels pre-dates the 'new' Methodist chapel by 20 years, its building was still some 40 years after the Methodists' mudbuilt hut
the caravan, a temporary building was purchased... the first church hall. It was opened in May 1972 with an expected lifespan of ten years. One member of the congregation recollects: ‘The building gave marvellous service to the chapel and community and increased its lifetime by nearly 50 per cent. ‘After giving us such good service it was quite sad to see it go and, worse still, when I saw it all broken up. After being blown off the lorry by a very strong wind, it landed on a small piece of grass just past the Cross Keys!’ But bigger and better things were to come. From the land beside the chapel emerged a new, permanent and larger hall, opened in May of 1983 and still in use today. As well as providing space for meetings and activities (two table tennis team playing in the Bournemouth and District League use the hall both for weekly practice and for match nights), the hall is a regular gathering place for members of the Methodist chapel, who meet to eat together either over breakfast or lunch on various special dates through the year, when the appetising odour of fried bacon or roast lamb drifts around the 100-yearold premises. From mud hut to modern, centrally-heated amenities, the Methodist church in the village has come a long way. And as Pamela Le Poidevin, now retired in her native Guernsey, says: ‘Colehill has always been a church where newcomers have been welcome and encouraged to make their own particular contribution to the Christian fellowship.’
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One for sorrow... Steve Davis recalls an unusual day's peregrine training
The tiercel, although smaller than the female peregrine, is still a fierce hunter
After forty minutes walking over crackling stubble under a cloudless sky near Burton Bradstock, there was still no wind and I was getting hot. The cereal aftermath had the odd lump of stone, bare patches of dust, mud and the occasional patch of cut, withered weeds. On one hand I was carrying a hooded falcon, I was also weighed down with a hawking bag and telemetry receiver. The cereal stubble finished and a low stone wall, topped with wire, formed a boundary. I skirted it, watched by curious sheep which, realising I was not a threat, returned to grazing. A patch of â€˜redhotâ€™ nettles gave way to a small gateway, through which I passed and continued my climb across the close-cropped grass. At the top was the Bridport to Dorchester road; I stopped walking one field short of it. Pausing to catch my breath, I turned to take in the view. In the distance the sun twinkled on the sea; looking down, I could just make out my car, parked in the farmyard. On the far side of the valley, a small 60
blue tractor was beginning to turn the soil, while, in its wake, an attentive plume of gulls looked for bounty. At this height, a slight breeze kept the flies away; it smelt of hot hay, stubble and heaven. Below me, a single buzzard soared, while in the valley base doves flitted around a farmhouse. The hooded tiercel â€“ a male peregrine falcon, roused, shook himself and then, thinking better of it, settled back on my glove. As my breathing returned to normal, I hopped while trying to hook out a piece of mud that had worked its way in to my shoe. That irritation gone, my life purpose took over and I began to prepare my friend for his work. Earlier, I had cable-tied a small transmitter to one of his anklets and, from habit, thrown a switch on the receiver to hear the muted chirrup. Although the falcon was hooded, he knew what was coming and he shuffled his feet on the glove. I made reassuring noises, gently whistled his call and started to look along the valley sides and at the stubble with
One for sorrow
more interest. The game seasons were not yet open and it was early in his year; he was just still finishing his moult, at the beginning of which I'd fed him with all he could eat, and given him a holiday. This home-bred falcon was now in his third year and beginning to look very smart in his adult plumage. I reached down with my right hand to made sure that the reassuring shape of his lure could be felt; the other smaller pocket held a few bechins (tidbits) and two, dead dayold chicks. I pulled the cross strap holding the transmitter receiver back around behind me, tucked my shirt back inside my belt and I too was ready. I struck the hood braces with my teeth and right hand and, after a small interval, the hood was rolled forwards and then off. The falcon looked quizzically at me, I held him into the wind and he began bobbing his head at something beyond my vision. He turned his head around, taking in the view, then roused and shook vigorously. Through the glove I felt him clench his talons, then, with a gentle bowling movement, he was sky borne, with just an echo from his leg bells, flying into the wind, gaining height effortlessly. After two hundred yards he turned and started flying circles around me, gaining height with each revolution. As
he turned into an up draught, I saw his head turn in my direction. I started walking down the valley side, back down through the sheep field and over the wall, all the while trying to keep him in view, just flashing the lure to get him back over me. A strong whistle always got him looking at me, and back overhead. This sort of flying at this time of year is primarily to do with fitness. The beauty of these Dorset hills is that they get a falcon used to waiting on at a proper height. Suddenly, with an immense chattering, a magpie burst from the hedge at the side. It was one field over from the waiting, circling falcon, which immediately twitched and folded straight towards it. I watched, spellbound, as the peregrine formed the classic closed-anchor shape and plunged from above, rapidly overhauling the magpie, which had stopped chattering and was powering towards a small copse on the far side of the valley. Like a knife, my falcon cut through the air, got a touch at one wing, as the pie feinted left and virtually fell out of the sky, trying to outsmart the falcon. The falcon overshot and turned swiftly, gaining height, then it put in a deadly stoop, and bound to the magpie. They both came down out of my sight, on the far side of a hedge. I ran as fast as I could back up the hill trying to find a way through the hedge, eventually finding an old gate held by miles of twine. In front of me was an acre or more of watery tussocks, open water, rushes and bogs. I was lost and did not know where he was; I could neither hear bells, nor see tell-tale feathers. When all else fails, try electronic telemetry: he was about fifty yards away, hidden by a large reedy lump. I was pleased to find him â€“ he seemed ambivalent â€“ and I put in one weathering jess, fixed the swivel, and then to it, a leash, which was knotted to a sheath knife plunged firmly into the ground. As he fed, I stood back and watched, replaying the flight in my head, again and again. The sun slipped Above inset The peregrine slowly to the horizon â€“ a sinking red disc over Lyme in the classic closed-anchor Bay. With his crop now full, I picked up my passion, stoop Left The peregrine, hooded, hooded him and took him back to the car, and on digital scales to check his thence to his mews. weight is at the right level
Llewelyn Powys at Christmas
Merry is the word A festive extract from Christmas lore and legend by Llewelyn Powys The word
that we may best take as appropriate to what our mood should be on Christmas Day is the word 'merry'. This word is derived from the old Saxon word myrge which is closely connected with myrgdh, their word for mirth, both of which are ultimately descended from a queer old word of the German forests - murgjo. On this day of all days of the year we do not wish our friends health and wealth, but say as we pass them in the village street 'Merry Christmas', and it was this that the carol singers used to call out at the termination of their midnight singing in the snow. This salutation is not without significance. It means that, side by side with the legendary pieties that we associate with the season through Christian teaching, we even yet have a racial remembrance of the old unregenerate rejoicing that used to take place from the earliest times at the winter solstice. Of all the church festivals Christmas is the one most easy to be understood by the ordinary laymen. The birth of a child, and a mother's love for the child she has brought forth, are matters that evoke tender feelings in every human heart, so that it comes to pass that no other day of ecclesiastical celebration - not Whitsuntide nor Easter - has over us the same strong power. It is a day that appeals to the irreligious as well as to the religious, gathering all together in a spirit of benevolence and gaiety. In manor house and in cottage, in vicarage and in manse, in little corner newspaper shops and in ivy covered dairy houses, old ties of human association are revived and the memories of old days brought back to mind. It is a time when we all of us do our best to put into practice the supreme Christian virtue of charity, unstrapping our wallets and loosening our purse strings and trying as best we may to be for at least one day in the year generous to the point of prodigality. It is a day of feasting and good cheer. Nothing comes amiss to the table - a leg of prime Portland mutton, a plump turkey hen, a larded goose, a cock pheasant brown as a chestnut, a guinea fowl, or a well-basted capon plentifully covered with white meat! From one end of Dorset to the other the trenchers are piled high with victuals and families are once again happily united from Poole to Lyme Regis and from Gillingham to the Chesil Beach. To a firmly-built stone house on the windy island of Portland a young sailor fresh home from the sea hurries through the stone porch so that he may throw his arms about his mother's neck. In a lonely cottage above the Hellstone at Portesham a farm labourer on Christmas Eve removes from under the bed the presents his whispering wife has bought for their children, and noiselessly she enters the white-washed room to fill three pairs of stockings. In hundreds of bedrooms in Dorchester and in Weymouth parcels will be unwrapped of their coloured tissue paper, the light switched on or a candle lit long 62
before the winter's dawn has waked the jays in the tree tops of the Came Woods or the sea has shown wan in the charmed waters of Weymouth Bay. It is doubtful whether any country in the world provides a more fitting background for the story of the Nativity than do the Dorset Downs. The imaginations of men have brooded upon the Christian legends until the most wonderful store of prime poetry is clustered about them, a poetry that has to do with the simplest sights to be seen on earth. If Christmas Eve is frosty it will be a wise thing for a young boy or young girl to go up to the Ridgeway or to the wild hills behind White Nose, or to the sheep runs on Batcombe Downs, and there to walk silent and alone under the stars so silent and so awe-inspiring, till all that is petty or frivolous in their experience falls away and they learn to possess their souls in the palpable presence of the infinite cosmos. Then, perhaps, as never before, the matchless beauty of the old tales will be comprehended - so touching in their revelations of man's yearnings. After such an experience the chalk hills will forever become associated with the Nativity traditions and Dorset ewes, and Dorset hurdles, and Dorset crooks, and the red holly berries in the hedges of Dorset will start the mind upon envisaging the cold hillsides of the Biblical story. It is strange how successive generations learn about Christmas. On the laps of our mothers we hear of it and throughout our lives its romance gladdens and restores us. All that we Europeans know of generosity and jollity concentrates about this day. It was at this time of the year that the Druids cut down the mistletoe with golden sickles, taking the presence of this parasite on the sacred oaks as an omen favourable to marriage rites, an ancient superstition that preserves for us to this day gay, blithe privileges behind the parlour door! The illumination of our Christmas trees is also reputed to be a survival, in a harmless modified form, of a fire worshipping rite, as also are the Yule logs - the largest of all our wood pile - that we put aside for burning on our fires at Christmas. Century follows century, but Christmas with its myrgdh and goodwill is never forgotten. It is the most worshipful day of the year, binding us all together, royalist and communist, rich and poor, wise and foolish - for are we not everyone of us carnal sprites on the planet earth travelling through the limitless astral universe profund and mysterious? Christmas Lore and Legend by Llewelyn Powys, with a foreword by Anthony Head, is published by The Sundial Press at ÂŁ6.99, ISBN 978-0-9551523-9-9. www.sundialpress.co.uk 01935 814113
Thomas Hardy at Christmas
Mr Hardy's Christmas Eve Alan Chedzoy introduces a seasonal Thomas Hardy poem Writing in the Dorset County Chronicle in 1881, Miss Summers, of Hazelbury Bryan, reported an ancient belief which was still current among the labouring people: 'There is a popular notion amongst the ignorant that the powers of darkness can have no evil influence on mankind on Christmas Eve. The cock is thus supposed to crow all night long, and so to scare away all malignant spirits. Bread which is baked on Christmas Eve, they also say will never get mouldy.' Such superstitions were common throughout mediaeval England. In Hamlet, Shakespeare tells us that on this, the most holy night of the year, no evil spirit could walk, no fairy could steal, nor witch had power to make spiteful spells. John Milton depicts the shepherds on the night of the Nativity, sitting out in the fields, suddenly amazed to hear the angels singing, just as Adam and Eve once did in Paradise. Thomas Hardy's myth is more homely. In his boyhood, the country children were told that, as the clocks struck twelve on Christmas Eve, so the farm animals would kneel in praise of the baby Jesus, as the shepherds had seen them do on that first Christmas. It is a charming story, but Hardy reflects that few people would believe it in modern times. He was seventy-five when he wrote his poem, and it was published in The Times, on Christmas Eve, 1915. The true horror of the World War 1 was just then becoming apparent, and he was very depressed by the daily newspaper lists of the fatalities on the western front. His gloom was compounded by his loss of faith, the death of his first wife, and the bleak time of year. He seemed to be lost in darkness. Yet, in a memory of his childhood, he still glimpses a small light shining down in the barn. Would it be possible, he wonders, that if he accepted the invitation to go down there this very night, he would once more discover the oxen and asses kneeling in mute reverence to the Christ child? It seems improbable, but he would like to think so.
The Oxen CHRISTMAS EVE, and twelve of the clock. 'Now they are all on their knees,' An elder said as we sat in a flock By the embers in hearthside ease We pictured the meek mild creatures where They dwelt in their strawy pen, Nor did it occur to one of us there To doubt they were kneeling then. So fair a fancy few would weave In these years! Yet, I feel, If someone said on Christmas Eve, 'Come; see the oxen kneel In the lonely barton by yonder coomb Our childhood used to know.' I should go with him in the gloom, Hoping it might be so. Thomas Hardy
(elder - a grown up; barton - a farmyard: coomb- a small valley)
Dorset Life at Christmas
The Dorset Life Christmas Quiz Snap out of that post-prandial stupor with this challenging test of your Dorset knowledge. All the (correct) answers have appeared in Dorset Life during 2012. The first entirely correct solution to be drawn out of the hat on 6 January – Twelfth Night, will earn a £25 prize. Send your entries to Dorset Life, 7 The Leanne, Sandford Lane, Wareham BH20 4DY. The full solution and the name of the prize-winner will be printed in the February issue.
1 Where is the Twin Sails bridge? (a) Weymouth (b) Christchurch (c) Poole 2 In which Saxon town are Parson’s Pool and Bimport to be found? (a) Wareham (b) Lyme Regis (c) Shaftesbury 3 Who is commemorated by Hardy’s Monument? (a) Thomas Hardy, author and poet (b) Thomas Hardy, benefactor of the Thomas Hardye School (c) Thomas Hardy, commander of HMS Victory at Trafalgar 4 Which member of the animal kingdom appears on the Digby family crest? (a) Cod (b) Ostrich (c) Old English sheepdog 5 In which village is the Filly Loo festival celebrated? (a) Ashmore (b) Abbotsbury (c) Powerstock
6 Where was adjudged to be the ‘best small village’ in the 2012 Dorset Best Village Competition? (a) Church Knowle (b) Loders (c) Fifehead Magdalen 7 Where is St Johns’ Almshouse? (a) Bournemouth (b) Sherborne (c) Wimborne 8 A new ‘free school’ is planned for which town? (a) Swanage (b) Gillingham (c) Beaminster 9 To which estate did Witchampton belong? (a) St Giles (b) Kingston Lacy (c) Crichel 10 Who does the Footprints Project charity help? (a) Ex-prisoners (b) Disabled children (c) Terminally ill patients 11 How did Walter Powell, MP for Malmesbury, die off the West Dorset coast in 1881? (a) Run down by a lifeboat (b) Drifted out to sea in a balloon (c) Fell from the crow’s nest of a Royal Navy frigate 12 What has been converted into a book exchange library at Ryme Intrinseca? (a) Red telephone box (b) Public convenience (c) Bus shelter
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An index to all the articles which have appeared in Dorset Life from 2001-2012 will be available – at only £6.95, from the Dorset Life office – from 6 January 2013.
13 The Melplash Show is held on a site between Bridport and …? (a) Melplash (b) West Bay (c) Beaminster 14 Which school occupies the former home of the Ismay family, owners of the White Star shipping line? (a) Bryanston (b) Clayesmore (c) Canford 15 Which British composer wrote the orchestral tone-poem, ‘Egdon Heath’, after reading The Return of the Native? (a) Gustav Holst (b) William Walton (c) Harrison Birtwistle 16 What was called the ‘Isle of Slingers’ by Thomas Hardy? (a) Isle of Purbeck (b) Portland (c) Brownsea Island 17 In which village did the brewery, that is now Hall & Woodhouse begin? (a) Charlton Marshall (b) Durweston (c) Ansty 18 Which model village was developed by Sir Ernest Debenham? (a) Milton Abbas (b) Wimborne St Giles (c) Briantspuddle 19 Where was named ‘the bravest village in England’ in World War 1? (a) Powerstock (b) Shillingstone (c) Oborne 20 Near which town can you see the ‘Jurassic Stones’ sculpture by Richard Harris? (a) Weymouth (b) Swanage (c) Lyme Regis
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7 December 8.00pm
Talon The Best of The Eagles
Red Priest are nothing short of unique. They bring a modern and current energy to music from centuries past, with virtuosic fire! This concert, close to the winter solstice, treats us to a performance celebrating the seasons. This includes Red Priests’ amazing retelling of Vivaldi’s masterpiece the Four Seasons, Biber’s Easter Sonata The Crucifixion, Purcell’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Suite and Corelli’s Concerto Gross in G Minor. This is to be a night of classical music like you’ve never heard (or seen) before...
13 December 7.30pm
The Searchers in Concert The famous rock pop band of the 60's Tickets £18 14 December 8.00pm
The Blues Band The most skilled practitioners in the art of the blues Tickets £19
15 December 7.30pm Returning, following their successful show in January
And ﬁnally... Phil Collins (tribute) Both Sides Tour 2012 Tickets £15.50
here again following their fantastic sell-out show in 2011 Tickets £18.50
21 December - 5 January Ron Martin Management & Born2Perform present:
8 December 8.00pm
Mats & evenings - call box ofﬁce or see website for details Tickets £13 adults £10.50 under 16s 1 in 10 tickets free (box ofﬁce bookings only)
The Counterfeit Stones with their latest tour: 19th Bogus Breakdown Tickets £18.50
Programme subject to change – please conﬁrm dates with the Box Ofﬁce
Saturday 15th December @ The Exchange // 7:30pm Tickets £22
Support YOUR local Theatre www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk
at Canford Magna, Wimborne BOX OFFICE: 01202 847525 www.layardtheatre.com email: email@example.com
Friday 8th FEBRUARY 7.30pm Tickets: £21, £19 & £16 Concessions: £19, £17 & £14 | BOOKING OPEN
Bella Hardy Bella Hardy, whose song The Herring Girl won a BBC Folk Award this year for Best Original Track, is back on the road in support of new album Bright Morning Star. Backed by Anna Massie (guitar) and Chris Sherburn (concertina), she has rounded up her favourite Christmas songs including standards such as Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, as well as traditional songs like Sing Ovy, Sing Ivy and her native Derbyshire carols Peace O’er the World and Sons of Men. 2 December, 7.15 Bournemouth Folk Club, Centre Stage, Westbourne, 01202 540065, www.bournemouthfolkclub.com
Vienna Festival Ballet returns to Wimborne with a traditional production of Coppelia, danced to the music of Leo Delibes. The story follows an inventor Dr Coppelius who makes a life-size dancing doll that enthralls a young servant to such an extent that he turns his back on his true love, Swanhilde. To alert him to his foolishness she dresses as the doll and pretends to make it come to life, eventually saving him from a grisly fate at the hands of the inventor. Founded in 1980 by experienced Austrian dancer and artistic director, Peter Mallek, Vienna Festival Ballet uses an international cast of dancers. 6 December, 7.30 Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, 01202 885566, www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus feature as conductor Maxime Tortelier takes the rostrum to lead the BSO’s Celebration of Christmas Carols concert at Lighthouse. The unashamedly populist programme includes festive favourites like God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Good King Wenceslas, In the Bleak Midwinter, O Come All Ye Faithful, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and The First Noël, as well as James Montgomery’s 1816 carol Angels from the Realms of Glory. The night before, also at Lighthouse, the BSO presents Christmas Crackers, a concert of seasonal songs from the shows and pop hits such as I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow, Let
It Snow, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year and, of course, White Christmas. Pete Harrison will conduct, with singers Annie Skates and James Spilling as featured soloists. 21, 22 December, 7.30 Lighthouse, Poole, 0844 406 8666, www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
Snow Play A Christmas Carol Founded by artistic director Christopher Moore whose stated mission is to engage audiences by creating new full-length ballets, which appeal to a wide range of people, Ballet Theatre UK brings its production of A Christmas Carol to Dorchester this month. Taking the audience on a journey back to the dark and twisting streets of Dickensian London, the production is performed to a classical score and features hand-made costumes and stage sets as it relates the much-loved seasonal story. Drawing inspiration from classical dance, theatre, popular culture and literature, the company aims to bring British classical ballet to a wider audience. 19, 20 December, 7.00 Corn Exchange, Dorchester, 01305 266926, www.dorchesterarts.org.uk
Patrick Lynch from CBeebies and Italian children’s television star Carlo Rossi have created this highly regarded interactive stageplay in which two grown up but childish men get up to all sorts of adventures in the snow. It all starts when Mr Green comes home from holiday to find Mr White has moved into his house and covered everything in snow. All Mr White wants to do is sleep and have fun but Mr Green can’t stand the snow. Who gets to stay and who has to go away? Developed in collaboration with the Lyric Hammersmith and a West End hit last Christmas, the play uses special snow so the cast and audience can enjoy making a giant snowman and having a snowball fight. 1-24 December, 3.00, 1.00, 11.00, 10.30 (times vary different days) Lighthouse, Poole, 0844 406 8666, www.lighthousepoole.co.uk 67
This month in Dorset
This month in Dorset Christmas Tree Festival
between the Carnival Committee and the Baptist Church and is getting bigger every year. 18-22 December, 10.30 Baptist Church, Lyme Regis, www.lymeregisbaptistchurch.co.uk
With a spectacular display of decorated trees representing the work of organisations in Lyme who have each decorated a tree, the Christmas Tree Festival is a collaboration
Light up The stars of Poole’s annual Lantern Parade are the scores of lamps made by children from local schools. The procession will move off with the lit lanterns and make its way along the High Street to the Guildhall where carol singers and mince pies will fuel the Christmas spirit – and there’ll even be fake snow to play in. 13 December, 6.00 Falkland Square, Poole, www.pooletourism.com
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain Having taken their passion for the humble ukulele to the four corners of the globe, the much-vaunted Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain are back on home soil for their annual winter tour. Promising a ‘funny, stomping, toe-tapping, all-singing, all-plucking obituary of rock ’n’ roll and melodious light entertainment’, the show translates some of the best
known rock classics of the last 50 years into language only ukuleles can understand. Demolishing pop music for the last quarter of a century, the UOGB has collaborated with the likes of Yusuf Islam, Madness, The Kaiser Chiefs, London Olympics theme composer David Arnold and the British Film Institute. 8 December, 7.30 Lighthouse, Poole, 0844 406 8666, www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
Aladdin Taking the lead role in Aladdin in Poole this year, former X Factor finalist Ray Quinn will be hoping the magic rubs off at his nearby home where he and his wife, Bournemouth-born West End star Emma Stephens, are getting used to life with their new-born baby. The actor, singer and dancer who won ITV's Dancing On Ice in 2009 will be joined by one of Britain’s most experienced panto performers, Don Maclean, as Widow Twankey in his 40th panto. Olivier Award-winning West End star Tim Flavin will play the evil Abanazar in the production, which is conjured by the same team that brought Peter Pan and Cinderella to Lighthouse. 7 December – 6 January, 7.00 (daily except Wed, Sun. Wed 10.30, 1.30 Sat 3.00) Lighthouse, Poole, 0844 406 8666, www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
Jack and the Beanstalk Lynne McGranger, who has played Irene in Australian TV soap Home and Away for 20 years, stars as Fleshcreep, in a new production of Jack and the Beanstalk promising all the traditional panto fun in Weymouth this year. Lynne will be appearing alongside former X Factor finalist and 68
platinum-selling recording star Andy Abraham, who plays King Crumble. Anna Krumble – the former pop star Lolly – completes the top billings as Fairy Fabulous. 15 December – 6 January, days and times vary Weymouth Pavilion, 01305 783225, www.weymouthpavilion.co.uk
To Drive the Cold Winter Away The fine four-part harmonies of Jo Freya, Li Fraser, Barry Coope and Lester Simpson will ably demonstrate why the quartet enjoys a reputation as the country’s most-loved group of carollers. Their show covers material old and new played on an array of instruments and seasoned with anecdotes that aim to inform as well as amuse. The four met as part of the sextet Coope Boyes and Simpson, Fraser Freya Boyes and perform regularly on BBC radio and Classic FM, as well singing in a cathedral tour of Michael Morpurgo’s On Angels Wings. 14 December, 7.30 Sturminster Marshall Village Hall, 01258 857814, www.artsreach.co.uk 15 December, 7.30 Briantspuddle Village Hall, 01929 471497, www.artsreach.co.uk 16 December, 7.30 Portesham Village Hall, 01305 871925, www.artsreach.co.uk
This month in Dorset
Cabaret star Bethany Jameson and her Vérité Cabaret Quartet return to Bridport after wowing summer audiences in Bridport, Bournemouth and London with their spectacular show On the Banks of the Seine. Bethany and Romano Viazzani, master accordionist, will be joined again by virtuoso violinist Declan Daly and, on double bass, Yaron Stavi from Nigel Kennedy’s jazz band. The new show, Soirée Parisienne, is a nostalgic evening of chansons from the 1930s to the 1970s, in which the gritty romance of Piaf meets the elegance of Juliette Greco and the intimate poetry of Brel finds a home alongside the exuberance of the Hot Club de France. ‘We invite the audience to dress up as if it were the Moulin Rouge and dare the good people of Bridport to get up close and personal with La Fée Verte – the infamous Absinthe!’ says Lyric owner Niki McCretton. 1 December, 8.00 Lyric Theatre, Bridport, 01308 423951, www.the-lyric.com
Red Priest Having been compared to the Rolling Stones, Jackson Pollock, the Marx Brothers, Spike Jones and the Cirque du Soleil, early music group Red Priest might seem difficult to pin down. Their winter touring show, Carnival of the Seasons offers a solstice treat by retelling Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, as well as revisiting Biber’s Easter sonata The Crucifixion, Purcell’s Midsummer Night’s
Peacock Gallery Found above the tearooms at Upton Country Park, the Peacock Gallery is a non-commercial gallery managed by the Borough of Poole and run voluntarily by Poole and East Dorset Art Society, whose annual winter exhibition opens on 24 November and runs until early January. The gallery shows work by local professional and non-professional artists including art societies, local education classes and community groups, with shows by local artists Michael Hemming and Martin Budden already lined up for the new year. Picture shows: West Bay West by PEDAS chair John Biggs. Until early January, 10.30 Upton Country Park, 07906 759620, www.peacockgallery.org.uk
Maria Carleton Dream Suite and Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in G Minor. Red Priest comprise recorder player Piers Adams, violinist Julia Bishop, cellist Angela East and harpsichordist David Wright who together have all but redefined the art of period performance. 15 December, 7.30 The Exchange, Sturminster Newton, 01258 475137, www.stur-exchange.co.uk
Inspire Featuring work from more than 150 British makers, the two-centre Inspire exhibition should provide plenty of food for thought for Christmas shoppers. The show includes textiles, glass, wood, ceramics and jewellery and alongside gift ideas, like the work pictured here by Jane Blease, is a range of artistic Christmas cards and decorations. Until 23 December, 9.30 Durlston Castle, Swanage, 01929 424443, www.durlston.co.uk Until 31 December, 10.00 (11.00 Sun) Walford Mill Crafts, Wimborne, 01202 841400, www.walfordmillcrafts.co.uk
The story of how an heiress, Miss Alicia Keene caught her man, the charming but landless ‘Top Hat’ Jim Goodman is told in Love on the Hunting Field, a new exhibition of paintings by Maria Carleton which includes The Meet pictured here. ‘Alicia is a white skinned, red haired, hot-blooded young lady of society who loves the thrill of the chase,’ explains Maria. ‘Every year she strips off and rides astride at the Full Moon Naked Midnight Hunt! It is here at the end of the season that she hunts down her foxy gentleman.’ Among the collectors of Maria’s paintings are comedian Ricky Gervais and musician Sarah-Jane Morris. Until 15 December 10.00 (Wed-Sat) The Art Stable, Child Okeford, 01258 863866, www.theartstable.co.uk
This month in Dorset Christchurch Christmas Spectacular
Billed as Europe’s biggest burlesque star, Immodesty Blaize arrives in Dorset with a full supporting cast and her own troupe of dancers, The Blaizing Angels. The only European to be crowned Reigning Queen of Burlesque in Las Vegas’ Burlesque Hall of Fame, Immodesty has performed alongside pop artists including Marc Almond, Goldfrapp, Roxy Music and Gloria Gaynor, as well as for clients from Damien Hirst to Dior. Her latest show, The Venus Tour, crosses the boundaries between burlesque, cabaret, high fashion couture and live music show. ‘It’s not enough to just wear frilly knickers and wave a few feathers around,’ she says. ‘I want people to watch something larger-than-life, something camp and glamorous or dark and dramatic, something that entertains.’ 1 December, 7.00 Electric Palace, Bridport, 01308 424901, www.electricpalace.org.uk
With dancing Santas, comedy elves, Christmas choirs and a set list of seasonal classics that includes chart topping pop hits as well as Irvin Berlin showstoppers, the show is staged by the Glad Rag production company and stars a mix of theatre professionals, local choirs and entertainers. With costumes by Sue Simmerling, costumier to Paul O’Grady and Christopher Biggins, Christmas Spectacular is directed by Helen Barrington. 21-24 December, 2.00, 7.30 Regent Centre, Christchurch, 01202 499199, www.regentcentre.co.uk
Further events for your diary Purbeck Christmas Tree Festival, 29 November, 12.00-4.00 30 November 2 December, 10.00-4.00; Canzonetta concert 1 December 7.30 St James's Church, Kingston (nr Corfe Castle), www.kingstonopc.org.uk A Love Like Salt, 1 December, 7.30 Dorchester Arts Centre, 01305 266926, www.dorchesterarts.org.uk Wartime Christmas Festival & Craft Fayre, 1, 2 December 10.00 Tank Museum, Bovington, 01929 405096, www.tankmuseum.org Christmas Sewing Workshop 2 December, 7.30 Livingstone Textiles, Bridport, 01308 456844 Christmas Table Decorating Workshop 5 December, 10.30 Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, 01305 871130, www.abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk Bridport Christmas Festival 5 December, 6.00 Town Centre, Bridport, www.westdorset.com
Sleeping Beauty Bournemouth’s own CBeebies star Chris Jarvis returns to the stage of the Pavilion Theatre for this year’s panto Sleeping Beauty. He’ll be tripping the light as Happy Harry whose friendly gags and daft impressions are sure to get the young audience in the mood for former Doctor Who Colin Baker as Nurse Nelly, Hi-De-Hi star Su Pollard as Bad Fairy and Benidorm star Asa Elliott as the Prince. Wave 105 presenter Kate Weston plays Good Fairy. 8 December – 6 January, 2.30 7.00 (times and dates vary) Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth, 0844 576 3000, www.bic.co.uk 70
The Magic of Christmas, 8 December, 3.00 Mowlem Theatre, Swanage, 01929 422239, www.mowlemtheatre.co.uk The Magic of Christmas, 9 December, 3.00 The Exchange, Sturminster Newton, 01258 475137, www.stur-exchange.co.uk Dorset Chamber Orchestra 8 December, 7.30 St Marys Church, Dorchester, 01305 260360, www.dorsetchamberorchestra.org The Great Pudding Stir 8 December, 10.30 Priest’s House Museum, Wimborne, 01202 882533, www.priest-house.co.uk
Potted Panto, 11 December, 7.30, 10.30 Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, 01297 442138, www.marinetheatre.com Tea Dance, 12 December, 2.30-4.30, Allendale Community Centre, Wimborne 01202 887247 Blandford Yuletide Festival 12 December, 6.00 Corn Exchange, Blandford Forum, 01258 454500, www.blandfordforum-tc.org.uk Jack and the Beanstalk, 13-15 December, 7.30 (Sat mat 2.30) Royal Marine Theatre, Portland, 01305 860792, www.rmtcportland.co.uk Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds 13 December, 8.00 Windsor Hall, BIC, 0844 576 3000, www.bic.co.uk Bournemouth Bach Choir: Messiah 15 December, 7.30 Christchurch Priory, 01202 471780, www. bournemouthbachchoir.org That’ll be the Day Christmas Show 15 December, 8.00 Windsor Hall, BIC, 0844 576 3000, www.bic.co.uk Sunray Folk: Carols, Mummers Play, 20 December, 7.30 Broadmayne Village Hall, 07786 654074, www.sunrayfolkclub.co.uk Ben Waters & Friends Christmas Party, 21 December, 8.00 Bridport Arts Centre, 01308 424204, www.bridport-arts.com Cinderella, 21 December – 5 January, (various times) Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, 01202 885566, www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk BSO Viennese Gala, 1 January, 3.00, 7.00 Lighthouse, Poole, 0844 406 8666, www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
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15th December 2012 - 6th January 2013 Open 10am - 5pm Festive activities 11:30 am - 4:30 pm
Christmas carols in Palace House ~ Childrenâ€™s festive games Giant Christmas tree ~ Gift ideas for Christmas
TUESDAY 11 â€“ WEDNESDAY 12 DECEMBER
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
By Charles Dickens, Told by Mike Maran NEW Sk yfall Vehicle s $ %! !"&" !#! National Motor Museum Palace House & Gardens Beaulieu Abbey
Beaulieu, New Forest, Hampshire SO42 7ZN Exit 2 M27 Tel 01590 612345 www.beaulieu.co.uk Open daily 10am
Another opportunity to see this wonderful production after sell-out performances last year. A faithful adaptation of Dickensâ€™ Christmas classic, this enduring tale takes place on a candlelit stage covered in holly and ivy and features Christmas Carols, the music for the ball at Mr. Fezziwegâ€™s and Tiny Timâ€™s song.
0844 406 8666 www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
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A taste of Dorset
A Naga saga Hazel Strange
Philip Strange tells the tale of West Dorset's hot chillies
A panorama of West Bexington showing the Michauds' polytunnels and greenhouses in the centre
A neat clutch of polytunnels and greenhouses stands unassumingly on a gently sloping hillside, in the village of West Bexington, overlooking Chesil Beach. It looks like a conventional smallholding but, surprisingly, the growing space contains hundreds of chilli pepper plants decorated with their brightly coloured jewel-like fruits. This is where Joy and Michael Michaud set up the first UK business growing chilli peppers and along the way developed a super hot chilli, the Dorset Naga, one of the hottest chillies in the world. It is an extraordinary story of insight, experimentation and perseverance. The Michauds bought land in West Bexington more than 20 years ago; for Joy, who grew up here, this was something of a homecoming but for Michael, born in the US, this was settling in a new country. They set out to grow organic vegetables but this turned out to be a struggle given the type of soil and the topography and size of their holding. About 18 years ago, on the point of giving up, they met an American friend who lived in London. She recounted her difficulty in sourcing fresh chilli peppers in this country and suggested they try to fill the void. This was the niche market they had been looking for and after a few false starts the chillies began to grow well in West Dorset; the sunlight and warmth and the lack of late frosts in West Bexington suited the plants. The business prospered and Peppers by Post now sells fresh chillies and chilli plants in the UK and plug plants throughout Europe. Their sister business, Sea Spring Seeds sells carefully tested seeds for chillies and other vegetables throughout the world. But this is only part of the story. The Dorset Naga, developed by the Michauds, is known by ‘chilli heads’ everywhere as one of the world’s hottest chillies. Joy Michaud explains how they discovered the Dorset
Naga: ‘Ten years ago, our main income came from selling fresh chillies. We wanted to cater to all tastes from the very mild to the hot and we needed a very hot chilli to extend this range. We were aware that the Bangladeshi community traditionally ate a hot chilli, Naga Morich, in an unripe green state. We realised that if we could market one of these it might provide that top of the range heat. Also, because it could be sold green, it would be ready earlier not needing to ripen and allowing us two weeks’ extra sales.’ Finding Naga Morich seed was not easy but eventually they came across some of the chillies in Bournemouth at Makkah oriental food stores. They sowed seed from these early in 2002 raising the plants alongside two more, also from Makkah. The size of the plants and their fruit were very variable so over the next few years they selected seed from the biggest, early ripening fruit for growing in the next season. Gradually everything became more uniform and by 2005 they felt ready to test how hot the chillies were. They sent extracts of the ripe red fruit to two labs in the US who had the capability to analyse levels of the capsaicinoids that produced the hotness (see box). ‘We didn’t know what to expect and what a surprise we got,’ Joy continues. ‘One evening, one of the labs telephoned us personally to tell us that they had never encountered anything as hot as this; the results were about double anything previously reported. We sat on the numbers for six months; we couldn’t believe that we had discovered such a hot chilli. Eventually we decided to go public and told a reporter on the Bridport News. Within 24 hours we were getting calls from all over the world. It didn’t help that this was 1 April 2006!’
The ripe (red) and unripe (green) fruit of the chilli pepper plants
The new chilli was christened Dorset Naga because of its 'dual nationality'. It has been officially certified as a new species by the Community Plant Variety Office of the EU on the basis of the shape of the fruit and the plant. The Dorset Naga now even features in the Collins Dictionary. The fruits are 4-5 cm (1.6-2in) long and can be recognised by the wedge shape and wrinkled skin. They start green and turn red as they ripen. The discovery of the Dorset Naga had a massive effect on the Michaud’s business, opening many doors and establishing Peppers by Post as a key provider of chilli peppers. The Michauds now have strong links in to the Asian community in the UK and they raise chilli plants for the Coriander Club, a gardening club for women run in Spitalfields.
The discovery also changed the chilli world. Before the discovery of the Dorset Naga, nobody believed that chillies could be this hot; now several have been identified. Of course, the Bangladeshis already knew about the Naga Morich and its special properties but it was the Dorset Naga that broadcast this news to the world showing that so-called super hot chillies were possible. The Dorset Naga was a discovery waiting to be made but it happened in West Dorset. Both Michauds have PhDs in Agriculture and their training must have had a hand in this. They came to the work with a clear idea, pertinent training in plant breeding and a systematic way of thinking. As Pasteur said: ‘Chance favours only the prepared mind’.
Joy Michaud in one of the polytunnels of chilli pepper plants
Chilli fact file s #HILLIES ORIGINALLY CAME FROM THE .EW 7ORLD tropics and were probably carried to India by the Portuguese s 4HE HEAT IN CHILLIES COMES FROM MOLECULES CALLED capsaicinoids; these hijack the sensory system in our mouths that normally detects heat s #HILLI HOTNESS USED TO BE ASSESSED BY TASTE BUT now the capsaicinoids are measured directly s 4HE RESULTS ARE EXPRESSED AS 3COVILLE UNITS (named after the test's inventor) s /N THIS SCALE *ALAPENO PEPPERS REGISTER approximately 5000 s 4HE $ORSET .AGA REGISTERS APPROXIMATELY Scoville units s 4HE CURRENT HOTTEST CHILLI THE 4RINIDAD -ORUGA Scorpion, measures approximately 2,000,000 Scoville units
CHRISTMAS PARTY MENUS & CHRISTMAS DAY MENUS NOW AVAILABLE
CHEQUERS INN High Street, Lytchett Matravers BH16 6BJ
REAL ALES AND FINE WINES
The Village Inn & Restaurant NEW YEAR'S EVE 3-COURSE CELEBRATION MEAL AND DISCO Tickets £37.50 per person NEW YEAR'S DAY CARVERY LUNCH 2 courses £12.95 (reservations advisable) PERFECT PARTIES & FUNCTIONS Superb food, crackers & decorations Lunch or evening, small or large groups 3 course festive menu £15.95 Buffets from £8.95 (hot or cold) Skittle Alley available. Reservations available, call for details Find us 1 mile from Swanage on the Studland road (next to Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park) or via the Sandbanks Ferry. Ulwell, Swanage BH19 3DG
01929 427644 www.villageinn-swanage.co.uk
THE PIDDLE INN
This well-used village inn is the perfect place for any event whether it is an intimate cosy occasion or a lively celebration. Our head chef prides himself on using locally sourced seasonal produce throughout our menus. Now taking bookings for Christmas & New Years Eve Christmas menu ~ 3 courses ~ Lunch £18.50 ~ Dinner £23.00
Festive Dining at Drusilla’s Inn 2012 Drusilla’s is the ideal setting for all your Christmas celebrations. Bookings now being taken for Christmas parties and functions. Party menu available from 1st – 24th December: 2 courses £14, 3 courses £16.
Why not celebrate Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve at Drusillas? Special menus available.
DRUSILLA’S INN WIGBETH, HORTON BH21 7JH
01258 840297 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.drusillasinn.co.uk
New Year’s Eve 2012
Rump Steak stuffed & rolled with a Napoli Sauce Starters Fennel and Chestnut Roast Pasta & Bean Soup with Asparagus & Courgette with a Cranberry Relish Teriyaki Smoked Trout on a Bed of Dressed All served with seasonal veg & roast potatoes Mixed Leaves Honeydew Melon & Black Forest Parma Ham Desserts drizzled with Cointreau Christmas Pudding & Brandy Cream Sauce Pear & Stilton Pâté Tartlet, served with Melba Raspberry & Chocolate Jewel Toast & Salad Garnish Chocolate Crunchy Pyramid Hidden Black Forest Chocolate Box Main Courses Roast Turkey & all the trimmings Coffee and Mini Mince Pies Oven-baked Salmon with Lemon & Honey Glaze
Piddletrenthide, Dorchester DT2 7QF Tel: 01300 348468 | Email: email@example.com www.thepiddleinn.co.uk
THE PRIORY Festive Menus Lunch £29.95 Dinner £39.95 1-23 Dec
Special Offer 2-Course Lunch £19.95 Jan Feb Mar (exc Sun & 1-16 Feb)
£10.00 Off 3-Course Candlelit Dinner Now £35.00 Jan Feb & Mar Sun-Thur (Fri & Sat £45.00)
£89.50 per person
2-Course Charity Lunch £17.95 1-16 Feb (exc Sun & 14 Feb)
‘Ritzy’ Afternoon Tea £19.95 Dorset Cream Tea £8.50 &KXUFK*UHHQ:DUHKDP'RUVHW%+1' UHVHUYDWLRQV#WKHSULRU\KRWHOFRXNZZZWKHSULRU\KRWHOFRXN
£ Oborne • Near Sherborne • Dorset • DT9 4LA Tel: 01935 813463 • Fax: 01935 817464 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.thegrangeatoborne.co.uk
Eat, Drink, Stay: The Review
There cannot be that many restaurants attached to hotels based in former miltary research establishments, but the Cliff Panoramic Restaurant at The Venue Hotel in Portland is just such a place. In daytime, it has breathtaking views out to sea, at nighttime, at least at this time of year, one has to content oneself with the crisp, modern interior decoration of the Cliff which, although not quite as breathtaking as the exterior view, is very nicely done. In addition to the à la carte menu, from which we chose our meals, the Cliff also has the option of a simpler (in food terms) menu of burgers, club sandwiches, butcher's steak and fish and chips. This menu is of interest if for no other reason that it offers the choice between bistro fries and triple-cooked chips or, in old money, thin and thick chips. This is such a wonderfully simple and simply wonderful concept I am astonished it is not offered routinely in all restaurants. Back to the 'grown-up' menu (although there is also a kids' menu offering sausage and mash, mini chicken ciabatta, mini fish and chips and macaroni cheese, each for a fiver), and our selections, which were preceeded by an amuse-bouche of a teenytiny prawn cocktail, which was delicious. We chose the West Bay scallops with sautéed chorizo and leek purée, and the cold smoked West Dorset beef on dressed leaves with a pineapple salsa. Other options on the night of our visit included leek and potato soup, chicken and duck liver parfait and a Portland crab and prawn cocktail with Bloody Mary jelly. The scallops were cooked to perfection, the chorizo to a complementary, near-crunchy texture and the leek purée cut through the richness of the latter to form a very good all-round palate and tooth satisfying combination. I was intrigued by the idea of the smoked beef with pineapple and I chose it largely because mixing fruit and meat, although a nice idea and good for the digestion, doesn't always work on the plate. Fortunately there were no such problems here, as the smoked beef and pineapple combined very well together. Resisting the offers of the Parkstone rib-eye steak, the duo of local lamb (a three-bone rack with a mini shepherd's pie), the panfried bass fillets – served with pommes Anna, garden asparagus and a Portland crab and saffron cream sauce, and the grilled whole plaice, we settled for the simpler options of a butternut squash, courgette and red pepper risotto and the chicken stuffed with pigeon mousse wrapped in pancetta.
These are both dishes which many will, in slightly simpler forms, have cooked at home and, as such, present a nice indication as to the skills of the chef. The chicken, which came with a nice and zingy red cabbage and mustard and parsley mash, showed some dexterity: the crisp pancetta, moist chicken and gamey, almost grainy, pigeon was very nicely achieved. The vegetable risotto was sheer comfort in a bowl; the asparagus and Blue Vinney garnish added layers of complexity to each forkful. On a cold night, I can think of little better to raise the spirits. To end our meal, we chose a dark chocolate cappucino mousse with Chantilly cream and a chocolate crisp, and a selection of local cheeses. The latter can be a lottery, but the selection, although not huge in weight terms, was a savoury conclusion to a tasty evening; the former received top marks from my companion. Throw in good service and the Cliff (even if, at this time of year, without the eponymous panoramic views) is very well worth a visit. Julian Powell
Steve & Gill Wish all our customers old and new a very merry Christmas and a healthy & prosperous New Year
Come and spend your Christmas Party in one of the most beautifully decorated pubs in Dorset Two courses - ÂŁ14.95, three courses - ÂŁ17.95 Starters
Cream of CauliďŹ‚ower & Cheddar Soup served with warm seeded granary bread & herb croutons Duck & Orange Pate served with a plum chutney toast & buttered toast Warm Goats Cheese with Figs served on an Italian ďŹ‚atbread, rocket salad and a sweet honey dressing Pan-fried King Prawns with salty bacon on a bed of mixed leaves & a lime mayonnaise dressing
Traditional roast topside of beef, Yorkshire pudding and horseradish sauce Roast Dorset turkey with sausage and bacon rolls, stufďŹ ng and cranberry sauce Pan-fried ďŹ llet of salmon with a prawn & mild chilli butter Fennel, Lemon & Wild Mushroom Risotto finished with a balsamic glaze and Parmesan shavings all served with seasonal vegetables and roast & new potatoes
(an additional ÂŁ6.00) 8oz Prime Fillet Steak with button mushrooms, bacon & baby onions in a rich red wine sauce Our own Slow-roasted Loin of Pork topped with Stilton, mushrooms & spring onions Whole Seabass baked en papillote ďŹ lled with a chorizo, fresh ginger and lemon grass butter
Traditional Christmas Pudding with brandy sauce Homemade Rich Chocolate Fudge Cake with cream or ice cream Cheesecake of the day Our Own Drambuie Apple & Sultana Cake with cream or ice cream Selection of British cheeses (ÂŁ2.00 Supplement) served with biscuits, celery, grapes and chutney (Childrenâ€™s menu also available)
East Burton Road, Nr Wool, Wareham, Dorset DT2 8RL Tel: 01929 462292 www.sevenstars.co.uk
Your ideal Wedding venue
u 6 acres of manicured gardens with ornamental lake & water mill u Choice of Private Dining Rooms 10 - 150 guests
u Separate Function Room with the largest dance ďŹ‚oor in the area for your evening party u Tailor-made packages offering a range of mouth watering menus and complementing wines u Ample Free Parking u Complimentary Executive Bedroom for the Bride & Groom u 67 Bedrooms offering your guests special rates
SpringďŹ eld Country Hotel Leisure Club & Spa, Grange Road, Wareham, Dorset. BH20 5AL T : 01929 552177 xF : 01929 551862 www.thespringďŹ eld.co.uk
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Eat, Drink, Stay ANSTY The Fox Inn. 01258 880328. www.anstyfoxinn.co.uk. Serving good food, seven days a week, including our famous Sunday carvery. You are warmly invited to experience the Fox welcome.
HORTON (NR WIMBORNE) Drusilla's Inn. 01258 840297. www.drusillasinn.co.uk.Traditional Wessex freehouse with stunning view of the Horton Folly Tower. Fresh, local food, real ales and fine wines at affordable prices. Open daily 10 am - 11pm.
BEAMINSTER Beaminster Brasserie at the BridgeHouse. 01308 862200. AA 3-star, country town hotel with stylish al fresco brasserie and elegant 2 Rosette hotel restaurant. Modern Dorset cuisine.
LYME REGIS By The Bay Restaurant and Wine Bar, Marine Parade. 01297 442668. www.bythebay.co.uk. Delicious fresh food at affordable prices. Fantastic seafront location. Stunning views of Lyme Bay and the Cobb. Open daily.
BLANDFORD Crown Hotel. 8 West Street. 01258 456626. Elegant hotel nestling in the heart of Dorset offering luxury accommodation, function rooms, award winning beers and freshly prepared food.
the bay leaf, Marine Parade. 01297 442059 www.lymebayhotel.co.uk Fresh locally sourced fish and produce reasonably priced. Perfect unrivalled views across Lyme Bay and Cobb. Open Daily and Accommodation available
BOURNEMOUTH Hotel Miramar, East Overcliff Drive. 01202 556581. www.miramarbournemouth.com. Our restaurant has stunning views across the bay. Open for lunches Monday-Friday. Traditional Sunday luncheon. Dinners every evening.
Harbour Inn, Marine Parade. 01297 442299. A fantastic location with beautiful views, right by the sea. All home-cooked food, with lots of seafood. Real coffee, local ales, extensive wine list.
The Gallery Bar & Brasserie, The Chine Hotel, 25 Boscombe Spa Road, Boscombe, BH5 1AX. 01202 396 234.www.fjbcollection.co.uk. With an AA Rosette for innovative menus combining contemporary and traditional flair, dine in style with magnificent views overlooking the treetops and out to sea. Westcotes House, 9 Southbourne Overcliff Drive. 01202 428512. www.westcoteshouse.co.uk. We're a small guesthouse situated on the sea front of Southbourne, with fantastic views across Bournemouth bay. BRIDPORT Avenue Restaurant, 33 West Street. 01308 456686. www.theavenuebridport.co.uk. Elegant Georgian Town House serving modern English cuisine. Many interesting eating rooms. Located in town centre. Open Tuesday to Saturdat BURLEY (HANTS) The Moorhill House Hotel. 01425 403285. www.newforesthotels.co.uk. One AA Rosette. Fine local food, fantastically served in a beautiful restaurant overlooking the gardens. Open for Sunday lunch, cream teas and during evenings. CHILD OKEFORD The Saxon Inn, Gold Hill. 01258 860310. www.saxoninn.co.uk. Hidden in the village of Child Okeford, we are well worth finding. Nestling under Hambledon Hill, ideally situated for walkers in need of sustenance. 4 en-suite bed & breakfast rooms. CHRISTCHURCH The Ship in Distress. 66 Stanpit, Mudeford. 01202 485123. www.ship-indistress.co.uk. Traditional 300-year-old smugglers’ pub, award-winning restaurant and two bars offering a full à la carte menu with vegetarian options, snacks and traditional pub grub. CRANBORNE Cranborne Tea Room, Cranborne Manor Garden Centre. 01725 517546. www.cranborne.co.uk. From morning coffee to afternoon tea with a light bite in between. Ideal for walkers and gardeners, or just somewhere to rest. EAST BURTON, WOOL (NR WAREHAM) The Seven Stars. 01929 462292. www.sevenstars.co.uk. A wide range of homemade meals and steaks, fresh fish, vegetarian and daily specials. Fine wines, real ales, lagers and ciders, Large beer garden, children's play area and plenty of free parking
LYMINGTON (HANTS) Beach House Pub Restaurant, Park Lane, Milford-on-Sea SO41 0PT. 01590 643044. beachhousemilfordonsea.co.uk.Grade II-listed Victorian mansion with stunning sea views, situated 200 yards from the beach. Award-winning cask ales and fresh seasonal dishes. En-suite rooms available LYNDHURST (HANTS) The Glasshouse Restaurant, Pikes HIll. 02380 286129. www. theglasshousedining.co.uk. 2 AA Rosettes - Fine English food, fresh local ingredients, & exceptional service in a contemporary setting. Open evenings and Sunday lunch, lunchtimes by prior arrangement. LYTCHETT MATRAVERS The Chequers Inn, 75 High Street. 01202 622215. Family-run business offering quality home-cooked dishes from locally sourced produce at affordable prices. Real ales and fine wines. MARNHULL The Crown, Crown Road. 01258 820224. Luxury guest rooms and high quality home cooked food in a historical inn featured in Hardy’s ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’. MARTINSTOWN (NR DORCHESTER) The Brewers Arms. 01305 889361. www.thebrewersarms.com. Friendly village pub where visitors can enjoy a snack or home-cooked country fare in bar, restaurant or garden. Dogs welcome. MORDEN (NR WAREHAM) The Cock & Bottle. 01929 459238. www.cockandbottlemorden.co.uk. Our head chef is renowned for his cuisine. We offer light lunches, bar meals, Sunday roasts and a full à la carte menu. PLUSH The Brace of Pheasants. 01300 348357. www.braceofpheasants.co.uk. The Good Pub Guide's 'Dorset Dining Pub of the Year 2011' in delightful village setting. Luxury 4 star en-suite accommodation. POOLE Corkers Restaurant, Café Bar & Guest Rooms, The Quay. 01202 681393. www.corkers.co.uk. Fine Dining upstairs restaurant with superb harbour views. Open seven days. Excellent web site with menus. Heights Bistro, Harbour Heights Hotel, Haven Road, Sandbanks, BH13 7QL. 01202 707272. www.fjbcollection.co.uk. Few restaurants can offer the splendour of our two AA Rosette bistro, where the standard of food and quality of service match such outstanding views. 77
Eat, Drink, Stay La Roche, The Haven Hotel, Banks Road, Sandbanks, BH13 7LW. 01202 707333. www.fjbcollection.co.uk. On the water’s edge; with spectacular views, an exquisite choice of menu and two AA Rosettes for the quality, standards and consistency of our cooking. Sevens Boat Shed & Crow’s Nest Restaurant, Poole Park, Poole. 01202 742842. www.sevensboatshed.co.uk. The Boat Shed along with its new addition, The Crow’s Nest offer a unique blend of exceptional food and incredible views. 'Upstairs @ the Custom House' Restaurant, The Quay. 01202 676767/677737. www.customhouse.co.uk. Relaxed sophistication in our fabulous à la carte restaurant. Modern English/French cuisine. Outstanding views over Poole Harbour. SWANAGE Seventhwave, Durlston. 01929 421111. www.durlston.co.uk. Exciting and contemporary British cuisine, located in a stunning cliffside setting above the waves. TARRANT KEYNESTON (NR BLANDFORD) True Lovers Knot. 01258 452209. www.trueloversknot.co.uk. Romantic, traditional country pub. Fresh seasonal produce. Luxury en-suite accommodation. Campsite. Ample parking. Large garden & play area. Private functions and weddings. TARRANT MONKTON (NR BLANDFORD) The Langton Arms. 01258 830225. www.thelangtonarms.co.uk. Pub/ restaurant. Guest rooms, civil ceremony licence, open seven days a week, food served all day on Saturday and Sunday. WAREHAM The Old Granary. The Quay. 01929 552010. Beautiful pub-restaurant, on the river Frome, views of the Purbeck Hills, fine wines, award-winning beers and freshly prepared food.
Springfield Country Hotel. Grange Road. 01929 552177. www.thespringfield.co.uk. Set in 6 acres at the foot of the Purbeck Hills. Bar lunches, afternoon teas & full a la carte dinner. Private function rooms available. WEST BAY (NR BRIDPORT) The Bridport Arms. 01308 422994. www.bridportarms.co.uk. Stunning thatched hotel right on the beach. Local fresh fish specials with friendly, efficient service, real local ales, fine wines and roaring log fires for those chilly nights! Quality en-suite accommodation. WIMBORNE Angels Coffee Shop, Quarterjack Mews. 01202 849922. The place to visit whether you want a hearty breakfast, morning coffee, a great value lunch with wine or a cream tea by the river. Mon-Sat 8.00am to 4.00pm The Millstream Café at Walford Mill Crafts. Stone Lane, Wimborne, BH21 1NL 01202 842258 or 079123 48584. Delicious, fresh, wholesome homemade food. Available for all your special occasions. Opening hours: Mon – Sat 10am – 4pm, Sunday 11am -4pm The Olive Branch, 6 East Borough. 01202 884686. A stunning and elegant pub-restaurant a minutes walk from Wimborne centre, secluded riverside garden, award winning beers, ﬁne wines and freshly prepared food. WINTERBORNE ZELSTON The Botany Bay Inne. 01929 459227. Picturesque countryside inne, serving à la carte meals and bar snacks, real Dorset ales. Well-behaved children and dogs welcome.
Angels Coffee Shop 6 Quarterjack Mews, Wimborne
01202 849922 New coffee shop menus now available Special offer 2 course lunches ~ £5.95 every day
Open 8 am - 4 pm
seventhwave restaurant at Durlston
Set in the incredible location that is Durlston Castle in Swanage, the only thing that comes close to the location is the food. We have all the natural ingredients on our doorstep in Purbeck for our menu from ﬁsh, crab and mussels to local beef, lamb, seasonal game and dairy, cooked with pride and passion and served with a friendly and down to earth service. email: email@example.com or visit the Durlston website: Durlston.co.uk or call us on 01929 42 11 11 Mon to Sun 9.30am – 4.30pm. Thurs to Sat evening bookings taken from 6pm
Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to all our Customers
Angels @4 Snack Shop
4 Quarterjack Mews, Wimborne
YOUR ONE-STOP SNACK SHOP
Sandwiches • Ice creams • Cakes & drinks Open 10 am - 4 pm
The O at C h n ly C h oic ri st m e a s!
• Great food served all day from 12pm • Morning coơees and afternoon tea • Real ales and quality wines
CHRISTMAS bookings now being taken, download the menu from our website or pop into the pub. Mill Street, Corfe Mullen, Nr Wimborne BH21 3RH
Tel: 01258 857284 firstname.lastname@example.org
PARTY OFFER Three courses £19.95 (Dec 1-24)
Succulent, tender turkey served on a bed of seasonal vegetables and mouth-watering roast potatoes, complete with all the traditional trimmings. With our warm and friendly atmosphere, beautiful views overlooking Lyme Bay and delicious festive fare, where else could you be? Between Friday 7 December and Sunday 6th January, groups of six or more dining after 7pm will receive a complimentary glass of ﬁzz on arrival. If you book a party of 12 or more, the organiser dines free!
Tel. 01297 442668 www.bythebay.co.uk
DAY THE INN CHRISTMAS LUNCH AT £59.95 Cranborne Five courses designed by Head Chef Edward
5 Wimborne Street, Cranborne BH21 5PP Phone 01725 551 249 Email email@example.com www.theinnatcranborne.co.uk
CHRISTMAS HOUSE PARTY PACKAGE E NEW YEAR’S EV PACKAGES from £159pp
from £199 PER PERSON
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