Marshwood+ April 2020

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Oliver Letwin’s Apocalypse Page 9

There is so much to look forward to Page 64

All in a Day’s work Page 95



Marshwood +

© David Bracher Photograph by Robin Mills

The best from West Dorset, South Somerset and East Devon

No. 253 April 2020

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Robin Mills met David Bracher at Chaffcombe, Somerset

© David Bracher Photograph by Robin Mills


lthough my mother was living in Welling, Kent, in 1947, I was born in the Mother & Baby home in Tunbridge Wells because, as I understand it, Woolwich hospital had been severely damaged in the Blitz. As a mother of an illegitimate son, she was banished from her home and left to fend for herself, living in different parts of the country, working as a telephonist. A very close relationship developed between us, and I have wonderful memories of summer holidays in Eastbourne, Bournemouth, the Isle of Wight and Guernsey. My life took a turn for the worse when I was 5 or 6 as, following my mother’s marriage to an army serviceman, we moved to West Germany. My best memory from that time was my scooter, which had inflatable tyres! The worst was the physical abuse at the hands of my step-father. After two more children and a third on the way, my mother decided to return to England. Thanks to the Army we were found temporary accommodation in a B&B in Blackpool for about a year, then to an army married families hostel in Wiltshire, where we stayed for over 3 years. This gave me a chance to begin catching up on the disrupted start to my education, which was to have a lasting legacy on my academic progress for many years. Although our return to England gave my mother and me more time together, it also meant that I found myself sharing parenting duties as

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my half siblings were much younger than me. Fortunately, for my enquiring mind and sense of adventure, life at the ‘camp’ in the depths of the countryside offered endless new opportunities for me: watching cows being milked by hand, being chased by farmers, blackberry picking, hunting for birds’ nests, egg collecting, rearing injured animals and trying to photograph birds on their nests. I enjoyed my two years at the camp’s primary school, where I started to learn the basics and developed a strong interest in wildlife, increasingly watching animals and particularly birds in their habitats, fuelled by receiving bird books as presents from my Mum, notably those by the Kearton Brothers and Peter Scott. By the age of 11 I had acquired well developed skills of identifying birds by their call and songs, winning a competition on the TV. One of the most significant moments was a day spent with Peter Scott at the Wildfowl Trust Slimbridge, the visit being arranged by Mrs McNee, mother of Patrick McNee the actor, in her role as social worker for the army camp. This visit help cement my lifelong interests in birds. Photography has been another life-long interest, starting at around 8 years by my mother letting me use her camera whenever I wanted. The regular use of a camera over many years set me up for A Level Art studies and later my photo journalistic endeavours as a teacher training student at Goldsmiths’ College in New Cross, London. From 1967 to 1971 I amassed over 1,000 35mm monochrome images of student life, leading to the successful publication of my book ‘The Way We Were’, which, together with many other images I took at the time, has reconnected many people with those student days which were so formative. Using a camera confidently has enabled me to obtain wonderful images, some quickly taken, and on some occasions, to gain access to events normally out of bounds to the public. The best example was at Brands Hatch Racing Circuit in 1969, when I waved my camera, said ‘press’ and walked right into the Paddock and onto the track, obtaining some great images of the drivers, cars and start of the race. From a musical and social perspective Goldsmiths’ punched above its weight in being able to book some of the biggest music acts of the late sixties. I hung out with the students who booked bands such as Cream, Manfred Mann, Yes, King

David Bracher

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David Bracher and Fenella Blastland at a Goldsmiths’ students’ demo in London 1969

Crimson, The Who, and Muddy Waters, and was the unofficial photographer for many gigs. When Muddy Waters arrived we did our best to make him feel at home before the gig, although he didn’t say a lot. But taking a great interest in the image on the poster we had printed for publicity, eventually he said,”y’know, that ain’t me.” To our horror the poster used a photo of John Lee Hooker by mistake, but far from walking out in disgust, he took no offence, shook my hand and went on stage. The pyromaniac Crazy World of Arthur Brown was another memorable, if somewhat scary, act, as the ‘fire’ was transferred to the kit of their supporting act, damaging the drums! As students we took part in many of the political demonstrations of the day. The Labour government proposed a freeze in teachers’ pay in 1969 which had us on the streets of London. I had come from a little town in Wiltshire, where youth clubs and punch-ups between mods and rockers were the main excitement, to a dynamic London college, where there was a melting pot of culture, art, music and politics. I have no doubt it shaped my life in many ways. I was also greatly inspired by the teaching from well-known educationalists at Goldsmiths’ which had a lasting effect on my teaching and academic career. After Goldsmiths’ I started teaching in London, then in Wiltshire, where it soon became clear that as I was often working with pupils from troubled backgrounds, sometimes outside of the classroom, I would need a degree to progress. I studied for a BEd at Bristol University, however unexpectedly found myself drawn into an academic career, embarking on a Master’s Degree. In those days Education Authorities could provide funds for in-service training, and I was lucky enough to tap

into them just before they ended. The Master’s included counselling, but it was suggested that, because of my aptitude for the subject, I could become an Educational Psychologist, which eventually led me away from teaching. I took a post in Warwickshire, then later came to work in Somerset, the generic post including an embryonic project providing behaviour support using a fresh relationship between schools, the local authority, and different agencies such as the police and social services, as well as the families and children. As a result I was asked to create a policy document for Somerset looking at how to cut exclusion rates in schools, and to provide a ‘Fresh Start’ model for its implementation. This was recognised nationally, and later I undertook a Doctorate using the research project as part of my dissertation. Both my wife Val and my mother were there when I received the Doctorate, something I could not possibly have achieved without either of them. During my doctoral studies I was privileged to be invited to become a lecturer at Bristol on their EP training course. Val and I met in 1993, the year I moved from Warwickshire to Somerset. She has helped me to achieve so much through her belief in me, her exceptionally strong work ethic and aspirational approach to life. We are sociable and active people, and belong to a group of similarly inclined people in our village, all of whom will organise or help out with whatever needs doing. Our village hall has become the focal point for village activities, there being no pub, shop, or post office. About 7 years ago we started Vinyl Music Nights in the hall, which includes supper, drinks, and dancing to some of my many records. A highlight last summer was putting on Gordon Giltrap, a brilliant guitarist and entertainer, and personal friend from Goldsmiths’ days. Retirement has offered me an opportunity to do some of the things I most enjoy in addition to spending time with my wife and family. Playing chess in a U3A group, solving chess problems, and crosswords with Val keep the brain alert. Table tennis in our village club or in competitions is excellent for our physical and social needs. Our players are supported brilliantly by Yeovil TT Club and their wonderful coach, Micky Dinmore. Living in a Conservation Area offers me so many photographic challenges throughout the year. Life with my wife Val in our ‘quiet looking’ village is never boring!

UP FRONT Although it’s only a few weeks since I talked with Oliver Letwin about his book Apocalypse How? it feels like a very long time ago. We discussed his concerns over our heavy reliance on technology and the difficulties that this may cause in the future. His book highlights the fact that governments tend to deal only with a crisis as it happens, and, although much effort goes into shoring up defences to stop problems from happening, not much is done to create a fall-back option should defences fail. In the case of Oliver’s book, the issue is a failure of the National Grid which by then powers all communications. Today, as we try to get through the current crisis, one thing that has been keenly brought into focus is the value of robust communication. For hospitals, medical suppliers and food producers it provides a vital lifeline. For families, the benefit of video chat systems has been enormous in a time when people are forced apart from their loved ones. Although I am in a caravan nearby, I have only been able to share mealtimes with my family through the wonders of technology. Someone’s phone is strategically placed on my family’s dining table so we can all chat while we eat. Dinners together are something to look forward to. Although a couple of nights ago everything went a bit blurry when someone reached for the salt and knocked me into the noodles—messy but amusing. But there are already drawbacks when we let technology take too much control. Last week two computers conspired to cancel a friend’s food delivery which had been booked nearly two weeks previously. She went to bed the night before it was due in the knowledge that the next day she would receive her long-awaited food order. When she woke, she noticed automated text messages from her bank. One highlighted an attempted transaction after midnight that she recognised as the payment for her food order. The second asked her to verify the transaction. This was followed by an email from the food company, also sent just after midnight, informing her that her order had been cancelled because they had been unable to process the payment. As the chat line bots didn’t have a computer-generated answer to her problem and phone lines were inaccessible, she had to start again. Her next available delivery slot is in three weeks’ time and she has no plans to sleep the night before. Fergus Byrne

Published Monthly and distributed by Marshwood Vale Ltd Lower Atrim, Bridport Dorset DT6 5PX For all Enquiries Tel: 01308 423031 info@marshwoodvale. com

Editorial Director Fergus Byrne

Deputy Editor Victoria Byrne


Fergus Byrne


Fergus Byrne

THIS MONTH Building a New Future

The world we knew is changing and many of us will be trying to build new lives in the months and years after coronavirus. We’d love to hear from you about what is happening in your community along with who and what we could be featuring. We’d also like to know what you’d like to see in your community magazine and hear your ideas. Email us at: 5 10 16 22 28 36 40 341

Cover Story By Robin Mills Oliver Letwin’s Apocalypse By Fergus Byrne Searching for the Native Daffodil By Philip Strange Notices from Local Groups Support our local Hillforts By Margery Hookings The Father of Radar By Cecil Amor News & Views An April Crossword by Humphrey Walwyn

42 46 48 50

House & Garden Setting up your Vegetable Garden By Sarah Raven April in the Garden By Russell Jordan Property Round Up By Helen Fisher

54 54 60 62 64 66 67

Food & Dining Looking Ahead Together By Fergus Byrne Whitebait By Nick Fisher Saucy Chocolate Pud By Lesley Waters Asparagus Salad with Shaved Berkswell By Mark Hix Goats Cheese and Spinach Crepe By Irina Georgescu People in Food By Catherine Taylor

68 68 77

Arts & Entertainment Bridport’s Film Festival By Fergus Byrne Where to Find Art By Fergus Byrne

80 82 85

Health & Beauty Services & Classified People at Work By Catherine Taylor


From the Archives

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Contributors Helen Fisher Nick Fisher Richard Gahagan Irina Georgescu Margery Hookings Mark Hix Russell Jordan

Robin Mills Sarah Raven Philip Strange Catherine Taylor Humphrey Walwyn Lesley Waters

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The views expressed in The Marshwood Vale Magazine and People Magazines are not necessarily those of the editorial team. Unless otherwise stated, Copyright of the entire magazine contents is strictly reserved on behalf of the Marshwood Vale Magazine and the authors. Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of dates, event information and advertisements, events may be cancelled or event dates may be subject to alteration. Neither Marshwood Vale Ltd nor People Magazines Ltd can accept any responsibility for the accuracy of any information or claims made by advertisers included within this publication. NOTICE TO ADVERTISERS Trades descriptions act 1968. It is a criminal offence for anyone in the course of a trade or business to falsely describe goods they are offering. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. The legislation requires that items offered for sale by private vendors must be ‘as described’. Failure to observe this requirement may allow the purchaser to sue for damages. Road Traffic Act. It is a criminal offence for anyone to sell a motor vehicle for use on the highway which is unroadworthy.


Long before the coronavirus outbreak, The Right Honourable Sir Oliver Letwin was heavily involved in learning about Britain’s resilience in the face of what is termed a ‘Black Swan’ event, i.e. an event that is very rare. What he discovered prompted him to write a book to alert those in power to what needs to be done to secure our world in the event of a certain type of catastrophe. What he didn’t know was how relevant his concerns were in light of the current crisis. He talked to Fergus Byrne about Apocolypse How?


t was during his time as Minister for Resilience in David Cameron’s coalition government that Sir Oliver Letwin first began to seriously consider Britain’s areas of vulnerability to different forms of crisis. However, like just about everyone in Government then and since, coronavirus was not on the agenda. Oliver was looking at other scenarios. In March he published a frightening book that details one possible vulnerability that this country—and indeed the wider world—has not made any concrete plans to defend us against. And the current coronavirus crisis has starkly underlined just how much we need to address his concerns. Apocolypse How? describes a situation where Britain is the grip of a ‘Black Swan’ event—named as such because it is considered to be as rare as a black swan. In this case, the rare event is the complete failure of the National Grid. Oliver’s book starts with a fictional account of a massive network and electricity failure at a time when the world has gradually put advancing technology in charge of just about everything, from smart homes to transport. In the opening chapter, one of the main characters can’t drive onto the M4 because his car’s motorway registration

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system is not working, due to its need for a satellite feed. Attempting to enter the motorway without this registration results in the car simply slowing to an eventual stop (somewhere safe one assumes). As the failure of the registration system is part of a countrywide communications breakdown, the obvious use of Sat Nav to find another way home is not an option. And, as by this time all cars are electric powered, not knowing how to get somewhere presents difficult challenges. In a situation where people need help, such as the elderly or those with a disability, this problems hints at being just the tip of an iceberg. Oliver has chosen a format of writing a fictional narrative followed by a chapter explaining how the story is possible and therefore not just fiction. The result is a very effective method of pointing out our vulnerabilities. With his signature delivery of a thoughtful rationale, Oliver explained how he developed the idea behind the book. ‘I came gradually to the conclusion that we ought to try, in some more systematic way, to identify what the things were that were not so cataclysmic that you couldn’t do anything about them, and not so unimportant that you didn’t need to worry about them, but were midway between these—i.e. very important, but in principal, conceivably something you could do something about. So, for example, if a big meteor hits the earth and the earth ceases to have life on it, there’s not much we can do about it. And nuclear Armageddon, whilst we should try to prevent it, is not something that we are likely, if it should occur, to be able to remedy by making civil defence measures. And in the other extreme, a significant inconvenience somewhere in the country—you get over it and we pass on.’ In the case of what happens in Apocalypse How?, the key issue that Oliver believes we face is the lack of a ‘fallback option’ when integrated networks, which in the setting of the book are all reliant on the same power source, fail. All efforts appear to be going into ensuring that there isn’t a failure but little is being done to figure out what to do if there is. ‘I began to try to identify, systematically, what the risks were that were really high impact but were potentially preventable’, he explained. ‘As that work proceeded, it became increasingly clear that one of the things we are most exposed to is the convergence of networks and the increasing dependence, more and more, on them and the fragility that that engenders.’ He explained our propensity to look at disasters in terms of possibility and how easy it is to think “it’ll never happen.” But the fact is that that is still a gamble. ‘In the course of all that’ he said. ‘I learned about how, if you don’t understand them, statistics can mislead you and how you need to think about the difference between protecting against things and accepting that they may happen. And therefore you need some fallback if they did.’ Admitting that, even before the advent of coronavirus, we were in a period of ‘quite considerable challenges for government’ he became concerned that the immediacy of those challenges and further work on protecting against the things he describes in the book, or the development of fallback solutions, was likely to be put on the back burner. ‘So the reason for writing the book particularly’ he said, was to try to raise a salient issue and to ‘try to persuade people in the media and the population at large, and eventually politicians and governments, to take this sort of thing seriously. Even though, as I explained in the book, it’s not sexy in the short term.’ One of the striking things about Apocalypse How? is Oliver Letwin’s explanation of how Government works and why they can’t or won’t act to prevent ‘Black Swan’ events. For example the mere act of ‘surviving politics’ is always more pressing, and anything that isn’t already happening, or isn’t happening within a short time, will always go to the back of the queue. There is also a consistent need to focus on problems that are considered ‘real’ rather than ‘hypothetical’.

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If we’ve learned anything from coronavirus, it is that hypothetical can become real much quicker than has previously been realised. Perhaps one of the more frightening explanations that comes from his knowledge of Government is his understanding of people and our natural fear of being wrong, looking stupid or not wanting to be blamed. Not only does surviving politics stop people from undertaking necessary actions because of a fear of being wrong, but there is also the belief that if you contribute to averting a crisis, the world is usually too busy with other things to thank you. Nobody notices the reason a crisis doesn’t happen. People trying to survive in politics, he suggests, generally won’t do something that they won’t be thanked for. One scenario that shows a particularly glaring omission is the fact that, despite most hospitals having backup generators for power, the latest communication technologies mean that within a few years there will be little or no old-fashioned methods of communication, like a walkie-talkie, except for organisations such as the army. In that situation the army’s ability to communicate would be helpful, but if it can’t communicate with anyone else, it’s impossible for units to coordinate where their assistance will be most needed. The fact that little is being done to protect us, for example from an inability to communicate, is something that Oliver is keenly aware of. ‘I think there’s a great deal of effort going into protecting things against those sorts of failure, which is good’ he said. ‘But I think that the impetus to provide fallback solutions, as far as I can detect, was rather lost after the government dived into the Brexit scenario. And incidentally I think we got further into our thinking than most other countries. This is not a UK problem this is a global problem and I hope that this is a message that can be spread across the world.’ Considering the hidden public services like food production, distribution and pharmacies etc that have

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been so important during the current crisis, the lack of their ability to communicate would be catastrophic. Imagine a situation where food suppliers were not able to communicate with supermarkets, where shops and services had fully committed to card payments, where we have become a cashless society and suddenly there was no electricity to make the system work? The public disorder would be a nightmare to control. However, this is one scenario that Oliver Letwin doesn’t dwell on in Apocalypse How? The potential for public disorder on a massive scale could have made this book a contender for a great disaster movie. But instead he took a different angle. ‘Maybe there would be significant public disorder’ he explained, ‘but I think that’s the lurid end of it. And similarly, of course, I could have taken a massive cyber-attack in the sort of novel bit of the book, which is also sexier. But what I was trying to do was point out, without being lurid, and in an entirely sort of humdrum way, that actually there are great exposures.’ Instead of the blockbuster angle, he sought to bring home the vulnerability of the elderly during a crisis like this. ‘I thought that the case of looking after the frail elderly—which is obviously an issue that is of great importance now and will continue to be even more and more important as our population ages over the next ten, twenty and thirty years—actually depends pretty comprehensively on people being able to move around; people being able to communicate with one another and all the things, in short, that are fragile. So I thought it was a good way to illustrate, without being lurid, how significant the problem could get.’ He is very aware of the potential for an enormously catastrophic situation. ‘I very much have not taken the extreme end because at the extreme end, of course, you could have the whole world’s system failing. It’s perfectly imaginable that cross contamination and convergence could make that happen. I didn’t want to take a case like that because I didn’t want people to say “well obviously

he’s taken an extreme case”. I’ve just taken one country at random which happens to be ours, it could be any country. I’ve taken a fact that everybody knows, which is that there are a lot of elderly and frail people in their homes whom one way or another need to be looked after—heated, fed and so on. And I’ve pointed out something blindingly obvious, which is that if the systems on which people’s records of where they are, ability to get to them, ability to have their lights and gas and so on and ability to talk to them fails, you’ve got a problem. And you don’t need many days, under certain conditions—I’ve pictured a rather cold spell—to become really quite serious.’ The scenario and resulting difficulties that Apocalypse How? depicts are frightening, especially given the current situation. But when Oliver talked about his book we were in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak. So early that he had even hoped the book might be published at a time when his message may have a chance of being heard. ‘All I’m trying to do is raise the alarm’ he said, ‘in the hope that now there’s a slightly calmer period in our national life again the government will take up the issue.’ One month later and that slightly calmer period is a distant memory. However, before we were thrown into the depths of the crisis, he offered hope that much of our health system has made some preparation for something like the coronavirus problem. He highlighted Public Health England which he described as ‘a body of very expert people, very serious people who have a great deal of knowledge and practical experience. And they’ve developed a series of rigmaroles and I’ll bet you that they turn out to be very good at controlling the spread of coronavirus, because they know what you have to do to track people down and take the appropriate measures and so on.’ He recalled how, when dealing with Ebola cases in West Africa which didn’t have public health systems, helping them to set up rudimentary health measures and

systems was more important that building makeshift hospitals. ‘So that’s an area in which Britain is pretty well equipped with the equivalent of a fallback mechanism.’ When he was dealing with Ebola and with various of the fever outbreaks, one of the things that became clear is that there are all sorts of preparations that can be put in place. ‘You can’t stop those things from happening’ he says, talking about virus outbreaks. ‘But you can build up protective systems and good public health systems that with any luck curtail them and limit the damage. But we obviously don’t control the world sufficiently to prevent viruses from happening and spreading to begin with. What we can do is to lay in if were canny about it, and overcome some of the problems of this economy. Lay in vaccines for example that may not be very useful at the moment, but which might become useful if and when. And that’s something that I was involved in when I was a Minister. And there is now a much better arrangement for funding and holding vaccines that may be useful but are not immediately relevant, and which commercially therefore wouldn’t be held.’ While the world is currently in the grip of a crisis beyond anything we could have imagined much of what Oliver Letwin talks about appears to be very relevant. Not directly to the ravages of coronavirus. But to use a popular turn of phrase, Apocalypse How? is a ‘wakeup call’ that can be applied to a number of scenarios. The key point is that despite our great efforts to build walls to stop things happening, we also need to be prepared and have a fallback option in the event that our efforts to stop a crisis from occurring do fail. Apocalypse How? Is published by Atlantic Books Price £14.99 ISBN-13 9781786496867 Oliver Letwin was due to talk about the book at The Electric Palace on April 6. This talk has been postponed until further notice.

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In Search of the Native Daffodil By Philip Strange

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Philip Strange in Search of the Native Daffodil THIS year sees the 250th anniversary of the birth of the English romantic poet William Wordsworth. One of his most famous poems, Daffodils was inspired by an extensive drift of the flowers he encountered growing along the shores of Ullswater in the Lake District. Wordsworth’s flowers would have been our native wild daffodil, smaller and less showy than the many brightly coloured, cultivated varieties we are accustomed to seeing in our gardens and parks. Native daffodils used to grow prolifically in the wild in many parts of the UK but woodland clearance and ploughing of meadows reduced their numbers. The west country is still a good place to see the flowers in the wild so I went off to look for them in Devon and Dorset.


started my quest in our Devon garden where, a few years ago, we planted native daffodil bulbs obtained from a reputable supplier. This year they began to flower in late February revealing blooms of an understated beauty compared to their less subtle cultivated cousins. The trumpet is lemon-yellow and rather narrow with roughly parallel sides and the six petals are the colour of clotted cream, standing perpendicular to the trumpet, like an Elizabethan ruff. The grey green strap-like leaves and flower stem holding its single flower are about 20cm long, quite a bit shorter than many cultivated varieties. The native daffodil is a member of the narcissus family, a genus often said to be named from the Greek myth whereby the young man, Narcissus, falls in love with his reflection seen in a pool of water. Unable to resist the allure of his own image, in time he realises his love cannot be reciprocated and he wastes away turning into a gold and white flower. Others believe the name comes from the Latin word narce, (numbness,

torpor) a reference to the narcotic properties of the plant. Daffodils contain many chemicals, some of which were probably responsible for these narcotic effects, and extracts of daffodil have historically been used in folk medicine. The plant is now considered to be poisonous but one compound, galantamine, is purified from daffodils grown commercially in Wales for use as a therapy in Alzheimer’s disease. The flowers growing in our garden provided me with a useful image to keep in my mind when I went into the countryside searching for native daffodils. It wasn’t difficult to find flowers along lane-side verges in West Dorset and in Devon that resembled the native daffodil, but how could I be sure? Simon Harrap in his beautifully illustrated book “Wild Flowers” warns against identifying roadside blooms as native because of the practice of garden dumping and of hybridisation with one of the thousands of garden cultivars, some of which have been deliberately planted to brighten up the countryside. He suggests searching in deciduous

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woodland or old pasture where the flowers may have been long established. So, where can we go to see our native daffodil growing in the wild? The Lake District has strong populations with Wordsworth’s flowers still gracing the shores of Ullswater in late March and early April. Another fine population can be seen near Farndale in North Yorkshire but it is on the Gloucestershire/Herefordshire borders that one of the most impressive displays occurs each spring. The “Golden Triangle”, defined by the villages of Kempley, Oxenhall and Dymock, has for many years attracted large numbers of visitors to see the carpets of wild daffodils in woodlands, orchards and pasture. A fine display of the wild flowers can, however, be found nearer to home. Just a few miles to the west of Exeter in

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the Teign Valley in Devon lies Dunsford Nature Reserve and on a beautifully sunny mid-March day, we went to see the Dunsford daffodils. We parked near Steps Bridge where the Teign cascaded noisily over rocks creating showers of white water and sparkling light. The riverside path took us away from the bridge and almost immediately we came across daffodils. They were easy to find: growing under the trees in deciduous woodland, scattered across riverside meadows and flourishing among coppiced hazel stools. They were unmistakeably our native daffodil based on their stature, the shape of the flowers and their lemon and cream colour and, something I hadn’t noticed before, the tendency of individual flowers to be held at a slight angle downwards. For the most part, they do not grow thickly, it’s as though they need their space, and dense drifts of the flowers are

Native daffodils in the Teign Valley

rarely seen here. But this is compensated for by the sheer number of flowers so that for a few weeks at this time of year they own the land and it becomes very much daffodil territory. This is one of the strong impressions I shall take away from our visit. We did find one meadow with denser growth where the colours of the flowers tended to merge into a sheen of yellow, shining like the sun and reminding us that spring is on its way. Native daffodils are sometimes also called “Lent lilies” as they were said to bloom and fade between Ash Wednesday and Easter. When we visited Dunsford on March 16th, the flowers were close to their peak but they should still be around for a few more weeks. But let’s go back to that stormy day in April 1802 when William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy encountered the profusion of daffodils by Ullswater. Dorothy described in her journal for April 15th how the flowers “tossed and reeled and danced, and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind, that blew upon them over the lake”. William composed his poem two years later, inspired by her journal entry and his tribute to the daffodil has become

one of the best-known pieces of verse in the English language. Here is the last verse where Wordsworth remembers the events: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.

For directions to Dunsford Nature Reserve look at: https://www. dunsford I bought native daffodil bulbs from index.html Philip Strange is Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Reading. He writes about science and about nature with a particular focus on how science fits in to society. His work may be read at http://philipstrange.

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FOLLOWING Government advice, gatherings have now all been cancelled. The following notices from just a few of the local groups whose events have been promoted within these pages over many years, confirm positions taken by these organisations. We will keep you up to date on any other information in future issues.

Friends of St Michael’s Church Beer Hackett have postponed their AGM and it is wait and see regarding the village party in June. Stay safe everyone Olive Davison Secretary.

Lopen Spring Plant Sale - Saturday May 9th We have decided to cancel the following event and doing an online sale just within the immediate community.

Thorncombe Gardening Club

We are very sorry but due to coronavirus restrictions all Club activities and trips have been cancelled until the beginning of September. For further information please contact Mary Morris 01460 30938.

Castle Players Ghost Writer

written by David Tristram 13th-16th May. We decided to postpone our play, so please feel free to not mention it any more. Phil McMullen Castle Players.

The Beacon, Kilmington EX13 7RF

hosts the Post Office village service every Tuesday from 10-12noon. For an update to check if this is running contact

C.U.P.I.D for Ostomists

18 April, Dr Sue Beckers was to talk about Pure, White and Deadly, Dorford Centre Dorchester DT1 1RR. This has now been cancelled.

22 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

West Dorset Flower Club

have cancelled their April meeting. Future meetings will be reviewed nearer the time.

Broadwindsor Fun Day Group

Due to government advice and restrictions, are cancelling the Hot Cross Bun Coffee Morning on April 10th.

Bridport Scottish Dancing

In line with other groups we have cancelled all meetings and Dances until further notice.

Versus Arthritis

have had to cancel their next event that was to be held on 15 May.

Artwave West

will close the gallery and Academy until further notice but will move the Exhibitions and artworks for purchase for home delivery onto their Buy Art page on the website, www.

Dorchester Arts

With regret, but in light of government advice, Dorchester Arts is suspending all activity. It’s not goodbye, it’s just au revoir for now, but we’ll be back as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Shipton Riding Club Table Top sale

on April 16th at Salwayash Village Hall is cancelled. Hope to reschedule in September.

URBAN Spaces

an exhibition where 11 members of Wesca (Wessex Contemporary Art) respond to a theme of Urban Spaces each in their own unique way scheduled for Saturday April 4th to Sunday April 19th has been cancelled The exhibition was to feature Elaine Mills, Aleathea Lillitos, Judy Tinsley, Jane Burden, Justin Orwin, Elaine Collett, June Ridgway, Jane Barnard, Marilyn Rose, John Bartholomew, Heather Stone. 01305 260215

The Friends of Beaminster Festival Concert on Saturday 18 April in St Mary’s Beaminster has now been cancelled.

Exibition, “Clapton and Wayford Past and Present” and Flower Festival

St Michael and All Angels Church, Wayford. Saturday church Saturday 25th - Sunday 26th April has been cancelled. Further information call 01460 279696.

Litton Cheney films at the Village Hall

Cancelled. Thursday 2 April Judy (PG-13) 7.30pm. Thursday 30 April Knives Out (PG-13) 7.30pm. Litton Cheney Village Hall, School Lane.

The Living Tree

“As a team, we have come to the decision that it is in the best interest of our members and the wider community to stop all upcoming events for the foreseeable future. Whilst we are saddened that we can not go ahead with our planned events, our priority is always the health and wellbeing of our members. We will be in touch to let you know of updates to our events programme, as soon as we have them. If you are self-isolating for whatever reason, there are resources available within the community. A new initiative, the Bridport Coronavirus Community Support has just been launched. The goal of the group is to identify people who may be able to offer support, such as going to the supermarket, to those who may require it during the outbreak. For full NHS guidance, see here. We wish you all the best in these trying times.”

The Town Mill Lyme Regis

is closed for tours till 7th June. Flour Sales through Lyme bat brewery and Courtyard Cafe. Malthouse Gallery Closed until 17th June 2020.

Bridport Camera Club

has suspended all meetings for this season. We hope to reopen in September but we will obviously be reviewing this as the situation changes.

ChideockWI talk by Denys Brunsden

on 5 May is cancelled. Chideock WI will be cancelling all events for the foreseeable future but will keep members informed as soon as the programme can be resumed. In the meantime keep safe.

Lyme Ghost Walks and Lyme History Walks We are cancelling these guided walks until further notice in line with current guidelines. We expect to come back with

even more exciting informative walks whenever the right time emerges!

Chard camera club

The club has cancelled all of their activities and meetings until further notice. Recommencement will be announced via their website and off of their facebook link, further details can be obtained from the members secretary Mrs Joyce Partridge on 01460 66885

Chard Royal Naval Association

The association has cancelled all their meetings at the Chard Rugby Football Club Essex Close Chard until further notice. Any further information can be obtained by ringing the associations secretary Mr Gary Pennells on 01460 77078. Any furthet vannouncements from them can be viewed on their link off of facebook under Chard Royal Naval Association.

“The Good Liar”

Kilmington Village Hall Wednesday 1st April has been cancelled.

The Jurassic Coast Trust

We have cancelled all our events until the end of June. The Great Dorset Beach Clean in April and Lyme Regis Fossil Festival in May have also been cancelled. We are still planning Run Jurassic - the official Jurassic Coast running festival - 26-27 September 2020.

National Trust West Dorset

We have cancelled all our April events, so no egg hunts at Stonebarrow (Golden Cap) or Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock.

All Axe Valley Centre National Trust

events (Talks, Fair), have now been cancelled until the Autumn.

The Axe Vale & District Conservation Society

has cancelled all of its events until further notice. As soon as the situation allows, our spring and summer programme of events will apply. You can check on our website www. or visit us on Facebook @ AxeValeDCS for updates. We hope that in these difficult times you are able to get outside, even if only in your garden, to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of nature.

Long Bredy Coffee Break Saturday April 11th is cancelled.

Jason Bryant Exhibition

Following Government guidance and in the light of the rapidly changing situation around COVID-19, we have come to the difficult decision that we should postpone the opening of Jason Bryant’s exhibition at Somerset Rural Life Museum. The exhibition, featuring Jason’s memorable photography of the Glastonbury Festival, was due to take place between 4 April and 28 June. At this very concerning time we must continue to put the health and wellbeing of partners, visitors, staff and volunteers first. We intend to reschedule the exhibition for a later date and will be in touch again when that date has been confirmed.

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T&F Movies and Tatworth WI.

T & F Movies have cancelled the film showing in Tatworth Memorial Hall 24th April. When film presentations can resume is not known. Tatworth W.I. have cancelled their meeting on Thursday 16th April in Tatworth Memorial Hall at 7.30pm. Any decision about meetings in May and following months will be made at a later date. The David Hall is closing until the end of April. Petherton Arts Trust, who own and run The David Hall performing arts centre in South Petherton, have issued the following statement: Our first concern is the health and safety of our customers, volunteers and staff, so in line with government advice we are closing until end of April. This date may be revised in the light of further information. Currently most of our artists during those months are either cancelling or postponing their performances and we will be doing our best to monitor the situation and to keep you informed as things develop. Please bear with us in requesting refunds on tickets at this stage. We will honour all tickets sold for re-scheduled events. Further information can be found on the website: www.thedavidhall.

Royal British Legion, Spring Fair & Coffee morning Kilmington village hall. Saturday 4th April ‘20 has been cancelled. Contact

Stockland Easter Market

Saturday April 18th is now cancelled.

Uplyme & Lyme Regis Horticultural Society

To avoid putting our members at risk we have taken the immediate steps of cancelling our March and April talks (Matthew Wilson, Star Plants for Small Gardens and Chris Perring, British Owls). We have also cancelled both our April trips (to Minterne Gardens/Max Gate and RHS Cardiff Flower Show). The committee will review further action in early April as government advice evolves and will be in contact with members again after that review. Ticket holders for the March talk have already been contacted. The April talk will be rescheduled in due course. If you have already paid for trips to Minterne Gardens/Max Gate and RHS Cardiff, one of the organisers will be in touch with you to arrange a refund. We are sorry that this is necessary but I am sure everyone appreciates that these are unprecedented times.

Open Meeting of the Honiton Pottery Collectors Society

on 3rd May at the Heathfield Inn, Honiton is cancelled.

Yeovil Railway Centre

have now cancelled all events until the end of May.

Sherborne Group DWT

have cancelled their talk on 15th April at Digby Memorial Hall.

Dorchester Townswomen’s Guild Meeting on Monday 6 April is cancelled.

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Axminster Heritage Centre

Following the Government guidelines we are closing The Axminster Heritage Centre including The Bradshaw Meeting Room. All our events held in the Centre and the surrounding area are postponed until further notice. During this period of closure we hope to publish some interesting on-line activities. To be kept informed of what we are doing at the Axminster Heritage Centre you can either monitor the ‘news’ section on our website or follow us on Facebook.

Axminster Historical Society

The remaining two talks of the Axminster Historical Society 2019/2020 winter programme are postponed and will be included in the 2021/2022 winter programme, which will hopefully commence in October. Thank you to all our members and supporters and we wish you a safe and healthy

Leafwork Bookbinding Workshop

April 1st, James Hargreaves Community Hall, Morcombelake DT6 6EA cancelled. 01297 489976 and Leafwork Bookbinding Workshop, April 22nd, Leafwork studio, Whitchurch Canonicorum DT6 6RH also cancelled 01297 489976.

Seavington Gardening Club

How to grow vegetables organically, by Val Bourne Thursday 9th April cancelled. time in the coming months.

Broadwindsor Fun Group

We have decided to cancel all of the fund raising events and the actual fun day itself. This was not an easy decision but has been made in line with Government advice. Many of you have already worked hard towards these events and the BFG are most grateful for this. This work will not be wasted but used when we can resume matters and strive towards celebrating a fun day perhaps later in the year. We are disappointed to have to cancel the events and know many were looking forward to them. Thank you for your continued support. We shall provide an update as to any future plans once things have settled down and we return to normality.

Seaton Garden Club

Meetings and outings cancelled at least until the end July beginning of August when the situation will be reviewed again.

Beer events cancelled

Official opening of the Memorial Avenue, Thursday 23rd April. An avenue of 30 small-leaved lime trees dedicated to all Beer residents who served in the First World War. The names of all those who served were to be read. A bugler was to sound the Last Post and Reveille, and other music provided by the East Devon Daytime Band. Further details on www., from rscottbeer@outlook. com or 07870 891581. WW1 exhibition on Thursday 23rd April cancelled. An exhibition recording the First World War experiences of Beer residents. St. Michael’s church, Fore Street, Beer. Organised by the Beer 2014 Group. Further details on, from rscottbeer@outlook. com or 07870 891581.

The Axe Vale Show

Cancelled. The Committee of the Axe Vale Show have regrettably come to the decision to cancel the 2020 Axe Vale Show. We do look forward to being back for 2021 with the usual Show! Simon Hodges says ‘For those of you who have already paid, may I confirm that we will be making a 100% reimbursement. We would like to thank you for the support in the past and would hope that in due course, we can plan a show for 19/20th June 2021. For those expecting repayment and if you prefer it to be by BACS , please could you supply details to [marquee managers to fill in email please]. Cheques will be sent to all others as soon as we can. May I wish you all well in these extremely harrowing times.’

Beaminster Museum

had planned to open on 10 April, but have decided to remain closed until further notice. Updates will be provided on their website, social media, answerphone 01308 863623, and the noticeboards outside Beaminster museum and the Co-op. The Square, Beaminster. ‘We’d love to see you when we are able to open!’

West Bay Discovery Centre

like other similar attractions have had to reluctantly close their doors to visitors until further notice. ‘We’ve been busy cancelling and where possible re-arranging events and activities. Dates will follow in due course but they include a evening of coastal stories and song with Bride Valley and Beyond, Guitar recitals

and “Wild Tales of West Bay” with Martin Maudsley. Our main exhibition this year is “Down the Track” , which explores the former Bridport to West Bay railway line. Linked to this is a planned programme, which includes talks, guided walks and a model railway day. Once the Centre is able to reopen we’ll welcome visitors to come “Down the Track” with us. In the meantime we will be increasing the content on our website and social media channels. We encourage those who interested in West Bay’s heritage and natural history to catch up with us there.’

Honiton U3A

regret to announce that due to the impact of the Coronavirus and following Government advice, ALL our General and Interest Group meetings have been cancelled with immediate effect until August 2020 when the situation will be reviewed. Please visit our website for further information and updates

Tincleton Gallery

Concerts cancelled; art exhibitions suspended; framing continues. All Spring Series Concerts Cancelled. We will review this as UK government advice evolves. If you wish to modify any previous requests for refund/holds please contact us at (info@ stating your preference for either: 1) a refund, giving your name, bank sort code, and bank account number; or 2) to ask that we hold your payment on account, for future transfer to another of our concerts at a later date. Spring Arts Exhibition cancelled/suspended. This art exhibition has

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 25

been hung and briefly opened. However the new government advice leads us to now close the venue for general access. We will reassess as the situation evolves. Dorchester Framing itself continues to operate as usual, please make an appointment by email or phone (01305 848 909) in the usual manner. And please everyone, stay safe.

Petherton Folk Fest.

‘It is with much sadness that we have to announce the cancellation of this year’s Folk Fest, which was to be held in South Petherton on Saturday, 13th June. These are extreme circumstances that we all find ourselves in and therefore the committee unanimously decided that there was no alternative but to cancel/postpone the event to next year. We promise that we will be back bigger and better on Saturday, 19th June 2021! A massive thanks to our committee, sponsors, artists, dancers, stall holders and all those who work so hard to make this such a successful event. Stay safe and looking forward to seeing you all next year, if not before.’

Ilminster Arts Centre

has announced a temporary closure in response to the ongoing Coronavirus public health situation. A spokesperson for the Arts Centre said that café was now closed and that concerts and workshops for the foreseeable future would be cancelled. “Ticket holders should contact the Arts Centre for a refund, but we are also asking, if they are in a position to do so, to consider rolling their ticket over to a future event, or to treat their ticket as a donation. As a small charity, with no external funding, this would be much appreciated.” Ilminster Arts Centre, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, presents a unique programme of concerts, exhibitions, art and craft workshops throughout the year, and its cafe is a popular destination within Ilminster. The spokesperson said ‘With the support of the local community over the past quarter of a century, Ilminster Arts Centre has developed into a much loved community hub that celebrates and promotes enjoyment of the arts. We would like to thank all our supporters and look forward to welcoming them back in better times.’ Visitors are advised to look at the Arts Centre’s website (www. for future updates, and the Arts Centre will be maintaining a virtual presence on the pages of Facebook and Twitter (@IlminsterArts.

Royal Navy International Air Day

2020 Cancelled. ‘Following many months of planning, we regret to inform you that the Royal Navy International Air Day 2020 has been cancelled. The show was due to take place at RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, on Saturday 11 July. This decision to cancel has been made as a prudent measure and in accordance with Government guidance on Covid-19. We are making sensible and proportionate adjustments to non-essential activity, these decisions are made on a case by case basis to minimise the impact of Covid-19. Our priority has always been to deliver a safe and enjoyable event for our patrons. In times of such unprecedented uncertainty, the Royal Navy, RNAS Yeovilton and AHA Events Ltd have had to make the difficult decision to cancel the Royal Navy International Air Day 2020. All tickets purchased will be refunded – more details to follow

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in due course. In the meantime, we ask for your patience while we undertake this process due to current working conditions. Updates will be made via email and our social media channels. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal patrons, sponsors, exhibitors, participants, emergency services, contractors, station personnel and the many other stakeholders for their continued support in making Air Day the success it has become.’

V.E Day - 75th anniversary celebrations

It is with regret that we have had to postpone the the event for the V.E. Day 75th Anniversary Celebrations on Friday 8th May 2020.

Honiton Walking Club

has postponed all its planned walks until the end of April when it will be reviewed again and has also cancelled its first coach walk planned for 12th May. Members will be notified by email if there are any further changes.

Radipole & Southill Horticultural Society

have cancelled the 20/04/20, Gardening for Climate Change by The Gardens Group. Southill Community Centre DT4 9SF, 01305 788939

Colyton Heritage Centre

Due to the COVID19 we have had to cancel all the Colyton Town History Walks for the foreseeable future.

West Dorset Arts Society

Monthly lectures are suspended until further notice

From Page to Screen

Film festival postponed until October

Friends of Lyme Regis Philpot Museum

AGM on April 2 Cancelled Woodmead Halls, Hill Rd, Lyme Regis DT7 3PG : contact David Cox on 01297 443156

Bridport Food Festival & Beer Festival

As probably expected, it is with regret that we are announcing that this year’s Bridport Food Festival (June 14-20) and Bridport Round Table Beer Festival (June 19&20) have been cancelled due to Coronavirus and the uncertainty of the months ahead. Obviously, everyone involved in creating this popular community event is very disappointed, but all feel that it is the right decision to make. Our priority must be with the protection of the visitors, the traders, suppliers and all the volunteers who make it happen. We would like to thank everyone especially the businesses that kindly sponsor us, the food and drink traders who have booked their stand space with us and our suppliers who help us put on the Festival each year. We will be in touch with you individually very shortly. Although plans for the rest of year are sketchy, we will be continuing to support and promote our fabulous local food and drink industry and will be putting our heads together to look at different ways to engage with the community. If you do have any ideas please do let us know festival@bridportfoodfestival. We would like to thank you for your continued support

of the Festival, and all look forward to welcoming you back in 2021. In the meantime, please do keep safe and well.

Coastal Craft Collective

To help keep everyone safe. our shop is closed and all workshops postponed. We’re going to do our best to provide ways of keeping in touch and helping you stay happily crafting. We’re offering a free delivery service locally and will continue to post items further afield. We’ve set up a WhatsApp crafting group and are planning other ways of spreading crafting joy! Workshops - all workshops in March & April are postponed. If you have booked, I’ll be in touch to rearrange as soon as I can. If you have any questions please email me. linda@

Talent for Textiles Spring Fair

Beautiful antique textiles and fashion. Wednesday April 8th Ilminster Meeting House and Arts Centre TA19 0AN is now cancelled.

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Become a Friend of our


Ruth Worsley

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A new project aimed at protecting Dorset’s historic hillforts has been unveiled by The National Trust. Margery Hookings finds out more.


’m lucky enough to live not far from the lower slopes of Lewesdon Hill in the west of Dorset. At 279 metres, it’s the highest point in Dorset. From the top, in between the gaps in the trees, you can look out across the lush Marshwood Vale to the sea beyond. On the western side you have Lewesdon’s neighbour, Pilsdon, its flat-top so distinctive on the horizon. To the north and west there is the village of Broadwindsor, the ancient Roman hillfort Waddon Hill (which is privately owned), the ridge at Rampisham and beyond. I visit Lewesdon frequently with the dog. Getting there pretty early, I often don’t see a soul, which is how I like it. But this time of year, in April and May, the hill becomes a magnet for people drawn to Lewesdon’s carpets of bluebells. I’m not giving away any secrets by saying it’s one of the best spots to immerse yourself in this wonderful annual spectacle. Lewesdon is one of 13 Iron Age hillforts in Dorset and Wiltshire owned by the National Trust. It is part of the major Wessex Hillforts and Habitats project which is helping to restore a healthy beautiful natural environment rich in archaeology. Ruth Worsley, volunteering and community involvement officer, explains: ‘Currently, many of them are in poor condition with four on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register. Many have suffered from erosion and damage from both human footfall and livestock, whilst some are heavily choked in scrub. ‘The project is recruiting volunteers to survey their condition. Resulting surveys will inform future management. It’s an inspiring project connecting communities and volunteers with heritage and nature. The project is also working to improve access, and interpretation including making available a downloadable visitors guide. ‘There is a chance to get involved through Friends of the Hillforts. Alongside volunteers carrying out surveys, we would like to encourage members of the communities local to the hillforts to take on an ambassadorial role for these magical sites. Being eyes and ears and sharing their local knowledge with visitors.’ Rich in archaeology, hillforts allow us to step back in time and re-imagine the lives and livelihoods of our ancestors. Many were built in the Iron Age, more than 2,000 years ago, and all are significant landmarks. It’s easy to under-

stand why our ancestors chose these places to live and defend themselves. They often stand in prominent isolation in the landscape so you can get a sense of their positional power whilst enjoying panoramic views across the countryside. ‘They’re as alike as Lewesdon Hill and Pilsdon Pen’ is an old Dorset saying, meaning they’re not very alike at all. Lewesdon Hillfort, masked by ancient beech and oak, contrasts with the open heather and gorse lined ramparts on the hilltop of its near neighbour, Pilsdon Pen. Along with other nearby hillforts of Coney’s Castle and Lambert’s Castle, these impressive and commanding sites line one side of the Marshwood Vale and look out to Eggardon hillfort over on the eastern side of the vale. ‘Dorset’s hillforts also give visitors extraordinary opportunities to experience nature throughout the seasons,’ Ruth says. ‘These Iron Age hillforts are of national importance not just for their archaeology, but for their diverse fragile wildlife habitats including chalk grassland, veteran trees, ancient hedgerow, and acid heathland and support some of the UK’s threatened butterflies including the Adonis Blue, and the Marsh Fritillary.’ It is thought that there was some kind of settlement on Lewesdon Hill in the Iron Age, possibly a place of refuge for people in times of threat. The site was protected from invaders by the steep natural slope on one side, and a man-made ditch and rampart on the flatter side of the hill. It’s a mysterious and magical place with steep, ancient earthern boundaries lined with magnificent veteran beech and oak trees. It’s alive with birdsong. You can enjoy woodland birds such as green and great spotted woodpeckers, nuthatch and tree creeper. Tread quietly and you could be rewarded with a glimpse of roe deer at dusk. The woodland floor in autumn is a feast of fungi with fallen decaying trees also providing excellent habitat for beetles. A new guide, produced by the National Trust and available to download, introduces you to the Iron Age hillforts of Dorset: nationaltrust. For more information on volunteering or any aspect of the project, contact Ruth Worsley on Ruth.Worsley@

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Generous support for Dorset County Hospital COVID-19 Appeal They’ve always been heroes but sometimes it takes a major crisis for us to really take notice. Dorset County Hospital would like to say a big Thank You for the generous support received for their DCH COVID-19 Appeal so far. ‘Our community are rallying behind our wonderful NHS staff as they work tirelessly caring for patients during the coronavirus crisis – as demonstrated by the massive show of appreciation from ‘Clap for Carers’ across the nation. We are all aware of the magnificent effort our NHS staff are making, going above and beyond, to provide the vital care which is needed. Long shifts and growing numbers of patients means the well-being of our staff at Dorset County Hospital is essential to help keep them healthy and resilient. Funds raised are going to Dorset County Hospital

Charity’s special DCH COVID-19 Appeal fund to benefit the hospital’s staff working under immense pressure. This will fund initiatives to support staff at Dorset County Hospital such as nutritious snacks and drinks to help boost the morale of staff on the frontline including the Emergency Department (pictured), the Critical Care unit and other care wards; to provide blow-up mattresses or camp beds to enable staff to grab some much-needed sleep if there is not the chance to return to their accommodation; more tables and chairs outside for valuable breaks in the fresh air; hand cream as they are washing their hands so much and wearing gloves which dries them out and many other ways. Your generous gift won’t be used to pay for equipment and services the government has committed to funding. The DCH COVID-19 Appeal is all about

Members of Dorset County Hospital Emergency Department team

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caring for our much-loved NHS staff whilst they care for us during this difficult time. The NHS is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 (coronavirus) and our dedicated staff at Dorset County Hospital would value your support. Every donation will help make a difference—thank you.’ To donate to the DCH COVID-19 Appeal visit: DCHCOVID-19Appeal Financial donations may also be sent to: DCH COVID-19 Appeal, DCH Charity, Williams Avenue, Dorchester DT1 2JY. (Please do not bring financial donations or donations of goods in to the hospital at this time.)

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Stay at Home with the Jurassic Coast Trust


n line with the latest government guidelines, the Jurassic Coast Trust is urging people to stay at home and avoid busy coastal sites. Whilst it is important to have time in nature, it is simply not worth putting yourself and those in your community at risk of infection. ‘The thought of not being able to fully enjoy the Jurassic Coast is a painful one, especially if you live near it,’ said Sam Scriven, Head of Heritage and Conservation at the Jurassic Coast Trust. ‘Yet, it is the situation we find ourselves in. But the beauty of our World Heritage Site will wait for us, the stories locked within its geology can still be explored through the mind’s eye and our love for this special place can continue to grow. We’ll be working hard to help that happen.’ In order to help parents who are home-schooling their children during this challenging time, the Trust will be producing engaging and educational online content relating to the Jurassic Coast. Anyone with children at home who would like to access this free content to keep them busy, please email New content will include interactive webpages for kids— both educational and fun—as well as a regular newsletter all about the coast, its fossils, dinosaurs, geology and historical figures such as palaeontologist and fossil collector Mary Anning. The content is aimed at children aged 6 to 11 but will have something for everyone! The Jurassic Coast Trust’s mission is to enable everyone to have the best possible experience of England’s only natural

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World Heritage Site, whether they want to learn, enjoy, work or study. The Trust enables effective protection of the Site and conservation of its fossils, engages people and organisations with the coast’s incredible stories, and works to deepen people’s knowledge and understanding of the Site and of World Heritage. The Jurassic Coast Trust is the only organisation with the mandate to encompass the full 95-mile length and 250-million-year timescale of the Site, and is dedicated to creating a unified Jurassic Coast to improve people’s experience and have a positive impact on their lives, now and for future generations. It is England’s only natural World Heritage Site, comprising 95 miles of the south coast between Orcombe Point in Exmouth and Old Harry Rocks near Swanage. It takes in 185 million years of the Earth’s history, offering a globally unique “Walk Through Time”. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 2001 for its Outstanding Universal Value, as demonstrated by its rocks, fossils and landforms. The Jurassic Coast is both dynamic and resilient, and the Trust hopes that through their content, they can inspire those qualities in our communities. The Trust emphasises that they will continue to support their partner organisations across the coast, to ensure they can recover from the current situation and are still able to deliver their services to visitors. Visit for the latest information.

Chard Scottish Country Dance Club


any of our local community groups have been in touch to let us know their situation and response to Covid-19. Here is a statement from Chard Scottish Country Dance Club. ‘Apart from our usual Monday evening meetings, the Chard Scottish Country Dance Club normally host dances throughout the year. Our April and June dances are cancelled for this year but we are travelling hopefully and aiming for our next regular dance on Saturday 1st August. Scottish dancers, like joggers and, dare I say video gamers, are hooked and really miss their weekly fix. Sadly there is only so much you can do on line. It is the combination of movement, music and teamwork that brings us great joy. And there is a dynamic through the evening. Dancers can start flat and out of sorts but by the last dance, although physically exhausted their spirits are revived, and in some circles that is when the party starts. Scottish dancing takes place all over the world and I am now watching to see when Japan, Hong Kong and Western Australia start again. At Chardstock we are always pleased when newcomers give Scottish dancing a try and are delighted when they decide to join the Club.

Occasionally we also make video recordings of some of the less well known dances and then put them on YouTube so we and others can subsequently remind ourselves how to do the dances. The picture is taken from a recording we made in March last year of the dance Far North Queensland. Although the patterns will be familiar to English Folk, Morris and Contra dancers, this dance is a strathspey, which is step almost unique to Scottish dance. The music is played by Marian Anderson and her band and two of the tunes were also composed by Marian.’

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Trust urges visitors to follow advice on using nature reserves


orset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is advising anyone planning to visit one of its 42 nature reserves in Dorset to adhere to the government guidance for social distancing and to only use these sites as part of their daily exercise allowance. If the site is busy, we are asking visitors to return at a quieter time or postpone their visit completely. DWT has closed car parks to nature reserves to limit the potential visitor numbers. Due to many nature reserves having public rights of way running through them, DWT does not have the authority to close them to the public, but hopes that if they are used, they are used responsibly so visitors do not put themselves or others at risk following the rapid progression of Covid-19. DWT Centres are now closed and staff are

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homeworking where possible to protect the volunteers, staff and supporters of Dorset’s largest conservation charity. All events and activities until the end of April have been cancelled, and this situation is being reviewed constantly, in line with Government advice. DWT Chief Executive, Brian Bleese, said, “We understand that the desire to get out into nature for the benefit of our mental and physical wellbeing has never been greater, but we urge any visitors to behave responsibly at this time. Instead of visiting nature reserves, we are asking you to enjoy the wildlife in your gardens and immerse yourselves in the wildlife you see looking out the window, with the #dorsetwildlifewindow campaign.” “Over the coming weeks and months, our communications team will be working hard to share

inspiration and ideas of how you can still connect with nature from home. We hope that after the situation has improved and normal life resumes that local people in Dorset will appreciate the fantastic wild spaces we are blessed with in the county, and continue to support the great work of Dorset Wildlife Trust. Dorset’s natural environment and wildlife needs your help more than ever during these uncertain times.” DWT is also delighted to be streaming its barn owl webcam, sponsored by PFM Associates. You can tune in from home to watch our two barn owls roosting and hopefully producing some eggs in the next few weeks. Visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust. Please share your photos and video from your gardens and what you see out of windows and join the #dorsetwildlifewindow campaign by following DWT’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter social media accounts. You can sign up to DWT’s newsletter for ideas and inspiration of how to be wild at home at emailsignup.

Above: A screenshot of the barn owl webcam by DWT Left: A wildlife-friendly garden by Briony Baxter

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The Father of Radar By Cecil Amor


n the February edition of The Marshwood in A History of Science in 20 Objects I mentioned that I would have included Radar. Radar was included in the Brooke Bond Picture Cards of 1975 which I also referred to, but how many now can recall the person called the Father of Radar? Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt has been described as the Father of Radar by Professor Hanbury Brown. Hanbury Brown had worked under Watson-Watt in the early days of the development of radar and said that he had the ability to inspire followers with devotion and enthusiasm. The fact that ground and airborne radar were developed in time for World War II and the Battle of Britain was largely due to Watson-Watt.

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Watson-Watt was born in 1892 in Brechin, Aberdeenshire, the son of a carpenter and studied Electrical Engineering at University College in Dundee. He was appointed assistant to the Professor of Physics who encouraged him to study wireless telegraphy. After the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Meteorological Office at Ditton Park (Slough) to work on radio methods of locating thunderstorms, if possible to warn aircraft. This led to the use of rotating frame aerials and later the cathode-ray direction finder. In 1927 WatsonWatt was appointed Superintendent of the Radio Research Station which also included measuring the height of the reflecting layers of the ionosphere by pulsed radio. The

word “ionosphere� was coined by Watson-Watt. In 1935 H E Wimperis, Air Ministry Director of Research, set up a Committee for the Scientific Study of Air Defence under H T Tizard to consider if recent advances in scientific knowledge could improve our defences against hostile aircraft. During the 1914-18 war we were not very successful in finding enemy zeppelins at night and by 1930 it was decided to use sensitive microphones and sound reflectors around the south eastern approaches to London. Large reflectors could detect an aircraft at between 30 and 40 km, so would give about 4 minutes warning of an approaching aircraft. We also had the Royal Observer Corps with

“less unpromising” was a typical remark of Watson-Watt binoculars and manual height detectors who could identify and count enemy aircraft in daylight. Wimperis asked Watson-Watt if a hostile aircraft could be damaged by radiation—could we make a “death-ray”. He replied that it would require some 30 MW at least, far more than could be produced then and if the aircraft were metal clad the crew and engine would be shielded from radiation. He said that a less unpromising problem of radio detection could be submitted when required. Professor Hanbury Brown knew Watson-Watt well and commented that “less unpromising” was a typical remark of Watson-Watt who by using double negatives and convoluted syntax, etc., could make the simplest subject difficult. Watson-Watt sent a memorandum to Tizard’s committee entitled “Detection of aircraft by radio methods” in February 1935. He estimated the radio signal strength reflected from an aircraft and the optimum wavelength, together with how the distance of the target could be measured and that a cathode-ray direction-finder might be developed to measure its elevation and bearing. The Committee requested a trial. A Heyford bomber flew at 2000 m height to and from a beam from the BBC transmitter in a demonstration in February 1935. They saw signals from the aircraft for about 4 minutes as it passed overhead. The report was favourable and two weeks later a small group left the Slough Research Station for Orfordness to commence development of radar, then called Radio Direction Finding. They included A E Wilkins, E G Bowen and L H Bainbridge-Bell and they soon had a working radar. After only five weeks they saw an echo from a Scapa flying boat at a range of 27 km. By the end of the year they could detect aircraft at ranges of 100km well beyond the range of sound locators and also its position

Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt Memorial Photograph By Kevan Dickin

in three dimensions. Watson-Watt visited Orford from Slough almost every weekend. By December 1935 it was agreed to build five radar stations covering the approaches to London, between Bawdsey and South Foreland. The Air Ministry bought Bawdsey Manor on the coast near Orford early in 1936 and Watson-Watt was appointed its Superintendent. Watson-Watt proposed a new system of air defence and this began in 1937. A “filter room “ was to correlate raw data from several radar stations before it was passed on to those controlling the fighter aircraft. This was arranged with RAF Fighter Command and was ready in time for the Battle of Britain. Watson-Watt claimed to have “invented” the use of WAAFs (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) as radar operators. A second trial in 1937 using three of the five original stations was successful and a coastal chain of stations named Home Chain of 20 more stations was agreed. By the outbreak of war there were 19 stations on the east coast and six on the south, giving coverage from Scotland to Portsmouth. The Home Chain stations on the east coast each used four steel towers of 110 m height supporting eight dipole aerials for transmission and the receiver used three or four wooden towers of 73 m height. The transmitter valves were water cooled and the receiver display was on a cathoderay tube (like a modern television display) calibrated with the distance of the incoming aircraft. Watson-Watt realised that the German Air Force were likely to

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commence bombing by night, especially if our radar succeeded in stopping them by day. Our aircraft would then need to carry radar to find and identify an enemy aircraft in the dark. In early 1936 Watson-Watt asked Dr E G Bowen to develop airborne radar. It was a very difficult problem as the ground radar weighed several tons and consumed many kilowatts of power. The first radar for night flying, called AI (Air Interception) was delivered to Fighter Command in a Blenheim aircraft in August 1939 and later was used successfully against night raids in early 1941. Radar for detecting ships, called ASV (Air to Surface Vessels) was delivered to the RAF in a Hudson aircraft in January 1940. In 1940 H A Boot and J T Randall at Birmingham University developed the cavity magnetron which could generate high transmitter power at microwaves and so use smaller antennas, more suited to aircraft. The first operational use of centimetre-wave radar for AI was made in December 1941 and for ASV in March 1943. In 1940/41 an experimental station was set up at Worth Matravers in Dorset on a large high flat area further from possible German invasion. It eventually employed 200 who developed the rotating aerial and map displays for tracking targets. Other radar stations were set up on Purbeck. Later a station was built near Stonebarrow Hill and Golden Cap at the time of the Cold War. It is now a National Trust property. Watson-Watt left Bawdsey Manor in July 1938 to become Director

of Communications Development in the Air Ministry in London, but he kept a close watch on radar development and its use by the RAF. His replacement as Superintendent of Bawdsey was A P Rowe. In 1939 Watson-Watt was appointed Scientific Advisor on Telecommunications to the Air Ministry and later to the Ministry of Aircraft Production. In 1942 Watson-Watt was knighted. After the war he was Scientific Adviser to various Ministries and led delegations to international meetings. In 1947 he set up a private firm of consultants, later moving to Canada and the USA. He returned to die in Scotland in 1973. Three UK patents were granted in his name between 1924 and 1936 all of them having a bearing on the development of radar. Watson-Watt wrote his own book of the development of radar, Tree Steps to Victory which I remember reading years ago and found it heavy going, with many references to official reports. However, we should certainly remember “The Father of Radar” when we hear expressions like “under the radar”. Radar is now indispensable in our time of heavy air traffic and without its development we might not have modern TV and microwave ovens. I have based this article on one by Hanbury Brown in the Institution of Electrical Engineers journal of February 1994 but have tried to omit as much technical jargon as possible. Cecil Amor, Hon President of Bridport History Society.

Radar is now indispensable... and without its development we might not have modern TV and microwave ovens

Photo by Marat Gilyadzinov on Unsplash

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LYME REGIS Radio station goes live is broadcasting online from The Hub in Church Street in a room converted into a studio. The Bridport News says the internet station is the idea of Simon and Tracey West and Chris Tipping of Lyme Regis Development Trust. The Wests met Mr Tipping in 2018 and talked about Lyme having its own radio station. ‘It was financially difficult to find the right funding, however, the National Lottery came through with an Awards For All grant of £8,800 which enabled us to remodel the back room of The Hub into a studio and fit it with equipment to go on air as an internet radio station,’ Mr West said. The radio station also received donations from Lyme Regis Carnival committee, Palmers Brewery and the Rotary Club of Lyme Regis.

OTTERY ST MARY Hardy breeds help nature

Konik ponies and Soay sheep have been brought in to graze eight acres of wetland at Wildwood Escot as a natural way of controlling scrub and brambles, reports the Sidmouth Herald. Naturally suited to this environment, the animals grazing will create a ‘patchwork’ of habitats enabling more wildlife to survive. General manager George Hyde said: ‘We felt the natural approach to managing the reserve was needed, and after hearing about the good work of the Konik ponies and Soay sheep from our sister organisation, the Wildwood Trust in Kent, we decided to trial conservation grazing.’ The Konik breed originates from Poland but has been back-bred to resemble the wild horse that once roamed the UK. The hardy Soay is the most primitive of British sheep.

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CHARD Chioldren help mayor plant trees

The Chard & Ilminster News reports that green-fingered pupils from Manor Court Primary School helped town mayor Cllr Jason Baker plant 50 trees - including oak, yew, cherry and pine - at Snowdon Park. It’s part of his pledge to plant 200 trees this year. Ten members of the school council and eco-council were involved. Headteacher Luke Talmage said the school enjoyed being central to many initiatives in Chard. ‘I am hopeful that these trees will flourish alongside the children that have planted them,’ he added. Manor Court children are awarded monthly certificates for showing great environmental care and respect through recycling. The trees were planted as part of an environmental project to enhance the overall local environment.

SOUTH SOMERSET Church roofs under attack

Thieves have stolen lead from Barrington, Ilton and South Petherton churches in a wave of similar thefts across the county, according to the Chard & Ilminster News. At St Peter and Paul’s Church in South Petherton, churchwarden Steve Harrison went to the scene in the early hours after a neighbour heard a noise described as like ‘something dropping into a wheelbarrow’. Four men in hoodies ran off after ripping 90 square metres of lead from the church roof. Mr Harrison said: ‘When the realisation hit, I got this terrible feeling. I makes you wonder what kind of people would do this?’ Chief inspector Martyn Cannon said: ‘We would ask members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to us on 101. If you see an ongoing crime, call 999.’

MELPLASH Award for Brave Girl

Eight-year-old Minka Moldovan saved her sister’s life using first aid skills she learned at Cubs, the Bridport News reports. She sprang into action when her sister, Alexandra, 4, choked on pasta at dinner and couldn’t breathe. Minka used back thrusts she’d been taught at Cubs to dislodge the obstruction. Her group scout leader, Joy Edwards, recommended her to the district commissioner for a special award. She was presented with the Commissioner’s Commendation at a meeting of the 1st Beaminster Cub Group. ‘Minka showed strength of character and bravery at a very stressful time,’ said district commissioner Dave Hillier. Minka’s father, Dennis Moldovan, said the family was very proud of her.

Humph’s Crossword Laterally Speaking by Humphrey Walwyn



7 8 10 11 12 13 15 17 20 22 25 26 27 28

1 2 3 4 5 6 9 14 16 18 19 21 23 24

Take a seat on a horse or a high hill (5) East Devon carpet town home to Hugh’s River Cottage Kitchens (9) Priest forms new band (6) In the fresh air (8) West Dorset rope making town with an electric palace (8) According to the Beatles, ‘Love is all you ----” (4) Devon town is end of the line for Seaton tramway (7) West Dorset harbour is location for TV series “Broadchurch” (4,3) It costs nothing to be unoccupied (4) South Devon seaside town between Exmouth and Seaton (8) Cider gas when exploded is shameful (8) Head journalist of magazine or newspaper (6) Seaside village two miles to the East of Lyme Regis (9) A pint within windy storms (5)

North Dorset village is home of the Admiral Hood pub (9) Not in a friendly way (8) East Devon village a few miles downriver from 8 Across (7) One keeps it in reserve some way away (8) On dry land (6) Poached fruit is also a soap (5) Doer of brave deeds (4) South Somerset village is one of four quartets by T. S. Eliot (4,5) Phone exchange worker (8) Climate of a hot and humid country (8) Attempts to climb Everest (or even Golden Cap!) (7) Kenny, Will, Roy and Ginger amongst others (6) If you upset Eddy, he changes colour (4) Stingy or drunk (5)

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Retailers Turning to Technology to Diversify Amid Coronavirus Outbreak


here can be no denying that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been huge for the retail sector, yet as shops close to encourage social distancing, retailers have been coming up with innovative ways to carry on with business. As the nation adjusts to a way of life where staying in is the new going out for many of us, the UK is witnessing something of a DIY boom. Homeowners are turning their attention to home improvement tasks that they may not normally have time for, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom. In an effort to support this DIY effort, retailers are turning to technology so that they can continue to support their customers while following social distancing guidelines and avoiding face to face contact. Some kitchen and bathroom retailers, for example, are using Virtual Worlds software to carry out virtual design consultations. “Just as estate agents are now offering virtual staging

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while physical property viewings are not possible, so designers can embrace the latest 3D and 4D design software to involve customers in the planning process of their new bathroom and kitchen,” explains Virtual Worlds Managing Director Nathan Maclean. “While helping retailers to balance their books during a time of uncertainty, this innovative use of technology enables retailers to book installation appointments for a few weeks’ time or to give guidance remotely on how to fit the products as a DIY project.” Virtual Worlds is the UK market leader in innovationled CAD technology for the KBB market. Since launching in 1998, it has broken boundaries in virtual technology innovation—being the first company to develop 3D design software for KBB retailers and, most recently, launching its new 4D Showroom Technology. Virtual Worlds is a division of Logicom Computer Services (UK) Ltd.

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Right Houses in the Right Places Leading Luminaries of the Design World Gather at Dorset CPRE Conference


he Dorset branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has staged a highly successful conference to examine the question that preoccupies many residents of the county: how to achieve new housing that is better designed and better planned than is currently often the case. It was opened by Emma Bridgewater, CPRE’s national President, and featured a line-up of distinguished speakers. These included Ben Bolgar from The Prince’s Foundation, who traced the gradual acceptance in recent decades of the Prince of Wales’s once-ridiculed concerns for design and planning. The well-known designer Ben Pentreath (who has been very much involved in the Poundbury development on the edge of Dorchester) concluded that ultimately it was for landowners releasing the land for development to make sure that higher standards were observed, and that the new housing fitted better with local traditions. He was followed by the Earl of Moray (with Andrew Howard, Director of Moray Estates), who has blazed a trail in north-east Scotland by developing a new town on his land that does precisely this, and is as a result already extremely popular with local people. The internationallyrenowned landscape designer Kim Wilkie made a plea for landscape to be central to any new large-scale developments. A lively discussion involved these and other speakers, including Ben Murphy, Estate Director

Top: Emma Bridgewater, CPRE President Left: Ben Bolgar, Prince’s Foundation

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for the Duchy of Cornwall, Dominic Richards of Our Place, Paul Miner, CPRE Strategic Planning Lead, and David Walsh, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning. It was generally agreed that the small number of big developers who dominate housing development do not on the whole have the answers to the challenge, since they rarely employ proper architects and are more interested in big profits than aesthetics. All the presentations were filmed and will be made available at a later date. Small local builders such as those who displayed at the conference, including CG Fry, ZeroC, Morrish and Hastoe, were much more likely to be sensitive to the Dorset context. The conference was attended by some of the county’s leading landowners, along with a number of Dorset councillors and a strong showing from Dorset Council planning

department. It comes hard on the heels of the publication of the report of the government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission. This recommends a much greater emphasis on the need for new housing developments to be visually attractive, to take greater account of local and regional architectural traditions, and generally to be acceptable to the local people on whom they have the most impact. The CPRE very much hopes that attendees will draw the appropriate conclusions and put them into practice, while most seemed to agree that they all wanted “the right houses in the right places”. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) exists to promote the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England by encouraging the sustainable use of land and other natural resources in town and country.

Below from left to right Ben Bolgar, Peter Neal (Dorset CPRE), Ben Pentreath, Ben Murphy, Emma Bridgewater, Cllr David Walsh, Kim Wilkie, The Earl of Moray and Andrew Howard

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Sarah Raven Shares Her Top Tips for Creating Your Very Own Veg Patch

“The things I’d go for, for a quick and economical veg patch, are edible plants with a high cm square productivity—so you get the maximum crop out of the minimum garden bed or container space. Select mainly cut-and-come-again crops, things that you can sow and harvest within 4-6 weeks, and then go back to harvest again and again—and again.” My top recommendations for sowing at this time of year would be: Number One: Salads

Quick crops such as mizuna, any of the mustards, and salad rocket, which can be added to the quick-growing, cut-and-come-again lettuces, such as ‘Black Seeded Simpson’, ‘Merveille de Quatre Saisons’, and the oakleaf ‘Solix’ or ‘Green Salad Bowl’. American/Land Cress is super speedy too. Number Two: Herbs - to give all your food a lift

Flat-leaved parsley, coriander, chives, and soon it will be time for basils as well (but don’t sow them until the middle of April). Number Three: super-prolific Leafy greens

For a quick crop, go for spinach ‘Medania’ or ‘Toscane’. You’ll be picking from them in 4-5 weeks’ time. Add Swiss Chard in there too, in any of its forms (the white or green-stemmed taste cleaner than the earthier ‘Rainbow’ or ‘Bright Lights’ chard.) These will give you more meals per square metre than any other plant you can grow and are super versatile, good raw in salad with the green taken off the stem — and fantastic cooked, in so many different ways. And then to sow now, to pick (as a baby leaf) in 8-10 weeks’ time, go for super-healthy kales of any type. Number Four: Courgettes

Sow these on a windowsill now for planting out once

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the frosts are over in your area. As we all know, these are heavy croppers and the more you pick, the more they produce. I love ‘Romanesco’ which has a nutty flavour and texture. Number Five: Tomatoes

If you have a greenhouse or sheltered, sunny wall, add tomatoes such as ‘Sungold’ and the super-prolific ‘Stupicke Pole Rane’ to your must-sow list, with the cucumber ‘La Diva’ also good for growing inside or out. Number Six: Beans and peas

Any of the peas are good and quick, and you probably want to go for a heavy cropper such as ‘Alderman’, plus of course Runner Beans are super prolific for sowing now, for cropping in the summer. For right now, sow any of the broad beans straight outside. Number Seven:

And if you can, get hold of a two or three-year-old crown of rhubarb. If you pull, rather than cut the stems, they’ll go on producing long and hard and are jampacked with Vitamin C.” All products available at For more helpful advice and to sign up to Sarah’s weekly gardening videos please go to

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April in the Garden

By Russell Jordan


s I write we are just at the beginning of the Coronavirus ‘lockdown’ period. In these uncertain times it’s good to find a silver lining to this particular cloud : being forced to stay at home, when you might normally be sat in an office, or busy ferrying kids around, means there’s no excuse not to tackle the garden! As long as you are able to stick to the ‘social distancing’ rules, i.e. being outdoors in your own garden does not bring you into contact with anyone outside of your own family unit, then, as far as I can see, gardening is one activity that you can still enjoy during this worrying period. Being outdoors, gently active, is good for your physical and, most importantly, mental health. Hardware stores are still open, at the moment anyway, and many of them sell all the gardening sundries that you are likely to need. Online buying and mail-order come into their own at a time like this. Unfortunately, online and ‘remote’ retailing is killing local gardening businesses so it’s worth checking with local nurseries just in case they have a scheme in place which allows them to sell while complying with the social distancing rules. My heart went out to ‘Avon Bulbs’, longterm ‘RHS’ show exhibitors, who had, obviously, geared up their whole stocks of fabulous bulbous material ready for the show season. The cancellation of all the early horticultural shows, including the iconic ‘Chelsea Flower Show’, leaves them somewhat ‘all dressed up and nowhere to go’. They were operating a timed entry, drive-through, cash and carry system at their nursery in an attempt to salvage something from this nightmare situation. That novel scheme has ended now but it’s worth checking with them, and other specialist nurseries, if they have other ways of getting plants to you while the nursery site is closed. I’m worried that the cancellation of flower shows, closure of retail operations and no garden visiting will be the death knell of many horticultural 48 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

businesses which struggle to remain financially viable at the best of times. It always amazes me how much money folk spend on having the latest, biggest, shiniest car, or most fabulous foreign holiday, but baulk at paying a few quid for a glorious little plant lovingly grown by an expert nurseryman / woman. Maybe an enforced stay at home will help to focus minds on what is more important in life? Anyway, back to gardening... This month sees lots of blossom from trees, especially fruit trees, and whole tribes of bulbs and ‘woodland floor’ plants bloom now before the leaf canopy closes over them. On warm days it’s a joy to be in the garden getting on with titivating; dusting soil with a general fertiliser, removing weed seedlings and gently ‘tickling’ with a border fork. Getting down with the emerging herbaceous perennials allows you to remove invidious weeds before they get out of hand or are obscured by other plants growing up around them. We are at the tipping point of the growing season when buds burst from bare stems and spring bulbs double in size and abundance overnight. The stirring perennials in your garden deserve, in fact demand, a little feeding. A sprinkle of ‘fish, blood and bone’ around emerging herbaceous plants will encourage them to grow away vigorously with the April showers. With rising average temperatures and a diminishing risk of hard frost there’s more opportunity to sow hardy annuals this month than there was last. Seeds are so readily available online that they are the obvious answer to getting some gardening done even in these restricted times. For those plants which should have been sown by now there is also an online solution : ‘plug’ plants and ‘young’ plants. These are more expensive than growing your own because, and it’s true of all plants, you are paying for the time and skill of the producer to get the plant to a more advanced stage.

I shall stray, for a moment, into the vegetable area, covered more fully elsewhere, and just point out that it’s still relatively early in the cycle of veg sowing so, if you’ve never grown your own before, now’s the golden opportunity to make a start. Also sowing lawns from scratch can take place now, following rigorous seedbed preparation, as long as you can provide some sort of protection from heavy downpours which would otherwise wash the seed and fine tilth away. Open up coldframes, greenhouses and conservatories, whenever it is sunny, to encourage ventilation and begin the hardening off process. If you took tender perennial cuttings in the autumn, and they are still in pots or seed trays, then these should be separated out and potted up as soon as growth resumes. Herbaceous perennials can be propagated easily, before they are too advanced in growth, simply by chopping sections out of the clump while they are still in the ground or by lifting the whole stool and carving it up with a sharp spade. Pot up some sections into fresh compost, creating new plants, then replant the remaining third, or so, incorporating a handful of general feed into the planting hole. Remember to water in well, to settle the roots, even if the ground is already wet. Having been subjected to so much rain this winter it’s easy to forget that, whenever it is dry and sunny, plants may require watering from this point onwards, especially if they are in containers or were only planted recently. I’ve already had to water the bulbs in pots – it’s amazing how quickly things dry out. At least being forced to stay at home makes it easier to spot what needs doing and allows you to actually spend time doing it. Please make the most of your garden, while you can, but hope that ‘normal service is resumed’ as soon as possible. Stay well...

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Spring into Action - homes ready to go By Helen Fisher


A semi-detached family home built in the 1880s, set in the heart of the village. With 3 bedrooms plus attic room and character features inc: flagstone floor & exposed beams. Easily maintained, large, private garden with sun terrace. Ample parking plus double garage with power and loft room above. Stags Tel: 01308 428000

SEATON £298,000

A generously proportioned 2 bedroom, ground floor apartment with direct sea views and level walking to the town centre and shops. Converted from a hotel in 1996, the building is spacious and well maintained. With small courtyard garden and allocated parking space. Double glazed and GCH throughout. Gordon and Rumsby Tel: 01297 553768

BRADPOLE £290,000

A detached 2 bedroom cottage situated along a small lane and presented in excellent order. Sitting room with wood burning stove and duel aspect windows. Country style kitchen with separate utility room. Good sized bedrooms with feature fireplaces. Fully enclosed, beautifully landscaped garden with decking area. Goadsby Tel: 01308 420000 50 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031


A contemporary style detached home, built 2 years ago. Exceptionally spacious ground floor with underfloor heating throughout. With 5 bedrooms and gorgeous family kitchen leading onto a magnificent garden room. Garage and ample parking and far reaching southerly rural views. Greenslade Taylor Hunt Tel: 01935 415300

OSMINGTON £750,000

The East wing of a Grade II listed elegant, period property built in attractive Portland stone with many classical features. Excellent decorative order with 3 bedrooms. Formal landscaped gardens with croquet lawn, orchard, rose & vegetable garden and mature trees. All set in just under an acre. Jackson-Stops Tel: 01308 423133

WEST BAY £369,950

A spacious semi-detached, south-facing 3 double bedroom home with double glazing and new boiler. With conservatory and separate utility. Enclosed garden with arbour over dining terrace plus garage and parking. Excellent walks/ cycle routes immediately accessible. Kennedys Tel: 01308 427329

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Looking Ahead

TOGETHER A new initiative, brought together by a group of talented chefs, gardeners, makers and other experts, hopes to share a wealth of knowledge and expertise at a time when it is most needed.

Photograph: Holly Bobbins

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ne of the things that many people have commented on is the amazing speed at which people have gathered together to launch helpful initiatives in these dark days. From micro local to local to national, communities have come together to offer expertise and assistance to get us through, however long it takes. Here in the Marshwood Vale distribution area there are countless groups gathering information and marshalling volunteer troops to help us all. So it’s no surprise that members of the River Cottage team have come together with friends and colleagues to launch something to both help and educate us at the same time. Top chefs, gardeners, producers, makers and wellbeing experts in the South West of England have come together to create Slow Life Good Life, an online club and community to teach the nation how to thrive and grow in these challenging times. Through sharing practical lessons, friendly advice and regular inspiration, these talented locals will help us all save money, have fun and stay motivated through all that lies ahead, and reimagine how life

might be different when all this is over. All proceeds will go towards feeding families and supporting small rural businesses in the South West who have been heavily hit by recent events. We are living in frightening, unchartered times, searching for respite from the relentless news reports and building a new approach to our old lives. It is impossible to ignore the invisible threat which is moving with devastating consequences through our global society and local communities. Whilst in many ways this is the worst of times, it is also the opportunity for much needed change and hopeful beginnings. Step forward Slow Life Good Life, a new virtual community, designed to support everyone in isolation, a friend to navigate through the turbulent times ahead. Inspired by real time events and the impact on their own lives, a group of talented people from a small community on the Dorset/ Devon border have joined forces to create a platform to share their knowledge and skills. Pooling their resources they are offering practical advice, tips, inspiration and joy for individuals and families across

Two of the co-founders of Slow Life Good Life, Beth Kempton and Steven Lamb

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the nation and the wider world. You’ll get to sit at Gill Meller’s kitchen table while he teaches you how to make home made pasta; learn how to choose thrifty meat cuts with Steven Lamb; wander around Trill Farm with Kate Norman and Ashley Wheeler to learn about seasonal growing; creatively document your experience with photographer Holly Treloar; stop by at the Old Dairy Kitchen for breakfast with Chris Onions and Andy Tyrell; calm your mind with Insight Timer app meditation teacher Joey Hulin; stand by Naomi Devlin’s workbench as she cooks up gluten free delights; become a barbecue hero with James Beard Award Winning food writer and chef James Whetlor; learn songwriting with Neil Treloar; former manager of Catfish and the Bottlemen; try out container gardening with Mark Diacono and garden designer

Anna Wardrop; whip up a budget-friendly store cupboard feast with former Borough Market demo chef Luke McKay or navigate this unsettling time with bestselling self-help author Beth Kempton. Over the coming weeks they will be joined by makers, DIY and fitness experts as well as small business and personal finance specialists will play an important role in helping to reimagine a new normal. All this awaits you in the Slow Life Good Life club. Access brand new content delivered by leading experts PLUS access to a virtual community of thousands of others in the same situation. A subscription costs just £5+VAT a month with ALL proceeds going towards feeding families and supporting small rural businesses affected by current events. Club members will save much more than this with the new skills they learn each week.

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Monthly membership includes: • A new video three times a week in a private members’ club online, plus access to the archives (filmed by an expert on an iphone from their home kitchen or farm – they are in this too) • Access to a private Facebook group where the experts offer creative and wellbeing inspiration, and you can connect with others all over the UK – and the world. • ‘Friday Night In’ weekly Facebook Live broadcasts from Friday April 3, kicking off with a store cupboard cook up with Steven Lamb. To sign up visit Instagram: @slowlifegoodlifeclub Email:

Gill Mellor, Pam Corbin and Anna Wardrop are just some of the experts that are offering help on Slow Life Good Life

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My Dad always said that the secret to a good omelette is to pour most of the hot, melted butter from the pan into the whisked eggs before you start cooking them. So this is what I do, and it does indeed make a better omelette. Although you could fill this omelette with grated Cheddar cheese or some fried mushrooms, I like this version, with stinging nettles. The nettles are lovely and tender, bright and full of flavour at this time of the year. Take only the top four or six leaves from each plant. You’ll need some gloves for picking and washing them, but their sting disappears as soon as you drop them into the hot water.

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1 bowl of nettle tops 2 large eggs 20g (3⁄4oz) butter salt and freshly ground black pepper Serves 1

time by Gill Meller Quadrille Publishing

DIRECTIONS • Bring a small pan of salted water to the boil. Add the nettle tops, stirring them into the water with a spoon or fork. Simmer the nettles for 1–2 minutes or until they are tender. • Drain the nettles through a colander, using the back of a spoon to squeeze out any excess liquid. However, don’t over-squeeze or the nettles will be too dry. Set aside and keep warm. • Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk together. • Set a small–medium non-stick frying pan over a medium–high heat. Add two-thirds of the butter to the pan and when it’s bubbling away pour it into the bowl of whisked eggs. Stir to combine. • Return the pan to the heat and when it’s really hot, pour in the buttery eggs. Move them around the pan tipping and tilting and agitating the eggs with the end of a wooden spoon. After 30–40 seconds allow the eggs to settle and cook for a further 30 seconds, until just set. Season the top of the omelette with salt and pepper, then arrange the nettles over one half of the omelette’s surface, then dot with the remaining butter. Ease a spatula under the uncovered side of the omelette and fold it gently over. Slide the omelette out onto a warm plate and eat straight away.

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Whitebait By Nick Fisher


f you dug one of my woolly fishing socks out of my damp leaky wellies, dipped it in a bowl of heavilywhisked and frothy beer batter, deep fried it, and served it with rock salt and lemon wedges, it’d probably taste delicious. A good batter and a pan of white hot sunflower oil can transform just about anything into a crunchy feast. As a small boy growing up in Glasgow in the 1960s, I was well aware of the wonders of deep fried batter. The Scots have an international reputation for loving and devouring all things deep fried. The deep fried Mars Bar, or the frozen pizza dipped in batter and fried are legend the world over. And sadly, so is the Scots’ propensity for heart attacks. The crispy batter disguise is a great way of getting kids to eat anything, and it was the smell of crispy brown batter that first lured me into eating whitebait, aged seven. “What is it?” I asked my dad, when I already had three whitebait pronged on my fork. “Little fishes” he answered. “Just pop ‘em in and crunch ‘em up”. I looked. I sniffed. I dipped the trio in tartare sauce and plonked them straight in me north-and-south. The Spanish have a famous and favourite dish called Fritto Misto, which is basically just a way of making a lot of little fish edible. They deep fry a collection of small whole fish and serve them with garlic mayonnaise and salad. The Spanish have a tradition of eating whole fish. We don’t. Except for whitebait. Whitebait are an oddity. A strange cultural contradiction. In a country that has become obsessed with fish fillets, it’s bizarre that whitebait have managed to remain popular. Even on the most unimaginative and dreary pub lunch menu, you’ll often still find whitebait being served as a starter. There’s no other fish we’ll

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consume with head and guts intact. In fact many Britons go all wobbly and weird if you so much as serve a fish on a plate with the head still attached. So what are whitebait and how did we end up embracing them as a national delicacy? The first records of whitebait appearing on an English menu dates back as far as 1612. But whitebait fever didn’t really get a grip on the English until the 1780s when whitebait became the top nosh of the smart London pub circuit. Back in those days, it was believed by some chefs and some naturalists too, that whitebait was a separate and distinct species of fish. The French naturalist Valenciennes even instituted a new genus, Rogenia, to accommodate the species. The truth though, is that whitebait is simply a collective term for the fry of clupeoid fish, especially herrings and sprats. So, when you sit down to a plate of whitebait, you’re actually eating immature herrings and sprats - at least. In 1903, in a report on the sea fisheries of the Thames estuary, a Dr Murie conducted studies on the contents of boxes of whitebait being sold into the voracious pub market. And in it he discovered some samples containing up to 23 different species in a box. These included lumpfish, eel, plaice, whiting and bass fry. The whitebait craze of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was launched by Richard Cannon of Blackwall, who persuaded local Thames side taverns to serve the crispy, salty hot fry-up to thirsty punters. The season ran from February to August and it became the in-thing to eat and be seen eating, for the wealthy and fashionable of metropolitan London. At the height of the whitebait craze, there were daily races between the Thames row boat taxis, to see who could carry MPs from the Houses of Parliament to

Greenwich, the centre of whitebait consumption, the quickest. Like schoolboys racing to the tuckshop at the playtime bell, politicians would pour out of parliament, grab their favourite water taxi and see who could be first to sup a pint and crunch a whopping great basket of crispy whitebait. With the right tide, an oar-powered water taxi could deposit his hungry politician in Greenwich in under twenty minutes. A time that would be hard to beat today, even with a big fat outboard and a planing hull. The massive consumption of whitebait, which were caught in purse nets all over the Thames estuary, caused the Thames authorities to attempt a ban on fishing. They were surprisingly conservation minded for the time. The authorities believed white bait were immature herrings and sprats (which indeed they are) but Cannon and a few batter-hungry scientists claimed they were a separate species and that no harm would come from attempting to eat them into extinction. It wasn’t just over-fishing that killed the Thames whitebait fishery, most of the damage was done by the toxic pollution of the Industrial Revolution. And now, with the Thames at last being one of the cleanest major rivers in Europe, we’re again experiencing vast shoals of whitebait returning to the wider tidal sections around Greenwich and Woolwich. There’s even talk of starting up the fishery again and persuading some of the Thames side pubs to spark up their deep fat fryers. Who knows, it might just be a matter of time before we see politicians like Blair and Brown and company, scuttling down Parliament steps, to launch themselves into high speed whitebait-bound boats. I wonder who’d win the whitebait race these days? My money would be on John ‘Two Jags’ Prescott. I reckon there’s a man who wouldn’t let anything get between him and a slap-up fried lunch.

A few Whitebait tips  Dry all the fish in a tea towel before cooking  Choose between battered or lightly floured.  I’d nearly always go for lightly floured. Whitebait

can so easily get lost in batter. They lose their texture and flavour in a mush of hot batter. They also tend to clump together and retain too much of the frying oil.  Lightly dust in flour (or cornflour) seasoned with black pepper and salt.  Use a good vegetable oil, not olive oil. It cooks much hotter and achieves crispier fish.  Do a couple of small batches first to tune your technique. They can be deep or shallow fried.  Drain onto kitchen roll when they reach your preferred crispy colour. (I’m a golden brown guy, rather than deep brown). Keep changing the sheets of kitchen roll..  Keep in a plate warmer in between batches until you serve with homemade tartare sauce, fat lemon wedges and Tabasco. You can even chuck some powdered chilli in the flour to give you a ‘devilled’ edge.

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SAUCY CHOCOLATE PUD Easter is just around the corner there’s no better excuse for us all to indulge in a choc feast after the main course. Serve this hot straight from the oven with thick Dorset Cream or vanilla ice cream




• • • • • •

1. 2.

110g butter 200g caster sugar 2 large free range eggs 200g Self raising flour 30g cocoa powder 150mls full fat milk

For the topping • 85g cocoa powder sifted • 170g light muscovdao sugar • 600mls very hot water Serves 6

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Pre heat oven to gas mark 5 190c. Lightly butter a shallow oven proof dish (approx 2 ½ to 3 pint) Cream butter and sugar together, add the eggs and milk, beat well and sift in the flour and cocoa powder. Combine and pour into the prepared buttered dish. Mix the muscovado sugar and remaining sifted cocoa powder together and sprinkle over the pudding. Gently pour over the hot water to cover and bake for approx 35/40 minutes, or until the pudding has risen and set on top and the bottom is saucy.

A Gift for a Brighter Future


or the safety of guests, staff and that of the wider community, following the Government’s directive, the Alexandra Hotel in Lyme Regis closed her doors on Monday 23rd March. Whilst it is unclear how long this might continue, the hotel staff are currently planning to be closed until 15th June. Director Kathryn Haskins said: ‘Whilst our doors may be shut, we are still operating behind the scenes and shall be checking emails and of course putting updates on our social media.’ ‘As the weeks progress, I would ask that you bear with us as this will all be subject to staffing levels and the way in which we may be impacted by this dreadful virus.’ ‘On behalf of everyone at the Alex, I would like to thank you all for the support you have extended to us during this challenging time and we hope you, your families and your friends stay safe and well until such time that we can welcome you though our doors once again.’ In the meantime, to give customers something to look forward to, the hotel is selling gift vouchers for treats and stays in the future.

The Alexandra Hotel in Lyme Regis

So if you are looking for that gift of Afternoon Tea or a relaxing Treatment or for weekend breaks, midweek stays, or a special occasion lunch or dinner – this is a present they will never forget. Gift vouchers are available in a variety of values call the hotel on +44 (0)1297 442010 or visit

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ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH SHAVED BERKSWELL With our ever-changing climate, we have received our first batch of Wye valley asparagus which is always a welcome ingredient in the kitchen and signs that summer is not far away with more green vegetables to follow. There is so much you can do with asparagus and a lot of the time we don’t make the most of this fantastic short season vegetable. I often get comments from friends like ‘it’s too early for asparagus, it must be grown under a polly tunnel’. Well, not being funny, but wouldn’t you rather support British grown asparagus where the farmer has encouraged early growth to compete with asparagus that’s been imported and probably picked a week or so before you put it in your shopping basket. Now is the time we need to support and encourage our British farmers and growers. Raw, thinly shaved asparagus isn’t commonly prepared in dishes in restaurants or at home, so give it a try. It’s a great simple flavour combination with cooked and raw, and you get great value from a bunch.




• A bunch of preferably thick asparagus weighing about 250-300g with the woody ends removed • A handful of small tasty salad leaves, washed and dried • Salt and freshly ground black pepper • For the dressing • A few sprigs of tarragon • 1 tbs cider vinegar • 2 tbs olive or rapeseed oil • 2 tbs vegetable or corn oil • 70-80g Berkswell cheese or another hard cheese or Parmesan. Serves 4





Cut the tips off the asparagus about 2-3 cm from the end and cook them in boiling salted water for a couple of minutes until tender then drain and refresh. With a swivel peeler, peel the remaining asparagus stems into long thin strips, getting as much out of it as you can then put the strips into cold water for half an hour so that they curl up a bit. If you have chunks left then you can cook them and add them to the tips. Whisk all of the ingredients together for the dressing and season well and transfer to a jar or bottle so you can keep anything you have left or make two or three times the quantity and keep it in the fridge. To serve arrange the cooked and shaved asparagus with the leaves on individual serving plates or in a large sharing bowl and spoon over the dressing then again with a swivel peeler, shave the cheese as thinly as possible over the salad.

HIX Oyster and Fish House is Mark’s local restaurant that overlooks the harbour in Lyme Regis and boasts the most stunning panoramic views across the Jurassic coast - this is easily one of the most picturesque spots to enjoy British fish seafood. To book please call 01297 446 910 62 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

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Guest Recipe

IRINA GEORGESCU Irina Georgescu is a food writer whose work draws on her Eastern European heritage. It is her love and commitment to talking about Romanian culinary traditions that made her pursue her dream and write about this heritage. Her cooking is inspired by her mother and grandmother, by her life in the busy capital city Bucharest, and by her constant explorations into the history and food of her country. Whilst trying to keep close to the traditional ways of cooking, she also brings her own interpretation to these dishes. Born in Bucharest and now living in the UK, Irina is the woman behind the popular blog Life In Small Bites.


This is a real showstopper at dinner parties, with its delicate crepes filled with goat’s cheese mousse and buttery spinach. We used to make it in springtime, when spinach was in season and sold in tall loose bunches, similar to chard, at the market. You can make the pancakes and the filling one day in advance, then bake just before serving. Take your time and enjoy the process – it is not difficult and pretty foolproof.



For the crepes: • 200g (7oz) plain flour • 2 eggs • 550ml (18.fl oz) milk • Pinch of salt • Vegetable or sunflower oil and butter, for frying


For the filling: • 25g (1oz) butter • 1 onion, finely diced • 450g (1lb) spinach, wilted, squeezed of water and blitzed in a food processor • 1 bunch of dill, finely chopped • 250g (9oz) goat’s cheese • 2 eggs • 1 tbsp natural yoghurt • 4 spring onions, finely sliced • Pinch of nutmeg • Salt and freshly ground black pepper



For layering: • 150g (5oz) mozzarella, grated For the egg mixture: • 1 egg, beaten, mixed with • 1 tbsp natural yoghurt Carpathia: Food From the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu, published by Frances Lincoln, rrp £22 hardback. Food pics © Jamie Orlando Smith. Published 17th March, pre order online or at your local bookshop

Serves 6 - 8



To make the crepes, combine the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a 20cm (8in) diameter frying pan. Add enough batter to thinly and evenly coat the base of the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around. Leave to cook for around 30 seconds until golden underneath, then ease a palette knife under the crepe to lift and flip it over. Add a knob of butter each time you flip, if liked. Cook for a further 30 seconds, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter. You will need 12, which should then be left to cool. To make the filling, heat the butter in a pan over a medium heat and saute the onions. Add the wilted spinach and combine briefly while some of the water evaporates. Take the pan off the heat, add the chopped dill and set aside to cool. Combine the cheese with the eggs, yoghurt, cold spinach mix, spring onions and nutmeg. Season well. The mixture should just fall off the spoon. Cover and set aside. To assemble, I prefer to use a shallow dish slightly larger than the crepes but you could also use a baking tray. Place 1 crepe in the bottom of the dish, spread 60g (2.oz) of the filling on top, sprinkle with a little mozzarella, then top with another crepe. Repeat the layering until you run out of filling, finishing with a crepe on top. Brush the top with the egg mixture and sprinkle with any leftover mozzarella. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and bake for about 30 minutes, covering the top with kitchen foil half way through if it looks too caramelised. Serve barely warm or even cold. The crepe cake will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Popular restaurant offers unique food for delivery


Claire Moore - photograph and words by Catherine Taylor


or those that are in a position to enjoy the occasional treat during coronovirus lockdown there is something special afoot in Beaminster. Brassica Handamde Meals is one of the many initiatives launched by local businesses who have been hit hard by Covid-19. Launched by Cass and Louise from Brassica Restaurant and Brassica Mercantile in Beaminster, the couple have created a delivery service of meals with that little bit of extra flair. Brassica is offering one delivery or collection day only, which is on Fridays. One can order up until 6pm on Wednesday for Friday’s collection/delivery within an 8 mile radius of Beaminster. Beautiful meals delivered to your door from the menu below. Do keep in mind that some items might change according to what is available from suppliers. Focaccia Sourdough (from Wobbly Cottage, Broadwindsor) Aioli Soup (changes) Slow cooked tomato sauce (will be selling pasta too) Organic pork & fennel ragù Organic beef & venison meatballs Roasted mushroom risotto Haddock & cod pie Pommes Dauphinoise Spinach & ricotta lasagne Chicken & tarragon pie Braised organic port with chorizo, chilli and chickpeas Vanilla rice pudding Takeaway and delivery has a minimum order of £25. For a full menu contact Louise on 01308 538100.

CLAIRE MOORE EMERGING from the kitchen next to the waiting room of The Station Kitchen, West Bay, Claire Moore is dressed in her chef whites with a black apron over the top, topped with a sprinkling of flour. Executive chef and co-owner with her husband, Ross Moore, Claire and her team do all the cooking for the eclectic restaurant on wheels that is a train carriage in the old station of West Bay. Likening her food to traditional British fare with a modern twist, Claire and her husband have worked tirelessly over the last five years to create an eating experience like no other, converting the derelict railway track into one of the most sought after dining experiences in Dorset. Great gold pineapples accost the eyes as soon as you enter the ‘waiting room’, a pre-dinner space perfect for cocktails and aperitifs. All designed by Claire, this is where the experience starts, however the journey continues in the carriage, fully refurbished, with cheerful coloured glass and vintage finds, making it a feast for the eyes. And that’s all before the food arrives. Trained as a pastry chef, Claire moved down with Ross to Bridport, pregnant, not knowing the area and in need of an income. Their previous career paths didn’t suit the area and so Claire, once her son was born, started to think of things she could do from home. So, she made cupcakes and sold them in Bridport Market. Then, she made them commercially for businesses, as they were in such demand. Moving through then into catering, the couple started taking bookings for weddings. Their catering business, Sausage and Pear, kept growing and is still a great success. The Station Kitchen is Claire’s brainchild, emerging from a need to have a presence in the local community. And she hasn’t looked back since first stepping onto the railway platform. Downplaying the transformation from ramshackle shell to the show-stopper it is now, Claire jokes that her pipe dream has turned into “one big train set”. Clearly, it is so much more.

Guild urges people to shop local, now more than ever


he Guild of Fine Food, organisers of Great Taste, Shop of the Year and the World Cheese Awards, is calling for consumers across the UK and Ireland to get behind their local independents and has added an online resource to its existing website, to assist these retailers and producers following the government’s latest Covid-19 guidelines. With supermarkets and national delivery services being the main beneficiaries of recent panic buying, the information hub is intended to help delis, grocers, farm shops and cheesemongers adapt to the new economic and social environment. As the supply of groceries continues to come under pressure during this period of social distancing, the Guild of Fine Food hopes that fast action from independents can position them as a big part of the solution and make it easy for consumers to support them during these challenging times. Encouraging food and drink businesses to see the current situation as an opportunity, as well as a challenge, the Guild of Fine Food’s dedicated Covid-19 online resource will feature tailored information, advice and tips for the fine food trade, as well as good news stories to help inspire others in the sector. Whether establishing a takeaway service, stocking household essentials, using unused produce to create frozen meals or collaborating with other local businesses, these stories can help to spark ideas to keep independents going at a time when the country needs them more than ever. Open to all, the food industry can also sign up to receive the Guild of Fine Food’s new support bulletin via email, which will feature content specifically relevant

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to independent food retailers, the producers who supply them and the consumers who support them. John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, explains: “As this unprecedented situation continues to unfold and huge change is forced upon us, we all have the opportunity to make an impact on the communities around us and to help shape what happens next. It saddens us deeply to see the suffering taking place at home and around the world, but our spirits have been lifted by the inspiring initiatives put in place by many of our members, pulling together and adapting their businesses to better serve the local community. This sudden change is already making us think differently about how we interact with the world around us and I hope we can come through the other side of this with a greater respect for our planet, our communities and our food. The challenges are everywhere, but it’s in all our interests to ensure that independent food retail is still here in a year’s time, so I’d encourage everyone to use the hashtag #supportlocal on social media to draw attention to the great things these businesses are doing. We hope that our new online resource will contribute to producers, retailers and consumers coming together for everyone’s benefit, and keep our vibrant independent food sector going strong.”

The Guild of Fine Food’s Covid-19 support resource is open to all and can be accessed at

Guest Recipe



The Mindful Kitchen was founded in 2016 by New York State native Heather Thomas, who now lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Mindful Kitchen offers people a path to greater well-being for both people and the planet by building a nature-related practice. To spread the process of how to connect to nature with every bite, Heather has worked with eco-chef Tom Hunt, Havana Club, Sustain (a UK-based alliance for better food and farming), and with the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK. She has also trained in climate-change communications with Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project he founded.

Mark Twain wrote in his 1894 novel Pudd´nhead Wilson: ‘Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.’ Oh, to live in a time when vegetables were so valued that Twain chose to use them as an analogy for the human condition! Here is a roasted cauliflower dish, inspired by Twain, with which to play with vitality.



• 1 cauliflower, cut into individual florets • 1/2 red onion, cut lengthways into long thin slices • 5 tablespoons olive oil • 2 tablespoons ginger juice (or use orange juice) • 1 orange, peeled and segmented • ½ teaspoon ground cumin • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom • 50 g/2 oz pitted dates • Salt and pepper


Serves 4


3. 4.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas mark 6. Put the cauliflower and onion into a baking dish and mix with the oil, ginger juice, orange and spices. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, add the dates and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir to coat, transfer to a serving dish and season with salt and pepper before serving. The Mindful Kitchen: Vegetarian Cooking to Relate to Nature By Heather Thomas £20.00. Hardback, 192 Pages ISBN: 9781782408758 Publisher: Leaping Hare Press Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 67


Festival of Film BRIDPORT’S

*Now rescheduled to October*

JUST before the terms ‘self-isolate’ and ‘social distancing’ became part of our daily lives, Edith Bowman, curator of this year’s From Page to Screen film festival, spoke to Fergus Byrne about her love of film and the inspiration behind her choices.


any people would agree that if asked to choose a favourite film, song, book or poem, the answer might change depending on their emotional state on the day. I spent years telling friends that The Unbearable Lightness of Being was my all-time favourite book, but that was more than thirty years ago and now I can’t remember why. Today, older and with a much wider choice of experiences to draw on, if I had to choose a favourite in any cultural discipline, it would probably change week by week, possibly even day by day. The same goes for Edith Bowman, the inspired choice of curator for this year’s From Page to Screen film festival in Bridport. Edith admits that if she had to make her film choices again a week later, they may well be different. ‘That’s the thing about film and music’ she says. ‘It all rotates around your emotional state and wants and needs at the time.’ And this year’s From Page to Screen does indeed cater for a wide selection of wants and needs. Edith has chosen a range of films with such a breadth of emotional and entertainment experience that audiences can expect a roller coaster of visual and audio entertainment—and no shortage of emotive impact. Powerful classics such as 1954’s On the Waterfront with Marlon Brando, and Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, sit alongside films as diverse as Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and Pedro Almadovar’s Pain and Glory. Edith’s key goal is to get people to come out and experience the full impact of cinema and the big screen. ‘We all have such access to films’ she says, referring to what we can now watch on TV. ‘But to see something on the big screen, especially an older film is such a great experience.’ The programme includes films across the decades going back as far as Victor Hugo’s classic The Man Who Laughs and 1933’s King Kong, to the just released magical remake of The Secret Garden with Julie Waters and Colin Firth. Bridport’s exciting week of films also includes Paris Texas, City of God, Motherless Brooklyn and the recent remake of Jane Austen’s Emma amongst others. An eclectic selection of films by any stretch of the imagination but the theme that runs through a large part of the programme of course stems from Edith Bowman’s knowledge and passion for music. In many cases the soundtrack stands tall amongst the film’s highlights. Brought up in a small seaside town in Scotland, Edith worked in the family business, a small hotel run by her mother and father. She grew up surrounded by music, whether it was Saturday night dinner dances, folk bands in the cocktail bar or jazz at Christmas. Exposed to her Dad’s ‘amazing record collection’ and her mother’s interest in musical theatre it wasn’t hard for her to see music as something she wanted to make a career out of. Before studying at Edinburgh University she applied to get some work experience at a local radio station. If it hadn’t been for her

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natural tenacity and determination she might have fallen at the first hurdle. ‘After sending the controller multiple letters and leaving dozens of messages he was like “Jesus get this girl off my back’’’ she recalls. So he eventually gave her an interview. ‘It was a terrifying experience. He almost brought me to tears—being bit like Jabba the Hutt sitting behind his big desk—really intimidating. But I kind of held my own and told him I wanted to learn all about the business, and maybe eventually have my own show. And his response was, “I can’t put someone with an accent like yours on the radio”. And I had that feeling where I could feel those tears about to explode out of my eyelids, but internally I was thinking, “you are not gonna cry in front of this man”. And I think that’s always stuck with me—I thought “I’m gonna prove you wrong.”’

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And prove him wrong she did, along with any others that might have underestimated her. She has worked for MTV, Radio 1, BBC, Channel 4 and Virgin Radio to name just a few, and her other passion for film, also cultivated by early exposure to her father’s film club in the hotel, has brought her to the forefront of film broadcast. In 2016 Edith launched her podcast ‘Soundtracking’ where she talks to directors, actors, writers and composers about their relationship with music, both professionally and personally. The podcast has won an ARIA for Best Specialist Music Show in 2018 and was also the recipient of two Gold trophies for Best Digital Music Programme and Music Podcast at the New York Festival Radio Awards also in 2018. Coming to Bridport she says was a ‘no brainer’ for her. She joked that the hardest part has been

stopping talking about what films to show. However she is quick to point out that putting the programme together was a collaborative effort—working often with producer Nick Goldsmith who is in on the From Page to Screen committee. She talks about ‘a lot of phone calls with Nick and a lot of going online to check that things were adaptations. And then being devastated when you find out Noooo, and then trying to almost squeeze an adaptation connection out of something.’ The end result, she hopes, has something for everyone, with a little bit of herself in each film. The line-up shows not only Edith’s flare and diverse interests but she admits that in most cases there is something personal. ‘There are films that at some point or someplace have had an impact on me’ she

says. ‘West Side Story for example is probably one of the musicals that I have watched the most. There’s something about that film. I think it’s close to perfect really. I’m not a fan of all musical film but that kind of nails it I think.’ She cites the finger-clicking start where the Jets dominate their turf with a Haka-like routine. ‘It’s just incredible—and the take on Romeo and Juliet. What a brilliant interpretation of Shakespeare and brilliant piece of musical theatre. That’s what I mean; every film has had an impact on me in some way shape or form, or has been part of my film education as well.’ The five day festival, with films showing at Bridport Arts Centre, the Electric Palace, the Lyric Theatre, the LSI and the Unitarian Chapel also features Paris Texas, a film that Edith was fortunate enough to discuss

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‘every film has had an impact on me in some way shape or form’ with Director Sam Mendes while doing a film show for Channel Life Cinematic. Sam chose it as one of his favourite films. ‘What an extraordinary piece of cinema’ she says. ‘And then to hear someone like Sam dissect it and talk about his emotional connection with it and his take it and its influence on him. That was an absolute treat.’ Ry Cooder’s haunting melancholy slide guitar is a highlight that subtly sits in the bones of the viewer. In fact Director Wim Wenders has been quoted as saying the film was shot with ‘a camera and a guitar’, describing Cooder’s soundtrack as ‘sacred music’. Explaining why it was one of her choices for this year’s festival, Edith says, ‘the simplicity of how it sounds and the complexity of the scenes is just breath-taking.’

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the family classic Pinocchio probably offers up one of the most weepy tunes in cinema. When You Wish Upon A Star has probably brought more tears to cinema audiences than any other tune. The song was performed by the late Cliff Edwards, who was also known as ‘Ukulele Ike’. After a string of hits and the lifestyle of a star, Edwards died penniless at a charity hospital in Hollywood. His body was initially unclaimed until it transpired that Disney had been quietly paying the hospital bills. His sad ending somehow makes listening to his voice even more poignant. Despite the fact that we now have to wait until October to enjoy the From Page to Screen Festival, enforced isolation might give some people the opportunity to catch up on films they may not have

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While we wait until October to savor great moments on the big screen, now is a good time to become expert in film. There are images on these pages from a selection of the films due to be shown at From Page to Screen. We have a little prize available for the first person whose name is picked out of a hat of those who send us in the list of what films these photographs are from. Send your list to us at

had time to see before. Edith’s excellent podcast ‘Soundtracking’ which can be accessed through her website soundtracking is also an excellent place for film fans to hear interviews with directors, actors, producers and a range of other fascinating people involved in film. It is her ‘pride and joy’, something she works hard to ensure is a highlight for those that listen to it. And it’s also an opportunity for Edith to get close and personal with people that often only offer a fleeting moment during promotional tours. ‘The lovely thing is people really respond to it, which is really lovely’ she says. ‘Because a lot of the time I interview people in the kind of promo window time, where they’re in the middle of promoting a film. So you’re just one of the people in a long list of who they see.’ In those situations Edith has just a brief moment to make a connection and listening to her podcast it’s clear that her enthusiasm has helped her build up an impressive collection of friends and contacts in the industry. There will be light at the end of the tunnel the world is currently going through and From Page to Screen is one of the things to look forward to when we get there.

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Lottery Support for Beaminster Museum


Some of the Beaminster Museum volunteers

eaminster Museum has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £99,000 for an exciting new project headed ‘Extending Beaminster Museum into the Community’. This grant, representing some 32% of the total cost will enable the Museum to increase its size, activities and the range and age of people and groups who will be able to use the museum. This grant has been made possible by money raised by National Lottery players. The grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will enable a two storey extension to be built and equipped to so that an increasing number of primary schoolchildren can be accommodated to visit, research and learn from the many educational opportunities within the museum. There will be room to accommodate groups of adults who wish to research the museum’s many collections. These include fossils, local agriculture, the flax industry, Roman remains, Stone Age artefacts, local schools, and many aspects of the local history.

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The museum has around 60 volunteers who do everything needed to run a modern museum. The new funding will enable the volunteers to develop and undertake projects in adult education, visiting and hosting schoolchildren, involvement with the Beaminster Literary and Arts Festival and community events, running memory loss cafes, researching local history and teaching digital and research skills. The new building and its resources will enable the museum to develop its activities in many aspects of the local culture and community, thus enhancing its role as the cultural heart of the Beaminster area. Commenting on the award, Dr Murray Rose chair of the Museum Trustees said “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to the National Lottery players and are confident the project will solve our space problems for years to come. At the same time it will enable us to be a more significant part of the community. We hope to be an influence in the lives of a wide range of people from primary age school children, to active adults who wish to learn and research more of their local history, and to those of a senior age trying to cope with memory loss, who will meet and reminisce in familiar surroundings”. Stuart McLeod, Director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are delighted to support this project which will secure an exciting future for Beaminster Museum, enabling the team to share its heritage and collections with a much wider range of people and also support the local community.” The museum, sited in the small town of Beaminster in West Dorset serves the town and the large surrounding area. In addition to displaying artefacts from over 200000 years ago to the late 20th century, it mounts annual displays of topics from its local history collections, it hosts a wide range of visiting groups from primary age schoolchildren to adults following an academic interest. Although its primary aim is to serve its local area, it receives visits and enquiries from across the country and internationally. In addition to the actual building it does an increasing amount of ‘outreach work’ covering the NNR fossil quarry and its flax processing work.



Art is still out there ART is by no means hiding while the country is in lockdown. In galleries and studios all around the country artists are working as they always have been. For many, however, they are now unable to offer tuition or invite people to look at their work. At the same time they have little hope of showing their work in galleries. Planned exhibitions have been cancelled and in some cases work is already hanging waiting for the doors of galleries to open again. Local galleries such as Slader’s Yard in West Bay and The Jerram Gallery in Sherborne have beautiful original art for sale some of which can be seen on their websites. Visit them online today to support both local business and local culture. We have also been in touch with many of those artists who entered the recent Marshwood Arts Awards and the following pages list updates from some of them.

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 77

Artists in Lockdown - Get in touch and let us know what you are doing and how people can see your work. Email:

Stephen Bishop

People can view my work on my web site. I will be launching a fresh new web site in the next month with new works. Physical visits are not encouraged clearly until the lockdown has been relaxed. Visits to the studio by appointment after this time.

Lotta Teale

Lotta’s first solo exhibition, ‘Still Life, Italy, London’ was due to take place at Burgh House, Hampstead, in April, but is instead showing virtually. All works can be sent in the post and coronavirus discounts are available. I have an online exhibition on now at:

Paul Blenkhorn

Continuing to make digital artworks and abstract acrylic paintings whilst at home with the family. My acrylic paintings can be viewed at: My digital artworks can be viewed here: Instagram posts are here: sensoryarthouse/

perception and revealing something new, beyond technology and the precision of numbers.’

Kate Kelvin

My art can be viewed online at @tricerainc Japan

Debbie Lee

Dorset based artist. Homework residency! During Covid-19 lockdown the children are off school indefinitely. We are inspiring each other to keep working through this.

Mike Chapman

Michael Parkinson

I was a participant in the Marshwood Arts Awards 2015 and awarded a Highly Commended by Philip Sutton for my paintings of Falmouth Docks and another of West Bay. My recent paintings and drawings can be viewed on Instagram under mikeparkinson26.

It is indeed a difficult time for artists like myself but the upside is that it has forced me to come to terms with social media. In addition to my website www., I now have an Instagram account ‘mikechapman45’ which I find really rewarding. I made a rule that I would put every piece of work I do on it (unless it’s a complete turkey) and I am finding it really helpful. I get feedback almost immediately and also the opportunity to see what other artists are up to. It’s also beginning to build me a small following. In all a great way to counter the dangers of isolation.

Fernando Velazquez

Claire Chandler

Fernando Velazquez is a Spanish painter leaving and working in Dorset, UK. Born in Seville, his work has developed throughout his career into a highly personal language concerned with the power of nature and the imagination. He is a self-taught artist who has a distinctive voice in contemporary art, a unique vision that echoes the great art of the past whilst creating a new universe of visual responses to our time. Fernando Velazquez has exhibited worldwide and continues to engage a growing international audience. Fernando says: ‘I want to contribute to tradition with my personal vision. I want to move people as much as great art moves me, the art done by men and women before me. Despite the struggle, I believe that my paintings encapsulate life, touching the corners of a small universe of thought. Art is good when deeply felt, beyond technique, intention and tested knowledge. It is good when born from necessity, true passion and the strength to follow a path, regardless of the outcome. I feel that there is room in the art of today to engage people on an emotional level, changing

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Claire Chandler was born in Hereford yet spent much of her childhood living abroad. This developed into a love of travel and experiencing new places. Claire’s paintings are a direct response to her surroundings, visual memories of places she has lived, travelled to or explored. Colour, shape and form evoke responses in both the artist and the spectator – often these responses are indefinable. Through a layering of colour and a richness of surface the viewer is drawn in, to wander and explore, creating their own personal journey. Instagram: @clairechandlerart www.instagram/clairechandlerart

Denise Harrison

I believe that paint is a tool, that through its physicality, can portray and explore moments that are important to document and research in our present day. My practice focusses on the landscape, particularly eco-systems and sustainability, raising awareness whilst exploring its

mesmerising aesthetics and methods through paint. My current work is about the greenhouse interiors, landscapes within landscapes.

bid for in the RWA Secret Postcard Auction online from 15-25 June products/secret-postcard-auction.

Jose Zalabardo

Marie Laywine

I paint everyday people, places and things. I want to display their beauty for those who might not have noticed it without my help. I like to paint people in motion, the light modelling their bodies and clothes, and the shadows they cast. I paint with a very limited palette of bright pigments. I’m childishly fascinated by the miracle of colour mixing. The watercolour medium demands a spontaneous attitude that I’m happy to embrace. Things happen, and you deal with them, like in life.

Hannah Thomas

I am an abstract artist; creating utterly instinctively, experimentally and without self censorship. I explore the state of restlessness, chaos and chance that life presents and the challenges of retaining a sense of one’s own capability and autonomy in the face of this. My focus is always atmosphere, always intensity, always the thrust of an emotional energy onto the work, the work is entirely a product of my senses and therefore impossible to verbalise without distortion or embellishment. Without submitting to the pressure to categorise or deconstruct, art for me is best summed up by a quote from Walt Whitman: ‘I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world’.

Judith Lakeman Fraser

My paintings hover between observation and imagination. My current work reflects my concern with the threat to the landscape from global warming. The red line which runs as a thread through many of my images is a metaphor for the loss of our eroding coastline and it’s many footpaths which have been closed. This red line also represents feelings such as anger and fear that can be evoked in us by the effects of this devastation and its threat to the natural world. These feelings of fear and uncertainty are now even more evident in this current covid crisis. My immediate concern in my paintings is how to convey a sense of optimism in this time of darkness. My work can be viewed on my website and instagram: @judithlakemanfraser

In my painting I work with what I call the interior landscape; I use images and ideas from my dreams to help me represent the visual the mountain ranges and coastal plains inside a person and the imaginary. My work can be seen and purchased on the Saatchi Online Gallery: https://www.saatchiart/marielaywine

Caroline Liddington

Whilst working in my home and studio in Shipton Gorge, I am continuing to produce small paintings inspired by Dorset coastal landscapes. Using a bold colour palette I am working from memory and views from my windows. Planned exhibitions have been postponed until spring 2021. Further information and new work can be seen on my website.

Ilona Skladzien

Ilona was born in Poland and moved to Dorset in 2013 to live and work. In 2018, she did her MA in Fine Arts at Arts University Bournemouth. In her practice, Ilona uses content found online, specifically on YouTube, to delve into questions of objectivity, of our perception and the authenticity of our own memories in regards to moving imagery shown online. Ilona is also interested in the role technology plays in shaping our understanding of the world and choices that we make. Twitter: @ilona_skladzien Instagram: @ilonaskladzien

Kate Walters

Kate Walters is still making work, even though the threat of coronavirus brings up some existenitial thoughts for her. Her work is visible on Instagram: https://www. It may also be seen on her recently up-dated website. Kate is spending this year working on her painting, in preparation for exhibitions next year. Professor Penny Florence recently wrote an essay about Kate’s recent watercolours, which are currently on display at Newlyn Art Gallery.

Chris Dunseath

I have recently finished a new sculpture ‘From Another Age’ made in mahogany and bronze. I have also been working on a series of Cyanotypes. I will have work to Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 79


Julia’s House HIIT Squad Completes Mammoth Fundraising Workout

Eddie Howe, AFC Bournemouth

“Help us to ensure we can carry on supporting the children in our community who need us the most,” says CEO of children’s charity The Julia’s House HIIT Squad has raised in excess of £33,000 with a gruelling 2-hour high intensity interval training fundraising challenge. Julia’s House CEO Martin Edwards was joined by AFC Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe and a team of enthusiastic local business leaders at the BH Live Littledown Centre on 18 March, as they pushed themselves to the max to raise vital funds for the Dorset and Wiltshire children’s hospice charity. Jason Gault of TeamJobs, Jamie Wollen of JWA Consulting, Hugh Roper of Rockets & Rascals, Tim Brown of Superior and Natasha Chedgy of Dynamic Health all took up the HIIT Squad challenge alongside Martin, Eddie and Julia’s House Director of Care Ali Acaster, under safe outdoor conditions that reflected the social distancing advice for COVID-19. After 2 months of intensive training, a few injuries and numerous 5am starts, the HIIT Squad, led by a team of instructors from BH Live, pushed their bodies to the extreme and completed their mammoth workout. Pip Woods and Peter Gordon of Rockley Watersports and Chris Symons of BH Live weren’t able to join on the day but have been training hard with the HIIT Squad and wished the squad all the very best for their challenge. “When we started this appeal in January we were looking to raise enough money to fund

two Julia’s House nurses. That seemed a big ask but with the spread of COVID-19, the appeal is now much bigger,” said Martin Edwards. “We are still visiting families in their homes and offering a lifeline of care to hugely vulnerable children, when they may otherwise be isolated from the outside world and we will continue to do so for as long as we possibly can. At the same time, we are having to postpone and cancel some of our flagship fundraising events. We’re almost 100% publicly funded and we estimate this is going to take £1million of our income this year. We know these are difficult times and everyone is worried, but we so need people to support the HIIT Squad. Our families often don’t have anyone other than Julia’s House to turn to, so people giving today will help us ensure we can carry on supporting the children in our community who need us the most.” Julia’s House is dedicated to the care of children with life-limiting conditions in Dorset and Wiltshire. The charity can only continue its vital service thanks to public donations, fundraising and gifts in wills. BH Live is hoping to hold its own HIIT Squad marathon at Littledown on Wednesday 16 September, subject to the COVID-19 Coronavirus status. It’s your last chance to donate to the HIIT Squad and make a life changing difference to the local families cared for by Julia’s House. Visit Martin and Eddie’s JustGiving page: JHHIITSQUAD

Martin Edwards, CEO of Julia’s House

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Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 81

Services&Classified SITUATIONS VACANT Friendly people person needed April onwards. Abbotsbury. Saturday and Sunday mornings. Breakfast and tidying up. Contact Angela 07967886762

POSITION WANTED Experienced Mature lady with small dog seeks work with accommodation caring/ housework. Qualified HCA excellent refs Sara 07592396941 Experienced, passionate cook available Axminster area. Part-time week days, one off batch cooking or drop off. Excellent references. Please give me (Juliet) a call 07553055787


Pottery vases. 1950’s floral design. 23 cm height £25. 12 cm height £15. Box Brownie camera: Six 20 Model D £10. Sailing smock: 25th anniversary long. Guardsman Treated. of S.T.S. Sir Winston Churchill. Navy blue with £225.00. Laura Ashley Pastoral assistant. red embroidery. Large. £15. “Patricia” Overmantel Bridport United Church Mirror in Soft Silver. Large 01300 321396 or 07984 to visit members and 547980 Size. others in need and help CD Player. Marantz CD63 £125.00. Modern, Dark run groups including for Mark II (KI signature). Wood Five Drawer Tall young people. 12 hours Chest of Drawers. Drawer Good condition. Can weekly, salary £10.95 demonstrate. £75. 01395 needs attention. Two per hour. Enhanced DBS Drawer Matching Bedside 576644 required. Information Briggs and Stratton 46SD Chests. One needs alisoncocks82@gmail. attention. £30.00. All due to 4 stroke engine for self drive com or 01305 458178. house move, buyer collects. mower in working order. Closing date 14 April £25. Tel 01460 64607 Telephone: 01305 264659 2020. Denby casserole with lid: Qualcast lawnmower “Serenade” good condition. Classic 30 electric £35, Qualcast scarifier quickFOR SALE £10 Cerne Valley Forge firebasket £80 71 cm x 48 change cassette for same Coleman Ram X mower £20. Both in full cms x 40 cm high. Cerne Gold Medalist16 Open Valley Forge fireguard £30. working order and good Canadian Canoe 3 Paddles Old Colonial china: Large condition. 01404 871691 £320 ovno 0775 2857434 cake plates x 2, tea plates, Kenwood Chef Major Collins & Hayes “Fergus” cups and saucers, eggcups mixer KM250 - 600W Dark Tan Hide Leather motor, silver, vgc Large S/S x 2 sets. £25 total. Poole Sofa. Large 2-seater 81” Full and part time staff required at local plant nursery. Halstock 01935 891668 dorsetwaterlily@ No agents thank you.

Monthly Quiz –

Sofabed. Single. Grey leather. DFS, as new,145x100 folded. £350 Photos available 07837452637

bowl, glass 1.2L liquidiser jug, whisk, K beater, dough hook. £150. 01297 631307 Golf clubs for sale. Cobra driver. Benross fairway woods 3, 5, & 7. Taylormade fairway woods 1, 3, 5, 7 & 9 Callaway Big Bertha irons SW, PW, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5. Odyssey Crimson Putter Fazer Texas Wedge/Chipper Trolley bag. Illness causes sale. £90.00 the lot. Not to be sold individually. Tel. 01460 30909 Stripped pine antique Victorian fire surround. £250 Antique bookcase three shelves.£75 Clarks shoes worn once. Size 5 maroon colour £10 Four long curtains cream and blue design. Good for French doors £30 per pair. Green curtains £15. Details and photos from 07969372076 Qubo Elite bicycle trainer with road wheel.

Win a book from Little Toller Books

Send in your answer on a postcard, along with your name and address to: Hargreaves Quiz, Marshwood Vale Magazine, Lower Atrim, Bridport, Dorset DT6 5PX. Study the clues contained in the rhyme and look carefully at the signposts to work out which town or village in South Somerset, West Dorset or East Devon is indicated. The first correct answer drawn out of a hat will win a book from local publisher Little Toller Books. There is no cash equivalent and no correspondence will be entered into.

Last month’s answer was Yetminster. The winner was Mrs Benham from Uploders.

82 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031



Proofreading, editing, transcription, secretarial for writers and businesses. Excellent references. Penny Dunscombe Apr 20 07825339289.

Alberny Restoration In-house blast cleaning for home and garden furniture, doors and gates. Agricultural/ construction machinery and tooling. Vehicles, parts and trailers etc. 01460 73038, email, FB Alberny Sandblasting

FOR SALE Roller pressure on tyre and resistance adjust automatic. Bluetooth compatible. Cost over £200 Call 01305 570508. £55. Ladies Cotton Trader Maxi dress. Jersey shirt dress size 16 misty rose colour. Impulse buy - brand new was £30 will accept £10. 01404 850157 Debenhams De’but black round neck lined lace dress with front beading with cap lace sleeves. Size 18 impulse buy - brand new. Will accept £20. 01404 850157 Early 20th century dressing table. Some marks on top surface. Excellent mirror. Needs new handles. £10.00. Buyer collects. Details 01308 482882 Bricks - Edenhall Howlite Grey facing bricks, 160 available. Size 215x100x65mm. From Crewkerne. Call 07497 477817. £80 Two seater, leather type, cream coloured settee. Good condition. £60.00. Tel. 07495888794 (Nr. Bridport) Sofabed. Single. Grey leather. DFS, as new,145x100 folded.£350 Photos available 07837452637 HSL Penrith Dual Riser/ Recliner chair in wine boucle. New September 2019, hardly used. Cost £1700 new. Will accept £990. Buyer to collect please. 01308 868717. Cast iron bath in good condition for age(1954!) with ball and claw feet, painted outside. With shower mixer tap. £10. Edwardian style wash basin and pedestal. Period taps. £25. Thorncombe. Photos. 07973 327 077

RESTORATION Furniture restoration. Antiques large and small carefully restored. City and Guilds qualified, ten years experience in local family firm. Phil Meadley 01297 560335

May 20

TO LET Room to let. Own bathroom, non smoker quiet location, nr. Seaton. Tel; 0790 959 5245 Stressless recliner chair/ footstool, electrically operated, Grey leather, 3 years old. £650.00. Ono. 01460.221612 Hardwood plant display stand, possibly mahogany, custom made and unique. A heavy and sturdy piece of furniture for inside or out. It is solid hardwood which will last many years unlike other cheap softwood versions. Overall height 66.5”, depth of bottom shelf 17” and widest point 19.5”. Enquire about local delivery. £90 Photos available 01460 55105 Vintage wooden ladders. Ideal for intended use or display, various sizes. From £20. Photos and measurements available. 01460 55105 Shower-screen. New. Pivot 700 Merlin. 1900mmx670720. £190. White washbasin/pedestal, 450mm. New. £60. Can supply photo. Dorchester, 07398760637 Jersey stamp booklets and prestige stamp books


WANTED Wanted to buy - field, or part field and part woodland, any size, to about 5 acres. Not top grade grass. Private, local resident wants to ‘do their bit’ for the environment. Anything considered. Please help. 07508 106910 May 20 Vintage & antique textiles, linens, costume buttons etc. always sought by Caroline Bushell. Tel. 01404 45901.

Jun 20

Dave buys all types of tools 01935 428975 Jul 20 Postage stamps. Private collector requires 19th and early 20th century British. Payment to you or donation to your nominated charity. 01460 240630. Old sewing machines, typewriters, gramophones, phonographs, records, music boxes, radios. 0777 410 3139. www.

May 20

Beehive national brood supers wanted. Tel. 07715 557556 Vinyl Records Wanted All types and styles considered. Excellent prices paid. Please Phone Roy 07429 102645 Bridport

May 20

(1969-2010). All in mints condition, in album. Real price approximately £380 £285 Ono, 01305 820878

Kim Biss, photograph and words by Catherine Taylor

KIM BISS A smile will always greet you from behind the counter of Naturalife in Bridport, and more often than not it will belong to Kim Biss. She welcomes all customers, new and regulars alike with a calm and bright approach, ready to dispense her wisdom and advice to all. Founder of the health food and supplement shop, Kim is celebrating 20 years since it opened, offering carefully curated products to help her customers live a natural life. Kim started dispensing from behind a counter when she left school, working for Boots when she was living in the Midlands. When she moved to Merriott with her young family, Kim did a professional catering course at Yeovil College. She was introduced to natural and health aligned products when she took on a job at Holland & Barrett in Yeovil, qualifying as a product advisor. However, the branch had to close and she became redundant. This provided Kim with the opportunity, and push, towards opening up her own health shop in a little unit in Crewkerne, which she’d spotted some months previously. From there another shop was opened in Dorchester, which Kim also ran for a number of years, before a fresh new start was in order. Always taken with Bridport, Kim decided to open Naturalife in South Street. She relocated and settled with her husband Martin round the corner from the shop. Loving the variety on her doorstep, Kim is ideally placed to pursue her love of food, ignited when she did the catering course and enjoys eating out regularly. She also has a love of glitter, so you may see the odd sustainable card for sale in the shop, sparkling in the light. Hannah, Kim’s daughter-in-law is also now an integral part of the business. She also helps run the shop and goes to trade events with Kim. Working hard to get to where she is now, Kim is grateful that she can carry on doing what she loves, in the knowledge that the business will continue, indeed already is, in safe family hands. Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 83

FOR SALE FREE ADS for items under £1,000 Classified advertising in The Marshwood Vale Magazine is normally 95 pence+VAT per word in a box. This FREE ADS FORM is for articles for sale, where the sale price is under £1000 (Private advertisers only — no trade, motor, animals, firearms etc). Just fill in the form and send it to the Marshwood Vale Magazine, Lower Atrim, Bridport, Dorset DT6 5PX. or email to (Please do not send in all capital letters). Unfortunately due to space constraints there is no guarantee of insertion of free advertising. We reserve the right to withhold advertisements. FOR GUARANTEED CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE USE ‘CLASSIFIED ADS’ FORM

Name.....................................................Telephone number ................................. Address................................................................................................................. Town.................................. County.................... Postcode ..................................


84 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

FOR SALE Jersey definitive stamps (1969-2007) all in mint condition. Also jersey postage dues all in mint condition in album (19691982) to include all bulletins with inserts. Real price approximately £360 - £265 Ono 01305 820878 Solid Teak wood nest of tables. 1. 22.5wx18dx18.5 inches. 2. 20wx18dx16h inches very good condition £10. 01404 850157 Cane Oval coffee table 29wx17dx19h inches very good condition £5 01404 850157 Portapuzzle board 32wx22d inches very good condition £5. 01404 850157 Panda picture jigsaw puzzle complete 1000 pieces £2. 01404 850157 Ideal wildlife pond, circular, fibreglass, 5 foot diameter, 2 foot deep with plant ledges. VGC. £125 (As new £300 plus). 01460 242254

Campingaz Camp ‘Bistro 2’ compact hob in plastic carry cae. Bought Nov 19. Unused. Also 8 Gaz cartridges. £15 the lot. 01305 250281. Shooting stick seat alloy leather handles. £45. Beach caster fishing rod & bag & reel £40. Cellotape dispenser c/w 3 inch reel £10. Canon typewriter word processer £50. 01297 680560. David Shepherd signed print ‘Savuti Sands’ £60, Ladies ‘Hawkhead’ walking boots, size 4 £15. Men’s casual jacket, size 40/42, rusty/red £25. Men’s sports jack size 40/42, Lovat green handwoven £25. 01460 68483. Villeroy & Boch ‘Melina’ 13 cups and saucers, dishwasher safe, excellent condition. £40. 07970 889217. Home dog cage, pine ½ slatted with door. W.71.5cm H 71.5cm L 92cm. £50ono. 01308 488442. Wardrobe/ Hall-cupboard Beko washing machine, medium oak, 72ins high, very little used, no longer 32ins wide, 18ins deep. £35 needed. Will accept £60. 01460 52371. + 2 kitchen stalls, modern Heavy duty ladder, alloy, £12.50 the 2. 01308 861474. two sections, extends to 22’. Mira Advance electric £70. Folding shower screen shower, little use as new, for bath, chrome. £20. £50. 01460 54104. 01460 261244. Portable typewriter & Nearly new bench polisher carry case. VGC £10. 3 with pads. £15. 01297 tapestry kits with wool; 552210. 1 wool embroidery kit; 2 Masport 6.5hp XL embroidery hoops some chipper/ shredder. £100. silks; 1 embroidery kit silks 01460 62283. hoop. Reason for sale, Metal detector! Fisher eyesight not good enough. 1266X older maybe but in £20. 01305 266726. excellent working order/ Lovely book of Hampshire condition. Headphones 1st edition 1909 coloured and full instructions and illustratios b Wilfred Ball batteries, bargain at £150. RE. Described by Revered Honiton area. 07594 Telford Varley. £180. 01297 687485. 560707. Cougar power-washer, KITT1637 Planer, £20ono. Rosemary roof tiles thicknesser 12” x 8”, dust 100+. £20ono. Compost bin collect system, very little £10ono. 01460 61863. used. £575. 01305 785587. Odham’s Pictorial History Extending dark wood of World War 2, 1939/1945, dining table and five chairs. 5 volumes, all in good £30ono. 01935 425181. condition, £20. 01297 Nest 3 tables black gloss, 489725. DT6 6EN. largest h18” w 13” l.20”. Apache Quad-Bike 250cc. £85. Husky Slimline 12 Twin full road spec, low bottle wine cooler £70. mileage, recent full service, 01297 552420. ready to ride. £550. 01297

ELECTRICAL 489725. DT6 6EN. Two Treasure Chests, wooden 22” x 16” x 14” vgc, £65-55 each. 01297 552210. New Oriental Design solid wood garden bridge, 6ft x 2ft 6”. £95. 01297 552210. 18 inch Sony Bravia digital colour TV complete with remote and manual. £30ono. 01297 560251. Cot bed East Coast Angelina (antique pine), good condition, little used by visiting grandchild, plus mattress quilt pillow, fitted sheets duvet set. £50. 07500 907554. Ensuite white sink with tap and under cupboard, h 700 w 450 d 225, good condition, £30. 01308 456843. Titan electric plane £20. Erbauer SDS drill £20. Small home safe £20. 01460 57078. 4 unused genuine Persian rugs 153cm x 105, 149cm x 107, 91 x 65, 128 x 70. 2@ £35. 2@£25. 01935 872421. Wedgwood Napoleon Green Ivy china, four large plates, four soup cups and saucers, one large sewing. Fruit bowl. 01935 872421. Router/ Orbital sander plus transformer all good working order, £50 the lot ovno. 01297 489725. DT6 6EN. Electric fencer 12 volt plus wire and post, ex/ working order. £40 ovno. 01297 489725. DT6 6EN. Unused brand new EPS laser speed detector snooper 4 zero elite, unwanted gift, cost £179.99, will accept £100ono, Speed Camera Detector. 01308 861474. Allett Classic 17” petrol cylinder mower, very good condition, just serviced £300. 01297 631909. Hammered Dulcimer musical instrument 18 course, super condition, beautiful sounding with substantial carry case. £875ono. 07594 687485. Ercol pale wood, large rocking chair, vgc + v comfortable, unable to deliver. 07968 511203.


Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 85

From the Archives of

the Marshwood Vale magazine

A Look Back at APRIL

2005 & 2010

in the Marshwood Vale Magazine

86 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

From the Archives of

the Marshwood Vale magazine



MARSHWOOD VALE For West Dorset, South Somerset and East Devon

MAGAZINE April 2005-Issue 73

Ray Smith, West Dorset, photograph by Robin Mills

Arts & Entertainment Food & Dining

Gardening Interiors Health & Environment

These pages are from April 2005 - advertiser offers are not current Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 87

Outposts in the community Where to get your Marshwood Vale Magazine

OUTPOSTS is a regular feature where we highlight some of the many outlets that carry your community magazine. Copies are available along the coast from Sidmouth in East Devon to Portland in West Dorset and in towns and villages from Ottery St. Mary to Yeovil. To stock the Magazine telephone 01308 423031.


by Fergus Dowding

Footeprints, photograph by Belinda Silcox

Footeprints is a family run business in Bridport’s East Street. Just about any stationery item one could want seems to be stocked in the shop! The knowledgeable staff are always on hand to help and specialist items can be sourced by them. The shop also offers a full photocopying service for both black and white and colour and in sizes up to AO. For small photocopying requirements just pop into the shop and the items can be copied while you wait. Bigger photocopying jobs are done at the Footeprints office in Salwayash, phone 01308 488947. The shop is open from 9-5pm Monday to Friday and from 9-4pm on Saturday. The East Street shop telephone number is 01308 422511.

Prospect Garage, photograph by Belinda Silcox

Prospect Garage in Uplyme is run by the Kelland family and is certainly more than just a garage! The forecourt has petrol pumps, car washing facilities and a workshop which does MOT's. The shop is a real Aladdin’s cave - with a fully stocked general provisions section, animal feed and bedding, hardware, paints, and coal and logs for sale. The bulk of the shop is taken up with car spares and the staff are all fully trained and happy to assist with any motoring query. Prospect Garage can be found on the Lyme Road and can be contacted on 01297 33625. The garage is open from 7.30am - 8pm Monday to Saturday and from 8am - 8pm on Sundays (it stays open until 9pm during the summer months). 88 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

THIS is the most stressful time of the year for me, lots of bare earth even after planting so much seed. Will any of them come up? Sowing carrots is one of my big worries. Cold soil means a tortuously slow germination, and just one hungry fat slug can eat a whole row of tiny seedlings. Whereas in late May warm soil and gentle rain will guarantee quick germination. The problem with this is that you have to wait until the summer is half gone before you eat your first produce. So now is the time, you should be sowing every square inch of bare soil, and put up with the anxiety and uncertainty of an early sowing. Lettuce are easy to get going. The earliest we can seem to get full sized lettuce grown outdoors is mid-May, but we always have some hot sunny weather before then when salad lunches are aggressively requested indoors. I have noticed quite a few growers sowing seed in soil in a length of plastic guttering recently. I must have missed the tellly programme where this idea was touted, but it seems to work quite well. And it is a good way of starting a crop and gaining a fortnight’s head start on outdoor sowings. I still prefer modular trays for sowing all but root crops, but have tried the gutter method for parsnips. Sow the seeds in sand and keep them moist. You need an eagle eye to spot them germinating and must transplant into soil immediately. It’s a job to say if this is a good method or not, as some parsnips always fang in the clay soil we all have in the Marshwood Vale. But remember, you get less fanging if you don’t dig your soil. Sowing peas indoors is a god idea if the pigeons always eat the ones you plant in the soil. You can sow them in modular trays, or even in seed trays, and transplant three weeks later. You’ll be eating them by mid June. Indoor sowing for courgettes is a must as each seed costs about 10p. last year the yellow courgettes were a great success because I could actually see them, and so none escaped and became marrows. Why was Ellen McArthur’s boat called B & Q ? Because it always had a sail on.

From the Archives of

the Marshwood Vale magazine

Cover Story I now work at River Cottage HQ with Hugh I have come full circle really. For me it is paradise; I am not butchering for profit, people are keen and learning. We are using whole animals, not just the usual cuts and it’s great to share that knowledge. One evening recently at about 11pm, after a whole day teaching, sore throat and shattered, three ladies cornered me and wanted me to show them again how to pluck a pheasant so they could do it at home. That to me is really rewarding, that’s what makes my job worthwhile. Being in Dorset is great for me, my job is unique and every day is like a holiday. Ray Smith, West Dorset, photograph by Robin Mills

MY life as a butcher started on a bicycle with a big basket on the front, cycling around Golders Green and Swiss Cottage as a delivery boy for a kosher butcher. There were lots of independent butchers at that time and in that particular area many were kosher. Kosher butchery is a totally different way of cutting meat, very similar to the continental way and it teaches you well - anatomically. It wasn’t long after the war and all cuts of meat were used, nothing at all was wasted. My mum, a traditional cook, served up neck of lamb stew every Saturday after preparing it on Friday and cutting all the fat off. I used to help in the kitchen even then. I went on to work at a Kosher grocers, all strictly regulated by the local rabbi! I left butchery for a while after finishing school lured by more money but always kept my interest in food and cooking. I married Mary in 1966, we bought a house with a GLC 100% loan, a maisonette in Stanmore for £3,500! We had kids and moved to Harrow and in 1972 decided that the rise in house prices was our ticket out of London. We put a pin in the map and travelled out of London at the weekends to see potential properties! We settled on Dorchester and found a shop with a flat above. I sat outside the shop for a whole day to look at the custom. It was a risk and a challenge and we wanted to build the business. Our first week we took £50! We used to roll out of bed at 4am and down to the shop and we built the business tremendously. We carried on until 1984 and then decided to sell when planning permission was approved for Waitrose. There were 13 butchers and 2 abattoirs in Dorchester at that time and there is only one butcher in the whole town now - that’s telling. We shut the shop, Mary retrained as a medical secretary and I worked in the garden growing vegetables and kept some animals. I used to butcher for farming friends before all the regulations came in and it was at one of these farms that I met Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. We hit it off, both having the same philosophy about food, and a passion for cooking.

Out and about with the camera by Ron Frampton

The Holyrood Lace Mill, Chard, Somerset, photograph by Dianne Dowling

Holyrood Lace Mill was one of five built in Chard around 1830. Its business was to churn out machine-made ‘plain net’ used for mosquito netting in days when the Empire was expanding. It also produced window drapes, theatrical scenery, ladies underwear and a small amount of ornamental lace for the fashion industry. Lace making continued into the 20th century and Holyrood mill was a major employer. But in 1960 the building was left empty. Thankfully the Mill was finally restored and is now a focal point of Chard life. Various community services share the building. The ground and first floors, house the Library where the exhibition Across Three Counties will be help from 2 April to 7 May. Ron Frampton tutors photography at Dillington House, Ilminster, Somerset. Summer programme now available: 01460 258613 Website:

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 89

Images of everyday life

Compiled by Ron Frampton

Sue Hasell, photograph by Gordon Hall

FOR this issue of Images of everday life Gordon Hall met Sue Hasell at Lopen Head, Somerset. This is Sue’s story: “I was born in 1955, the youngest of four children, and was brought up on a farm in Chew Magna in north Somerset. My Mum, Dad and family are really great people and have lived and farmed the same area for many generations, though much of the land where my ancestors lived was flooded in 1956 to form a reservoir. What have I done with my life so far? Well, although I didn’t follow the family tradition of farming; it has always been my joy to work outside and I have a passion for growing things. When I was twenty-five, I moved to London to study youth and community work and stayed for seven years. They were really good rewarding times working with teenagers, ethnic groups, old people and young single mothers. It was a learning experience for me as well as for them. I took groups away to France, the Brecon Beacons, and Cornwall. We engaged in activities such as rock-climbing, abseiling, horse-riding, photography and drama. After the birth of my first daughter I moved to Chiselborough where I combined bringing up children with running a small business. I was the last allotment holder in Chiselborough; shortly afterwards the field was sold – such a shame. 90 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

Six years ago, my partner Steve and I, bought the Trading Post at Lopen. He had always joked to his friends that he wanted a disused garage with a greenhouse on the A303. The Trading Post was exactly this – an old petrol station with five acres of land, a greenhouse and a shop. It was a challenging nine months converting the barren land into a beautiful and productive organic vegetable plot, growing over a hundred different vegetables and salads. The aim of the shop was always to supply our own fresh produce and offer an outlet for the abundance of locally produced food, keeping food miles to a minimum. The restored glasshouse is a joy to walk into with its exotic houseplants, and our salad leaves are grown in the polytunnels. I firmly believe that organic food has enormous benefits to one’s health, the environment and wildlife. We are registered with the Soil Association and will receive full certification in September 2005. The Trading Post has become my life. Steve and I have ploughed an enormous amount of energy into it. We knew from the start that it was a high-risk venture with lots of hard work ahead. I believe it is now a focal point for local people, a place to come and enjoy shopping, and catch up with friends. It has been described as a ‘treasure trove’; in fact, I suppose we are a continuation of the old corner shop.

I enjoy meeting people and have made some very good friends through the shop. I love to chat and enjoy people’s humour; we do have a lot of laughs. Of course, our success would never have happened without the support and hard work put in by my workers and friends. Thanks to them all, past and present. Every village should have a shop and pub. I think they are an essential part of community life in the country. Certainly for me, I have always enjoyed pubs. I blame my friends for this; with them I acquired a taste for beer, shove ha’penny (I played in a league) and a passion for cricket. I supported Somerset Cricket through the ‘glory’ years in the 1980s, even played myself and hit a ‘four’ once on Hampstead Heath. I have been blessed with good health and like to keep fit. I spend a lot of time walking and I have clocked up thousands of miles on my bicycle both here and abroad. Such adventures! It is my good fortune to have two gorgeous daughters of whom I am very proud. Josie is nineteen and studying anthropology at Sussex University; Carey is sixteen and doing ‘A’ levels at Strode College. They have always been great fun and good company. When I retire, I’m going to travel. I need to take several ‘gap’ years to catch up on my daughters’ adventures.”

From the Archives of

Historic impressions

the Marshwood Vale magazine

Charmouth and Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis from Chardown Hill, photograph by Christopher Rimmer

MUCH has been written about the geology of Dorset and the effect of this on its landscape. Ralph Wightman in his book, Portrait of Dorset, refers to the county being a jewelled miniature of ‘this sceptred isle’. Whilst in much of the eastern part of the county the geological formations, which consist of chalk and the many coloured sands and clay of the heathland, follow one another in an orderly sequence, the frequent changes in rock formation of the far west shape the amazing coastline. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the area from Chardown Hill on the west side of Golden Cap to Lyme Regis. The greensand, limestone rock and clay produce the multicoloured cliffs, whilst near Lyme Regis the greensand and Lias Clay form cliffs that are liable to slip. The photograph above, taken from Chardown Hill looking towards Lyme Regis in the distance, is typical of the West Dorset coastline, with fields sloping towards the sea and ending in cliffs of varying heights. The farm in the middle distance is Westhay Farm and the ridge of Stonebarrow Hill running from right to left hides the town of Charmouth. The South West Coastal path, a favourite with walkers, runs along the cliff tops and offers magnificent views to the east of Golden Cap, Chesil Beach and Portland Bill. Although not visible from this location, the beach and the cliffs between Lyme Regis and Charmouth are one of the renowned places of England from the geological point of view. The

very nature of these cliffs leads to frequent slips, revealing a multitude of fossils. It was on this beach between Lyme and Charmouth that Mary Anning, the daughter of a Lyme Regis carpenter, made her discoveries in 1811. Her father made a little extra money selling fossils as curios to visitors. Mary and her brother helped him and at the age of 12 she found the skeleton of a prehistoric ichthyosaurus and hired workmen to dig him from his lair. This skeleton is now in the Natural History Museum in London. Thirteen years later in 1824 she tracked down the graceful plesiosaurus and the grinning pterodactyl. She is remembered by a stained glass window in the parish church at Lyme Regis. This stretch of Dorset coast has also played its part in English history. Lyme has been settled since at least 774 when Cynewulf, the King of the West Saxons, granted land here for the extraction of salt from seawater. The manor is recorded in the Doomsday Book and Edward I gave the town its charter in 1279. Lyme reached its peak as a port in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, trading with the East and West Indies, Portugal, Spain and Guinea. In the Civil War the town supported Parliament and in 1644 endured a siege of two months by a Royalist army under the command of Prince Maurice. But perhaps the most famous event took place in 1685 when the Duke of Monmouth landed on the Cobb, set up his standard and asserted his right to the succession as King by proclamation. Subsequently

the War of the Spanish Succession began the decline of the commercial trade, which continued until the end the eighteenth century when it had established itself as a popular watering place. Today Lyme is no longer a commercial port but has become a popular holiday resort. To the east of Lyme Regis is the village of Charmouth. In the ninth century the town was the scene of heavy fighting with attempted, but unsuccessful, invasions by the Danes and the Saxons. However Charmouth's main claim to fame is probably for the failed attempt at escape to France by Charles II after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Stephen Limbry of Charmouth was persuaded to ship an unknown Royalist officer across the Channel to France for the sum of £60. Charles II travelled in disguise to lodgings at the Queen’s Arms in Charmouth. Unfortunately for the King and his party, Limbry’s wife suspecting that the officer was Charles II, and being aware that death was the penalty for anyone who assisted him, locked her husband in his room and hid his trousers. Story by Christopher Rimmer.

Bibliography: Bickley, Francis. Where Dorset meets Devon, Constable & Company Ltd, London, 1911. Hyams, John. Dorset, B T Batsford Ltd, London, 1970. Treves Bart., Sir Frederick. Highways and Byways in Dorset. Macmillan & Co Ltd, London, 1920. Wightman, Ralph. Portrait of Dorset, Robert Hale Ltd, London, 1965.

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 91

Jon Adam by Annie Bee

SHOULD you choose to visit Jon Adam 92 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

at the Backyard Studios in West Bay, I’d advise you to wrap up well. Atmospheric as his studio in the Old Timberyard may be, it doesn’t boast much of a heating system, but it’s well worth the inconvenience of wearing an extra layer or two if you’re interested in contemporary abstract art and would like to see some really inspiring work. Jon Adam, or Adam as everyone knows him, has been working from the Old Timberyard for the past three years, and he shares the second floor of this fascinating old building with sculptor Martin Miller. Adam and Martin work in separate studios on the second floor, but share a large exhibition space where they can both display their work. ‘Originally, there was going to be three

of us here but the third person wasn’t able to take it up, so we decided to use this middle area as a permanent exhibition space. It works really well. People can come in and have a look around and I can carry on working in my studio next door. I don’t think people want you peering over their shoulder when they’re looking at your work, but they like the idea that you’re right there if they want to chat and find out more about what you do.’ It seems like a perfect set up for an artist and has all the quirks that you might expect: tall windows with lots of natural daylight, whitewashed walls and ancient creaky floorboards splattered with paint. Brushes, cans, tubes of paint, jars and oily rags fill the shelves and work tops. The air is thick with the heady smell of turpentine and coffee. Strips of wood, canvas, easels and all manner of things jostle for position on tables and benches. It’s everyone’s idea of a working studio, but the Old Timberyard isn’t just a hideaway for artists. It’s also home to a number of small businesses operating from the yard outside: a joiner, a net maker, an electrical retailer to name a few. ‘I like being part of a busy working environment like this.’ says Adam. ‘It’s friendly but self-contained at the same time. Everyone gets on with their own work, but you know you can go down to the yard for a cup of coffee and a chat if you feel like it.’ Looking at his paintings you can appreciate that Adam would need a big airy space like this for his work. His canvases are large, approximately three or four feet square, filled with colourful abstract images evoking swirling cloud-filled skies, and atmospheric landscapes. They’re profoundly moving pieces and I’m immediately drawn to one in particular, propped up on a large easel at the back of the studio. Although it’s an abstracted image it’s obviously a waterfall, with masses of foaming water in emerald greens and shades of white. I stand in front of it transfixed. It’s beautiful; mesmerising. You can almost hear it. ‘It’s part of a series. I wanted to have all three ready to view together but I sold one just before Christmas,’ says Adam grinning cheerfully. ‘So I’m working on this one, at the moment and hope to have it finished for April.’ Around the studio, I notice that the shelves are filled with jars full of brightlycoloured powder and exotic-looking labels; Prussion blue, lead white, rabbit skin glue. It looks like something out of an nineteenthcentury apothecary shop. I ask him, and Adam explains that he makes his own paint using pigments and oils. Scenes from ‘Girl

From the Archives of

the Marshwood Vale magazine

Jon Adam, photograph by Annie Bee

with a Pearl Earring’ flash before my eyes. ‘Well it’s not quite that romantic,’ says Adam, with a chuckle. ‘I get the pigments sent from my supplier in London and they’re already ground into powder. I mix them with the oils, either poppy or linseed depending on the pigment, until I get the right consistency and then I store them in tubes. It’s great. It’s a bit like being an alchemist. Once you’ve made your own paints it’s very hard to go back to buying them.’ I move around the shelves lifting lids and peering into jars; opening pots and tipping up bottles of oil. It’s fascinating. ‘But why should they be better than shop-bought paints. Wouldn’t they be a bit gritty?’ I ask. ‘Not at all. Modern colours that you buy from a shop contain thickeners, dryers, chalks and all sorts of things. It makes the paints the same consistency, but it also dilutes the strength of the pigment. A hand-mixed pigment will vary in consistency; it might be a bit runny or quite thick like treacle, but it will have a much purer quality of colour,’ explains Adam. ‘I like to be part of the whole process when making a painting, from stretching and priming the canvas to making the paints. That way you can start the creative process at the very beginning, even in the way you prime the canvas. I like everything to be the very best quality I can achieve. I want to feel confident that

the painting will last longer than a life time!’ Brought up on a private country estate in Cornwall, where his father was the dairy farmer, Adam spent his childhood roaming wild in hundreds of acres of woodland and farmland. Some might have considered it an isolated existence, lonely even, but not Adam. ‘I spent most of my time alone, but I was never lonely. To me it was a paradise. I had acres of ancient woodland to explore, trees to climb, rivers to fish. I used to sit in the woods for hours watching the birds and the animals; just watching, listening. I was never bored, I loved it.’ Hearing him talk about this time, it seems to me that this more than anything else in his life has shaped who he is and influenced his work. Here is a man most happy when deep in the heart of the country. ‘Yes, it’s true. And I’d agree that the natural world is my main inspiration at the moment, but I think the actual act of painting itself is inspiring. I don’t have any profound theories about art. I believe it’s a purely personal experience and is different for each artist. All I know, is that as I paint, I explore and investigate an idea, and that in itself motivates me to do the next one, and the one after that. Each painting is part of a bigger journey. Each one motivates me and inspires me to move on to the next.’ ‘The beauty of abstract art is that there are

no boundaries and only endless possibilities. I spent years as a figurative and landscape artist and I was happy, but I always wanted to do abstract work. But I felt I had to wait untiI I was ready for it. I felt I had to learn my craft and do my ‘apprenticeship’ first.’ And plans for the future? ‘My main focus at the moment, apart from selling my work of course’, says Adam laughing, ‘is finding an agent. Promoting your own work takes up a lot of your time, which in turn saps your creative energy. I’d like to be able to completely hand over that side of things to someone else so that I can just focus on my work and nothing else. Finding an agent is definitely one of my priorities for 2005.’ And I have no doubt that as soon as he finds one he’ll have his work cut out for him. He’ll be hard pressed to keep up with demand! Adam’s work speaks for itself. It’s passionate and engaging and if you let it, it will sweep you up and take you away from the mundane and the ordinary; to somewhere altogether more beautiful. Adam currently exhibits in Oxford, and the Pierrepoint Gallery here in Bridport where there will be an opportunity to see some of his new work as part of a shared exhibition beginning April 2nd. If you’d like to find out more information about Jon Adam’s work visit his website www. Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 93

Marshwood Vale photographic competition finds talent throughout Dorset, Somerset and Devon

Winner: Tony Preston pulling up West Bay storm chains, photograph by Steve Luck

THE first Marshwood Vale magazine photographic competition has, not surprisingly, flushed out a wealth of hidden talent throughout the wider local community. A flood of entries showed an enthusiasm and commitment to quality photography that surpassed the organisers expectations. The theme, ‘West Country Character’ seems to have struck a chord with many readers and obviously encouraged entrants to use their imagination. Although there were many ‘winning’ entries the judges could only give one First Prize and that went to Nick Luck from Uploders in Dorset. He captured West Bay harbourmaster Tony Preston working on the storm chains in West Bay harbour. Another six entries, including the adjacent ‘Farmer Roy’ by Fiona Wood, were comended by the judges and they will be published in future issues. The commended photographs were taken by Alan Williams, Gary Frecknell, Margaret Cousins, D.E. Clark, Fiona Wood and Ray Beer. 94 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

Commended: Farmer Roy, photograph by Fiona Wood

From the Archives of

the Marshwood Vale magazine

Passport to Petsville


ALL of this is true - but it’s ridiculous. When our friend’s daughter announced that her pony now needs a passport, I thought she was kidding. But she’s correct - under new EU law it does. And so apparently does our dog and the neighbour’s mangy cat if they’re going to be moved from one place to another. I’m not quite sure about my son’s pet lizard. It’s a two foot long rather beautiful Chinese dragon and since it only moves by escaping under the floorboards and then re-emerging at lunchtime to terrify guests including myself, I reckon a passport may not be necessary. I don’t have any great desire to move any of these creatures myself and they don’t show any great inclination to move by themselves. My tropical angel fish hardly moves at all. She is very good looking (and she knows it) and swims like a prissy film actress from one end of the tank to the other and looks at me accusingly through the glass. Since her tank is only about four foot in length she probably doesn’t need a EU passport. Aunt Sarah’s gerbil hasn’t moved much if at all in the last year. I reckon it’s dead and in which case it presumably doesn’t need any passport. This all started when I went looking on the internet at the new rules for pets which came into law this year. The more I discovered, the more fascinating the subject became. The UK DEFRA website is comprehensive (www. and offers lots of useful advice to pet and animal owners on what to do when taking animals from one place to another. It is also mindbogglingly complicated because it depends what sorts of animals are being transported and their

country of origin. Having done my homework, the following information is correct. I’m sure you will find it invaluable: It’s a fact that your dog or cat now requires a EU passport if you’re taking it out of the UK on holiday. The exit strategy isn’t really the problem - it’s the return strategy when you try to bring it back home. Firstly, you have to have your animal microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, suffer a blood test and then wait for six months to make sure everything’s OK. Only then do you get the passport. And, once abroad, you have to ensure it gets tick and tapeworm treatment 48 hours before your return, otherwise you won’t be able to bring it back in. So be warned - this is a long procedure and unless you’ve already started, Fido still won’t be able to come with you to the Cote d’Azur this summer. What a shame. If you’re going to Ireland however, don’t worry, these rules don’t apply. You could transfer a herd of goats and 34 pet chinchillas - no worries. The pet passport is apparently valid for some countries but not for others. The approved list includes such diverse areas as Fiji, Taiwan, Malta, the Vatican and all the EU. It does not appear to include Thailand or Turkey. Be warned. I have no idea why you can import an Afghan hound from Athens but not from Ankara. A cat from Barbados is fine but a moggy from the Bahamas ain’t. A poodle from Hong Kong is OK even though ‘dog’ is a prized item on their menus. It’s confusing for sure... Amazingly, now guess which one other animal also requires a passport in addition to dogs and cats? It’s ferrets. Honest,

really. Look it up yourself. I don’t normally carry furry ferrets up my trousers when going to Cherbourg but obviously some people do. This fact is even more disturbing and I shall examine my fellow cross-Channel travellers with more attention in the future. Chinchillas, rats, mice and hamsters don’t actually need a passport. They can be transported without any problems if they are coming from the EU or certain other listed countries including Iceland, Monaco or Norway. This is good news because I can safely ship Aunt Sarah’s gerbil to Oslo without incurring a fine. That’s unless her gerbil is really dead - in which case it’s no longer a pet but a health hazard or a foodstuff (God forbid...). And there’s another problem with rodents. You may not (so I read here) “...transport more than five live animals at any one time”. OK, so what happens if your pet rat has babies en-route? Apparently only four of them (plus mummy rat) are allowed into the UK. This is bound to cause an international incident. Tasmanian Devils and scorpions are not allowed into the UK at all. So that’s OK. Unless of course they come from Monaco - but then a Tasmanian Devil would be unlikely so to do. However, an Australian desert fox is OK. So too are wasps, snakes and other invertebrates (including Chinese dragons). But bees are not you need a special licence for them. Confused? You betcha. Perhaps the single most unanswered question is WHY? Why would I want to take Tiddles or my pet stick insect on holiday? Will the animal itself benefit from this experience? Surely

Does this mouse need a passport?

not. Nobody asked the poor wretched thing if it wanted to be carted in a crate or half-frozen in a cargo-hold. How selfish of us humans we’re only doing it for us, not for them. Let me leave you with a direct true quote from the ever helpful DEFRA website with useful phrases

in Italian, French and Spanish when travelling with pets abroad: “My pet is not resident in France. Therefore it does not need to be tattooed.” I think that says it all. Please leave it at home.

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 95

Marshwood The

Vale Magazine

April 2010 Issue 133


Alistair Chisholm, photograph by Robin Mills

For West Dorset, South Somerset and East Devon thebestfrominandaroundthevalethebestfrominandaroundthevale 96 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

From the Archives of Robin Mills went to Dorchester to meet Town Crier Alistair Chisholm. This is his story. “I was born in Surbiton, Surrey, the archetypal suburb, famed location for the TV series The Good Life. My father came from Aberdeen, and worked for most of his life at the Bank of Scotland in the City. This of course was in the “old days” of banking, and he would be spinning in his grave given what’s happened recently. Mother was from South Africa, and was in London to take up a singing scholarship when they met. My father didn’t earn a fortune, but because he felt he’d missed out somewhat in his own education, somehow found the money to send my brother and me to King’s College School, Wimbledon, although it nearly crippled him financially. I enjoyed my time there, but even then I was uneasy with the feeling that it was a privileged position to be in. I spent most of my time rowing, and left with pretty mediocre academic qualifications. When I was 13, my father died, which was of course a devastating thing to happen to a family. Two years later my sister left home to get married, my brother went abroad to work, and I was at home with my mother. Soon after I left school, I joined Voluntary Service Overseas and went to Sarawak, Borneo, teaching in a secondary school at the very tender age of 19. I was there 18 months or so, but managed to study, so that when I came home I got a place at Queens University, Belfast, reading geography. I was also doing English, and I can remember listening to Seamus Heaney teaching poetry, spending a whole lecture on maybe one line, and being amazed and fascinated by him. I wish I’d recorded it. The Troubles were in full swing by the time I left Belfast. I spent 4 years or so teaching in West Bromwich after University, and then I went on a trip to South Africa with my mother, visiting her many relatives. It was there I met my first wife Kate, who then came to England with me, and we set up home in West London. Then I saw a job advertised in London for a tour manager. I thought it would involve ‘managing tours’, and might suit my interest in geography, but in reality found myself at the front of a busload of 50 Americans heading for Hampton Court Palace, some of whom knew a great deal more about its history than I did. However, as the tours went from one major centre of English history to the next, I very soon picked up the historical connections between them all, so that as my interest and knowledge grew I was able to make the tours rather more enlightening. To complete the tours in London, I needed a Blue Badge registration, which incidentally I had to work harder to get than anything else I’d done, a bit like the London cabby’s knowledge. Having achieved that, I began to enjoy the work more now and I really got to know London properly. The down side to the work was perhaps

the Marshwood Vale magazine

Cover Story Robin Mills met Alistair Chisholm in Dorchester

Alistair Chisholm in full cry

situations like taking a group round somewhere as fabulous as Westminster Abbey, truly a focal point of English history, feeling a bit like toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube. You were squashed in with all the other parties, trying to make yourself heard above the Japanese, the Swedish, the German guides all trying to make themselves heard, driving your group along like a lot of unwilling sheep. It was during this time my family was growing; we had two boys, and we felt the suburbs of London weren’t the best place to bring them up. I knew the New Forest, and I knew Devon and Cornwall, but I didn’t know the bit in between. Having come to Dorset, like so many people I was completely and utterly hooked on the place. That would be about 1985, and we bought a small cottage in Buckland Newton, where our daughter Nicola was born. We were soon very involved in village life; as a newcomer one soon gets asked, and I think it’s great. Dorset villages are probably no different to anywhere else, but community involvement is at the heart. I was parttime teaching, and then when we moved to just outside Dorchester, I started to get really interested in the history of the town. You’d hear a lot about Hardy, Judge Jefferies, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Roman history, Maiden Castle, etc, and I began to realise just how absolutely thick with heritage the place really was. And yet nobody really seemed to be taking it seriously. So I decided to have a go at tours again, bought a minibus and set up the Thomas Hardy Explorer tours. I’d recite bits of Hardy’s writing as well as showing the main sites like the birthplace and Max Gate. I was also realising just how much Dorchester had to offer in presentday resources; for example the direct rail links with both London and Bristol via two stations, a fact which, if one is looking for sustainable assets, is quite a starting point.

And then there’s Prince Charles’ choice of Dorchester as the place to develop his vision of urban development at Poundbury. So I was including these facts in the tours I was organising, so that they contained a unique mix of historical and present-day interest. In 1996, the Dorchester Town Crier Bob Walker died, and I thought I might have a go as his replacement. So I had an audition with the Town Council, got the job, and was given £200 to get ‘kitted up’: no qualifications or training necessary. It’s a role which comes from centuries ago when few people could read, and it was the only way information from the authorities, local news, and all matters of importance could be broadcast. These days, a Town Crier needs to be able to do the job with suitable pomp and decorum if the occasion demands it, but it’s ok to be light-hearted sometimes; you need quite a bit of showmanship, but above all you need to be passionate about the place you represent. I also think it’s important to be independent of the local authority. I’m not paid to be Town Crier, so I’m free to criticise authority if I want. I try to help chivvy things along, such as Dorchester’s absolutely fabulous skate-park, which has finally come about after 12 years of wrangle. In 2000 my wife Kate and I split up, and I became very depressed. It was a condition I’d struggled with before, and my Presbyterian upbringing made me think I should be able to snap out of it on my own. I gave up everything, including being Town Crier, and to all intents and purposes disappeared. But it was another Kate, Kate Hebditch, who helped rescue me: she visited me in Puddletown Forest where I was living in my van, and now we’ve been together for 5 years. This, of course, meant that when Kate became Mayor of Dorchester, I became the Mayoress, which was very amusing. I owe a huge debt to the many people who helped me get back on my feet, and I now take medication which enables me to be the person I want to be. I have no problem with that, and my experience has taught me that with this awful but very common condition there are many ways you can get help. With my tours, and as Town Crier, maybe I’m a link with the past; if we’re ignorant of the past we go blindly into the future. I started out volunteering with VSO, and in a way I’ve never stopped volunteering. I hope some of the projects I’ve given my time to have helped restore Dorchester as the county town. I’ve been involved with promoting Dorchester in everything I’ve done. Dorchester now has a Business Improvement District (the only town in Dorset at present), and I’m now part of a community interest company called ‘Promote Dorchester’ to help market both the town and the great number and variety of events run by all sectors of the community. A community that works together can be incredibly powerful, and I’m proud to play my part in that ‘togetherness’.” Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 97

Lasting Impressions Bettiscombe Manor

Bettiscombe Manor

MY first glimpse of Bettiscombe Manor, sitting tranquilly in its bowl of beautiful hills – was on the day the Pinneys auctioned the house. It was a rush – I had driven from London, looked over the house, fallen in love with it, walked up Sliding Hill to see the magnificent views and made my bid. By the end of that day in 1986 I was the new owner. Michael Pinney, whose family had built the house in 1694, was delighted with me, and I with him. He was a complete charmer – amusing, intelligent, and a little bit wicked: he had run a printing workshop at Bettiscombe (see the story on John Miles in the February issue) and was still writing poetry. Next to the house is a cottage and we arranged for him to stay on at Bettiscombe living in the Dairy Cottage, for as long as it suited him. He moved his grandfather clock and family portraits to the cottage. One of them was of Azariah Pinney, whose son, John, built the house in 1694. Azariah’s story is welldocumented and well known. Captured with the Duke of Monmouth rebels in 1685, he was condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered at Bridport by the notorious Judge Jeffreys. His family managed to buy a reprieve for £65, but he was deported to Nevis. He prospered there, and became a plantation owner with many slaves. The family plantations were sold in 1783 and it is alleged that a slave called ‘Bettiscombe’ (who is documented and did 98 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

really exist) was brought to the house, where he died. The legend that grew up around ‘Bettiscombe’ concerns a black skull, and this remains in the house. It sits in a hatbox together with a silk scarf and a prayer book. When I first came, it stayed in the dining room cupboard; now it lives up in the rafters of the roof and it causes much less disturbance than it used to. It is said that any person who removes it will dies, and that it screams horribly if taken outside. We have taken the view that it is wise to be courteous and friendly to it, and to let it rest in peace here, and this seems to have worked well. Michael Pinney loved the ghosts of Bettiscombe and told me that he had once had the skull carbon dated. It turned out to be much older than the ghost story itself, which dated from 1872, and had belonged to a young Anglo-Saxon, a women. He believed she might have been a druid sacrifice, who knows? The skull is blackish, probably from having been immersed in water, and it is semifossilised – so not ‘Bettiscombe’ after all. I found that there were several ghosts here – one a phantom carriage and horses with jingling bridles that pulled up in front of the house in the middle of the night, another a serving woman holding a child by the hand, or placing a candle on a non-existent table. But they all left shortly after the carpets and central

heating were put in – apparently they only like damp houses. The house is in a wonderful spot facing south towards the sea and Colmers Hill. Michael Pinney is buried in the churchyard here, as is his oldest son Azariah, who died recently, while his second son, Charlie, who died before his older brother, had his ashes scattered on Sliding Hill. So there will always be Pinneys here in spirit and I hope they sleep peacefully. Meanwhile deep in the Marshwood Vale, Bettiscombe Manor, with its crossing ley lines, is still a place of mystery – why did a light bulb suddenly jump several yards across the room last week without shattering? Why did a clairvoyant, who had never been here, describe it in detail to a daughter-in-law, and say that a spirit was unhappy about a child? I think it is best not to worry about these things, but to accept them tranquilly as the oddities of an ancient place. By Caroline Conran Bank Holiday Monday May 3rd 2010 Tulip Festival. Bettiscombe Manor Garden and the Coach House Garden And Hog Roast Lunch. Bettiscombe Village Hall. £10 per person to include lunch with cider, open gardens and car park. Gardens open from 12.30pm and lunch to be served from 1pm. All profits will go to the Village Hall and Church. Tickets available in advance. Please contact Lyn Roe at or Telephone 07748 678224.

From the Archives of

the Marshwood Vale magazine

Portrait of the Artist

Boo Mallinson by George Wright

Portrait of the Artist is a collaboration between painter Kit Glaisyer, writer Lu Orza and photographer George Wright that features twenty-five painters and sculptors working in the West Dorset area. This month we feature Holditch based artist Boo Mallinson with part of the text from Lu Orza. ‘Brought up in a family where art was “very much cherished, loved and admired,” Boo always loved drawing and painting, but at the same time never quite made it her own. “My mum painted although never afforded herself the luxury of painting a lot.” Maybe this attitude rubbed off on Boo, who continued to put other things before her art work for several years. She worked and travelled a lot, and then at 27 and just married Boo started a BA course in Fine Art. Suddenly being totally immersed in art, discovering a wide variety of art and artists “… just completely ignited everything that had been sitting dormant in me.” Boo finished her fine art degree a year early due to being pregnant with her first

son. “I had every intention of going back and finishing that year but it’s just become unimportant over the years, because I’m doing it.” A second son arrived, and a third was on his way before the next big milestone in her creative life occurred. “We moved down to Dorset and that was a real turning point – I found myself near the sea. Suddenly everywhere I looked there was something I wanted to paint about. I struggled with that in London.” Seven years later, the coastal landscape remains at the forefront of her work. “I don’t wonder if I’m going to be painting anything other than the landscape because I feel so anchored in the landscape here that I can’t imagine painting anything else. I mean there’s so much there – there’s such an abundance.” Yet beneath the vibrant energy with which Boo both approaches and talks about her work is a contemplative stillness. Her paintings have a very distinct language that gently invites the viewer to come in, sit down and observe, be stilled by the mesmerising ripple of the sea, or take a walk, “find their own foot-

hold in the landscape.” Many of her paintings are clearly inspired by the coastal landscape, but their execution is largely intuitive. “Often I’ll get these incredibly strong images from nowhere in my head – very simple things like the curve of a hedge or a cluster on a hill and I’ll become completely obsessed with finding that image in the landscape. Once I’ve found it that’s like the go-ahead to paint about it.” But the images are not purely representational. They are like the “memories of a walk … the sights and the sounds and the smell … how they all come together … that wonderful sensory overload.” Land. Sea. Sky. A sense of looking at the world through half-closed eyes, of a momentary being in the landscape – transient but lived.’ Portrait of the Artist will be launched at the Private View of the exhibition from 4-6pm on Sat 17 April at the Bridport Arts Centre, and will also be available at £14.95 from all good book shops and online at www.portraitoftheartist. ISBN 978-0-9560090-3-6. Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 99




An Instinct for Simplicity Dorset artist Tim Nicholson comes from a family of famous artists yet he has been notoriously reticent about selling his own work. In April there is a major Retrospective of his paintings on show in West Bay. Mary Talbot went to visit him near Cranborne. TIM Nicholson’s paintings seem to emanate youth and confidence. Big, bold and bright with colour, they are painted with a sure hand and a kind of child-like wonder. It is surprising then to find the artist is a shy man in his seventies, with holes in his jumper and a love for a good joke.

Diver by Tim Nicholson

100 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

He is of course extraordinarily well-connected. Born in 1939 into one of the twentieth century’s most brilliant families of artists, he grew up surrounded by talented and creative people. Not that they paid him much attention. His grandfather William was senile by the time Tim was born, his grandmother Mabel Nicholson had died in 1918 of Spanish flu. His father was away in the war, returning in 1946 to work as an architect in London coming home only at weekends until his tragic death in 1948 in a gliding accident. Tim’s mother, EQ Nicholson, is well-known for her fabric designs. During the war she rented a mill at Fordingbridge with her three children and the young John Craxton, who joined them to escape the Blitz. They painted everything they saw around them from the cornflakes packet to the mill itself. John Craxton, who died a few months ago, continued to paint with the strong sense of place they developed together. ‘It was certain,’ Craxton wrote, ‘that while staying in this happy and eclectic atmosphere painting seemed as natural as being alive, and EQ who has an infectious joie de vivre, was the catalyst.’ EQ however showed her paintings once at the Hanover Gallery in 1950 with Keith Vaughn and then put them away until Tim found them many years later. Tim’s two sisters were older and not much interested in playing with him. EQ expected to carry on with her own life and art. Tim describes himself as a solitary child who made up his own games to play. At Bryanston he found himself surrounded by the children of other famous artists. Gathering in the wellappointed artroom, they were free to experiment, urging each other on to create beautiful pieces of work, some of which are included in Tim’s Retrospective at Sladers Yard. ‘Some people,’ Tim explains, ‘like William Nicholson my grandfather, were no good at

From the Archives of

anything except painting. Unfortunately, I am not quite as hopeless as he was.’ At Trinity College, Dublin, he realised ‘I liked zoological drawings rather than zoology.’ The Architectural Association in London wasn’t easy either but he stuck it out, became an architect and practised in London, hardly painting at all until 1980 when he cracked his skull in a cycling accident and had to stop. He spent his recuperation drawing, remembering his childhood ability to invent games. By the time he was back to strength, Tim had decided to give up architecture and paint full-time. ‘I like having definite rules to paint by. I am constantly making up a method which I think is the bees knees and will solve all my problems. But after a few pictures I think, what a pity it doesn’t allow me to do what I want, and I have to modify it.’ He is inspired by patterns, children’s books, ornithological drawings and the objects and countryside around Cranborne he has known all his life. Sometimes he cuts stencils and produces the same motif in a series of different colourways. Parallels with fabric design spring to mind. Tim grew up surrounded by the work of Nicholson family, Christopher Wood and John Craxton and all were conscious or subconscious influences. Sir Hugh Casson, Kit Nicholson’s friend and architectural partner, wrote, ‘to my mind there are two strands that bind them [the Nicholsons] together. First their work is never patronising and secondly they all look at the world with a happy eye and we can share easily in their enjoyment.’ Tim’s work certainly fits this description. Richard Morphet, Keeper of the Modern Collection at the Tate until his retirement in 1998, has written in his foreword to Tim’s Retrospective catalogue, ‘The experience for the viewer is not just of an image but of an encounter, in which humour is combined with respect and the freshness of childhood vision with the sophistication of an inherited pictorial gift... Tim’s is an art of both wit and contemplation.’ Notoriously reticent about selling his work, Tim’s life recently has taken a new turn with his marriage to Catherine Row. Encouraged by Catherine, Tim has embarked on this major Retrospective of his work. Searching through a remarkable collection of paintings in his London house and his ancient thatched cottage near Cranborne, opening plan chests of stunning paintings on paper which have never before been shown and reframing pictures which have hung on his walls for twenty years or more, Tim has brought together the work of a lifetime, genuinely for sale for the first time.

the Marshwood Vale magazine

Jug and Bird by Tim Nicholson

The View From Boveridge Farm by Tim Nicholson

Tim Nicholson Retrospective 1955-2010 is at Sladers Yard from 28 March until 16 May. Work can be seen on Horse and Dead Tree by Tim Nicholson Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine April 2020 101

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