Marshwood+ March 2024

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© Sarah Richard Photograph by Robin Mills Linking Environment, Culture and the Arts — Spring Issue No. 300 March 2024 + Marsh wo o d Sir Oliver Letwin, no ‘Plan B’ Page 12 THE FREE COMMUNITY Magazine John Otway, still Really Free Page 48 Baskery in Honiton Page 65

Robin Mills met Sarah Richard in Bridport

Ilived at Bexhill-on-Sea from the age of 4, which is quite relevant because my whole life revolves around the sea these days. The sea was just part of the scenery, and we would spend all our time on the beach. At school I had no definite idea of what I wanted to do in life, and my parents were great, not pushing me in any particular direction. I didn’t go to uni, but I just knew I wanted to do something unconventional, even if I wasn’t sure quite what it was.

I started scuba diving when I was 19, and by the age of around 22 I wanted to see the world. My first trip, with a friend, was to Asia. It was just before mobile phones became such an essential part of our lives; using internet cafes to write home, which seems like ancient history, we used a website which offered travel opportunities in exchange for work, for example offering free accommodation in exchange for working in a hostel. Any money I did earn, I spent on scuba diving, and by then, I knew I wanted to do something in that world. For me, it just seemed

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© Sarah Richard Photograph by Robin Mills

Sarah Richard

such a natural activity; it felt very normal, wherever I was in the world. In many countries, there could be differences in culture, like language, food, dress, etc, but in the water I felt completely connected and at home. I think being in the water is just in my nature. I never had to try to love it.

The conventional way into working in scuba diving is to become an instructor, which was never something I wanted to do. Despite that, teaching was what I ended up doing, mainly because there weren’t any other jobs. I was a dive master, earning $20 a day, on a boat in Micronesia, and soon realised this was definitely what I didn’t want to do. But it was where the idea for Girls that Scuba started.

On the charter boat, the guests would come on board for a week, dive every day, then go home. They were all men, and mostly middle-aged, and I realised just how male dominated the business was. The sport didn’t look appealing for women, or fun for women, and I felt I had little respect from the men I was instructing. I thought, I’ve tried to find a career in diving, it’s not for me, and I quit, and moved to Hong Kong. But then I realised that there must be other women who feel the same as me, and perhaps all we need is some way for us all to come together. That was 2016, a time when Facebook groups were really becoming a thing. Within those groups you generally find some kind of community, and I thought about starting a group, if only to try and find a group of women friends to go diving with. So, I started a Facebook group, called it Girls that Scuba, then shut my laptop and got on with my life.

The next morning, I was absolutely shocked to find we had 100 members. I couldn’t believe there were so many women who felt the same way as me. At the heart of all of this was a community, and the amazing thing about the internet is that it enabled the reach of that community to be worldwide. We now have about 700,000 members. Over 7 years we have become the world’s largest female scuba diving community. It’s been an incredible, empowering journey, and has enabled many women to go scuba diving who otherwise wouldn’t. It’s a closed group, so only women or those who identify as women can belong, a safe space within which they can find out information of all kinds. We call it the Google of scuba diving.

There are 3 members of staff and myself, and a lot of work is done by freelancers. All the design work is outsourced. The numbers keep going up, which is a lot to do with our generation now; people are very influenced by media, from Tik Tok, and Instagram, through which we are constantly showcasing positive imagery of women and scuba diving, making it look fun. So, we’ve now got a new generation of women coming into it through media, changing the image of the sport into something much more enjoyable for that generation.

I always say to people new to the sport that firstly it’s about safety, then it’s about fun. You can’t just start diving, you do have to go through courses and get certified, which does put a few people off because it takes time and commitment. It’s still an extreme sport in which you rely on equipment to enable you to breathe, and you need to know what to do if it goes wrong. Once the training part is over, the biggest part of what we do now is running group holidays for women on what hopefully turn out to be the trips of their lifetimes.

The best locations to dive are where the water is warmer and clearer, which tend to be the more exotic parts of the world. Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt and the Maldives are some of the best. Most of what I love about scuba diving in warmer places is the wildlife you see under water; the sharks, the massive schools of fish, the amazing diversity of life, as if you’re in a documentary film about what lives in this “underneath” part of this world which covers 70% of the planet. The 0.2% of the population who scuba dive are the only ones to see all this, and that’s why if you enjoy it, you can soon be addicted to it.

We are enabling more people to experience close up the wonders of the undersea natural world, and we’re careful not to create disturbance to it. In the 15 years I’ve been diving, I’ve seen the effects of water temperature increase, particularly on coral, and plastic pollution, and I wonder in another 15 years what we’ll see. We have a large media platform now, which we use as an environmental information source, and we support charities working to restore coral reefs. We are also in the sport because we love the marine life, so we discourage eating the fish we’ve come to see.

In 2020 my husband Joel and I moved to Jordan to pursue a project for my business. We packed up all our

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belongings, moved to Jordon - and 4 days later Covid broke out. Obviously everything stopped, and we were strongly recommended to leave Jordan, where the government had imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. Nobody was allowed out for anything. We returned to England, with nowhere to live, but Joel’s parents had a place near Dalwood, Axminster, so we moved in to the small Airbnb they owned. Joel lost his job in hospitality, and my business was massively curtailed. We lived there for 18 months, then Joel got the opportunity to buy the café in Bridport, Soulshine, and thankfully my business recovered and increased after the pandemic was over.

A year ago, my son Seb was born in Dorchester, so my priority now of course is being a mum. I have taken a massive step back from the business, particularly the travelling side of it. But being part of a great local community, bringing up my son has been a lovely experience—although a million miles from some of

the exotic locations I’ve been used to. Taking Seb with us, we have managed a couple of trips for my work, once, when he was 12 weeks, to Jordan, and again to the Maldives when he was 4 months. It’s great to be able to involve my family on the trips abroad—I really want Seb to see his mum leading this kind of life, the diving, the travelling; so often that’s the dad’s role.

The world of diving was always one I wanted to work in, but it was never my intention to be where I am today. I have no background in business and didn’t know how quickly something like this could take off. Effectively I’m running an international business from my laptop in my home, in which every day is a learning curve. I’d be happy with a future which means we can just continue what we’re doing, to just stay on the same level would be incredible. But it’s not about me; it’s about the community of women in the sport we have brought together. ’

© Sarah Richard Photograph by Robin Mills



Welcome to Marshwood+ our digital magazine.

For 2024 we are embarking on a process of renovating and rebuilding the Marshwood Vale Magazine. And over the next few months we will also be canvassing readers and advertisers to see exactly how much and what you want from your community magazine. In the meantime, we know digital reading is new to some of our readers, so here are a few simple pointers to make it easier for everyone to navigate our online magazine.

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Assessing our value to the world is something that many of us reflect on as we get older. From child to teen and adult to pensioner, we have all had some impact on the people around us and on the community in which we have lived—regardless of what we might consider as our success in achieving life goals. As one who failed miserably to even set any life goals, I can only see a blur when I think back too far. So, as we launch our 300th issue of The Marshwood Vale Magazine and look back on what it may have contributed throughout those years, it’s somewhat inevitable that we ask the questions, ‘what have we achieved?’ and ‘what next?’ A long time ago I concluded that learning about someone’s life through a eulogy was heartbreakingly too late. Thus was born the idea for cover stories that allow people in our community to talk about their lives in their own words. For me, that has been a greater education than anything I could have imagined. Reading about the lives of local people; from farmers to writers, thatchers to teachers, actors to musicians and cleaners to conservationists has offered an insight into the extraordinary diversity of life in and around our community. And in some small way it has contributed to a legacy and a way to remember those who are part of it. Our support for all things local, along with coverage of environment, culture, the arts and local events has also helped to promote a rich vein of optimism and creativity. There have been many changes and challenges over the years that we have been publishing, but there still seems to be an appetite for what we do. So, to answer the question of ‘what next’? Well, more of the same, but also with some changes. Two different magazines—Marshwood+, our monthly online publication and The Marshwood Vale Magazine, now a quarterly print issue—will both carry on supporting and promoting our community. And to help us do that we have launched a Crowdfunder which readers can learn about and contribute to by visiting the web address at the top of this page. But as well as support, we would also like to hear from readers to learn what you want from this magazine in the future. Send us your thoughts, either by post to the address below or by email to

3 Cover Story By Robin Mills 12 The Tip of the Iceberg By Fergus Byrne 18 Event News and Courses
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info@marshwoodvale. com 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. Editorial Director Fergus Byrne Mark Hix Nic Jeune Russell Jordan Michael McCarthy Nicky Mathewson Advertising Fergus Byrne Design People Magazines Ltd Deputy Editor Victoria Byrne Contributors Robin Mills Gay Pirrie Weir Dr Sam Rose Ashley Wheeler WE ARE CROWDFUNDING! Join us on our journey toward sustainability. To learn more, scan the code above or visit: THIS MONTH in your Marshwood Vale Magazine 10 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 Email Tel. 01308 423031
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“The Post Office scandal highlights the dangers of accepting without question the output of automated systems as reliable evidence” Dr Sam De Silva, Technology Partner at international law firm CMS

The Tip of the Iceberg

AAs the Public Inquiry into the Post Office Scandal continues, The Rt Hon. Sir Oliver Letwin is calling for a fallback system to help resolve situations where computer systems, presumed to be infallible, turn out to be less so. He talked to Fergus Byrne.

lthough he doesn’t know if he will be called to give evidence at the Public Inquiry into what is now known as the “Post Office Scandal”. The Right Honourable Sir Oliver Letwin sees the whole sorry saga as a wake-up call for a ‘Plan B’ on how to deal with the dangers of our overreliance on technology.

Oliver was one of a small group of MPs who first brought the now infamous Post Office miscarriage of justice to light. After one of his constituents came to see him about their experience with the company’s Horizon computer system, he mentioned it to fellow MP James Arbuthnot who already had experience of the growing problem through one of his constituents, Jo Hamilton. Oliver recalls how everyone had so much less experience of computers in those days, and especially of them ‘going bananas’. He suggested to James, now Lord Arbuthnot, that they go and speak to the chair and chief executive of the Post Office, but remembers it as coming up against ‘a blank wall’.

Out of that emerged a series of meetings with other MPs who’d had similar experiences and eventually the Post Office agreed to appoint forensic accountants, Second Sight, to independently investigate what was going on. When Second Sight’s investigations uncovered problems with the software system, they

found the Post Office less keen for the investigation to continue. More than 900 subpostmasters and postmistresses were prosecuted for stealing money because of incorrect information provided by the computer system which had been supplied to the government-owned Post Office by Fujitsu UK. Although Oliver’s constituent was never convicted of any offences, he believes that ‘really considerable damage was done to her.’

The rest of the story is well documented by journalists at Computer Weekly, Private Eye and by investigative journalist Nick Wallis for Panorama and his own blog. Nick is starting a tour telling the story at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis in March. For more on his view of the enormous issues now facing the Post Office, the software developer Fujitsu and the Government, visit and read his interview in our February issue. This story is also well recounted in the ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office

However, even though this particular ‘computer problem’ has turned out to be widespread across the United Kingdom, it is not isolated to one software system, nor to one industry. And is therefore, warns Oliver Letwin, not by any means the end of the story.

There have been many high-profile issues, from

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coding errors to hacking attempts over the years that have had profound effects. One example is the Knight Capital Group stock trading debacle in 2012. Due to a coding error in the company’s trading software, they inadvertently bought and sold millions of shares in just 45 minutes, causing a loss of $440 million and forcing the company to seek a bailout.

In 2011, a software error at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) caused a technical meltdown, leaving millions of customers unable to access their accounts for several days. The bank faced heavy criticism and was forced to pay out millions in compensation to affected customers.

In 2017, a major computer error at British Airways led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights, affecting over 75,000 passengers. Also in 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack affected over 200,000 computers in 150 countries, including those used by the NHS, leading to cancelled appointments, delayed surgeries, and a significant impact on patient care.

In another shocking experiment, Wired journalist, Andy Greenberg, once took part in a test of car hacking. His car was remotely hacked while he was behind the wheel. As he drove, the hackers started to take control of the car, activating air vents and windshield wipers. Next, the transmission was cut and finally, they remotely activated the brakes. Even though Andy tried to control his car, the hackers had more power. The experiment uncovered issues which were later fixed.

These are just a few examples that made it into mainstream news. The issue for Oliver Letwin is that we have no ‘Plan B’ when it comes to automated

transactions. The Post Office scandal may well be the tip of the iceberg showing the substantial impact that computer errors can have on businesses and people’s lives.

From banking to utility payments, and travel to parking, we are now reliant on automated systems that make it very hard to resolve when there are errors. Oliver sees the benefit of simple systems, but points out that ‘once computers get to be involved in very complex affairs, very complex programmes with many thousands, millions, billions, trillions of interactions, it becomes quite possible for particular interactions to cause particular problems.’ Problems that may not be immediately obvious to the user.

Many of us have had a situation where we have tried to complete a transaction online and been told the process hasn’t worked and been told to ‘Please try again’. Oliver described how one postmaster’s system had repeatedly told him a transaction hadn’t gone through—when in fact it had—causing a massive overpayment.

Purchasing tickets for a holiday, Oliver found the same thing happened to him. The system told him the transaction hadn’t gone through so he completed it again, only to find he had been billed twice for the same seats, with the same names, on a flight to Europe. He was fortunate to be able to speak to someone at the company who saw immediately the error and rectified it.

But this is where the problem, and the lack of a ‘Plan B’ lies. We all know how difficult, timeconsuming and frustrating it is to try to contact someone who can help when automated transactions

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don’t work. Dealing with computers in these situations, Oliver says, is sometimes ‘like talking to someone who’s slightly vague or who’s disconcerted by something, or who’s suffering from a bad cold, or has Alzheimer’s.’ However, as automated systems become more and more ingrained in our lives, a method of resolving problems becomes more and more important. Especially when the law still presumes the computer is right.

The frightening thing that the Post Office scandal highlights is that the computer isn’t always right. However, the law still presumes the computer can be relied on and that the ‘presumption’ of its correctness should stand up in court. In light of the Post Office scandal, BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, has called for an end to the legal presumption that ‘computer systems data are always correct, with no burden on the prosecution to prove it.’

at international law

on a given occasion, is ludicrous.’

Using the Post Office as an example of the dangers of overreliance on automation and the presumption that the computer is always right, he points out how in the days before computer networks there was never a situation where hundreds of employees were found to be stealing at the same time. ‘As far as we know, there had not been any particular suggestion of widespread miscarriages of justice under those arrangements.’

He believes we need to go back to having the option of ‘old-fashioned sleuthing’ as a backup. In the past, he says, ‘People would go and investigate the bank accounts of the individual and look at their lifestyles, and inquire of people that knew them whether they regarded them as honest, and all sorts of other things which are non-mechanistic.’

He says it’s possible that the belief that the computer is never wrong may have influenced

‘It’s very difficult for a local postmaster to make £50,000 just sort of disappear into thin air. Now, it’s one thing for a drug cartel to do this, but it’s just awfully difficult for a postmaster or postmistress.’

firm, CMS and Chair of BCS’ Law Specialist Group has said: ‘The Post Office scandal highlights the dangers of accepting without question the output of automated systems as reliable evidence. There is currently a legal presumption that the computer is always right; the Post Office could rely on the fact that the courts assumed the system to be functioning well.’

Oliver Letwin is aware of this and believes that such a ‘presumption’ is now under review. ‘The problem is that that’s clearly outdated’ he says. ‘I mean, as the deep fake cases show, as these Post Office cases show, any number of cases will show, you can’t start with that presumption. Any more than you can start with the presumption that the human being would have made a mistake. Computers are just as likely as human beings to make mistakes once they get to be very complicated.’

And the degree of complexity that generates the possibility of what Oliver calls ‘the bizarre’, he says, is hugely multiplied by the fact that ‘you’re not talking here about a computer, you’re talking about a network of computers and networks of networks. So that there may be millions or even billions of machines interacting to produce the particular results you’re seeing. And so the “presumption” that whatever it is you’re expecting to come out, will have come out of it

people at all levels of the Post Office affair. ‘And I suspect that they therefore didn’t do any other set of investigations that would have been a sanity check on whether their computer was telling the truth. And it’s very difficult for a local postmaster to make £50,000 just sort of disappear into thin air. Now, it’s one thing for a drug cartel to do this, but it’s just awfully difficult for a postmaster or postmistress. So, plain old-fashioned sleuthing would probably have revealed those that were up to no good and those where the machine was telling a lie. But I suspect there wasn’t an effort to do that, because people were relying on the machine.’

Which is what brings us to the need for a backup. In his book, Apocalypse How?, a story of how the lack of a ‘Plan B’ in the event of a collapse of the National Grid resulted in catastrophic failures in infrastructure on many levels, Oliver points out that our reliance on the internet for communication, for example, leaves us very vulnerable. In light of the Post Office and the many other computer problems that have remained under the public radar, we have all become massively over-reliant on technology to run our lives.

The only protection we can have against systemic failure, ‘in the sense of everything just sort of collapsing’ he says, ‘is actually to have fallback options

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which are not modern and sophisticated.’ He knows they aren’t going to be as financially efficient as modern sophisticated systems. ‘A map instead of GPS, a record of names and addresses on a piece of paper in a filing cabinet rather than on a computer. And human beings to talk to, to get things sorted out.’

These old methods are massively inefficient and probably not financially ideal for businesses that want to maximise profits by reducing workforce.

But Oliver says ‘We have to be able to fall back on [these systems] in order to protect ourselves against the possibility of a whole system that just doesn’t work for a while. Similarly, when we’re trying to deal with ludicrous, insanely unfair and unjust results, I think what we need to fall back on old-fashioned investigation and sleuthing and so on, and not imagine that the problem is going to be resolved by having some yet more complicated software that nobody understands.’

Anyone who has been on the waiting end of trying to resolve a computer error on a phone or utility bill will know that in the end, it is usually a sentient being that understands what has happened and not one that only answers questions from a script.

Oliver sees the human element as ‘absolutely critical’ to the chain of actions necessary to resolve automation issues. ‘The sort of understanding of what is likely and what is not likely, as a sequence of events, that you can get by talking to a fellow human

being, is an indispensable part of dealing with these things.’

He points to the ‘incredible’ efficiency of computer systems because they ‘don’t require human intervention. But actually, if you want to correct something that’s gone wrong, you need a human being, because there’s absolutely no way that you’re going to get the computer to understand what it’s done.’

Businesses, he says, are investing vast sums in computing so they don’t need to employ lots of human beings. ‘So you eliminate the human beings, and you thereby eliminate the one chance you actually had, not of resolving the problems, but of addressing the problems when they occur.’ When what we really need is the ‘inefficiency of a bank of human beings.’

And they will also need ‘to have sufficient knowledge of the things which are surrounding the person who’s engaged in the transaction.’ The sentient beings that are answering also need to be in the country where the problem exists. If you call to have a drain fixed and the person on the other end of the phone says ‘Which country is that in? You have a problem?’

But is it plausible that large businesses will compromise on profits to resolve this sort of problem? ‘I think it’s entirely plausible’ he says. ‘I think the danger in the whole Post Office argument is that we think that after the inquiry and whatever follows—unrighteousness has been punished and

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The Post Office scandal is just one story that highlights the potential problems facing our automated world

innocent people have been compensated. The danger is that we think at that point—done and dusted. Not at all!’ This should lead to a recognition of all that is wrong with the direction we are going.

‘This is entirely addressable’ he says. ‘It’s within the powers of governments and regulators around the world to insist, in a sensible way on the maintenance of fallback options and the maintenance of checking mechanisms, and the maintenance of complaint mechanisms.’ He points out how legislation in financial services has helped protect many people from ‘sharpsters’ selling questionable investments. ‘Because over the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years, we’re going to become more and more and more dependent on these machines. And if there aren’t these fallback and checking mechanisms in place, eventually governments will act, but a lot of damage will have been done.’

He believes that businesses won’t set up these fallback systems on their own. It costs them money and that won’t make shareholders happy. They will have to be ‘forced’ to do that. ‘You can’t expect people to do that in their own self-interest.’

It’s hard to see whether legislation on the scale necessary to ensure companies invest in safety and assurance for their customers is going to be attractive to any government. However, Oliver is very aware that it will not be this government and says that perhaps ‘it’s the sort of thing you could imagine a Starmer government getting interested in.’ In the meantime both he and James Arbuthnot and

others have for some years been trying to pursue the question of incorporating ‘more resilience and more fallback mechanisms’ in the systems that ‘we depend on’ and he believes they have made some progress. And he is hopeful that informal groups, keeping the pressure up, do stand the chance of triggering ‘some sort of administrative interest on the part of government.’

The Post Office scandal is just one story that highlights the potential problems facing our automated world. They include computer system errors; vulnerability to cyber-attacks; a lack of accountability; loss of human oversight and the loss of skills and knowledge. And that again may just be the tip of an iceberg that doesn’t take into account the human cost.

To mitigate these risks, it’s essential to maintain a balance between technological advancement and human oversight. We need safeguards, regulations, and ethical considerations to be integrated into the development and deployment of computer systems to prevent these potential consequences. Most importantly we need resilient backup systems, continuous monitoring, and robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard against the impact of system failures.

Whilst we can hope the next government takes a more active role in dealing with these problems, there may always be other, more pressing issues to attend to. But that doesn’t mean we stop trying.

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Friday, 1 March

West Dorset Ramblers Group, 8 mile circular hilly walk via Symondsbury, Colmer Hill, Chideok & Thorncombe Beacon. For more information and booking please phone 07902 988549.

Stowaway Theatre present ‘40 Elephants’ Live TheatreGateway Theatre, Seaton – 8pm, doors 7.30pm, tickets £12. Age 12+. Brand-new Devon-based actor-musician company Stowaway Theatre presents 40 Elephants, a musical inspired from research into the true stories of the 40 Elephant Gang; Britain’s first female crime syndicate. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

Finn Campbell-Notman (Winner Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2023), Talk 7pm (doors 6pm hot supper available from bar) Tickets: £12 please call 01308 459511. Tickets are limited and essential. Sladers Yard, Contemporary Art & Craft Gallery West Bay Bridport Dorset DT6 4EL Open: Wednesday to Saturday 10–4pm. All work can be viewed on t: 01308 459511 e: gallery@

Julian Philipps - Boogie Woogie Nights. An outstanding night of Boogie Woogie and Blues music played by Julian Phillips (piano/piano accordion), Axel Keim (guitar, slide guitar and harmonica) and Izi Onslow (Vocals).Together these three musicians create a Boogie and Blues performance which has rhythm and toe-tapping audiences enthralled, from traditional old-style instrumental classics through to haunting melodic blues ballads, all infused with zest and enthusiasm for the best in the

Boogie Woogie and Blues genres. 7.30pm at Ilminster Arts Centre, TA19 0AN. Tickets: £18 (Students £5. Free to under 12s.)To book: 01460 54973. or

Friday, 1 - 2 March

Bridport Youth Dance presents Paradigm - BYD’s 20th annual production - a showcase of live dancing including The Dance Weaver films - Joy In Motion and Choreography Geography - Dancing with Dakness. Friday 1st March at 7.30pm and Saturday 2nd March at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets: £11.50 Adult*. £7.50 Child*. *plus £1 booking fee. Ticketline: Bridport TIC 01308 424901. Bridport Electric Palace. www.

Friday, 1 - 7 March

Forde Abbey and Gardens – Crocus week. Celebrating the beginning of spring with a display of acres of Crocuses on our lawn from the beginning of March. Gardens Open daily from 1st of March, 10:30am – 4:00pm. Tickets £14.50 for

Adults and £5.00 for children 5-15years. Coffee Shop, Gift Shop and Specialist Nursery Open,

Saturday, 2 March

Do you already love singing? Would you like to experience singing with a big choir? Do you wonder if you’re a singer but you’re not sure? Bridport’s West Dorset Singers invite you to Come-&-Sing selections from Mozart’s Requiem with them in St Swithun’s Church, Bridport. WDS can provide scores for those who don’t have their own. They can also provide training aids for anyone who wants help to practise their part. Registration starts at 1.00 pm and practice starts at 1.30 pm under Matt Kingston, the WDS Music Director. Established singers will enjoy his encouragement and insights while beginners will appreciate the support of their experienced companions. The entry fee for singers is £10.00. An informal performance, also in the church starts at 5.30 pm and everyone is welcome. Entry is free, with a voluntary retiring collection. For more information, visit or email secretary@

Walking into Dance a workshop with Inge Dyson, Alexander technique teacher, and Wendy Hermelin, Laban trained dance teacher, exploring the connections between these two fields of body awareness, movement and imagination. 10am - 1pm, Salway Ash Village Hall, Salway Ash, Bridport DT6 5QS. Contact mail@wendyhermelin. or £20 on the door.

The Friends of Weymouth Library (F.O.W.L.) talk by Jacqueline and Brian Sutton is entitled “It started with a kiss......the life and times of Dylan Thomas”. Dylan Thomas was both a famous and infamous Welshman. He will always be remembered for “Under Milk Wood”, his ground breaking work. Come along on March 2nd. to the talk, starting at 10-30a.m. in the Library, to find out why it started with a kiss. Tickets can be obtained from the Library @ £2 for members and £3 for nonmembers. Refreshments provided, everyone welcome. Bookbinding Taster Workshop 10am - 4pm, A day making simple and creative book structures. Suitable for all. All materials and tools provided. £45. Dorset Craft Workshops, 3 The Mews, Durngate Street, Dorchester DT1 1JP. Further details and booking 07984001830.

‘Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom’ (12A) Picnic Night Screening- Gateway Theatre, Seaton – 7.30pm, doors 6.30pm, tickets adults £7.50, Under 16s £6.50. After failing to defeat Aquaman the first time, Black Manta wields the power of the mythic Black Trident to unleash an ancient

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and malevolent force. Tickets from 01297 625699, www. or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

Sunday, 3 March

Lyme Regis Museum Friends illustrated talk in the Woodmead Hall, Hill Road, Lyme Regis, DT7 3PG at 2.30 pm. ‘When the Yanks came to Lyme’ by Ken Gollop. A talk on the American troops in Lyme Regis in recognition of the 80 th anniversary of their arrival in Lyme Regis in November 1943 prior to the D-Day landings in Normandy. Entrance fee £4. Enquiries to David Cox, 01297 443156.

Monday, 4 March

Bridport Folk Dance Club If you like exercise, socialising and maybe learning something new, then come along to our dance sessions in the W.I. Hall on Monday evenings from 7.15pm-9.30pm. All welcome, especially beginners. Occasional live music and always a caller to lead the dances so no experience or partner required. Musicians are always welcome too. Tea and biscuits. Tel: 863552 or 459001 for more information. Only £3.00 for an evening’s enjoyment.

RNLI 200 Years Celebration Coffee Morning with RNLI and Branch Archives at the Mariners Hall, Beer, EX12 3JB from 10am to 1pm. There will be tea, coffee, RNLI Cakes and RNLI 200 Years Gifts and Souvenirs. Raffle and Tombola. We will be taking some of our RNLI and national RNLI Archives.

RNLI Annual General Meeting Come and celebrate with us at 7.30pm in the Congregational Hall. There will be a

guest speaker, raffle and refreshment. We will be taking some of ours and RNLI Archives. Additional Volunteers needed for our Shop at Beer and with fundraising. Please email or message 07790861531.

An evening of Scottish Dancing at Chardstock Village Hall 7.30 – 10.00 p.m. Tea and coffee provided but please bring your own mug. No partner required. Cost £2.00. For more information contact David on 01460 65981. Hawkchurch Film Nights, in association with Moviola. org, proudly presents ‘Past Lives’ (106 mins, cert.12occasional strong language). After years apart, a South Korean woman now living in New York reconnects online with the man who was once her closest childhood friend. Writer and director Celine Song’s beautiful, wistful drama of longing and human connection has two Oscar nominations, for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Don’t miss. Doors open 6.30pm, film starts 7.00pm at Hawkchurch Village Hall, EX13 5XD. Ticket reservations £5.50 from or leave a message on 01297 678176 (socially-distanced seating available if reserved in advance); tickets also available for £5.50 from Hawkchurch Community Shop or £6.00 on the door (cash only). Subtitles for the hard-of-hearing provided. Home-made cake and other tasty refreshments available.

2 lectures about The East London Group, artists that came from the three evening classes a week run by the Scottish

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artist John Cooper, at the Bow and Bromley Evening Institute in East London. During the interwar years from the mid-1920s, Cooper taught working people from the East End. Cooper was trained at the Slade art school, this brought in artists like Walter Sickert, the Camden Town painter and key British artist, who also taught the students and exhibited with them. They exhibited at the major galleries of the day, including the Tate Gallery and some were selected to be shown at the Venice Biennale. The lectures aim to show this group of talented artists, who were forgotten for many decades, but have now begun to be rediscovered in recent exhibitions. at 2pm-3.30pm United church hall on East St Bridport. Fee is £26, it is possible to do one of the lectures, £13. Also 11th March. The lectures will be on line on Fridays at 2pm, fee £26. Tutor is Pam Simpson MA, Art Historian . To book email

Tuesday, 5 March

Scottish Country dancing at Horton Village Hall TA19 9QR from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. We cater for all levels from beginners to experienced. Only £3.00 per session pay on the door, including hot drink and biscuits at the interval . It’s great fun, there is great music and you’ll find good company. For more information contact Anita on 01460 929383 , email and visit our web site at . Better still just come along and join in.

Wednesday, 6 March

Bridport Scottish Dancers will meet at Church House, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NN. 7.15 for a 7.30 start. Cost: £3.00 which includes tea/coffee and soft drinks + biscuits. Newcomers first evening is free. All welcome, no partner required but please wear soft shoes. Instruction on footwork and formations given when necessary in the first half of the evening + simpler dances. After the break at 8.30 we attempt some more challenging dances for our regular members. Contact: Malcolm on 07790 323343. Check out bridportscottishdancers for more information. Learn to Draw from Nature for Beginners Would you like to learn to draw but don’t know where to start? Draw from a still life study of flowers and fruit, and bring out your creative side in this relaxed class. Cost £16 which includes All materials, plus tea and coffee. 10 till 12.30. At The United Reformed Church , Chard Road, Axminster EX13 5EB, parking is opposite in Poplar Mount car park. For information or to book contact :

Thursday, 7 March

sillustrated talk in the Woodmead Hall, Hill Road, Lyme Regis DT7 3PG at 2.30 pm. ‘Ammonite Secrets that Darwin might wish he had known’ by Wolfgang Grulke. The talk describes uncoiled ‘heteromorph’ ammonites with bizarre shapes, a largely untold story. They present intriguing evolutionary puzzles that will be discussed. Entrance fee £2 for members and £4 for visitors, all welcome. Enquiries to David Cox, 01297 443156.

Fifi La Mer : A night of French music. Close your eyes and be transported to Paris where you will hear a selection of French music including works from Edith Piaf, Charles

Trennet, Django Reinhardt and Serge Gainsbourg. Along the way you will hear tales about life in Paris and anecdotes about composers. 7.30pm. The Beehive Honiton www. 01404 384050.

West Dorset Ramblers Group 8 mile circular walk via Briant’s Puddle War Memorial, Pallington Clump, and Athelhampton. For more information and booking please phone 07826150114.

Lyme Voices Community Choir. 19.30 to 21.15. Sing for fun. Learn songs in harmony by ear. Everyone welcome. Baptist Church (Pine Hall round the back), Silver St., Lyme Regis, DT7 3NY. Phone 07534 116502 or email Please let us know if you are coming.

Friday, 8 March

Bon Giovi Gateway Theatre, Seaton, live music- 8pm doors 7.30pm, tickets £20, £22.50 on the door. Bon Giovi are the World’s Premier look-alike and sound alike Tribute to the New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

Growing Food That Money Can’t Buy a talk by Katherine Crouch - it’s not a talk about any old A-Z of crops but one which tells which are the easiest, tastiest and most reliable. Katherine will talk about the crops she always grows, those which she only grows sometimes and those which she may never bother growing again and why. She’ll also discuss the delicious meals she makes with what she produces throughout the year and why she bothers growing it when she could just go to the supermarket instead. Starting at 7.30pm in the Jubilee Hall Winsham TA20 4HU tickets are £4 for WHS members & £5.50 for non members and don’t forget to bring some loose change with you as they’ll be tea and cake available as well as a raffle.

The Ballad of Mulan Woman, warrior, Legend. For ten years Mulan disguised as a man has fought for the Chinese Empire, but now it is time to go home. Grist to the Mill and Red Dragonfly brings you the real Chinese heroine that inspired Disney’s animation and live-feature Mulan. 7:30pm Bridport Arts Centre, 9 South St, Bridport, DT6 3NR. www.

The Gaz Hughes Trio – Nuclear Bebopalypse - A Swing and Bop Odyssey from three rising stars of British Jazz. The trio showcases original compositions which pay homage to jazz legends, blending heritage with a modern twist for a captivating soundscape that strikes the perfect balance between tradition and innovation. 7.30pm at Ilminster Arts Centre, TA19 0AN. Tickets: £18 Students: £5 Children 12 and under: Free 01460 54973.To book: 01460 54973 or www.

Adult dance with Nikki Northover at Steps studio, Crepe Farm Business Park. Every Wednesday and Friday at 10am to 11am. Journey through different dance styles from Latin to disco, to freestyle and creative work. Each class focuses on dancing for well being and ends with a relaxation. Cost: £8. Enquiries and to book please contact Nikki Northover at

20 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 Email Tel. 01308 423031
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Friday, 8 March - 9 March

The Netherbury Players will be performing ‘Blithe Spirit’ by Noel Coward at 7.30pm in Netherbury village hall. £12 tickets from Bridport Tourist information or www. Doors open at 7pm and so does the cash-only bar.

Saturday, 9 March

‘Typist, Artist, Pirate, King’ (12A) - Picnic Night

Screening - Gateway Theatre, Seaton, 7.30pm doors 6.30pm, tickets Adults £7.50, Under 16s £6.50. ‘Typist, Artist, Pirate, King’ puts forgotten artist Audrey Amiss on the map. Inspired by her extensive archive of diaries, letters and art, the film weaves real events into an imagined journey as Audrey goes on a road trip with her psychiatric nurse. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

Cantamus presents ’Spring, clad all in gladness’, a selection of choral music for the season. Includes works by Byrd, Mendelssohn, Lotti and Glinka, plus arrangements of traditional folk songs. Holy Trinity Church, Bothenhampton, 7pm. Tickets £12 on the door (cash or card).

Jess Upton & The Guilty Pleasures Charity Gig Join us at the Symondsbury Tithe Barn for our annual gig night. Featuring dancefloor fillers and all the hits, get your groove on in aid of St Catherine’s Preschool. Pizzas available from Chariots of Fire. From 7pm, Symondsbury Tithe Barn, Symondsbury Estate, Early Bird tickets: £13 (£15 thereafter). To book:

The Gary Moore Blues Experience This spectacular tribute ensures that the spirit and passion of Gary Moore’s music lives on. 7.30pm. The Beehive Honiton www. 01404 384050.

Learn to sew and How to Use your sewing machine, for Beginners Would you like to improve your sewing skills? Bring along your sewing machine and work on a simple project. This month we will be learning how to make bunting and/ or rouleau tape. Or choose your own small project from examples. 10 till 2 pm At the United Reformed Church, Chard Road, Axminster EX13 5EB, parking is opposite in Poplar Mount car park. Cost £18 to include tea and coffee. For more information or to book a place , contact : gina.

Artsreach’s Latchepen, jazz & swing music in Powerstock Hut at 7.30pm. Box Office: 01308 485730 or online at www. Tickets: £12, £5(u18), £30(family) Doors and Bar open 7pm

Yarcombe Village Market in Yarcombe Village Hall, 10- 12noon – Fantastic Local produce – Eggs, Cakes, Pies and Pasties, Locally reared Pork, Plants form a Local Nursery, Woodwork, Bric a Brac and lots more.. come and have a browse and some coffee and cake. Queries – Helen 07858625421.

Sunday, 10 March

‘Titanic The Musical’ (12A) screening - Gateway Theatre, Seaton, 2pm doors 1.30pm, tickets Adults £15, Under 16s £8 Winner of 5 Tony Awards (including Best Musical), based on the real people aboard the most legendary ship in

the world, Titanic The Musical is a stunning and stirring production focusing on the hopes, dreams and aspirations of her passengers who each boarded with stories and personal ambitions of their own. Tickets from 01297 625699, www. or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

Monday, 11 March

Hawkchurch History Society - Spring Talk. Newenham Abbey & the Dissolution of the Monasteries in Devon’ speaker Prof: James Clark, of Exeter University. The abbey at Axminster, licenced in 1246, formed the focal point of town & rural life for nearly 300 years - until 1539. Little of the abbey remains now (buried under Lower Abbey Farm), but remnants of tiles & carvings can be found in and around the town today. 7pm in the Hawkchurch Village Hall (doors open at 6.30pm). Non-members are very welcome, and will be charged £4 at the door.

West Dorset Ramblers Group 8 mile walk around Eggardon Hill and Loders. For more information and booking please phone 07952 517764.

Bridport Folk Dance Club If you like exercise, socialising and maybe learning something new, then come along to our dance sessions in the W.I. Hall on Monday evenings from 7.15pm-9.30pm. All welcome, especially beginners. Occasional live music and always a Caller to lead the dances so no experience or partner required. Musicians are always welcome too. Tea and biscuits. Tel: 863552 or 459001 for more information. Only £3.00 for an evening’s enjoyment. An evening of Scottish Dancing at Chardstock Village Hall 7.30 – 10.00 p.m. Tea and coffee provided but please bring your own mug. No partner required. Cost £2.00. For more information contact David on 01460 65981.

Monday, 11 - 15 March

Creative process and self-expression Whether you are an artist, designer or complete novice, rediscover creativity on this fun and inspiring week-long course run by local maker, art therapist, and creativity coach Mary Caddick. Learn to play again; take risks, have fun, release inhibitions, and give the inner critic a holiday. Sessions take place 9.30am4.00pm at The Chapel in the Garden, Bridport. Cost £295 plus £50 for materials and refreshments. To find out more or to book a place please call Mary on 07557 275275, email

Tuesday, 12 March

Divine Union Soundbath 8-9.30 PM Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Rd, Sherborne DT9 3LN Quieten the mind calm the emotions relax and detoxify the body. £15 Please book in advance via 01935 389655

Scottish Country dancing at Horton Village Hall TA19 9QR from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. We cater for all levels from beginners to experienced. Only £3.00 per session pay on the door, including hot drink and biscuits at the interval . It’s great fun, there is great music and you’ll find good company. For more information contact Anita on 01460 929383 , email and visit our web site at . Better still just come along and join in.

Wednesday, 13 March

Bridport Scottish Dancers will meet at Church House,

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South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NN. Time: 7.15 for a 7.30 start. Cost: £3.00 which includes tea/ coffee and soft drinks + biscuits. Newcomers first evening is free. All welcome, no partner required but please wear soft shoes. Instruction on footwork and formations given when necessary in the first half of the evening + simpler dances. After the break at 8.30 we attempt some more challenging dances for our regular members. Contact: Malcolm on 07790 323343. Check out bridportscottishdancers for more information.

Wednesday, 13 - 14 March

‘The Old Oak (15)’ showing at Kilmington Community Cinema (EX13 7RF). Ken Loach may not always be a bundle of laughs, but he’s always got something important to say. And at 86, he has declared that this is his last film. Doors open 6.45 film starts 7.15 on Wednesday. Matinee on Thursday doors open 1.45pm film starts 2pm, advance booking required for this matinee, creamteas served during the interval but must be prebooked with your seats @ £3.50. Pre-booked seat tickets @ £5 or £5.50 on the door, booking essential for the matinee. Tickets can be prebooked by email: or Tel: 01297 639758 see other-organisations.html for more information.

Thursday, 14 March

The Shanty Sessions with The Chantry Buoys of Colyton, East Devon’s best looking boy band. Come along and join in with some traditional sea shanties and other well known songs of the sea. Entry is free, so come along to have some fun and maritime frolics. The Buoys start at 7.30, licensed bar will be open, all proceeds go to supporting local charities. Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis. 7.30pm.

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Folk dancing at Combe St Nicholas village hall (TA20 3LT) at 1930 hrs. The Dancing Keys will be providing the music and Jane Thomas is calling. It’s £4.00 per person which includes a cuppa and cake, all welcome and it is a lot of fun! Further details from Elaine on 01460 65909.

Chard History Group History of Art Speaker Louise Allen Doors open 7.15pm Start 7.45pm Chard Guild Hall Fore Street Chard Members £2.50 Visitors £3.50 All welcome. For further detail contact Tessa 07984481634.

The New Arts Group “Fame and Obscurity” Queen Victoria’s two court artists: Landseer and Burton Barber Speaker: John Davies Cost £10.00. Time 2.00pm (tea/coffee from 1.30). Bridport Town Hall.

Seaton Garden Club. A talk by Todd Gray from radio Devon, on The History of Barnstaple. Time 2.00p.m. at The Masonic Hall Seaton. £2.00 for none members to include refreshments. For more details contact 01297 22869.

Fatherhood Being a father in the 21st century is complicated, especially when you’re the father of a son of mixed heritage. Three very different characters, each with their own stories of being and having a dad explore the highs and lows of fatherhood across generations and across continents. All performances include integrated captions. 7:30pm Bridport Arts Centre, 9 South St, Bridport, DT6 3NR.

Bridport History Society hosts a talk featuring, arguably, Britain’s first celebrity. The talk, given by Prof. William Gibson (Oxford Brookes University), is titled ‘Seals, Sedition and Sacheverell’. Through the case of Henry Sacheverell, who achieved great fame in the first two decades of the eighteenth century, we find out how wax sealmakers exploited the political nature of public life. Either hero or villain depending on your point of view, use of Sacheverell’s seals raises questions of loyalty and treason in the period. The talk follows a short AGM. Bridport History Society meets on the second Thursday of each month (except July and August) at the United Church Hall, 2.15 for 2.30pm. Visitors welcome £5pp. Membership is £10 individual / £15 couple. For more information visit: www.

West Dorset Ramblers Group 7.5 mile circular- walk along the Fleet with views across the Chesil Bank. For more information and booking please phone 07798 732252. Lyme Voices Community Choir. 19.30 to 21.15. Sing for fun. Learn songs in harmony by ear. Everyone welcome. Baptist Church (Pine Hall round the back), Silver St., Lyme Regis, DT7 3NY. Phone 07534 116502 or email Please let us know if you are coming.

Friday, 15 March

The Miracle Club set in 1967, is a heartwarming film that follows the story of three generations of close friends, Lily (Maggie Smith), Eileen (Kathy Bates), and Dolly (Agnes O’Casey) of Ballygar, a hard-knocks community in Dublin, who have one tantalizing dream: to win a pilgrimage to the sacred French town of Lourdes, that place of miracles that draws millions of visitors each year. When the chance to win presents itself, the women seize it. However, just

before their trip, their old friend Chrissie (Laura Linney) arrives in Ballygar for her mother’s funeral, dampening their good mood and well-laid plans. It is a lovely story about a friendship, past mistakes, love and forgiveness, with a brilliant cast. Village Hall, The Causeway, Milborne St Andrew DT11 0JX. Doors and bar open 7.00pm, start 7.30pm. Tickets cost £6, which includes a drink or an ice-cream.

Sara Trickey and Ivana Gavric - Passionately beautiful classical music from this dynamic duo. They will be delighting us with a programme including Mozart and Brahms, among others. Promoted by Concerts in the West. 7.30pm at Ilminster Arts Centre, TA19 0AN. Tickets: £18 Students: £5 Children 12 and under: Free.To book: 01460 54973 or www.

Friday, March 15 - 17

Octent Antiques Fair Parnham House Parnham Park Beaminster DT8 3LZ. 10 am - 5 pm daily.

Saturday, 16 March

Chideock WI 2024 Fuller Talk. Kevin Lygo, Director of Television at ITV “From Love Island to Byzantium”. Kevin’s talk will cover his life in television where he is responsible for programmes such as Dancing on Ice and Mr Bates vs the Post Office, as well as his passionate interest in Byzantium history and art. Chideock Village Hall 7.15 for 7.30 pm. Bar. Tickets including light refreshments £10.00 pp in advance from Janet Carey or 01297 489782.

Table Top Sale - Musbury Village Hall, 10am to 12.30pm. Stalls include cakes, raffle, homemade cards, bric a brac and lots more. Refreshments including bacon buttys. All profits to St Michaels Church, Musbury, Enquiries call 01297 552440.

Quiz & Supper £10 per person; come in a team, or join one on the night; prizes for the winning teams. Licenced bar; raffle. 7pm; Clapton & Wayford Village Hall. Booking and payment in advance please, to assist with catering; phone 01460 74849 or 01460 72769

Cantamus presents ’Spring, clad all in gladness’, a selection of choral music for the season. Includes works by Byrd, Mendelssohn, Lotti and Glinka, plus arrangements of traditional folk songs. St Candida, Whitchurch Canonicorum, 7pm. Tickets £12 on the door (cash or card).

Dave’s Big General Knowledge Quiz - Come and support the Arts Centre with a wonderful evening of quizzing! Fiendish questions, bar and a raffle await. 7.30pm at Ilminster Arts Centre, TA19 0AN. Tickets: £12 per team of 4. To book: 01460 54973 or

Calligraphy For Beginners 10 till 12 At the United Reformed Church , Chard Road, Axminster EX13 5EB ( parking opposite in Poplar Mount car park). Would you like to learn how to do Italic Calligraphy? Learn the basics of italics : pens and materials, pen angles, learn the letterforms, spacing and letter sizes. Discover how to use your calligraphy : for cards, poems, invitations, wedding stationery etc All materials are supplied. Cost £17. For more information and to book a place contact:

Baskery The queens of banjopunk play a combination of classic ‘roots music and Americana’ with a twist of rule

24 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 Email Tel. 01308 423031

breaking punk turn this much loved style of music on it’s head. Their sound oozes style and playfulness and has helped them accrue a number of plaudits & accolades. 7.30pm. The Beehive Honiton 01404 384050.

The Grizzly Quiz Night 2024 – Quiz - Gateway Theatre, Seaton, 7.30pm, doors 7pm, tickets £6 per person. As part of The Grizzly weekend celebrations, the ever popular Grizzly Quiz is back raising funds for The Gateway Theatre! Get your team of friends together for a fun & competitive evening of quizzing (prizes given). Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person TueThur 10am - 1pm.

Sauturday, 16 - 17 March

Dorchester Dulcimer Weekend What is a Dulcimer? Well here is a whole weekend for you all to find out more about these beautiful music instruments. There are concerts, workshops and sessions, all based in the historic Shire Hall Café, High West Street, Dorchester DT1 1UY. Tickets can be bought in advance at Eventbrite. Just search for Dorchester Dulcimer Weekend. You can buy a ticket to cover the whole event; the two concerts and four workshops for just £20. Or you can buy a ticket for a particular concert (£8) or a workshop (£3). For advice on the workshops email Damian Clarke at:

Sunday, 17 March

South Wessex Organ Society (SWOS) announces the first performance of C.P.E. Bach-St. John Passion (Johannespassion) since its composition in 1788. The music has

recently been published. Axminster Chamber Choir and Orchestra, conductor Peter Parshall. Admission free, retiring collection. 19.00h. St. Andrew’s Church, Colyton. Yeovil Railway Centre, Yeovil Junction, Stoford, Yeovil BA22 9UU: first Train Day of the season. Recorded information on 01935 410420, find us on Facebook, or see our website

Monday, 18 March

West Dorset Ramblers Group 8 mile circular walk from Lower Kingcombe to North Poorton on Jubilee Trail and back on the Wessex Ridgeway. For more information and booking please phone 07974 756107.

Bridport Folk Dance Club If you like exercise, socialising and maybe learning something new, then come along to our dance sessions in the W.I. Hall on Monday evenings from 7.15pm to 9.30pm. All welcome, especially beginners. Occasional live music and always a Caller to lead the dances so no experience or partner required. Musicians always welcome too. Tea and biscuits. Tel: 863552 or 459001 for more information. Only £3.00 for an evening’s enjoyment. An evening of Scottish Dancing at Chardstock Village Hall 7.30 – 10.00 p.m. Tea and coffee provided but please bring your own mug. No partner required. Cost £2.00. For more information contact David on 01460 65981

Tuesday, 19 March

‘Pillow Talk’ (12) Home Instead Nostalgic Cinema – relaxed screening - Gateway Theatre, Seaton -. 1.30pm, doors 1pm, tickets £3.50 Whilst promoted as a dementia friendly

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screening, anyone who loves nostalgic films is very welcome to join us for an afternoon of fond memories and friendship. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

The Lyme Regis Society presents a talk: Hogchester & Roman Villa at Holcombe By Audrey Standhaft 2pm at Woodmead Halls, Hill Road, Lyme Regis. DT7 3PG. All Welcome. Members Free. Visitors £3.00. Refreshments Included. Social distanced seating available if desired. Please check website for further information: http//

Barrington and District Gardening Society – Annual Spring Show & AGM plus an opportunity for members to exchange ideas 7.30pm - Barrington village hall, Somerset, TA19 0JE. Info from 01460 54691.

Simon Williams will give a talk on “The River Lim - Past & Present” in which he will describe the River Lim Path Improvement Project. Simon is a Planning and Regeneration consultant, living and working in the Lyme area who has delivered many environmental and regeneration projects. He was appointed by Dorset Coastal Forum to plan and manage the River Lim Project and he has a fascinating tale to tell. 7.15pm at the Driftwood Cafe, Baptist Church, top of Broad Street, Lyme Regis, DT7 3NY. Free Event. Refreshments available. All Welcome. Contact or 01297 446066.

Scottish Country dancing at Horton Village Hall TA19 9QR from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. We cater for all levels from beginners to experienced. Only £3.00 per session pay on the door, including hot drink and biscuits at the interval . It’s great fun, there is great music and you’ll find good company. For more information contact Anita on 01460 929383 , email and visit our web site at www. . Better still just come along and join in.

Wednesday, 20 March

Gardens Open The award-winning gardens at Athelhampton, surround the Tudor manor house, and date from 1891. The Great Court with 12 giant yew topiary pyramids is overlooked by two terraced pavilions. This glorious Grade I architectural garden is full of vistas with spectacular planting, ponds with fountains and the River Piddle flowing past. Coffee, lunches & afternoon tea are available daily. Open for NGS: (10-5), Adm £12.50 (garden only), chd free. Athelhampton House Gardens, Athelhampton, Dorchester DT2 7LG.

Bridport Scottish Dancers will meet on at Church House, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NN. 7.15 for a 7.30 start. Cost: £3.00 which includes tea/coffee and soft drinks + biscuits. Newcomers first evening is free. All welcome, no partner required but please wear soft shoes. Instruction on footwork and formations given when necessary in the first half of the evening + simpler dances. After the break at 8.30 we attempt some more challenging dances for our regular members. Contact: Malcolm on 07790 323343. Check out bridportscottishdancers for more information. Coffee Morning, including cakes, scones & savouries, and bacon/egg rolls (made to order), 10.30am – noon; all

welcome. Clapton & Wayford Village Hall. More details from Julia (01460 72769)

Thursday, 21 March

The Kingsbury Episcopi Band originating from Kingsbury Episcopi in South Somerset, was established more than 100 years ago, and is a wind band, made up of brass and woodwind instruments. Their repertoire is wide and varied from ABBA and the King and I to Simon and Garfunkel; as well as traditional marches. All Saints Church, MARTOCK; TA12 6JN. 7:30 pm. Tickets: £10.00 at Guardianstickets@ /07547 213992/Martock Gallery/ Martock Newsagent (cash only); £12.00 at door. Website:www. South Somerset RSPB Local Group Antarctic Adventure An illustrated talk presented by our member Lynn Osborne about her trip to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia & The Falkland Islands. Lynn travelled 3,790 miles on an expedition ship, formerly used by the Dutch Navy as an oceanographic vessel. Expect wonderful photography with spectacular scenery and penguins galore. At 7.30pm

The Millennium Hall, Seavington St. Mary, Ilminster, TA19 0QH. Entry: Group members £4, non-group members £5, under 25’s Free. Tea/coffee & biscuits included –Wheelchair access. Further details from Denise Chamings on 01460240740 or Everyone welcome.

Deane Big Band - The Beehive Residency Big Band. 1970s - From Fusion to Disco. From Weather Report’s cross-over masterpiece Birdland to Gloria Gaynor’s feminist anthem I will survive, the band will explore the decade that gave us bell bottoms, tie-dyed shirts and platform shoes. 8pm. The Beehive Honiton 01404 384050.

West Dorset Ramblers Group 7.5 mile walk around Burton Bradstock and West Bay to include the coast path. For more information and booking please phone 07902 988549.

Lyme Voices Community Choir. 19.30 to 21.15. Sing for fun. Learn songs in harmony by ear. Everyone welcome. Baptist Church (Pine Halll round the back), Silver St., Lyme Regis, DT7 3NY. Phone 07534 116502 or email Please let us know if you are coming.

Friday, 22 March

‘Argylle’ (12A) – Picnic Night screening - Gateway Theatre, Seaton – 7.30pm, doors 6.30pm, tickets Adults £7.50, Under 16s £6.50. From the twisted mind of Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman franchise, Kick-Ass) comes Argylle, a razorwitted, reality-bending, globe-encircling spy thriller. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

John Law’s Re-Creations - Creative arrangements of some of the world’s most familiar music. Taking some of the best-known tunes from all genres - jazz, pop, indie, rock, folk, classical sometimes and re-creating them, Sometimes spontaneously. 7.30pm at Ilminster Arts Centre, TA19 0AN.

Tickets: £20 Students: £5 Children 12 and under: Free. To book: 01460 54973 or

26 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 Email Tel. 01308 423031


23 March

Exeter Festival Chorus will be joined by the Cantorum choir from Blundell’s School for a concert entitled ‘Of Music & Invention’ at St Peter’s Church, Tiverton. The concert features the Da Vinci Requiem by Cecilia McDowall and other pieces by contemporary composers, as well as drawing on the past with music by William Byrd, Henry Purcell, Antonio Lotti and Thomas Weelkes. For further information and tickets, go to exeterfestivalchorus/of-music-and-invention/ebkyykm

Cantamus presents ’Spring, clad all in gladness’, a selection of choral music for the season. Includes works by Byrd, Mendelssohn, Lotti and Glinka, plus arrangements of traditional folk songs. St Mary’s Church, Edward Road, Dorchester, 7pm. Tickets £12 on the door (cash or card).

Valemon A Norwegian White Bear Tale with original live music told by Lu Orza with

EVENTS IN APRIL Live or Online send your event details to BY MARCH 15th Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 27

Anthony Dodds and Colin Thompson at the Strode Room Beaminster 7.45pm. Tickets £10/concs £8 on door. Includes refreshments.

Cracking A completely made-up true story CRACKING is a dark and comic story about love and hatred, and celebrates how searching for connection beats disconnecting. It’s a heart-warming and uplifting comic story that blends fiction and reality into one seamless whole. 7:30pm Bridport Arts Centre, 9 South St, Bridport, DT6 3NR. www.bridport-arts. com.

Sheldon Singers present music to Calm Soothe and Inspire, including pieces by Stanford, Gibbons, Finzi and Faure. bSt Mary’s Church Uffculme EX15 3AA. 4pm. Followed by tea and cakes. Retiring donations - cash or card.

Miss Sasha Blaze: Hot Stuff – Drag night – Gateway Theatre, Seaton – 8pm, doors 7.30pm tickets Adults £15, Students £12.50, 18+. This is a drag show like no other. Follow Miss Sasha Blaze and she divulges into her life through song and comedy. Tickets from 01297 625699, www. or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

Saturday, 23 - 24 March

Fancy being part of a free singing and performance weekend in Lyme Regis, creating new shanties for the 21st Century? Lyme Bay Moonrakers, a Lyme Regis community shanty group, partners with Somerset-based composer Marc Yeats and Electric Backroom Studio to compose five contemporary vocal pieces that reimagine traditional sea shanties. Marc’s shanties will extend vocal and performance skills through a weekend of fun musical exploration. Workshops are free and open to all, regardless of experience, but booking is essential. Events culminate in a live performance at the Woodmead Halls, Lyme Regis, on the evening of Sunday 24th, presenting the old and new shanties to audiences. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, please follow the link for full details and booking. https://www.

Sunday, 24 March

Garden Open Frankham Farm, Ryme Intrinseca, Sherborne DT9 6JT. 3½ acre garden, created since 1960 by the late Jo Earle for year-round interest. This large and lovely garden is filled with a wide variety of well grown plants, roses, unusual labelled shrubs and trees. Productive vegetable garden. Clematis and other climbers. Spring bulbs through to autumn colour, particularly oaks. Sorry, no dogs. Ramp available for the two steps to the garden. Modern WCs inc disabled. BBQ with our own farm produced beef, lamb & pork, vegetarian soup, home-made cakes made by village bakers. Open: (12-5). Adm £7, chd free. Light refreshments in our newly converted barn (no steps).

Lyme Bay Chorale’s spring fundraiser in partnership with The Broadoak Choir. Music by Lotti, Brahms and Fauré plus organ solos. Lyme Regis Parish Church, 4pm. Admission free with a retiring collection in aid of the church’s sound system appeal.

Dalwood Jazz Club presents La Vie en Rose - Devon’s ever popular Gipsy Jazz Band with Rebecca Wilson - violin, Nick White - clarinet, David Jones - guitar, Laurie Light - guitar and Yann Mahdjoub - bass 3pm Dalwood Village Hall, EX13

7EG (near Axminster) Bar for beer/wine/soft drinks and teas/coffees etc. Parking at the Village Hall. £12.50p If possible, please book in advance and pay (cash or card) at the door.

MJB Presents Classic Songs Revisited – Live Music –Gateway Theatre, Seaton- 3pm, doors 2.30pm, tickets Adults £15, Under 16s £10. Join us for a chill out Sunday afternoon of live music. Featuring popular songs from 60s 70s & 80s interpreted and played instrumentally by MJB & the band with some Funk Soul Jazz & a touch of Latin. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

Monday, 25 March

Bridport folk Dance Club If you like exercise, socialising and maybe learning something new, then come along to our dance sessions in the W.I. Hall on Monday evenings from 7.15pm to 9.30pm. All welcome, especially beginners. Occasional live music and always a Caller to lead the dances so no experience or partner required. Musicians always welcome too. Tea and biscuits. Only £3.00 for and evening’s enjoyment. Tel: 863552 or 459001 for more information. An evening of Scottish Dancing at Chardstock Village Hall 7.30 – 10.00 p.m. Tea and coffee provided but please bring your own mug. No partner required. Cost £2.00. For more information contact David on 01460 65981.

Tuesday, 26 March

West Dorset Ramblers Group 8 mile circular walk from Lower Kingcombe on the Jubilee Trail and surrounding ROWs. For more information and booking please phone 07587 098079.

Scottish Country dancing at Horton Village Hall TA19

9QR from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. We cater for all levels from beginners to experienced. Only £3.00 per session pay on the door, including hot drink and biscuits at the interval . It’s great fun, there is great music and you’ll find good company. For more information contact Anita on 01460 929383 , email and visit our web site at www. . Better still just come along and join in.

Wednesday, 27 March

Uplyme and Lyme Regis Horticultural Society AGM followed by talk by Keith Wiley of Wildside Nursery, ‘Risktaking in Landscape’. Uplyme Village Hall 7.30pm. Doors open at 7pm for refreshments. Members free; non-members £3. More information

Bridport U3A talk at Bridport United Church Hall, East Street, Bridport, DT6 3LJ at 2pm. The speaker is sailor and marine photographer Steve Belasco, and is titled A Cruise Along the Jurassic Coast. Steve’s talk will be illustrated with slides taken along the length of the Jurassic Coast.

Bridport Scottish Dancers will meet at Church House, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NN. Time: 7.15 for a 7.30 start. Cost: £3.00 which includes tea/coffee and soft drinks + biscuits. Newcomers first evening is free. All welcome, no partner required but please wear soft shoes. Instruction on footwork and formations given when necessary in the first half of the evening + simpler dances. After the break at 8.30 we attempt some more challenging dances for our regular members. Contact: Malcolm on 07790 323343. Check out

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bridportscottishdancers for more information.

Thursday, 28 March

West Dorset Ramblers Group 8.5 mile circular walk from Corscombe to Halstock and West Cheselborough For more information and booking please phone 07826150114.

Folk dancing at Combe St Nicholas village hall (TA20 3LT) at 1930 hrs. Brian Heaton will be playing his trusty accordion and calling the dances. It’s £4.00 per person which includes a cuppa and cake, all welcome and it is a lot of fun! Further details from Elaine on 01460 65909.

Lyme Voices Community Choir. 19.30 to 21.15. Sing for fun. Learn songs in harmony by ear. Everyone welcome. Baptist Church (Pine Hall round the back), Silver St., Lyme Regis, DT7 3NY. Phone 07534 116502 or email petelinnett2@ Please let us know if you are coming.

Friday, 29 March

Easter Trail followed by ‘Migration’ (U) Matinee screening - Gateway Theatre, Seaton – Trail from 11am £1 per entry on door. Film 2pm, doors 1.30pm, tickets Adults £7.50, Under 16s £6.50.

A family of ducks decides to leave the safety of a New England pond for an adventurous trip to Jamaica. However, their well-laid plans quickly go awry when they get lost and wind up in New York City. Tickets from 01297 625699, www. or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm. A Country Music Songbook Theatre Show. A brand new, and refreshing, country music theatre production. This exceptional production will immerse audiences in the rich

tapestry of country music, showcasing its diverse history and heritage through a carefully curated collection of songs & projected imagery. 7.30pm. The Beehive Honiton www. 01404 384050.

Beaminster Museum A Stitch In Time The museum opens for the summer season with a new exhibition focusing on needlecraft. It follows a thread through local sewing history, from cobblers to couture costumes and darning to drapers, via saddlers and seamstresses, to tailoring and tapestries. Artefacts and archive photographs from Beaminster and the surrounding villages bring the story to life. The exhibition will run until the museum closes for the winter in October. The museum is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Bank holidays 10.30am – 4.00pm, Sundays 2.00 – 4.30pm. Free entry but donations very welcome. Beaminster Museum, Whitcombe Rd, Beaminster DT8 3NB.

Friday, 29 March - 1 April

Forde Abbey Easter Trail. Bring the little ones and come along to Forde Abbey’s exciting Easter trail starting from the 29th of March to 1st April from 10:30am to 4:00pm. The usual entry fees apply to all Adults and Children and an additional fee for children who would like to take part in the trail. Gift Shop, Coffee Shop and Specialist Nursery is also open for the Easter Weekend,

Saturday, 30 March

‘Bob Marley – One Love’ (12A) Picnic Night screening - Gateway Theatre, Seaton 7.30pm, doors 6.30pm, tickets Adults £7.50, Under 16s £6.50. ‘Bob Marley – One Love’

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Environmental writers wanted

A Lyme Regis based non-profit environmental education company, Little Green Change, will be publishing their first environmental magazine written by students for students later this year, and they are on the lookout for contributors aged 11-18. Students from The Woodroffe School, and Colyton Grammar School have already signed up, but they would like a range of schools to participate. The deadline is March 29. For more information, contact info@


Hopes revived

Hopes to return former Sidmouth gardens and amphitheatre areas to their former glory at the Knowle have been revived. Sidmouth Town Council (STC) has officially taken over the management and conservation of the Knowle Parkland. It was formerly owned by East Devon District Council STC hopes to involve the local community as part of its plans to improve natural biodiversity and enhance the parkland for the enjoyment of all.


Route cuts condemmed Bus workers union, RMT condemned First Bus for cuts to vital routes in Yeovil. One of the UK’s largest bus operators with over a million passenger journeys a week, First Bus will stop running 54 and 58/58A services at the end of March. The company also plans to make cuts to the 25 and 28 services. Passenger groups had previously warned against any such cuts with several elderly people expressing despair at not being able to move freely across the town.


celebrates the life and music of an icon who inspired generations through his message of love and unity. Tickets from 01297 625699, or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm.

Cattistock Point-to-Point at Chilfrome (signed off A356).

An afternoon of Pony races and Steeplechase races. Local food, Bar, Bookies, Stalls and Children’s entertainment. Further information: or njatknson10@

An evening of Music and Words, The Bartholomew Quartet and other well-known local musicians and writers performing a varied programme, 7pm for 7.30pm, The Mariners` Hall, Fore Street Beer, EX12 3JB. Tickets 10 pounds per adult (accompanied under-16s free). Contact Martin Cox


World first for Town Council

Bridport Town Council became the world’s first town council to sign up to a Sustainable Palm Oil Community (SPO) agreeing to support the Dorset Sustainable Palm Oil Community initiative. The initiative run by EFECA in Bournemouth seeks to encourage the use of certified sustainable palm to help reduce deforestation and protect biodiversity. Started by Chester Zoo in 2019 the initiative works with a wide range odf organisations. For more visit:


Preventing homelessness

Dorset Council and national charities Shelter and Citizens Advice have joined forces to prevent homelessness in the county. The new partnership is supporting Dorset residents who are experiencing a range of housing issues by providing a free, confidential and non-judgemental one-stopshop for anyone with housing cost concerns. Residents can also access the Housing Advice service by emailing

Sunday, 31 March

The Royal Opera – Madama Butterfly (12A) screening - Gateway Theatre, Seaton, - 2pm doors 1.30pm, tickets Adults £15.Under 16s £8. When the young geisha, CioCio-San, marries American Naval Officer Pinkerton, she believes she is entering a real, binding marriage for life. Forsaking her religion and community, she learns all too late that for Pinkerton, their marriage is merely an illusion – with tragic consequences. Tickets from 01297 625699, www. or in person Tue - Thur 10am - 1pm. Divine Union Soundbath 2pm-4pm Oborne Village Hall, Oborne, nr. Sherborne, Dorset DT9 4LA Quieten the mind calm the emotions relax and detoxify the body. £15 Please book in advance 01935 389655

30 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 Email Tel. 01308 423031

Bridport’s Film Festival celebrates 15 with curator Rebecca Lenkiewicz

This year is the 15th anniversary of Bridport’s film festival From Page To Screen. The only festival to focus on adaptations, it was established as a big screen companion to Bridport Arts Centre’s international literary ‘Bridport Prize’, which is drawing its own fiftieth year to a close.

BAC is delighted that one of last year’s key speakers, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, will be this year’s guest curator. Rebecca came as Sir Christopher Hampton’s guest in 2023 with She Said; the true story of how two New York Times journalists uncovered the Harvey Weinstein ‘Me Too’ scandal. Rebecca wrote the screenplay as a film adaptation of the book by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey detailing their investigation. Her work on She Said was nominated as the BAFTAs best adapted screenplay and Golden Globe Critics’ Choice Award.

She is currently completing her directorial debut, a film of her adaptation of Deborah Levy’s novel Hot Milk, and prior to this project wrote the screenplay for the forthcoming film of best-selling memoir The Salt Path

She started her storytelling career as an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre, most notably starring in Sir Peter Hall’s production of The Baccae. In 2000 her first play Soho : A Tale of Table Dancers won a Fringe First award at the Edinburgh Festival, and by 2008 she would become the first living female playwright to have their original play—Her Naked Skin—performed on the National Theatre’s Olivier stage.

Her first film screenplay was Ida in 2013 which she co-wrote with the Polish film director Pawel

Pawelowski and would go on to win the 2015 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. This was followed by Disobedience in 2017—based on Naomi Alderman’s novel and starring Rachel Weisz—and then the biographical drama Colette in 2018 with Keira Knightly in the title role.

She brings to From Page To Screen 2024 her experience of every aspect of adaptation—from performance to writing to directing—as well as a passion for sharing these insights with audiences and emerging filmmakers too.

Rebecca is looking forward to presenting her unique festival programme; ‘I had such a wonderful time at Bridport last year with its amazing film festival From Page to Screen. I loved the films and working with the film students.

‘I’m excited to be curating it this year and the films and events at the festival are varied and brilliant. We’re exploring the themes of Life Stories and Future Worlds.’

Films include the new print of Herzog’s heartbreaking classic The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser and Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc with a live accompaniment. There are some terrific documentary feature films including Paul Sng’s Tish showing alongside his portrait of Poly Styrene: I am a Cliché.

There will also be the latest award-winning films at Bridport Arts Centre and the Electric Cinema, as well as installations and exhibitions at BAC’s Allsop Gallery and at Clocktower Records.

Look forward to a fantastic classic, moving, punk and vibrant From Page to Screen in 2024!

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Ida, She Said and Disobediance - screenplays written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz

SNature Studies

o here comes March, the month when, to our great pleasure, everything in the countryside wakes up. But there is one small creature about to awaken this spring which may cause us terrible trouble.

It is the Asian hornet, an invasive species from China and other parts of the Far East, which can devastate colonies of honey bees and have a seriously damaging effect on other insect life. It has come to Europe through global trade, having arrived in France in 2004 and spread to other continental countries. In Britain, although it has been recorded here since 2016, for several years it did not seem to be properly establishing itself— there was just one confirmed sighting of Vespa velutina in 2020, two in 2021 and two in 2022. However, last year there was a dramatic surge, with 78 confirmed sightings, the vast majority of them involving nests, from Kent to Yorkshire to Portland in Dorset (where two nests were found and destroyed last August.)

This sign of a real breakout by the wee beast has well and truly put the wind up Britain’s beekeepeers, and should be of concern to all countryside lovers. For as is often the way with invasive species, when it gets here from the other side of the

An incomer’s discovery of the natural world in the West Country

world this large predatory wasp suddenly finds itself in an ecosystem whose native creatures have not evolved alongside it, and thus have evolved no defences against it—so it can play merry hell with them. And it does. Though it offers no more danger to humans than other members of the wasp family, for honey bees it can be mortal—at the height of the breeding season when they have numerous young to feed, Asian hornets will station themselves outside a beehive and intercept the bees returning with forage to feed their own young, and slaughter them. Experience from France and other European countries shows that whole colonies can rapidly be destroyed.

Concern among British beekeepers is acute, and many will shortly be taking part in what might be termed a spring offensive against the enemy. The pregnant hornet queens survive the winter by hibernating, and emerge from now on to found new colonies, themselves building what is known as a primary nest, where the first workers are reared; later in the summer a much bigger secondary nest is constructed, often high in a tree, which may contain 6,000 individuals. Many beekeepers are buying special traps, hoping to catch the

Asian hornet (Vespa velutina)
32 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 Email Tel. 01308 423031
Photograph by Charles J. Sharp

queens before the first nest is built.

However, their special worry—that 2023 appears to have marked a breakthrough year in the colonisation of Britain by this dangerous invasive species—does not seem to be shared yet by the public or indeed by nature conservation bodies, apparently unaware that the Asian hornet can also wreak havoc among the populations of many other native insects. Duncan Fergusson, a Dorset beekeeper with hives in the village of Sydling St Nicholas, said to me: “It’s frightening, because unlike the varroa mite, say, which only affects honey bees, the Asian hornet is going to devastate wildlife on a much wider scale if it is allowed to get established. That’s the big message people are missing.” Certainly, the anecdotal evidence from France is that this is true.

Britain’s insect populations have crashed anyway in recent decades, largely because of the tide of pesticides spread on the land by intensive farming, with an enormous knock-on effect on other wildlife, especially birds—it has led to the near-extinction of much-loved insectivorous species such as the spotted flycatcher and the grey partridge. The last thing our beleaguered biodiversity needs is another specialist insect-remover. So it

is fervently to be hoped that wildlife organisations will wake up to the danger and help the beekeepers. In fact, anyone can help. Asian hornets are smaller and darker than our native European hornet, Vespa crabro. The queens are about 30mm long (or an inch and a quarter) and the workers about 25mm (about an inch). They have a broad yellow-orange stripe across the dark body near the tail, and distinctive yellow legs—see the picture above—and if you think you have spotted one you can download and use the Hornet Watch App, or simply email (attaching a photo if possible) and the experts will take over.

Last year a major UN report proclaimed: “The severe global threat posed by invasive alien species is underappreciated, underestimated and often unacknowledged.” This one is on our doorstep. Right now. Take heed.queens before the first nest is built.

Recently relocated to Dorset, Michael McCarthy is the former Environment Editor of The Independent. His books include Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo and The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy.

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The R-Word: In Patagonia...

Dr Sam Rose recently revisited Chile to learn more about Tomkins Conservation, an organisation that works closely with government departments, NGOs, local farmers and landowners to support the reintroduction, rehabilitation and acclimatisation of endangered, ‘missing’, and injured wild animals. He describes it as ‘an eye-opener’.

In the 1990s, when former North Face and Esprit clothing owner Doug Tomkins started buying up vast tracts of land in Chilean Patagonia that were at risk of logging, it caused a significant earthquake in a country that is very used to earthquakes. This one was, however, a metaphorical one, and produced much gnashing of teeth from Chileans at the thought of a North American owning so much of their land. Conspiracy theories abounded, but Doug and his wife Kris, insisted that it was for conservation, for biodiversity, for ecosystems, for landscape, and most of all, for Chile.

Nearly 30 years later, the fruits of their inspired and forward-thinking actions are evident throughout Southern Chile, in a ‘Ruta de los Parques’ (route of the parks) with 17 National Parks extending over 2,800km of incredible terrain, five of which were made either wholly or in part from land given back to the state by Doug and Kris. That’s all very well and good, but what has this got to do with the R-word I

hear you say? Well, they created a foundation called (you guessed) Tomkins Conservation, and, in time, as they gradually handed over all of the land, they set up a national organisation called Fundación Rewilding Chile. It is these fine folks who now do the work incountry and who I got in touch with towards the end of last year when I realised that I could escape the British winter for three weeks in January and head off to Patagonia.

Quick back-story, I used to work in Chile, so any excuse to go back and see old friends and you won’t see me for dust, and this excuse involved introducing my gap year-bound son to a country I love. It was also a great opportunity to see how they do rewilding on the other side of the world, and it was an eye-opener.

Let’s start with a bit of hugely generalised context. Over the last hundred or so years, many of the accessible parts of southern Chile were given over to huge sheep or cattle ranches—estancias. As with comparable situations in the UK, this pushed out

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Chile Wild Guanacos in Parque Patagonia, Photograph © Sam Rose

the native wildlife—herbivores such as guanaco (like alpacas) or ñandú (like ostriches). Predators, like foxes and puma (mountain lion) were persecuted, lost their prey, their access routes and their territories. Carrion birds like condors also started to fall foul of poison used to kill puma. The worst of it was that these ranches were never profitable, and were largely an imported system set up by European settlers to try to keep the wool trade alive.

The ranches were huge and eminently unsuitable for sheep, with mountains, glaciers, huge lakes and rivers, leading into dryer, more fragile steppes that head into Argentina. The overgrazing caused a lot of damage and not only pushed out the native wildlife, but cut off vital corridors for rarer species like the Chilean national symbol—the Huemul deer—to travel through. This species is now so rare, that on one day in the field I was incredibly lucky to see six of the animals, about 0.5% of the entire wild global population.

But I digress! Rewilding Chile have a three-pronged approach to their work:

1. By working with Tomkins Conservation, they raise money to buy land from farmers that is

strategically important for biodiversity, rewild it, and then when the bureaucracy is sorted out (which can take years) gift it to the State on the condition that it is given National Park status—so is fully protected. National Parks in Chile follow the American ‘protectionist’ model as opposed to the British ‘do what you like’ model, which is appropriate when you have as much space as they do;

2. They work closely with government departments, NGOs and local farmers and other landowners to support the reintroduction, rehabilitation and acclimatisation of endangered, ‘missing’, and injured wild animals. They have a breeding and reintroduction centre to boost the very low population ñandú, a rehabilitation centre for huemul affected by cattle-borne disease, and an acclimatisation centre for condor that were in captivity or nearly died from poisoned carcasses set out to kill puma (yes, some farmers still do it);

3. Winning hearts and minds! Rewilding is a new concept in Chile, as it is in many parts of the world, and some people are still suspicious of the motives of the rich ‘gringo’ from North America

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Martin Pescador - Chilean Kingfisher; Photograph © Sam Rose

who bought the land and then gave it away— why would he do that?—even when he has been dead for nearly 10 years. They put a lot of emphasis on bringing the population with them, and with a staggering 147,000 instagram followers, they must be doing something right.

I can give a practical example from one of the places we visited—the Parque Patagonia. In 2004 Tomkins bought the massive 70,000+ hectare ranch (about a third of the size of Dorset) in an area called Valle Chacabuco. They then slowly and carefully set about taking the sheep off, removing all of the fences and taking out invasive plant species. Before long, the guanacos started to return, and with them some puma, condors and many other species. Although the damage was extensive, the natural order—the web of life—started to reassert itself relatively quickly, and now nature is thriving. The Valle was between two areas already protected by the Government, so the purchase was also about reconnecting habitats. In 2018, Kris agreed to give the land to the state on condition that they joined it up with the other two protected areas, resulting in a new, 260,000 hectare, National Park. Amazing stuff!

All of this got me thinking that despite the vast differences in scale, rewilding involves the same approaches the world over. Taking away the barriers to animal movement, allowing the natural (or surrogate) herbivores to return, reintroduction of keystone species, giving space to nature, and winning hearts and minds. Yes, the animals, climate, economics, social history, soils etc are all different, but allowing natural processes to do their thing is the same. The main difference in Chile is scale—geography, isolation and limited population means that they really can safeguard such huge areas for the planet’s biodiversity and carbon.

During my trip I had the privilege to spend time with and interview some of Rewilding Chile’s field and HQ staff, and even sit in Doug’s office chair, so look out for my podcast and photos about this soon at whatifyoujustleaveit. info. I also realised that I have only just scratched the surface of this, so clearly need to head back soon. I wonder if my other son wants to go to Chile on his gap year too…???

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Cerro Castillo National Park - part of the Ruta de los Parques Photograph © Sam Rose Critically endangered huemul deer Photograph © Sam Rose Rescued condor acclimatisation centre in Parque Patagonia Photograph © Sam Rose
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Poor roads and vast distances help protect nature Photograph © Sam Rose

Looking Back under the surface

Ten years on from the 2013/14 Somerset floods an exhibition by Matilda Temperley highlights ‘successes and failures’ in flood management over the last decade.

An exhibition of photographs by renowned Somerset-based photographer and former Marshwood Arts Awards selector Matilda Temperley, reflects on ten years since the devastating floods of 2013-14. Under the Surface will be on display at Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury from Saturday 2 March to Sunday 19 May.

The exhibition will feature photographs from her sold out publication Under the Surface: Somerset Floods, alongside previously unpublished colour photographs taken during that winter. Also on display will be newly commissioned photographs, reflecting on changes to the Somerset landscape over the past decade.

Alongside the exhibition, a programme of events and activities will take place supported by Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA). These include

‘Ten years on from “Under the Surface” climate change has meant flooding events around the globe are constantly in our news’

family activities during the Easter Holidays, run in collaboration with the RSPCA and Somerset Wildlife Trust, where visitors can take part in climate-themed craft activities; a series of ‘Flood Cafes’, where flood-affected people can gather and discuss flooding issues in a friendly relaxed environment; and talks from the SRA and its partners about Somerset water and wildlife, and the future of water in Somerset.

SRA Chair Councillor Mike Stanton said: ‘Somerset Rivers Authority came into existence because of the floods of 2013-14, and people involved with the SRA are still very strongly motivated by what happened then. Our main

‘Thorney On Sea’, 8 November 2023, © Matilda Temperley

purpose is to reduce the risks and impacts of flooding across Somerset. We’re supporting this exhibition because the more people understand how Somerset is threatened by flooding, the more we can do together to protect ourselves and to adapt.’

Matilda Temperley said: ‘Ten years on from Under the Surface climate change has meant flooding events around the globe are constantly in our news. This latest exhibition reflects on the impact of flooding on the Somerset Levels and successes and failures in flood management over the last decade.’

Exhibitions and Programme Manager Sarah Cox said: ‘This is the latest in a series of ambitious temporary exhibitions with a strong focus on communicating rural stories through art and photography. We are delighted to be collaborating with Matilda Temperley and the Somerset Rivers Authority to create an exhibition and events programme that will offer visitors a space to reflect on the important subject of flooding and its impact over the county.’

For more information go to

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Barns in Muchelney, 15 January 2014, © Matilda Temperley
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Christine Gray surveys her flooded house, 13 January 2014, © Matilda Temperley

FVegetables in March

rom the middle of February there has been a lot of growth of the overwintered salad leaves in the polytunnels—mainly the mustards (Rouge Metis, Pizzo, Wasabina, Purple and Golden Frills, Purple Wave), American landcress, winter purslane, red russian kale, rocket, mizuna. The lettuce took a while longer to get going again, but by the end of February was going strong too.

The mark of the regrowth of the overwinter salad leaves comes with the need of many plants to have 10 hours or more of daylight to actively grow, which in our part of the world comes around the middle of February. This is the end of the Persephone period, which in Greek mythology relates to when Hades (God of the Underworld) abducted Persephone (Goddess of Spring). Demeter (Goddess of Agriculture and also mother of Persephone) appealed to Zeus for the return of her daughter, but Persephone had eaten four pomegranate seeds whilst in the underworld. Zeus said she must stay in the underworld for four months every year for this, and it is in that period (the Persephone period) that plant growth all but stops (Demeter supposedly withholds fertility in this period of time).

The long and short of it is that there are a few months of the year—known to us as winter, when the daylight hours are too short for most plants to actively grow, but when daylength tips past the 10 hour mark, growth begins again—Spring has sprung!

This is undeniably a great time to be a vegetable grower or gardener, and although the weather doesn’t always go the way we want it to, the lengthening days gives us hope and energy. Seeds can be sown in earnest, and strong growth will be made as the seedlings no longer have to reach for light as much.

We do make some extra early sowings of brassicas and legumes that will be planted around the middle of March (from an early February sowing), but these are always a bit of a gamble, and although they sometimes work, during a wet, cold spring they can just sit around being eaten by slugs.

Now is a good time to get sowing radish, salad turnips, red russian kale, mustards, rocket, beetroot, spring onions, onions and shallots and lots more (see below for more things to sow). Although it is a great time to start sowing, don’t get too panicked if you think you have missed the boat—there is still plenty of time for almost everything, and it is pretty much just peppers and aubergines that you may need to buy plants of rather than sown from seed now.

We don’t sow our tomatoes until mid March nowadays, after having done it in early to mid February for years. We always found that although the plants were ready to plant out earlier than the March sown ones, they were always very leggy and not particularly stocky plants. They were also ready to plant out before it was time to take out the over wintered salads, so leaving the sowing until mid March ensures stronger plants that are ready to plant at the time that the overwintered salads are ready to come out of the polytunnels.

It is a good idea to plan in some quick successions of fast growing crops in and around slower to establish crops especially early in the season, to make sure that you get as much variety as possible as early as you can. We do this a lot in the polytunnels, but it can also be done outside. We sow pak choi, kohl rabi, fennel, beetroot, chard, perpetual spinach and radish from early February to fill in any gaps in the polytunnels— planting from late February to early March. Some of the overwintered mustards are already going to flower at this point, so we pull out some of these and fill in the space with these quick growing spring crops, before the longer term summer cropping veg is planted around May.

Often we have to plant the tomatoes around the early sown veg, but this is not a problem, and just means that there are more living roots in the soil, less bare ground, and the space is used in a more productive way. We mirror this technique outside too, but often plant flowers in between the slower to establish crops to encourage pollinators and other beneficial insects to the garden.

Adding as much diversity to the garden as possible is an aim—not only to encourage above ground insect life, but also to establish a more diverse range of plants

40 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 Email Tel. 01308 423031
One of our polytunnels with overwintered salads intercropped with beetroot, radish, fennel, early garlic and pea shoots

in the soil, all releasing root exudates, which are feeding soil life, which in turn make nutrients available to the crops and build a healthier more resilient soil that can withstand the extremes of weather.

We often plant edible flowers such as calendula, tagetes, nasturtiums, cornflowers, but also umbellifers like dill and coriander to encourage as much insect life as possible.

WHAT TO SOW THIS MONTH: turnips, chard, spinach, salad leaves— chervil, buckshorn plantain, lettuce, burnet, peashoots, anise hyssop, kales, mustards, agretti, sorrel, summer purslane & goosefoot (end of month). Radish, fennel, courgettes (end of month), spring onions, beetroot, cucumbers, early tenderstem broccoli, dill, coriander, peas and mangetout. We sow all of these into trays in the propagating tunnel to be planted out in April mostly. Also all of the indoor solanaceae such as tomatoes, peppers, chillies and aubergines can be sown now, as well as indoor grown french beans.


OUTSIDE: salads—mustards, rockets etc., lettuce, peas, broad beans, potatoes, early kale.

INSIDE: If you sowed any early salad crops for a polytunnel or glasshouse they can go in at the beginning of March. Also successions of peas and spring onions will continue to be planted.

OTHER IMPORTANT TASKS THIS MONTH: If the weather dries, continue preparing beds for the spring by mulching with compost. Keep on top of the seed sowing, but don’t sow too much of anything—think about sowing successionally rather than doing one big sowing in early Spring.

Things that are perfectly suited to successions include all salad leaves, spring onions, peas, beans, beetroot, chard, kale, carrots, fennel, radish and annual herbs.

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March in the Garden

Following on from last month, with garden activity at a pretty low ebb, March is when the pace starts to pick up. It’s your last chance to complete all those tasks which should only be done while plants are fully dormant, bare-root planting being a case in point, because lengthening days and, hopefully, rising temperatures will soon encourage the sap to rise and the buds to burst. We’re not completely out of the woods as far as wintery weather goes, March can be bitterly cold, so it’s more a matter of girding one’s loins than rushing headlong into the fray.

When fine weather conditions allow, finishing hedge cutting is a priority because this needs to be completed before nesting birds have started laying eggs. I find that birds, particularly blackbirds, are already scouting out potential nest sites in February, whenever we have a sunny spell, but active egg-laying is unlikely to take place before bud-break because any sooner would mean that they are trying to raise their young before a plentiful food supply is apparent.

I think it’s worthwhile to quote the ‘Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981’ : “it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird, or take or destroy their eggs or nest, or damage a nest, while that nest is in use or being built’. As such, if the hedge you intend to cut definitely does not contain any nesting birds then it can be trimmed at any time of year; a newly planted hedge is unlikely to house any nests because it won’t be thick enough to support nest building activities. The onus is on you, the gardener, to check for nests before performing such activities. Completing any invasive tasks before the nesting season is the simplest way of complying with the law.

I have tackled an ancient box hedge during the summer months, as is customary with box, and only during the process discovered birds nests. Having only trimmed the outer growth, using cordless hedge trimmers, I am happy to report that the nesting birds, a wren in this case, were completely oblivious to the temporary interruption in their chick raising activities : the Law was not broken as the nest was not damaged, the birds were not injured and no harm was done.

I think that garden birds, that habitually nest in gardens where there is constant human activity, are

unlikely to be disturbed by hedge trimming where the inner structure of the hedge, and therefore any nest, is left untouched. The Law is most likely to be broken by farmers and local authorities that use mechanical means, especially flails, to completely mangle existing hedges.

While we are on the topic of raising new life, now is the time for sowing all sorts of seed. Some gardeners, with heated greenhouses, may have started this last month but now’s the time that germination will be successful, across a broad spectrum of species, with the minimum amount of additional heat and only basic equipment; seed trays, fresh seed-sowing compost, a propagator lid perhaps.

‘Half-hardy’ annuals include such stalwarts as cosmos, petunias and salvias; these require some additional heat, such as a heated propagator, to get them started but they should be sown around now if they are going to get large enough to be planted outside in late May or June (after the last frosts).

‘Hardy’ annuals are those that can be sown directly outdoors when conditions allow, maybe at the end of this month in sheltered spots, and include such cottage garden favourites as stocks, poppies and cornflowers.

The type of seed you are dealing with and what conditions it requires for germination, including where to sow it, will be provided on the seed packet (or on the website of the seed supplier) so buying what you like and then simply dividing your packets into each category should guarantee success.

Summer flowering bulbs, such as lilies, ranunculus and gladioli, can be bought and planted this month. I’ve heard of people completely giving up on lilies, due to the prevalence of lily beetles these days, but I think they’re practically indispensable in any garden. As long as you are constantly vigilant to remove the, bright red, adult lily beetles and also to squash their excrement encrusted grubs, never a pleasant task, then you should be able to keep this pest under control.

Not strictly a bulb, actually a tuber, dahlias that you’ve been overwintering can be coaxed back into life this month (or you could obtain new ones to start off in the same way). Bring them into the light / warmth to encourage new shoots and then pot them up into fresh, moist but not wet, compost. Don’t overwater them at

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this stage, which could cause them to rot, and keep them protected until they are planted out after all risk of frost has passed.

While you are in the borders planting your summer bulbs, you could also be lifting and dividing clumps of early flowering bulbs, particularly snowdrops, which are still visible now and which are most easily increased by division, to be spread around the garden or to increase the area that they cover. The same principle can be applied to those herbaceous plants which produce increasingly large crowns; lifting and dividing these before they get too far into growth will invigorate existing clumps and provide more ‘divisions’ to be planted elsewhere, or to swap with like-minded gardeners.

If you haven’t done so already then now’s probably the last chance that you’ll get to ensure that your lawnmower is fit and ready for the season ahead. Grass will have kept growing, in any period when the temperature is above around 7°C, so mowing the lawn, whenever it is dry enough to do so safely, becomes more pressing this month.

The first cut should be at a height a couple of notches above the ‘usual’ summer setting, lowering the cutting height over subsequent mowings. Remember that if you have a mulching mower, which requires the lawn to be cut more frequently to produce shorter clippings, then the first cuts will produce ‘heavier’ than ideal clippings and these will need to be raked up. If you can borrow a collecting lawnmower for the first few cuts then that would be ideal.

And, with the realisation that the tyranny of lawn care is upon us once again, it really feels like summer is just around that corner—enjoy your gardening, however you choose to do it!

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For a Special Anniversary (Marshwood’s 300th!)

Helen Fisher is away this month


Grade II listed former mill with the convenience of the town centre and the countryside beyond your back door. Six bedrooms, five bathrooms, three reception rooms. Set in approximately 1.24 acres, this home really feels like it is situated between two worlds and must be seen to be fully appreciated.

DOMVS Tel: 01308 805500



An exceptional Grade II listed country residence with extensive accommodation, 6.4 acres of land, stables and swimming pool. Ham stone façade frontage with brick and flint elevations set under a recently re-thatched roof. Situated in the picturesque hamlet of Benville within the Dorset Downs.

Greenslade Taylor Hunt: 01305 268786

This charming 3 bedroom detached home offers comfortable living space, and benefits from a lovely garden to the rear. The accommodation also includes a generous lounge, kitchen, utility/ cloakroom area, large conservatory, as well as three bedrooms and family bathroom to the first floor.

Martin Diplock Tel: 01297 445500

LYME REGIS £675,000

A delightful 1930s detached house, situated within about 500 metres of the town and beach. Thatched with a dormer window offering fabulous views to the sea and the Cobb. Sitting room with multi-fuel stove, newly re-fitted kitchen, a large dining room with doors to the garden, bathroom (on the ground floor), three bedrooms and w.c. on the first floor.

Gordon & Rumsby Tel: 01297 553768


This charming 18th Century cottage boasts a mixture of both character and modern elements, providing a warm and inviting atomosphere throughout. The property has been greatly improved in recent years by the current owners and provides flexible accommodation suitable for family living.

Greenslade Taylor Hunt Tel: 01305 268786


A well maintained semi-detached 2 double bed thatched chocolate-box village cottage in a very tranquil location enjoying countryside views to the south. Offering light and spacious rooms in a rustic setting with the benefit of a large raised garden with summerhouse/chalet, tool shed and greenhouse.

Kennedys Tel: 01308 427329

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We need to start thinking more of utilising the whole beast, whether it be meat or fish. We seem to be conditioned these days and sadly steered by shops and supermarkets towards prime cuts of both fish and meat and I often wonder what happens to the rest of it. Secondary or even lesser cuts are often tastier and a hell of a lot cheaper, they need a bit more skill and time to prepare and cook but well worth it. I’m sure a lot of people don’t ask fishmongers for bones and heads to make stocks and soups with and I reckon the heads from meaty fish like hake and cod end up in the bin. In Spain this dish with a hakes head is a classic and when I first put it on at Hix Oyster and Fish House and Hix Oyster and Chop House, a fish head arriving into the room on the way to a table caused many heads to turn and consequently order the dish.


• 200g live cockles or clams

• 1 hake or cod’s head weighing about a kilo or more

• A couple of good knobs of butter

• A tablespoon of olive or rapeseed oil

• Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

• 100ml sherry

• 2tbsp chopped parsley Serves 2


1. To prepare the cockles, put them in a bowl of cold water and agitate with your hands. Run the tap very slowly over the bowl and continue agitating every so often, both to remove sand from their shells and to force them to spit out any from the insides.

2. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Place the hake’s head in a roasting tray, rub over a little butter, spoon over some oil and season well. Roast the head for about 20 minutes, basting as it’s cooking.

3. Meanwhile put the cockles in a pan with the sherry, cover with a lid and cook on a medium heat, shaking the pan every so often until they are all open. Add the parsley and any cooking juices from the hake to the pan.

4. Transfer the hake to a serving platter and spoon over the cockles and their cooking juices.

Food&Dining 46 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 Email Tel. 01308 423031

Abbotsbury Food Fair

ABBOTSBURY Subtropical Gardens is the place to be for foodies at the end of March. In association with Dorset Food & Drink, organisers invite you to come along to the Abbotsbury Food Fair 2024 on March 30th.

With around 30 stalls of makers and producers, food, drink and crafts from across Dorset, the event promises to be a fun day out in the beautiful setting of the gardens.

If you like to support eating and shopping local, this is an opportunity to shake off the winter blues and get back outside. The Fair is open from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm. Ticket includes entry to the Subtropical Gardens. Tickets are available from

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Still celebrating their ‘Half a Sentry’ tour, John Otway talks to Fergus Byrne about antics, impact and entertaining

Now on something like his 5,200th live performance, John Otway no longer does somersaults while playing his guitar. Neither does he jump off scaffolding or nearby ladders. His antics on stage are legendary ever since a memorable performance at the band’s debut on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1977 when he fell off a speaker stack. As one newspaper reported, he only survived because “the impact was cushioned by his testicles”.

But times have changed, and like most of his fans he has had to deal with the physical challenges that come with aging. He happily remembers doing acrobatics on the Somersaults at 60 tour and at the Cor Baby I’m an OAP gig, but he says that not gigging in lockdown slowed him down physically. ‘The thing is’ he says, ‘you just go to do a somersault while you’re playing guitar and if you’ve stiffened up, you’re really likely to hurt yourself. It only sort of worked if you were completely relaxed about it.’ He liked to do handstands and walking on the ceiling—if it was a low enough ceiling. ‘But there came a point when I just didn’t have enough strength to hold the weight of my body’ he says. He would crumble onto the stage and quickly realised ‘it looked a bit pathetic.’

However, he does still rip apart his signature white shirt in mid song. Something that for a man past seventy— although perfectly in character for John Otway—is still quite brave.

Outside of his reputation for thoroughly enjoying being an entertainer, Otway is also known for his unique and often humorous songwriting style. His songs offer witty, irreverent, and often autobiographical lyrics that have always combined clever wordplay with catchy melodies. Along with Wild Willy Barrett he has had two hits Cor Baby that’s Really Free in 1977 and then 25 years later, after a huge effort from his fans, Bunsen Burner in 2002.

But one of the most endearing qualities about John Otway has always been his somewhat childlike passion to be a star, something that he decided when he was very young. That passion, coupled with a natural warmth and

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what some might unkindly call a ‘modicum’ of talent, has led to a huge loyal fan base that have willed him on and helped him continue to record and tour. They have helped him crowdfund many of his projects, including helping to make a movie about his life which he called Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure: Otway the Movie

He holds regular conventions for his fans, even organizing for 100 of them to fly to Montserrat in the Caribbean to record his last album, simply titled Montserrat, in 2017.

Although he admits that fans that come to the Otway and Barrett gigs are a little older than those that come to his ‘John Otway and The Big Band’ concerts, he is surprised to have seen a few new faces in recent years. The film being shown on Netflix has reached people that would normally not have an artist like John Otway on their radar. ‘People just stumbled across the movie’ he says ‘and that sort of gave me a little bit of a career boost.’

But Wild Willy Barrett is very capable of applying his own twist on things when it comes to their fans. Not a man to ever miss the opportunity to display deadpan humor, Barrett was widely misinterpreted when he once announced to the audience: ‘you will probably never see us again’. He later explained that he was referring to the age of the audience and their likely demise, or perhaps inability to come to a show, rather than an end to his and Otway’s performances together.

Barrett is known for his exceptional musicianship and versatility as a multi-instrumentalist. A skilled guitarist and harmonica player he can seamlessly blend different musical genres and styles in his performances.

His versatility has always been a highlight of the Otway and Barrett shows. It was not unusual for him to utilise a nearby bit of wire to replace a broken guitar string or change instruments during a solo if one instrument malfunctioned. There were also times when he looked as though he would rather strangle Otway than play with him.

Although their biggest hit, the Pete Townshend produced, Cor Baby That’s Really Free, became a bit of an

anthem when it was released back in the day, there are many memorable non-hits that feature in their show. But while the songs remain the same (or at least similar), some things have had to change. When I last spoke to Wild Willy Barrett he told me he doesn’t beat John Otway’s head against the microphone for percussive effect on their song Headbutts any more. He muttered something about Otway getting old and how it wasn’t good for his health.

Otway is not a huge fan of the writing process, songs just mill around his head and there have been times where he cringes when he hears some of his lyrics, often coughing loudly to drown out the words if a particular song is playing somewhere. After telling me that his fans can’t really cope with more than one album every ten years, I asked him if he ever harbored thoughts of retirement. ‘Somebody did mention retirement the other day’ he answered, ‘but my reply to them was “if you know someone who went down the pub every night, would you say to them, when are you going to retire from going down the pub?”’ Singing and entertaining is his life. He cites stopping during lockdown to elaborate. ‘You had to stop for a little bit. I realised I just missed going out a couple of times a week with people buying me beers and telling me what a good bloke I was!’

But thankfully the show goes on. Despite the years, Otway and Barrett still make an effort to produce a good evening’s entertainment. So hang on to your hats and be prepared for anything from bare-chested theremin playing to wah wah wheelie bin when they come to the Merlin Theatre in Frome on Saturday April 6th and The Phoenix Art Centre in Exeter on April 7th as part of the 50th anniversary tour—or ‘50 and a bit now’ as John says.

You’re guaranteed an amazing if not irreverent performance as they present renditions of their only hits and of course some of the 40 odd near misses.

As always, this may be the last chance to catch the mismatched dynamic duo and their magnificent mix of music and mayhem, so why take the chance of missing it?


1 - 7 March

New Horizons Two local artists showing an eclectic range of paintings - 10.30am - 4.30pm every day - Malthouse Gallery - Town Mill Lyme Regis DT7 3PU. Contact Details - Elizabeth Upchurch - 07815 615393 / eupchurch22@

1 - 31 March

Kit Glaisyer: West Dorset Oil Sketches A recent series of small studies on show alongside Kit’s evolving exhibition of his West Country landscape paintings in his gallery and studio, including original paintings, drawings, and prints on canvas. Open Saturdays 10am - 4pm or by appointment. Kit Glaisyer Fine Art, 11 Downes Street, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3JR. 07983 465789 @kitglaisyer.

1 March - 5 April

The Spring Exhibition Paintings by Suchi Chidambaram, Oaul Denham, Martin Goold, Robert Hewer. Ceramics by Victoria Meadows. Dog portraits by Amy Balck. Artwave West, Morcombelake, Bridport DT6 6DY. www.artwavewest. com.

5 - 30 March

A Moment in Time - Eight artists who have not exhibited together before share space to showcase their artwork. It will be an eclectic mix of styles with something for everyone to enjoy: to include ceramics, paintings, artists’ books, clay sculpture and a cartoonist. At Ilminster Arts Centre, TA19 0AN.

8 - 27 March

Carry Akroyd a painter and printmaker Carry Akroyd’s screenprinting is directly about colour combining monoprinting methods with handmade stencils. There is always a dynamic between planned intentions and spontaneous reactivity to the emerging image - the interface between the deliberate, the impulsive and the accidental.

Carry feels that the landscape is inextricably linked to the plants and animals that live in it. She wants her images to project a sense of a place without being too accuratesomewhere between a map and a memory - and her starting point is direct drawing in the landscape. The Jerram Gallery, Half Moon Street, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 3LN UK +44 (0)1935 815261 | Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am to 5pm.

Until 16 March

Dreamscapes Finn Campbell-Notman b.1970 (Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2023), Robin Rae (1928-2019), Alfred Stockham (1933-2020) paintings, David West b.1939 wood carvings, Petter Southall b.1960 furniture. Artists of the imaginary world, Finn Campbell-Notman, Robin Rae, Alfred Stockham and David West are all masters of the surreal, the strange, unsettling, humorous and beautiful. With Petter Southall, they are all five technically astonishing artists, thinkers and dreamers, whose work lifts us out of the everyday. Sladers Yard, Contemporary Art & Craft Gallery, West Bay, Bridport, Dorset DT6 4EL Open: Wednesday to Saturday 10–4pm. All work can be viewed on www. t: 01308 459511 e: gallery@sladersyard.

Until 23 March

Andrew Hardwick Wounded Land Andrew Hardwick paints places that might be lost or go unnoticed, the unspectacular and ordinary, often wastelands that are about to be developed. He uses a variety of found and recycled materials: board, timber, plastics, canvas, roofing materials, and varieties of paint, often decorator’s gloss. Allsop Gallery, Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport DT6 3NR. open 10am-4pm | Tuesday to Saturday. www.bridport-arts. com.

23 March - 13 April

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Liz Somerville - A Pastoral Poem Linocuts & watercolours. For most of her career Liz has focussed on linocut, and sometimes woodcut. There is always a story to the image, the intention is for the viewer to enter and find it. ‘This appeals to my deep seated enjoyment of all those illustrated stories I read at as a child. As an artist I look for this same quality but my attention is also drawn to the lie and flow of the land, unexpected colour, traces of past use (modern or ancient), texture and form.’ Liz graduated from Winchester School of Art in 1988 with a degree in textile design and spent sixteen years working

GALLERIES IN APRIL Live or Online send your gallery
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as a designer in London, before moving to Dorset and becoming a full-time artist. Her work has been exhibited widely in galleries and exhibitions within the UK, including The Royal West of England Academy in Bristol and the Russell-Cotes Museum in Bournemouth. The Art Stable Child Okeford Blandford Dorset DT11 8HB.

29 March - 1 April

Bridport Art Society presents: Easter Exhibition 2024 At: The Salt House, West Bay, DT6 4HB.

29 March - 4 April

Local Landscape – Jonathan Mulvaney

Jonathan Mulvaney has been painting plein-air for the last 20 years, previous to this he made sculpture, ranging from portrait commissions to monumental urban landmarks. Jonathan says ‘When I look at plein-air paintings I do my best to appreciate the painting as an expression of the time and place, and as an event of making that is keenly tuned through local conditions and the artists understanding and skill. To own a local painting is a complete statement that holds out against the ever-homogenising visual world and makes a stand for the unique nature of local.’ Over the Easter

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Bank Holiday weekend Jonathan will be demonstrating his painting technique in the courtyard outside the Malthouse Gallery. Malthouse Gallery, Mill Lane, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3PU.

Until 7 July

Spring 2024 mixed exhibition ; by gallery artists & guest artists. This mixed exhibition features over a dozen of gallery artists, plus four guest artists, including a range of sculptures, oils, and prints. Devon-based Mary Gillett will be exhibiting a series of her collagraphs along with the corresponding plate for each work. Alongside these will be other prints from Dorset-based Colin Moore and Bristol based Ruth Ander. Many other artists will also be exhibiting their various sculptures, ceramics, and oils including Johannes von Stumm, Alison Wear, and Phillippa Headley. A new guest artist will be pieces by renowned sculptor Almuth Tebbenhoff. Tincleton Gallery, The Old School House, Tincleton, nr Dorchester, DT2 8QR. Opening / performance times: 10am – 4pm Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon or by appointment. 01305 848 909. www.

British Science Week comes to Dorchester

Building on the success of previous hugely popular events, the Family Science Day will be taking place again at the Dorset Museum & Art Gallery on Sunday the 17th March from 11am-1pm & 2pm-4pm. This free (but ticketed) activity is sure to bring out the Marie Curie or the Albert Einstein in you!

Aimed at children aged 4 plus, but with something for people of all ages to enjoy, Family Science Day will include over 20 different stalls from a range of scientific disciplines to allow you to get involved in some fantastic hands-on learning and experiments.

There will be a great range of activities, hosted by local scientists, allowing you to try all sorts of investigations – find out how physics plays a part in everyday life, discover the invisible world of microbes, explore the biodiversity of the natural world, discover how magnets and gravity work, test your knowledge of water systems, fossils and seaweed and even handle a 205 million year old meteorite!

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Dorset Art Weeks Returns in May

Dorset Art Weeks returns between 25 May - 9 June this year. There’s much to celebrate as it’s the first full Dorset Art Weeks event since 2018, which sees the return of a full programme of activities including workshops, talks, demonstrations, have-a-go and other events to excite and engage audiences.

This much-loved cultural event is one of the largest and longest-established Art Weeks events in the country. It’s a chance to visit the source of the inspiration behind the work of hundreds of artists and makers, and explore the boundless creativity that the county has to offer.

Over 260 venues will open their studio doors to welcome eager art lovers and those curious to discover more about Dorset’s creative community. As well as individual studios, there are also pop ups, group shows, curated exhibitions and projects. Artists across the whole county will be unveiling new work and sharing their ideas and inspiration, often in surprising or yet-to-be-discovered places. Visitors can enjoy printmaking, painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, jewellery, wood, metalwork, glass and textiles as well as many other artforms and processes.

With a revised and refreshed event for 2024, 30,000 copies of the popular Dorset Art Weeks Guide will appear in cultural outlets across Wessex from April. The Guide will be available in the familiar, A5 landscape format with full venue details so audiences can plan their visits. This will be accompanied by the Dorset Art Weeks App which can be used to navigate to venues, create your own ‘favourites’ list, and find nearby venues. There’s also an interactive map and Art Weeks flipbook on the Dorset Art Weeks website, with all the information you need in one place, making information about the event more accessible for more people.

Dorset Visual Arts (DVA), the producer of Art Weeks, is delighted to be working again with Hall &

Woodhouse Pubs as the event’s lead sponsor. As part of the event, there will be a residency programme to support emerging artists at Hall & Woodhouse’s home at the Brewery Tap in the heart of the county in Blandford Forum.

As DVA declares a climate emergency, a new exhibition curated by DVA and featuring Dorset artists celebrates the county’s unique biodiversity in a partnership with Durlston Country Park National Nature Reserve. ‘The Instinct of Hope’ examines Dorset’s rich and precious ecology, focussing on the locations and terrain that artists explore which make the county so distinctive.

Another feature of this year’s event will be the launch exhibition at The Sherborne, Dorset’s brand new venue for the visual arts which opens in spring, after undergoing a stunning restoration and transformation. ‘Housework’, curated by Amanda Wallwork explores the previous incarnation of Sherborne House as an arts venue through a variety of artwork which relate to the building, its rooms, and shared history. Selected works, interspersed in various rooms and locations, not only invite the visitor to explore the house but also suggest the many possibilities for the building’s future and potential as an important arts destination, where DVA is the lead arts partner.

Dorset businesses are also invited to advertise in the much sought after Dorset Art Weeks Guide with thousands of copies distributed across the Wessex region, along with a range of other promotional activity for one of the biggest cultural events in the South West.

Dorset Art Weeks continues to celebrate the best of Dorset as a county of culture.

Keep an eye on the Dorset Visual Arts and Dorset Art Weeks websites and social channels for regular updates and plan your visit!

Dorset Art Weeks runs from 25 May - 9 June 2024.

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A Common Woman Reimagined

Anew community play is being produced in Bridport at the Lyric Theatre. Originally called “A Common Woman” it’s based on the protests at Greenham Common and what would make “an ordinary woman” join the protest?

This play was a huge success in London both in 1984 when first produced at the King’s Head Theatre in Islington, and again later when brought back in 2022 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the “Embrace the base” protest. It is now being reimagined in Bridport to involve many of the community, including some who sang for recordings of Greenham songs for the recent London production.

In this reimagined production, 30 local singers assert that “You Can’t Kill the Spirit” as they bring to life the many songs that echoed around the camps 9 gates and 9 mile long fence. New scenes have been added; of the women in Greenham, showing their life in benders, with no water and cooking over open fires, but determined to stay until the cruise missiles were removed from the common land.

The original play followed a family managing the conflict that engagement with the protest brings, and this is the centre of the production. The domestic tension, caused by the mother’s dilemma, is powerfully and sensitively

depicted by playwright Mary Rensten, and those scenes are interwoven with the episodes at the gates in Greenham.

Mum, our “Common woman” is torn between her daughter’s passionate insistance to join her in Greenham, and her reluctance to go against her husband and step outside the comfort and reassurance of her life at home. The men in the family are against her going, “Leave it to the government” insists Dad and “They are all lesbians” says the son.

The cast includes local actors: Barbara Darnley playing the mother, worked professionally as an actress for many years and Andy Hern who has performed with Encore and the Wye Theatre Company in Hereford. The young brother and sister are played by Harry Lockett and Ellie Taylor, both of whom have starred in Bridport Musical Theatre’s shows.

Scenes at Greenham include Romla Walker, ex professional actress of TV and stage, Mel Still who is playing a woman who breaks into Greenham and local performer Rosie Russell is playing Ruth, the level headed protester, and talented actress and singer Tamlin Morgan has joined the company. The choir is made up of singers from Bridport Voices and Dorset Reds and will be led by Jane Silver Corren, a popular local community singing facilitator.

This play also involves young people from Bridport, who had never heard of Greenham Common protests, and have attended workshops and developed improvisations about green protests which will be incorporated into the production.

The play is in partnership with Bridport Arts Centre and Bridport Youth and Community Centre and has been supported throughout by Niki McCretton and the Lyric Theatre.

Directed by Margie Barbour the play will be performed at the Lyric Theatre, Bridport on Saturday 6th April at 7.30 and on Sunday 7th April at 2.30 and 7.30. Tickets are £12 and £6 concessions for Job seekers and Universal credit.

Tickets are on sale at Bridport’s Tourist Information Centre, 01308 424901 tickets.

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Harry Lockett and Ellie Taylor

Bridport teacher wins underwater photography prize

Originally from Cornwall, Jon Bunker, a teacher at the the Initio Learning Trust at the Sir John Colfox Academy in Bridport, got his first digital underwater camera for Christmas in 2008. Although he says he only had a ‘casual interest’ interest in underwater photography at that time, it ‘became much more serious’ from 2017 onwards.

This year he is proud to have won the UPY British Waters Compact award at the Underwater Photographer of the Year Awards for his photograph of a catshark taken off Chesil Beach.

‘Two of my three shots that were awarded featured underwater Dorset habitats- Hive Beach and Chesil Cove, Portland, respectively’explained Jon. he says they showcase ‘the remarkable marine life around Dorset and the south west.’ As a local scuba diver, underwater photographer and teacher he says he has ‘long been passionate about this coastline and the creatures that live on and beneath it.’

Talking about the winning photograph Jon says: ‘This sleepy catshark was, as you can see, unsure what to make of me, poking its head tentatively through the weed to establish if I was either threat or food. Whilst it was considering this, I managed to play around with my strobes a little in an attempt to diffuse some of the light through the tresses of early summer algae. My subject let me to take three shots before swimming off into the night.’

The judge for the category, Peter Rowlands, described Jon’s image as ‘A delightfully observed and well lit image of an iconic British subject more often photographed full bodied in the open but this has a much stronger photographic appeal and I would have re captioned this “Food or foe”. The back story confirms it soon decided Foe.’

To learn more about Jon Bunker and his underwater photography visit: https://www.jonunderwater. and for more about the awards visit: https://

Photograph below: ‘Catshark in Bootlace’ winner of the UPY British Waters Compact.

Opposite page: ‘Sawpoint Blue’ and ‘Angry Strawberry’. Both also Commended in the awards.

All photographs © Jon Bunker

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Sneak Peek

A peek at what’s coming up on stage and screen near you

Laurence Jones - Live Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, Thursday 28 March, 7.00pm. Book at:.

Show of Hands, Full Circle Part II - Live Bridport Arts Centre, Thursday 7 March, 7.30pm. Book at:

Nine Below Zero - Live Bridport Electric Palace, Friday 22 March, 8.00pm. Book at:

One Life - Film

The David Hall, South Petherton, Friday 15 March, 8.00pm.

click on an image to view a trailer
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Bob Marley : One Love - Film Bridport Electric Palace, Friday, 29 March, 7:30pm

Book at:

The Deane Big Band - Live

The Beehive, Honiton, Thursday 21 March, 8.00pm. Book at:.

Kiki Dee & Carmello Luggeri - Live Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, Sunday 16 March 7.30pm.

Book at:.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - Live

The The Lighthouse, Poole, Sunday 17 March, 7.30pm.

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Violin-piano duo


A VARIED programme that includes works by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Ravel and Poulenc brings violinist Sara Trickey and pianist Ivana Gavric for the March series of Concerts in the West, at Bridport Arts Centre on Friday 15th at 11.30am, Ilminster Arts Centre that evening at 7.30pm and Saturday 16th to Crewkerne’s Dance Centre at 7.30.

This concert, spanning the classical and romantic periods, showcases the virtuosity of the two musician. Sara Trickey is acclaimed as both a solo violinist and chamber musician, noted for her “fiery and passionate” performances (The Strad) and her “beautifully refined tone” (Musical Opinion). Sara studied with Camilla Wicks and also was very much influenced by her studies at IMS Prussia Cove. She read Classics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and this continues to be a passion.

Born into a musical family in Sarajevo and raised in the UK, Ivana Gavrić studied at the University of Cambridge and at the Royal College of Music. Her playing has been described as “altogether of an extraordinary calibre” (BBC Music Magazine) and “notable for its beautiful sound, musical integrity and introspection” (The Independent).

The programme is Mozart’s Violin sonata No 21, E minor, K 304, Poulenc’s sonata for violin and piano,

FP 119, Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 2 in D minor, Beethoven’s sonata No 5, Op 24, Spring and Ravel’s violin sonata No 2 in G major. The shorter Bridport programme will include the Mozart, Beethoven and Ravel.


A SHOW that premiered successfully at Plymouth Theatre Royal and Exeter’s Northcott Theatre, comes to Dorchester Arts at the Corn Exchange on Friday 22nd March and Bridport Arts Centre on Friday 23rd, both at 7.30pm. Cracking is a powerful, dark and comic tale from the acclaimed Welsh storytellerperformer Shon Dale-Jones.

Cracking, A Completely Made-up True Story, is presented by SDJ Productions and was commissioned by the BBC and co-produced by Theatre Royal Plymouth. When the world goes mad, do we inevitably go mad too? Cracking blends fiction and reality into one seamless whole.

Shôn’s 83-year old mother is waiting for some test results from the hospital. Shôn goes back home to the Isle of Anglesey to visit her. To relieve some pressure, she asks him to crack an egg on her head. All hell is let loose. Internet trolls appear in real life demanding Shôn stops abusing his mother and gets off the island…

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Concerts in the West brings Ivana Gavric, (photograph by Andrej Grlic), and Sara Trickey to Bridport, Ilminster and Crewkerne in March

This story about love and hatred celebrates how searching for connection beats disconnecting. Ultimately this 70-minute one-man show is a heartwarming and uplifting comic story about loving in the face of hatred.

The legend of Mulan BRIDPORT

THE ancient legend of a woman warrior, who disguised herself as a man, moves from the big Disney screen to the stage with Mulan, coming to Bridport Arts Centre on Friday 8th March at 7.30pm.

Woman, warrior, legend—for ten years Mulan, disguised as a man, has fought for the Chinese Empire. Now the fighting is coming to an end, one last battle and she will be going home—but can she return to her old life, become a woman again?

This drama about a search for identity in a violent world was commissioned by and is performed by West Yorkshire-born British-Chinese actress Michelle Yim. It was developed with the support of and funding from Arts Council England and produced by Grist to the Mill, in collaboration with British East Asian theatre company Red Dragonfly. It is written and directed by Ross Ericson.

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Draining the swamp DORCHESTER

AS the far right rears its ugly head again across Europe and the USA, it’s hard to imagine a more timely staging for DR Hill’s play Draining The Swamp, coming to Dorchester Arts at the Corn Exchange on Thursday 7th March at 7.30pm. Performed by The Company, with David Hill in the lead, it is the story of Oswald Mosley, bringing to life his meteoric career from rising Labour star in the 1920s to the development of the fascist movement, and the socalled Black Shirts, in the years before the Second World War.

Oswald Mosley was considered to be the most able politician of the 1920s, a Labour Prime Minister in the making. What caused the dramatic change of direction for this man, who went on to found the British Union of Fascists, renowned for street violence and antisemitism?

What lessons are there for today when nationalism is once more on the rise across the western world and politicians like Trump are able to attack democracy and stir violent protest? Draining the Swamp is a provocative drama that explores these issues and

challenges our approach to extremism.

The play covers various aspects of Mosley’s career, including his marriage to Diana Mitford at Joseph Goebbels’s house in Berlin, the events leading up to the infamous Battle of Cable Street and the Mosleys’ detention in Holloway Prison during the war.

From the perspective of the 1960s, it sees Mosley pondering his legacy and the opportunities for future political leaders to communicate with and stir the masses.

The tour also includes a performance at Swindon Arts Centre on Friday 19th April.

Street dance showcase


BRIDPORT Youth Dance and the BYD street dance crew are taking to the stage of the Electric Palace on Saturday 2nd March for Paradigm, their 20th annual showcase of high energy street dance, dynamic tap choreography and soulful contemporary dance, with performances at 2.30pm and 7.30.

With choreography by BYD artistic director Nikki Northover, Bec Ayles, Claire Benson, Louis Donovan and the dancers, Paradigm will demonstrate the skill

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Draining the Swamp, a political story with contemporary relevance

of the students, and features former BYD graduates Louis Donovan, Robyn Moss, Kia Rait-McDonald and Elfin Bonome.

Each show includes the BYD Dance Weaver films, Joy in Motion (produced and directed by Nikki Northover, cinematography by Elliot Millson, music by Matt Huxley) and Choreography Geography—Dancing with Darkness, (directed and produced by Nikki, cinematography by Dan Tucker, music by Matt Huxley).

Bridport Youth Dance is seen as a beacon of excellence in the south west. Recent student successes include a BYD tap student winning gold in the World Tap Dance Championships in Germany for the junior formation with Tap Attack, and students gaining places to study at leading conservatoires including Northern School of Contemporary Dance, London School of Contemporary Dance, Italia Conti and London studio centre. Above all, BYD’s aim is to encourage a love for dance that will last a lifetime.

Miracle hallucinations


CORNWALL’s much-loved Miracle Theatre is back on the road this spring, with six March dates in Dorset and Devon, starting at Poole Lighthouse on Saturday 2nd and ending at Dorchester Corn Exchange on Wednesday 27th, with a new show, Hell’s Bells, A Hallucinogenic Whodunnit. The other local venues are Swanage Mowlem, Marnhull village hall, Plough Arts at Great Torrington and Exeter Northcott (dates below).

Miracle is best known locally for inventive summer tours, often performing in striking and beautiful outdoor locations such as Maumbury Rings at Dorchester, Kimmeridge Bay or Springhead gardens at Fontmell Magna. This year, for the first time in a decade, the Cornish company is touring a new indoor production, which will be visiting many arts centres, theatres, village halls and community centres reaching every corner of Cornwall and across the South West.

As the body of a lighthouse keeper mysteriously washes ashore, covered in strange markings, Ferelith’s seaside holiday takes an unexpected turn. Taking a break from the tedium of her holiday and unable to resist meddling in the police investigation, she soon finds herself in the middle of a peculiar web of events—but as things grow increasingly unusual, her legendary powers of intuition begin to fail her. Can her bumbling brother, Grubb, who always seems to be one step behind and heading in the wrong direction, rescue her from the brink of disaster?

Miracle Theatre has been delighting audiences across the South West since 1979. This new show, described as “a comic seaside mystery like no other,” promises an enthralling blend of detective thriller

drama and Miracle Theatre’s trademark colourful characters, physical antics and clever humour.

Hell’s Bells starts its Dorset and Devon dates at Poole Lighthouse on Saturday 2nd March at 8pm, Swanage’s Mowlem Theatre on Wednesday 6th at 7.30pm, Marnhull village hall on Thursday 7th at 7.30pm, Plough Arts at Great Torrington on Friday 8th at 7.30, Exeter Northcott Theatre on Thursday and Friday 21st and 22nd at 7.30, and Dorchester Corn Exchange on Wednesday 27th at 7.30.

Memories of psychedelia LYME REGIS

DO you remember Ozric Tentacles?—the band who hit the headlines back in 1983 when they were formed during the Stonehenge free festival at the solstice. They are coming to the Marine Theatre at Lyme Regis on Saturday 9th March in a double-header with Gong, another survivor of the avant-garde, progressive rock and psychedelia era.

Ozric Tentacles went on to become psychedelic staples at Glastonbury and other festivals. The creative vision of multi-instrumentalist Ed Wynne, the Ozrics’ uniquely trippy soundscapes connect fans of progressive rock, psychedelia and dance music culture.

The ever-morphing entity that is Gong began in a French commune in 1967, and has survived turbulent times, through the Virgin Records years, mismanagement, court cases, break-ups and rejoinings, deaths and rebirths, but always with a thread of extraordinary music. The current line-up is bass player Dave Sturt, Ian East (sax, flute), Fabio Golfetti (guitars), Kavus Torabi (lead vocals and guitars) and Cheb Nettles (drums).

Ozric Tentacles were, not entirely flatteringly, at one time described as the musical voice of the often controversial Crusties, who borrowed the hippies’ organic dress plus the cosmic thinking of new agers, and spent most of their time travelling around England to various festivals and outdoor gatherings. The band’s flautist, John Egan, was renowned for his trance-dancing during live performances.

The Post Office scandal on stage


UNLESS you have been on a desert island with no wifi for the past few weeks, you cannot fail to have heard about, if not seen Mr Bates vs The Post Office, the astonishingly powerful and influential ITV drama starring Toby Jones, which has brought the scandal of the imprisoned, persecuted and ruined subpostmasters into the national consciousness. Now one of the journalists at the centre of the story is coming to Lyme Regis on Saturday 23rd March, with one of the local victims.

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The Post Office Scandal, at 1.30pm, will feature Nick Wallis, who was the ITV series consultant, chronicling the latest twists and turns of the story, and talking to Tracey Merritt, former sub-postmistress of Yetminster. This is the true story of how hundreds of innocent people fought to clear their names after being pursued by the Post Office through the criminal courts.

Proud pillars of their communities were stripped of their jobs and livelihoods. Many were forced into bankruptcy or borrowed from friends and family to give the Post Office thousands they did not owe. The really unlucky ones were sent to prison.

Nick Wallis, who has researched, followed and reported on this story for decades, including several series on the BBC, will take the audience through the shambolic commissioning of the disastrous Post Office Horizon IT system. He examines the punitive methods employed by the Post Office—bypassing the police and the Crown Prosecution Service—to create the most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK legal history.

He homes in on the subsequent heinous coverup and the staggering legal battles fought and won by campaigning sub-postmasters, against all the odds. As the public inquiry into the scandal reveals yet more horrors, while the government fast-tracks new laws and implements new resources to resolve compensation, Nick will be able to explain the very latest developments and their significance.

Swing with Latchepen VILLAGES

A QUARTET of musicians united in a love of Django Reinhardt and swing jazz bring their stylish, infectious, acoustic rhythms to four Dorset villages with Artsreach during March, starting at Sydling St Nicholas village hall on Thursday 7th, followed by the Pamela Hambro hall at Winterborne Stickland

on Friday 8th, Powerstock Hut on Saturday 9th and Studland village hall on Sunday 10th, all beginning at 7.30pm.

Latchepen play jazz on strings, with influences ranging from Romani music through to bebop. Band members Matt Holborn (violin), Kourosh Kanani (guitar), Dave Kelbie (guitar) and Simon Read (bass), regularly play venues in London, including Ronnie Scotts, as well touring all over the UK playing arts venues and village halls.

Between them, they have performed with most of the leading figures in the Django-swing style all over the world and at festivals including Turin Jazz Festival and March Manouche.

Dance to savour


LUCA Ailvestrini’s Protein dance company comes to West Lulworth village hall on Wednesday 13th March with a new show, May Contain Food, May Contain You, for the first of two dates with Artsreach, Dorset’s rural touring arts charity.

Have you ever been swayed by the packaging of a new, organic product? Is it better to buy locally? Or maybe you should you be a vegetarian? Join awardwinning company Protein for an entertaining evening with friends and family. Transforming your local venue into a restaurant, you are invited to bring a dish to share while you sit at decorated tables to watch, savour and digest a playful mix of dance, theatre and song that unfolds around you.

Your charming, multi-talented hosts will win your affections with dance and humorous monologues. With interludes including baking a cake and trying your luck in a raffle, this sumptuous gathering promises to make you smile and enjoy the curious relationship we all have with food.

As part of the evening, audience members are encouraged to bring along some food that they have made, grown or bought to eat or share or an item to be donated to a local foodbank. The other Protein performance in Dorset is on Thursday 14th at the Exchange at Sturminster Newton.

Following the fleet


SOUND artist, nature beatboxer and composer Jason Singh comes to Dorset in March, performing his critically acclaimed live soundtrack to John Grierson’s monumental silent documentary film Drifters, with Artsreach, at Portland’s royal Manor Theatre on Friday 15th and Langton Matravers village hall on Sunday 17th, both starting at 7.00pm.

Musician and film critic Mark Kermode wrote in The Observer: “It was so powerful and so beautifully done. The soundtrack was every bit as big as the

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To read an extensive interview with Nick Wallis, see the February Marshwood Vale Magazine online at

image you were seeing and it’s very, very hard to do that—to get the sound as powerful as the film. It felt like it was drawing everything out of the images. I thought it was thrilling, genuinely properly thrilling. I loved it.”

Premiering alongside the acclaimed Soviet silent film Battleship Potemkin in 1929, Drifters is a groundbreaking portrayal of the dramatic life of North Sea herring trawlermen, following them through their daily routines as well as the industry’s struggles between tradition, modernity and nature.

Originally commissioned by the British Film Institute (BFI) to create a new soundtrack to Drifters in 2012 for a Blueray version of the film, Jason Singh’s critically acclaimed solo score combines live vocal sound effects, beatboxing techniques and live sampling to create a thrilling cinematic experience, drawing on the original intention of Grierson—to portray the lives of the working man and woman in 1920s Britain.

Weaving ghostly fragments of the south west seine fishing heritage alongside atmospheric visuals by Common Ground, Dorset-based writer Sarah Acton and local guest musician Emily Burridge will open each Dorset performance with the premiere of a specially commissioned piece, Seiners. A series of sketches, drawing on conversations, records,

walks and memories, portrays fishing communities, seine boats and everyday life along the coast, linking the story of these communities to the wild coastal seasons and cycles of mackerel, salmon and pilchards once fished in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.

Queens of banjo punk HONITON

THREE Swedish sisters, who supported Robbie Williams on a Europe-wide arena tour, bring their unique blend of Americana and roots music to the Beehive Centre at Honiton on Saturday 16th March at 7.30pm.

Baskery, known as “the queens of banjopunk”, have been playing music since they were old enough to hold an instrument. They play an interesting blend of roots “with a twist of rule breaking punk”. Their first album, Fall Among Thieves (2008), was recorded in Stockholm and quickly established them as an act that people took seriously. In the years that followed they’ve released several more albums and EPs. Their most recent collection is Coyote & Sirens, released in October 2018.

As well as opening for Robbie Williams in 2015, they have played countless gigs and festivals, including Colours of Ostrava, Bonnaroo, Utopiafest, Newport Folk Festival, Arroyo Seco and Bottlerock.

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Baskery bring Americana and roots music to Honiton in March

Screen Time

with Nic Jeune

Top Six at the Flix

Bridport Arts Centre

I am Urban (2023)

“Urban’ provides an incredibly powerful and gritty social commentary on the true reality of Bernard Hare’s experiences and that of a group of children in Leeds growing up through the nineties.” Sir Tony Hawkhead. CEO of Action for Children.

The Electric Palace Bridport

All of Us Strangers (2023)

“The latest from Andrew Haigh is an exquisitely melancholy fantasy-infused meditation on loss and isolation. A luxuriantly sad and skin-tinglingly sensual gay romance.” Screen Daily. Wendy Ide.

Past Lives (2023)

“The film gathers you up in its hands and carries you along with it, resulting in what will surely be one of the best films of 2023.” Slash Film. Chris Evangelista.

BBC iPlayer Films

The Eternal Memory (2023)

“It’s nearly impossible to talk about Alzheimer’s without forefronting misery, anger and despair. It is a cruel and callous disease that destroys lives piece by piece. Perhaps the greatest feat of the courageous The Eternal Memory then is Alberdi, Góngora and Urrutia’s ability to broach the subject with all of these emotions—but with an emphasis on life, not death.” Paste Magazine. Aurora Amidon.

Beyond Utopia (2023)

“A first-class example of bravery and reportage melding into an filmed testament.” Screen Daily. Fionnuala Halligan.

Plaza Cinema Dorchester Dune 2 (2024)

“There’s something more alive in it. There’s a relationship to the characters. I was trying to reach for an intensity and a quality of emotions that I didn’t reach with Part One and that I did reach with Part Two,” Variety. Denis Villeneuve, Director of Dune Part One and Two.

What a piece of work is a man VILLAGES

POPULAR story-teller James Rowland comes to Dorset for three shows, from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th March, with Piece of Work, his latest engaging mix of storytelling, comedy and music, a new show about fathers, sons and the hope that makes life liveable, touring to three rural communities through Artsreach, the county’s touring arts charity.

Rowland has been touring his storytelling theatre shows for half his adult life but this year was different though. Returning home after his first stint away, he received a letter that exploded his life and the tour became a search: for the person who sent it, for a sense of home, and to maybe save a life…

Drawing on his storytelling skills (as well as Shakespeare’s Hamlet) this remarkable road trip follows a critically acclaimed run at the 2023 Edinburgh Festival, and previous shows Learning to Fly and The Songs of Friendship Trilogy.

Piece of Work is at Yetminster’s Jubilee Hall on Friday 15th March at 8pm, at Drimpton village hall on Saturday 16th at 7.30pm and at Piddletrenthide Memorial Hall on Sunday 17th at 3pm.

Broadside ballads and bangers


BROADSIDE ballads, the gleefully gruesome “tabloids” of the 17th to 19th century, are brought to noisy and colourful life in Broadside Bangers, a new show from Cornwall’s post-ragtime, punk-klezmer-swing band, Julian Gaskell and His Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, coming to Dorset from 22nd to 24th March.

Described as a wild, haunting journey through a murky past to a dark future, and guaranteed to enthral, educate and entertain, the broadside ballads were printed on one side of a single sheet of inexpensive paper, with a song or rhyme, murder story or local gossip.

Julian Gaskell and His Ragged Trousered Philanthropists trio will perform an anthology of some of the most melodramatic and supernatural broadside ballads from the 17th to 19th centuries, covering everything from funeral arrangements to cat food and rural insurrection!

Printed and sung in the Georgian and Victorian eras, many of these tunes have lain unrecorded and largely unperformed for the past 100 years. Indeed, many of their tunes have been lost to time, so the words have been rearranged and re-fitted with new music on piano, accordions, violin, drums, bouzouki, bass, banjo and guitar.

Broadside Bangers is at Chetnole village hall on Friday 22nd March, Cranborne’s Cecil Memorial Hall on Saturday 23rd and Broadmayne village hall on Sunday 24th, all starting at 7.30pm.

Rambling for the right to roam SHILLINGSTONE AND BURTON BRADSTOCK

CAMPAIGNING theatre company Townsend Productions brings a new show with music, Behold Ye Ramblers, to Dorset in March, at Shillingstone’s

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James Rowland is a Piece of Work

Portman Hall on Saturday 23rd and Burton Bradstock village hall on Sunday 24th, both starting at 7.30pm. It’s a new play by Neil Gore, produced in association with The Society for the Study of Labour History.

From the voices of ramblers and campaigners to the songs and poetry inspired by past and current struggles, Behold Ye Ramblers tells the story of The Clarion newspaper and the organisations formed by its readership, including the famous rambling clubs, like Sheffield’s Clarion Ramblers, the Clarion Cyclists and Clarion Vans.

These Edwardian pioneers promoted healthy outdoor pursuits, organising expeditions across open moors and mountains while campaigning for the right to roam, bringing them into conflict with landowners’ hunting and shooting activities and laws that prioritised private property over the wellbeing of others.

Featuring music and songs, Behold Ye Ramblers celebrates The Clarion Ramblers and their mission to escape to the great outdoors from overcrowded industrial homes, factories and long working hours.

Tudor love and tragedy


MUSICIAN-storytellers Bob Whitley (guitar, tenor guitar and mandola) and Lee MacKenzie (baroque cello) take the audience back to the 16th century and the dangerous Tudor court of King Henry VIII with their new show, Anne Boleyn: Wolf at the Door, coming to Dorset’s Artsreach rural touring arts charity from 20th to 24th March.

This musical tale of love and Tudor tragedy begins as Anne Boleyn holds King Henry VIII in thrall for six years, eventually supplanting Katherine of Aragon as Queen of England—on the promise that she will bear King Henry a son and royal heir.

But in this tense Tudor court of scheming courtiers, religious fervour and feuding families, everyone is fighting for the King’s favour in a deadly battle of destinies and dynasties. We all know how it ended—but it’s a story well-told in music as fans of Whitley and MacKenzie’s earlier historical musical anthology, Magellan Circumnavigation, will know.

Anne Boleyn: Wolf At the Door is at Milborne St Andrew village hall on Wednesday 20th March, Nether Compton village hall on Friday 22nd at 2.30pm, and Wootton Fitzpaine village hall on Sunday 24th at 7.30.

The Young Lit Fix

Finn’s Little Fibs By Tom Percival

Published by Bloomsbury

Picture book £7.99

Reviewed by Nicky Mathewson

FINN and his sister, Simone, are staying at their Grandma’s house for a short holiday and she lives at the seaside so they are really in for a treat!

They ate fish and chips on the beach, they stayed up later than usual and Grandma bought them each a gift.

Finn was given a super bouncy bright yellow ball which he bounced and bounced with little regard for all of Grandma’s fragile things. Unfortunately, Finn broke something and when he couldn’t fix it, he blamed his younger sister Simone. Finn didn’t feel very good about this but he panicked and it blurted out. As the fib slipped out a little red blob appeared, which nobody else could see.

The more Grandma asked about the broken clock, the more Finn fibbed. Once he started he couldn’t stop, and each time he did this, another little blob appeared, until he was surrounded by his own fibs. They got in the way of him having any fun and he started to feel quite sad.

After thinking it through, Finn realised that the only thing he could do to take away his sadness was to tell the truth, and once he did, the fibs vanished, he felt much lighter and all of the worry was gone. He could get back to enjoying his holiday with Grandma and Simone.

This beautiful story gently reminds us that we should always try to tell the truth, as fibbing is certainly no easier than admitting our mistakes.

Tom Percival is the author and illustrator of 8 picture books in this “Big Bright Feelings” series and they are all so wonderful, un-patronising , bright, colourful, easy to engage with and a delight to read aloud. Perfect for sharing with 3 -6 year olds to help explore their feelings.

10% off for Marshwood Vale readers at The Bookshop on South Street, Bridport. 01308 422964

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Musicians Bob Whitley and Lee Mackenzie tell the tragic story of Anne Boleyn: Wolf at the Door

We are Crowdfunding!

Join us on our journey toward sustainability by helping us to continue our contribution to the local community

After more than twenty years, and now 300 issues of The Marshwood Vale Magazine, we need help to navigate the changes in our readership, the challenges and opportunities offered by modern communication, and the need to alert businesses to the fantastic opportunities available through partnering with us and our readers.

This month we have launched a Crowdfunding campaign to raise money to employ someone to take Marshwood forward. It’s a part-time position with flexible hours, and the job will help the successful candidate to make a real difference to their community.

Over the last twenty-two years of publishing this monthly community magazine, we have launched and run initiatives that included local food awards, writing awards, photographic awards, community awards and of course the hugely popular ‘Marshwood Arts Awards.’

In lockdown we managed to keep the publication going when it was impossible to distribute and most of our advertisers had been forced to temporarily close their doors. During those harrowing months for everyone we produced two issues a month in an attempt to keep our readers and local residents aware of what was happening with all of their favourite clubs, venues and businesses.

Our focus has always been set on highlighting all that is special about our wider local community; publishing features about the people, places and events that make our lives more fulfilled.

But now, as we move into a world where communication

and relationships within our community are more important than ever, we want to find someone to take the reins and help develop our new hybrid Marshwood.

From this issue forward we will be publishing the magazine in print four times a year and we will be publishing our online magazine Marshwood+ every month.

‘We will continue linking environment, culture and the arts within our wider local community’

Each issue, online and in print, will still be full of all the usual selection of local profiles, events, gardening, property, local food, arts and entertainment, and most importantly, we will be highlighting initiatives that support sustainability in our local environment. We will continue linking environment, culture and the arts within our wider local community.

However, we need your help to ensure that that sustainability applies to us as well.

You could either be that person we are looking for, or you could help us by donating to our Crowdfunder so we can employ the right candidate.

Simply visit the website address below or scan the adjacent QR code to take you directly there. Either way, please be sure to know that every donation makes a difference to your community. Visit: marshwood-vale-magazine.

68 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 Email Tel. 01308 423031



Single bed. Divan base and mattress.

Silent Night. Very good condition. £40. Buyer collects. 01460 220081.

Wheelchair, in good condition. £100.00 01297 32714 Axminster.

A dark cane conservatory suite with brown floral cushions. 2 seater settee and 2 arm chairs, all in good condition. £100 ono. Please phone 01395 489945 (Sidmouth). Tack room clearance due to retirement, Quality saddles, all medium width: 18”Eldonian Jeffries, 17” Giddens (by appt. to H.M.), two General

purpose 17” saddles, and a 16 1/2” dressage saddle unused, all in vgc. S.S. stirrup irons and leathers, girths. New 5’ 9” Weatherbeeta

Turnout rug. 4’ 6” - 5’ stable rugs, new or nearly new and cleaned. Pony/ Cob bridles, S.S bits. In hand show bridles and stallion bridles. Lunging cavassons, travel boots, etc, etc. Galvanised feed bin, saddle racks etc. All reasonably priced. Tel: 01935 834270. Shreiber 2 drawers + bottom shelf.100 cms L × 60cms D × 45cms H. Light ash wood. Photo available. DT63PP. Bridport. £40 ovno. Tel 07398760637.


Antique restoration and bespoke furniture. Furniture large and small carefully restored and new commissions undertaken. French polishing, chair repairs and modern hand finishes. Phil Meadley 01297 560335 Dec 23


Piano, violin, theory tuition at your home. Highly qualified teacher. Adults and children welcome. Beginners to advanced. Dr Thomas Gold 07917 835781. Dec 23

Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 69

Thomas Hardy 10

Novels published by Macmillan & Co. 1925. Blue and gold, good condition for age. £100.00 Tel. 07791054401. Lyme Regis.

Jewellers bench , table top £50. Double jewellers bench with peg £100

Phone 07816018817.

Cliff Barnsby 16.5” GP saddle. Christie model. Wide fitting.Spring tree. Two-tone brown.Knee rolls. Thigh rolls.Fitted 15.2hh cob. Slight fading on seat.Old in age but lightly used. Stored in cupboard. £150 Tel 07747776857 Bridport, Dorset. Ercol Saville armchair comfortable classic. All original fittings in

very good condition consistent with limited use £65 01297 21197.

Men’s single breasted Burton collection suit, blue/grey size 36-38 chest. ‘Canada’ overcoat ¾ length navy. Both superb quality. Offers welcome. 01308 863738.

Farmhouse table 5ft x 3ft, scrubbed pine top, very solid, plus two chairs, photo available, buyer collects. £90.

Dorchester 07745 812741.

Man’s John Lewis grey suit. 46” waist, 31” leg. Washable, never worn. £25. 01460 61848. Ladderback chairs x 6, oak with rush seat, good condition £180. 01935 892340.

Garden Shredder 2400W max 40mm


diameter, bag tools, plunger, 3m cable, new, boxed, property downsizing. £95. 01460 61005.

Chainsaw, Petrol, S3cc, 45cm bar, oil, mixer, ear defenders, glasses, tool, new, boxed, Property downsizing. £105. 01460 61005.

Hedge trimmer, max 2.6m, adjustable angles, shoulder strap, glasses, 3m cable, new, boxed, property downsizing. £75. 01460 61005.

G-plan Drinks

Cabinet, mirror lined compartment, shelf over plus side shelves. 42 ½”w, 57”h, 11”d. Downsizing, £49. .

01460 61005.

Electric bike 20”

wheels, 24v, 3 power settings, six speeds,

black, charger, keys, foldable, unused. Downsizing, £465.

01460 61005.

New adjustable 3ft

Sherborne bed, model Hampton which has chrome plated legs, plus head and foot dual motor controls. Complete with mattress. Boxed up in original packing. £850. Telephone 01935 824029. Vintage copper lamp which has lacquered finish, so easy to care for. Height is approx. 39cm. Lamp is a candle lamp but is oil effect style. Lamp has a glass chimney. Lamp has never been used and is immaculate condition. £12. Telephone 01935 824029

4 New luxury soft touch microfibre cover pillows which are hypo-allergenic and fully machine washable. Sealed in original packing £40.

Wahl Clip-Pet Deluxe animal clippers, which come with several combs and brushes. £35. Telephone 01935 824029

Ercol Windsor

Goldsmith carver chair £100, old oak cabinet barleytwist legs 36” x 30” x 15”, formerly held gramophone £45. 01297 443970, 07973 349717. Vintage Ercol armchair, Yorkshire design circa 1960s. new webbing recovered chintz as new, £500. Matching footstool £250. 01297 443970, 07973 349717.

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 ..................................
70 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 Email Tel. 01308 423031


Stamps & Coins wanted by collector / investor. We are keen to purchase small or large collections at this time. Tel Rod 01308 863790 or 07802261339. Dec 24 p4

Coins wanted. Part or full collections purchased for cash. Please phone John on 01460 62109 or 07980 165047. Jan 24

Dave buys all types of tools 01935 428975

Do you have a shed / garage full of old tools, car bits, unfinished projects etc? I buy job-lots of vintage items. Also enamel signs & slot machines & complete collections, 07875677897 Jan 24

Vintage & antique textiles, linens, costume buttons etc. always sought by Caroline Bushell. Tel. 01404 45901. Feb 24

Collectables, bygones, vintage, autojumble, Job-lots & collections a specialty. Good prices paid 07875677897



Jeans brand new, M&S indigo size 8 £10. M&S leather shoes size 6, some unworn, wardrobe clearance. £5 pair, more details 01297 443970, 07973 349717.

Large circular table, light oak 183cm (64”) diameter, 71cm (28”) high. £60. 07976 968195. Fridge Hotpoint Ice Diamond, good condition, £30. 074470 803116.


mar 24p x 4
Tel. 01308 423031 The Marshwood Vale Magazine March 2024 71
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