Marshwood+ September 2020

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Life after The Salt Path Page 50

Amy’s Laksa Ramen Page 48

A Living Country Page 18



Marshwood +

© Candida Dunford Wood Photograph by Robin Mills

The best from West Dorset, South Somerset and East Devon

No. 258 September 2020

COVER STORY Robin Mills met Candida Dunford Wood in Bridport, Dorset

© Candida Dunford Wood Photograph by Robin Mills


have always loved my Greek—or strictly speaking Vlach—heritage. Every woman on my mother’s side of our family has a gold arm bangle, and when I decided to remove it for reasons of security when I went to live abroad, this felt like more than a physical separation. My father, Peter, was reserved, and very dedicated to his work. He and his brother were dispatched to England from Hong Kong for their education at the ages of five and seven. From that time until they were in their late teens they saw their father once every four years, and their mother every other year. My grandfather was interned in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, and miraculously survived. When he emerged, weighing six stone, he and my father’s greeting was merely with a handshake. My mother Jenny grew up all over the world as her father was a Diplomat. She became well versed in several languages and briefly worked for M16. She became a painter. After working in the Foreign Office in Cambodia and then Canada my parents came back to England and my father went into Politics, becoming MP for Blackpool South in the 1963 election, when I was two. As with many who lived through Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 3

Candida Dunford Wood

© Candida Dunford Wood Photograph by Robin Mills

WWII, he was driven by a desire to avoid war, and he was involved in international relations. He was an MP for 30 years. I remember a fierce argument with him and with my godfather Robin Day in which I stood my ground perhaps for the first time, by refusing to take the Oxbridge entrance exam. My reasoning was that it wasn’t the real world. However, I think I was also afraid of failure. I took a degree in Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Bristol, steeping myself in that ancient culture, the seat

of ‘democracy’ and ‘civilisation’; the mythology, the architecture. In those days we didn’t have to consider so carefully employment opportunities at the end of our studies. Six months of travel to South America after I left University opened my eyes to a world unimaginably different to the safety and privilege of my own youth— one of injustice, exploitation and poverty caused by abuse of power, and this journey changed my life. I was struck by the irony that I could witness all of this because I had privilege: I decided to use

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this advantage as best I could. Back in London, I chanced upon an organisation called ‘CARILA’—not realising this stood for Committee for Revolution in Latin America. I confidently marched through their door, naively believing my wanderings had taught me everything about the continent. I built up trust and helped them raise funds for art and crafts courses to be run by and for their communities of refugees. I went on to work with Chilean exiles, and through them learned about British politics, from their perspective. Their

political prisoner internships had been commuted to exile under our Labour Government in the late 1970s. Most of them were professionals yet worked here in very menial jobs. Many of the women had not had a chance to learn fluent English. Working for several years in ‘Christian Aid’s’ Latin America Department I then landed a five-year contract with ‘Oxfam’ in Brazil. There, I met many inspiring, courageous and resilient people who were battling to overcome poverty and injustice, with grace, humour, vision and determination. I worked with a team of Brazilians, travelling throughout the Amazon and the drought-ridden North East. We supported rubber tappers in negotiation with the World Bank for their rights to Extractive Reserves; radical catholic priests providing safe havens to activists and protecting indigenous lands; medical herbalists enabling poor people to improve their health; pioneers of rural technology; and the Landless Workers Movement who put their lives on the line trying to force much-needed land reform. I married José Karaja, who was given his name by the indigenous tribe with whom he lived while making himself scarce from the military dictatorship as a student. Missing family and close friends, I returned to UK in 1994 with my half-Brazilian son, Daniel and continued working with ‘Oxfam’ in their Policy Department. I had an exciting job as Southern Advocacy Adviser but this meant travelling around the world for weeks at a time, leaving Daniel behind. So, I decided to base myself in the UK and to be involved in the local community around me, while maintaining an international perspective. By this time, I was also exploring a different way of doing things. I believe information alone is not enough for people to change behaviours—we need also to feel and to experience the issue. The arts can help people to express themselves, to communicate and to build bridges, to create societal change. So, I decided to involve myself with arts for a social purpose. I volunteered for ‘Artangel’ on a Legislative Theatre project with Brazilian founder of Forum Theatre, Augusto Boal, and his main UK followers. This led me to co-translate Boal’s autobiography and to manage Longplayer, an Artangel project devised by Jem Finer, a former member of The Pogues. I threw myself into ‘Artists in Exile’, a group of over 70 artists in the London area, all of whom had fled war and persecution. Many had had to flee because of their artform, whether theatre, film, poetry, or literature. I witnessed how people could finally become visible and once again find their voice, having been rendered worthless in the UK. Everyone came together—Serbs, Croats and Bosnians, Colombians and Chileans, Iranians and Iraqis, Sri Lankans, Czechs and many more. Political boundaries melted away, and heart-wrenching performances were created, which were transformative both for performer and audience. I founded Creating Routes with Hugh Dunford Wood, now my husband. We ran a series of programmes with artists who had experienced forced migration, whereby those artists ran courses for the public, sharing their considerable skills. I founded ‘Creating Routes’ with Hugh Dunford Wood, now my husband. We ran a series of programmes with artists

who had experienced forced migration, whereby those artists ran courses for the public, sharing their considerable skills. Rewarding as this was, Hugh was missing the sea. So, in 2007, we decided to move to Lyme Regis where he’d lived before. My son Daniel’s life was transformed by joining B Sharp, which encouraged his love of music and to take a Degree in Theatre Sound. I wanted to direct my energies to my new community. Inspired by Rebecca Hoskins who had turned her Devon village of Modbury plastic bag-free, I founded ‘Turn Lyme Green’ in 2007. Our ‘Plastic Bag Free’ campaign involved a wide range of community groups and schools, and was my first foray into community-led environmental activism. I balanced this with my own exploration of permaculture, through a Design course at Monkton Wyld Court. This taught me to observe nature and how to create maximum yield maximise yield for minimum effort! It also inspired me to participate in Living Nutrition courses led by Daphne Lambert at Trill Farm. I’m delighted to have recently become a trustee of the ‘Green Cuisine Trust’—a charity founded by Daphne, which promotes food which is healthy both for people and the planet. I co-ordinated the arts programme of the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival for a few years, and the Jurassic Coast Earth Festival linked to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Then the opportunity arose to manage Communities Living Sustainably (CLS) in Dorset, which included programmes on Eco Schools, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Climate Change Adaptation, and also ‘Food Future Bridport’. Hugh and I recently moved from Lyme Regis to spend 18 months in Sussex on the farm of my childhood. This brought me full circle and enabled me to walk my talk in relation to ecology. Together with my sister, we’ve converted the farm to organic, strengthened wildlife corridors, enhanced biodiversity, and taken measures to improve soil health. I am still heavily involved in the farm but we returned to West Dorset a year ago, finding a house on the edge of Bridport, surrounded by a sloping acre of rough grass. We can walk straight out to the woods, invigorated by the trees and the breath-taking 360 degree view from the top of Allington Hill. We’re growing fruit and veg and establishing a forest garden. I love Bridport—it has the perfect blend of community engagement, local food culture, independent shops and a fabulous market, as well as a vibrant arts scene. I’m part of ‘Seeding our Future’s’ food security project to work with local farmers, growers and citizens to adapt to climate change. This has brought me back into contact with people I worked with during CLS, and helped me feel a sense of belonging and a part of what is going on in the town. My immersion in the arts and creativity is vicarious, although in earlier years I did make mosaics. I am surrounded by Hugh’s prolific and colourful work, and our home is often buzzing with interesting conversations about arts and the environment. One of the things Hugh has taught me is that as well as seeking to play a part in creating a better world, we can also live joyfully! ‘Celebrate life’ is our motto.

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UP FRONT One of the last live sporting events I attended was when Exeter Chiefs hosted Sale at Sandy Park in January. It was a disappointing result for the home team and a fairly mediocre game. But despite that, I doubt that I’m alone in wishing I could enjoy a live game again. I watched the Chiefs recent match against Leicester on television, and although there was some great rugby, without a crowd it seemed somehow hollow. Even the banter between commentators fell flat. And that’s an issue that has faced all sporting event organisers and clubs. Apart from the loss of revenue at the turnstiles, there is the question about how much fans will continue to be entertained by events on a screen. The need for some kind of atmosphere has led clubs across the world to try various different initiatives to bring their games to life, occasionally with hysterical consequences. One great story concerned FC Seoul, a South Korean football team. The club had to apologise to fans after ‘accidentally’ placing sex dolls dressed in football kit on seats in the stands in an effort to instil some atmosphere to their home game. While some clubs have tried using mascots, cut-outs of fans, portraits on seats and even dancing robots, FC Seoul purchased what they thought were shop mannequins to sit in some of their seats. However, as soon as the game began live transmission, the club was inundated with calls from people pointing out that the shape of the ‘mannequins’ made it very obvious that these were not for standard shop window use. The club was fined £67,000 and apologised, claiming that they ‘failed to make detailed checks’ on the mannequins. Rumour has it that afterwards they were inundated with applications for the role of Chief Mannequin Checker (CMC). Although some restaurants have trailed the idea of placing mannequins at empty tables to make their premises look livelier, the whole debacle did spark musings about where these shop dummies could feasibly be installed to replace humans. With Prime Minister’s Question Time sparsely occupied due to social distancing, one popular suggestion was to place them between members on the benches. The Speaker of the House could be given some kind of remote control system to make them (the mannequins) bray and guffaw on command. That way the House might get through more of its daily business with less interruption.

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

THIS MONTH 3 8 12 18 22 24 26 30 32 34 35 36

Cover Story By Robin Mills Russell Randall By Robin Mills Event News and Courses A Living Countryside By Fanny Charles Discover St Michael’s New Life for Rural Charity By Margery Hookings Not everything is what it seems By Fergus Byrne Beer Quarry Caves By Steve Rogers John Ruskin did not Approve By Cecil Amor News & Views Laterally Speaking by Humphrey Walwyn What next for Business by Seth Dellow

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House & Garden Vegetables in September By Ashley Wheeler September in the Garden By Russell Jordan Property Round Up By Helen Fisher

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Food & Dining Walnut Bread By Lesley Waters Crispy Oyster, Steak and Horseradish Salad By Mark Hix The Man who stole our Boat By Nick Fisher Malaysian Curry Laksa Ramen By Amy Kimoto-Kahn

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Arts & Entertainment The Wild Silence By Jess Thompson Galleries Depicting Bygone Times John Finch Exhibition Rural Voices By Louisa Adjoa Parker The Lit Fix By Sophy Roberts Cause and Effect By Fergus Byrne The Coal Barge and the Jewel Anemones By Horatio Morpurgo

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Health & Beauty Steps2Wellbeing By Ellie Sturrock Services & Classified “When all else fails, read the instructions.”

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Editorial Director Fergus Byrne


Deputy Editor

Cecil Amor Fanny Charles Seth Dellow Helen Fisher Nick Fisher Richard Gahagan Margery Hookings Mark Hix Russell Jordan Amy Kimoto-Kahn

Victoria Byrne


Fergus Byrne


Fergus Byrne

Robin Mills Horatio Morpurgo Louisa Adjoa Parker Sophy Roberts Steve Rogers Ellie Sturrock Jess Thompson Humphrey Walwyn Lesley Waters Ashley Wheeler

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.

Gardens Show Striking Autumn Colours


noll Gardens is fully re-opening its gates to the public on September 1st. So, if you’ve missed that sense of freedom, fresh air and some fabulous vistas, visit Knoll Gardens now as the gardens start to don their spectacular autumn colours. It is the very best time of year to see the gardens and to wander around the gloriously, grassy paths taking in the cooler Autumn air, and witness the breathtakingly, beautiful scenes that greet you at every turn. Enjoy the colour, texture and form of trees and shrubs—as well as the grasses—as they change their vibrant summer clothes for striking autumn hues, providing shelter and nourishment for all kinds of wildlife as they prepare for the colder months ahead.

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Visitors, having delighted in the beautiful grasses and flowering perennials in the gardens and seen how they can be used in a variety of settings, can then browse the on-site nursery and buy plants for their own gardens. As ever there is expert advice on-hand to help choose, following the ‘right plant, right place’ mantra of Knoll. Knoll Gardens’ naturalistic style nurtures nature, including the human species, and provides the perfect, calm yet stimulating setting for learning. So Knoll are delighted to announce that classes and courses in the gardens will restart in September, with the appropriate safety measures in place. The gardens are the perfect antidote for hectic modern life and are ideal for practising mindfulness and

tailor-made for outdoor yoga, with these popular classes making a very welcome return. For the artistic, the stunning form and colour of the grasses and the wonderful array of wildlife, are the ideal subjects and inspiration for photography and craft workshops. Knoll Gardens owner—and the UK’s leading authority on ornamental grasses—Neil Lucas, will give participants of his forthcoming grass masterclasses, the benefit of his expert knowledge and experience. With safety in mind spaces are limited, so early booking is advised on all courses. To find out more visit: events/ The gardens re-open Tuesday 1st September and will be open each week Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm until November, then 10am – 4pm until 17th December, there is no need to book. Visitors are asked to practice social distancing whilst in the gardens and nursery.

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September 3

Axminster Country Market. Starting at a new time of 9am. Back with their cakes, pastries, meals, crafts, jam, flowers, veg and free-range eggs. After a few retirements over the past year, the market was running at a slightly reduced capacity, but with 4 or 5 new producers ready to take up the challenge, the future is looking exciting. Country Markets are a nationwide co-operative, growing and cooking to high standards, with full supervision from Environmental Health, and everything is made from genuine ingredients in home kitchens. Customers become life-long friends, and there is always a friendly welcome. Held in the Masonic Hall on South Street, between Halff Project Food & The Nail Studio. Parking in Coombe Street.

01460 30938. Your support for our club is much appreciated as we begin to welcome back our members.

September 19

West Dorset Group, Somerset and Dorset Family History Society, Zoom meeting 2.00. Mark Bayley, The Genealogist ‘The Future of Family History’ Mark will be available for questions after the talk. If you want to join the meeting contact Jane via email and she will send you the link.

September 20

September 4

West Dorset Group, Somerset and Dorset Family History Society, Zoom meeting 2.00 topic ‘Things that families might not have spoken about’ like illegitimacy, bigamy, second marriages, divorce criminals etc. If you want to join the meeting contact Jane via email: jferentzi@aol. com and she will send you the link.

September 8

Bridport History Society, Zoom meeting 2.30. Bruce Upton ‘Lewd Wenches’ and ‘Loose Living Fellows’, Bruce will be available for questions after the talk. If you want to join the meeting contact Jane via email and she will send you the link.

September 10

Willow Workshop with Jo Sadler 9am - 3pm. Chickens £65pp. Skyrm Room, Beaminster Town Hall, Dorset.

September 15

Dillington House, Ilminster, day course ‘West Country Migration in the 1800s’. Local historian Jane FerentziSheppard is the tutor. For more details contact Dillington House on 01460 258613 or the website

September 17

Thorncombe Gardening Club is very pleased to be able to welcome back all members and visitors to our meeting on September 17th at 7.30pm in Thorncombe Village Hall. The speaker will be Mary Benger on her ‘Passion for Plants’. Visitors £4. For further details please contact Mary Morris

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Mapperton House Autumn Plant Fair 10am – 4pm. After a gardening season with limited opportunities to buy plants the Mapperton House and Garden autumn plant fair is scheduled to go ahead. Naturally, a range of measures will be in place to help keep everyone safe, including hand sanitisers around the site. Organisers ask everyone who comes along to respect other people’s socially distanced space and not to come if they are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms. There will be a range of nurseries, from across the South West selling a diverse set of plants; fill your garden with late season herbaceous perennials and grasses, bulbs for autumn planting are always popular, there are bound to be Salvias in flower and more unusual pitcher plants catching end of summer flies. Also available metal plant supports and structures plus a range of Acers and shrubs. More details, including nurseries, attending at All visitors are strongly advised to purchase tickets in advance from Tickets £5 each includes entrance to garden. House remains closed to visitors. The Coach House café will be selling limited refreshments. Check with organiser’s website for details

September 21 or 25

Art History course online on ‘Zoom’, 2pm-3.40pm with 20 minute break in the middle for 6 weeks. The Nabis were a group of post-impressionist painters, for example Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Marguerite Serusier, Maurice Denis, Paul Serusier, and associated artists like Suzanne Valadon, active from c1888–c1900, whose bold painting and use of colour and strong use of line, created new approaches in art. These are striking and beautiful alluring paintings. On line course Fee £51. Tutor is Pam Simpson MA, Associate Lecturer Bath Spa University. Contact email or tel 01300 321715.

September 24

Creative Process and Self Expression Workshops (Level 1) begin today in Bridport - The Chapel in the Garden. 10 Thursday mornings. Thursdays 9.30am-12.30. ‘Serious play’ with art materials & group discussions. Max 10 participants. Successful course at London’s Central St. Martins’ College for 20+ years. Suitable for artists & designers as well as beginners wanting to explore + develop creativity and self expression further. Great if you are: looking to find or change creative direction; feeling creatively stuck etc. Fun and challenging. Contact M. Caddick (MA DipAT) asap to discuss the course & to book a place 07557 275275. For course flyer email “In 10 weeks I learnt more about my own creative processes than in 6 years at art school.” “A deeply enriching experience. All COVID 19 Government guidelines will be implemented. N.B. Participants attend at their own risk. Willow Workshop with Jo Sadler 9am - 3pm. Bee or Dragonfly - £65pp. Skyrm Room, Beaminster Town Hall, Dorset.

September 27

Angels of Sound Voice Playshop 10am -12.30pm. Oborne Village Hall, Oborne, nr. Sherborne, Dorset DT9 4LA advance booking only social distancing limited numbers 01935 389655 www. Divine Union Soundbath 2pm-4pm. Oborne Village Hall, Oborne, nr. Sherborne, Dorset DT9 4LA. Advance booking only social distancing limited numbers www. The Arts Society West Dorset. September lecture regretfully cancelled, but you can get your arts fix with online lectures at: Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 13

You say Goodbye and I’ll say Hello New Lead in the b-side story b-side, the arts organisation on Portland that runs an arts festival every two years is saying ‘arrivederci’ to the organisation’s founding Director Alan Rogers this September and offering a warm welcome to new Director Rocca Holly-Nambi. Alan began to develop the idea of b-side in 2007 whilst he was Arts Development Officer for Weymouth & Portland in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics. The organisation is run by a collaborative team of artists, producers and curators with experience in visual arts, live art, performance, social practice, heritage, environment and arts education. In 2012, they were awarded funding from Arts Council England to become a National Portfolio Organisation. “Who would have thought that an idea I had on a hot August afternoon in 2007 outside the student canteen at Weymouth College, would have grown and developed into the organisation we have become today’ said Alan. ‘b-side was born to promote contemporary, explorative art practise in Weymouth and Portland for the Cultural Olympiad, in advance of the 2012 Sailing Events. It was named as a result of working as a DJ. When I moved here, I saw lots of ‘A-side’ activity, but little that presented the alternative side—it was here, but largely underground.’

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However for Alan it’s time to move on. ‘It’s time to say goodbye to b-side and the UK. I’m leaving to start a new chapter as an artist and creative practitioner in Venice, Italy.’ It’s been no easy task to find a new Director for b-side who will bring the same level of enthusiasm and commitment as Alan has over the years and build on his achievements, after an extensive recruitment process we are very pleased to announce Rocca Holly-Nambi as b-side’s new Director. Rocca comes to b-side from the British Council’s awardwinning East Africa Arts programme where she was Head of Arts and British Council’s Director of Arts, Sub-Saharan Africa. Rocca has extensive experience working with artists and communities she co-founded 32° East Ugandan Arts Trust, a centre for contemporary art in Kampala, Uganda; and KLA ART, Kampala’s biennale public art festival and has delivered projects for Edinburgh International Art Festival, Glasgow International Festival, and the Mela Festival of World Music and Dance. ‘I am delighted to join the b-side team and can’t wait to cocreate more powerful moments and memories with, on, and beyond the unique Isle of Portland.’

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Open Studios with a Difference


his autumn, Somerset Open Studios goes online with an exciting new look as well as a special event programme featuring artists’ films, podcasts, interviews and live streaming. An enhanced digital guide will give audiences the opportunity to visit artists’ work spaces with links to artists’ pages on the Somerset Art Works website as well as to their own social media channels and websites. The event programme will run over the 16 days of Open Studios with news, information and updates on the Somerset Art Works website so audiences can get involved. With an introduction from Somerset Art Work’s patron, Kevin McCloud, the programme will feature daily events including workshops, demonstrations and talks where audiences can find out more about artists’ processes and practice. Digital Open Studios starts with the launch of the Somerset Reacquainted exhibition at Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury, featuring work by 63 Somerset Art Works Members who took part in an art in lockdown project earlier this year. Initiated by Sara Dudman RWA, in partnership with Somerset Art Works, the project provided a creative catalyst for artists in isolation, reconnecting their practice with the natural world.

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Each weekend is ‘Family Friendly’ with a range of activities and workshops suitable for families of all shapes and sizes and the chance to get involved in ‘how to’ events and demonstrations, as well as the final weekend linking to the world’s biggest drawing festival, ‘The Big Draw’. Look out for the launch of the Digital Open Studios Guide at the start of September which will feature work by more than 200 artists in over 100 venues. Visitors can use the guide to plan their own visits and see what Somerset Art Works members have been working on and take a virtual tour around the county. Special editorial features focus on Somerset’s five creative regions, dipping into the county’s rich cultural heritage and celebrating the diversity of creativity which now resides and works here. Artists and makers have continued working away in the privacy of their studios and are now ready to welcome visitors and share their work with you! For more details, please see: uk or contact the Somerset Art Works office (normally on 01458 253800 but currently on 07715 528441), Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, or Paul Newman via email:

ALiving Countryside By Fanny Charles

People have become detached from wildlife and where their food comes from, says Robin Page, the founder and chairman of the Countryside Restoration Trust. Robin reveals plans to make the CRT’s Dorset farms part of its long term aim to “re-attach” people to the land. THE “Dorset dream” of the Countryside Restoration Trust, to reconnect people with the natural world and the source of their food, is coming true with two farms, in the Marshwood Vale and on the eastern side off the Blackmore Vale. The trust already owns the idyllic Babers Farm in the Marshwood Vale, bought as a memorial to co-

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founder, artist Gordon Beningfield. With the recent acquisition of Bere Marsh Farm, the trust now owns nearly 250 acres of wildlife-rich Dorset landscape and farmland. The plan is for the 92-acre Bere Marsh Farm, on the banks of the river Stour, to become a countryside education and visitor centre where people will learn

Robin Page with an owlet – there are barn owls living on both Babers and Bere Marsh farms. All photographs © Countryside Restoration Trust

about wildlife and sustainable farming, and will be able to sample and buy food produced on the farm—milk, cheese, fruit and more. In the Marshwood Vale, the trust has recently acquired 40 acres of higher land above the existing 100 acres at Babers Farm, opening up amazing views across the vale. The Countryside Restoration Trust was founded in 1993 by wildlife artist Gordon Beningfield and Robin Page, the writer, farmer and former presenter of the BBC’s One Man and His Dog sheepdog trials programme. Robin and Gordon had a vision of sustainable farming, where people not only discover the natural world but also learn where their food comes from. Their aim with the trust was to create “a working countryside using sensitive and sympathetic farming practices that encourage and protect wildlife and produce high-quality food.” Beningfield, who died in 1998, loved Dorset and was a huge fan of Thomas Hardy’s writing. Babers Farm, which Robin describes as “a beautiful place of peace and tranquillity,” was bought by the Trust as a memorial to the much-loved artist. It was not a conventional working farm, but rather a pristine area of unspoiled fields and wildlife-rich meadows, woods and hedges, with barn owls, song thrushes, orchids and many butterflies and other insects.

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The acquisition of Bere Marsh Farm, by the Stour near Shillingstone, has fulfilled the charity’s “Dorset dream” of a flagship property to demonstrate its philosophy that thriving wildlife is essential to good farming. Estate manager Elaine Spencer-White says the aim is “to restore it to a small-scale, organic, mixed farm, producing food on site, to be sold direct from the farm.” For many years, Bere Marsh was owned by Angela Hughes, who played a leading role in Dorset Wildlife Trust and farmed organically all her life. Elaine, who founded and for many years ran Somerset’s successful Levels and Moors markets and Levels Best food brand, is leading the project to make Bere Marsh Farm a showcase of the CRT’s commitment to sustainable, traditional farming methods, flourishing flora and fauna, habitat restoration, and an education programme focused around the importance of food provenance. Robin says the two Dorset farms “bring together everything we believe in while remembering Gordon and his devotion to the countryside.” He believes that many people “have become completely detached from where their food comes from and from wildlife and what wildlife needs.” At Bere Marsh Farm, the trust will produce good food and create a home for wildlife.

“We hope we will re-attach people,” he says. Babers Farm offers a different approach. Robin sees it as a place of retreat, “where people can enjoy great peace and beauty, with the wildlife, the roe deer, the barn owls and the swallows, the butterflies and the orchids.” The Countryside Restoration Trust’s aims are very different from rewilding: “We want to show that our farms produce good food and good wildlife,” says Robin. “Rewilding downplays the importance of small farms and farmers and shepherds. We want to show how much of our food can be produced in Britain.” The CRT’s initial aim was to buy intensively farmed land with declining wildlife numbers and restore it to create a living countryside. These aims have broadened to include purchasing farmland and woodland where traditional farming methods, wildlife habitat and biodiversity are under threat. Actress Dame Judi Dench became the CRT’s patron in its silver jubilee year, 2018; last year, Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall, the food writer, broadcaster and campaigner who founded River Cottage, originally in West Dorset (now in East Devon), became the food and farming patron. For more information visit www.

The buildings at Babers Farm Inset: Robin Page at an exhibition of Gordon Beningfield’s paintings at Babers Farm

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Actress and trust patron Dame Judi Dench with food campaigner and writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (left) and CRT founder and chairman Robin Page

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et within the wider community of Bridport, St Michael’s Trading Estate has long been known as one of the most fascinating cultural trading centres along the South-West coast. A community in its own right, the estate hosts a fascinating mix of traders that includes artists, designers and makers, as well as offering retail furniture, bath and shower showrooms and a school meals provider. You can also find textiles, upholstery, stonemasonry, carpentry & joinery, tailor-made garden furniture, glass & ceramic tiles and even a waxwork sculptor and a recording studio. Not forgetting the many antiques, collectables, retro and vintage shops that attract thousands of people to the town. Trade in the area stretches back more than 200 years and it has been a key part of the pioneering West Dorset

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net making and rope making industry, providing equipment for Nelson’s fleet as well as familyowned early fishing vessels along the South West coast. The Hayward family became owners in 1968 and have nurtured and managed the estate through many difficult and traumatic times. It is said that without the Haywards, the estate may not exist, as when they first arrived planning permission already existed to turn St Michael’s into a housing estate. But its not all about the past, or even the present: the estate is planning an exciting future for St Michael’s, a future that they say will carefully mix trading and work with living and home. Martin Ridley of Hayward & Co sees St Michael’s Trading Estate as a community within a community—and if there is one thing we have learned in the last five months, it is the value of community. And that doesn’t just apply to near neighbours—although for many, neighbourliness has been the difference between very bleak times and survival recently. What has become clear is that the wider local community relies on economic interaction, and that plays an important role in both the social and economic wellbeing of an area. The thousands of visitors from nearby towns and villages that come to enjoy the atmosphere created by the shops, artists and artizans on the St Michael’s Trading Estate, become part of the lifeblood of the town. Both the buyers and sellers need each other for all to prosper, both socially and economically. There is little doubt that the buzz created by the crowds that visit the vintage markets, the Alleyways and the eclectic mix of vendors on the estate, makes St Michael’s one of the most attractive places to visit. It is a haven for those that like to browse, buy and feel part of something more real than a shopping mall. In an era when social distance means finding a new way to spend a day out, discovering St Michael’s in Bridport should be high on everyone’s list. Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 23

New Life for Rural Media Charity Archive film shows in our village halls and bigger venues have been a real draw for local audiences over the years. Margery Hookings reports on the latest news from the rural media charity Windrose, which has just been awarded grant funding to continue its innovative work.


rant funding has enabled rural media charity Windrose, known for its film archive of Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire life, to forge ahead with new community-based work. All its current projects had been cancelled or postponed because of the Covid19 pandemic. ‘It left very little to cover overheads or keep the team together,’ director Trevor Bailey said. ‘Then the National Lottery did a wonderful thing. It paused all of its normal grant giving and went over to supporting charities through the worst of the crisis. This was short term funding but, so long as the position does not become hopeless again, it has prevented many disasters. ‘In Windrose’s case, we applied for funding to help with continuing overheads for four months but we did not want money just to prop things up. We also asked for support that would help us to continue to do useful work and to develop projects for the future.’ The National Lottery Heritage Fund has helped Windrose with a grant of £30,000 to fund a range of work, including ensuring the film archive continues to be looked after and used and also allowing the team to work on the creation of future projects. Mr Bailey said: ‘That’s just what we want. We don’t want to be kicking our heels and we certainly don’t want to lose the skills and knowledge that are vital to Windrose. We want to be active and doing some good in the present situation.’ One new project that will be doing just that is a partnership with Age UK North, West & South Dorset funded by a £5,000 grant from Dorset Community Foundation. ‘We will be contacting and interviewing older people isolated at home, by telephone or Zoom, to record their memories and life stories,’ Mr Bailey said. ‘The recordings will then be shared with other older people and, via websites, with the wider public. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has also funded an initiative to publicise Windrose, its work and the resources it has available much more effectively than before. ‘This is something which we have never been able to do before. It has always been one of our greatest inadequacies. Now we have on board a professional in PR who knows our work.’ Mr Bailey said. And Arts Council funding of £14,016 is supporting a

Trevor Bailey © James Harrison Productions

project combining old films and live singing for groups, assisted by Alzheimer’s Support Wiltshire. ‘It works beautifully to involve people and stimulate memories,’ Mr Bailey said. ‘The difference is that we are now going to deliver it online by involving carers using Zoom.’ ‘All this is happening over only the next few months but it is really encouraging to know that we have the means to pursue new ideas, involve new people and reach out to the community as never before.’ Windrose was set up in 1984 under its earlier name of Trilith. It uses the visual and audio media for educational, archival and creative work in rural communities throughout Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. Over the years, it has presented 256 archive film shows in village halls, cinemas, theatres and arts centres. Windrose has also created a huge range of media projects for local communities, including radio training for young people, its far-reaching internet radio station for farmers, video and CD productions along with opportunities for new musicians, poets and playwrights and projects for people affected by Alzheimer’s and isolation. Said Mr Bailey: ‘We have survived and developed for nearly 36 years without a penny of regular funding. We have simply gone on creating project after project and fundraising for them one by one. ‘Many people tell me that a charity cannot keep going that way but we have. We have never had subsidies just to exist. All of our funding has been for practical work. The great thing is that we have been able to hold our core team of media and community work experts together for all that time.’ Right: Images taken from some of the many films on the Windrose Close Encounters Media Trail. Part of the Trust’s desire to keep film archive alive, allowing future generations to enjoy a glimpse back to times gone-by.

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Windrose was set up in 1984 under an earlier name, Trilith. It is a registered charity (no. 1136144). Its purpose is to use the media to undertake educational, archival and creative work in rural communities. In 36 years Windrose has never had any regular funding but has developed a long succession of projects which respond to community needs, fundraising for them one by one All of Windrose’s work is based on outreach into dispersed communities and upon the close involvement of local people from a very wide range of ages and backgrounds. The Windrose website is currently being revamped. In the meantime, visit the Close Encounters website to find film and audio from Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire.


My first contact with Windrose was in its previous guise of Trilith at a film show at Broadwindsor’s Comrades Hall. I was captivated by the old film footage from the area. It was an incredible experience watching people from an age gone by, going about their daily business in a rural setting I knew so well. And when the show was over, Trevor Bailey announced that Trilith was starting a new project called Farm Radio. Volunteers—women in particular—from farming backgrounds were being sought to train as reporters for the internet radio station. I’m a farmer’s daughter and granddaughter but I thought my connections to agriculture might be a bit tenuous. And as a print journalist, I wasn’t sure I was what they were looking for. But, in any case, I stepped forward and joined a growing team that went out and about, talking to the agricultural community and recording their fascinating stories and events. Sadly, Farm Radio no longer exists, but it was a fabulous experience and led to me doing more work for Trilith, including recording audio trails and researching. Windrose’s work is a wonderfully creative, eclectic mix, using oral history, music, the spoken word and, of course, its marvellous film archive, to produce something very special. This latest funding enables the charity to continue with its community-based projects in its own innovative way. Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 25

Not Everything is what it seems...

Now you see it—now you don’t. From taxi driver to bank manager, Chris Howat has proved he can turn his hand to most things. He talked to Fergus Byrne about his magic life.


n a recent video, local magician Chris Howat held up a copy of the Marshwood Vale Magazine and pointed to an article about a dairy farm and its recent installation of a vending machine. He then proceeded to pour milk from that dairy into the magazine, magically making it disappear without falling through in a mess across his kitchen table. Pointing out that the milk was too good to throw away, Chris then poured it from the magazine back into a glass and drank it. Was it magic? Was it an illusion? Was it sleight of hand or some kind of Photoshop trickery? Those were some of the questions that readers asked me afterwards. When I rang Chris to tell him everybody wanted to know how it was done, he simply said ‘Welcome to my world’. One of the most common questions any magician hears is ‘How did you do that?’ and that very question is the reason they perform. Whether you are David Copperfield, earning millions at your trade, or Chris Howat who is relatively new to the art, it is that moment of surprise that every performer relishes. ‘When you perform a trick for someone and their jaw just drops to the ground and you could literally lift it up with your finger’ says Chris. ‘That’s the reaction I want to get—so stunned they can’t say anything. I’ve had that happen from tenyear-olds up to 80-year-olds.’ From the Shamen of old to the world of Harry Potter, or even simple card tricks on the kitchens table, that’s the joy of magic: no matter how old you are it takes you back to your childhood—to the days of wonder and amazement. Chris has now been performing seriously for two years after his first gig at a charity event at Freshwater Holiday Park outside Bridport. On that occasion his performance required him to go from table to table, introduce himself and try to entertain people with magic tricks. He described at as ‘nerve wracking’ and ‘scary as hell’ but with a background in customer service and sales he had no problem with the level of confidence needed to try to engage with strangers. The real surprise, and pleasant bonus for him, was the level of enjoyment his audience experienced. He went home that night so giddy from the success of the event that his wife was convinced he was drunk. He was stone cold sober—but that was the evening that he got hooked. Since then he has honed his skill and with increased confidence added more and more tricks. But magic isn’t just about planting confusion and wonder into the minds of the audience. It is as much

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about performance as it is about practising tricks. ‘I think that performance is the most important thing’ says Chris. ‘Yes it takes hours and hours of practise. Even the top magicians have to practise. And with that practise the tricks then come quite easily. But the performance, that’s where you need to know you are getting people interested and that’s how you progress. Because you’re trying to make an emotional connection with your audience, you’re trying to be remembered for an emotional moment of magic rather than some kind of egotistical performance of a trick.’ During lockdown, with all of his gigs cancelled he started doing a trick a day to put out on his social media platforms. Performing to a small camera was odd but at least he could see the trick is working. However, not every show goes perfectly to plan. He talked about one occasion when he was performing at a care home in West Bay. ‘I had a new stage show effect I had trialled at a local open mic night in Weymouth and knew it was a fantastic effect which would entertain and wow people’ he said. ‘So the spectator chooses a fruit and I try to guess it and I can’t, I then pull out a tin of fruit cocktail and open the tin and pull out the fruit they thought of.’ Everything was going fine until he tugged at the ring pull on the can and it broke. ‘Luckily they had a can opener so I opened the can and for some reason I decided to only open it three quarters of the way, and then bend the lid with my finger’ he said. ‘As I bent the lid I cut my finger quite deeply. The fruit and the tin got covered in blood and I had to go wash my hand and use three plasters to stop the bleeding.’ This not only made a mess of the trick, the fruit and the show, but as a result he couldn’t bend his finger, thus restricting his ability to shuffle cards, move elastic bands or do most of the tricks he would normally do. In retrospect it is probably quite funny, but at the time he tried a few different tricks and ideas with limited success and ended up leaving to go back another day to finish the performance. When we spoke, Chris had been furloughed from his day job since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means he has also been unable to enjoy the regular gigs that he has been building up since he first got the passion for magic. This year he had built up a healthy schedule that included birthday parties, weddings, special celebrations and of course summer fetes. However Chris has used the time to progress. ‘COVID has been a blessing

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and a curse’ he says. ‘While I’ve been furloughed it’s given me time to work on new magic and I’ve had time to script and complete a whole 90-minute stage show. That’s with effects and staging as well.’ He is now in the process of re-scripting that to make sure it has all the key emotions and elements he needs for the whole performance. ‘So the plan is that next year, when we can, I can run two or three test shows and then get the show out, which will obviously bring in more work.’ One of the things that Chris often deals with is people doing a double-take when they see him— and that’s not just because of his magic. Although they might recognise him from Instagram and Facebook, his face will be familiar to many locally. He and his father ran a taxi firm in Bridport for many years before he left to work in Lloyds TSB where he became deputy manager of the Bridport branch and then manager of the Dorchester branch. With that background, it’s inevitable that people will wonder if he can magic up some cash. Because let’s face it, any of us can make it disappear. To learn more about his work or get in touch visit Chris’s website at

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Beer Quarry Caves HISTORY AND REMEMBERING. HOW NOT TO REPEAT THE PAST—AND WHY History, according to the Italian historian Roberto Calasso, is an enigma. According to the Irish writer James Joyce history is a nightmare from which he wants to wake up. But history, however you find it, is inescapable. Its where we come from. It’s what made us. According to the philosopher George Santayana “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”. This is a warning that Winston Churchill called attention to but it is also an invitation. History is why we invite you come to visit us at Beer Quarry Caves. Just recently we celebrated the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe and then Victory over Japan. We heard, again, the terrible catastrophe brought upon Europe by Hitler and the Nazis, with a loss of almost 50 million human lives, most of them Russian but many of them our own during the battles to win back Europe, the blitz in London and in Exeter in 1942. We heard, wonderfully presented by Johanna Lumley, of the suffering in the Japanese prisoner of war camps and then the ultimate horror of the two atomic bombs, killing almost 200,000 people in less than the blink of an eye. As a result of the worst war humankind has ever known, we had found out how to destroy the human race, all of it. BEER QUARRY CAVES AND THE FUTURE. On a more optimistic note we reopened the caves on the 4th of July, as permitted by the coronavirus regulations. Even that day we had 3 visitors !! and the numbers have grown nicely since. We are getting help from the British Museum as to how to manage our tours. That marvellous place, the B M, re-opens on the 27th August. Like us they have a relatively narrow entrance, then the Great Court, just like our caverns. They used to get slightly more visitors than us though, about seven million a year. Not quite what we will ever have, but you never know, see below. BATS AND SPECIAL WINTER TOURS We will not be locking down this Winter, but with the help and advice of our Devon Bat friends we will be running special tours. We are often asked where our bats are in Summer. They are out, foraging all over Devon, stocking up for Winter. But in Winter they come back home to our caves to hibernate. There has been a huge growth in interest in bats in recent years and the Caves are home to a large colony of common and some rare species of these extraordinary little animals, of which we know far too little.

longer than a normal tour, starting around 17.15 culminating in a ‘round the tables’ barbecue, cooked by our resident chef Alice Rodgers. We hope this will encourage visitors who want to go into the local history more deeply, and the history of the caves a bit more, contributing as well as learning. Flint. We will also be starting flint knapping and information courses. It is not widely known that the scientists still haven’t quite worked out how flint is formed. Science knows the ingredients but not quite how the cake was baked. Flint, which provided mankind with its sole source of tools for over two million years, was Beer’s first major industry, apart perhaps from fishing. For those in Beer and the local area who have never visited the caves we now have a small but expanding flint collection. We are hoping to start knapping (cutting) sessions in the Autumn, perhaps at weekends. We would welcome expressions of interest via by way of emails to our web site. BEER QUARRY CAVES AND LOCAL HISTORY. THE LARGER PICTURE. A STONE AGE CITY. Our knowledge of the remote past is increasing at an amazing rate. Hardly a day goes by without the BBC reporting new finds that tell us more about where we came from and how. In the last few weeks some of the earliest cave ‘etchings’ in Britain have been found on the island of Jersey, a probable route for the post Neanderthal human species, homo sapiens, back to Britain after the last ice age. And a staging post to Devon. There are very similar cave drawings at Creswell Crags in Cheddar Gorge not too far away from us, only discovered in 2003. This is all tending towards a picture of Stone Age Britain that is becoming increasingly complex, and much more informative. But for us at Beer Quarry Caves the real holy grail is to establish more clearly what the great necropolis at Farway was, how it links to Beer Quarry and Beer, and then how it links to Stonehenge. To those of us who grew up thinking that the great stone circle at Stonehenge was just a nice picnic site on the way west, what has been found there is simply staggering. Huge new burial and ritual sites, the source of the standing stones themselves, and all the human habitations that surrounded the area. What we are seeing is how our ancestors organised their first cities. We are reasonably certain that Beer and Farway were also a much larger human community, much more closely linked than seems. And one day we hope to be able to show where East Devon fitted into the history of modern humans in Britain and how they made their first cities.


Stephen Rodgers Curator and manager of Beer Quarry Caves. Member of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall.

Most of our tours are run during the day but we are looking to have an evening special tour, perhaps slightly

Kevin Cahill, Historian in residence at Beer Quarry Caves. Fellow Emeritus of the Royal Historical Society.

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John Ruskin did not Approve By Cecil Amor


had not come across Tin Tabernacles until a member of “Bridport History Society”, John Lodder, now deceased, wrote an article referring to one in Bridport, known as “Christchurch, Walditch”. Walditch is an adjoining parish to Bridport. John Lodder was researching the history of Walditch and came across both St Mary’s Church and Christchurch. He found an entry in the “Bridport News” of January 9th 1880, headed “New Iron Church”, which stated that it was intended to erect an iron church in the parish of Walditch, near East Bridge, Bridport. The Rev W C Templer had complained in 1849 that the Parish Church of Walditch, St Mary’s, was too small for its congregation and was also in need of repair. The repairs were commenced and also plans for the iron church were made. Rapid growth in population during the Victorian era led to overwhelming pressures to provide cheap, rapidly erectable church and chapel buildings. Enterprising companies designed church and other buildings in kit form, and produced catalogues, illustrated with drawings and prices. Size could be altered according to need. The Devon and Somerset Advertiser for August 6th 1880 described the opening of the new church, Christchurch, on a site given by Mr W H Chick, and built in 10 weeks by a firm owned by Mr Broad, of Islington, London. The 1901 O.S. map shows it to be behind East Villas, opposite East Bridge in Bridport and west of the railway line, there then, i.e. near the River Asker, south of East Road. The church became known locally as “the Tin Tabernacle” and research by John Lodder shows that it became better attended than St Mary’s, in Walditch and he suggested that perhaps it drew some of its congregation from Bridport town. Christchurch had a small, neat bell turret over its entrance and music was provided by an harmonium. There were many varied preachers, in addition to Rev Templer. Mr and Mrs Rowe of Walditch were entrusted with care of the church. The opening service was attended by local dignitaries and clergy. About 1910 the church was granted permission to build a Mission Hall, in the garden nearby at The Cedars, again in Walditch Parish. It was proposed that it should be constructed in the same manner as Christchurch, a wooden structure, covered with galvanised iron or “Elernit” sheets. The height of the building was to be 9 feet to the eaves and the foundations to be brickwork and sleepers. There were to be 7 windows, the tops opening and ventilation in the roof. All external doors would open outwards. Christchurch and its Hall are thought to have been demolished between 1920 and 1933. The only picture of these buildings is a small photograph in the Bridport Museum collection which has been included in two books, “A Book

of Bridport” by Short and Sales and “A Bridport Camera” by John Sales. The photograph is a view from Back Mills, the leat (filled in years ago, which was parallel to the River Asker) and Folly Mill. It may be that following the First World War, with great loss of life, the need for these additional buildings was diminished. Some two years after this introduction to Tin Tabernacles our Programme Organiser, Roland Moss, arranged a visit to one still in use and not far away. This was St Saviour’s at Dottery, constructed of corrugated iron and wood lined, again with a small turret and a single bell. It is easy to miss, but is just short of the Bridport, Broadwindsor and Broadoak cross-roads. We were aided beforehand by a description from historian the Rev Bill Hill, who wrote that this church was conceived by the Rev Dr Alfred Edersheim, then vicar of Loders. Edersheim realised that his parishioners were quite scattered, in particular those living in Dottery and Pymore. He began holding services in local cottages, but by 1881 the congregation outgrew them, so his solution was the Tin Tabernacle at Dottery, which he was able to announce in the 1882 Loders Parish Magazine. The dedication ceremony took place in February 1882 to a full church, attended by nine clergy, headed by Archdeacon Sanctuary, Edersheim and his curate, W P Ingelow. Furnishing inside St Saviour’s at Dottery, includes plain benches on either side and a small font. At the east end is the clergy stall and behind a pulpit, with the harmonium on the other side. Behind is a small vestry. It appears that these “Tin Tabernacles” became the vogue in the mid 19th century, although they were not made of tin, but corrugated iron with a galvanised coating of zinc to prevent rust. The corrugations enabled sheets to be overlapped for a water proof joint. Internally they were lined with tongue and grooved boarding, perhaps of pine, which could be decorated as required by the congregation. Some were exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851, but John Ruskin, the Art Critic of the day, did not approve, as although practical they were not attractive architecture. “Tin Tabernacles” may not have met the architectural conventions of the time, but they met the needs and economic necessities of ordinary people. Tabernacles were reasonably inexpensive, about £150 for a 50 seater or £500 for 350 seats. Conventional building materials, for the same size, would be considerably more expensive. The Tabernacles were surprisingly durable. Some 30 to 40 still exist in England, although not necessarily in use now. Some are listed buildings. A local author, Michael Russell Wood, has published a book entitled “Dorset’s Legacy in Corrugated Iron”, which

includes a variety of such buildings, as well as “Tin Tabernacles”. He lists two which are no longer in use for religious purposes, one is the Sherborne Baptist Chapel, once known as Coomb Church. The other was the Mission Hall at Highwood, near Wool, which is now converted and is in private ownership. The other buildings shown are on farms, aircraft runways and domestic. I now realise that I passed another one every day of the first 15 or so years of my working life, in a small village called Sandy Lane, Wiltshire. It was well disguised for a rural situation by a thatched roof. Look out for others on your travels. Last November The Marshwood included an article entitled “More Grist for the Mill”. This did not extend East of Dorchester, for space reasons, so did not include the Sturminster Newton Mill, or “Stur” as it is locally known. This Spring I heard a short piece on BBC Radio 4 which told how it was being restored, with a view to re-opening for tourists, but when Covid19 appeared the work was “moth balled”. However they were approached by a possible customer for a small quantity of flour and then by a local baker, who was experiencing difficulties with supplies. I hope they have managed to continue. The mill is over 1,000 years old, so it predates the Domesday Book. Cecil Amor, Hon President of Bridport History Society.


AXMINSTER Pool to reopen The Flamingo Pool, a self-funded charity in Axminster, announced that it was reopening on August 24th after it had been hit extremely hard financially by the government enforced lockdown. The charity estimated the pool had lost around £50,000 whilst ensuring all amenities had been scaled back as far as achievable, to save as much as possible. After a successful fundraising effort a statement on the pool’s Facebook page said: ‘There will be a few changes in places including a basket system for your belongings, limited numbers in both pools and sanitising stations around the building as well as social distancing being undertaken as a must. We can’t wait to welcome you all back to swim with us in a safe, friendly environment.’

WINSHAM Cycling for APP Simon and Jude Hill from Winsham are cycling 2500 miles to raise awareness and funding for Action on Postpartum Psychosis. When their third daughter suffered from Postpartum Psychosis, after the birth of her daughter in 2018, they were so grateful for the support she received whilst in Leeds Mother and Baby unit. That support has continued to help her towards making a full recovery. Simon and Jude are riding from Lands End to John O’Groats and Simon will ride back ( Jude will be doing a few less miles as another Grandchild is due in late September!). ‘Our hope is to be back at our home in Somerset by early October’ said Jude. To support their efforts vist their JustGiving page:

LYME REGIS Theatre weathering storm The Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis has been working hard to weather the COVID-19 crisis through its small reserves, generous public donations, and grants. It is hoped that socially distanced live events may be allowed in the medium term. However, in the meantime, the theatre has a selection of outdoor events planned. Organisers are asking those attending to observe social distancing, have clean hands, and use provided hand sanitiser on arrival. There will be a one way system to maintain distancing when visiting the bar or toilet. Tickets must be booked in advance online on the theatre’s website. For full details of events, as well as an opportunity to donate to its reopening fund, visit the theatre’s website at

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DORCHESTER Hospital asks for support Clinicians at Dorset County Hospital are asking local residents to register their support for the first phase of plans to expand key clinical facilities on the Dorchester site. The plans include the expansion of the Emergency Department (ED) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as well as the establishment of an Integrated Care Hub as part of a long-term project to deliver the recommendations of Dorset’s Clinical Services Review. Dorset County Hospital has been allocated £62.5million of Government funding for the expansion plans as part of the national Health Infrastructure Plan and the project has been recognised as a priority. To show your support visit or go to the hospital’s website

LULWORTH Human chain saves a life An extraordinary effort of support and bravery helped save a life at Durdle Door recently when a human chain assisted a swimmer in distress. Up to twenty people linked arms to reach a man caught in dangerous wave conditions on the popular Dorset beach. Lulworth Coastguard Rescue Team warned against entering the sea in dangerous conditions.: ‘With the large waves and spring tides of late, we strongly discourage sea swimming and playing around in the surf, especially on exposed beaches such as Durdle Door. The undertow is very powerful and will have no trouble taking you off your feet.’ Eyewitnesses to the incident said people applauded the bravery of those that assisted the swimmer. Coastguard Rescue urged people to call 999 and ask for the Coastgaurd if they see someone in difficulty.

Happy Campers Laterally Speaking by Humphrey Walwyn


y first camping experience was a damp and dismal one. I went on a school camping trip to northern France at the age of 14 and got thoroughly soaked. After we trouped around the D-Day beaches during the day in the rain, we all retired to our soggy little green tents and huddled together in a protective puddle as a torrential downpour reduced visibility to a few yards. Since then, whenever I read about the Normandy beaches, WW2 veterans or I watch The Longest Day movie on TV, I instinctively reach for my umbrella. I underwent a second camping trial just a few years later when the whole family went to north Wales. I shared my father’s tent on a nearly perpendicular cliffside. When I say ‘tent’, I really mean a five-foot rectangular patch of old green canvas with lots of moth holes and a metrewide rip along one side. It was my father’s old camping tent from the 1930s—an object of great nostalgia for him but not a thing of joyful anticipation for anyone else. It smelt of perished rubber, decomposed woodsmoke and damp under-cooked sausages with an over-riding odour of mould, paraffin and old socks. It was also missing about five tent pegs so we used steel barbeque skewers instead. The trouble with this is that they bend when you try to hammer them into solid mud which makes them incredibly uncomfortable when you end up lying on them at 2 am. However, my dad was very proud of his tent and took real pleasure from describing how his feet stuck out attractively at the end. He told me this was part of its clever design—healthy living with cold feet. He said it was a genuine antique and probably worth a lot of money at an old explorers’ auction, by which I think he meant an auction of ancient camping equipment rather than old men in duffel coats and snow masks. This was the real stuff—a tent from the golden age of camping when books like ‘With Scott in Antarctica’ or ‘Across Tibet by Yak and Husky’ were all the rage. If you went camping in those days, you were bound to be attacked by bears or tigers or wild Pathan tribesmen let alone minor discomforts like midges and tsetse flies. The 1930s were a time when boys had to prove themselves brave and sturdy enough to take on the wilds of nature and the elements. Camping was synonymous with survival and words like luxury and comfort had not yet been invented for life under canvas. Anyway, I digress… Now back to sleeping on the side of a damp Welsh hill… My father kindly took the side facing downhill since his greater weight might act as a sort of book-end wedge to prevent both of us rolling down the precipice. This was fine with me, except my uphill side

was the damaged side of the tent. The three-foot long hole ended just above my eyes so that when it rained (which it did most of the time of course), a river of water flowed down A holiday under canvas is not improved by rain my hair and into my nose. We spent the longest three nights of my life on that hillside. I don’t think I slept more than five minutes during the whole time we were there. As you can imagine, these two adventures made me swear never to go camping again. Others may extol the beauties of the wild outdoors, the fresh air and the joy of being at one with Nature, but I would rather take a ‘rain-check’—literally. How surprising it was therefore to see our garden full of tents last month. This did not include me of course, but my two sons and their families had decided that the only way we could spend a fortnight together on holiday was for them to camp out in our garden. Very clever really… the fear of Coronavirus and enforced self-isolation meant that nobody could actually sleep in our house, so we all ate our meals at opposite ends of the dining room table (luckily just over 2 metres long) before they retired for the night to their canvas home while my wife and I slept peacefully upstairs. This all worked surprisingly well—mainly due to the expert camping skill of my sons and the huge advance in tent technology. Yes, gone are the old days of ripped green canvas, the smell of damp underwear and leaky tarpaulins. Their new tent is now a model home with all mod cons. For a start, it is huge—it’s more of a small castle bungalow than a mere tent and everyone even has their own room (or ‘pod’) to sleep in! Such luxury! The whole thing is pristine and efficient and when it rains (which it always will when camping) you can keep dry and even stand up in its snuggly warmth inside. No more crouching under damp and rain-soaked fabric being scared to touch the sides or the water will come flooding in. This is the Buckingham Palace of tents. My father would have hated it. “Too nice”, he would have scoffed. “Too namby-pamby, too dry, too comfortable! Might just as well sleep at home!” But I secretly rather wish we could have had one just like that on the side of a Welsh mountain… Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 35

What next for Business? Video camera in hand, Seth Dellow interviews two local business owners about how the pandemic affected their lives, and their livelihood.


earning about how local businesses have coped with the Coronavirus pandemic is the goal of a series of video interviews that Seth Dellow has conducted for The Marshwood Vale Magazine. This month he interviewed Roger Snook of T Snook in Bridport and Simon Holmes from Axminster Books in Axminster. Both high street retailers, it has been interesting to hear how they have fared, and most importantly how they hope to deal with the future. Simon Holmes took over Axminster Books about 18 months ago and just before the pandemic hit he was feeling that the market for books in print was picking up. Although the internet and digital reading had initially caused many independent bookshops to struggle and indeed many to close, Simon has seen an increase in trade over the last couple of years and had experienced a ‘pretty good year’ before he had to close in March. With over 6,000 books in the shop his first thought was how to continue to trade. Inevitable that meant even more work than normal. ‘I was probably even busier’ says Simon, ‘trying to get different innovations up and running.’ He managed to get all of his 6,000+ books onto the website and traded through the lockdown. Simon’s story may be echoed across many businesses in the area and his thoughts, shared in this video interview, are definitely worth hearing. His interview is available on our YouTube channnel at: a6qaBkrOV88. Roger Snook’s business in Bridport started originally in 1896 as a gentlemen’s outfitter, although today it is best known as a hatter. The business now supplies hats all around the world. The shop also carries accessories such as bow ties, cravats, collar studs and even snuff. Roger says they also have ‘the largest selection of mustache wax in the empire.’ Roger’s experience of the pandemic was similar to most high street retailers in that he also had to shut his doors. However, he didn’t have the luxury of trading online. ‘With sizings and so forth on headware’ he says ‘you’ve got to try it on.’ He believes that buying a hat online is a waste of time because getting the right fit can only be achieved in the shop. Which means that expertise is a requisite when it comes to dealing with customers.

Roger Snook of T Snook in Bridport

Simon Holmes from Axminster Books

Thankfully, he is surrounded by staff that know what they are talking about. Praising their resilience and support during the last few months, in a time that no one could ever have prepared for, he called them the most brilliant staff you could possibly wish for. ‘They all should be given a degree in hatology’ he says. Roger’s philosophy on dealing with the pandemic and the fall out for business is refreshingly blunt. There’s little we can do other than, ‘get on with it.’ Both of our business interviews offer fascinating insights into the effects of the last few months on our wider local community. To watch them visit our YouTube Channel at: https://

Seth Dellow is a University of Exeter student reading History & Politics, with a keen interest in political history and public policy. Aside from academia, he is active in the local community, regularly volunteering and has won the Pride of Somerset Youth Awards twice. His experience extends to the media sector and he enjoys interviewing people from a wide range of backgrounds, often to discuss the emerging themes of the day. You can learn more about Seth at

36 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

Builders in at Museum BEAMINSTER Museum has been packing up to allow builders in for it’s long-awaited extension. Funding, including a donation from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and a substantial legacy, 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. Dr Murray Rose, Chairman of Beaminster Museum Trust said: ‘We have raised the money, prepared the museum, and will hopefully have a trouble-free building period, so early next year we can re-open with better facilities to be able to play an even greater role within our community.’

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 37


Vegetables in September By Ashley Wheeler


t feels good to have got to September with everything in the garden looking pretty healthy and organised. August is always a tricky month as a vegetable grower—trying to balance the time spent harvesting with the time spent turning over beds from old crops to new so that we have enough veg for autumn and winter. It is a bit like a second spring in terms of the workload of planting, but with the addition of the big harvests. With most beds full of crops now it is worth thinking about what to do with any beds that will be empty over winter. September is a good time to sow overwintered green manures to protect the soil from the weather. The classic overwinter combination is cereal rye and vetch, though other winter cereals could be added to this, and even phacelia which if sown September time usually doesn’t get too big before winter and can overwinter well if only a few inches tall (it will be killed by frost if it is sown too early). September is also the perfect time to start sowing any crops for overwintering in polytunnels, glasshouses and cloches. We grow a lot of salad through the winter in our polytunnels, but also a range of herbs including coriander, parsley, and chervil, and some overwintering alliums such as spring onions, and garlic to get extra early garlic in the spring, as well as spring garlic. You can use the smallest cloves for spring garlic and plant 3-5 every 20cm so they grow in a bunch (best to wait til October/ November to plant these), they are delicious and ready to harvest in the spring when they are about as thick as your small finger. The salad leaves that we sow this month include all of the brassica leaves such as rocket, mizuna, purple frills, golden streaks, leaf radish, red Russian kale, watercress, landcress, spicy curls and purple wave (have a look at the Real Seed Catalogue for ideas of unusual mustards and winter salads to grow). We will also be sowing some overwintering lettuce - Rouge de Grenoble is a favourite, as well as winter purslane (also known as Miner’s lettuce or Claytonia) and endive. Most of these salads and overwintering plants will replace the summer polytunnel crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, french beans, peppers and aubergines. Most will be planted from the beginning of October. You can also plant them under cloches outside if you don’t have a polytunnel or glasshouse. They will just need fairly good ventilation through the autumn and winter to discourage fungal diseases. So, the work continues through September if you have protected space to grow winter salads and herbs,

38 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

Autumn crops of chicory and fennel

and things will start to calm down a bit by the end of October! WHAT TO SOW THIS MONTH: Direct sown outside: turnip greens, leaf radish, red Russian kale as salad leaf. Sow in trays: Now is the time to make sure you start sowing all of your overwintering salad leaves if you have a glasshouse or polytunnel, or even a sheltered spot on a patio. Leaves such as winter purslane, landcress, rocket, mustards, corn salad, endive, chervil, lettuce should be sown from the beginning of the month through to early October.. Also spring onions for overwintering in a cloche or tunnel/glasshouse WHAT TO PLANT THIS MONTH: OUTSIDE: salad leaves: leaf radish, winter purslane, landcress, rocket, mustards, overwintering spring onions, spinach and spring cabbage. INSIDE: overwintering salad leaves (at the end of the month and into October), chard, coriander, chervil and parsley. OTHER IMPORTANT TASKS THIS MONTH: Get your squash in by the end of the month and cure them either in a glasshouse, polytunnel or ideally in your house - this will make sure that the skins are hard and will last through the winter.

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 39

September in the Garden By Russell Jordan


n those rare years when the summer has been unusually hot and dry, with water restrictions and parched soil, the beginning of autumn can be a blessed relief. This year is not one of those, despite the notably high temperatures, with a lack of rain, early in the season, but it’s still a turning point in the gardening year. Shortening days and cooler temperatures, allied with higher rainfall, makes September a good ‘doing’ month. It can be thought of as the beginning of the gardening cycle, a ‘second spring’, because a lot of sowing, planting and general garden making can resume after the summer pause in horticultural activity. Chief among the tasks which can begin now, with gusto, is planting spring flowering bulbs. This is a really positive, life affirming, endeavour and, rare amongst gardening practices, comes with practically guaranteed flowering success. Technically, bulbs are known as ‘perennating organs’ i.e. the means for a plant to survive from year to year especially when that involves overcoming unfavourable, seasonal, growing conditions. In the case of bulbs, the unfavourable conditions that evolution has needed to overcome is, most commonly, a lack of water, during a certain period of the year, in the native climate where that plant species naturally occurs. In the northern hemisphere the time of year which has the highest temperatures, hence lowest rainfall, is the summer. Spring flowering bulbs are therefore ‘programmed’ to be dormant in the summer, which is why they are not visible above the soil surface, and are triggered back into growth by the cooler autumn temperatures plus the relative abundance of rainfall. The complication here is that the initial growth, triggered now in the case of spring flowering species, is root growth. For obvious reasons this is not visible to the humble gardener, unless you dig them up; a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. In autumn flowering bulbs and corms, less common than the spring bloomers, flower production is the first thing that is triggered so these will already be providing a show in the garden. To this end, I often find that the indispensable little Cyclamen hederifolium (‘Ivy leaved cyclamen’) starts sending up its cheerful blooms as soon as there is heavy rain after a spell of summer heat. It’s been flowering in my garden for a few weeks now, a little fitful at first, and will continue to do so right through the autumn. The leaves appear after the flowers, in fact they overlap for a while, and persist right through until summer next year. Cyclamen are one of those obliging garden plants

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which will quite happily seed around, forming large colonies over the years, but are never thuggish enough to become a problem. They are easily dug up, replanting them somewhere else, if they seed into areas where they are not welcome. They also have the bonus of attractive foliage, often sporting strikingly ‘marbled’ variegation, so that even after flowering they make a positive contribution to the garden. Together with their ability to provide winter ground cover, even in shady positions, often under deciduous trees and shrubs, it’s hard to see any downside to these hard working garden plants. Returning to planting spring flowering bulbs; the priority here is to get them into the ground as soon as possible after they become available by mail order, most easily achieved these days via online shopping, and in the garden centres. The bulbs offered for sale are grown as crops, most famously by Dutch nurserymen, and will have been harvested at the peak of their summer dormancy. The smaller the bulb the quicker it will dessicate, losing its viability, post-harvest. Often it is the smaller bulb species which are the earliest to flower in the spring, e.g. crocus and iris species, so it makes sense that these should be your priority when it comes to their autumn planting. Running the risk of getting waylaid by another horticultural anomaly, at this point I need to make a mention of snowdrops. Given that snowdrops are commonly perceived to be the earliest of our spring flowering bulbs, surely we should commence bulb planting with this iconic beauty? Hmmmm..........snowdrops are the ‘exception that proves the rule’. They are recommended to be planted ‘in the green’. This simply means that they are best obtained, from commercial suppliers, immediately after flowering, while they are still in growth, replete with their full deployment of leaves. They are more likely to establish in new planting positions if transplanted this way rather than obtaining them as dormant bulbs. This is, reassuringly, a confirmation of the theory that it is the smallest bulbs which dessicate the fastest once dug up. Snowdrop bulbs are so small that, if purchased as dormant bulbs in the autumn, there is a high probability that a proportion of your new bulbs will already have dried out and they will fail to grow at all. To all intents and purposes they are dead. There is also a good chance that any snowdrop bulbs offered for sale in the autumn will have been harvested many months before, due to their very early blooming, and therefore will have already been out of the ground, perhaps in less than ideal stor-

age conditions, for much longer than the ‘main season’ bulbs. When it comes to obtaining spring flowering bulbs, the internet is a real boon when it comes to choosing species and varieties for your garden, pots and bedding displays (does anyone actually plan ‘bedding displays’ anymore?). The ability to see colour images, together with full descriptions, of everything that you are buying makes choosing spring bulbs so much easier than when you had to leaf through catalogues, often with only written descriptions to assist you, and then fill out order forms. Having said that, there is still a lot to be said for physically going to a garden centre, as soon as they put their bulb displays out, in order to fill a bag with your favourite bulbs and to get the buzz of instant gratification. With all that bulb talk I’ve almost run out of room for all the other gardening tasks which should be undertaken at this pivotal time of year. Off the top of my head I’m mostly thinking that lawncare should be done now while the soil is still warm but rainfall is more reliable. Hardy annual seeds should be sown so that the seedlings can get established before winter cold halts their growth. Beds and borders will require some intervention to remove collapsing foliage and to edit them sufficiently to make the most of the autumn flowering constituents. Hedges, especially evergreen ones, should not be cut much later than September as they require a little time to recover before they are hit by the first frost. Obviously, there’s quite a lot of gardening activity that can be undertaken now that summer is over—although it’s always nice to think that we might have some balmy weather which continues long into the supposed autumn!

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 41


Houses with Home Offices By Helen Fisher


A very appealing 3 bedroom detached house with spacious kitchen, lounge with Inglenook fireplace and large study/playroom. Sound facing with views over the garden and countryside beyond. Garage/workshop plus semi-detached barn with PP to convert into a 2 bedroom cottage. Gordon and Rumsby Tel: 01297 553768


A substantial semi-detached village house dating from 1929 with 5 bedrooms. Extended while retaining original character. With far reaching countryside and town views. Large garden with greenhouse, small trees and wild meadow garden leading down to a stream. Detached double garage block suitable for workshop/storage or home office. Ample off-road parking. Kennedys Tel: 01308 427329

UPLODERS £950,000

A handsome, period house with 4/5 bedrooms with annexe/guest wing, previously used as a successful Airbnb. Farmhouse style kitchen with Aga and many character features throughout. All set in an edge of village location with landscaped gardens, veg bed, greenhouse and paddock. Plus large outbuilding/barn for conversion. Stags Tel: 01308 428000 42 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 Tel. 01308 423031


A beautiful 3 bedroom detached home offering space and light filled rooms. Open plan family kitchen and sun room with wood burning stove. Landscaped mature gardens with ornamental pond, fruit trees, woodland and pretty stream. Large garage and workshop plus outside studio/office. All set in an idyllic location yet a short walk into town. Ample parking. Jackson-Stops Tel:01308 423133

LONG BREDY £600,000

A unique, 4 bedroomed stone-built house with characterful features inc: vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, multi-fuel burner and family bathroom with roll-top bath. A converted loft space with mezzanine area suitable for office/studio or hobby room. Private rear garden with store/workshop, fruit cages, mature apple trees and greenhouse. Parkers Tel: 01308 420111


An individual property with 4 bedrooms and galleried entrance hall. Sitting room with stone fireplace and dining room with double doors onto terrace and gardens. Large gardens with apple trees and featuring a 2 room lodge/summer house with amenities. All set in an elevated position with wonderful views. Symonds and Sampson Tel: 01308 422092

A generous donation helps Encore Theatre BRIDPORT’S Encore Theatre Club were delighted recently to receive a generous donation of £1000 from Symondsbury Players, who were redistributing funds on the closing of their accounts. Symondsbury Players had previously disbanded, sadly deciding that they could not continue with their proud and rich tradition of fine performances. The Symondsbury Village Players was formed in 1931 by a Miss Domville who lived in the village, and over the years was home to many talented performers and backstage crew, many of whom made their acting debut on the Symondsbury stage—first at the village school, and then in the Chideock Village Hall. As in many areas of society, theatre has had to find ways of adapting over the past few months. Over the Lockdown period, Encore have been working on a devised film consisting of monologues that their members have written and then filmed in their own homes. In fact, some past Symondsbury members have been involved in the project, which is soon to be released online. Encore would of course, however, love to get back onto the stage again and have plans for a 2021 Spring production of Rattigan’s After the Dance.

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WALNUT BREAD My walnut bread recipe is bursting with them. Keep kneading and you will get them all in, in the end! And when the loaf is baked why not try it in one of the following dishes: A top bacon sarnie filled with crisp, streaky Denhay bacon and watercress. Or, use it for posh cheese on toast with blue viney cheese and crunchy apples.



• • • • • • • • •

225g (8oz) strong white flour 225g (8oz) malted granary flour pinch salt 7g sachet easy blend yeast 150ml (1/4 pint) warm milk 150ml (1/4 pint) warm water 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon olive oil 225g (8oz) walnuts halves, roughly broken • beaten egg to glaze Serves 6 - 8

DIRECTIONS 1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast. Make a well in the centre of the flour and stir in the warm milk, beaten egg, olive oil and enough of the water to form a soft, wet dough. 2. On a lightly, floured surface, kneed the dough for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. 3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover and leave

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5. 6. 7.


to prove in a warm place for approx. 1 hour until doubled in size. When the dough has risen, kneed it again to ‘knock it back’ and gradually incorporate the walnuts, until well distributed throughout the dough. Shape the dough into 1 large or 2 smaller rounds, as required. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet and slash the top of each loaf. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7/ 220C/ 400F. Cover the loaf (loaves) and return to a warm place until risen to approx. half their size again. Glaze the loaves with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, then reduce the heat to gas mark 5/ 180C/375F, and bake for a further 15 minutes for a smaller loaf or 30 minutes for the larger. The loaves are cooked when they are risen and golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.

Awards for Sharpham Wine


ell-known West Country winery, Sharpham Wine, has taken a clutch of top awards at WineGB, a major competition for British wines, which has this year been showcasing the fact that the UK is now regarded as one of most exciting wine regions in the world. Sharpham Wine, which won a total of four medals at this year’s recently announced WineGB Awards including GOLD for Sharpham Bacchus ‘Stop Ferment’ 2019 and Sharpham Pinot Noir 2018, is presently undergoing an exciting new expansion in conjunction with the Sandridge Barton Winery just across the River Dart. Sharpham also won a SILVER for Sharpham Sparkling Pink 2016 and a BRONZE for Sharpham Pinot Gris ‘Wild Ferment’ 2018. Duncan Schwab, head winemaker at the Sharpham Vineyard, commented: ‘I’ve been working at Sharpham for 28 years and can recall the early days when things were challenging and frustrating as well as rewarding. Back then we often had to deal with difficult growing seasons, but in more recent times the South West has become known as the ‘ultimate cool climate growing region in the world.’ The WineGB Awards is the major competition for UK wines and wine producers and was this year modified after the coronavirus pandemic took hold. July’s judging, with co-chairs Susie Barrie MW, Oz Clarke, and Rebecca Palmer (wine buyer of Corney & Barrow) saw the three experts sampling a record number of wines. With strict COVID-19 measures in place the three judges deliberated all 281 entries over five days. One of the initial Devon wineries, Sharpham Wine has built an impressive reputation both nationally and increasingly internationally. For nationwide orders of award-winning Sharpham Cheese and Sharpham Wine visit their online shop

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 45

CRISPY OYSTER, STEAK AND HORSERADISH SALAD I love a bit of surf and turf, especially when you are dealing with the best possible ingredients available. Down at the Fish House in Lyme Regis I was messing around with a new salad using Peter Hannan’s Glenarm estate beef and local oysters. It makes a great light starter or main course. I’ve used my favourite flour here for batters and lots of other stuff, Doves Farm gluten free selfraising flour which is fantastic for deep frying and without the gluten it stays perfectly crisp.




• 300-350g sirloin, rib or fillet steak • 4 rock oysters, shucked and any juice reserved • A couple handfuls of small salad leaves and herbs • Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying • A small piece of fresh horseradish root • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat about 8cm of oil to 160180°C in a large thick bottomed saucepan or electric deep fat fryer 2. Meanwhile lightly oil and preheat a ribbed griddle pan, season the steak well and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, keeping it nice and rare then transfer to a plate to rest. Whilst the steak is cooking mix enough sparkling water into the flour to make a light batter and season. Dip the oysters into the batter and deep fry for 30 seconds or so or until crisp, turning them with a slotted spoon then transfer onto some kitchen paper to drain. 3. Whisk all of the ingredients together for the dressing and season. Slice up the steak and arrange on serving plates with the salad leaves, spoon over the dressing, place the oyster on top and grate the horseradish over the top.

For the batter • 2 tbls gluten free self raising flour • Enough chilled sparkling water to mix into a light batter For the dressing • 1 large shallot, peeled, halved and finely chopped • 2 tbls good quality red wine vinegar • 6 tbls extra virgin rapeseed oil • The juice from the oysters Serves 4 as a starter 46 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

The Man who Stole our Boat By Nick Fisher


’ve had a pedal bike nicked before. And three motorbikes, four cars and a scooter. But never a boat. Where I used to live, in inner city east London, boat crime, not surprisingly, was very rare. But a few years ago, living in Dorset, I had my virgin experience of boat theft. Me and Hugh shared a boat. Seafox. Not a pretty boat. Not a classy boat. More a goat of a boat. A dog. A mutt-boat. Not the sort of thing anyone would covet as their own. Least, not anyone with an IQ that scraped into double figures. Cars get stolen all the time because they’re so convenient. They sit on the corner of every street, smart, shiny, full of fuel. Keen to roar and screech to any stranger’s command, so long as they have the means of ignition. A boat’s different. A boat is wet and dirty, lolling about in a muddy harbour, empty of fuel and badly maintained. At least, ours was. No one would, or should, attempt to steal such a worthless grief-laden pile of leaking fibreglass. Seafox was an obvious piece of crap, while it lurched like a sick sea lion on the end of a leash, stinking-up the harbour. But, and here comes the crux of the matter, when it was stolen, it wasn’t on the water. It was on our trailer. Parked on the harbour side. Looking like a boat that was going places. Truth is, it had actually been to Weymouth, to star with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall on his River Cottage TV series. Now, as the journey to Weymouth by sea, would suck a small Arab state’s worth of two stroke through its carburettor, and tempt the foul and ancient outboard motor to rattle its lungs out, Hugh very wisely, opted to have it trailed to Weymouth instead. By Pat. A brave man with a towing hitch on the back of his jam-jar. ‘I thought I was going to poop my pants’ said Pat, a few days after. ‘I’m coming down the Abbotsbury hill and I look in my mirror and the boat bow’s sitting about three feet behind the rear window. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill, it was that far away’. Pat held up his thumb and forefinger, only a gnat’s chuff apart. ‘The boat wasn’t lashed down properly, the brakes weren’t connected and my knuckles were like bright white blobs, from grrrr-ipping the steering wheel.’ So, just to recap, this is not a boat you want to sail or trail. It’s about as fit and trim as an International Darts champion. All the same, someone, some poor misguided, visually-challenged, nautically ignorant wretch, decided to half hinch her. Oh, sweet Mary mother of Jesus, that there should be such perverse peoples in this world! When Seafox stood on the hard ground by the harbour at West Bay, loitering like a has-been hooker in the dim pool of light between two street lamps, some sport took a shine to her. Through his cider-fuelled beer goggles, he saw, not an ageing tart, but a young fine filly, with a trim stern and fantastic fenders. This man was to rue the day he lost his heart to sweet-butsoiled Seafox. For he did not study her close enough in the flattering, fading lamplight. He did not see her warts and sores, her lack of security straps, her rust-ravaged trailer limbs and her salt-

encrusted brakes. In his lustful passion, all he could think of was stealing her away and rushing back with her to the creepy privacy of his own sordid shag-pad. Which, to his deep misfortune also happened to be somewhere back east towards Weymouth, back on the other end of the infamous Abbotsbury Hill. I can only imagine, fantasise and fondly ponder, on what went on inside his car that night, as he sped back along the coast road, his stolen prize of passion hooked to the back of his chassis. He too would have descended that steep, statuesque hill, with the boat bow three feet behind his rear windscreen, but then, halfway down that hill, something horrible happened. Horrible but good. Seafox, ever loyal and faithful, bucked and kicked her way off that trailer and hurled herself onto the steep road itself, in a cunning attempt to: A. Free herself, and B. Scare the living shit out of the scally robber. The end result was trailer and boat lay strewn across the road, battered and bloody, with a trail of fishing tackle spewed out onto the kerb. The boat snatcher managed to escape. Somehow he unhitched himself from the carnage and fled back to Weymouth. Though, I firmly believe he has paid for his greed. His hair is now sheet white, he mumbles incoherently, and has suffered permanent loss of sphincter control. Owning a boat is a like a bizarre and addictive form of selfmutilation. Everything hurts. The maintenance. The logistics. The weather. The mechanics. The flat batteries. The pumps that don’t work. The pumps that work too hard, they burn themselves out, in an expensive and pungent short circuit. The leaks. The licences. The insurance. In fact, don’t get me started on the bloody useless, penny-pinching, baby-robbing, mother-loving, soul-selling, makethe-rules-up-as-you-go-along insurance company! Thankfully, my mate Alan, bless him, took two weeks off work to mend her. Care for her. Coax her back to being the gnarly old vixen she once was. Only better. Boat pleasure is like casual sex. Rare and unpredictable and prone to make you itch. I really wouldn’t advise it. Still, there are odd magic moments. When you dive off the stern into the warm summer-kissed sea in Lyme Bay. Or reel-in a five-string of feathers, each loaded with a fat sprat-fed autumn jumbo mackerel. Or pot pulling up an angry fat purple lobster with claws as big as your foot. But to ‘joyride’ our ugly old Seafox is a paradox. A contradiction in terms. She is a sweet sweaty old girl and I love her dearly, but she is an acquired taste. Like earwax on a pencil. If you really feel you need to extend your range of experience by sampling the perverse perks of boat ownership.... go to the boat show. It happens twice a year. London and Southampton. Or subscribe to Boats Under £20,000, it’s the teasing, top-shelf, ‘readers-wives’ of boat pornography. If you want to feel the sensation of wet planks bucking and tossing beneath your feet, just go buy a boat. Get the whole package of pleasure and pain. Please. Don’t steal our boat. Or, if you really, really have to steal it, at least next time, could you do it properly? Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 47

Guest Recipe MALAYSIAN CURRY LAKSA RAMEN This recipe was created by my friend Emily Lai. This is a staple of Malaysian cuisine and stems from the basic ingredients of fresh roots and coconut milk. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find dried shrimp, just look for fresh ones that are bright pink, coralcolored, and whole, as opposed to brown and falling apart.

Amy Kimoto-Kahn Amy Kimoto-Kahn was born in Fullerton, California. She is Yonsei or fourth-generation Japanese-American and a mum of three. She is a graduate of the Miyajima Ramen School in Osaka, Japan and has taught a popular series of Asianinspired cooking classes for Williams-Sonoma.

Simply Ramen By Amy Kimoto-Kahn (ISBN: 978-1-63106-144-8)

INGREDIENTS • 11⁄2-inch (4 cm) piece turmeric or 1 tbsp turmeric powder • 11⁄2-inch (4 cm) knob ginger, chopped (I prefer galangal) • 3 medium-sized shallots, chopped • 8 garlic cloves, chopped • 15 dried chilies, seeds removed and soaked in hot water for 20 minutes • 5 red chilies, chopped • 4 cashews (I prefer candlenuts) • 11⁄2 oz (40 g) dried shrimp • 1 tbsp ground coriander • 1 lemongrass, white part only, chopped • 11⁄2 quarts (1.7 L) water • Pinch of salt, plus more to taste • 1 chicken breast • 1 lb (455 g) shrimp, peeled and halved lengthwise, with shells reserved (if shrimp have heads, also reserve) • 4 tbsp vegetable oil • 1 13.5-oz (400 ml) can coconut milk • 1⁄4 lb (115 g) mung bean sprouts (you can substitute sunflower or soybean sprouts) Additional Toppings • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved (1⁄2 egg per serving) • 1⁄4 lb (115 g) green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces and blanched • (1 oz/28 g per serving) • 1 red chili, sliced (I prefer Fresno chillies; 1 tsp per serving) • 1 handful mint, leaves removed (I prefer Vietnamese mint; small bunch per serving) • 1 lime, quartered (1 wedge per serving) Serves 4

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DIRECTIONS 1. Prepare the laksa paste by blending the turmeric, ginger, shallots, garlic, dried chilies, red chilies, cashews, dried shrimp, coriander, and lemongrass together in a food processor or blender until it turns into a paste. 2. In a medium pot with a lid, bring the water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add the chicken breast, and when the water returns to a boil, cover and let the chicken steep in the hot water for 20 minutes. Do not open the lid. 3. Remove the chicken then return the water to a boil and add the shrimp. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool. 4. Add reserved shrimp shells and heads to the cooking liquid. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then strain out all solids. 5. Add 3⁄4 cup (175 ml) Shio Base and simmer for another 10 minutes. 6. Boil a large pot of water for your noodles. 7. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the laksa paste and sauté until the oil starts

to separate. Reserve a few tablespoons for your topping. 8. Add the coconut milk to your Shio soup infused with chicken and shrimp and bring it to a boil. Check for seasoning to see if more salt needs to be added. 9. Blanch the mung bean sprouts

in the same ramen noodle water for 30 seconds and set aside. 10. Boil the noodles—if fresh, boil for about 1 minute; if packaged, boil for about 2 minutes. As soon as they’re done, drain well and separate into serving bowls.

11. Pour 2 cups (475 ml) soup over each bowl of noodles. Top with blanched bean sprouts, hard-boiled egg, green beans, chili, mint, and a spoonful of the reserved laksa paste. Garnish with a lime wedge. 12. If desired, top with chicken and shrimp meat.

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The Wild Silence

Life after The Salt Path. Jess Thompson talks to best selling author Raynor Winn

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We walked through miles of ash fields and dead lava flows— through an alien landscape that felt like a movie set in space; a land at its very beginning where the volcanic eruptions had just ended and the earth was starting to rejuvenate—just like Moth’s wellbeing


aynor Winn’s The Salt Path has become a publishing phenomenon since it was released in early 2018. Her memoir of how she and husband, Moth became homeless—quickly followed by him being diagnosed with a debilitating neurological disease—was a Sunday Times top ten best-seller for more than 54 weeks, has been translated in 14 languages and optioned by a film company. Furthermore, people’s strength of feeling for her story has meant that at the 60 talks and literary festivals she’s attended (generally with Moth quietly sitting in the audience), tickets have sold out within days of going on sale. So, to say there was a weight of expectation riding on her follow-up book, The Wild Silence might be putting it mildly. “It was a completely different experience to write,” Raynor tells me, her voice soft and slightly hesitant when she calls me from her new home in Cornwall. We’d tried to Zoom but her phone was too old and cracked to have the capability—more of which later. “The Salt Path had its own narrative arc, and I just needed to retrace it. I had Paddy Dillon’s guide to the South West coast path, with Moth’s pencilled notes in the margin, and everything else just followed. “Last year, I started writing the sequel then suddenly thought, this is so shallow and it’s not saying what I want it to say. I decided that if I just did the obvious thing and wrote a follow-up then I wouldn’t be doing what I needed to do for myself. So I left it for ages, then came back to it with only four months before the deadline to hand it in. The whole thing, from start to finish… It was quite tricky.” She laughs. “But then I

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realised that I couldn’t think about who was going to read it. I had to put myself back into the framework; into the mindset I’d had when I wrote The Salt Path. Because it was only then that I could actually say what needed to be said—namely about the natural environment and our connection to it.” The Wild Silence is indeed a very different book to its precursor. It’s a more fractured narrative, oscillating between childhood memories—many of which show how and why Raynor’s developed such a deep connection with the land—and recalling events which happened after finishing the walk. “I realised that I had to first go backwards, in order to explain what I was trying to say.” Of course, few who’ve read The Salt Path can fail to have been moved by the love story of Raynor and Moth; and it’s equally heart-warming to read about how it all began when they met as teenagers, Moth’s hair “hanging in Celtic plaits, his old RAF coat flapping behind him.” He was already an activist, “magnetically drawn to the countryside, to the wilderness” and their first adventure involved a trip to Scotland, where their temporary campsite was washed away by a ferocious storm. What’s totally unexpected, however, is to read about the animosity her parents felt towards him, rejecting him, she writes, “with a venom and ferocity which wiped out every vision I had of what my family was.” When I say this must have been a great sadness, she pauses. “They eventually came to terms with the fact that Moth was my choice, but I don’t think they were ever fully reconciled to the idea that I’d made the right one. Despite the fact that he remains the most

extraordinary person I’ve ever met. So yes, it was one of the greatest sadnesses; because I’ve always wanted to keep everyone I’ve ever loved close in my bubble— as everyone does. I just had to have two bubbles.” Writing with such honestly is a trademark of her style and one of the reasons that people write to her from all over the world, telling her their own stories: “some extraordinary, often personal, sometimes awful ones. “To start with I was a little bit shocked, but then I began to realise that this was the beauty of what I’d done in writing The Salt Path—that it had connected people who felt they had no-one to connect with, creating a sense of a mutual humanity.” Still, I ask, does she worry about having written about her parents’ feelings? “Even now I feel it’s a bit of dilemma. But at the same time it’s the truth of the way it was, so I don’t think it was something that would have come as a surprise to them.” The poignancy of her reflections create a quiet sadness at the beginning of the book, encapsulated by the Cornish word ‘hireth’ which marks an early chapter. “There’s also hiraeth in Welsh, but there doesn’t seem to be an English term for it. It’s a longing for something that’s lost: for a home that’s no longer there; for something we never had; the fact that it’s never been in our lives. I think I was trying to express this sense of disconnection, of not feeling any attachment to my

roots, my life—for everything had been stripped away from it.” “Except Moth,” I say with relief—the state of his health having been my very first question. And indeed, the brilliant news is that his condition hasn’t markedly deteriorated in the last ten months. “He did have a downturn over winter, which wasn’t good, but we’ve tried to be a lot more active during spring and summer this year and his health’s picked up again.” Part of the reason for this was the extraordinary opportunity of revitalising an overused farm, which Raynor and Moth were offered to rent by a man who’d read The Salt Path and loved it. Set in 120 acres of a secluded valley that looks down to a creek, it includes 20 acres of orchard that’s now beginning to flourish as a result of the couple’s more sympathetic approach to land management. “It’s a brilliant use of the degree Moth did at the Eden Project after we finished the walk,” Raynor says, with obvious pride. “And in treating the land with respect, it’s extraordinary how quickly the biodiversity has exploded. But it also means that, finally, after the years that have passed, we’ve found our peaceful place.” I ask her, somewhat nervously, whether the farmhouse is now habitable—for when they moved in it had been vandalised, with glue in the locks and a cacophony of mice living in the attic. “We’ve still got a

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few rodents,” she says cheerfully, “but at least it’s now got a bit of paint on the walls—and it’s dry!” When we discuss the apples, with which they’re planning to make their first batches of cider this year, I suggest that they could market it as Salt Path Cider; and in so doing amass the fortune that not even her colossal book sales have created to date. “But it might taste awful,” she says. “Although I guess everyone might buy a trial bottle.” Sadly, I suspect she’s not going to follow me up on my suggestion, just like her previous “Oh… okay” expressing her doubt about my idea that she should try and use her fame to wrangle a free phone to replace the eight-year-old, second-hand one her daughter kindly passed on. In fact she’s distinctly embarrassed by the idea. “Famous? Me? Really? Well, if I am, I don’t think it’s changed me in the slightest. I still get up, put the kettle on, let the dog out and think, okay, what am I going to do today? The only real thing that’s changed is that when the electric bill comes through the door it just makes me smile, because I know I can actually pay it.” And of course the success of her book has, crucially, reunited her and Moth with the land—which is where she believes he thrives. In the last part of The Wild Silence they go on another walking trip, this time having Paddy guide them through Iceland. “It was a really tough trail, and yet it seems that the tougher the challenge, the better the effect on Moth,” she recalls. “After the first few days he was starting to feel strength and co-ordination return to his body; things that aren’t supposed to happen with his illness. We walked through miles of ash fields and dead lava flows— through an alien landscape that felt like a movie set in space; a land at its very beginning where the volcanic eruptions had just ended and the earth was starting to rejuvenate—just like Moth’s wellbeing. “I do feel we’ve stumbled upon something,” she says. “Some doctors say it’s Moth’s own version of ‘something’; others point to the restricted diet or endurance training he experienced during our days on the path. Personally, I’m still looking for what the answer is; partly because CBD is still so underresearched. “One of the things I’m particularly fascinated by is that most plants, to some degree or other, emit something called a secondary metabolite—it’s like a chemical that it puts out into the air, and is the thing that you see as a blue haze on a hot summer’s day when you look across a forest or woodland. Plants use it to protect themselves: from the heat, predators, pests or disease. “There’s only been a small amount of research carried out, but it’s been found that the human body reacts positively to these chemicals, so it’s something I’m really interested in. For, just like the Japanese

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Raynor and Moth, photograph by Peter Yendell

believe that the practice of forest bathing has the power to counter illness, I believe that Moth interacting with nature has tangible physical benefits.” When I ask what their next trip will be, she gives very little away, but acknowledges that it will be within the British Isles and once again guided by Paddy. I wonder if they’ve finally met, and she’s delighted to say yes. “I was at an event in the Lake District and spotted him in the audience. I thought, I know that face, so we got him up on stage, and he was so lovely. Absolutely your genuine sincere man-of-the-hills sort of person that, from reading the guide book, we’d thought he’d be.” When I ask what’s been the highlight of 2020 she guiltily proposes, “Lockdown?” before giving an alternate suggestion. We discuss that she’s not alone in thinking it. “Horrible as it has been for so many people, it couldn’t have come at a better time for me; giving me these quiet moments to reconnect with myself. And it’s meant that it’s been just me and Moth; which allows me to be my normal self—not really talking to anybody but him.”

The Wild Silence, published by Michael Joseph, is released on September 3rd, priced £14.99

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September 3 - 21 Contemporary Crafts The Gallery and The Space Symondsbury Estate, Bridport. A rich variety of handmade crafts by experienced designer-makers will be on show in this exhibition, which will highlight skilled craftwork, traditional methods and contemporary designs. The Britishmade crafts on display will include hand-forged metalwork and decorative ironwork, an array of Dorset Buttons, with designs going back to the mid-17th century, traditional willow basketry weaves, wood-turned bowls from British hardwoods and traditional handmade quilt hangings. A choice of ceramics including delicate blue and white vases, hanging pots and earthenware, slip decorated pottery and framed tiles. There will also be felt wraps, local wool snoods, jewellery and striking silk scarves as well as hand-printed lampshades, cushions and books. Not to be forgotten, there will be fused, painted, etched and stained glass hangings and sculptures. All these craft makers work in Dorset, Devon or Somerset. Free admission and parking in the estate car park; open 10.30-16.30 Thursdays through Mondays. For further information, contact Lyme Bay Arts on 01308 301326 or email September 4 - 13 Artbeat Kennaway House, Sidmouth. The 8th annual exhibition for 10 East Devon artists. Affordable, original art, prints & cards. An exciting and varied show from this talented group. Kennaway House, Coburg Road, Sidmouth, EX10 8NG. 10am-5pm. Free admission. September 11 to 24 Time and Tide Howard Flanagan. This time, his exhibition is centred on the sea and exploring our atmospheric natural

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world through time, through the seasons. 10:00am to 5:00pm Malthouse Gallery Town Mill Galleries Lyme Regis DT7 3PU September 11 - 26 Chasing Cloud Shadows Richard Pikesley. Richard will be present on September 11 and 12. Tuesday to Saturday. The Jerram Gallery, Half Moon Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3LN. +44 (0)1935 815261. Until September 12 The Summer Exhibition A delightful showcase of diverse Artworks feature in this annual popular mixed exhibition. The show will include brand new oil paintings by the President of the Pastel Society, Jeannette Hayes and long awaited paintings by Kathy Little, a Gallery Artist that has exhibited with Artwave West for nine years. There will be numerous other artists and, as customary for this season, the exhibition will be constantly changing as pictures leave for their new homes and different pieces fill the gaps! Open Tues-Sat 10-5. Artwave West, Morcombelake, Dorset DT6 6DY 01297 489746. Never and Always David Inshaw Recent paintings and works on paper. the consummate painter of the English landscape, peopled by dreamlike figures, birds and animals. Called ‘perhaps the greatest living proponent of the English Romantic tradition’ (Spectator), Inshaw invokes the powers of nature, the moon, trees, stars, birds, animals, men, women, ancient landscapes and the sea to create his powerful intensely personal paintings. Sladers Yard Gallery and Café Sladers, West Bay Road, West Bay, Bridport, Dorset DT6 4EL. 01308 459511. https://sladersyard.wordpress. com/

September 12 - 25 The Aviation and Maritime Art of John Finch. Scheduled to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, this exhibition brings together a large body of work in oil, consisting of aviation paintings covering biplane fighters of the 1930s, to the jet age of the 1950s, and includes the much-loved spitfires and hurricanes of the 1940s. Also showing are maritime paintings which span from the Age of Sail to the express liners of the 1930s. Exhibition open daily 11am-4pm. Opening reception (socially distanced) 2-4pm Saturday 12th September. Guggleton Farm Arts, Stalbridge, Dorset. DT10 2RQ. https://guggletonfarmarts. com/ September 18 - January 10 Autumn Mixed Show Work by gallery artists & Chloe Fremantle. The exquisite Tincleton Gallery will be holding a four-month mixed show of their gallery artists, plus London-based artist Chloe Fremantle. Periodically some of the works will be taken down and replaced by others so that the show can remain fresh for the 4-month run irrespective of how the Covid-19 pandemic evolves. Tincleton Gallery, The Old School House, Tincleton, nr Dorchester, DT2 8QR. Opening times: Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon from 10:00 - 17:00, no admission fee. Venue contact number: 01305 848 909. Website: September 19 – October 2 Emotional Response Contrasts with Visual Essentials: A Joint Show by Nigel Sharman & Mel Cormack-Hicks. Marine House at Beer. Accessible online from the end of August, the show will be available to view in the gallery daily from 10am – 5.00pm. The joint show will present new artworks by two artists who in distinctly different ways have, in their contrasting but innovative artistic prowess, made themselves very popular and collectable. Marine House at Beer, Fore Street, Beer Nr Seaton, Devon, EX 12 3EF. 01297 625257,, September 24 - October 14 20 20 Vision (Brass & Copper paintings) Julie Oldfield. New paintings and in situ copper sheet sketches, inspired by the mixed emotions of Lockdown and the freedom to explore new country walks as nature and quiet reclaimed my surroundings. 10:30 to 4:30. Malthouse Gallery Town Mill Galleries Lyme Regis DT7 3PU www. Courtyard Gallery

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ell-known Dorset artist and art tutor, Carolyn Finch, is curating an exhibition of her father’s work at the Guggleton Farm Arts gallery in September. John Finch, who has been painting maritime and aviation works for 40 years, has recently moved to Dorset and this will be his first exhibition for 20 years. Much of his previous work hangs in collections worldwide and, in particular, he has many paintings hanging in the Bermuda Maritime museum. This large body of work consists of aviation paintings covering biplane fighters of the 1930s, to the jet age of the 1950s, and includes the much-loved spitfires and hurricanes of the 1940s. His marine paintings span from the Age of Sail to the express liners of the 1930s. There are a number of pieces bringing marine and aviation together, showing Royal Naval carriers together with their air component, the Fleet Air Arm of the piston era. The exhibition has been scheduled to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The painting “The Hardest Day” captures a snapshot in time during the Battle of Britain when enemy forces raided Kenley aerodrome. John often chooses to paint a particular subject because there is no existing photographic record of the event, and so he creates a visual depiction of these moments in history using descriptions from first and second hand accounts to compose the picture. Born in Switzerland in 1938, John Finch studied Art at Fray’s College, near London. He pursued a career in engineering design, which gave him the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East, and he continued to paint throughout his engineering career. In the eighties he took an early retirement and settled in the Isle of Wight, allowing a complete devotion of his time to painting. Living in Freshwater Bay, and surrounded by authentic, natural beauty, he was inspired to paint sea and landscapes of the island. During this time, he also ran successful painting classes and workshops. When his daughter, Carolyn, moved to Bermuda in the 1990s, he became fascinated with the Island’s maritime and aviation history. This resulted in his creating an extensive body of work depicting

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transportation scenes from Bermuda’s past, in particular, the flying boats that serviced the Island in the period before and during the Second World War. Many of these paintings now hang in Bermuda’s Maritime Museum. For his references, John uses old photographs, first and second hand written accounts, and his own knowledge of military history, engineering and landscape to create his dramatic depictions of aviation and marine subjects. He has admired and been influenced by marine and aviation artists such as John Chancellor, Thomas Summerscales, Terrence Cuneo and Michael Turner. In the past three decades, John has been involved in many exhibitions. Most notable are his successful Bermuda exhibitions with his daughter Carolyn, and the exhibition ‘Marine Paintings’ at the Windjammer Gallery Bermuda, 2000, in which he collaborated with marine artists J. Steven Dews, Stephen Card, Tim Thompson, among others. His work has also appeared in many publications, in particular The Battle of Britain by Roy Conyers Nesbit which includes John’s painting Ventnor RDF Station, the only known visual depiction of the site as it was in 1942. Carolyn and John hope to see you at this rare opportunity to view John’s fascinating and detailed depictions of these bygone times. The Aviation and Marine Art of John Finch is at Guggleton Farm Arts, Stalbridge, DT10 2RQ. Exhibition open daily 11am-4pm from 12th to 25th September 2020. Opening reception (socially distanced) 2-4pm Saturday 12th September. Paintings by John Finch opposite page: Top left: Fairey Flycatchers. Fleet fighters over their carrier, HMS Glorious, in the 1930s. Oil on Board. Top right: The Only Way to Travel. RMS Queen Mary passes her sister RMS Queen Elizabeth on an Atlantic crossing in the late 1930s Oil on Canvas. Mid left: And Compass Rose Found Them. The dingy returns to the mother ship after searching for convoy survivors during the Battle of the Atlantic. Oil on Board. Mid right: The Hardest Day - Kenley, Sunday August 18th 1940, 1.22pm. Oil on Board. Bottom page: Vulcan - the Delta Masterpiece. Avro Vulcan B2 XL426 83squ. RAF Scampton, at high altitude in the early 1960s. Oil on Board.

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SINÉAD By Louisa Adjoa Parker


inéad was born in London, as were her parents. Her paternal grandparents were born in the UK, and her maternal grandparents were born in Jamaica. She defines her ethnicity as mixed race. She now lives in a village near Dorchester, Dorset, where she and her husband moved in 2014 for his work, and to be closer to family. Her husband is of British and Dutch heritage. Overall, she says her experience of being an ethnic minority in a rural landscape has been a positive one, but some incidents have made her question the move. ‘Most people are very welcoming, but I have noticed there is a small minority of people who dislike “out of towners” or anyone who appears to be different.’ Sinéad has experienced verbal abuse and has been threatened with violence. Two local men attempted to run her over near her home. The second time this happened, she was outside her house putting the children in the car. ‘The driver had seen me before and knows where I live. He saw me and veered the HGV towards me as though he was going to run me over.’ Other incidents include a man staring at her then saying, ‘Oh they’re taking over everywhere,’ and a woman in Waitrose telling her she was the reason for ISIS. ‘Maybe,’ she says, ‘people think we are used to it, or that they’re justified in saying these things.’ In terms of more subtle racism, she says this usually takes the form of indirect comments, ‘or just dirty looks or stares.’ She is often asked ‘where are you from?’, to which she will reply London, and then people usually say, ‘Yes but where are you really from?’ Hair is a big thing, Sinéad says. Strangers often touch her children’s curly hair, which she feels is inappropriate. Her own hair is covered with a hijab so people don’t touch it. Her husband has a huge beard—‘so some people might think he’s a hipster’—but if he’s with Sinéad they know he’s Muslim. Skin colour, and the different tones of her children’s skin, also leads to a lot of interest. Her eldest son is darker than the other children, who have olive or pale skin. Sinéad gets asked if the children are adopted, or if they have the same mum and dad. Local people often assume she is a foreigner or a refugee. ‘They make assumptions that you’re from one place when you’re not.’ Some assume she is an Arab, or ask if her husband is from Saudi Arabia. When she tells them he is white this leads to more confusion. Her husband has also experienced racism because of his Dutch heritage, and been told to ‘go back to Poland.’ ‘If they think you’re foreign, whether black, Muslim or European, or any other race, they have an issue.’ It can be worse in some areas than others. When the family first moved to Dorset, Sinéad’s husband didn’t want her to go to Weymouth, until she knew which parts of it were OK. Her sister-in-law used to live in Littlemoor, and one day they picked her up. Sinéad’s husband was wearing Islamic dress. ‘A guy drove past and shouted racist abuse, even though my husband’s white.’ These experiences, she says, have made her anxiety worse, and made her extra cautious when she goes out. ‘I don’t feel like I belong here—I’m mixed race, Muslim and from London. Many people have asked if I’m here on holiday—I’ve lived here for 5 years!’ It’s hard to get over this anxiety when you hear about the issues in the area. But she tries not to be negative about living here, and says it’s not too bad. She thinks that rural communities are harder to integrate into, and that in comparison, people in cities such as London are more accepting of different races, religions and lifestyles, ‘because it’s a mixing pot of cultures.’ When it comes to enjoying the natural environment around her, she says, ‘PoC* enjoy nature like everyone else. We love going to the beach and going for countryside walks. But myself, my family and friends are cautious about where we go because we worry about the reaction from others.’ Many of her friends want to visit Dorset, as they’ve heard it’s nice, but most are black and Muslim, so there is a ‘double whammy.’ Sinéad says that these issues are not spoken about enough, especially when it comes to schools, employers and others who are in a position to do something. ‘It should just be normal practice.’ She feels that the wider community in Dorset needs to ‘see us as humans—they need to look past our colour, dress, or religion. They need to learn about history which includes colonisation and the historic dehumanisation of PoC and non-Christians. Only then will they understand why they have been taught to see us as a threat.’ *PoC refers to the term ‘People of Colour’ which is now commonly used in the UK to describe ethnic minorities from Black, Asian and other nonwhite backgrounds Sinéad’s story is one of the many stories that Louisa has been gathering for The Inclusion Agency (TIA). To read more visit

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The Lit Fix

Marshwood Vale-based author, Sophy Roberts, gives us her slim pickings for September. Sophy Roberts is a freelance journalist who writes about travel and culture. She writes regularly for FT Weekend, among others. Her first book, The Lost Pianos of Siberia—one of The Sunday Times top five non-fiction books for summer 2020—was published in February by Doubleday.

I make my living travel writing, which has been difficult given the debacle of recent weeks with quarantine rules kicking in quicker than any one of us can catch the last plane home. Unable to find my footing in these challenging times, I have retreated to Scotland—up into the Highlands, which has helped ground me in the land of my northern childhood. Pottering about the harbour town of Ullapool, it feels good to return to a landscape I’m familiar with from twenty years ago. It also feels good to be back browsing the shelves of a brilliant independent bookseller—a privilege I took for granted before the virus. Like our treasured independents fringing the Marshwood Vale—Archway Bookshop in Axminster, and The Book Shop in Bridport—The Ullapool Bookshop is true to its sense of place. My slim pickings this month owe a debt to the manager, Katherine Douglas. The Crofter and the Laird by the American master of non-fiction, John McPhee, describes the year he spent on the island of Colonsay, the land of his forefathers, in a community of 138 people back in 1969. Part travelogue, part anthropology, it is a window on a lost world of ‘greens leas’, ‘hunks of sod’, nesting kittiwakes, fulmars, and Scotsmen with ‘speckled skin’. It also has one of the best opening lines I have read for a while: ‘The Scottish clan that I belong to—or would belong to if it were now anything more than a sentimental myth—was broken a great many generations ago by a party of MacDonalds, who hunted down the last chief of my clan, captured him, refused him mercy, saying that a man who had never shown mercy should not ask for it, tied him to a standing stone, and shot him.’ This humorous and insightful read reveals the bedrock of good writing— simplicity and clarity—as well as our homing instinct: the ‘true north’ we are all seeking, one way or another, through family histories ‘broken and rebroken and dispersed.’ The Noise of a Fly is not something I want any more of, given the midge storms I’m experiencing up here in the Highlands every time the wind falls away. But what a treasure this slim Faber & Faber collection is, featuring works by the Scottish contemporary poet, Douglas Dunn. His odes and elegies describe the small pleasures we fail to notice every day, from the body of a bluebottle, ‘black with a blue shine’, to ‘the unfolding wing of a resting wren.’ It includes notes to young poets—‘Think in pictures. Think in rhythm’—and in a poem that describes a serene evening in his garden, he tries to face what happens ‘without self-pity’ as he listens to his ‘old watch tick/ Against the smell of earth and shrubs.’ The topic of nationhood also comes under Dunn’s lyrical scrutiny in ‘English (a Scottish essay)’, written after the 2014 referendum. The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd is one of those books that makes you wonder what on earth made you miss it before. Describing the Cairngorm mountains between the wars, it is nature writing that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your arm. In a 2011 edition published by Canongate, Robert Macfarlane writes an eloquent, edifying introduction, which makes the slim 100-odd pages easily worth the price tag. Macfarlane’s writing is very well known, of course, to West Dorset readers, given how brilliantly he describes our holloways that weave through the Marshwood Vale (The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot). On that thought, the days are getting shorter, and I should be getting home. Buy any of the books above at Archway Bookshop in Axminster in September and receive a 10% discount when you mention Marshwood Vale Magazine.

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Cause and Effect After a lifetime trying to make the world a better place, Chris Savory has written a book about his years as a peace activist. He talked to Fergus Byrne.


aking part in the World Peace march across America in 1982, Chris Savory felt a sense of joy and a belief in the possibility that politicians just might sit up and take notice. He felt pride at being part of a principled movement for the betterment of humanity. But when the police arrived, he also discovered his innate fear of violence. These are some of the memories that set the scene in Confessions of a Non-Violent Revolutionary, a book Chris has written about his time as a peace activist in the 1980s. The book tells the story from his first direct action—sitting on the floor of the Guardian’s office in London demanding to speak to a journalist, through to bravely standing between police and stone-throwing anarchists to prove non-violence was a better alternative. It follows the engrossing journey of one man’s total dedication to bringing about nuclear disarmament and details the many highs and lows of his years of political struggle. However, the life that he led might have been very different. Arriving in Pittsburgh and joining up with the peace march in 1982 was just one aspect of a dramatic change in both lifestyle and ambition for Chris. In his A level year he had been tipped to be Head Boy, get a County trial for rugby and take Oxford entrance exams. But the Chris Savory that then went on to Oxford to study Economics was to disappear off the face of the earth. Like many people at that stage in their lives, something simply didn’t fit. As he points out in the book: ‘It’s not unusual for people in their late teens and early twenties to look at the future mapped out for them and recoil in horror at the restrictions and responsibilities that this implies.’ But for Chris it wasn’t just the restrictions or responsibilities that were an issue. In 1981, living at his Gran’s house outside Cowley in Oxford he had become disillusioned with his perceived future. He asked college authorities to let him have a year off study to find his motivation again. Already a part-time activist for a year, he felt the threat of nuclear crisis was so acute he wanted to devote all his energies to averting it. He described himself as a performing ‘exam monkey’ and wondered ‘would my sixteen O-levels protect me from a nuclear attack?’ He was losing faith in the potential for a meaningful future. As he cycled past Magdalen College he felt there were people of power and wealth who were oblivious to the threats posed by the escalating nuclear arms race and the prospect of ecological disaster. He knew from his time at Oxford that he didn’t have the right family background to ever rise to a position of power. His only hope, he thought, was to be a ‘trusty lieutenant’ to the ruling class. With the final exam of 62 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

the first year over, he celebrated and on the way home bought fish and chips. He recalled, however that, ‘freedom tasted sour: salt, vinegar and loneliness.’ After dropping out of college he visited a careers advisor who berated him for throwing away his opportunity. Chris decided: ‘I’ll show you, you bastards. I will find a way to be authentic and change the bloody world into the bargain.’ He joined a commune in Wales where he was both influenced and irritated by the commune leader who accused him of playing at living an alternative life. ‘The last thing I wanted was to be a champagne socialist, a demo-dilettante, a smug middle class intellectual’ he said. Although stung by these criticisms, he knew his change of lifestyle and road to activism had emerged from a deep and genuine fear of nuclear holocaust. His efforts over the next few years saw him organising and participating in a wide range of protest in Germany, Belgium, America and of course all over England. He was also part of a theatrical troupe that, through street theatre, brought a message of peace anywhere people would listen. ‘I was as shocked as anybody that I decided to do these things’ he said. ‘It was quite sudden in a way. Certainly up to the age of about 17 there was no hint of this possibility.’ In the end, however, his attempts to change the world, although valiant, were ultimately to be thwarted by a more powerful establishment. ‘The system, the state, the powers that be, fought back’ he said. And it’s not a spoiler to say that the end result has created a book that is as much about the death of opportunity as it is about the passion that drove many people to protest for so many years. His journey, although starting from a deeply entrenched belief that non-violent direct action (NVDA) could make the world a better place, was ultimately futile. ‘Blockading bases hadn’t stopped Cruise and Trident. Mass demonstrations, peace marches, peace camps, die-ins, publicity stunts, petitions, opinion polls, letter writing, boycotts, voting, fasting, praying, singing, posters, conferences, nuclear-free councils and even our street theatre hadn’t got rid of a single weapon.’ Confessions of a Non-Violent Revolutionary came about for a number of different reasons. Speaking from his home in Bridport, Chris explained that the story of those years as an activist in ‘Thatcher’s Britain’ was something that he couldn’t really explain at a dinner party. He hoped the book would give an insight into the peace movement of the 80s as well as help him get a better understanding of how it had affected him, and perhaps some of those around him. He also hoped to pass on some of the lessons learnt. ‘One of the things about

Black and white photographs of protests at Burghfield by John Brierly and Chris in New York after the Peace March

radical politics is that people don’t learn lessons from the past’ said Chris. ‘You dive into it full of youthful passion and often make the same mistakes that people have made in the past. If some young people read the book and learn a few lessons, then they might not have to go through some of the things I did.’ Confessions of a Non-Violent Revolutionary offers a depth of honesty that is refreshing, whilst also disconcerting. Protest, demonstration and challenge all play a vital part in the democratic process but there is little thanks for those that devote their lives to righting perceived wrongs. For Chris, and perhaps for many others, the battle becomes a mental challenge, not just in dealing with powerful authorities but also in dealing with disillusionment and self-esteem. ‘When I started down the road of protest and struggle for change, I had absolutely no idea how powerful this feeling of isolation from society would be, or how much pain it would cause me’ he said. ‘These feelings had pushed me towards a hatred of society which, coupled with despair at the failure of our movements and the still burning sense of urgency for disarmament, led me to a very dark place.’ He had a serious emotional breakdown and today suffers debilitating bouts of depression and exhaustion. His hope now is that organisations will be more aware of the emotion that drives people to take a stand. ‘As a society we’ve got to take emotions more seriously’ he says.’ A lot of the violence and anger we see comes from emotional distress. It’s very easy as a young or even older person to decide to try

to change the world. But when that hope is dented, it’s really important to deal with those emotions, and in the movements I was involved with, that didn’t happen.’ Chris has spent his whole adult life trying to make the world a better place through protest, local politics, working in the education sector, community campaigns and volunteering for social enterprises, and although it’s questionable whether that has been the best option for his health, he still believes there is hope. Last year, for the first time in decades, he attended a protest. At the Extinction Rebellion demonstration on Waterloo Bridge he crossed the line to join the protesters. ‘I’m not ready to sit down for hours or to be removed by the police’ he said. ‘But I am able to identify myself as a rebel and show solidarity for an hour or two. It turns out that it’s not so easy to extinguish that flame of hope. As the crisis deepens I know which side I’m on.’

Confessions of a Non-Violent Revolutionary published by Clairview Books is available from The Bookshop in Bridport or through the website

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The Coal Barge and the Jewel Anemones BY HORATIO MORPURGO


unard’s Queen Mary 2, the world’s fastest cruise ship, has been laid up in Weymouth Bay since March, alongside several other such vessels. Massive on-board generators have to be kept running, though at reduced power. Fumes from their giant funnels spread and settle in a brown pall over the bay and its crowded beaches. The release of pent-up psychological pressure was felt everywhere along this coast as the lockdown was eased. Erratic driving, massed revelry on beaches, piles of trash left behind. The imagery from all this stirred readily into the febrile news mix. The sea and what it means to us, the uses we make of it, even in a pandemic, are never far from view in a place like this. The beer cans and the behaviour were still swinging in and out of the headlines when a review appeared making the case for HPMAs around the UK coast. Environmentalists love to wrap their doings in impenetrable acronyms. Perhaps they feel it lends them a professional mystique. They can perhaps hardly complain then if the public pays no attention. There are at present no HPMAs of significant size anywhere in UK waters. That matters because HPMA stands for Highly Protected Marine Areas—i.e. areas where there is no fishing or extractive activity at all. A better name for them would be Really Protected Marine Areas, as distinct from the Not Really Protected Marine Areas, in which our seas abound. That distinction has of late been exposed even more starkly than usual. Difficulties in mounting patrols during lockdown made it harder to track vessels and led, predictably, to illegal fishing, in the Cardigan Bay ‘protected area’ and elsewhere.

Lyme Bay is home to a rare success story in all this. More than 70 square miles of it have been closed to all towed gear (scallop dredges, beam and otter trawls) and this ban has held since 2008, with rare incursions resulting in heavy fines. The sea-bed’s recovery has been closely studied by Plymouth University. The reserve is managed by a coalition of inshore fishermen, biologists and conservation bodies—Blue Marine and the Wildlife Trusts. But even inside this area, potting, trawling and recreational fishing are still permitted everywhere. A recent report from Plymouth University, undertaken in collaboration with fishermen, has explored the impact of potting on the sea bed. It isn’t always zero. As the first, most successful and best-studied of the UK’s larger Marine Protected Areas, it is the obvious candidate to build on this achievement by closing part of it to all fishing and then watching what happens. It’s worth recalling that the partial protection it now enjoys was fiercely resisted by government and industry lobbyists, on the grounds that it ‘wouldn’t work’. It manifestly has worked. The present abundance of skate, bass, cuttlefish and John Dory in Lyme Bay speaks for itself. The sea-bed’s recovery has been rapid and spectacular. What has happened here is just what industry lobbyists told us never could. Therein lies its significance for all our coastal waters. With fewer of us travelling abroad this summer—however traumatic the reasons—might this not be a time to pay less attention to scuffles on beaches and more to reviews into HPMAs, whether or not such reviews made it onto your Twitter feed? The relationship of our offshore habitats to the wid-

To read the Benyon review into Highly Protected Marine Areas click on this link:

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er culture generally and the media in particular is not as often or as carefully examined as it should be. Two short years ago much was being made of Blue Planet 2. The programme reached a vast audience around the world. It seemed to be television at its best, although some in the UK criticised the series for dwelling too much upon seas remote from Britain. Problems on this scale cannot be solved by one broadcasting corporation, let alone by one presenter or his team. It is surely up to every coastal community to be continually re-inventing its relationship with the sea. The area around Lyme Bay is in some ways peculiarly well-suited to this, and not just for the reasons I’ve already given. The remarkable sequence of rocks of which this coast is made date from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. These form the centre piece of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site designated in 2001. It’s a region as well explored by geologists as it is admired by visitors and has been long before the ‘Jurassic Coast’ was thought of. In 1839 a geological fault just west of Lyme Regis caused a massive landslip. It caused an entire offshore reef to rear up out of the water ‘covered with sea weed, shell fish and other marine productions.’ The mechanics of this, known as ‘rotational movement’, were still then unknown. The geologist and palaeontologist William Coneybeare lived nearby and his friend William Buckland happened to be staying. They were already engaged in the fierce debate about the role of single catastrophes in geological change, over against gradualist change, and reported to learned journals within days. It was

not until the 1980s, though, that the event was fully understood. The upending of an entire landscape created ravines, revealed new cliffs and left behind isolated rock pinnacles. After 1900 ‘the Undercliff ’, as the site is known, was left un-grazed. The high canopy which towers over the visitor today is the result. It is essentially the West Country’s earliest rewilding project, all be it brought about by necessity rather than intentionally. It is an outstanding, easily accessible and closely studied example of how a landscape, freed from traditional use, can regenerate. HPMAs would do the same thing but offshore and intentionally, which is more difficult because—except after major geological upheavals—the sea bed is out of sight to most of us. This surely explains much of the difficulty in establishing them. Governments have to be persuaded to steer the process. There’s a role for wildlife documentaries here, to generate national or even global waves of concern big enough that governments notice them. But there’s a role for another approach, too. Peter Glanvill is a retired GP who has been diving Lyme Bay for more than 50 years. He was the first person I interviewed as lockdown measures were eased. I’d attended one of his slide-talks, given to a local association, just before the pandemic began. Taught to dive in the Dart estuary by the same man who taught David Attenborough, Peter has been visiting the sea bed here long enough to observe the disintegration of war-time wrecks over time. The deck railings of a coal barge, torpedoed in 1918, have fallen off since he first saw it fifty years later. Today its boiler

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is covered in jewel anemones. An enthusiast for the Marine Protected Area, he has seen with his own eyes the recent return of angler fish and crawfish, the evergreater numbers of octopus. After spending time around Lyme Bay, the Victorian novelist Charles Kingsley recommended to his readers what he called the ‘wonders of the shore’: ‘for wonders there are around you at every step, stranger than ever opium-eater dreamed, and yet to be seen at no greater expense than a very little time and trouble.’ Many of the creatures Peter has photographed are ‘stranger than opium-eater ever dreamed’ and they are as near at hand now as they ever were. Kingsley also suggests that anyone wanting to know about the sea talk to fishermen and others who know it well. Descending in person to the sea-bed struck Kingsley as a strange idea but he acknowledged the antiquity of the human dream that we might one day visit the ocean floor. The dream of flight was expressed long ago in the legend of Icarus. But the Greeks dreamt of diving, too, through the story of Glaucus. He was a fisherman who discovered a herb with which he could restore the fish he caught to life. Trying some of this herb himself he became immortal but also grew fins and scales, living thereafter in the sea and acquiring prophetic powers. Kingsley’s book, named after Glaucus, argues that the way we engage with the sea has always been primarily through the imagination. Peter and I sit on separate benches in a park in Lyme Regis overlooking the bay. I ask about how he took to diving and there are several answers. One is ‘I just always want to know what’s around the corner.’ Another is the story of how his father, also a doctor, saw a film about Jacques Cousteau, learnt to dive and took his son along. Peter has preserved the logbook from his first dive, in search of spider crabs off Seatown in the summer of 1967. It’s clear also, from the beauty of his photographs and from the way he talks about the creatures in them, that to observe closely, over time, is to care. Beachcleaning groups have sprung up everywhere in recent years. Less well known are the divers picking old lead fishing weights from the sea bed and removing them by the tonne, or cutting old lobsters free from the carelessly discarded fishing line in which they become entangled. Peter has done both. He is friendly with a generation of fishermen who took him out on their boats. He is an enthusiast for the Marine Protected Area not because he belongs to some online community which is in the habit of enthusing about it. He has seen for himself the growing abundance of fauna that depend on an undisturbed sea

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bed. He doesn’t speak about it with the puffery of an advocate but rather with a kind of modesty that Twitter gallops straight past. What if the necessary reinvention of our relationship with the sea looks much more like this than it looks like Blue Planet 2? That relationship, after all, can only be reinvented in actual places. A screen may help with that—or it may hinder. Either way, it’s what happens in actual places which is decisive. We’ve already seen that people have been paying attention to the underwater world here for much longer than 50 years. Kingsley’s Glaucus (1855) was part of a conversation, starting out as a review of Philip Henry Gosse’s A Naturalist’s Rambles on the Devonshire Coast (1853). Gosse had taken his family to live close to Lyme Bay, just outside Torquay, in a bid to restore his health. He restored it by engaging in what he loved best: ‘the study of the curious forms, and still more curious instincts, of animated beings… Few, very few,’ he went on, ‘are at all aware of the many strange… wondrous objects that are to be found by searching on those shores that every season are crowded by idle pleasure-seekers.’ Gosse would become the David Attenborough of his day, lecturing tirelessly on marine biology. The first underwater photographs were taken in this same decade, by an enterprising Weymouth solicitor called William Thompson. Gosse had also lived in Weymouth but seems not to have noticed this innovation. He had or, rather, had invented something that seemed to him a likelier means of mass persuasion, namely, the home aquarium. He invented a recipe for artificial sea water, too, so that specimens collected on Lyme Bay’s foreshore could be taken back to the living rooms of London or Birmingham and continue there to instruct and enchant. Gosse was a distinguished biologist and a correspondent with Darwin. ‘Precision’, he wrote, ‘is the very soul of science’ and he meant it. But his ‘ramblings’ were not intended as a ‘book of systematic zoology.’ Their purpose was a wider one. He pressed into service ‘personal narrative, local anecdote, and traditionary legend.’ He quotes the poets and the Bible. His aim was to awaken as large an audience as possible to his news that ‘prodigies’ are ‘all in sight of inattentive man.’ To read Kingsley and Gosse on Lyme Bay now is to read two deeply engaged thinkers, both in touch with Darwin. Both men were Christians and even as they describe those prodigies, ‘all in sight’ to anyone with eyes to see, they enlist their surroundings in the ‘species question’, or debate about how (or whether) new forms of life emerge, how life reinvents itself. It is for this too, surely, that they still merit attention.

The great argument today does not pit biological science against literalist Christianity. But the clergyman-novelist Kingsley’s account of this is more prescient in some ways than the scientist Gosse. As they wrote, London’s Great Exhibition of 1851 was a recent memory and Crystal Palace was still a popular attraction. It was also something close to a temple dedicated to humankind’s new and austerely ‘rationalised’ ideal, one which an energy-obese industrial civilisation would soon deliver. The vast cast-iron-and-plate-glass structure and its implied vision for the future appalled Feodor Dostoevsky when he visited London. It appalled Kingsley too. He repeatedly marvels at the intricate structure of even, or especially, the smallest marine creatures, contrasting the loveliness of a sea urchin’s design, say, with the grandomania and boastfulness of Crystal Palace. Crystal Palace burnt down long ago but the world-view of which it was an expression is with us still. It is much the same philosophy that built our malls and motorways and cruise ships. The same philosophy has both overfished our oceans (to stock our supermarkets) and put endless obstacles in the way of real marine protection. I mentioned earlier that a review on HPMAs appeared during lockdown and was largely ignored. One of those who wrote it, Joan Edwards, now with the Wildlife Trusts, was once involved with the response to an American oil company which had applied to drill through the reefs in Lyme Bay for the oil that is known to lie beneath them. The oil company was dissuaded. Thirty years later those same reefs are part of a Marine Protected Area and Ms Edwards is on a panel making the case for fully protected areas to be established at last around our coast. The sediments that accumulate where the sea bed is undisturbed are known to absorb carbon more efficiently even than trees. That review was engaging with the most urgent issue of our time. As we’ve seen, people have been thinking through this stretch of coast for a long time. So why shouldn’t we? Kingsley chuckled over visitors walking ‘up one parade and down another’, falling asleep over bad novels and having their umbrellas stolen, waking up for a nightlife which is ‘a soulless rechauffé of third-rate London frivolity.’ This is how ‘thousands spend the golden weeks of summer.’ Is what he describes entirely unrecognisable? And yet there the cup corals are, to this day, only a little way offshore. Between West Bay and Seaton, half a mile out, runs a submarine ledge teeming with marine life, rising to within 10 ft of the surface before it plunging to the sea bed. With Glaucus, then, with Gosse and Kingsley, with Glanvill and Edwards, let us glide along it in imagination and remind ourselves why knowing it is there has never mattered so urgently as it does now. Jewel anenomies, scorpion fish, crawfish and pink sea fan in Lyme Bay photographs by Peter Glanvill Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 67

Teen Book Review The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall REVIEWED BY ANTONIA SQUIRE


hat would you do to survive? That is the question that Flora must answer with a blade as she secures her place among

the pirates. That is the question that Evelyn must answer with her empathy and wits as she seeks to escape the pirates’ treachery. The only child of high-ranking nobles within the Nipran Empire, but with the disappointment of being born a girl, Evelyn has everything she money can buy. Unfortunately, money cannot buy the love, respect or affection of her parents. To her father she is an annoyance, to her mother: an embarrassment. As her family fortunes falter her value remains, in a land of high-stakes politics Evelyn has value as a pawn in marriage. For years Evelyn has pitied the ‘casket girls’ setting sail to unknown lands and unknown husbands, never to return—their worldly possessions transported in the very caskets they themselves will be buried in upon their deaths. Now she is to be one of them, leaving the cold comfort of home to the frightening savagery of the Floating Islands. Orphaned and alone, Flora and her brother must steal to eat in the back alleys Nipran’s capital city. Their luck finally changes when they find work on a pirate ship, but in order to gain their places Flora is forced to prove herself by way of murder. And to maintain their places the girl must become a man, and Florian is born, for the pirate ship conceals its deadly purpose as a Slaver behind the veneer of a luxury passenger vessel. As Evelyn sets sail on a luxury vessel, her destination—the military commander husband she has yet to meet—she is waited on by an interesting young cabin boy by the name of Florian. During the voyage the two young people begin to see past their class differences and make their way towards becoming, first friends and then their friendship deepens into something more. But Florian is treading on dangerous ground, he is a slaver and she is his prey, whether she knows it or not. If the crew were to ever discover his true feelings he would be in as severe danger as she and the moment of betrayal cannot be averted. As we delve deeper into the world of Mermaids

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and Witches and the omnipresence of a sentient Sea we learn more of the depravity of the pirates—their lust for Mermaid blood, the drink that takes them to oblivion and allows them to forget. But the price for this horror is high, they too are hunted and not just by the Sea, and Florian’s brother has fallen foul of this self-inflicted curse. We learn the ways of Witches— eradicated throughout the empire to be sure, hunted and burned but surviving themselves, hiding and helping both those deserving and those willing to pay. And we learn the ways of the Sea, immortal and omnipotent, taking care of her own and helping those who care for her. As Evelyn and Florian interact, first with each other, then with the Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea their true worth emerges, to each other and to themselves. In a dazzling display of world-building Tokuda-Hall sets the adventures of Florian and Evelyn against the background of an intoxicating, Japanese-fusion landscape. Weaving myths and legends from across continents, this is a harsh, brutal and ultimately beautiful tale of love, resilience and redemption. Blending gender fluidity, race relations and comparative morality into a rollicking fantasy adventure, Maggie Tokuda-Hall has created a modern fairy tale for our times. Absolutely brilliant. Full disclosure—Maggie is a friend from my San Francisco bookselling days. he’s always been irritatingly talented (we were direct competitors!) but her debut YA novel puts her in a class above. A truly magnificent achievement from a truly wonderful soul.

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea By Maggie Tokuda-Hall Ages 14+ Walker Books, RRP £7.99, Special Marshwood Vale Readers Price of £6.99 only at The Bookshop South Street, Bridport. Available September 3rd, 2020


of the Ancient LAWRENCES in Crewkerne are discovering that ancient art is finding new appeal at auction. In the auctioneers’ summer auction, a Persian tinned copper bowl (top left above), probably from the time of the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736), tripled expectations to make £1060; and an Egyptian wooden and painted ushabti figure (guardian worker in the afterlife, top right above), dating from the 2nd millennium BC, exceeded hopes to make £1750. The auctioneers have a number of interesting lots destined for their forthcoming autumn auctions. A slender Egyptian alabaster cosmetic jar (right) with raised ridge below the rim, from the Middle Kingdom (early 2nd Millennium BC) stands 8cm high and is estimated at £200-300). A fragmented Mesopotamian foundation cone, (above) with the cone head and a small part of the text remaining, just 9cm high, is guided at £200-300. A Mesopotamian baked clay cuneiform tablet, (right middle above) from the late 3rd Millennium BC, with clear wedge-shaped cuneiform text on both sides and a complete end, about the size of a small paperback book is expected to make £300-400. For more information visit Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 69


HELP AT HAND IN A TIME OF NEED A psychological therapies service that is part of the NHS, Steps2wellbeing offers a range of therapies to help with mental health problems. In a series of short articles, Ellie Sturrock offers details of a vital community resource. TRAUMA AND DIFFICULT EXPERIENCES IN LIFE AND POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD). (The cases below are composite cases and not real people.)


ost of us have had some difficulties in life such as bullying at school or work, accidents, abuse, illness, loss of loved ones. Although upsetting, we have an ability to accept and adjust to these by using our friends and family for support, by seeing it is not our fault, it’s bad luck and that these are normal experiences that don’t just happen to us. Sometimes though, we can get more seriously affected by traumatic events and we know that around one third of people who experience something traumatic may develop longer term symptoms, linked to PTSD. At these times S2W can assess and help people find ways to treat and reduce their symptoms. Not all traumatic events cause PTSD. Jocelyn, 79, found her disabled husband on the floor having hit his head badly. He was taken to hospital but sadly died. This was a year ago and Jocelyn finds herself going over and over it, holding herself responsible for not finding him sooner and regretting not doing all the things they had planned for their retirement. She had had counselling in the past when her granddaughter died of an unusual childhood cancer. It had helped her adjust to this loss and when she spoke to the assessor from S2W she asked for counselling again. Brendan is 58 and had been beaten and neglected as a child by a stepfather. His mother had had alcohol problems and at times was cared for by his nan. He had joined the army as soon as he could and served in Ireland and Bosnia. As well as seeing a friend killed in an explosion he had lost a leg in the same incident so was retired out. He hadn’t ever talked with anyone about his experiences in the services. Over the COVID period Brendan spent time going through old photos. Unfortunately this triggered nightmares of the past, flashbacks and caused him to be fearful of going out, he also started drinking alcohol to feel better and block it all out.

His partner is worried by his increased angry outbursts (he has broken a window and broken three fingers by punching a wall). He is also easily provoked to tears but won’t talk to her about what happened in case it distresses her. With his agreement she called S2W and arranged for him to speak to one of the team and have an assessment by phone. The therapist doing the assessment suggested he do a six session stabilisation course with a view to then being offered trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy (shown in international research to be the most effective form of treatment). She also signposted him to a veterans hub in Weymouth. Amelia, 19, was raped at a music festival last year. She has been granted a place at university but is thinking about not going because of a mistrust of men and party situations. She is reliant on her sister and best friend when she goes out and will never be in a busy place or with men she doesn’t know. It’s making life difficult when friends are now meeting and going out more. She feels embarrassed about the rape and doesn’t like to talk about it so after discussion with a S2W therapist she has been offered EMDR which is a treatment for PTSD. She can do this at home or face to face with a trained EMDR practitioner in S2W. PTSD is a normal reaction to an awful situation. There are services and treatments that can be really effective with these sorts of problems. Please call or refer yourself to S2W if you would like more help or to find out more. Please see your GP if you are feeling very low and suicidal and there are 24 hour services available too. Connections 0300 1235440, Samaritans 116123, text SHOUT 85258. Steps 2Wellbeing (S2W) is a short term psychological therapies service. You can refer yourself on the website by phone 0300 790 6828 (cheap rate).

Julia’s House staff complete Around the World challenge IT’S taken them 92 days and 24,900 miles, but a team of dedicated staff from Julia’s House, the Dorset and Wiltshire children’s hospice charity have made it to the end of their mammoth Around the World global fundraising challenge. By combining their daily exercise hours during the lockdown period the team has managed to collectively walk, run or cycle a distance equivalent to travelling round the world. In the process they have been able to raise in excess of £10,000 to help the charity continue its vital work caring for local children with life-limiting and lifethreatening conditions across the two counties. The team’s combined mileage was added up each evening and plotted on the globe, so that they were aware of the various landmark cities and countries they were Staff from the Julia’s House Global Challenge at the Corfe Mullen Hospice passing through virtually. On arrival in Australia a Zoom meeting was arranged with Bear Cottage Children’s Hospice in Sydney, so that the two hospice teams could chat and compare how their services had been affected by the COVID pandemic. Julia’s House has adapted its care on a day-to-day basis during the coronavirus outbreak. Wearing full PPE, its nurses and carers continue to visit the homes of families supported by the charity to provide the vital care, reassurance and advice that the anxious parents of children with life-limiting conditions so desperately need. Anyone wishing to donate to the Around the World Global Fundraising Challenge can visit fundraising/gemma-linford2 70 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 Tel. 01308 423031

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IN our July issue, partly to celebrate our return to print but also to highlight the work of the late Ron Frampton, we ran a competition to give away copies of Ron’s book Beyond the Vale. Ron taught photography at Dillington House for over twenty years and over those many years— and through those many classes—he inspired his students to admire the area in and around the Marshwood Vale with much of the same affection that he had. More than that he instilled in his students an instinct to see the beauty and history etched on the faces and landscape of people and place wherever they travelled. The ten lucky winners are: Nicky Powell, Axminster Sara Kellard, Bridport A Dudley, Hawkchurch Helen Barrow, Seaton Sue Jones, Bridport K Simpson, Sidmouth Mrs Case, Stoke Abbott Mrs Penney, Axminster Richard Legg, Whitchurch Canonicorum Karen Larcombe, Morcombelake Keep picking up your Marshwood Vale Magazine for news of the next opportunity to receive copies of Ron Frampton’s books.

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Artist: wanting workshop space; everything considered. Phone 07535105471. Thank you

TO LET Beautiful three bedroom house attached, with garden, at Eype available for longterm rent. Special conditions re age, noise levels is reflected in rent Looking for quiet self contained couple ideally, no families. Available early next year. Email veronicahudson@ 07817586683


Table, 1930s mid oak, 3ft square extends to 5ft x 3ft, £35ovno. Colyton 01297 551455. Walling Stone, un-faced flint, mixed sizes. Buyer collects. About 2 tons. £80. 01297 598794. Boxed M/E. Engineer’s lathe on metal base, single phase supply, many extras plus tools. Price £600. 01308 863060. CURTAINS White cot-bed with mattress, Little used. £40. Mama & Papa’s cot bed Little Curtains. £20. Electric tile cutter £10. Handmade Curtains, Whole set (8) ‘Gardens of Blinds and Cushions. Beauty’ wall plates, new £20. Contact 07443 516141 or 01297 34547. 01308 485325 Sharp 50” smart LED TV with Freeview Play (black) with glass stand. £200. ALRESTORATION KO Briggs + Strattonn 650e series 190cc petrol lawn FURNITURE. Antique mower (17” cutter) £200. Restoration and Bespoke 07717 416316. Furniture. Furniture Tilting window, as new, large and small carefully double glazed. Width restored and new 122cm, Height 103cm, commissions undertaken. complete with sill. Donation City and Guilds qualified. required for charity. 01308 Experienced local family 427479. firm. Phil Meadley Man’s Harris Tweed jacket 01297 560335 Dec 20 44” chest, 32” length, £50. Cavalry twill trousers 36” SURFACE PREPARATION waist 31” inner leg, £45, both in perfect condition. 01305 266273. Dorchester. Alberny Restoration Old Observer’s books In-house blast cleaning many subject, 35 total for home and garden in 2 boxes £100. Comfy furniture, doors and Victorian easy chair, high gates. Agricultural/ back autumn colours, construction machinery small strip clean, £60ono. and tooling. Vehicles, Sidmouth. 01395 514026. parts and trailers etc. Men’s Felldale real 01460 73038, email sheepskin, vintage, light, FB brown jacket. Lakeland Alberny Sandblasting sheepskin centre. Chest 42” Apr 21



Books Wanted. We buy all types of books, particularly 20th Century Art, Architecture and Design. Tel Karen Jakobsen: 01258 471249

FOR SALE 107cm. £60. 01404 814094. Flute silver, model 861E, 228, Cooper Scale E. Low C serial No 744601. £120ono. Mob 07463 610810. Odhams Pictorial History of World War II 1939/1945. All in good condition, 5 volumes. £20ono. 01297 489725. DT6 6EN. Style & Mobility scooter, blue, excellent condition, used approx 6 times, comes complete with all accessories. £300. 01460 250999. Ilminster. Wall mounted display cabinet containing 46 assorted Dinky toys including private cars, commercial vans, fire engines, buses & army vehicles. Send for photographs. £100 post free. 01297 489133. X2 Metal detectors, mint condition, one ‘Laser Hawkey’ + ‘Simplex’, little used, £220 each to include first class recorded delivery and insurance, or collect for £200. Honiton area. 07594 687485 anytime. Integrated kitchen, £300ono. Only two years old, ex Germany (£850) sink, hob, fridge, microwave, enormously space efficient, plugs into normal wall socket. 01297 34477. Walking sticks (different woods). Well made. Thumb sticks & walking sticks (red deer handles). £15 each. 01297 33066. Router/ orbital sander & transformer. All good working order, £50 ono the lot. 01297 489725. DT6 6EN. ‘The Second World War’ Winston Churchill, 6

volumes in covers. Good condition. £20ono. 01297 489725. Single Futon sofa bed. Wood. £30. Adjustable double clothes rail, suitable for car boot. £5. 01297 552683. Dog cage for sale. Pine, ½ slatted sides, bolted door, size: length 92cm, width 70cm, height 72cm. £35ono. 01308 488442. Large pine farmhouse table. £195. Good condition, 6ft long, 3ft wide, solid pine chunky construction, legs removed for transport. Little used, reluctant sale, free delivery within 10 mile radius of Honiton. Small charge for delivery further afield. 01404 831896. Simple rocking chair, seat cushion complies with fire safety. £10. Bow fronted cabinet, 3 shelves, small crack in one panel of leaded glass door. Has key. £20. Table saw with spare blades, good working order, variable tilt and depth, H 36” W 28” D 20” £70. Help with local delivery if required. 07919 661226. 01308 424618. Fridge, Beko, 50cm, free standing, model HC 110. Tidy. £15. 07463 610810. Chesneys - Fire grate with Polished Steel Wavy Front decor and ash tray cover. Spherical polished steel fire dogs. Very attractive item. Grate brand new in box RRP £1600. Dogs used but VGC. Grate Size: 78 x 30 cms 07748967070 Stones from demolished wall. Free to good home. Taker to collect. 01460 61772

Vinyl Records Wanted All types and styles considered. Excellent prices paid. Please Phone Roy 07429 102645 Bridport

May 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

Dave buys all types of tools 01935 428975 Jul 20 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

Secondhand tools wanted. All trades. Users & Antiques. G & E C Dawson. 01297 23826. www.secondhandtools. Oct 20

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 73

FREE ADS for items under £1,000 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 the text to Unfortunately due to space constraints there is no guarantee of inclusion of free ads. We reserve the right to withhold advertisements. For guaranteed classified advertising please use ‘Classified Ads’ form

Name .............................................. Tel. ............................................ Address ................................................................................................ Town ................................................ County...................................... Postcode ..................................

Monthly Quiz –

FOR SALE Pond Equipment Used Hozelock Ecopower 2500 Cyprio Filter and UV lamp £20.ONO Oase Swimskim 25 £50.00 Both c/w instructions. Reason Upgraded. 01460 65849 Boys/Girls mountain bikes 16 inch wheel suit 4-7 years 5 gears £60-00 o.n.o. 20 inch wheel suit 7-10 years 18 gears £70-00 o.n.o. Excellent condition Photos available Tel: 01308 281200 Gents Trek T30 hybrid cycle; 51cm. aluminium frame; 700x35c wheels; 21 gears; rack; panniers; prop. stand. Ideal for day rides, pottering, shopping. VGC. £150. 01305 871863 Orbea Aqua gents lightweight cycle; 54cm aluminium frame, carbon forks; 700x23c wheels; Shimano Tiagra and 105 derailleur 3x10 gears; Look clipless pedals. Good for sportifs and triaths. VGC. £250. 01305 871863. Peugeot 3008 Spares – Complete unused toolkit and Spacesaver wheel with 16”x135x90 tyre. £80.00

ONO. must go asap Tel: 01460 65849 Brand New Kitchen Worktops - light grey ‘mirror chip’ 1860mm x 610mm wide £100 and black ‘starry effect’ 2000mm x 610mm wide £120. 01308 459694 Small Dog Crate - hardly used. H 48cm, L 58cm, W 43cm. Folds flat. Free delivery within 5 miles of Broadwindsor. £15 ovno 01308 867163 Weetabix Corgi Classics: Articulated Volvo Lorry, Leyland Van & Truck, Ford Cargo Box Van, boxed. £15. 01308 423177. Chesterfield Style Sofa. Red fabric, DFS. Comes with 2 cushions in the same fabric. Very good condition. Non smoking household, no pets. £250.00 ono. Crewkerne. Tel : 01460 279646 New Franke Sink Drainer Fraganite Diamond white 97 x 50cm. Still boxed Cost £389. Will Accept. £190. Tel : 07484689302

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 Marnhull. The winner was Mrs Price from Seaton.

74 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 Tel. 01308 423031


Encouraging female entrepreneurs A new book which is based on research with 52 female entrepreneurs who have overcome the obstacles to launch and run successful companies, hopes to inspire and encourage women to take their first steps in entrepreneurship. Female Entrepreneurs—The Secrets of their Success co-authoured by John Smythe and Ruth Saunders also highlights the massive chasm in funding for entrepreneurial women versus men. The book is based on interviews with 52 female entrepreneurs of all ages and at all stages of business: from the renowned internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, founder of ‘Dot Everyone’ to Sarah Turner, co-founder and CEO, ‘Angel Academe’, an award-winning angel investment network. Many of the interviewees are South West based including Alex Beer, who founded and runs ‘Feed the Soul’; the almost vegan café and shop in Godmanstone. Alex’s story was featured on the cover of this magazine in 2018. The objective of the book is to encourage women who have never considered becoming an entrepreneur, as well as women who have considered it but feel constrained by extrinsic and intrinsic barriers, to do so—a subject that is more relevant than ever given the number of new entrepreneurs that the COVID-19 crisis has created almost overnight. Female Entrepreneurs—The Secrets of their Success is published in hardback and ebook by Routledge (£29.99) and is available at bookstores and on amazon.

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine September 2020 75