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SLOW BURN with Ben Short

On a day there comes once more To the latched and lonely door, Down the wood-road striding silent, One who has been here before. Green spruce branches for his head, Here he makes his simple bed, Crouching with the sun, and rising When the dawn is frosty red. All day long he wanders wide With the grey moss for his guide, And his lonely axe-stroke startles The expectant forest-side. Toward the quiet close of day Back to camp he takes his way, And about his sober footsteps Unafraid the squirrels play. 'The Solitary Woodsman', Sir Charles GD Roberts (1897)

CONTRIBUTORS Editorial and creative direction Glen Cheyne Design Andy Gerrard @round_studio Sub editors Jay Armstrong @jayarmstrong_ Elaine Taylor Photography Katharine Davies @Katharine_KDP Feature writer Jo Denbury @jo_denbury Editorial assistant Paul Newman @paulnewmanart Print Pureprint Distribution Available throughout Bridport and surrounding villages. Please see for stockists.

81 Cheap Street Sherborne Dorset DT9 3BA 01935 315556 @bridporttimes Bridport Times is printed on Edixion Offset, an FSCÂŽ and EU Ecolabel certified paper. It goes without saying that once thoroughly well read, this magazine is easily recycled and we actively encourage you to do so. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither Bridport Times nor its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or any other cause. Bridport Times does not officially endorse any advertising material included within this publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form - electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise - without prior permission from Bridport Times.

4 | Bridport Times | January 2019

Richard Baker Porter Dodson

Little Toller Books @LittleToller @littletollerdorset

Martin Ballam Xtreme Falconry

Will Livingstone @willgrow

Simon Barber Evolver @SimonEvolver @simonpaulbarber Aiice Blogg @alice_blogg @alice_blogg Molly Bruce @mollybruceinteriordesign Caroline Butler BSc (Hons) MNIMH Alice Chutter Yoga Space @yogaspacebridport Fraser Christian Coastal Survival School @CoastalSurvival Kelvin Clayton @kelvinclaytongp Curtis Fulcher Bridport Arts Centre @bridportarts @bridportarts Kit Glaisyer @kitglaisyer @kitglaisyer Charlie Groves Groves Nurseries @GrovesNurseries @grovesnurseries Emily Hicks Bridport Museum @BridportMuseum Tamara Jones Loving Healthy @lovinghealthy_ @lovinghealthy_

Gill Meller @GillMeller @Gill.Meller Nicky Mathewson The Bookshop @bookshopbridprt @thebookshopbridport Anna Powell Sladers Yard @SladersYard @sladersyard John Puckey Marine Theatre Lyme Regis @johnpuckeypaint Leila Simon Tamarisk Farm @ tamarisk_farm Charlie Soole The Club House West Bexington @theclubhouse2017 @TheClubHouse217 Emma Tabor & Paul Newman @paulnewmanart @paulnewmanartist Cass Titcombe Brassica Restaurant @brassica_food @brassicarestaurant_mercantile Chris Tripp Dorset Diggers Community Archaeology Group Sally Welbourn Dorset Wildlife Trust @DorsetWildlife @dorsetwildlife



6 What’s On

40 Archaeology

68 Gardening

12 Arts and Culture


78 Philosophy

26 History

50 Food and Drink

80 Literature

28 Wild Dorset

58 Body and Mind

86 Crossword

32 Outdoors

64 Home | 5

WHAT'S ON Listings

Town Mill Arts, Lyme Regis DT7 3PU.

2nd Tuesday every month 7.15pm

07812 856823

Ivy House, Grove Nurseries, West Bay

LSI, East Street. Info: 07881 805510

Tuesdays & Thursdays 10.30am


____________________________ Mondays 10am-12.15pm Watercolour Painting for Beginners

£15 per session, first session half price.

Bridport Sugarcraft Club


Road, DT6 4AB. £4.50, first visit free

Walking the Way to

Wednesday or Thursday 9.30am-


Health in Bridport

12.30pm (term-time only)

Mondays (term-time) 6.30pm-8pm

Starts from CAB 45 South Street. 30min

Painting & Drawing Art Classes

01305 252222

lesson. Tara 07505 268797

Bridport ASD & Social Anxiety Support Group Bridport Children’s Centre.

walks, with trained health walk leaders. Free.

Mangerton Mill Artist Studio. £16 per



For teens 11-18, parents & carers

Tuesdays 2pm-3.45pm

Wednesdays 7pm-10pm


(starts 22nd)

Bridport Scottish Dancers

Mondays 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th

New Black Dog


Creative Writing Course

Church House, South Street. Instruction

Bridport Folk Dance Club

Beach & Barnicott, Bridport.

WI Hall, North Street, DT6 3JQ. Folk

dancing with recorded music (live music

Booking & info:

& social dancing. Enquiries: 01308




Every 4th Wednesday 7.30pm

on 27th). 01308 423442

Tuesdays 7.15pm

Philosophy in Pubs


Uplyme Morris Rehearsals

Mondays 7.30pm-9pm

The Bottle Inn, Marshwood. No

George Hotel, South Street. Read Kelvin

Bridport Campfire Women’s Coaching Group 67 South Street. £5, all welcome

experience required, give it a go! Contact

Clayton’s monthly article on page 78


Uplyme Morris on Facebook or The

1st Thursday every month

Squire on 07917 748087



Community Coffee Morning

Mondays 7.30pm-9.30pm

Tuesdays 7.30pm-9pm

Bridport Choral Society

(resuming on 8th)

St. Swithun’s Church Hall, Allington.

No auditions, just an enthusiasm for

Bridport Sangha


Free coffee, cakes & parking


singing required! bridportchoral.wordpress.

Meditation Evenings

Every 3rd Friday 10.30am-3.30pm


Bridport Embroiderers


Quaker Meeting House, South St.

Tuesdays 10am-1pm

You are most welcome. Contact David Will 07950 959572.

St Swithens Church hall. 01308 456168



Tuesday 1st 1pm

Art Class

6 | Bridport Times | January 2019

E AT | E V E N T S | S H O P | S T AY

Welcome to Symondsbury Estate set in the beautiful Dorset countryside just a stone’s throw from the Jurassic Coast, with fabulous walks, bike trails and award winning produce. Enjoy lunch at our kitchen, visit one of our seasonal events or browse our home, garden, gift shops and more at Manor Yard... ...isn’t it time you discovered Symondsbury Estate.


+44 (0)1308 424116 The Estate Office Manor Yard, Bridport, Dorset DT6 6HG

WHAT'S ON Lyme Lunge -

4 Week Solo Charleston Course

Czech Winter Concert

Fancy Dress Dip in the Sea

Chideock Village Hall, DT6 6JW. £22

Sir John Colfox Academy, Bridport.


or reserved via

Lyme Regis. Sponsor forms


per course, book:


Tickets £10 (under 18s free) on the door


Friday 4th 7.30pm

Monday 7th 7.30pm

Monday 14th - Monday 18th

DWT presents From Desert to

West Dorset Jive Community

February 7.30pm-10.30pm

Cloud Forest: Flora & Fauna of

Evening - Dancing & Cake Event

Modern Jive 6 Week Beginners

the Canary Islands

Chideock Village Hall, DT6 6JW.

& Intermediates Course


£36 per course, book: dynamic-dance.

Bridport United Church Hall, East

Free. All dancers welcome

Chideock Village Hall, DT6 6JW.

members), include refreshments.

Wednesday 9th 6.30pm


‘Bringing Creativity Home’


Saturday 5th 10.30am-4.30pm

LSI. Talk & open dialogue on Alice

Monday 14th &

St. Suggested donation £2 (£3 non-


Blogg’s experience in Brazil.

Monday 28th 7.30pm


Biodanza @ Othona -

St. Book in advance, £45 07824 617453

Thursday 10th - Thursday 31st

Express, Connect, Relax!



4 Week Solo Charleston Course

Othona Community, Coast Road,

Saturday 5th 10.30am-1.30pm

Studio 2, Bridport Leisure Centre, DT6

Journal Writing Workshop Briport Quaker Meeting House, South

Bridport Seed Potato Day Bridport United Church, East St. Free

admission - light refreshments available

5LN. £22 per course, book:


Burton Bradstock DT6 4RN. Teacher:

Julia Hope-Brightwell. No dance partner needed. £8-£10. Info: 01308 897130



Thursday 10th - 14th February

Tuesday 15th 9.30am-12.30pm

Saturday 5th 7.30pm-11pm


Creative Process & Self

Bridport Ceilidhs

Therapeutic Writing Course

Expression - Level 2

Church House Hall, South St, DT6 3NW.

Bothenhampton Village Hall. 6 week

Chapel-in-the-Garden, Bridport. For

01308 423442

142088 07557 275275

“Jigs for Gigs” with Ray Goodswen calling. ____________________________

course £7 per session. Info: 07747


10 weeks. Must have attended Level 1. ____________________________

Saturday 5th 7.30pm

Saturday 12th

Thursday 17th 9.30am-12.30pm

Tinker’s Cuss Band

Willow Workshop -

Creative Process Course

Bridport Town Hall. In aid of the Friends

Hedgerow Basket

Bridport. Serious play with art materials

£7.50 (members £6.50) to include

Sadler, £45pp. Book: jojo.sadler@hotmail.

of Bridport Millennium Green. Tickets

Broadwindsor Craft Centre. With Jo

refreshments. Info: 01308 425037

____________________________ Sunday 6th 10am-4.30pm

07531 417209

& reflective practice for artists/designers & beginners. 10 Thursdays m.caddick@ 07557 275275



Sunday 20th 7.30pm

Clean & Clear Day Retreat

Sunday 13th 3pm

Bridport Story Cafe -

The Kingcombe Centre, Toller

Music, Pizza & Film

The Big Blind

Porcorum. Yoga, nutrition & vision board

workshop. Info & bookings @ Eventbrite

BAC. Live music from local young

@ The Lyric Theatre, Barrack Street.

or or 07704 093016

bands, free pizza, and a showing of the film Sing Street




Tickets £10: Bridport TIC 01308 424901 ____________________________

Mondays 7th - Monday 28th

Sunday 13th 3pm

Saturday 26th


Allington Strings -

Willow Workshop - Boxing Hare

8 | Bridport Times | January 2019

JANUARY 2019 Broadwindsor Craft Centre. With Jo

Tuesday 29th



South, West & East Street

Sadler, £75pp. Book: jojo.sadler@hotmail.

WDBKA Annual Course for New Beekeepers

Second Saturday of the month

07531 417209

For bookings & info:


Saturday 26th 7.30pm


Farmers’ Market Bridport Arts Centre

(bar from 7pm)

Planning ahead

Powerstock Artsreach present


Every Saturday, 9am–12pm

WOR ‘Back to the 1780’s’

Saturday 2nd February 7pm

Country Market

Powerstock Hut, School Hill,

New Elizabethan Singers

WI Hall, North Street

01308 485474, 01308 485730, Marquis ____________________________

Goadsby & Bridport Music


Powerstock, DT6 3TB. Tickets from

perform Bruckner & Puccini ‘Messa di Gloria’

Every Sunday, 10am-5pm

of Lorne & Three Horseshoes Inn

St. Swithun’s, Bridport. £12 tickets from

Local Produce Market

Monday 28th 2.30pm



Golden Age of Travel Bridport United Church Hall, East Street.

Fairs and markets

Association. £3, 01308 863577


Customs House, West Bay

Last Sunday of every month, 10am-4pm

Talk by Paul Atterbury for Golden Cap


Bridport Vintage Market

Every Wednesday & Saturday


Weekly Market

St Michael’s Trading Estate, DT6 3RR

____________________________ | 9

PREVIEW In association with

The Longest Johns Friday 18th January 7.30pm Village Hall, Burton Bradstock, DT6 4QS. £10/£7. 01308 897421 The Longest Johns are a Bristol-based, a capella folk music band, born out of a mutual love of traditional folk songs and shanties. They rock maritime songs alongside the

more unusual and less traditional folk tunes. After becoming a quintet in 2015, they’ve taken their harmonies to new heights, whilst always retaining just the right mix of

quality and hilarity. Whether performing songs that are hundreds of year old, or their own original creations, the Johns bring a new feel to audiences wherever they go, all with a hearty cheer and a row-ho-ho!

10 | Bridport Times | January 2019

01202 280000



‘It is an absolutely extraordinary text: a book, not a journal, really.’ Robert Macfarlane

www.elementumjour | 11

Arts and Culture


Curtis Fulcher, Director, Bridport Arts Centre

Image: Pete Millson


ith the support of the British Film Institute, Bridport Arts Centre has recruited a ‘young film programmer’. This role has been created to programme, market and evaluate films aimed at attracting a 14 to 30-year old audience. The successful candidate was 14-year-old Blake Ford from Bridport. We asked Blake how he is getting on with the job. How did you hear about the role of Young Programmer?

I heard about the role through an email sent out to everyone at BACstage, the drama group that takes place at Bridport Arts Centre. I thought the job sounded amazing and I love the Arts Centre so I applied. What appeals to you about the role?

I think the role is really important. It appeals to me because the Arts Centre is an amazing resource in our town which, sadly, young people do not usually see as a place for them. However, I think that can be changed - I would love to try and get more young people coming to the Arts Centre. I know some of the people who work at the Arts Centre through my association with the drama group and I know what a special community there is here. What are your plans for engaging with the target audience? 12 | Bridport Times | January 2019

I think the best way to appeal to the target audience is to try and base the events around what young people enjoy. I am also trying to use social media as a way of boosting awareness of the events. How have you selected the films for the project?

I have chosen films that people have heard about but which are also, I believe, relatable and interesting films. My first film event, Ready Player One, was shown in November, and had a unique, 2-hour virtual reality experience for people to try out. The second event was Super 8 alongside local young filmmaker Elliot Millson's new short film, +44. Elliot also put on a 2-hour workshop. On Sunday 13th January, from 3pm onwards, there will be live music from local young bands and free pizza, and I will be showing the film Sing Street afterwards. What’s the best thing about the role?

I love working for the Arts Centre because of the amazing team here. I also feel that I am doing something worthwhile in the local community, as many young people do not get to know what goes on at the centre. To see Blake’s films and a full list of what’s on offer at Bridport Arts Centre, look online. Sing Street tickets cost £5.

New Shopping Experience Coming to Broadwindsor Craft Centre this February

Arts & Culture


Artist John Puckey in conversation with Film Director Piotr Szkopiak


iotr Szkopiak directs popular programmes for Sunday evenings and winding down after work — Heartbeat, EastEnders, and Emmerdale, for which he was nominated for two BAFTAs. For fifteen years, alongside his day-job, the Polish-British director has also made The Last Witness, a film about the Katyn massacre. The contrast is quickly explained by a deeply personal connection. ‘This was a signature event that had shaped the Polish community in the UK after World War II and also touched my family personally. My grandfather, Wojciech Stanislaw Wójcik, was executed in the Katyn Massacre,’ he told me. Szkopiak is efficient but warm; he would be the first to forgive you for ignorance on the subject. Starring Michael Gambon and Talulah Riley, it is the first English language film about the atrocity. Through the eyes of journalist Stephen Underwood (Alex Pettyfer), the film tells the story of the massacre and its subsequent cover-up by the British, Americans, and Russians. The Katyn forest is twelve miles west of Smolensk in Russia. In 1940 the Soviet secret police executed 14 | Bridport Times | January 2019

22,000 Polish officers and intellgentsia, burying them there in mass graves. Three years later, Joseph Goebbels announced to the world that the Nazis had discovered the crime, hoping to drive a wedge between the Allied powers. The Soviet Union denied involvement, and the West turned away in the interests of wartime solidarity. Winston Churchill assured the Soviets that he opposed a Red Cross investigation, which would have undoubtedly revealed the truth. With these themes, Szkopiak is aware of his film’s polemic potential. ‘It is controversial because this is an aspect of British history that is not common knowledge and one that has not yet been fully addressed.’ The fall of Communism in 1989 in Poland saw the truth begin to be acknowledged as documents relating to the event were released in Russia. But it took until 2010 for the Russian state Duma to finally blame Stalin, a moment that was too late for Szkopiak and his family. ‘I think my mother reacted as they all did, with a mixed sense of justification and sadness. My grandmother died in 1979 not knowing where her husband had been executed, or where he lay buried. It was not just

the victims of the Katyn massacre who suffered — an admission of guilt that was no surprise to anyone, did little to alleviate that suffering.’ With a fictional narrative and only a few scenes that depict the massacre, The Last Witness is not a gritty historical account by any measure. While investigating a story, Underwood discovers Michael Loboda (Robert Wieckiewicz), a Russian peasant who witnessed the killings and then assumed a Polish identity in order to hide as ‘the last witness.’ Underwood is fictional, but Loboda is based on a real-life Michael Loboda, who was housed in a Polish Displaced Camp outside Bristol in 1947. Szkopiak is keen to emphasise that The Last Witness is very much a thriller, but ‘all the details about the Katyn massacre itself and the subsequent cover up, which Stephen [Underwood] uncovers, are fact,’ he says, underlining ‘credible sources.’ I questioned why he had decided to opt for a Le Carre-like plot when the real-life events seem complex enough. ‘We observe a hugely significant historical event through the eyes of one man, which is not only more manageable and practical to portray, but,

in my opinion, is also more cinematic and emotionally engaging,’ something he’s clearly been asked before. It might also be to distinguish it from Andrzej Wajda’s Polish language film Katyń. ‘I never wanted to make a heavy historical drama about the Katyn massacre but an engaging, emotional and suspenseful film,’ he explained. In one scene, Michael Loboda is told to ‘go home’ when his slavic accent is overheard in a pub, one of Szkopiak’s allusions for contemporary audiences: ‘I think it is clear to anyone who follows the news that the events depicted in The Last Witness have never been more relevant given the current political relations between the EU, the UK, the United States of America and Russia.’ Friday 18th January

Q&A and screening of The Last Witness with Director Piotr Szkopiak and Producer Carol Harding. Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis. £6 advance/£8 on the door. 10% off for Theatre Friends. Tickets from Lyme Regis and Bridport Tourist Information centres, online from or by phone 01297 442138 | 15

Arts & Culture

RICHARD BATTERHAM Anna Powell, Sladers Yard Gallery & Café Artist Photography, Ben Boswell

16 | Bridport Times | January 2019


ne of the great privileges of running Sladers Yard art gallery is our regular visit to Richard Batterham’s studio. Soft-voiced and blue-eyed, Richard looks you straight in the eye and loves a good conversation. Often my husband, Petter Southall, and I go together, so that Petter and Richard can have a really good talk while I take time to look at the pots and then we talk while Petter packs them. Although Petter makes furniture and Richard makes pots they are both dedicated craftsmen and designers. They understand each other and usually we all have a really good laugh. Now 82, Richard has devoted his life to making pots. He works in stoneware, making traditional English forms in his own completely distinctive way. He is famous for never signing or marking his pots. In actual fact now it makes no difference because they are instantly recognisable. Richard does not like to belong to societies and has no letters after his name yet he is widely accepted to be greatest living maker of domestic stoneware.

He started making pots at Bryanston School. He was lucky to have a teacher there, Donald Potter, who had studied with Eric Gill and worked with Michael Cardew at Winchcombe. From the very outset, Richard was learning at the highest level. Perhaps no wonder then that after school and National Service he went to work for a couple of years at probably the most famous pottery in the world at that time, Bernard Leach’s pottery in St Ives. Those two years were to change Richard’s life. Rather than Bernard Leach, however, it was two others who really had an effect. Dinah Dunn, already a well-established potter by the time Richard arrived at the Leach Pottery, would leave with him, marry him, have five children with him and give him continued critical comment and support until her stroke in 2002. She died in 2007. Secondly, working quietly next to him in St Ives, was Atsuya Hamada, a son of Shoji Hamada, the Japanese potter who had so deeply influenced Bernard Leach and, through him, the twentieth century British Studio Pottery movement. > | 17

Arts & Culture

18 | Bridport Times | January 2019

Atsuya Hamada showed Richard a kinder, gentler, more fluid way of working and being. Perhaps now we would call it mindful. Richard learned to empty his mind and just concentrate completely on what he was making. This is how he says he has worked ever since. With this way of working came the ideas of Yanagi Sōetsu, author of The Unknown Craftsman. As the rapid industrialisation of Japan in the 1920s and 30s threatened to sweep away traditional handcrafts, Yanagi recognised the beauty of the unaffected ordinary utilitarian objects which had been handmade by unknown but often gifted craftspeople for centuries in Japan and especially in Korea. According to Yanagi, as soon as an artist becomes self-conscious or proud of his or her own work, the work begins to lose its authenticity. By not signing his work and by fighting very hard not to allow flattery to go to his head, Richard Batterham does make work of a heartfelt truthfulness and beauty that we seem to lack the terms to define. Richard’s pots are bought by people from all over the world. Again and again they tell us how deeply they love his work, how they use his pots every day. The antithesis of the consumer society where so much is new, massproduced and soulless, Richard’s practical, traditional

forms - tea caddies, fruit dishes or soup bowls that fit in the palm of your hand – have deep roots that reach back into the dining rooms, larders and kitchens of the past. From the hands of the maker to the hands of the user, these pieces evoke a grounding, uplifting response. Like a musician who plays the same pieces over and over again through a lifetime, gradually adjusting and perfecting them, Richard Batterham makes his pots, always looking, focussing on the best ones, noticing what difference each aspect makes. He works alone as he always has, doing every part of the process himself from digging the clay to mixing the glazes and moving the pots around balanced on long planks. It is a life of devotion and the work speaks for itself. After Eighties: Richard Batterham pots with paintings by Fred Cuming RA, Robin Rae RCA and Alfred Stockham RCA RWA is at Sladers Yard until 20th January. Richard Batterham at 80 an illustrated booklet by Anna Powell is available from Sladers Yard. Please contact the gallery for more information. | 19

Arts & Culture

CHARLIE FUGE Kit Glaisyer, Artist

Image: Pete Millson


his month I chatted with Charlie Fuge, a familiar face around Bridport, cutting a dash in his trilby hat and rose-hued glasses. Charlie is an internationally-renowned illustrator of more than 60 children’s picture books, 15 of which he wrote himself. Charlie’s career took off in 1988 when he won the MacMillan Prize for writing and illustrating his first children’s book, Bush Vark’s First Day Out. Charlie generously credits the judges of the prize, Quentin Blake and Raymond Briggs, with giving him his career, as the book then went on to win the Mother Goose Award and led to his first publishing deal. Since then, Charles has worked on dozens of books with much-loved authors including Jane Clarke, Roddy Doyle, Sam McBratney and Dawn Casey. He’s talked at book fairs and festivals across the UK and had his stories read on CBB’s by the likes of Graham Norton. His book, Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball (which is considered a modern-day classic), was runner-up for the 20 | Bridport Times | January 2019

Kate Greenaway Medal 2001. Charlie’s talent as a draughtsman originally sprung from his fanatical love of animals and wildlife, which he drew obsessively as a child, and a spell as an amateur taxidermist, in his teens, gave him a deeper knowledge of the physiology of animals. He feels very lucky to be able to earn a living doing what he loves. ‘It doesn’t feel like a job,’ he says. But along with that comes the uncertainties of life as an artist and the complications of working with big publishers, who can be highly interfering and prescriptive. Charlie says, ‘In my world I’m the little cog at the bottom of the machine, even though I’m the one making them a living.’ Another of the drawbacks of being an illustrator is that it can be rather sedentary and isolating, so Charlie makes sure he spends half his time out of the studio, growing organic vegetables, recycling chip oil for his car, and making music – which has been a vital component of his life since his time in London. In fact, playing > | 21

Arts & Culture

bass for various bands was the only reason he stayed in Camberwell after graduating. He came to Dorset with the singer of one of those bands, his partner Sarah, who now works as a Forest School teacher. He currently plays percussion for the Dorset folk band, “Mor or Less”. Charlie has been coming to the Dorset coast on holidays since 1970 when his grandparents bought a little bungalow at Burton Bradstock. He grew up in Bath, the middle child of an anaesthetist father and nurse mother. He had a pretty miserable school > experience but was fortunate to have a great art teacher, Donald Gory, who tutored Charlie personally as the curriculum did not allow for his choices of subject. He then got into Westfield College to study English Literature, but Donald advised against it, recommending instead that Charlie take the Art Foundation Course at Bath Academy of Art. It was, of course, great advice, and turned out to be, says Charlie, ‘the best year of my life.’ With the opportunity to explore different artistic disciplines at Bath, Charlie realised that he was, at heart, a draughtsman. So, he continued with an Illustration Degree at Camberwell College of Art, unfortunately finding it to be an uninspiring experience, encountering bitter tutors and lacklustre students. Happily, his fortunes changed in the 2nd year when his tutor John Lawrence, a renowned wood cutter, suggested Charlie enter the MacMillan prize, which set his course in life. His next big break came when the literary agent 22 | Bridport Times | January 2019

Eunice McMullen called and offered to be his agent. At first, he was reluctant because he thought he’d be stuck in his flat and, ‘treated like a hand by a publishing brain’, but she persuaded him by immediately negotiating a far more generous contract with his publisher. He’s stayed with her ever since. There have been disappointments too. Following his third book Monstrosities, a black and white anthology of poems about monsters, Charlie got a call from Dream Machine, the special effects team on Hellraiser, who approached him to be the Art Director for their company, something he’d always dreamed of doing. They wanted him to give their product a ‘look’ so that they could rival their main competitors, the Jim Henson Studios. They got as far as sending Charlie the first manuscript then sadly the company went bankrupt. Overall, Charlie is proud of his accomplishments and excited at what lies ahead, enjoying life within Bridport’s bustling creative community along with Sarah and their fourteen-year-old son Ollie. He’s currently working at his studio on the St Michael’s Trading Estate on self-penned Together for Hodder. His latest book, the Home… series about a Badger called Bramble, made in collaboration with Peter Bentley, can be found in Bridport book shops. You can connect with him personally on his Facebook page.

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Arts & Culture



Alice Blogg

s the Christmas spirit fades and we are left with the reflective time of cold blustery January, it always makes me think of the last 12 months. Bridport Times is one year old, we are all one year older with one more year’s worth of stories to share. Last year saw many changes and journeys, achieving and taking part in many new ventures in business and personal life, most of the time finding them entangled with each other. Take this time in January to slow down and take note of the incredible things you have achieved, realise the journey you have taken. Reflect with your community, sharing and empowering by telling others your path. Returning from Brazil I’ve wanted to tell of my experience and share the incredible journey I embarked upon. Last month I wrote about my experience in Sao Paolo and Bello Horizonte, visiting favelas (“irregular” settlements on occupied land) and meeting the inspiring group of young woman, Architecture on the Periphery. Empowering women through making their own homes, brick by brick and with their own hands, teaching skills and knowledge for the future, passed on through communities. The end of my time in Brazil culminated in a workshop, a special day ran in Parelheiros, a community in the south west of Sao Paulo. Teaching how to make stools from reclaimed eucalyptus pallets. Having conversations and learning with each other how to create with our hands. To smile and laugh over a saw cut meant so much. To engage and lead a workshop with people who really wanted to learn and value the experience of knowledge being passed on. It was a privilege to be asked to recreate the bench for the LSI that sits in a part of our community, as a workshop in Brazil - to create with their community something for their community. This now sits in the community centre for the makers to be proud of and enjoy everyday. As part of the community centre they teach permaculture to the youth and beyond, to encourage them to be resourceful and more selfsufficient. They teach how to use the land they have, 24 | Bridport Times | January 2019

which provides most of Sao Paulo with organic fruit and veg, for their own lives. One beautiful way they create already is using the earth to create soil paints. We used the local soils to decorate the stools made, entwining the love of the soil with the benches. It is important to share these stories with people who understand you, to help you to reflect on what you have achieved and created. After my return from Brazil I spent some precious hours with Philiy Page, the founder of ‘Creative Woman International’ over a warming coffee. Time for us to share our stories, especially as she had taught for The British Council in Brazil, and speak the truth about being knee-deep in our own creative businesses and the next exciting plans to feed our thirst. Philiy has worn many hats through her career to lead her to this point, continuing her work with the British Council and as a film production manager, and as a teaching fellow of entrepreneurship, and as an RSA Fellow; these skills inspire her to continually develop

Creative Women International. She now devotes a lot of her time to ‘Creative Woman International’ a womenonly community with meet-ups, training, and support, for creative professional women around the world currently over 30 countries and counting. She found that she was feeling isolated and lonely working from home and coffee shops. She believed that there must be others feeling the same way. Having delivered creative business start-up training around the world she wanted to create a support group for those participants, but also felt that women in the UK would benefit from it as well. Philiy formed Creative Women International to create a global, supportive network, for other creative professionals and has had so much pleasure and inspiration from it ever since. As Philiy is empowering women to run their creative and social enterprises, I feel the link to the Brazil project of empowering the woman in the periphery. I don’t see the Brazil project as a one-off workshop, it’s a project to develop skills, to create a better life, to empower the woman

and eventually lead to social and creative enterprises. Creative Women International provides opportunities for women around the world to come together on-line, and in person, to support and inspire one another. In Bridport we have a community that is really supportive of each other. Lots of independent makers, shops, designers, creators and creatives. We live in a place with a wealth of knowledge and people with very kind hearts. I definitely feel a sense of belonging. Being a part of any community matters. Find your place and share your stories with them. We all want to hear. To fully share the Brazilian story, ‘Bringing Creativity Home’ join us at the LSI, on the evening of 23rd January for a talk and open dialogue on the experience. Thank you to the British Council for the DICE Scoping Fund, which enabled the Brazil project to happen. Fingers crossed for the next stage. | 25


STARFISH AND NETS‌ ENGRAVED INTO GLASS Emily Hicks, Director, Bridport Museum


dancing starfish, a braiding needle and an Anglo-Saxon coin: what do these things have in common? They are all objects from our collection which have recently been immortalised in a 26 | Bridport Times | January 2019

Image: Pete Millson

beautiful new glass front door, installed as part of our major redevelopment project. We issued an open call to artists and invited them to apply to undertake the design. We selected local wood

engraver and printmaker Robin Mackenzie as he seemed the absolute natural fit. His detailed style and sensitive approach to the subjects has created a gently dynamic and beautiful image, with a clever use of perspective which draws you into the museum. Robin is supported by Laura Mulhern, Creative Director of Storiie (formerly South West Artwork), with whom we worked to commission Robin. It was a delight to work collaboratively with both of them to achieve the final design. We shared photographs of objects that we consider historically important and unique to Bridport, from which Robin made some initial sketches. We chose between two different approaches and then followed Robin through eight stages of refining the final image. The design was hand-cut into a large sheet of vinyl, printed, scanned and then laser-engraved onto glass by a company in London. I think part of the success of the door is down to the way in which Robin’s work is inspired by artisan craft techniques. He adeptly blends traditional approaches with a contemporary feel and this has worked superbly for our Grade II Listed historic building. The door does not detract from the architecture of the Tudor façade but subtly hints at what the viewer will find if they come inside the museum. I am also proud of the fact that we have created a new piece of public art for Bridport. There is a strong historical link between wood engravers and public art pieces: David Gentleman designed engravings to be enlarged for Charing Cross Tube Station and Eric Gill designed numerous stone sculptures which were inspired and influenced by his work as a relief printmaker. Every time you walk past the door you see something new from the dancing brittlestar fossil, to the rope and the Broadchurch Jurassic cliffs, all of them hinting at the many aspects that make our town unique.

OPEN DOORS 31 January 10.00 22 March 14.00

We are confident A Co-educational Diamond Model School Flexi, weekly and full boarding Daily buses across Dorset and Somerset

Bridport Museum Trust is a registered charity, which runs an Accredited Museum and a Local History Centre in the centre of Bridport. Entry to the Museum is free. The Local History Centre provides resources for local and family history research. To find out more about Bridport Museum’s collections or to become a volunteer, visit their website. Much of their photographic and fine art archive is available online at @bridportmuseum

01963 211015 NURSERY




Wild Dorset

FLOCK TO POOLE HARBOUR Sally Welbourn, Dorset Wildlife Trust


anuary is traditionally a dark and dismal month but for over-wintering birds it is a busy time of year, and Poole Harbour is one place we can guarantee will be bursting with (bird) life. During late summer and autumn, birds start arriving back onto the Brownsea Island lagoon to over-winter. The unique location of the lagoon means it provides shelter and food sources in abundance, but its shallow waters mean it’s still accessible for birds when the rest of the harbour is under deeper water. It’s also a thoroughfare for birds flying from far-flung corners of the globe, who use the lagoon to rest and eat before migrating to other winter habitats. In the past we’ve recorded rare sightings of the semi-palmated sandpiper and, in October, we were treated to a sighting of the small sanderling visiting from its arctic breeding grounds. A favourite and frequent visitor to the lagoon is the spoonbill. For many years the spoonbill flock sizes have been building; in 2017 it peaked to the largest flock of spoonbills ever seen in Britain, with 75 birds in Poole Harbour, and 50 on Brownsea Island lagoon. Other frequent and easily identifiable guests are large flocks of waders, particularly avocets, which are distinguishable by their long blue legs and curved bill, perfect for sifting through the mud for fish. They breed in East Anglia, France and Germany but the number seen on the Brownsea lagoon is of international importance, where 28 | Bridport Times | January 2019

image: Paul Williams

1,200 or more can be seen in the winter. The black-tailed godwit breed in Iceland but can be seen throughout the year on Brownsea Island, with up to 2,500 visiting in the winter to feed on worms found in the lagoon.

FACTS: • An estimated 20,000 birds visit Poole Harbour each year. • Numbers of avocet and black-tailed godwits can exceed 2,000. • Spoonbills are named after their spatula-like bill which helps them to fish. Their bills also have tiny sensors on them which can detect prey by the tiny vibrations they produce.

A unique partnership between Dorset Wildlife Trust, RSPB and the National Trust has been set up to run boat trips around Poole Harbour during the winter months, so visitors can get a first-hand experience of the thousands of birds feeding and roosting on the Brownsea Island lagoon, when the rest of the island is closed for winter. Tickets start from £25 and trips run on 6th, 10th and 20th January and 3rd February. To book, call 0344 2491895 or visit the National Trust website.

Our Wild Dorset Get outside and enjoy visiting DWT’s nature reserves in 2019. We’re looking after wild spaces for the benefit of DORSET wildlife and and enjoyment of people. Have a wild year and join us:

WILDLIFE TRUST Photos © Tony Bates MBE, Katharine Davies, Neil Gibson, Mark Heighes & Paul Williams.

Wild Dorset

HORSING AROUND Leila Simon, Tamarisk Farm


very day we check the animals, several different groups in all their different places around the farm. Our fields have thick hedges and scrub patches and the ground has hollows and rises. All this can make it difficult to be sure you have found them all. It can take several scans across the field to be certain you’ve not miscounted. This no longer feels like a chore when combined with a self-indulgent pleasure of doing the work on horseback. There are other ways to move around the farm: we can use a tractor, Land Rover, electric quad bike, bicycle, or our legs. But by far and away my favourite way is on horseback. There are other good reasons too. Taking two tonnes of Land Rover onto the fields just to check stock would be hard to defend; even in good conditions it causes compaction to the ground that can take years for our trusty earthworms to undo, and in bad conditions the ruts would last for years, not to mention the diesel. The quad is light but still you need to get off it to open 30 | Bridport Times | January 2019

and close gates. Bicycles are brilliant for down-hill work but torture going up our slopes in wet conditions or rough vegetation. So it is a toss-up between walking from a vehicle left on the road, or taking the time to fetch and tack up a horse. For me it’s no contest! The horses disturb the animals less than a vehicle, and being significantly further above the ground gives me a commanding view, able to see into the middle of a flock and check all’s well. Going through gates on my young mare Tobie, there is no need to dismount at all as she is already adept at helping. After guiding her close to the latch I lean over her shoulder to lift the clapper and grasp the gate and ask her to move. She slips through, turns neatly and pushes the gate closed with her chest. Her mother Marianne prefers to nudge them with her nose! When moving animals we generally have one of us on horseback. Horses can overtake running sheep or cattle - which I’ve failed to do on foot! They can also turn quickly on any ground, an advantage over the quad, and

travel on any ground, an advantage over anything with wheels. Tobie sometimes thinks that what she should be doing is chasing the sheep and we occasionally find ourselves with all four feet off the ground as she disagrees with me about slowing down. But horses learn what their job is, and with time and practice she’s turning into a proper farm horse, trotting up and down behind the animals to keep them in the right direction, and even gently nipping at the back of a sheep or cow that’s going too slowly. The sense of partnership is very satisfying. It’s not all plain sailing: as prey animals, horses can be flighty and easily startled. A pheasant flying out of a hedge, for example, can make Tobie throw up her head in surprise. Or the first time I took Celeste out to see the newly-acquired Jacob sheep: before this, our sheep were either creamy white or black – never both! As we turned a corner Celeste froze, planting her legs immovably into the ground. A big shire horse,

she wouldn’t take a single step forward, instead rolling her eyes at these terrifying spotted creatures that had suddenly appeared before her. When one came towards us in curiosity, she was backing away in terror. After a little while the sheep retreated and Celeste realised that these were actually just the same as the other fluffy things we check every day. Like me, most of our horses were born here at Tamarisk, and have spent their lives working on our sea-side slopes overlooking Lyme Bay. Like them I have always been involved in the work of the farm. I can’t remember a time before I was riding out seeing the stock. Ask my mum and she’ll tell you I was up there from six weeks old, held securely in a sling whilst she rode Lantana. It goes back another generation; my grandmother too used horses and ponies for work both on her childhood farm and here. She reminisces about the time she and Thor raced a storm (literally) across a field, getting into the barn just before it reached them. Having ridden my whole life, it felt so natural I didn’t realise that I wasn’t consciously familiar with the details until I tried to teach Ben how to ride. I didn’t have the ability to explain what I was feeling and doing; and I realised that informal riding does not give quite all the tricks of the trade. I’ve started taking lessons, and it has helped especially when it came to riding Tobie, who, as a thoroughbred cross is bright and fast. We’re both speed fiends, and our favourite spot is up the steep edge of Tulks Hill. The power you feel galloping up and up until you burst out onto the Ridgeway overlooking the Bride Valley, seeing all the way from Portland Bill to Beer cliffs and beyond, is breathtaking and exhilarating. I’m making it sound idyllic; it generally is, but not always. Getting caught in a rain storm on the top of the farm is no fun, nor is it when the fog closes in, making it hard to see the next step let alone the sheltering animals. In the winter we get strong biting winds, and squalls that blow up seemingly from nowhere, and on these days an enclosed vehicle would be an appreciated refuge. And there are other times when using a horse doesn’t make sense. Often there is another task that needs doing near the animals, and it isn’t straightforward to carry heavy tools on horseback. Ben’s electric quad-bike was bought with precisely this in mind: light on the ground, carries enough tools and environmentally-friendly. However, I’ve yet to see one make a new baby quad bike or live through the year just on green grass. | 31




Fraser Christian, Coastal Survival School

am talking rubbish. Should you care? Well, I am sure you do, like the rest of us, and no doubt when you can grab a moment in your busy life, you might often head to the beach and bathe in its magnificent power and glory! Then as your eyes wander freely across the shore line, up to the back of the beach, the now almost certain sight of manmade ‘rubbish’ and other marine pollutants are clearly visible. On my last trip to West Bexington beach, I popped 60p into the pay and display, took my one hour ticket and headed one way for half the time and then returned on a slightly different track, taking in the shoreline and back of the beach respectively. I easily filled a black bin bag with a mix of rubbish, ranging from bottles, cans, tiny pieces of rope, fishing line and hooks (mostly mackerel feathers from inexperienced fisher folk and poor knots etc – we do run fishing courses), even after my friend Primrose had done a clean in the same area, just one tide before! As a fisherman, I do feel partly responsible to educate and ‘do my bit’ to clean up behind others, as we all have to do from time to time. The sight of two sea birds joined together, distressed, on a set of mackerel feathers is a disturbing sight at best, one I was presented with once whilst running a coastal survival course on a local beach. Luckily I always have some kit with me and have experience of handling wild birds, and luckily had the mother and her juvenile de-hooked and separated fairly quickly. Once I got some fresh water into the young one, they both flew off, bruised but intact. Hopefully a scenario I won’t have to repeat again. They were lucky, imagine all the poor creatures not so lucky, starving slowly… So next time you head to the beach, don’t ‘leave it for someone else.’ Do your bit! Even if you pick up everything on the route home, every little bit helps stop the only ocean we have from becoming a soup of insipid waste and a playground of potentially harmful objects. There are waste bins on most beaches and even a fishing line collection point, to ensure they won’t go into landfill and cause harm to inland creatures. I know you care as much as me, and no one wants to pick up other people’s rubbish, but it’s the only option we have - for the future of us all! 32 | Bridport Times | January 2019 | 33




Martin Ballam, Xtreme Falconry

ollowing on from September’s article it is time to give a little run down on what I consider to be ‘stage two’ of my journey into my career in specialising in raptors. My time in Cornwall was certainly over. A new chapter beckoned and the county was Kent. A rather wild-eyed, certainly charismatic gentleman by the name of Alan had built a brand new bird of prey centre and as it turned out he wanted me to be part of it. However due to my circumstances at my workplace in Cornwall I had not received his messages until what could have been too late. I paid a visit to this new centre, but the job was 34 | Bridport Times | January 2019

not immediately available as the post was taken due to the centre having opened two months previously. Alan was certainly surprised to see me and regular calls from himself to me occurred as I was now trying to decide whether to stay in the area or return to Cornwall or start afresh in a completely different part of the country. Then the all important call came; the current employee wasn’t going to be part of the future of the centre and I was called in for an official interview. The interview is still one of the most memorable and surreal moments in my memory. I was asked to go to the Tally Ho! public house at 8pm to meet Alan and his

business partner. The night was a Friday. The interview was brief ! ‘When can you start?’ asked Alan. ‘When do you want me?’ I replied. ‘8.30am tomorrow?’ was the response and that was that, a new job and the chance to specialise in raptors. I was a very happy guy of 26 years of age with the chance to be part of what I thought could be a life long career. The centre was small. It had around 40-45 birds in a single building. A converted cow-milking barn that was clean and presentable. It was strange going from a 600 bird collection to a small but new one, however, the location was amazing. Situated high on a hill, overlooking a stunning valley with views stretching for miles towards Sevenoaks - this was a place to fly eagles! Very quickly I became good friends with Alan. We worked really well together in the shows - the banter was natural, the humour flowed and the crowds that were now flooding in certainly loved it. The centre rapidly grew in popularity and the staff numbers increased and I was soon Centre Manager. The focus and commitment to be a part of this success certainly consumed me. Days off were very alien (and still are now!) and I couldn’t keep away from the place. It didn’t help that I also lived virtually on site. A rented bungalow 200 metres from the centre which was bleak, damp and cold but it was my first independence and the views were great. Alan started spending lengthy periods away, mainly in Africa securing birds to import. My workload increased covering school visits throughout London, managing the birds at the centre, incubation and handrearing and so on. I felt strongly about the import aspect and morally I wasn’t happy, which caused friction and that friction continued on this subject all the way through. The biggest positive however were the people I met and certainly learnt from - my good friend Travis; a brilliant falconer of vast knowledge especially with goshawk training and hunting. I continue to travel to Scotland to this day with Travis who has remained a firm friend to myself and my family. Rob and Rita who made innovative falconry equipment and became family friends of the closest order. Sadly Rob was killed in a bike accident early in 2004 which was a terrible and sad time. Then the numerous people we trained took a falconry holiday which was great fun but very testing; babysitting novice falconers who made some classic errors, some comical, some disastrous. Another brilliant man who has taught me so much

is my friend Alan Jones. A specialist bird vet who is now virtually retired but still assists with a trusted few and we are one of the few. Only a couple of weeks ago Alan came to stay but spent some time at Girling and Bowditch veterinary centre showing endoscopic surgical sexing! A brilliant evening showing what I’ve seen and assisted Alan do hundreds of times. But the most important person I met in Kent is my wife Tara. We have now been together 20 years and Tara has somehow put up with me and this obsession to one day have our own centre. To say Tara is the absolute backbone to everything we are trying to do is a rather large understatement. We married in July 2001 and I had my first two week holiday abroad. However, within the first few days of me being away three birds had gone ‘awol’ from the centre. I caught the last one on my return but it showed strict management was required. Although I continued expanding my raptor knowledge and the shows continued in popularity, there was something inside me that knew I had to do this for myself. The dynamics were changing at the centre and it was time for change. By now (early 2004) we had a house of our own. I knew I needed to leave but to continue in my career would mean an epic move. Tara was teaching secondary biology and the timing to move was not right so I trained in pest control and set up my own company. I was ready to leave by the summer. But I loved doing the shows! So, I continued through to October; 8 years and 1 day I worked there and my resignation was put in with sadness and joy combined. I only had a few birds of my own, three to be precise. The pest control was interesting (I’ve got some stories there!) but the birds were calling. Finally, in 2006 Xtreme Falconry Kent was formed and we hit the off-site show circuit. Work came in fast as I was well known for the fun but informative demonstrations but something was niggling away inside for both myself and my wife. We both had connections in Dorset. My father was born here. My mother-in-law had family roots here. We didn’t want to stay in the South East with our young family. The pest control business was sold and the birds stood at around 45 in numbers. But what would we do for work? How could I start again with falconry in a different county? Let’s just say ‘fate’ would lend a hand… To be continued…the final part. | 35


36 | Bridport Times | January 2019

On Foot

CHESIL BEACH AND DORSET RIDGEWAY RAMBLE Emma Tabor and Paul Newman Distance: 8½ miles Time: Approx. 3½ hours Park: Rodwell Row Car Park in Abbotsbury village Walk Features: An energetic walk for New Year along Chesil Beach, with the opportunity to explore the extensive history around Abbotsbury. The first section skirts the bottom of Chapel Hill and the west end of The Fleet before heading along Chesil Beach to West Bexington, with a steep return inland and a ramble along the Dorset Ridgeway towards Abbotsbury Castle. There is a final steep descent into Abbotsbury. Refreshments: The Clubhouse, West Bexington


ach month we devise a walk for you to try with your family and friends (including four-legged members) pointing out a few interesting things along the way, be it flora, fauna, architecture, history, the unusual and sometimes the unfamiliar. For January, we revisit Abbotsbury but this time heading west along Chesil Beach with the return stretch offering incredible views across Abbotsbury, The Fleet and Chesil Beach as well as inland. It’s a walk peppered with historical remains: a hillfort, a tithe barn, pill boxes, barrows and a limekiln. There is the opportunity to explore the remains of Abbotsbury Castle Hillfort while savouring the incredible view over St Catherine’s Chapel and The Fleet towards Portland. > | 37



Start: SY 578 851 The car park at Rodden Row. 1 Head out of the bottom far right corner of the car park, between buildings, towards the tithe barn and children’s farm. Just after Abbey House on your left, take a footpath marked ‘Tithe Barn and Swannery’ and head down a path with the tithe barn and farm in front of you. At the bottom, turn right in front of the pond, then left onto a small road. Pass the front of the tithe barn; the road bends right and shortly forks. Take the right-hand fork, saying ‘Swannery Pedestrians’, and head down the road. There is a good view of St Catherine’s Chapel and Hill now ahead of you and the road soon turns into a track. In a short while, after cottages on the right, look for a signpost to the right which says ‘Permissive Path to Coast Path’. 2 Turn right to go through some trees, over a brook and stile, emerging into a field. Turn left and follow the footpath around the bottom of the hill (do not take the footpath straight ahead of you). The route now skirts the edge of the Swannery grounds. The path reaches a drystone wall; go over a stile into the next field and continue around the base of the hill keeping the Fleet to your left. Here you can look across to the reed beds surrounding the Swannery and you will also notice dragon’s teeth, concrete tank trap defences from 38 | Bridport Times | January 2019

WWII, at the end of Chesil Beach. This is a good place to see many birds including green woodpeckers, buzzards, kestrels, pied wagtails, little egrets and rooks. Continue along the footpath to reach a stile beneath another hill lined with Strip Lynchets. Go over this to meet a path by a brook. 3 Turn left onto the path and follow this as it bends towards the right with the bank of Chesil Beach now on your left. The path becomes gravelly as it meets the beach but soon ends and veers right into a car park. Turn left into the car park then walk through and out of the car park, past the café and toilets. Take the single track road with a dead end sign and continue with the beach on your left. Keep an eye out for pillboxes to your left and right along here. The tarmacked road eventually turns into a stony track and you will come to a National Trust sign for West Bexington. Continue along the track. As you approach West Bexington the track then joins back onto the beach and you soon reach a car park. The scrubland here is a good place to see stonechats. 4 Turn right into West Bexington and head uphill with The Clubhouse on your left - a good spot to break your walk. You will soon pass The Manor House on your right and then Tamarisk Farm on your left. Where the road bends sharp left, go straight

up the footpath to the right of the bungalow (not up Labour-in-Vain Lane) and follow the signpost for the Hardy Monument and Osmington Mills. The footpath climbs between hedges; look out for long-tailed tits along here. As you approach the main road, the path forks right with a sign to the Hardy Monument. Take this path, which veers round to the right with great views across the coast. You soon meet a seven-bar gate and a stile. Go over this continuing on the Hardy Way and then over Limekiln Hill. Stay to the right-hand side of the field. Keep level and ignore any paths to the side. You soon reach the remains of the Limekiln. Here, follow the sign for ‘Inland route’ up into a field then walk along the right of the field keeping the road on your left. Go through a small wooden gate; keep along the top past a sign for the Hillfort and pass another Hardy Monument sign with some burial mounds ahead of you. After the barrows, follow the drystone wall on your right to where it meets the road. Come off Tulks Hill, through a kissing gate and cross the road, heading towards Abbotsbury Castle which is now ahead of you. 5 Climb up into the castle - a good place to explore - and then head through the middle, past the triangulation point and out the other side, dropping down onto a small road. The low winter light reveals

many landforms along here. Cross the road to go through a small metal gate signed for Abbotsbury and the south Dorset Ridgeway. There are incredible views all around: over the Swannery and the decoy pond, Abbotsbury, St Catherine’s Chapel, along Chesil Beach to Portland and beyond, and then inland towards the Bride Valley and Bellamont House which formed part of last month’s walk. Keep walking along the ridge, which opens out into a broad and easy ridge walk, until you reach varioussized metal gates with several footpath signs. 6 Take the path going slight right, leaving the ridgeway, and descend through a disused quarry. There is another really good prospect across to St Catherine’s Hill from here and the other hills that protect and shelter Abbotsbury seem to suddenly appear. Go through a gate and then downhill across a field to another gate. After this, the path starts to cut into the hill and after passing through another gate, you enter a small holloway, lined with holly, beech and rowan. The path bears to the left, behind houses and then right to emerge on Back Street. Turn left and then after a few yards, turn right into Rosemary Lane which takes you back to Rodden Row and the car park. | 39


MAIDEN CASTLE Chris Tripp BA(Hons) MA, Field and Community Archaeologist


nyone living in or around Dorchester will know Maiden Castle. It’s a huge, green, corrugated mass brooding on the horizon and refusing to be ignored. Mia-Dun, or the Great Hill, has enclosed forty-seven acres of Dorset land for two and half thousand years, sitting on its chalk ridge overlooking the South Winterborne stream. Four thousand years before these banks were thrown up, people dug regular, oval, flat-base pits to create the first monument on this spot called a Causewayed Enclosure. What these spaces were used for is still a mystery but we do know they brought both local and Cornish pottery for use up here and buried two children. As big a mystery is the 546m-long Bank Barrow, a monument unique to Neolithic Britain where only five or six exist, with Dorset having three of them. These monuments, visible in the valleys below Maiden Castle, went unused by the first bronze-using peoples of the British Isles, who used these acres for agriculture. About two thousand six hundred years ago, sixteen acres of the eastern part of the hill were enclosed by 8.4m (28ft) banks excavated from a V-shaped ditch. The only way in was through gaps to the west and east, the latter faced with limestone transported from two miles away. Around 450BC these ditches and banks were expanded west with new ramparts and ditches added. The entrances became more and more complex in their snake-like entanglements so as to make any attacker dizzy and desperate to find the way in. Inside, houses were built, at first quite haphazard then in neat rows, with many four-post structures and deep clay-lined pits dotted all over, holding precious seeds and grain. This wasn’t a permanent settlement for our villagers but a meeting place for days, perhaps weeks, with meetings for social, political and religious reasons. The clan chief ’s space, where surplus grain and goods were held and ‘protected’ by him and his family for the community good, was also here. 40 | Bridport Times | January 2019

By the turn of the millennia these ‘hillforts’ were already going out of use. The western end of Maiden Castle was abandoned and the eastern entrance filled in and occupied with houses, a cemetery and a metalworking area. When the Roman Empire crashed into the lives of the tribes of Britain, they rushed to refurbish the old meeting places, to use them for that purpose for which they were never built: to keep out an army. The Britons were warriors, not soldiers. They were crushed, the ramparts breached, and another victory claimed by General Vespasian. When Durnovaria was established around AD70 the old meeting place was eclipsed. Not until after

Shutterstock/David Jeffrey Morgan

AD367 did Maiden Castle see more building within its bank: a temple to Roman gods and goddesses, with a 6m2 cella and 3m-wide ambulatory with its entrance to the west. To the north was a rectangular structure, possibly the priest’s house. Is it possible that the Romano-British were going back to their roots, to the sacred meeting place of their ancestors, to construct this temple? The Roman Empire fell as Maiden Castle sat on its hill, bruised and battered but still there, inhabited by animals or a ploughman cutting furrows for his seeds. However, the next cultural shift did not retreat. The Germanic people finally came west and ignored the old place,

although they did bury two people within the ancient dirt and grass walls. One had a scaramasax, the trademark knife of these people, the other had been hacked about and dismembered by one, or by something like it. Generations later, Maiden Castle still attracts people to its vast bulk, making them dizzy still as they negotiate the maze of its entrance with banks rising up on all sides, banks thankfully not topped by painted warriors intent on killing strangely garbed invaders. ‘Art & Archaeology’ is a 6-week New Year course in Bridport, looking at artistic expression from the deeper past around the world. For more details contact Chris: | 41

BEN SHORT Words Jo Denbury Photography Katharine Davies


aylight is short in these winter months but today the gods have been kind and it’s crisp and clear. I meet Ben Short at a crossroads not far from the centre of the village of Halstock and then set off by car in tandem. As I follow his brake lights down a narrow twisting lane into Parsonage Copse, I’m struck by the height of the hazelnut wood. It hasn’t been worked since the Second World War, when the need for sheep hurdles slipped away, but for a charcoal burner like Ben, an over-stood hazel coppice is a veritable gold mine. We leave the cars and pick our way along a narrow path until we come to where Ben’s wagon stands in a clearing. The image of an adder, the charcoal-burner’s talisman, hangs from a nearby tree. Ten-year-old Clanger, Ben’s bull terrier cross Welsh terrier, noisily heralds our arrival and Ben quickly sets about lighting the fire to make a hot brew. He spent the winter of 2017/18 working this small woodland, busily coppicing to stimulate its growth and bring back light. In another seven years it will be worked again. It’s hard physical graft and there’s a lot of hazel yet to finish. For now though we sit on an old stump and admire the neat woodpiles patiently waiting their turn. >

42 | Bridport Times | January 2019 | 43

44 | Bridport Times | January 2019

Charcoal is produced between the months of March and September, with Ben usually spending the winter coppicing and hedge-laying. To make the charcoal he fills the steel drum of the kiln with over a tonne of wood. ‘You are basically baking the wood in a large oven,’ says Ben. ‘The term a ‘charcoal burner’ is a misnomer,’ he adds as he lights a rag with fuel and stuffs it into one of the vents at the bottom of the kiln. Then another goes in. Smoke begins to rise. The skill is in controlling the oxygen to keep the burn alive but not so fierce that the wood turns to ash. As the fire bites, Ben fills a couple of the vents at the bottom of the kiln with earth. Clanger, who has other ideas, starts digging and has to be hauled out of the way. Slowly the piles of shovelled earth begin to reduce the flow of oxygen, mushrooms of white smoke billow through the trees and it’s time for the lid of the kiln to be replaced. Next, the chimneys, placing three into six of the vents. Finally a layer of earth seals the gap between lid and rim. The kiln will reach 700ºC at its hottest. Clouds of white steam rise into the sky before dispersing into the cold air. ‘When the smoke turns to a spectral blue vapour you’ll know it’s done,’ says Ben. To ensure an even burn he will return again at midnight and again after another six to nine hours to remove the chimneys and fill the vents with earth to let the fire die out. ‘You leave it for twenty four hours to cool, then lift

the lid and get dirty,’ Ben tells me. He’ll grade the charcoal through a mesh and only the larger pieces will be weighed and bagged. The rest is sold as biochar, otherwise known as ‘gardener’s charcoal’, to be dug into the ground. The careful nurturing of a burning kiln requires that charcoal burners live on site. It used to be an itinerant lifestyle of families moving from coppice to coppice, making charcoal for the smelting industries. The old ways all but died out when coke began to take place of charcoal and Ben estimates there are now only about one hundred charcoal burners left working in the UK. Last summer he averaged three burns a week and slept out in his wagon in the woods close to the kilns. ‘I would start the kiln mid-afternoon, go for a pint at the Fox Inn at Corscombe and then wobble back down the hill on my bicycle, swap the chimneys and then sleep by my burner,' he says. He tells me that it’s at night when the woods come alive with sounds that wrestle with a human’s primeval instincts to head for cover. ‘The screech of a fox or the crackle of a twig under a deer’s hoof is amplified a thousand times when you are alone outdoors in the dark,’ Ben says, ‘but it’s a life you get used to.’ It’s clearly a lifestyle that Ben relishes but one that only began in 2008. Prior to that he was a Creative Director for M&C Saatchi having spent 12 years in the advertising > | 45

46 | Bridport Times | January 2019 | 47

48 | Bridport Times | January 2019

industry in London. Ben then came to the point where he simply could not sit at a desk any longer. Those who, as a child, have been lucky enough to spend their days roaming fields [Ben grew up on a small holding] but then work in an office as an adult will know that feeling when your legs, body and mind are begging you to return, to push yourself away from the desk and go outside. To feel the moss under your feet, the trees above you, the birds wheeling in the sky; your body begs until the mind resigns and says ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ The world of advertising wasn’t doing it for Ben anymore so he left. ‘I hated it and had problems with anxiety and depression, I was always on planes,’ Ben shrugs of his past life. ‘But when I left I didn’t have any practical skills’ he says. He moved to the Fens in East Anglia where he found work with the National Trust. By luck he began working with ranger Simon Dament, with whom he learned hedgelaying and forestry skills. Ben’s brother, Cameron – who is now one half of Bonfield Block Printers – had moved to Dorset and was living in Marshwood. Ben decided to follow him to the county. ‘I was labouring on a building site to earn money,’ says Ben ‘and was driving back and forth past a woodworkers yard. Then one day I saw a sign advertising for an apprentice. I applied and got the job. They were in the business of agro-forestry and that’s when I began to learn charcoal burning.’ Ben had, in effect, turned full circle. In a faded memory that had always been in the back of his mind, was a charcoal burner whom he had met at the age of seven while on a school trip. He remembers the image of a man with a beard and a blackened face, just the white of his eyes standing out. It had left an indelible mark and Ben at last had found his craft. ‘More people are getting the message that we should buy local charcoal,’ says Ben. ‘The benefit is that it is made from British hardwood so it has a higher carbon content than tropical hardwoods which are used for most imported charcoal.’ British charcoal retains heat well and is much more eco-friendly. It hasn’t been shipped across the world or sprayed with toxins and fire-retardants for haulage purposes. ‘Unfortunately,’ says Ben ‘the bulk of charcoal used in the summer on British barbecues is imported. We need to change this.’ Ben knows his business well but when you meet him you get the feeling that charcoal burning offers Ben more than a living, it helps purge himself of his old life. He shows me an essay – ‘An Uncomplicated Life’ – he wrote for Little Toller Books in which he neatly describes his work:

"Your legs, body and mind are begging you to return, to push yourself away from the desk and go outside." “So I return to the idea of simplicity. I see in what occurs during a burn, a reflection of what I have done in my own life. Charcoal burning is the reduction of wood down to its most basic element: carbon. During the burn, all the volatiles, the impurities and toxins are burnt off, extracted; black wood tar literally runs out of the kiln, pooling on the ground. Leaving my old life was a similar casting off, a purging of all the bad stuff. And like the charcoal which is almost weightless, what is left is lighter. The wood loses all of its heaviness. So, hopefully, has the man.” Slowly the land has brought him back. Much has been written about the benefit of being in nature. ‘Mental health is a work in progress,’ says Ben. His physical activity, being outside and leading a simpler life, have all made a positive contribution. ‘I work on my own most of the time but among the trees I feel I have company – a wood is full of energies,’ he explains. ‘I sometimes wonder if the next generation will ever enjoy the peace. I think society is making more people [mentally] ill. We have a real problem and it’s getting worse.’ But for now, Ben’s concern is the kiln, and as the sun begins to set behind Rampisham Down, he checks it once more. ‘I don’t want people to think this is an idyllic life,’ he says. ‘Sometimes I get home and have had a bad day like anyone else, especially in winter when I am cutting wood in the wet and the cold.’ I can see that despite the dogged, hard graft, for all the labour, there is love. The satisfaction in collaborating with the land, creating something unique and with purpose. With trees pruned not felled, the art of coppicing makes British-bought charcoal a sustainable and virtually carbon-neutral fuel source. With that in mind and comforted by the knowledge of Ben and Clanger out there in the woods, who would choose to burn a bag of anything else? @benshortcharcoal | 49

Food & Drink



Gill Meller

recall overhearing this conversation between my eldest daughter and my youngest as the two of them were snacking in the kitchen after school. For me, it was a priceless and very sweet little educational exchange about food. ‘You know that’s mould don’t you?’ ‘No, it’s not!’ ‘What the hell, that’s mould; I can’t believe you don’t know that!’ ‘It’s just blue cheese.’ ‘No, it’s mould!’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yes...! ‘Oh...’ The funny thing was that the youngest one really loved blue cheese, but she seemed to lose interest after this. Still, I think this fruity salad, with sticky dates and crunchy pumpkin seeds might very well bring her round again. Ingredient serves 2

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 onion, finely sliced 2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds 150g (51/2Oz) blue cheese, such as Harbourne Blue or Perl Las 6–8 Medjool dates, roughly chopped 4 teaspoons runny honey 2 teaspoons cider vinegar salt freshly ground black pepper 50 | Bridport Times | January 2019


1 Place a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Add half the olive oil, then the onion. Cook the onion, turning regularly, until soft and caramelized. Add half the thyme leaves to the onions along with the pumpkin seeds. Toss the onion, pumpkin seeds and thyme together and cook for a further 1 minute, then turn off the heat. 2 Crumble the cheese over two plates, dividing it equally between them, then do the same with the chopped dates. Divide the warm onion mixture between the two plates, then drizzle over the honey. Roughly tumble each salad together. 3 In a small bowl, make a dressing by combining the remaining olive oil with the cider vinegar. Season the dressing with salt and pepper, then drizzle it over the two salad servings, scatter over the remaining thyme leaves, and serve immediately. From Gather by Gill Meller (Quadrille, £25)

Image: Andrew Montgomery | 51

Food & Drink

52 | Bridport Times | January 2019



e think of bubble and squeak as being a way to use up leftovers, but originally it was quite a posh dish made with beef and cabbage. For our version we fry the bubble in meat drippings, and use potatoes that have been roasted in duck fat, to give a delicious savoury meatiness. The name refers to the sound that it makes when frying in the pan. It can contain any other leftover vegetables from the roast and a little chopped roasted meat as well if you feel like it. As a nation we currently waste a large proportion of food purchased and any steps to use up leftovers should be embraced. Simple dishes like this one or even a soup are much more beneficial than simply throwing leftovers or slightly tired vegetables in the bin. Bubble and squeak is a great dish to serve on a Monday or after having a roast dinner as it makes perfect usage of all the leftover bits from the Sunday roast. It’s probably wise to actually cook a few more potatoes and cabbage on a Sunday just to ensure you will actually have enough left. For the best roast potatoes use a good floury potato like a Maris Piper - place in a pan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil, simmer for approximately 5 minutes and test how cooked they are (you want the outside to starting to soften but still firm in the middle), drain well and leave for 5 minutes in the colander then toss them a few times to roughen up the edges, roast in a hot oven with plenty of meat fat (duck, goose or beef ), turning half-way and, when crispy and golden, drain and season with sea salt. Serves 4


500 g leftover duck-fat roast potatoes about 150g leftover cooked cabbage or other greens leftover fat from roast beef, pork or duck salt and freshly ground black pepper 12 rashers dry-cure streaky bacon vegetable oil 8 free-range eggs Method

1 Preheat the grill. Coarsely crush the potatoes with your hands. Chop the cooked cabbage. 2 Heat up 2–3 tablespoons fat in a large frying pan. Add the potatoes and cabbage and cook for 3–4 minutes, mixing well with a wooden spoon. Season with black pepper and salt, if needed. Remove from the pan, into a bowl. 3 Cool the vegetable mix until you can handle it, then divide into four and shape into rounds that are about 8cm diameter and 3cm thick. A good way to get neat shapes is to use a large pastry cutter or metal ring. 4 Heat up the frying pan and add a little more fat. Put in the bubble rounds and fry over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes on each side until golden and crisp. 5 While the bubble rounds are frying, grill the bacon until crisp. 6 When the bubble rounds are ready, keep warm in a low oven. Heat up the vegetable oil in the frying pan on a low heat and cook the eggs until just set. 7 Place the bubble rounds on plates and top each with three bacon rashers and two eggs. Notes: You can also make this with half roast potatoes and half mash. If you don’t have any leftover fat from a roast, use duck or goose fat. @brassica_food @brassicarestaurant_mercantile | 53

Food & Drink


Charlie Soole, The Club House, West Bexington


asta is one of those dishes that I love on a cold and wintry evening. This dish is especially satisfying as it is so rich and comforting. Wild mushrooms are one of those ingredients that come around once in a while but you have to snatch them up as they have amazing earthy flavours. They are not always that easy to find so if you can’t find any there is a new producer of oyster mushrooms called Chideock Champignons. As their name suggests they can be found in Chideock. The oyster mushrooms are beautiful and have a fantastic flavour. Nick Phillips and Chris Gasson have been producing for around 6 months or so and have a good variety. If you get to know them they might even be persuaded to part with some wild mushrooms if they have been on a wintry forage. Portobello mushrooms are also a good bet with this dish if you can’t find anything else. Serves 4 Ingredients

400g fresh pappardelle 250g button mushrooms, sliced 200g wild mushrooms (girolles, ceps, chanterelles) 125g butter 1 large banana shallot, finely diced 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped A few sprigs of thyme 150ml double cream Grated Berkswell cheese (use parmesan if you can’t find Berkswell) Chopped parsley 54 | Bridport Times | January 2019


1 Place a thick-bottomed pan on a medium heat. Add the butter until it melts then add the chopped shallot and soften. Add the garlic and chopped thyme leaves towards the end of the softening of the shallots. Pour all the mushrooms in and sweat them down until most of the moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Place the

Image: Kirstin Reynolds

mushrooms and butter mix in a blender and blend until fine. Place the mix in a dish and let it cool. 2 Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook and drain the pappardelle and keep warm while you make the sauce. 3 Make sure the wild mushrooms are free from any grit. Pan-fry in a large frying pan with a knob of butter. Add the cream and reduce for a few minutes. Stir in

the mushroom butter and when it is incorporated, stir in the pappardelle and chopped parsley. 4 Serve in large bowls and add shavings of Berkswell cheese over the pasta. 5 Enjoy this lovely winter warmer and I hope you are having a happy new year. | 55






"Where grand grub meets killer cocktails" "THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLATFORM & GLAMOROUS CARRIAGE IN THE WORLD"


WWW.STATION.KITCHEN 56 | Bridport Times | January 2019


Body & Mind


Tamara Jones, Nutritional Therapist and Founder, Loving Healthy

Image: Tamara Jones 58 | Bridport Times | January 2019


anuary is often a time people consider dietary changes and with Veganuary becoming increasingly popular, this is a perfect time to embrace a more plant-based diet. Like any change in your diet, becoming vegan means doing a bit of research to ensure you are making informed decisions and know what nutrients you need to be getting in the diet. Eating a plant-based diet (more vegetables, wholegrains, legumes and less meat) is now recognised as not only nutritionally sufficient, but also a way to reduce the risk of many chronic illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and even cancer. However, it’s still possible to be an unhealthy vegan. Many people see the word ‘vegan’ on a food label and they assume it must be healthy. Even if it’s vegan, it’s just as important to look at the ingredients list and the nutritional information to see how much fat, sugar and salt something contains. If you are going vegan this January, make sure you include the following nutrients into the diet: Protein

So, how do vegans get enough protein? This is probably one of the most common questions about plant-based nutrition. Protein is vital for muscle growth, repair and maintenance — but it has many other jobs, including hormone and enzyme production, skin repair, building your immune system, and even supplying energy. Animal sources of protein are considered ‘complete’ protein because they contain all the essential amino acids. Plant sources such as beans, lentils and nuts are ‘incomplete’ because they lack some essential amino acids. However, a few plant sources offer complete protein: soy, quinoa, amaranth and hemp. As other plant proteins are not as complete, eat a variety of sources, for instance from chickpeas, lentils, tahini, oats and millet to ensure all essential amino acids are acquired. You don’t need to combine proteins at each meal, just make sure you consume a variety during the day. Essential fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the “good” types of fat. They may help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis. Your body can’t make them, so we need to get them from the diet. Omega-3 fats can be low in vegan diets. To ensure you don’t miss

out include a daily serving of foods like flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds or walnuts. Another option is to use omega 3 rich oils which can be drizzled over vegetables and salads or added to dips and spreads. Just don’t cook with them as they are vulnerable to high temperatures. Iron

Iron is essential for healthy blood, a good immune system, energy levels, detoxification and thyroid health. Make sure your daily diet contains plenty of iron-rich foods. Plant sources of iron are less well absorbed than haem iron that you find in meat, fish and animal products. So you need to include plant foods such as legumes, whole grains, dried apricots and leafy green vegetables. Increase the iron absorption by eating vitamin C containing foods at the same meal (such as citrus fruits, mango, kiwi, red peppers, berries etc.). Calcium

The body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. It’s often assumed that a dairy-free diet won’t offer enough calcium but there are plenty of non-dairy sources, from tahini, sesame seeds, tempeh, kale, watercress, broccoli, chickpeas, and fortified plant milks. Note: spinach and beet greens are high in oxalates, which bond to calcium and reduce its absorption. Vitamin D

Exposure to sunlight helps your body make vitamin D. Without it there is an increased risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin D keeps your bones, teeth and muscles healthy. It also aids your body in the absorption of calcium. Food sources are limited, the main sources being oily fish, eggs and offal. Look out for vitamin D-fortified foods such as milk alternatives and mushrooms. B12

The one key nutrient you can’t gain from a vegan diet is vitamin B12, needed for red blood cell production and the nervous system, vitamin B12 is vital for the brain. A lack of the vitamin can result in low energy, feeling weak and anxiety. So if you’re going vegan, you need to eat plenty of vitamin B12 fortified foods or take a B12 supplement. | 59

Body & Mind

UNRAVEL Alice Chutter


ince I wrote my last article I’ve had a baby. She is, at the time of writing this article, 12 weeks old and a total delight. Seeing a newborn baby smile invokes an almost instant mirror reaction in whoever they are looking at. I love witnessing this when we are out and about running errands in Bridport. This morning, in the queue at the post office, she smiled into the eyes of a total stranger and I’m pretty sure it made their day. My yoga posture equivalent of a newborn baby smile is a gentle reclined twist. When combined with deep rhythmic breathing, twists can be a real a tonic, leaving you energised and spacious with that ‘ahhhh’ feeling in both body and mind. In these deep, dark days of winter 60 | Bridport Times | January 2019

we can all do with a little more of that. A twist is an axial rotation of the spine which stretches the muscles of the back, helping to restore and retain the spine’s natural range of motion, and supporting back health and general mobility. We move in this way naturally when we put on a car seat belt on or turn our upper body to reach for something behind us. Twists have many physical benefits including: • Stimulating circulation/building heat • Releasing tension in the muscles supporting the spine • Increasing mobility of the abdomen and rib cage • Aiding digestion by gently massaging the digestive organs.


To ensure that you don’t over-twist in the more mobile parts of your spine, begin by bringing your awareness into your lower back and beginning the twist from there. Let the twist gradually unfold up your spine, as though you were walking up a spiral staircase, so that each vertebra participates in the twist. Reclined Twist One of the easiest (and laziest!) ways to incorporate a twist into your day is in your bed before you get up in the morning. Spread out like a starfish in the middle of your bed and, keeping your arms spread wide at shoulder level, draw your legs in towards your midline. Bend your knees, with the soles of your feet flat on the bed and, as you exhale, allow both knees to fall gently to the left. Breathe into this movement as you turn your head to look over the right shoulder. Hold for at least 5 deep breaths and then repeat on the opposite side.


When twisting in my own yoga practice or teaching others, I try to encourage a sense of creating space by first inhaling and lengthening the spine. Imagine making space between the vertebrae and then exhale into the twist. Deep rhythmic breathing supports this action and can offer you an instant energy lift. Here are 2 simple twists to explore this month. Note: If you have a spinal disc injury, sacroiliac (SI) joint issues or chronic digestive issues then you should consult a healthcare provider before practising twists. Pregnant women should avoid deep twists.

Simple Seated Twist If you’re reading this sitting down you can try this one straight away. Sit tall with your feet flat on the floor (or cross-legged) and lengthen up through the whole of your spine. Take your left hand and place it on your right knee, place your right hand behind you close to your sacrum for support. Inhale with your torso facing forwards and, as you exhale, start to twist from your lower back and up through the spine to look back over your right shoulder. Hold for at least 5 deep breaths, exhaling as you return to look forwards. Place your right hand on your left knee and repeat on the opposite side. Build a few conscious twisting movements like the ones above into each day and you will soon be able to explore more advanced twists, perhaps even adding in a bind movement with your arms to open up the chest and shoulders. Joseph Pilates’ famous quote, ‘You are only as young as your spine is flexible’ is so true; nurturing your spine is a real investment in your long-term health. Here’s hoping that you have a chance to unravel your body and mind this month and wishing you an easefilled, smile-filled New Year. Alice is a yoga teacher living in Bridport and currently on maternity leave. Her Tuesday night class at The Bull Hotel is being covered by Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher Kim Mackie. bridportyogawithalice | 61

Body & Mind


Caroline Butler BSc (Hons) MNIMH, Medical Herbalist


enerally, thistles are plants we try and get rid of. With their painfully prickly leaves and efficient self-seeding, they can spread quickly and take over whole fields if left unchecked. I find it very hard to weed my garden as so many ‘weeds’ are actually very useful herbs but, though I agonise over pulling up dandelions, plantain, chickweed, dead nettle and many more, I don’t have a problem pulling up thistles. That said, there is one thistle I actually planted this year – milk thistle, silybum marianum, or carduus marianum as it used to be known. This beautiful plant is utterly unlike the common thistle and is a very valuable medicine. It can grow to over a metre tall, with large, glossy, dark green leaves patterned by the milk-white veins that give it its name. The reddish-purple flowers are set within a circle of impressively spiky bracts and appear from late spring into summer. In past times the young leaves were eaten in spring as a vegetable, the spines having first been cut off, and the peeled stalk and root were also eaten. Milk thistle is an incredible liver remedy. Used for at least the last 2,000 years, it has been the subject of much scientific research due to its ability to protect the liver from damage caused by accidental poisoning, hepatitis, fatty liver disease and even cirrhosis. I first came across this when reading another herbalist’s account of giving a friend some milk thistle seeds to chew on the way to hospital after she had mistakenly eaten some death cap mushroom. Much to the surprise of the medical staff, she survived. Death cap mushroom, amanita phalloides, is so poisonous that even a small amount can be fatal as it damages internal organs leading to liver and kidney failure; often a liver transplant is needed for the patient to survive. Death cap poisoning is without doubt a medical emergency requiring immediate hospital treatment. However, in some countries, IV

62 | Bridport Times | January 2019

administration of a milk thistle extract is now part of the hospital treatment for amanita poisoning and has significantly reduced mortality rates. There are many herbs that have a beneficial effect on the liver, from dandelion root to globe artichoke leaves, and they can be very effective for everything from improving digestion to lowering raised blood cholesterol, but milk thistle is the one you want for serious liver damage, or toxic overload. Many experiments and clinical trials have demonstrated milk thistle’s ability to improve liver function after damage from viral hepatitis or exposure to chemicals including paracetamol, solvents, or heavy metals. Milk thistle seed and its concentrated extract, silymarin, protect liver cells, stabilising cell membranes and aiding protein synthesis. Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects further reduce cellular damage. Although I have used milk thistle for people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or a history of liver disease including hepatitis, I use it mostly for people who are taking a lot of medication or who are about to have surgery. The liver does most of the work of breaking down toxins, whether it’s our own metabolic products, drugs, alcohol or chemicals, and supporting the liver is essential. Often the after-effects of a general anaesthetic can leave people feeling literally ‘poisoned’ at a time when their bodies are trying to heal, and this can really delay their recovery. Milk thistle is very helpful at this point, clearing headaches, nausea, lethargy and other associated symptoms. It is a very safe herb. The seeds are the part used and these can be ground to a powder to sprinkle on food or put into capsules. | 63


HAPPY PLACE Molly Bruce, Interior Designer


appy New Year to you all! As I write my article today I wonder what plans you all have for this fresh new chapter ahead, and what surprises life will throw in our paths to influence our journeys over the next four seasons. January for me is a time for reflection. I am not a maker of new year’s resolutions as such, but I do like to focus on new year hopes and aspirations. These always involve creative endeavours of one kind or another, and the growing of new ideas. By retreating somewhere quiet and peaceful, I can hear my own thoughts and nurture them. Ever since I was a child there was always a private space for me in my home. A creative corner where my crayons, scissors and sticky things were laid out next to a generous pile of paper, just for me. I feel incredibly fortunate to have grown up in a home where creativity was nurtured, and I recognise the importance of carrying this on into adulthood. Pablo Picasso famously said, ‘Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist once you grow up.’ So this month, if you do not already possess one, I would like to encourage you to make your own creative corner. A place where you can be you; whatever your thing is. You may earn a living from it already or maybe you fit it in around other activities. We all need a private space where we can nourish our soul and thrive from the health benefits that come from being creative. This is the perfect time to start something new, creating positive habits to carry on throughout the year. Something you may have been thinking about for ages, but for whatever reason haven’t made time for until now. Awaken the child that lies in all of us and, however small, seek out your own creative corner. So where will your space be? If you are lucky enough to have a shed in your garden then claim it! Otherwise, is there a corner of a room where you can stake out your territory? If you need to barricade yourself off from others, consider hanging a curtain or using a screen, these are great for doubling up as extra wall space to pin inspiring images or work in progress.

64 | Bridport Times | January 2019

Begin by clearing away any clutter. This is always good for the soul anywhere in the home, not only does it help to make a space bigger but it clears the mind. By reducing distractions, you are free to look with fresh eyes around you and envisage ways to make it work more efficiently for your needs. Before you move in and fill the area, give it a good scrub and even a coat of paint if you feel inclined. This all helps to give your new space a separate identity from the rest of the home, and adds to the excitement of a fresh start. Next, add your working materials, whatever they may be; make the most of every nook and cranny by adding sufficient storage so everything has its place. This will help to achieve a sense of calm and order around you. Invest in some decent lighting - don’t let bad weather or dark evenings provide you with an excuse to neglect your own needs. When the practicalities are in place, add your inspiration: Your favourite pictures, magazine articles, plants, anything that helps to free your mind and get the creative juices flowing. Remember that this is your space and yours alone, the one place you don’t have to consider others’ needs and tastes, so please yourself. Once you are in your new sanctuary, bear in mind it may take a while to get acclimatised, don’t expect a torrent of ideas to flow immediately. Be happy to just sit and think, or, like Winnie the Pooh, to just sit. Having removed yourself from life’s distractions (I recommend the “do not disturb” button on your phone!), do whatever you need to find inspiration; listen to music, read books, even gazing out the window can relax and release the imagination, or getting out for a brisk walk before settling down in your new space. Who knows what the future will bring, but feeding your soul and opening doors into the exciting unknown is always a great way to start the new year. Have fun in your creative corners, I suppose I should take my own advice and potter off to declutter and tidy my own. @mollybruceinteriordesign | 65




Annabelle Hunt, Colour Consultant, Bridport Timber & Flooring

riginally used as a way of keeping buildings warm, and often for covering damp patches, panelling has fallen in and out of fashion over the centuries. However, wood-panelled walls are no longer limited to gloomy manor houses, dusty libraries or school assembly halls. Think less stuffy formality and more using period authenticity to bring warmth and detail to a room. Panelling is a fantastic way to experiment with colour and texture in unexpected ways, adding instant personality and style. Flick through any home accessories brochure and you’ll probably see lots of beautifully styled images, photographed against panelled backdrops, ranging from traditional to more modern rustic styles. Transforming your home with panelling is a lot more achievable than you might think. The variety of styles and finishes means that it works in almost any interior scheme, whether you live in a period property or a more modern or new-build home which may lack interesting architectural features. As well as looking beautiful, panelling can improve the acoustic quality of a room and provides a perfect backdrop for hanging art. An alternative to tiles in kitchens and bathrooms, it can hide a multitude of pipework, even the toilet cistern, and is an ideal way of boxing in ugly services such as plumbing and electrics. When considering panelling, think about the proportions of your room. Don’t automatically assume that panelling will make a room feel smaller. It can play to a smaller room’s strengths, adding a quaint, cottagey feel. In smaller spaces, panelling just the lower half of the walls will help it feel less cramped. Try to use a design that reflects the original style of the architectural period of your home. Period-look panelling from floor to ceiling is a fast track to an elegant, country house look, whereas a simple Shaker style would give a classic look with cleaner lines. Tongue-andgroove boards create a look that works in both traditional and contemporary spaces. A painted finish gives you a lot more freedom as you can transform the look dramatically with colour. Using a soft, light scheme across walls and panelling will create a calm, soothing ambience, perfect for rooms with lots of natural light. Alternatively, classic wooden panelling painted in dark, dramatic tones will bring stunning contemporary style to any room. Contemporary spaces can sometimes suffer from looking a bit blank and bland; panelling a wall instantly adds character. Sleek contemporary panelling will add warmth and upmarket style while rustic boards can create a boutique country retreat feel. If you are thinking about an industrial or Scandinavian look, simple planks laid horizontally combined with light walls and plenty of glazing keeps things looking clean and airy. The modern rustic look is less about perfection and more about authenticity, hinting at the traditional log cabin and connecting your home to nature. Of course, you are probably not aiming to turn your home into a sauna so, as in all things, it is essential to get the balance right.

66 | Bridport Times | January 2019 | 67


A FRESH START Will Livingstone, WillGrow

Photo by Matt Austin, used with permission from River Cottage

I am an organic kitchen gardener whose energy for the subject was sparked in the family allotment as a child. This has grown through time, first at agricultural college and then over my ten years at Park Farm, Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall’s River Cottage HQ, where I spent five years as Head Gardener. During this time, I learned the art of balancing aesthetic and production, supplying the kitchens with harvests year-round whilst maintaining a visual backdrop for the business’s daily events, festivals and television appearances. My aim now is to encourage this blend of beauty and function in gardens both big and small, at home and for business. Crispy cold mornings and soaking wet days tend to make up the majority of January. It can be a tricky time to feel energised about your garden, however being a diligent organic grower doesn’t always mean having wet socks and numb hands at this time of year. It is now, in the colder months that the most important job is done. No matter the size of your space, having a clear 68 | Bridport Times | January 2019

vision for varieties, layout and design will help you maximise your potential and give you a chance to plan your successive growing. Planning your plot in this way gives you the best foundation for being a great vegetable grower in the coming year, and it all can be done fireside. Keeping a garden diary has saved me innumerable times, acting as my aide-memoire from previous years and giving me the ability to learn from mistakes. I try and record everything: what varieties were sown, when I sowed them, weather conditions and the final result, including yield, taste and disease resistance. This gives me valuable knowledge of the best and worst varieties to grow in the garden. It is easy to forget what grew well where. Specific knowledge on your own growing environment, your soil, microclimate and capability can only be acquired through your own documentation. It doesn’t have to be reams of information, just prompts for use during winter planning. The first step I take is to think about what I grew last

year. Did it grow well in the soil? Did I have too much/ too little? And most importantly, was it delicious? If it’s your first-time growing fruit and vegetables, or you’ve got a fresh plot, the question to ask yourself is simply, ‘What do I like to eat?’ It seems obvious but it still amazes me that many people grow what they think they should rather than what they like. If you are limited on space, it is advisable to grow the high-value crops such as salad, herbs and tomatoes. This has a big impact on the plate as well as helpfully reducing your shopping bill and, happily, the high-ticket items tend to be the easiest to grow. Roots and brassicas throw up more problems for the home grower. Try to grow at least one new variety every year. Growing new things will offer new challenges in the garden and bring new flavours to your kitchen. There is a plethora of organic varieties available to the home grower, offering far more diversity than produce available to buy. When you flick through the seed catalogues (or

growing menus, you might say), let it stir up anticipation of new ideas, both in the garden and on the plate. Regardless of space, there is potential in every garden to grow a little of what you eat. My own philosophy is to blur the lines of edible and ornamental. I feel that vegetable gardens are too often pushed to the sidelines, with borders, beds and boring lawns taking centre stage. The diversity that you can create is staggering and, by incorporating edible varieties, cut flowers, tall perennials, fruit and nuts, you can create a beautiful and productive space in any situation. Suddenly your garden serves a bigger purpose and the energy you put into it year-round is reflected in your kitchen. WillGrow offers practical help, advice and design for vegetable growing, kitchen gardens and edible landscapes. @willgrow | 69


MAKE ROOM FOR HOUSEPLANTS Charlie Groves, Groves Nurseries


hat’s Christmas done for another year. The decorations are down, and the tree has gone off to the big compost heap in the sky. If your home feels a bit bare and like me you are missing the botanical presence of your seasonal tree in your front room then houseplants might just provide the perfect way to fill the gap…at least until its time to get back out in the garden. In fact after going through a few years of a decline in sales, houseplants seem to be on the up again. A quick search on Instagram or Facebook will show there is a growing trend, especially amongst the young, for filling your home with as much greenery as possible. The hashtag #plantparents shows how houseplants are being used by twenty-somethings or even thirtysomethings as a substitute for pets or even children! A focal point with colour, greenery and striking foliage, they also help to regulate humidity levels and add fresh oxygen to your room. Some can be moved outdoors onto the patio in summer, and I know from our houseplant area at Groves that cacti and succulents remain a favourite for children to grow. We spend up to 80% of our time indoors either at home, work, school etc. and it’s believed as our buildings are virtually hermetically-sealed that houseplants absorbing CO2 and other volatile organic compounds (VOC's) helps our health. These potentially harmful compounds include benzene found in some plastics, fabrics and cigarette smoke and formaldehyde, found in some detergents and cleaning products and this absorption is believed to reduce the risk of strokes, lung disease, respiratory problems and heart disease as well as helping to calm and de-stress us. If you're not mad about housework even better as studies have shown plantfilled rooms contain 50-60% fewer airborne moulds and bacteria than rooms without plants and that they can reduce dust by up to a fifth. They're also beneficial in nursing homes to dementia sufferers stimulating the senses and offering the opportunity for rewarding activity. 70 | Bridport Times | January 2019

So for me, it's a big thumbs up for houseplants but what should you buy and how should you display them? My first tip would be a carefully-chosen group will always have far more impact than one plant standing on its own and that way they are more accessible for you to water. I’d suggest if you get a chance, that you take a look on the internet at the approach of James Wong botanist, broadcaster and houseplant guru. He believes that houseplants grow better together, so he crams them into indoor window boxes for maximum effect, producing stunning displays. Try planting a big specimen pot; several different houseplants can go in the same pot, as long as it's big


enough and all the plants like the same conditions - shadeloving ferns, for example, go well with peace lilies which don't like full sun either. Then just choose your group, so there's one taller plant to give the display height, then mid-height plants and low-growing or cascading plants to cover the soil for a pleasing, well-balanced display. Smaller plants such as cacti and succulents look great in a group of matching little ceramic pots and in modern on-trend terrariums that come in a range of styles. Hanging pots are perfect for a real wow factor in bathrooms overflowing with lush green ferns. Another good tip is to display your containers at different levels so place some on the floor, some on the furniture or a shelf

and some will look amazing hanging from the ceiling. Many of us children of the seventies and eighties vowed never to have houseplants in our own homes, but things have changed! I really believe that with the fantastic choice nowadays of both plants and cool white containers there's no reason why you shouldn't put your garden design skills to good use in just the same way as you would with any outdoor display. For some houseplant inspiration take a look at these inspiring Instagram feeds from “The Jungalow”, “Apartment Botanist”, or “The Potted Jungle”. | 71



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hilst the breakdown of a marriage is always painful, the impact upon the farming community can be particularly challenging, jeopardising the viability of the family farm. This risk is heightened in circumstances where the farm is owned on an intergenerational basis, which usually means that the impact is felt not only by those divorcing but also by others with a financial interest in the business. The impact of the family breakdown will often depend on whether plans have been put in place to deal with such a scenario, as well as on the assets available to meet the needs of the divorcing family. In the event of divorce, the courts have wide-reaching powers to order the sale of land or property and the payment of lump sums, as well as to divide pension assets. How those powers are applied is determined by factors laid down by Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Sometimes applicable is the issue of contribution. Account can be taken of the fact that a farm may have passed down through the generations to one party to the marriage who has, effectively, contributed all of the capital held by the family. However, a marriage gives rights to the noncontributing spouse, irrespective of whether they have made any financial contribution at all. The shorter the marriage the less those rights might be but if, for example, there are young children, a court will look at the ‘needs’ of all, irrespective of contribution and length of the marriage. This often results in it being necessary to identify the means of funding the provision of accommodation for those not remaining within the farm, as well as ensuring they have an income. Arguably, the greater the resources, the less negative the impact upon the viability of the business, however, where the assets are limited, this can be a real challenge. Those considering bringing the younger generation to the business must also consider this ‘what if ’ scenario. Whilst the terms of the partnership are important, the younger generation may wish to consider entering into a pre- or a post-nuptial agreement. This allows those getting married, or who are already married, to negotiate the terms of a contract that would regulate what would happen in the event of a family breakdown. Although not an easy subject to raise, prior planning can avoid considerable uncertainty, heartache and expense and is, arguably, a commercially sensible step to consider. Few wish to find themselves in a scenario where a judge tells them what resources they may keep and which they have to make available to a departing spouse. With the prevalence of family breakdown and its often substantial and damaging impact, the lesser evil may well be to put more palatable plans in place. It is vital that those considering such a move obtain expert guidance to ensure that the various hoops and hurdles the courts have demanded, if such agreements are to be binding, are met.

74 | Bridport Times | January 2019

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Kelvin Clayton

uring the months leading up to the centenary of the 1918 armistice there has been a great deal of reflection, not just on the rather ironically named Great War but on war in general. At the November meeting of Bridport’s Philosophy in Pubs group we contributed to this reflection by asking the questions: When, if ever, can war or military action be considered just? On what grounds could such action be justified? What does ‘justice’ mean when applied to armed conflict? The nature of justice has been much debated within philosophy over the centuries. A straightforward approach says that it aims to establish a balance - the ‘scales of justice’. Applied to war, most political acts, and certainly most military ones, have mixed effects (some people are harmed, others are helped or even saved) - effects which need balancing. Even the refusal to act, the refusal to fight, has consequences in terms of harm and suffering not prevented. The people responsible for making the decision of whether to act or not, and if to act then what type of action to take, have to balance the inevitable harm or suffering of some people against the relief of harm and suffering of others. Unless you treat such a decision as a simple cost/benefit analysis you must surely employ some ethical principle to help you decide which actions to approve, instigate or avoid. Such considerations have often been referred to as Just War Theory, the general outline of which can be traced back to St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. This approach can be broken down into three different aspects: the justice of war in the first place; just and fair conduct in war; and justice in the restoration of peace after war. Concentrating on the first of these, most people argue that a state needs to possess a ‘just cause’ to enter armed conflict, and that it is wrong or unjust to initiate an act of aggression; also that suffering is in some way confined to those who ‘deserve’ it, whilst innocent people are saved from suffering. This seems straightforward until you start debating what ‘an act of aggression’ involves. Violation of territory or a physical attack on citizens of one state by another is obvious, but what about the imposition of a trade embargo – an act of economic aggression that could cause a great deal of suffering to innocent citizens? Or what about when a state is thought to be committing acts of aggression on its own citizens – is it just for another state to intervene to prevent the suffering? These are very difficult questions to answer and I for one am far from having a clear position. Philosophy in Pubs is a grass-roots community organisation promoting and practising community philosophy in the UK. Discussions take place regularly in venues around the country. Anyone can attend and anyone can propose a topic for discussion. The Bridport group meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month in The George Hotel, South Street at 7.30pm. Attending the discussion is free and there is no need for any background knowledge of philosophy. All that’s required is an open mind and a desire to examine issues more closely than usual. For further details, email Kelvin Clayton at

78 | Bridport Times | January 2019


LITERARY REVIEW Nicky Mathewson, The Bookshop

The Binding by Bridget Collins (Harper Collins, 2019) £12.99 Bridport Times Reader Price of £11.50


ridget Collins is best known for writing young adult fiction under the name B.R. Collins; The Binding is her debut novel for adults. The novel weaves its magic through a contemporary mix of fiction and fantasy - the sort that doesn’t include dragons but can subtly bewitch all the same. From the first page of The Binding, I was immersed in a plot that was most unusual. I was completely thrilled to find myself wrong-footed so early on, and felt so close to the characters that I could almost smell them. With such vivid description and characterisation, they’re people that you’ll easily find yourself thinking about long after you’ve closed the book. Emmett Farmer is our protagonist. He is summoned via a mysterious letter from a Bookbinder who lives in a swamp in the middle of nowhere. It seems that his fate is to become a Bookbinder’s apprentice, which, unfortunately, is a wholly despicable idea. In this world a Bookbinder is a sordid figure to be feared and loathed. After all, witchcraft can be the only explanation for the magic they possess: a Bookbinder’s dark skills allow them to bind someone’s memories away in a book so tightly that they will be completely forgotten by that person. The nearby town of Castleford is home to many people whose lives are full of corruption, shame and manipulation – unhappy memories abound. It therefore makes sense that they are more than willing to let the Binder take a bite out of their lives, to let them forget and be granted a blank slate. Emmet’s road takes many unexpected turns but 80 | Bridport Times | January 2019

the last thing he ever expected to discover, hidden in a vault full of books of cast-off memories, was his own book. What secrets could he possibly have been hiding? Alongside a riveting plot full of suspense and wonder, The Binding is full of tangible imagery: ‘Spring seemed to come earlier than usual. There were a few more snowstorms after the year had turned, but not many; and by the second full moon the snow was pockmarked and lacy, dissolving into piles of brown-edged slush, until it was gone altogether, and every step plunged you ankle-deep in mud — and then overnight the trees woke up and sucked the water out of the ground, and the air smelt of greenness and growing.’ Collins’ exceptionally gorgeous prose wraps the reader in a soft blanket to lull them into a false sense of security. Don’t be misled by the stunning surroundings; there is darkness here. It’s not overwhelming but the clouds and shadows are always present, lurking and menacing at the edge of our attention. The Binding is a most captivating and spellbinding book; the style and story lend themselves to this season, which makes it a perfect winter read. It also cannot be ignored that this is one of the most visually beautiful books I’ve ever seen! Creative and compelling, The Binding invites you to plunge into unknown depths alongside Emmett and keeps you enchanted page upon page.

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JANUARY An extract from ‘The Farmer’s Year: A Calendar of English Husbandry’ written and engraved by Clare Leighton


rs Dewey tossed in bed. The windows shook in the gale and the rain dripped from the eaves and drove against the panes. Joe had left the garden gate ajar and it swung regularly in the wind with a sharp moan. In the blackness all sounds seemed louder and she shivered as she turned once again in the bed. How cold the sheets were. She tucked her icy feet up in her flannel nightgown. At the far end of the bedroom the two children stirred in their sleep. The wind drove the rain down the chimney so that it pattered loudly on the iron grate. From time to time a choking sound came in at the window; it was Daisy, the brindled cow, coughing like an old woman. Bessie Dewey waited and listened. Would Joe never come to bed? She struck a match and looked at the watch under her pillow. Twenty‐five minutes past two. And the third night this week that Joe had been up with Daisy. And there was Sloe about to calve any night now. Why would they always seem to do it at night? And why did it always rain? There was Joe getting as bad a cough as that old cow and no question. The match went out, blown by the draught. The rattling of the blind irked her; it would wake the children. Shivering with the wet cold, she dragged herself across the room to the window and pulled up the blind. There was Joe’s lantern gleaming from the cowshed. How it sparkled through the wet pane. She swung her eyes across the blackness of the window. Over in the top right‐hand corner a second

82 | Bridport Times | January 2019

light sparkled and flickered. The shepherd was at work with the lambs. In another bedroom Mrs Castle, the shepherd’s wife, would be lying lonely and cold, listening to the wind and the rain as they clamoured at the window. Mrs Dewey lit a candle. She could not sleep. Out on the wold the shepherd sat huddled in his hut over the charcoal stove. He saw the flames of Bessie Dewey’s candle. ‘Farmer be having a night of it again with Daisy,’ he muttered. ‘Well, that old cow be giving him trouble, she do.’ A bleat roused him. At his feet by the stove lay his latest newborn, lanky and damp. He turned it over and stretched out for the bottle of warm milk. First trying the teat himself, he placed it in the lamb’s mouth. Tenderly, with all the wisdom of over fifty lambing seasons, he seemed to breathe life into the huddled mass of legs, gently caressing the tiny body that was hardly as big as one of his own hands. On the roof of the hut the raindrops fell noisily as bullets. A piece of loose tin flapped in the wind. Satisfied that the lamb was living, the shepherd flung one sack across his shoulders and tied another one round his waist and took lantern and lamb out into the night, to place the creature against its mother. The wind blew his beard across his face and the rain blinded his eyes. It was by touch rather than by sight that he made his way to the lambing pen and found the mother sheep. Several ewes were just coming on to lamb. He would have very little rest tonight. He walked among his flock, stooping over some of the heaviest‐sided ewes as they lay dozing, their hearts shaking their bodies like pumps as they throbbed. In the shelter of straw and hurdle, dry and warm against the rain and the cold, several ewes stirred apprehensively, knowing that their time was near. The shepherd’s ears listened and heard a faint noise at the far end of the lambing pen; a ewe had dropped twins. The big, ungainly man with the gentleness of a midwife was with the ewe in her labour. His lantern revealed a trusting‐eyed sheep and a quantity of awkward black legs attached to two minute wrinkled bodies. The sheep made a movement of protest as he lifted her lambs from her, but the kindness in the shepherd’s eyes overcame her instinct of fear and she lay back unresisting. The next few hours showed him wading to and fro through the mud between lambing pen and hut, as more ewes came on to lamb. Heavier and heavier grew his sleep‐cheated eyes, and he would doze for a minute or two in his hut, to be roused by Floss the sheepdog rubbing her nose into his hands to tell him she heard a sound from the ewes. The wind whistled through the hurdles of the lambing pen. The small circle of light below the lantern he carried served only to blacken yet more deeply everything beyond its radius; and when dawn came it brought with it no sense of clearer form: the black merely turned a grizzly grey and the steely darts of the rain pierced the shepherd’s protecting sacks yet more keenly. Over the wold at the farmhouse a small light reappeared. ‘There be Farmer Dewey a’gettin’ up,’ said Shepherd Castle to himself as he nearly dropped a newborn lamb from his numbed hands. In the farmhouse bedroom Bessie Dewey lit the candle. ‘There be Shepherd out there still with they lambs,’ she thought as she saw the gold star of his lantern move across the window. She shook the farmer, to waken him, but sleep had him still in its grip. A whistling below in the yard told her that Tom the cowboy was up. She tore herself from the warm bed and with chattering teeth covered herself with layers > | 83

Literature and layers of clothing. Tiptoeing across the room, she unlatched the door and shivered her way downstairs to the farm kitchen. Tom, the cowboy, was feeding the cattle. In the stables and sheds steam rose from the warm bodies of the animals as he unbolted the doors and let the cold air rush in. The wind blew out his lantern through a crack in its glass, and he stumbled as he groped his way back through the mud of the farmyard, sprawling and splashing his age‐green overcoat as he went. Outside the kitchen door, on the yellow‐flowering jasmine, sang a robin. The rain was stopping, and faint bands of primrose lay across the sky towards the east. In the kitchen Farmer Dewey and his wife and family, Roger the ploughman, and Jane the dairymaid, were at breakfast. Tom joined them, bringing a trail of wet and mud in with him. The rain passed and a few days later saw the shepherd peaceful and happy once again. ‘Never mind how cold it be,’ he almost prayed each year, ‘so long as I have dry lambing. They lambs don’t mind the cold. It be the wet what do the mischief. Why, I’ve known lambs hopping and skipping about that happy like, when my face has been real blue with the cold and my buskins be fringed with icicles before I be really outside the door of my hut.’ It was weather such as this that was making the shepherd so serene. The few hours of pale winter sunshine stroked the backs of the weighty sheep and gilded the straw of the rick that was in the lambing pen to be cut for bedding. The straw‐ backed hurdles stood so square and protective that they seemed maternal. ‘Fear not, little flock,’ the sheltering pens seemed to say. ‘Outside is the frozen wold, the worry of dogs and men, markets and butchers, knives, ropes and big distances. Here there is rest and peace and warmth, and no one shall come near you.’ The lambs gambolled idiotically, kicking up their hind legs and wriggling their tails, plunging at their dams for nourishment, kneeling down by their side so they might reach their mother’s dugs. In clumsy exuberance a lamb would rush at the wrong dam, to be butted by her for its pains. Through these short hours of light the shepherd would bring fresh bedding to the pens, or feed his ewes with white turnips, or fold a new bit of field to house his growing nursery. When the early afternoon sun sank crimson behind the rime‐covered ricks, the rapid dusk sobered the lambs in the pen and the ewes settled themselves down to rest. The shepherd, intent on a night of sleep, made a last round of his flock. Across the wold, dark against the skyline, he trudged homeward. Over that well‐worn path along the ridge, Pagan and Christian, Celt and Saxon, forerunners of his craft, had trudged since first the great stones went up round the Druids’ circle on the moor. The carter was putting up his horses for the night as the shepherd passed the farm. ‘A cold night,’ said the shepherd. ‘Oh, aye, a cold night,’ echoed the carter. The shepherd disappeared into the winter darkness. ‘The Farmer’s Year: A Calendar of English Husbandry’ written and engraved by Clare Leighton Available from and all good bookshops.

84 | Bridport Times | January 2019

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ACROSS 1. Crack (4) 3. Enter unlawfully (8) 9. Shock physically (5-2) 10. Manor (anag) (5) 11. Formal announcements (12) 13. Insect larvae (6) 15. Modern ballroom dance (3-3) 17. Formal introduction (12) 20. Reasoned judgement (5) 21. Someone who studies data (7) 22. Shows (8) 23. Coalition of countries (4)

86 | Bridport Times | January 2019

DOWN 1. Living in (8) 2. Old French currency (5) 4. Revoke a law (6) 5. Immediately (12) 6. Yearbook (7) 7. Having a sound mind (4) 8. Highly abstract (12) 12. Very attractive (of personality) (8) 14. Optical illusions (7) 16. Notoriety (6) 18. Pastoral poem (5) 19. Delighted (4)

The Joinery Works, Alweston Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5HS Tel: 01963 23219 Fax: 01963 23053 Email:


Hardwood Flooring Specialists Registered Farrow & Ball Stockist Bespoke In-Home Colour Consultancy Certified Bona Contractor

11 Dreadnought Trading Estate, Bridport DT6 5BU 01308 458443

Profile for Sherborne & Bridport Times

Bridport Times January 2019  

Featuring woodsman Ben Short, What's On, Arts & Culture, History, Wild Dorset, Outdoors, Archaeology, Food & Drink, Body & Mind, Home, Garde...

Bridport Times January 2019  

Featuring woodsman Ben Short, What's On, Arts & Culture, History, Wild Dorset, Outdoors, Archaeology, Food & Drink, Body & Mind, Home, Garde...