Page 1



MERRILY ON HIGH with Sherborne Abbey Bell-Ringers


I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Then from each black, accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The carols drowned Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn The households born Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.” Christmas Bells (1863) by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


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

Simon Barber Evolver Magazine @SimonEvolver evolver.org.uk Laurence Belbin laurencebelbin.com Lucy Beney MA MBACP London Road Clinic @56londonroad 56londonroad.co.uk Heidi Berry Sherborne Preparatory School @Sherborneprep sherborneprep.org Elisabeth Bletsoe Sherborne Museum @SherborneMuseum sherbornemuseum.co.uk

Editorial assistant Helen Brown

Nicholas Bourne Earth Sports @EarthSportsLtd earthsports.co.uk

Illustrations Elizabeth Watson elizabethwatsonillustration.com

Richard Bromell ASFAV Charterhouse Auctioneers and Valuers @CharterhouseAV charterhouse-auction.com

Print Pureprint

Mike Burks The Gardens Group @TheGardensGroup thegardensgroup.co.uk

Distribution team David Elsmore David and Susan Joby Christine Knott The Jackson Family Sarah Morgan Mary and Roger Napper Alfie Neville-Jones Mark and Miranda Pender Claire Pilley Nancy Henderson

Jenny Campbell Sherborne Scribblers Paula Carnell @paula.carnell paulacarnell.com Cindy Chant Sherborne Walks @sherbornewalks sherbornewalks.co.uk Gillian M Constable DWT Sherborne Group @DorsetWildlife dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk David Copp

1 Bretts Yard Digby Road Sherborne Dorset DT9 3NL 01935 315556 @sherbornetimes info@homegrown-media.co.uk sherbornetimes.co.uk Sherborne Times is printed on an FSC® 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 Sherborne 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. Sherborne 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 Sherborne Times.

4 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Rebecca de Pelet Sherborne School @SherborneSchool sherborne.org Jenny Dickinson Dear to Me Studio, Fine Stationery @DearToMeStudio deartome.co.uk Robert Draper Sacred Heart and St Aldhelm Church Jimmy Flynn Milborne Port Computers @MPortComputers computing-mp.co.uk Andrew Fort B.A. (Econ.) CFPcm Chartered MCSI APFS Fort Financial Planning ffp.org.uk Eleanor Goulding and Russell Denman Denman & Gould @denmangould denmangould.com Mark Greenstock Sherborne Literary Society @SherborneLitSoc sherborneliterarysociety.com

Darren Leroy Halford Riley’s Cycles rileyscycles.co.uk Craig Hardaker Communifit @communifit communifit.co.uk Andy Hastie Cinematheque cinematheque.org.uk Julie Hatcher Dorset Wildlife Trust @DorsetWildlife dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk Sarah Hitch The Sanctuary Beauty Rooms The Margaret Balfour Beauty Centre @SanctuaryDorset @margaretbalfourbeautycentre thesanctuarysherborne.co.uk margaretbalfour.co.uk Gayleen Hodson Dorset Mind @DorsetMind dorsetmind.uk Justin Hopkins Mogers Drewett Solicitors @mogersdrewett md-solicitors.co.uk James Hull The Story Pig @thestorypig thestorypig.co.uk Sasha & Tom Matkevich The Green Restaurant @greensherborne greenrestaurant.co.uk Braden Maxwell Sherborne School @SherborneSchool sherborne.org Alice Miller Friars Moor Vets @FriarsMoorVets friarsmoorvets.co.uk Suzy Newton Partners in Designs @InteriorsDorset partners-in-design.co.uk Mark Newton-Clarke MA VetMB PhD MRCVS Newton Clarke Veterinary Partnership @swanhousevet newtonclarkevet.com Simon Partridge BSc SPFit spfit-sherborne.co.uk Nigel Rees Friends of Asha asha-india.org Dr Tim Robinson MB BS MSc MRCGP DRCOG MFHom Glencairn House Clinic glencairnhouse.co.uk doctortwrobinson.com Paul Stickland Black Shed Flowers @NaughtyDinosaur blackshedflowers.blogspot.co.uk Val Stones @valstones bakerval.com Andy Taylor BA FBCS Aquila Business Services Ltd aquila-business-services.ltd.uk

70 8

What’s On

DECEMBER 2019 56 Interiors

114 Finance

20 Art

64 Gardening

116 Tech

24 Shopping Guide


118 Directory

26 Family 40 Environment 42 Wild Dorset 50 History 52 Antiques

78 Food & Drink 88 Animal Care 94 Body & Mind 110 Property 112 Legal

120 Community 124 Short Story 126 Literature 128 Pause for Thought 129 Crossword

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 5

THE EASTBURY HOTEL Long Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3BY Tel: 01935 813131 Email: relax@theeastburyhotel.co.uk www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk

‘tis the season to escape to The Eastbury


Thinking of letting your holiday home? We know that your holiday home is just that – a home. That’s why our local team is dedicated to managing your property with the same care and attention you would. With tailored services to suit your needs, you can be as involved as you like, so why not get in touch today?

01929 448 708 enquiries@dorsethideaways.co.uk dorsethideaways.co.uk 8 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

DECEMBER 2019 Listings

Library writing group for sharing &


discussion. 01935 812683

Sunday 1st 8am


5km Christmas Jumper Run

‘Feel Better with a Book’ Group

Thursdays 2pm-4pm

Sherborne Library, Hound St. Shared

Seniors Digital Drop-in

The Terraces, DT9 5NS. communifit.co.uk

group. Free. 01935 812683

Sherborne Library, Hound St.

Last Monday of month 5pm-6pm


____________________________ Mondays 2pm-3.30pm

reading aloud with a small & friendly

for Help with Technology


01935 812683


Bookchat Sherborne Library, Hound St.

A lively book discussion group

____________________________ 2nd Monday of month 9.30am-3.30pm West Country Embroiderers

Sunday 1st 10am-4pm

Digby Hall, Hound St. New members

Sherborne Festive Shopping Day

welcome. 01963 34696


1st Thursday of each month 9.30am Netwalking From Sherborne Barbers, Cheap St.

1st & 3rd Tuesdays 6pm-8pm Dorset Mind - Sherborne Wellbeing Group Costa Coffee, Cheap St. £3 incl.

Wrapping service/refreshments: Abbey

View Care Home, Bristol Rd. Carols in the Abbey: 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 5pm. Parade & Tree Lighting 4pm


Free walk & talk with other small

Sunday 1st 10.15am

FB: Netwalk Sherborne; Instagram:

Meet at Dikes Café car park, Stalbridge.



business owners & entrepreneurs.

Dorset Ramblers Walk: am & pm

yourtimecoaching; Twitter: @yt_coaching


free drink. dorsetmind.uk

1st Thursday of each month

Sunday 1st 11am-4pm



Susie Watson Designs

Tuesdays & Thursdays 10.30am

“My Time” Carers’ Support Group

Festive Event

Explore Historic Sherborne

The Shielings, The Avenue, DT9 3AJ.

28 Cheap St, DT9 3PX. Includes wine-

01935 816321

01935 817641 susiewatsondesigns.co.uk

From Sherborne TIC, Digby Rd. With Blue Badge Guide Cindy, 1½-2-hour

walk. £8 cindyatsherbornewalks@gmail.com

Advice, coffee & chat. 01935 601499/


tasting with Sherborne Castle Wines.



Fridays 1.45pm

Monday 2nd 11.30am

Wednesdays 1pm

Lunchtime Recitals

U3A Carols

Lunchtime Organ Recital

Cheap St Church, DT9 3BJ. Free.

Cheap Street Church


Fridays 2pm

Tuesday 3rd-Saturday 21st

Wednesdays, Thursdays

Sherborne Health Walks


& Fridays 10am-2pm

Leaving from Waitrose. Free. 07825 691508

Christmas Exhibition


of New Work

Raleigh Hall, Digby Rd. 01935 814680

Sunday 1st-Sunday 8th



Jerram Gallery, Half Moon St

Thursdays 1.30pm-2.30pm

Christmas Tree Festival

Tuesday 3rd & Tuesday 10th

The Sherborne Library Scribes

Cheap Street Church. Free.


Sherborne Abbey. Free. Retiring collection

Sherborne Lunch Club




sherbornetimes.co.uk | 9

WHAT'S ON Sherborne Abbey Faith & Arts


Group: Advent Meditations

Thursday 5th 11am-1pm

Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Rd.

Beginning in Family History with Barry Brock

Saturday 7th 3pm-6pm


Trinity Manor Care Home, Bradford Rd

Communifit Christmas Party

01935 574961

Refreshments, bingo, raffle, auction.

Free. Sign up at Parish Office

Alweston Village Hall. Free child’s

breakfast (U10s) with adult breakfast


DT9 6EX. Free. Refreshments available.

Westend Hall, Littlefield. £5.


07791 308773

Thursday 5th 2pm-3pm


An Afternoon with Rosie Lear Sherborne Library, Hound St. Free. 01935 812683

____________________________ Thursday 5th-Saturday 7th 7.30pm, Saturday 7th 2.30pm The Nutcracker Family Pantomime Leigh Village Hall DT9 6HL. £7/£4

from Leigh Garage or ticketsource.co.uk/ wrigglevalleyplayers

Saturday 7th 7pm


Andrew Lownie –

Pam Ayres: ‘Up in the Attic’

Friday 6th 1pm-6pm

The Mountbattens

Digby Hall, Hound St. £12. Tickets from

Leweston Christmas Fair

Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Rd.



Tuesday 3rd 3pm-4.30pm

Winstone’s 01935 816128

Leweston School DT9 6EN

Tuesday 3rd 8pm

Friday 6th 1.45pm

Dutch Courage & Mother’s Ruin:

Sherborne School Musicians:

Saturday 7th 7.30pm

the Gin Craze

‘Mince Pies’ Lunchtime Recital

Moscow Drug Club:

Digby Hall, Hound St. Non-members £5

Tindall Recital Hall, Sherborne School.

Musical Experience





Tickets: £10/£9 Sherborne TIC, Winstone’s or eventbrite.co.uk


Free. Retiring collection

Chetnole Village Hall. 07966 177789

Tuesday 3rd until 9pm

Friday 6th 7pm


Castle Gardens Festive Evening

Rendezvous Christmas

Sunday 8th 9am-1pm

Castle Gardens, New Rd. Entertainment,

Quiz & Supper

Eco Fair & Supermarket

demonstrations, welcome drink


Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Rd. £6.50

Digby Hall, Hound St. 07708 372251

Wednesday 4th 2pm & 6pm

or £13 to include supper. 01935 814496 office@therendezvous.org.uk

Sunday 8th 10.15am


Dorset Ramblers Walk: am only

Digby Hall, Hound St. £7 non-members

Friday 6th 7.30pm

Meet at Sheaf of Arrows, Melbury


Cheap St Church. £15 including

Singe We Yule



Jazz Concert

Wednesday 4th 2pm-4pm

refreshments from TIC or 01935 815565

Sunday 8th 7.30pm

Dementia Friends Information Session Trinity Manor Care Home, Bradford Rd DT9 6EX. Free. 01935 574961

10 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Osmond. jenny.newman@zen.co.uk



Moscow Drug Club:


Musical Experience

Saturday 7th 9am-11am

Stalbridge Village Hall. 01963 362355

Big Butty Christmas Breakfast


DECEMBER 2019 ____________________________

Tuesday 10th 7.30pm

Monday 9th 2pm-4.30pm

Sherborne Bradford Abbas

Christmas Wreath Making

Camera Club

Leweston School, DT9 6EN. £35.

Village Hall Bradford Abbas, DT9 6RF



Free parking after 6pm. Mulled wine & mince pies at Abbey View Care Home, Bristol Rd



Thursday 12th 11am


Talk: Friends against Scams

Tuesday 10th 11.30am

Wednesday 11th 4pm-8pm

Royal Voluntary Service

Gin Tasting with Viper Gin

Abbey View Care Home, Bristol Rd

Lunch Club

Susie Watson Designs, Cheap St. 01935

Raleigh Hall, Digby Rd.

DT9 4HD. Free. 01935 813222


817641 susiewatsondesigns.co.uk

Thursday 12th 1.30pm


Sherborne Museum


Wednesday 11th 7.30pm

Behind the Scenes

Tuesday 10th 7pm

Sherborne ArtsLink Flicks:

The Summer Isles: with travel

Rocketman 15

Digby Memorial, Digby Rd DT9 3NL.

writer Philip Marsden

Digby Hall, Hound St. Tickets £6

07502 130241/01935 593539

Elementum Gallery, South St. £10.

Includes drinks & £10 voucher towards book. elementum journal.com/events or from gallery


£5 non-members. sherbornemuseum.co.uk


from Sherborne TIC, 01935 815341.

Thursday 12th 6pm


Sherborne School Chapel. £10. Tickets


Music & Readings for Christmas

Wednesday 11th until 8pm

from School Reception, 01935 812249

Sherborne Late Night Shopping

or tickets@sherborne.org

PROCESS The Oliver Holt Gallery

A Braden Maxwell Exhibition

Public Viewing – 28 January - 13 February 2020 See page 36 for more

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 11


Please share your recommendations and contacts via FaceBook @sherborneparents ____________________________



Mondays 2pm-2.30pm/

Tuesdays (term-time) 9.30am

Fridays 7.15pm


Nether Compton

Shindo Wadokai Karate Club

Helen Laxton School of Dance

Baby & Toddler Group

(age 5+)

Tinneys Lane Youth Club.

Village Hall

Sherborne Dance Academy, North Rd.


Tuesdays 9.15am,



9.55am & 10.35am

Saturdays 10.15am-11am

Mondays 4pm

Monkey Music

Grapplers United

Helen Laxton School of Dance

Scout Hut, Blackberry Rd. Booking

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


DT9 4HR. £25/month. 1st session free.

Ballet for toddlers & pre-schoolers

Sherborne Primary School.

Ballet, street dance, hip hop.



07769 215881

essential. 01935 850541. monkeymusic.

Unit B, Western Ways Yard, Bristol Rd


07909 662018


Tuesdays (term-time)

Mondays 4pm


1st Saturday of the month

Stardust Dance School

Tuesday Toddlers


Oxley Dance Studio. Ballet/Tap/

Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Rd.

Sticky Church



for playgroup & primary age children.

Modern dance. Reception-Yr 4.


£1.50 per family.

Cheap Street Church Hall. Free group


Wednesdays 10.30am–12pm

Mondays & Wednesdays

Truth Be Told Intergenerational

01963 251747


Toddler Group

Monday 23rd 10.30am-11am

Tinney’s Youth Club

Abbey View Care Home, Bristol Rd.

Festive Storytime

Booking essential. 07713 102676

ages 2-8. Free. 01935 812683

Tinney’s Lane, DT9 3DY. Ages 11-16. £1. FB: Tinney’s Youth Club



£2.50 per family. Includes child lunch.

Sherborne Library, Hound St.Suitable



____________________________ Fridays 9.30am-11am Bishops Caundle Toddler Group All Saints School, Bishops Caundle



Royal Voluntary Service


Saturday 14th-Sunday 15th

Lunch Club

Thursday 19th 3pm

2.30pm & 6.30pm

Raleigh Hall, Digby Rd.

The 12 Birds of Christmas: with


Elementum Gallery, South St DT9

Jack & the Beanstalk

07502 130241/01935 593539

author Stephen Moss

Tickets from Sherborne TIC

Wednesday 18th 7pm-9pm


Sherboard Games

3LU. £10. Includes refreshments & £10

Tuesday 17th 11.30am

Oliver’s Coffee House, Cheap St. Free.

Digby Hall, Hound St. £9. U2s free.

12 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

voucher towards book elementum journal. com/events or from gallery

DECEMBER 2019 ____________________________ Friday 20th 2.30pm-5pm Tea Dance Digby Hall, Hound St. £5. 18+ All levels 01460 240112 dance@anceWessex.co.uk


Sherborne Abbey Porch, DT9 3NL. £8


Workshops & classes

____________________________ Thursday 5th 10am-4pm Wreaths, Garlands, Rings Masterclass & Workshop Mill Farm, Bradford Abbas, DT9 6RE. 07966 173277


Sunday 29th 10.15am


Dorset Ramblers Walk: am only


Meet at Rolls Bridge Way, Gillingham

Art Classes & Workshops

Saturday 7th 10.30am-11.30am

with Ali Cockrean

Christmas Card-making


All abilities, including beginners.

Sherborne Library, Hound St.

alicockrean.co.uk 07742 888302



Wheelwright Studios, Thornford


Free. 01935 812683


Saturday 14th 10.30am-11.30am

Tuesdays 10am-12pm & 2pm-4pm

Christmas Decoration Crafts

ArtsLink Fizz! Art for Memory

Sherborne Library, Hound St.

Wingfield Room, Digby Hall DT9 3AA. 01935 815899 sherborneartslink.org.uk


Free. 01935 812683


Wednesdays 2pm-4pm &


Sunday 29th 2pm-4pm

Thursdays 10am-12pm


Post-Christmas Detox Crystal

The Slipped Stitch Workshops

& Tibetan Bowl Soundbath

The Julian, Cheap St. 01935 508249

Oborne Village Hall, DT9 4LA. £12. 01935 389655. centreforpuresoundorg




Thursdays 9.30am-11.30am

Tuesday 31st 6.30pm

ArtsLink Fizz! Art for Parents

New Year’s Eve House Party

St Pauls Church Hall/West End

The Eastbury Hotel, Long St. Black-tie, champagne reception, 7 course tasting menu, music, dancing and a fireworks

display. £90 per person. 01935 813131 relax@theeastburyhotel.co.uk

Hall (two sessions). Free art & craft

sessions for parents & carers of primary school age children. 01935 815899 sherborneartslink.org.uk



Thursdays 2.30pm-4pm

Mondays 10.30am-12pm

Tuesday 31st 8pm

ArtsLink Fizz! Parkinson’s Dance

Yoga with Gemma

New Year’s Eve Dance with

Tinney’s Lane Youth & Community

Longburton Village Hall. 07812 593314

for people who live with Parkinson’s.


Strictly Jive Digby Hall, Hound St. £20 to include nibbles & drink at midnight strictlyjive.com


Planning ahead ____________________________ Wednesday 1st January 2pm New Year’s Day Walk

Centre. Free dance class & social time


01935 815899 sherborneartslink.org.uk

Mondays & Wednesdays


Just Breathe Yoga & Qigong

Tuesday 3rd & Thursday 5th

Chetnole & Corton Denham

6pm-8.30pm Wreath Workshop

07983 100445 justbyoga@outlook.com


Unit 11 Old Yarn Mills DT9 3RQ.



Venues - Sherborne, Milborne Port,

£32.93. Refreshments included.

Yoga with Emma

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 13

WHAT'S ON Thornford. emmayogateacher@gmail.com



Fairs & markets




Drop-bar road bike recommended. sherbornecycling.club


Hatha Yoga Meditation & relaxation. Small classes,

beginners welcome. hello@yogasherborne.co.uk FB: @yogasherborne

____________________________ Tuesdays 10am-11am Vinyassa Flow Yoga Thursdays & Saturdays

Sherborne Town FC

245546 sarahlouisewilliams@yahoo.com

Pannier Market

First XI Toolstation Western League

Tuesday evenings &


Stourton Caundle Village Hall. 07403 ____________________________

The Parade

Division 1. Terrace Playing Fields,

DT9 5NS. sherbornetownfc.com 3pm start

Friday mornings

Thursdays 9am-11.30am

Iyengar Yoga

Country Market

Longwell Green Sports (H)

Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Rd.

Church Hall, Digby Rd

Saturday 21st


Portishead Town (A)

01935 389357

Every 3rd Friday 9am-1pm

Saturday 28th


Farmers’ Market

Wincanton Town (H)

Wednesdays 8.30am-9.20am

Cheap St


With experienced teacher Anna Finch.

Vinyassa Flow Yoga


Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Rd. 07403

Every 4th Saturday 9am-3.30pm


Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Rd

245546 sarahlouisewilliams@yahoo.com

Vintage Market

Wednesdays am,

07809 387594

Thursdays am & Fridays pm

Saturday 7th


Yoga with Suzanne

Sunday 1st 10am-4pm

Sherborne venues. Especially suitable

Christmas Market

Sherborne RFC


Digby Hall, DT9 3AA


First XV Southern Counties South.

for aged 50+. 01935 873594 Wednesdays 2pm-3pm

The Terrace Playing Fields, DT9 5NS sherbornerfc.rfu.club 2.15pm start

Classic Mat-based Pilates


Charlton Horethorne Village Hall. £7.50.


Buckingham (A)

07828 625897 ali@positive-postures.co.uk

Tuesdays & Thursdays

Saturday 14th



Beaconsfield (H)

Fridays 4pm-5pm

Mixed Touch Rugby

Saturday 21st

Classic Hatha Yoga (beginners)

Sherborne School pitches, Ottery Lane

Marlborough (A)

free. 07887 800803 sherbornetouch.org.uk

To include your event in our FREE

Charlton Horethorne Village Hall. £7.50.

Saturday 7th

DT9 6EE. £2 per session, 1st 4 sessions



listings please email details – date/

Fridays 6pm-7pm

Sundays 9am (from Abbey gates)


Evening Yoga

& Wednesdays 6pm (from Riley’s)

contact (max 20 words) – by the

All abilities. Emphasis on relaxation.

Digby Etape Cycling Club Rides

5th of each preceding month to

Average 12mph for 60 minutes.


07828 625897 ali@positive-postures.co.uk


07768 244462

14 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

ARE YOUR RETIREMENT PLANS ON COURSE? Contact us for a pension review.

PETER HARDING WEALTH MANAGEMENT Principal Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management

30 Haven Road, Canford Cliffs, Dorset BH13 7LP Tel: 01202 830730 40 High Street, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 8JG Tel: 01747 855554 9 Cheap Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3PU Tel: 01935 315315 Email: peterhardingwm@sjpp.co.uk Web: www.peterhardingwm.co.uk The Partner Practice is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products. The ‘St. James’s Place Partnership’ and the title ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives. Peter Harding Wealth Management is a trading name of Peter Harding Practice Ltd.



Andy Hastie, Cinematheque


hilst you are busy organising your Christmas diary this December, do leave space for the two wonderful films showing at Cinematheque this month. Both have a feisty woman as their main protagonist and use humour to carry serious issues. Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson’s Woman at War shows on 4th December, and tells the tale of middleaged Halla, who leads a secret life as an undercover environmental activist. Her mission is to disrupt the local aluminium industry before it completely destroys the pristine environment. As Halla’s acts of sabotage grow more extreme and her personal life more complicated, she is torn between family and her moral imperative to fight for her country. With an evocative soundtrack that mines a unique seam of humour, whereby the musicians appear in the background of the film at regular intervals, interacting with their surroundings, the gravitas of Halla’s campaign is never compromised. ‘This is delightful, mature and hugely enjoyable filmmaking, a call to arms that delivers laughs hand in hand with an urgent political and human message.’ (Sarah 16 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Lutton, London Film Festival) ‘One of the most original and exciting characters to emerge from recent European cinema.’ (Nikki Baughan, Sight and Sound) Last year was the 100th anniversary of (some!) women winning the right to vote in this country, but in conservative Switzerland they had to wait until the early 1970s to gain that right. On 18th December we show The Divine Order, a fictional story of a housewife who finds her voice during this Swiss referendum. Director Petra Volpe’s crowd-pleasing film follows Nora, wife and mother from a small village, whose personal desire for something more leads her to tentative, then passionate, political activism. Volpe keeps the mood light for the most part but underneath the humour there are serious points being made about the way men control women by holding all the cards. For fans of the great TV Swedish/ Danish series The Bridge, there is an hilarious, extremely out of character cameo appearance by Saga (Sofia Helin) as a sex therapist! ‘Nora isn’t a trailblazer in the expected sense, but that is exactly what makes her special. She represents


Caroline Frood

White Hyacinths

Women at War (2018)

those ‘everywomen’ - determined, uncelebrated souls who discovered that every movement begins with a first step.’ (Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film) ‘This is Nora’s journey, and is both humorous and inspirational, reminding one that change comes from the efforts of individuals prepared to stand up and say ‘enough’, whatever the personal cost.’ (Nikki Baughan, Sight and Sound) Two intelligent, funny films to brighten any dark evening, I hope you agree. Come along to the Swan Theatre as a guest and find out more about us and our programme. All details on the website. cinematheque.org.uk swan-theatre.co.uk

____________________________________________ Wednesday 4th December Women at War (2018) 12A Wednesday 18th December The Divine Order (2017) 12A Cinematheque, Swan Theatre, 138 Park St, Yeovil BA20 1QT Members £1, guests £5


Kate Lynch

At The End of The Garden

www.jerramgallery.com THE JERRAM GALLERY Half Moon Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3LN 01935 815261 info@jerramgallery.com Tuesday – Saturday sherbornetimes.co.uk | 17

PREVIEW In association with

MOSCOW DRUG CLUB You are cordially invited to share a wry smile with us as you

with guitar, accordion, double bass, trumpet and vocals.

Drug Club.


1930s Berlin Cabaret, Hot Club de France, Nuevo Tango and


enter the darkly comic and eclectic music world of Moscow Moscow Drug Club is a curious place, where elements of


Gypsy Campfire meet, have a few drinks and stagger, arm in

Saturday 7th December 7.30pm

on a mission to find the bar where Django Reinhardt and Tom

£10/£6. 07966 177789 artsreach.co.uk

arm, into the darkness of some cobbled street in eastern Europe,

Chetnole Village Hall, DT9 6NU

Waits are having an after-hours jam with the local Tziganes.


Combining their original material with songs by the likes of

Sunday 8th December 7.30pm

Jacques Brel, Leonard Cohen and Bertolt Brecht, Moscow Drug

Stalbridge Village Hall, DT10 2NF

Back on the Artsreach circuit by popular demand, MDC perform


Club provide an intoxicating and intimate musical experience.

18 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

£10/£6. 01963 362355 artsreach.co.uk

ARTIST AT WORK No. 14: Denman and Gould


e are an artist duo who have worked collaboratively since we met in 2011. Our work spans the applied arts, architecture and fine art. Our working method varies but the constant element is the continued bouncing of ideas back and forth between us. Our studio is housed in a beautiful converted church in Haydon, Dorset, which we set up in 2014 after moving from Brighton. This year our studio won three public art commissions, one of which - a permanent floor piece - will form a major new landmark in Southampton, making an interactive and colourful courtyard space for students. Our aim is to provide an inspired meeting point that acts as a transitional space between students’ homes and the city. The work will make direct references to the site’s former use as an observatory. We mapped 11 constellations onto a grid to create a colourfully abstract pattern in coloured and non-coloured concrete, with each constellation being represented by a different colour. The work references the architectural forms used in observatories, in particular the geodesic structures invented by Buckminster Fuller, using the geometric motif of the equilateral triangle. The constellations form a pattern that can be picked out from above or at floor

level, presenting interactive information as well as a beautiful, contemplative and abstract installation that also provides seating. We wanted the colour to act as a celebration of education and the possibilities that holds. The colour palette we are using is taken from historical British Geological Survey Maps of Southampton; the handpainted index of colours used in these maps was developed by artists to be used as standardised colours. We wanted to bring an aspect of this historical process to a contemporary way of making. We are currently in an exciting development period casting samples using strong but subtle colours inspired by earth pigments and these beautiful historical maps. You can follow Denman and Gould's progress as this commission takes shape on their Instagram page. As a multi-disciplinary studio they are also working on a collection of jewellery, embroideries and a series of public events in collaboration with Sherborne Times and Evolver magazines. You can find out more on their website. denmangould.com @denmangould sherbornetimes.co.uk | 19



ere we are heading for Christmas! Some have been doing that since September but I try and hold out until December. I decided to continue with the drawings of the town. It was difficult to choose as there are so many good and interesting buildings to look at but I settled on what was the old Conservative club at the bottom of town. This imposing building is now home to two independent businesses. Pure Hair is at street level on Half Moon Street and has the arched window. I could look in and watch the 20 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

customers being spruced up! If you want to look smart for Christmas, book your place! I was struck by how ornate the stonework is around the windows and doors; it does help to line things up. The upper level houses D’Urberville Antiques and Café where you could lose a day taking in all the interesting items on show - yet another drawing location sometime! I stood where I could draw without being in anyone’s way, leaning up against the railings outside the Pear Tree Deli and Café, and looked across the road.

A complicated structure and quite a fiddle, so I began with an HB pencil, a good all-rounder. I made reference marks so that I was sure to get everything in that I wanted. Once that was established, I took up the ink pen. It is a small A5 sketch so not much room for really fine detail but I was pleased with the result. I spent as much time talking to the people going in and coming out of the Pear Tree with bags of wonderful Christmas foodstuffs as I did drawing. It is so nice to see our independent shops busy; as long as we support them where we can we will continue to have a thriving town here in Sherborne. Sermon over! Recently I had the opportunity to visit and draw for an afternoon in a milking parlour not far from Sherborne. I was offered over-trousers and wellies but declined, thinking it would be okay! Trouble was, the cows were above me and I found I was quite vulnerable as it was a herring-bone set up. I positioned myself in the ‘pit’ with the dairyman.

I did several quick drawings to get my eye in. I then took longer over others. Due to the repetition of milking it wasn’t critical to finish drawing any particular cow as the position was soon repeated by another coming in to take its place. It was fast moving so I went back to various poses when they presented themselves again. I did get splashed a little but the dairyman was a valiant fellow and shielded me from the full force! As you see I splashed some colour around myself and feel that it works as a sketchy study. I could work this drawing up into a painting as I have all the information I need. I can’t remember how long I was there but 70 to 80 cows were milked and the good fellow didn’t stop during all that time. After the last one was done the clean-up operation began to make everything gleam ready for the morning. I hope you have all enjoyed my pages over the last year and I wish you a Happy Christmas. laurencebelbin.com

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 21


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WINTER WOOLIES Jenny Dickinson, Dear to Me Studio If flashing Rudolph noses and garish baubles aren’t your thing, Sherborne has some gorgeous knitwear to keep you looking stylish over the Christmas period. deartomestudio.com 24 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

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UNEARTHED Hannah Lee, aged 18 Year 13, Leweston School


rt has always been Hannah’s passion. At a young age she would start her day by drawing a picture before breakfast, hence it was only natural that Hannah chose to study both Art and Textile Design for GCSE, achieving Grade 9 in each. Now working towards A Level, Hannah works hard at her dedicated space in Leweston’s Sixth Form Art and Design Studio. As Art Prefect, Hannah has set up a weekly film club for younger students, bringing skills she learnt during her Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) studies, completed last year, for which she achieved an A*. Hannah’s knowledge and skillset led to her taking on the role of Film Production Assistant at the inaugural TEDx Sherborne Event in May. She is also helping to organise Leweston’s highly anticipated Fashion Show in January which showcases design work from students across the school. This summer Hannah set up a small, online business called ‘Nah Nah Embroidery’, which sells hand-embroidered T-shirts. She also designed the interior and planting of her parents’ trade stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, promoting their Shepherd’s Hut business. The stand won five stars for the first time in seven years and gained fantastic feedback from designers, press and celebrities such as Joanna Lumley. In the future Hannah wants to work to improve the textiles and fashion industry’s issues with sustainability after studying Textile Design at University. She hopes the course will help her learn and research sustainable innovations and develop her love of textiles even further. leweston.co.uk

KATHARINE DAVIES PHOTOGRAPHY Portrait, lifestyle, PR and editorial commissions 07808 400083 info@katharinedaviesphotography.co.uk www.katharinedaviesphotography.co.uk

28 | Sherborne Times | December 2019


Children’s Book Review by Freya (aged 7)

Paddington’s Post Based on the original stories by Michael Bond, R. W. Alley (Illustrator) HarperCollins (2019) £12.99 Sherborne Times Reader Offer Price of £11.99 from Winstone’s Books


he main characters are Paddington, his Aunt Lucy, Judy and Jonathan. Mr and Mrs Brown find a lost, stowaway bear on Paddington railway station when they are picking up their daughter Judy. He is all alone so they take him home and they name him Paddington. Judy introduces him to her brother, Jonathan, and Mrs Bird, who looks after them. They show him

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around the sights of London. He makes lots of friends and is very happy in his new home. In the story, Paddington gets lots of letters which are hidden inside envelopes in the book. He also draws a map to find his way around. This is a fun book to read especially with the postcards and letters. My favourite one is a birthday card he gets from Mrs Bird.

Discover a magical selection of festive books for children this Christmas


CHRISTMAS BIKE NOSTALGIA Darren Leroy Halford, Rileys Cycles


ho can forget the independence and thrill of their first bike? Feeling nostalgic, we look back on some classic kid’s bikes from the past. Here are six iconic children’s bikes you wished you had been given at Christmas. The Raleigh Chopper

We all remember the Chopper in its ridiculous glory. The Mark One was launched in 1969 and heralded a new dawn for bicycles, one that didn’t feature dull, scaled-down versions of the treader Dad rode to work. Psychedelic pop culture on two wheels, this impracticably-shaped beast, with its high-backed padded seat, ‘Easy Rider’ bars and mismatched wheels belonged exclusively to the kids. With roll-resistant fat tyres and a groin-threatening gear stick, the Chopper was designed for looks not function - but who cares about getting from A to B when you’re the coolest kid on the estate? The Balance Bike

Remember the stabiliser lean? Remember how it slowed your progress to a crawl but comfortingly forestalled the day your parent would tell you, ‘it’s time’? Remember your father detaching the small, rattly wheels and shoving you down a steep hill, barking orders of 30 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

‘comfort’ into a cold headwind? The Balance Bike made this terrifying rite of passage obsolete - an engineeredwood piece of retro genius that allowed a seamless transition from scooting to pedalling. The Hobby Horse of the early 19th century was its inspiration. Built in response to a lack of horses following the Napoleonic Wars, this was the proto-bike: a wooden, foot-propelled structure popularised by dandy gents until the advent of the bike chain consigned it to history. 200 years later, today’s infants can scoot as soon as they can walk due to the Balance Bike. The stabiliser has had its day. The Cowhorn

Back when money was scarcer and the range of bikes available for children seemed to start and end at gimmicky Raleighs there was another option, the Make Your Own. The early 1980s saw the rise of the stark, stripped down, less-is-more approach, reminiscent of an early Human League single. Every extraneous piece of bike was removed, including mudguards, gears, brakes and decals. The frame was painted matte black before slotting the extra wide cowhorn handlebar into place. These bikes were strictly for the bigger kids for whom wheelies and not being able to actually brake held no fear. The Cowhorn said, ‘I’m bold, I’m brave, I’m ready to


be enrolled onto a Youth Training Scheme.’ The BMX

Before the BMX there was the Grifter. It weighed a ton and was, frankly, rubbish, with its quick-to-rust wheels, cheap, plastic grip shift and pointless foam cross-bar cover. The arrival of the BMX rendered this hulking mass of iron obsolete and changed the rules completely. Lightweight, colourful and achingly cool, the BMX sealed its mass appeal by featuring in Spielberg’s smash film, ET – The Extra Terrestrial. It was even the star of its own movie, The BMX Bandits, featuring a teen Nicole Kidman. Children’s ITV capitalised on the BMX craze with its own show, BMX Beat, which ran for four years in the mid-1980s and featured exotic brands, helmets, trick nuts, hip hop, and tricks we would fail to emulate in front of disinterested girls down at the local park. The Raleigh 18

A mini version of the massive-selling Raleigh 20, this step-thru cycle highlights just how poorly girls were catered for back in the 1970s and ‘80s. The 18 eschewed the wacky seats and crazy gear knobs boys were accustomed to in favour of sensible matching baskets front and rear. It came in two colours: pale blue and a

strikingly dull brown. All that being said, it was actually a decent, smooth ride with well-made components and a comfortable seat. The frame formed the basis of the ruggedly named Commando (yet another boy’s bike). It took nearly 30 years for the cycling industry to wake up and realise girls don’t require their bikes to be built around a predilection for long skirts. The Trike

For those whose memories stretch back further, there was the Triang trike. Some had a boot which was useful for transporting passengers like Teddy. I remember not watching where I was going on my trike and riding into the back of the milk float; that made quite a milkshake! Thankfully the likes of lightweight Squish bikes, and other British brands now make excellent uni-sex bikes in a range of bright colours that appeal to all children. Rileys are offering Sherborne Times readers a half price child's helmet with any Squish bike purchase. This wellloved independent cycle shop has traded in Sherborne for over 50 years and may have even supplied one of the bikes mentioned above to your parents! rileyscycles.co.uk sherbornetimes.co.uk | 31


BREAKING THE PATTERN OF SLUM POVERTY Nigel Rees, Trustee, Friends of Asha UK & Chair of Trustees, Sherborne Area Schools Trust


hen I first met Chandon a few years ago I saw a confident young man who was completing a degree at Delhi University in India. He grew up in a slum in Delhi, with little hope for anything but menial work in the future. Then he met other children who introduced him to Asha. Asha was founded in 1988 by Kiran Martin, an Indian Paediatric Doctor in Delhi who became very concerned about the health of all ages in a slum in Delhi, where a cholera outbreak was threatening lives. Kiran set up a table under a tree and welcomed slum residents for free medical attention. There is a direct link between poverty and ill health. Asha trains local women residents, known as Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), to look after a designated area of a slum, providing basic healthcare (often as simple as dispensing aspirin or paracetamol). Asha focuses on five main areas: Healthcare, Empowerment, Financial Inclusion, Education and Environment. It works to motivate and empower people, giving them the confidence and ability to work together and influence their fellow slum residents, council officials, police, school authorities and others. This enables them to lobby for what they are entitled to; they regularly meet with Asha Volunteers to keep them up to date. Slum residents are often illiterate, and struggle to access simple facilities to keep money safe, however small the amount. During my first visit to Asha in early 2008 I helped to enable a ground-breaking financial inclusion scheme which has given slum residents direct access to banking and enabled 3687 loans to be granted to support small businesses, home improvement and education. Millions of Rupees have been lent and 99% of residents make repayments on time. Many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) provide education for disadvantaged children, but Asha 32 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Dominic Rieger/Shutterstock

goes further. Asha motivates and encourages parents to send children to school, making whole communities aware of the benefit of an education. Children are supported to University level, unthinkable before Asha’s involvement. Chandon was one of those children. He was supported in his studies by Asha providing extra tuition. Once at University, Asha provided clothes and equipment, so that Chandon was no different from other students. He completed his degree and has now arrived in England this autumn to study for a Master’s degree in Mathematics at Imperial College, London, with a full bursary for tuition and accommodation funded by a UK charity. Chandon visited the UK a few years ago and met students at schools in Sherborne to tell his story. In October 2018, three Sherborne Schools, The Gryphon, Leweston, and Sherborne Girls, put a team of students together and visited Asha, meeting many students. A team from Yeovil and the surrounding area visited in October this year and a further schools’ visit is planned for October 2020. Kiran and her husband, Freddy Martin, have visited Sherborne many times to meet with Asha supporters and explain the work of Asha, often bringing with them young men and women like Chandon, who tell their story. Freddy will again be visiting Sherborne and the UK in early November. Around 700,000 people in more than 91 slum colonies of Delhi now benefit from the work of Asha. If you would like to know more, please contact myself or the UK Co-ordinator for Asha in the UK, Dr Richard Hogben, via the websites or email below. foasha.richardhogben@gmail.com nigel@nigelrees.co.uk asha-india.org

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A SIMPLE CHRISTMAS Heidi Berry, Head of Pre-Prep, Sherborne Prep


s we move into December, our thoughts turn to Advent and the anticipation of Christmas. Children begin to make long lists of things they would like for Christmas and parents worry about how much it will all cost and whether they need it anyway. While we try to be more cautious about plastics, children are bombarded by advertising with the latest must-haves, which will cause further landfill problems when they grow out of it, or it breaks, in the coming months. In Year 2 at Sherborne Prep, we have been learning about toys from the past and how play, as well as materials used for toys, has changed over the years. This led to much reminiscing amongst staff and parents as we shared memories from childhood. We were visited by a team from the Priest’s House Museum at Wimborne, who brought a wonderful selection of toys from the museum. The children explored these and learned some of the more traditional playground and parlour games. Inspired by a Channel 4 documentary, Sherborne Pre-Prep have recently formed a link with Eastbury House Care Home to explore what the youngest and the oldest members of our community can offer each other for mutual benefit. In a recent visit to Eastbury House, the Year 2 children took some favourite activities with them to share. They also interviewed some of the residents to find out what they played with when they were at school. The children shared their favourite games and the residents had plenty of time for them and were good listeners. The dexterity required for some of the games was equally challenging to both ages! The children asked the residents about toys they had enjoyed as children. Opinions were divided as to whether toys today are better or not. There was certainly a feeling that children are very lucky today to have so much on offer to them, although some felt that having less made them appreciate what they did have so much more. An impromptu piano recital ensued when the children saw the beautiful piano in the lounge. The 34 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

children have been invited to sing carols next time, which we will all enjoy, and we have invited the residents to watch our Nativity Play. The atmosphere was noisy but happy, with residents engaged in conversation with the children. It is so much more meaningful for a child to hear first-hand what toys were available many years ago, than to hear it from a teacher in the classroom, and we are grateful to Eastbury House for allowing us to visit. Our Year 2 children have become more reflective


"some felt that having less made them appreciate what they did have so much more"

about toys and, while they still love Lego and will inevitably still write Christmas lists, they have seen that much fun can be had with very little – one child even said that he just wanted big cardboard boxes for Christmas! They care about the environment and want to do the right thing. Maybe this Advent we can all make some changes to our own Christmas preparations and do things more simply. sherborneprep.org sherbornetimes.co.uk | 35




Braden Maxwell, Sherborne School

never wanted to be an artist. In fact, at the ripe old age of four years, my dream in life was to be a lawyer. I envisioned myself as the champion of justice, wielding the metaphorical sword of truth in a court of law to bring about change for the good of mankind (though admittedly there were times in my childhood fantasies when the sword was much less metaphorical). After my time as a lawyer I would go on to become one of the nine justices on the Supreme court of the United States. That was my plan in life. So what happened? My father was a printer by trade. He owned a shop in downtown Las Vegas where surrounding businesses would bring him all kinds of jobs, from beautifully foil stamped and embossed invitations to simple folders 36 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

needed as a goody bag filler for that week’s conference attendees. Occasionally, I would have the pleasure of going to work with Dad. Despite being rousted out of bed at an ungodly hour and enduring the commute in rush-hour traffic (let’s face it, I slept) those days were some of my absolute favourites. Little did I know that they would have such a profound impact on my future. For the most part, I would play in the dumpster full of paper. However, I would occasionally leave my secret clubhouse and venture onto the shop floor to see what was going on. I remember page after page being sucked into the giant machines. The presses would hiss and thunder as each step of the printing process was carried out. Some would emboss, some would stamp,

and yet others would fold and glue the final product together. Of course, by the time it finally reached the end, the papers would be neatly stacked on a pallet awaiting the final inspection. For me however, it was never about the final product. The end result was always a nice treat but that was just a bonus. It was about the process of it all. I remember watching Dad carefully and meticulously prepare the presses for the specific job at hand, adjusting all of the settings, running tests to make sure everything was registered properly and in working order, and then finally letting them run on their own to produce his creations. It was almost a religious practice, done with precision and a reverence to the act of creating. Watching that unfold hour after hour, day after day, left a lasting impression on my young soul. There was an elegant simplicity to it all. To be perfectly honest, it felt like magic. Fast forward several years to university. I was studying business, still on track to become the lawyer I had always dreamed of being, but something was missing. I felt utterly unfulfilled. So, I began to explore. One day, I walked into the art building on campus and immediately felt at home. It was a hub of creative energy with people anxiously engaged in creation. I was transported back to those days in the shop, and I knew it was what I was meant to do. Thus began my journey into the arts. I became a professional illustrator whose job is

to communicate complex thoughts, feelings, and ideas through pictures. Every day I go into the studio and carefully organise my tools, inspect them, and prepare to create. I prepare for the process, the struggle of bringing an idea into existence and trying to get it just right. To me, that is the true joy of being an artist. Braden Maxwell, an award-winning illustrator whose work has shown in multiple juried shows in galleries across the United States, is the SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) foundation fellow at Sherborne School, where he is spending a year teaching whilst working on his MFA in Illustration. Since graduating from Brigham Young University, Idaho, he has worked as a professional freelance illustrator and as an educator focusing primarily on drawing fundamentals, painting, and digital techniques. A defining attribute of his work is the prominent use of the figure throughout his paintings and illustrations. sherborne.org

____________________________________________ Tuesday 28th and Thursday 30th January Tuesday 4th, Thursday 6th, Tuesday 11th and Thursday 13th February, 1.30pm - 4.30pm ‘Process’ Braden Maxwell The Oliver Holt Gallery, Sherborne School

____________________________________________ sherbornetimes.co.uk | 37



Rebecca de Pelet, Head of English, Sherborne School


’ve already had Christmas this year. A fantastic festival my family and I now attend every summer re-envisions ways of doing things. Its tagline is, ‘Somewhere to Believe In’ and, on the Sunday morning, communion is always shared between hundreds of people but with a different focus each year. In 2018 it was the Windrush community and it was the most profound gathering I have ever attended. This year was Christmas: if you wish it could be Christmas every day, or if you just want to check exactly what Wise Men do say, or if you care about what happens in Palestine today as much as you care about what happened there 2000 years ago, then let’s come together. The morning was appropriately hot and there were 38 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

kings and camels, yes, real camels, but it was the re-politicising of the celebration which meant that I looked at the season’s narrative again, with new eyes. Reshaping, retelling can be surprisingly fruitful. Recently voted the best book of the 21st century (so far) by The Guardian, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall famously refuses to sanctify Sir Thomas More in its narrative of Cromwell’s life. Criticised by many historians for such heresy, Mantel replied that, ‘History is a process, not a locked box’. There can hardly be history without revisionism. Arguably of course there is no telling at all without revisionism. There are some wonderful retellings of Shakespeare out there, from Smiley’s 1992 Pulitzer prize-winning novel A Thousand Acres (‘King Lear’) to


McEwan’s excellent Nutshell of 2016 which tells the story of Hamlet in the voice of an unborn child. Returning to Chaucer ahead of my Upper Sixth class’ mock examination, I have introduced them to Agbabi’s Telling Tales which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes award. She re-voices The Canterbury Tales with modern, multicultural tellers and her sophisticated manipulation brings unexpected insights. Our examination text, The Merchant’s Tale, is no longer voiced by the bitter tradesman of the original but by the love-sick sidekick Damyan, who only plays a small, albeit rather active, role in the primary text. Damyan is re-formed as a Leytonstone DJ who speaks in song lyrics – There was a time when I’d Philly Dog around the

world but I’m tired of running around. since I found my baby – and the focus of the piece has shifted from the scathing sexism of a thrusting merchant to the genuinely heartfelt pangs of the rejected lover-servant: an outsider because of his race this time, not his class. A more chilling example of re-envisioning is Cormac McCarthy’s brilliant but terrifyingly prescient novel, The Road. As father and son head south through the obliterated landscape of what was the East coast of America, in a post-apocalyptic quest narrative, the former remembers his child’s birth in the bleak darkness of a ruined building - He held aloft the scrawny red body so raw and naked and cut the cord with kitchen shears and wrapped his son in a towel. McCarthy’s retelling is probably closer to what might have happened in that stable all those years ago than many other versions and its unflinching gaze loosens the hold of seasonal complacency. I keep certain books with the Christmas decorations and read them again when the baubles are hung. Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales is one of the more obvious ones, but there is also Tove Jannson’s The Fir Tree and a poem by Anthony Wilson, entitled Thaw. The first piece I wrote for this magazine was a review of a Moomin film showing and I only just managed to resist hyperbole, such is my adoration for everything that Janson has ever painted, drawn or written. Her re-writing of the Christmas story tells of a busybody, Hemulen, descending on the Moomin family and whipping them up into a previously unknown hysteria of buying and preparation. You won’t get any spoilers from me, other than to say that the novella closes with Moomin concluding that he is not afraid of Christmas any more… I believe the Hemulen and his aunt and Gaffsie must have misunderstood the whole thing.’ I leave you with Thaw. Perhaps a re-forming rather than strictly a retelling, but the effect is the same; it makes me think again, feel again, see again. Now we are in the darkness We know nothing but the search For rays we cannot gaze into, as On grey days, we know their heat From how the frost retreats To green behind a wave of light. sherborne.org anthonywilsonpoetry.com sherbornetimes.co.uk | 39




ive the greatest Christmas gift this year: a pledge to tread lightly and protect the planet. Without wanting to appear Scrooge-esque, I have long been suspicious that the stereotypical 21st century British Christmas unfortunately provokes behaviour that is seriously environmentally destructive in many, many ways. Whilst most celebrations have been, well, consumed by Consumerism, no festival manages it quite like Christmas: the need to demonstrate love through material gifts – and to package presents in beautiful but non-recyclable paper adorned with single use bows and ribbons (it is estimated that Britons use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper in the Christmas period); the 1 billion Christmas cards sent each year by Britons (again, many of which cannot be or simply are not recycled – with the manufacturing of these cards equating to 33 million trees); Christmas outfits for parties (with the fast-fashion industry being a major contributing factor to the environmental crisis); Christmas jumpers (worn once); stocking fillers (much of which will be touched once or twice and end up in landfill); Christmas Eve boxes (I didn’t know what they were until last year but apparently they are a trend which is growing in popularity); the Christmas tree conundrum (real or fake, new decorations or old?); the mountains of food and gallons of drink (which unfortunately rarely has praise-worthy ethical or eco credentials, much of it packaged in single use plastic, and a large proportion of which ends up uneaten, because it’s better to over-cater than under-cater…). If my never-ending list sounds breathless, it’s because I am. The funny thing is, I would say that most people I know find some or all aspects of the material drive of Christmas stressful, unnecessary,

40 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

exhausting or even depressing – and yet they feel compelled to conform. Christmas has become synonymous with many of the aforementioned traditions and expectations but, in reality, many of them are relatively new. The midwinter setting of the festival arguably stems from pagan roots which aimed to bring warmth, togetherness and brightness to the community. In the fourth century, Pope Julius sought a date on which to officially celebrate the nativity and so the Mass of Christ began, although it still took a few centuries for Christmas to be internationally acknowledged. During the Middle Ages in England, excessive drinking became a part of the celebrations and by Tudor times it was usual practice for richer households to show off their wealth through exquisite Christmas feasts. Christmas stockings are mentioned in the 1823 poem, Twas the night before Christmas, whilst gift-giving within families appears to have been popularised in Victorian times, although in a relatively modest manner compared to many households in 21st century Britain. Then, in the mid- to late-twentieth century, with the rise of the power of advertising, Christmas somehow became, to many people, all about stuff. Fast-forward to the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century and our expectation of instant gratification coupled with an obsession with posting filtered lives on social media means that, for some people, Christmas has never had to look quite so sparkly, indulgent or frivolous. So, how do we manage Christmas in a manner which is celebratory yet respectful to our over-burdened and ever-exploited Earth? I suppose that, in a quest to find a more balanced approach, we have to question what Christmas means to us, accepting that will be different

for each individual and for each family. Some families are pulling back from consumerist fervour, favouring instead the ‘four gift rule’ (something children want, something they need, something to wear and something to read) and making pacts to not exchange gifts with adults. Last Christmas season, I remember being delighted to see publicity drawing attention to alternatives to glittery wrapping paper, for example, reusing paper from parcels (since so many people now acquire packaging and wrapping through online deliveries) or saving and reusing old newspaper. Twine and string, especially if it is saved and reused, is preferable to plastic-based sticky tape which cannot be recycled. When it comes to food, perhaps together with selecting more planet-friendly choices as recommended by the IPCC and other studies, we can revisit traditions such as cooking from scratch – a wonderful opportunity for togetherness if the cooking becomes a team effort – and using up leftovers if we have gone a little over the top in our catering. Maybe, when planning gifts, food, decorations, outfits and all other aspects of Christmas celebration, it is time to draw up a new set of guidelines underpinned by an understanding of the environmental impact of consumerism and waste. We must empower ourselves to take control of Christmas and stop thinking of it as a festival of stuff, and instead as a celebration of community. Perhaps, if we want to give the greatest gift that transcends time and space, in other words, a gift that extends beyond a moment of indulgence and beyond our four walls, might I suggest that this year, as we embark on a new decade, each of us gives something meaningful to all humankind of today and of the future: a pledge to tread lightly and to protect the planet. Mallmo/Shutterstock

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 41

Wild Dorset

THE DECEPTIVE CUTTLEFISH Julie Hatcher, Wild Seas Centre Officer, Dorset Wildlife Trust

42 | Sherborne Times | December 2019


he closest most people come to a cuttlefish is when their white ‘bones’ wash up on beaches after rough weather. These are the evolutionary remains of the animal’s shell, as cuttlefish are molluscs, relatives of the snails in your garden. Way back in the evolutionary past, their protective shell was internalised and then evolved into the cuttlefish bone, which is used to provide the animal with buoyancy in the sea. By regulating how much gas the bone contains they can move up or down in the water without having to expend energy on swimming. If you pick one up it feels light. Cuttlefish bones are not the only thing that makes this animal extraordinary. They are recognised as intelligent animals; indeed, research has shown that they can be more intelligent than cats and dogs. Capable of counting at an equivalent level as a 4-year-old child, they can also solve puzzles, negotiate mazes and plan ahead. Research has now revealed that these remarkable animals can use deception to get what they want – something that only a handful of species, including ourselves, are known to do. Cuttlefish communicate using the colours and patterns on their skin, which they can change instantaneously. This is especially used in courtship, when males compete for a female. Male cuttlefish have been filmed displaying female patterning on one side of their body (where a competing male can see it) whilst at the same time displaying to the female on their other side that he is an interested male. By deceiving the male cuttlefish into believing it is a female and therefore no threat, it avoids a physical battle, whilst at the same time giving the female its ‘come hither’ signals. While divers regularly encounter and interact with cuttlefish in our coastal waters, most people do not have the opportunity to meet these most interesting of animals. Cuttlefish breed only once in their lifetime and then die, making them quite short-lived. As they breed during the spring and summer they tend to die off in the autumn. Their soft bodies decompose leaving just the white bone behind. Being buoyant, this floats to the sea’s surface and washes up on beaches during windy or stormy weather so keep your eyes peeled this autumn when walking along the beach. For more information about the Wild Seas Centre please visit dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/wild-seas-centre Damsea/Shutterstock

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 43

Wild Dorset

Image: Gillian M Constable



Gillian M Constable, Dorset Wildlife Trust Sherborne Group Committee Member

ecember is a busy month for us all and so there is no group meeting of the Sherborne DWT group. DWT’s 2020 calendar is now available online and at various centres. This year the theme is ‘A Wildlife Year’ and the photos are by local photographer David Kjaer, who has spoken at our meetings in the past. Have you been studying the great tits on your garden feeders? A paper in the summer 2019 British Trust for Ornithology magazine for garden birdwatchers about how garden feeders affect our birds reports that, ‘studies have shown longer beaks have been developing in great tits allowing them to access different food from our feeders’. The paper also mentions that corvids are developing new strategies to access fat balls. Earlier in the year there was total chaos briefly in our garden when a flock of about 50 starlings descended on our bird table and fat-ball feeder. We also noticed recently that 3 collared doves had managed to perch simultaneously on the small saucer on the sunflower hearts feeder, a first for them. In late October members of the group visited the Architectural Association’s Woodland campus at Hooke 44 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Park, which is located up the valley from Kingcombe. The location is described as a 130-hectare working forest. The students, usually on Masters programmes, are encouraged to experiment with the use of wood. Trees are selected at various stages of growth and used, typically in the green, no drying, in the construction of various types of buildings and furniture. We saw a roof under construction using rough-cut shingles made from red-cedar wood which had been felled only a year previously. The picture is of a student design of a creative roof framework for a wood store. There is a full replacement strategy for all trees felled in the park. We hope to return to the location to walk the woods next year at bluebell time. DWT’s 2020 calendar is currently available as a ‘3 for the price of 2’ offer. David Kjaer’s brown hare and firecrest photos are available as Christmas cards. You can also adopt either a red squirrel or seahorse. See website for details. dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

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Wild Dorset

LEARNING FROM THE BEES IN BHUTAN Paula Carnell, Beekeeping Consultant, Writer and Speaker


eing busy with bees through the summer months, my time for travel is when my own bees are settled securely in their hives for the winter. Last winter I undertook an adventure in the Himalayas, on a quest to learn more about bees. As I was also turning fifty and celebrating the fact that I was no longer in a wheelchair, I wanted to celebrate whilst literally ‘on top of the world’. You may be wondering why I chose Bhutan rather than Everest base camp. I had heard about this remote kingdom’s hospitable and friendly inhabitants as well as the ancient traditions with farming and land management. No chemicals are used to produce their food and most people live on small farms producing their own supplies. I had also learned that they didn’t have the European honeybee; instead they have Apis cerana, Apis dorsata and the recently recognised Apis laboriosa. While there I also learned of the stingless bees. Traditional beekeeping is under threat as some 48 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Bhutanese are trying to bring in modern methods of beekeeping to increase their income and participate in the growing honey market. I was hoping to visit rural beekeepers with log hives inhabited by Apis cerana (the Asian honeybee) and see the rock bees, made famous by documentaries showing scantily clad Indians and Nepalese harvesting honey from the larger and more aggressive Apis dorsata. My research had also uncovered tales of ‘honey houses’, remote villages in southern Bhutan where the homes are built with integral beehives. After a few days travelling and a night in Paro, where the only international airport is situated, I took an internal flight, with the most incredible Himalayan views, to Bumthang in central Bhutan. Met off the plane by my guide and driver (all visitors to Bhutan have to be accompanied), I was taken straight to the Bumthang Beekeepers co-operative. It happened to be just a few farms along from my hotel. It was autumn but the

daytime sunshine was warm, sometimes reaching the low twenties and with a crisp clear blue sky. Bees were flying from the familiar western box hives, Langstrothstyle, possibly the most widespread hive in the world after logs. Night-time temperatures (or when the sun dipped behind a mountain) plunged well below zero. Bumthang is 3000m above sea level and yet, as it’s situated in a valley along a river, you do not feel as if you are high up and the sunshine can be warm. Bees were flying and I was astonished therefore to discover that these bees were in fact Apis mellifera, descendants of the original five colonies imported to Bhutan by a Swiss businessman thirty years earlier. This made their flying in cold temperatures and at such altitude fascinating. There are now 1000 colonies of Apis mellifera spread across central Bhutan in Langstroth beehives. I had mixed feelings about the introduction of a non-native species, especially when so little was known of the other species of bees in the country. I was there to learn and help wherever I could and discussions with the various beekeepers and government officials, informed me of the problems they face. Most of Bhutan is Buddhist and they believe that eating or even taking honey from a hive is a sin. Buddha was punished for 100 years for taking a single drop of honey on his tongue. This somewhat restricts the domestic market for honey! Tourists love the pure honey from bees living in the cleanest air in the world with the nectar collected from insecticide-free plants. There is, however, a strict weight limit on baggage in and out of Bhutan. The 44-seater plane that took me across the country can only fly with half the seats taken and a maximum of 15kg of weight per passenger. As many visitors are trekking, weight allowances are often taken up with tents, walking boots and such. Luckily, I did not have such encumbrances. We were given contacts for

the honey houses in Southern Bhutan and, after much travel along the mostly untarmacked roads twisting up and down mountainsides, we entered a small area of paradise. The King of Bhutan has given each native family four acres of land on which to live and farm. This encourages them to grow their own food, a tradition under threat with western influences. Tsirang was one of the regions chosen to place these new settlers and mountainsides were terraced with rice, buckwheat, citrus, apples and cardamom as well as a vast selection of fruits and vegetables. The King also ensures that 75% of the country remains forested so this really is a unique land. I felt privileged to visit a honey house and its inhabitants, humans and bees, and even try the honey. Only 2kg per year per hive was taken but, in the height of summer, up to 12 hives would surround this mountainside farmhouse and the tropical weather would offer two harvests per year. Buddhists strictly adhere to a ‘harm no living thing’ practice and so, as with vegans in the west, eating honey is thought to go against their beliefs. However, if bees are happy to share their honey and no harm comes to them, then couldn’t be that be acceptable? Many other religions speak of honey being medicine, so I was very curious about the Buddhist honey rules. It was only after my return that I re-read my journal to find that I was told that Buddhist monks believe the highest level of reincarnation is as a bee, the purpose of the wise lamas is to teach the bees of their experiences and the bees in turn can teach the humans. How interesting that there is now a huge movement of ‘learning from the bees’. I had gone hoping to learn enough for a single chapter of a book. The result was an entire book published last month and an experience of a lifetime! paulacarnell.com

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THE VICTORIAN CAT CHRISTMAS CARD Elisabeth Bletsoe, Curator, Sherborne Museum


orget current memes, Instagram posts and viral videos – the Victorians developed an obsession with our feline friends that rivals the modern day. During the early part of the c19th, cats were mostly recruited for hunting down vermin or (very sadly) used for vivisection but, over the course of the century, their status changed and they were widely kept as family pets and companions among the fashionable middle classes. From the mid-1800s ‘cat meat men’ hawked food for cats from door to door, mostly in the form of horse meat at 2½d per pound. Images of cats proliferated on Christmas cards such as this one from 1883, taken from a whole series donated by a Mrs Miller of Holton, near Wincanton, sent annually by the ‘Meadows family’, perhaps as some form of affectionate running joke. The love/hate relationship between Victorians and cats seemed to mirror the ‘Separate Spheres’ dichotomy in gender perception in society. Cats were seen as assiduous to please but also sly, distrustful and treacherous; not above stealing a person’s breakfast or turning on one to retaliate with fierce spite if their tail was accidentally trodden upon. They were portrayed as female, whereas the loyal, steadfast, honest and obedient dog was seen as having male traits. Curiosity focused on the electrical properties of cat fur and urban myths proliferated around their supposed ability to suck the breath from a living infant. Their claws were claimed to be venomous; a cat scratch would fester and poison the blood. It was held that some delicate persons might faint or lose their wits at the sight of a cat, or even while looking at an image of one. The sudden playfulness of a cat, though charming, was construed as portending an approaching storm. Magically, three drops of blood taken from beneath the 50 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

tail and mixed with water was believed to be a cure for epilepsy, while the mere presence of a cat in the house was thought to improve rheumatism. The great animal lover Harrison Weir (18241906), an engraver, printer, journalist and natural history artist, organised the first cat show at Crystal Palace in 1871, emphasising the creature’s self-reliance and utility. The show highlighted cats as objects of increasing interest, admiration and cultured beauty and established a set of standards that were developed for the purposes of judging, which resulted in a great deal of snobbery. Weir became known as ‘The Father of the Cat Fancy’ and in 1887 established the National Cat Club, producing in 1889 a book, Our Cats and All About Them, which featured many eloquent drawings. A popular contemporary women’s journal, Lady’s Realm, (1900) remarked how Weir, ‘had done wonders for the amelioration of Pussy’. Cat funerals were suddenly commonplace and, as time passed, became more formalised with undertakers being commissioned to build elaborate caskets; headstones were created and some members of the clergy even officiated but most definitely drew the line at a cat being buried in consecrated ground. These expressions of grief, reported at the time in tones of amusement, seem more poignant since the cat was still in many ways a persecuted animal. We wish all our members, friends, supporters and volunteers a Merry Christmas and prosperous 2020. To find out more about research and activities at the museum come to our winter Tea and Talk session at the Digby Memorial Hall on Thursday 12th December at 2pm. Admission £5, members free. sherbornemuseum.co.uk





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Engraving of The Stage-Coach, or Country Inn Yard by William Hogarth. Image: Duncan1890



Cindy Chant, Blue Badge Guide

fter my long series about the history of our local tracks and roads, it is now time to share my passion for that very special, albeit very short, time, ‘The Coaching Era’. So, in the next series of monthly jottings, I’m going to write about that ‘Golden Age’ of travel. Many a scene has been painted of those glorious days, of a stagecoach and horses, galloping in a snowy landscape. This remains a popular subject for Christmas cards, demonstrating how coaching continues to evoke nostalgic feelings in our modern-day, jet-age life. I shall be looking at the different types of coaches, the coach builders, the coachmen, the mail coaches, the 52 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

mail guards, coaching conduct, coaching inns including our own local coaching inns and coaching routes. I also want to talk about the stables and the work force, the horses, their diet, their ailments and coaching accidents. In fact, anything really that I have researched in this part of our history that is interesting and informative. The precursor of the stagecoach was the stage wagon, an enormous, cumbersome vehicle intended for the carriage of large bulky goods. Its wheels were very broad, so that they might be of some help in crossing the muddy tracks, but in effect all they did was to roll the muddy sludge into some sort of track way. Travel was very slow, with an average speed of just two miles per

hour with teams of up to eight horses. This was the method of transport from c.1500 until c.1750. Then a gradual change started. Horses travelling west began to be changed at specific points along the route so that the wagons were kept on the move. Around the early 1700s trading had started in Britain and therefore a better network of communication was essential. County towns became increasingly aware that they had to have good access to the capital, London, as it was the most important trading centre in the land. The first coaches were crudely constructed with a wooden body. The body was suspended on huge leather braces and it rolled violently. The coachman and a guard sat on an unsprung seat covered by a cloth. It was not long before a roof, sides, windows and doors had over 60and become more general. Coach proprietors appeared bed frames a service started between Birmingham and London. A available passenger paid twenty-one shillings (£1.5p) for the fare and the journey was completed in two and a half days. Passengers were allowed to carry fourteen pounds of luggage; if they wished to carry more, there was a levy of one penny per pound. The service only ran in the summer months as conditions were too bad in winter, when travelling on the roads became impossible due to the mud. The discomfort suffered by the travellers was appalling, and there is much recorded in old books. The leather braces allowed the coach to lurch violently in every direction and it is known that many unfortunate travellers suffered agonies of nausea on long journeys. A woodcut image advertising this service survives and gives us some idea of how the horses were harnessed. Four horses were driven from the box seat by the coachman, while the lead horses were controlled by a postilion riding on the off-leader. Early stagecoaches were provided with a basket hung on the back by two huge leather straps. Originally this was intended to carry the luggage but it was soon adapted as a cheap way of carrying more passengers. By 1754, Manchester and London were also in direct communication, and the journey of 182 miles was managed in four and a half days. William Hogarth, the famous artist, immortalised these early scenes in his 1747 painting The Stage Coach or Country Inn Yard, showing a stagecoach in an inn yard preparing for departure. More on this fascinating subject next month! sherbornewalks.co.uk

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18th century longcase clock £400-600



Richard Bromell, ASFAV, Charterhouse Auctioneers

e have recently had Matthew K working for us. I have known Matthew, or Matt as he is generally known, for a fairly large chunk of his life, and I have also known both of his parents probably for longer than they would care to admit. Matt recently finished his Master’s degree. Not having had any time off before starting his Batchelor’s degree and finishing his Master’s, he has been working in our salerooms earning some money before he goes travelling in the New Year. Over the past few months Matt has worked hard and fitted in very well; I will be sorry to see him go. During his time at Charterhouse he has handled thousands of 54 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

items, some of high value and some of more modest values, but he has never expressed an opinion on anything he has seen, touched or handled, until just the other day. This could, of course, be down to his choice of Master’s degree which was in Mechanical Engineering, clearly a world apart from antiques. I understand that this is where his heart lies, and future career will be, but it was still interesting to finally get a reaction from him! The item in question was a 1960s Novoplast free-standing rocket-lamp. Being honest, it is quite a cool-looking lamp, not really to my taste, but still quite a funky lot, and this got me thinking about two clocks

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in our December auction which will attract buyers from both ends of the clock-collecting market. Both clocks are estimated to sell for £400-600 and differ in age by 200 years. One is a traditional longcase clock. From a deceased estate in Dorset, this graced the owner’s home for decades. Dating to the mid- to late18th century it has an eight-day movement striking on a bell. Fitted in a black lacquered case with chinoiserie style decoration, it stands at seven-and-a-half-feet high, is quite imposing and oozes charm - to me anyway. The other clock is probably more up Matt’s street than mine. It is a Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos clock. Dating to around the same time as the Novoplast rocket lamp,

this comes from a deceased estate near Salisbury. In many respects, this is the polar opposite of the 18th century longcase clock. Unlike the longcase clock, it does not need to be wound manually as it gets the energy it needs to run from temperature and atmospheric pressure changes in the environment and can run for years without human intervention. No doubt this will appeal to Matt’s mechanical mind. It will be interesting to see which one of the clocks fairs better on the day, whether the antique like me or the younger Matt model! charterhouse-auction.com sherbornetimes.co.uk | 55

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THE TRUE COLOURS OF NATURE Suzy Newton, Partners in Design


he Natural History Museum in London is a global authority on nature, conservation and scientific discovery, creating wonder for all who visit. Who better, then, to help Farrow and Ball capture the true colours of the world around us and to bring those colours into your home? Farrow and Ball and the Natural History Museum have a shared curiosity and respect for the natural world and a passion for finding the fascinating stories behind the everyday. The dazzling variety of the natural world is evident throughout the museum, from rocks and precious stones to delicate butterfly wings, however there’s one source that perfectly celebrates the biological diversity and magnificent array of colours behind each display case. This is kept in the museum’s rare book library. The exciting collaboration with the Natural History Museum is inspired by Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, the original book which classified colour in nature. It was, perhaps most famously, an indispensable tool for Charles Darwin on his 1831–36 voyage aboard HMS Beagle, allowing him to describe and record his findings. Today, it serves as the inspiration for Farrow and Ball’s new collection, Colour by Nature, which features 16 colours drawn directly from the natural world, all created in eco-friendly, water-based paints to help you bring the true colours of nature into your home. The story of the Colour by Nature collection has been over two centuries in the making. A ground-breaking classification of colour in nature, Werner’s Nomenclature recorded in painstaking detail the exact hues and corresponding parts of animals, vegetables and minerals from across the natural world, becoming a treasured resource for scientists and artists alike. Today, an early copy of Werner’s Nomenclature sits in the rare book library of the Natural History Museum. Each of Colour by Nature’s 16 shades, from jewel-toned Lake Red to earthy Broccoli Brown, is meticulously drawn from this one volume to create an exciting new palette. It wasn’t merely its status as the original reference for colour in nature that drew Farrow and Ball to Werner’s Nomenclature, rather its charming classifications and delightfully diverse range of influences – not unlike their own colour cards. With colour references including ‘White of the Human Eyeballs’ (Skimmed Milk White) and ‘Beauty Spot on Wing of Teal Drake’ (Emerald Green), Farrow and Ball colour creators felt right at home among its pages. Anyone who’s picked up a Farrow and Ball colour card over the past two decades will be familiar with the diversity of its colour names and stories. From old Dorset dialect words to families of plants, the sands of the Hamptons to the colourful powders of Holi festival, our colour creators’ inspiration can – and does – spring from anywhere. As well as working beautifully together, the 16 shades of Colour by Nature are designed to sit effortlessly alongside the core collection of 132 colours and handcrafted wallpapers. partners-in-design.co.uk

60 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

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64 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

THE CHRISTMAS TREE RITUAL Mike Burks, Managing Director of The Gardens Group


hoosing a Christmas tree is a big event for many people; it can be seen as the start of their Christmas celebrations. Some families wait until everyone is home before they call in to select their tree. Often, it’s a very happy occasion with much laughter, but on some occasions it can be contentious, with debates about the merits of bushiness versus space to fit baubles or whether a slim tree is better for the space than a wider tree. The selection process is usually one of the Christmas traditions. It certainly is in our family, with myself and my daughter deciding, always in the evening with the same discussions and the same decision – a Noble Fir – but the ritual must be respected. There are many versions of how the tradition of having a Christmas tree in the house came to be. Some say that its association with the Christian faith began in Germany in the 7th or 8th century when St Boniface discovered a group of pagans worshipping an oak tree. In anger he chopped down the oak and to everyone’s amazement, a fir tree grew in its place. It was not until the 16th century that conifers were brought indoors at Christmas when apparently Martin Luther began to decorate trees to celebrate Christmas after he was inspired by the snowdusted beauty of some firs in the moonlight. He added candles to a tree that he set up in his house, which he lit in honour of the birth of Christ. In the 1840s, Prince Albert brought a Christmas tree over from Germany for Windsor Castle and soon it became popular in Britain. One of the difficulties nowadays is the number of choices possible. Gone are the days when it was just the size of the Norway Spruce that was the issue. We now stock seven or eight different varieties and in lots of sizes and forms including cut, potted and pot-grown trees from specialist growers in the UK. The Norway Spruce is the traditional Christmas tree and it provides a distinctive Christmas tree scent to any home. The Nordmann, Noble and Fraser Firs are the ultimate in Christmas trees. Their luxury, proportioned look and feel make them second to none. They also have little needle drop and the Fraser Fir has a wonderful scent. The Lodgepole Pine has a bushy shape, long, green needles and a wonderful, natural pine scent. This is

probably the best tree for needle retention. Living pot-grown trees have a full root system and after Christmas this type of tree has a chance of survival when planted in the garden. However, it’s not always straightforward because the way we treat Christmas trees is completely at odds with the way we treat any other plant. We move it from cold, outdoor conditions into a hot sitting-room, sometimes by the fire, with little water and then, when we are fed up with it, it gets put straight back out into the cold. No wonder the tree gets a bit distressed! In order to get a potted tree to survive, put it into the house as close to Christmas as possible - preferably after a period in a cold greenhouse or conservatory - and then take it back outside as soon as possible after Christmas. Keep it well watered throughout this time. The following year lift it with as many roots as possible and pot it into a large container and keep well-watered throughout. With cut trees, remove the netting they are wrapped in when you arrive home and allow the tree to regain its natural shape. Cut perhaps one to two inches off the bottom of the trunk and stand the tree in a bucket of water outside until you are ready to bring it into the house. The later it is brought into the house, the better the needle retention for all types of trees. Choose a position in your house away from direct heat and radiators and keep it upright in a stand that will hold water. Keep the water topped up as regularly as you can. Whereas many people now prefer an artificial tree with none of the fuss and needle issues (and most now are very realistic) I think there is a joy with a real tree. Real trees are carbon neutral, recyclable and non-toxic. The Gardens Group only sources Christmas trees from growers who have clear replanting policies in place, and they are usually grown in areas where very little else could be grown. After Christmas some local councils will collect trees for recycling, and The Gardens Group does too if purchased from one of our centres. The shredded trees can be used as mulch or for soil improvement. thegardeneronline.co.uk sherbornetimes.co.uk | 65


DIARY OF A FLOWER-FARMER Paul Stickland, Black Shed Flowers


ne of the most frequent questions we’re asked is, ‘What do you do at the end of the season?’ The most honest answer is, breathe a huge sigh of relief! After supplying thousands and thousands of stems, from the first spring anemones, ranunculus and tulips back in the chilly reaches of March to the last dahlias and chrysanthemums in the equally cold and extremely soggy weeks of October and November, what we’d really like to do is decamp to warmer climes for a bit of rest and recuperation. In reality, there is even more work to do! The first blackening frosts drew the dahlia season to an abrupt halt in late October. We immediately grasped the opportunity to dig out those varieties whose tenure with us had drawn to a close - in some cases with considerable delight as there are several that have been annoying me all summer. Hurling them onto the compost heap was a considerable joy, not just to see the end of them but also to create space for all those varieties that our fellow flower farmer’s have been growing, photos of which have appeared on their Instagram feeds. Fashions change too and we have to try to predict what will work for us and our customers next year. Hot pinks and reds will feature heavily. We have all the subtle corals, soft pinks and oranges that we need for the foreseeable future, the burgundy beds are bulging, and we have more than enough of the bride’s delight and grower’s nightmare, Café au Lait. Last winter we left our 500 dahlias in the ground, covered with a generous mulch of composted household waste. Whilst this provided us with an abundance of blooms in mid-June, by the end of the season it was clear that the plants were giving us far fewer blooms, and on shorter stems, than the blooms we were getting off the cuttings we had taken in the early spring. So, this year, we’ll leave some in for early flowers but we’ll dig up our very best varieties to carefully store over winter, ready to refresh our entire stock with fresh cuttings for next season. This is a trick that we learnt from a grower who

66 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

specialises in growing for Covent Garden; the quality of his blooms and their extraordinary stem length bear witness to this practice. There is of course much else to do. Helen has been digging huge trenches for the 7000 exquisite tulips that we ordered way back in the summer. There are thousands of ranunculus and anemones to sprout and plant, new beds to prepare, shrubs and trees to plant, rather a lot of weeding to do and 24 tons of compost waiting to be distributed on our several hundred flower beds. Perhaps most excitingly is the imminent arrival of our fantastic new polytunnel, the most satisfying result of a very successful season. This will be a total game changer for Black Shed. It will extend our season in both directions, providing shelter for our gorgeous early spring flowers and allowing us to grow flowers well into November and beyond. It will allow us to grow more tender subjects - expect mimosa, tuberose and much more! It’ll also streamline our seedling production, winning back our poor house from the deluge of winter seed trays in the process! Murphy the lurcher and Leo the handsome farm cat have asked for a comfy sofa - very sensible I say, and I’m sure we’ll be no strangers to it! All of which brings us to this next, most important, month in our calendar, December, and the arrival of a small forest of our amazing bushy Christmas trees and a flurry of wreath-making with our abundance of delicious dried flowers. Our silos are full of these echoes of summer, quite literally stored sunshine, and we’ll be creating a wealth of decorations to fill the homes of our wonderful customers. Then, before we know it, January and the New Year will have arrived and we’ll be sowing all the seeds that we’ve been tempted to buy from all those glossy seed catalogues, and we’ll be off again. What a life! Blackshedflowers.blogspot.co.uk @blackshedflowers @blackshedhelen

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 67

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Words Jo Denbury Photography Katharine Davies

t’s a familiar soundtrack to the English countryside: the chime of church bells filling the valley on a Sunday morning. Sherborne’s bells have been heard for longer than most with bells rung at the Abbey since medieval times. Traditionally the bell-ringers stood at the ‘transept’ of the church but, in 1858, a ringing chamber was built for them and we no longer see the ropes dangling the 100-feet drop to the floor. Instead the bell-ringers climb the 77 steps of the narrow spiral staircase to their chamber. As Jane Williams says, ‘Each time I do it I feel I am walking into history. From the chamber you can see both of the castles in one direction and towards Thornford in the other. There is also a real sense of the seasons from up there yet our chamber is always warm and comforting.’ >

70 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

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72 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Jane is a recent recruit; she joined the group three years ago because she wanted to learn something new and meet new people. ‘What I didn’t realise is how incredibly complicated it is.’ Change ringing creates cascading notes known as rounds or methods and have mathematical permutations that allow each bell to sound its fullest note. It takes practice to get the rhythm right but, as it’s a team activity, everyone tries to help each other. ‘Everyone is incredibly supportive,’ says Jane of the group. Nick Baker is the ringing master at Sherborne Abbey and it is his job to call the ‘methods’ — what looks like a mathematical pattern (or even a secret code) but certainly not music. When I ask what makes a ringing master, Nick laughs. ‘Patience!’ he says. He lives in Buckland Newton and began ringing 29 years ago when he was 11. His mother was a bell-ringer but it was Jan Keohane, who is now the group’s secretary, who taught him. Jan herself began ringing in the late 1960s in Devon. ‘I was in my teens and a friend at school started, so I joined her.’ Next year will be her 40th year ringing at the Abbey. I think I should put a warning here: bell-ringing is clearly addictive. Tim Phillips agrees. He grew up in Surrey and it was at the age of 13 that his choir mistress told him to leave the choir, join the bell-ringers and to come back to the choir when his voice had broken. ‘I then stopped ringing when I was 17 but returned to it at 42. A guy came to

fix my roof and said they needed bell-ringers at the local church where I was living at the time, so I went along and that got me going again. That was 29 years ago and I have been ringing ever since.’ So what makes bell-ringing so addictive? ‘There are so many elements,’ says Jan. ‘It gets you up and out of the house, socialising and exercising. It’s a physical hobby that is very satisfying. Sustaining a ring for three quarters of an hour takes full concentration. You can’t wander off mentally because then you will go wrong.’ So it’s a sensory experience? ‘Yes,’ agrees Jan. ‘It’s about listening and timing.’ ‘It is also very social,’ adds Tim. Bell-ringing is thirsty work and bell-ringers did have a reputation of bad behaviour but the Victorians put a stop to that. Nowadays you are more likely to find the Abbey ringers in the Plume of Feathers after their Tuesday practice or on tour. They have a visit to France lined up for next July and regularly visit local churches for visits and a pub lunch afterwards. There are also opportunities to ring other bells in the parish such as the historic St Martin of Tours, Lillington and St James’s in Longburton. Tactfully, they don’t disclose any mishaps in the belfry, such as those apocryphal tales when an overenthusiastic ringer might pull too hard and disappear skyward still clinging to the rope. ‘My ultimate aim is to teach people so that they can ring any bell without endangering themselves or the bell,’ says Tim. > sherbornetimes.co.uk | 73

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76 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Jane agrees that ‘the supportive teaching has meant she has worked up towards being a Sunday bell-ringer and has only recently rung for a wedding. ‘A two and half ton bell is a force to overcome,’ she says. ‘There is friction and resistance.’ While I consider the physics of being in charge of a lump of bronze weighing more than a small car, hurling back and forth via a rope pulled from the floor below, the conversation has moved back to the history of bell-ringing at the Abbey. The Abbey is lucky enough to have ‘Great Tom’, the tenor bell whose predecessor was said to have been given to the Abbey by Cardinal Wolsey in around 1514. It’s a bell that requires strength and technique. In fact, the Abbey is famous for having the heaviest rings of eight bells anywhere in the world. The most physical of work comes at the start when the ringers ‘pull off ’ the bells to begin the chorus. Mercifully two lighter bells were added during renovations in the mid-1800s, which means that when numbers of bell-ringers are short they can leave out the two heaviest bells. Bell-ringers from all over the country visit Sherborne to ring a ‘peal’. To qualify as a peal, the ringing must be continuous for around four hours and include 5,000 different changes. A repeat would mean that the ringing

doesn’t qualify as a peal. It’s quite a challenge and, to the untrained ear, it would be hard to recognise a repeat. However, it is this level of detail that appeals to many of the bell-ringers — mathematically-minded, quiet achievers in a very noisy job. As John Cawood, who has been tower captain for the last three years, says, ‘You get a huge buzz out of producing a good sound together. It’s physically challenging and not easy.’ Without digging too deep into the secret life of ‘campanologists’ (as bell-ringers are officially known), it is quite clear that Sherborne’s bell-ringers are a passionate bunch and welcoming of newcomers looking try their hand on the ropes. ‘After all,’ says Jan, ‘the Abbey is our local parish church so everyone is welcome. We are just the group who are heard but not seen.’ Their Practices take place every Tuesday evening at 7.30pm, meeting by the “Saxon Door” of the Abbey near the car park. sherborneabbeybellringers.com The Bells of Sherborne Abbey by Peter Soole and Katherine Barker is available from the Abbey Shop and Bookstall, Winstone’s Bookshop, the Museum and the Tourist Information Centre at £4.50. sherbornetimes.co.uk | 77


Dorset Delights Catering Event Catering for all Occasions Weddings, Funeral Wakes, Canapes, Birthdays, Anniversaries‌ dorsetdelights@hotmail.co.uk Alice 07783 928532 Louise 07743 780609 Pippins, North Cadbury, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7DB www.dorsetdelightscatering.co.uk 78 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

V I N E YA R D & W I N E R Y

Normal opening times: 11am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday Christmas Opening: 9am to 2pm: 24th December Closed: 25th & 26th December 11am to 5pm: 27th, 28th & 30th December 9am to 2pm: 31st December Closed: 1st January Normal opening from 2nd January


Food and Drink




love Christmas. I may forget other things but Christmas memories remain clear and bright. I like family to help me decorate the Christmas cake - this is certainly one to do with children. You could use any of my Victoria sponge recipes or try out this chocolate cake, which isn’t too sweet but very chocolatey. The original recipe is Mary Berry’s but I have added ingredients to it. It has a silken Italian buttercream frosting which is more time-consuming than buttercream to make but well worth the effort. Time: 30 minutes to prepare, 10 minutes to make the cake, 20-30 minutes baking time, 30 minutes chilling time, 20 minutes to assemble and decorate.

1 tspn chocolate extract

What you will need

For the drip icing Drip icing in a squeezy bottle

3 deep, loose-bottom, 8in round tins, greased and lined with baking parchment Stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer Cake turntable 9in cake board Wilton 2D nozzle Offset palette knife Cake scraper Ingredients Serves 12-24

All the ingredients should be at room temperature For the cake 70g cocoa powder 250ml boiling water 30g dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa solids) 230g softened unsalted butter 325g light muscovado sugar (press out any lumps from the sugar before adding to the butter) 2 medium free-range eggs plus extra egg yolks (save the whites for the frosting) 1 tspn vanilla extract 80 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

¼ tspn cinnamon 4 tbsp creme fraiche 230g self-raising flour Pinch of fine sea salt For the filling and frosting 200g dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa solids) 125ml double cream 2 medium egg whites 200g caster sugar 450g unsalted butter, softened and diced small

Decorations Miniature bought meringues Candy sticks Miniature gingerbread men (homemade or bought) Any Christmas treats you like To make the cake

1 Set the oven 160C, 180C, gas mark 4. 2 Sift the cocoa into a heatproof bowl and pour on the boiling water, add the chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is smooth and lump-free. Set aside to cool. 3 Beat the butter in the mixer until light and creamy, add the sugar and combine slowly until fully incorporated then beat until light, pale and fluffy. 4 Place the eggs, and vanilla and chocolate extracts in a bowl and whisk until mixed. 5 Gradually add the egg mixture into the butter mixture, fold in the cooled chocolate mixture, then the creme fraiche. 6 Sift in the flour, cinnamon and salt, then fold into

the mixture with a large metal spoon. 7 Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, (listen to your cakes after 20 minutes and if they are still crackling let them bake until they are almost quiet). When baked, run a knife around the edges and allow to cool for 2 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. To make the frosting

1 Put the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a pan and heat slowly until just boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate, stir until smooth and allow to stand at room temperature to cool, stirring occasionally. 2 Put the egg whites and sugar in a heat-proof bowl and whisk with a hand-held electric mixer until frothy. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the base of the bowl is well above the simmering water. Continue to whisk until the mixture is thick, stiff and glossy. Place the pan on a damp cloth and continue to whisk until cool. 3 Gradually add the butter pieces a few at a time and beat until fully incorporated. 4 Whisk in the chocolate and cream mixture. Divide the frosting between two bowls. If the frosting is too soft to spread and pipe, place the bowls in the fridge to chill for a few minutes. To assemble the cake

1 Place a dessert spoon of frosting on the display board to anchor the cake. 2 Using one bowl of frosting, place a layer of cake on the board and spread 3-4 tablespoons of the frosting onto the cake. 3 Repeat this with the remaining layers and then, making sure you have a flat-base layer for the last layer, place this on the cake. 4 Use the second bowl of frosting to create a seminaked cake. Thickly spread frosting around the side of the cake. Use a palette knife or a cake shaper to remove the excess. 5 Spread a final layer of frosting evenly on the top of the cake. 6 Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes for the frosting to firm up. 7 To pipe the drip layer, hold the bottle at a slight angle which will encourage it to drizzle down the side. As the cake is chilled it will prevent the drip layer from running down completely and pooling on the cake base.

Tip: start at the back of the cake to get the hang of it. Fill in the middle of the top of the cake with a thin layer of chocolate if you wish. Using a 2D nozzle in a disposable piping bag, pipe swirls on the top with the remaining frosting. Using your artistic talent, add all the bits and pieces, adding more swirls of frosting to fill in any gaps. Either serve straight away or place in the fridge to firm up for 2 hours before serving. This cake can be kept in a fridge for up to 3 days. If you are having a busy week, bake the cakes when you have time and either freeze if needed more than 3 days ahead or leave in the fridge in an airtight tin until ready to be decorated. If you don’t wish to make the ‘sweet-covered’ cake you can omit the drip icing and the sweet decorating and pipe roses on top instead. Add chocolate-covered coffee beans and chocolate buttons. It has been a pleasure sharing my recipes with you for another year. May your Christmas be happy and the coming year bring you peace, happiness and contentment. Val’s recipe book, Val Stones, The Cake Whisperer is available from the website. bakerval.com sherbornetimes.co.uk | 81

Food and Drink


Sasha & Tom Matkevich, The Green Restaurant


ften baked then hung with ribbon from the Christmas tree, these biscuits have a subtle, festive flavour. You might find that by Christmas Day most will have disappeared! The addition of caraway is traditional and delicious here but feel free to replace it with other festive flavours. Ingredients Makes 40 biscuits.

65g butter 70g soft light brown sugar 1½ tbsp honey 300g plain flour 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg 2½ tsp ground ginger 1 tsp toasted caraway seeds ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda 4 tbsp milk 1 medium egg Method

1 Preheat oven to 180°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. 2 Heat the honey, sugar and butter in the pan and stir until dissolved, then remove from the heat immediately and let cool for 2 minutes 3 Meanwhile, mix flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda in large bowl. Add the sugar mixture, egg and milk and combine into a smooth dough. 4 Roll out the dough to ½cm thick then cut into shapes, either by hand or with biscuit cutters. Poke a hole for ribbon with a skewer. 5 Bake for 10 minutes until beautifully golden brown. Allow to cool, then tie ribbons through the holes to form hanging decorations. greenrestaurant.co.uk 82 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Demand for food parcels in and around Sherborne continues to be very high but donations are not keeping pace. Sherborne Food Bank relies solely on the generous food and cash donations from the community and remains in urgent need of your help. When shopping please consider adding the following items to your trolley: • Tinned Vegetables and Meals • Rice and Pasta • Bottles/Jars/Cartons Donation points can be easily found at

Financial donations can also be made via our website. Thank you.

www.sherbornefoodbank.org 07854 163869 | help@sherbornefoodbank.org


TABLE TABLE CHRISTMAS Order our homegrown Tamworth ham, sausages, sausage-meat and bacon The finest quality and flavour for your Christmas table!

See more at www.thestorypig.co.uk A wide selection of Tamworth meats and meat boxes. Please email or phone us with your individual requirements. Also now taking bookings for our amazing Tamworth Hog roasts, you have never had crackling like it!! Elena Schweitzer/Shutterstock

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Food and Drink

A MONTH OF THE PIG FARM James Hull, The Story Pig


ell, down on the farm it is now officially ‘bloody wet’! Since last month it has done nothing but rain. The new paddocks that we made have been churned up and we have had to make them bigger already to cope with the winter ahead. Areas that we had planned to reseed have had to be abandoned until next year and the seed we bought put away for now. Even the quad bike and trailer slide around as if on a slalom run. We have piglets being born at every turn, 40 since last writing. They seem to quite like this weather; any respite between the rain and they are out digging and tearing around like lunatics. We have 7 more sows and gilts to farrow in the next 4 weeks which will swell our numbers even higher. It’s this time of year, when the days are short and we are constantly chasing the clock, that the list of jobs gets bigger rather than smaller, however hard we try. The new garden has had to take a back seat lately; we just haven’t had the spare time to weed and dig all the new beds. We have 2000 spring bulbs still to plant - small wild daffodils, snowdrops and snake’s head fritillary – but hopefully by the time you read this they will all be in. For some strange reason, back when the days were 84 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

longer and the sun was shining, it seemed like a great idea to add to the workload by buying some sheep. We wanted a breed that matched our Tamworth’s: an unusual, rare breed, quirky and tasty! So, we dived in and went searching on the internet. A trip to Stogumber on a dry Sunday afternoon to look at various groups ensued and we picked out the ones we wanted, which didn’t include the one that flew over the fence in front of us like Red Rum! We now have a small flock of Castlemilk Moorits. They are not like conventional sheep, being smaller with large, curving horns. I would describe them as looking like cross between a sheep and a roe deer. As they are smaller, they are normally into their second year before they are eaten. This, I have been assured, means the meat is tender with an amazing flavour. We plan to cure the legs in the future, as and when possible. Charlotte is already getting excited about Christmas and telling me how many days there are to go until the big day. We are gearing up for Christmas market season: Charlotte informs me that we will be attending markets in Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Poundbury, Weymouth and Poole, so we hope to see lots of our readers over the next few weeks. Please do come and say hello. thestorypig.co.uk

Little Barwick House Restaurant with rooms


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The Three Wishes 78 Cheap Street, Sherborne, DT9 3BJ 01935 817777 thethreewishes.co.uk

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 85

Food and Drink



ortified wines are intriguing, beguiling and somewhat curious; they are also particularly enjoyable in the colder winter months as they have been fortified with grape spirit. I recently wrote on the subject of Vermouth. This article discusses Port, Sherry and Madeira. I start with Port because we have been shipping wine from Portugal since the twelfth century. It was then part of a three-cornered trade: English wool to Newfoundland, cod from Newfoundland to northern Portugal, and wine from the Oporto region to England. We don’t know exactly when it was first fortified but it is not unreasonable to assume that a little grape spirit was used to fortify basic white wines and keep them stable 86 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

on long sea voyages. In a later refinement, grape spirit was added during the fermentation which inhibited the yeast and resulted in some unfermented residual sugar, a procedure which has been followed ever since. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Taylor, Warre, Croft and Kopke were among those that developed the trade with England. This was further boosted by the Methuen Treaty of 1703 which granted Portugal very favourable import duty rates over French wines when yet again the English and French were at odds with each other. Port shipments to England in the eighteenth century were colossal because it became the preferred drink of country squires who delighted in toasting

Paul Flett/Shutterstock

their monarch with port wine. Amusing cartoons of the period show white-whiskered old men with gout, leaving us in no doubt about their enthusiasm for the wine. There are two basic types of port: one is mainly matured in wood and the other, made only in exceptional vintages, is matured in bottle over many years and referred to as vintage port. Wood ports are divided into ruby and tawny and generally don’t benefit from ageing in bottle. Tawny ports are those most often preferred with English cheeses, notably Stilton. Vintage ports are generally served as a finale to a grand banquet. At one time port-loving fathers would lay down a dozen bottles of a good vintage for

the sons of the manse on their christening day. There is also Late Bottled vintage (LBV) from a single vintage matured for 4 years which is ready to drink earlier than vintage port. Sherries come in three main styles. Finos are pale and dry and include a style known as manzanilla, which are like finos but have a lovely salty tang due to the vineyards being close to the Atlantic. Darker amontillados are basically fino wines that have been blended with other wines of different ages in a series of different casks. The third style is the classic dark, dry, old oloroso. Both Emilio Lustau and Williams & Humbert produce 50cl or 37cl bottles available in most supermarkets and wine merchants. I consider the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 12-year-old Amontillado and 12-year old-Oloroso (at around £8 for 50cl.) to represent the very best wine value in Britain. These wines are perfect with home-made soups on winters days. Just a half glass. Go on! Treat yourself, and delight guests. Oloroso also pairs well with hard cheeses. Madeira is another old favourite of mine but not exactly top of the pops with modern wine drinkers. Michael Broadbent MW, an old friend and Director of Christies wine department, used to offer visitors Verdelho in mid-morning. ‘Much better for you than coffee,’ he would say. If you visited in the afternoon, he served Bual with a reminder that it was, ‘far more refreshing than tea.’ Madeira is a fascinating wine which came about by accident. When Frances Drake et al were ravaging the Spanish treasure ships in the Caribbean, Madeira was probably their last port of call before crossing the Atlantic. They took wine aboard (it was safer than water) and the tropical heat caused it to develop in a way that pleased imbibers. Thus, Madeira producers replicated it in their production process calling it estufagem, heating the wines up to 45C for around four months. They not only survived the Atlantic crossing but kept in good condition for a long time. Madeira became extremely popular in America with the establishment of the 13 colonies. When I visited Thomas Jefferson’s house at Monticello, I learned that Madeira occupied the greatest amount of his generous cellar space. Meanwhile, for us, Verdelho and Sercial are most commonly taken as an aperitif, and Bual and Malmsey as digestif, with rich Malmsey a favourite with a piece of fruit cake at tea-time. So, light the fire, bring out the cake tin and take to Malmsey to keep winter at bay. sherbornetimes.co.uk | 87

Pet, Equine & Farm Animals

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88 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

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Animal Care

YOUR GUIDE TO A VET-FREE CHRISTMAS Mark Newton-Clarke, MA VetMB PhD MRCVS Newton Clarke Veterinary Surgeons


thought I would get into the festive spirit by trying to look at Christmas from our pets’ point of view. We humans might enjoy all the preparations, albeit perhaps inversely proportional to our age, but some dogs find it quite unsettling. Most of us are familiar with the mood changes of our dogs when domestic routines differ: the sulking as suitcases are filled for an impending holiday or the affront shown at the arrival of ‘unwelcome’ visitors, especially if they arrive with a dog or two. How best to manage this situation? First meetings are best done on neutral ground where there is plenty of space, not the front room full of Christmas decorations. Have all dogs on leads, each with their own handler, and set off for a walk in single file. Avoid stare-offs as direct eye contact is an open challenge in the canine world. Allow some sniffs and hopefully wags and then, if there has been no escalation of conflict, reward each dog. The next stage is interaction with leads dragging so that speedy intervention is possible if things 90 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

kick off. The goal of this strategy is to fragment the contact so that any aggression is not allowed to spiral upwards. Whether dogs get on seems to be dependent on a number of factors, including age, breed, sex and temperament but if the ‘chemistry’ is right, all should be well. Don’t leave the dogs alone in the same room and beware of flash-points, often food, human attention or just the excitement of preparations for a walk. The modern trend for fireworks at any celebration can add to some of our dogs’ woes. If you have a pet like this, you may already know how to reduce their stress levels, making a refuge away from the party where a calm environment can be enhanced with natural products designed to soothe the troubled canine mind. Ask for advice at the surgery if you are unsure which products work best as some have been clinically tested and have proven benefits. Many of us still bring a real pine tree into the home, for the wonderful smell they give as much as for the


decoration, along with an assortment of hedgerow branches shedding all sorts of berries and prickly leaves. If you think the fragrance of fresh pine is strong, magnify that by several thousand and that’s what your dog smells. And what an opportunity for those dogs who hate going out into the cold and wet for toilets... my thoughtful owner has provided a perfect indoor watering post! With electrical sockets and lights nearby, the unlikely but possible is not an attractive thought. House rabbits are more likely to chew electrical cables rather than urinate on them and the same goes for puppies and kittens. However, young cats and kittens are often drawn to a Christmas tree, real or artificial, having an insatiable desire to climb up through the branches - amusing until the whole thing comes crashing down (as happened in my house a few years’ ago!). Some trees also come with additives to put in the water, much like the little sachets that are used with cut flowers to prolong life. Whilst it may well do that

for plants, it certainly does not for animals. There can be toxic ingredients in the additives so ensure that the Christmas tree bucket cannot become an extra water bowl by keeping it covered. Keep an eye out for any chewed tree branches too. Pine is not particularly toxic but the sap is irritant, causing salivation and digestive upsets. Not what you want on Christmas morning! Fallen needles are obviously sharp and can prick paws and get in eyes so choose a tree that sheds as little as possible. Before we leave the toxicology part, holly and mistletoe are both toxic and irritant to dogs and cats and so keep the decorations out of temptation’s way. I don’t need to remind you that fresh grapes and dried fruit are potentially toxic to dogs, as are garlic and onions in quantity. We all know about chocolate but cocoa powder is by far the most dangerous, the toxic dose being just a few grams. So, the house is decorated, the presents are under the tree and a tremendous amount of activity is underway on Christmas morning. The excitement is infectious, added to by the enticing smells of roasting lunch at breakfast time, hunger pangs made worse by the unwrapping of delicacies which hopefully have been kept safely away from prying noses and not left under the tree. Perhaps one or two just might be forgotten under a pile of discarded wrapping. Not forgotten for long. Now, leaving the best till last, what about gifts for our canine and feline family members? I favour presents that make dogs and cats either safer or happier or both, for example, fluorescent or flashing dog collars, waterproof jackets (my terriers hate the wet as much as Portia the Labrador loves it) or a new supportive bed for the older dog who spends more time lying down and can get elbow pressure sores. Cats love to elevate themselves (literally and socially) and so making a resting place up high gives them comfort. I saw a wall unit on the internet with resting places on different levels that cats can climb up to, quite expensive but what price a happy cat? If a little more activity is called for to limit the feline waistline, there are play balls that can be filled with food which spills out when rolled around. Those few extra calories used can make all the difference in the long run. Perhaps a lesson for the rest of us! May we here at Swan House wish all of you a happy and harmonious Christmas and New Year. As I’m on duty on Christmas Day, maybe I will have the opportunity to reiterate that in person (although I hope not!). newtonclarkevet.com sherbornetimes.co.uk | 91

Animal Care



estive preparations are well and truly underway and for one of our farm clients this means that their animals are gearing up for their busiest night of the year! Every year, the team of six friendly reindeer help Father Christmas at Stewarts Garden Centres in Christchurch and Broomhill, ahead of their trip to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. As the reindeer’s vet, it’s a huge responsibility to ensure their health at such an important time, but it’s also an absolute pleasure to work alongside these incredibly special animals throughout the year, especially as their happiness and welfare is paramount to their owner, Susie Stewart. Veterinary duties for a farm animal practitioner certainly include exciting, middle-of-the-night calls and challenging emergency visits, however a lot of our work centres around health planning and implementing preventative medicine protocols. We strive to work with our clients to avoid as many emergency situations and life-threatening diseases as possible and this mantra is at 92 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

the heart of our reindeer care. Clostridial diseases (such as Tetanus) are caused by bacteria that live in the environment, particularly in soil. These bacteria produce infective spores and, if ingested or introduced to the bloodstream via wounds or injuries, proliferate dramatically, releasing deadly toxins that kill. Several species, including sheep, goats, cattle and deer, are susceptible but thankfully there are excellent vaccinations available to protect these animals from disease. The reindeer are vaccinated every six months to ensure they continue to maintain a high protective immunity against clostridial diseases. Reindeer are herbivores and love nothing more than foraging in hedgerows and grazing meadow grass, however their absolute favourite food and a real treat is a high-carbohydrate lichen called ‘Reindeer Moss’. In the wild they sniff it out and use their antlers or long, curved toes to dig through the snow to find it. Stewart’s reindeer also eat a well-balanced diet that includes reindeer nuts, wheat straw and sugar beet pulp.

Image: Sam Stewart

As with many grazing animals, reindeer are at risk of ingesting parasites such as gut worms and liver fluke that commonly infect UK pastures. If ingested they can cause significant internal organ damage, affect growth rates, cause diarrhoea and can even be fatal. When these parasites are eaten, they develop in the reindeer’s gut and produce eggs that are excreted in the reindeer’s faeces. We regularly screen the reindeer’s dung for these eggs and can then treat them as required before extensive damage is done. With the onset of climate change, the traditional Sami reindeer herders are now having to learn new husbandry skills such as worm control for their wild herds. Warmer temperatures mean these parasites are better equipped at surviving in areas that used to be much colder. This means that reindeer have met such threats relatively recently and therefore lack the immunity (that would usually develop with age) against such parasites, so they must be tested throughout their life. Other regular treatments include a multivitamin

and mineral drench which helps boost their immunity and supports them at times when natural metabolic stress can be high, for example during antler growth. Interestingly, reindeer are the only species of deer where both the males and females have antlers. The antlers follow an annual growth cycle that is controlled by seasonal fluctuations in hormone concentrations. Every spring the reindeer grow a new set of antlers that are then shed over winter. Males would usually shed their antlers after the rut, however the castrated males do not produce testosterone to trigger this cycle naturally, so we have to remove the antlers, typically in January. If left in situ the regeneration of antlers would still occur in late April/May but would lead to disfigured growths and painful antler deformities. The herd’s wild relatives originate from Finland and Sweden where they can experience the harshest of winter weather. Reindeer comfortably survive in extremely low temperatures due to the evolution of some ingenious survival adaptations. The reindeer have feet like no other cloven-hoofed animal. Their toenails are long and flat, spreading out to act like snow-shoes to stop them sinking. The reindeer have a deep, dense covering of hair, with hollow guard hairs that maximise the insulating properties of their coats. They even have an extensive and intricate network of blood vessels inside the nose. This clever heat exchange system ensures cold air is warmed before it is breathed in, explaining the theory of Rudolph’s red nose! I have been lucky enough to develop the veterinary knowledge of these animals having worked with the team at Stewart’s for the last 10 years. The one thing that never fails to amaze me and always strikes me as extraordinary is the clicking noise the reindeer make as they walk. This noise is made by the tendons in the feet and serves a very sensible purpose: when a herd is caught in white-out blizzard conditions, they can still locate each other by listening for this sound. I wonder if, on Christmas Eve, after you have left out some tasty refreshments for Father Christmas and perhaps the reindeer’s favourite moss, you will listen out for the clicking of the reindeer feet landing on your rooftop? The team at Friars Moor Vets would like to wish their loyal clients good health for their families, pets and livestock and we hope you all have a very happy Christmas and a productive year ahead! friarsmoorvets.co.uk @AliceMillerVet sherbornetimes.co.uk | 93

elizabethwatsonillustration.com Escape the Christmas rush and join us at Amelia Rose to feel rejuvenated and party ready with our December treatment offer. Enjoy a Candlelit Back Neck and Shoulder Massage, an Amelia Rose Instant Glow Facial and a File and Varnish with our Christmas colours along with mince pies and hot drink. ÂŁ50 per person or bring a friend and pay ÂŁ45 each for two people. 1 The Green, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3HY T: 01935 389688 E: bookings@ameliarosebeauty.co.uk www.ameliarosebeauty.co.uk

94 | Sherborne Times | December 2019



e are over the moon to announce that after months of swimming up (and down) the glorious domestic stream of newmumdom, our Sarah is back! And since there’s no rest for the wicked, we’re throwing her right back in at the deep end, where she’ll just have to find a way to cope with the huge swathes of you who will no doubt wish to take advantage of our offer of

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Body and Mind



ollowing the bridleway around the headland of Ballard Point we arrived at the village of Studland and a well-earned lunch stop at ‘The Pig’; sitting on wooden benches eating goats cheese and olive flatbreads with views over the English Channel towards the Isle of Wight was heaven! While we would have liked to have lingered a little longer, we still had 50 miles to complete so, knowing we would have to increase our pace to avoid arriving after dusk, we saddled up once more and settled into a purposeful rhythm. A mile out from the village of Studland we passed the Devil’s Anvil, a sandstone block of about 400 96 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

tons; legend has it that the rock was thrown by the Devil from the Needles on the Isle of Wight with the intention of hitting either Corfe Castle or Bindon Abbey. It’s not always easy to know when to hold back or when to press on but we eased off as the Goat Herd toiled up the sandy ascent to Godlingston Heath in the mid-afternoon heat; we had already climbed over 1,700 metres since leaving Sherborne and we now fought to stay upright on patches of loose sand that made the going especially challenging. Having successfully negotiated the medieval town of Anglebury (Wareham) we entered Morden Bog

National Nature Reserve with its superbly dressed gravel superhighways. We had been enjoying our day so much that we had somewhat lost track of time and it was now apparent that unless we upped our speed we would be arriving back in Sherborne after dusk; setting about the task, the Goat Herd clicked into their biggest gears and formed a pace line. The race was on as we chased our lengthening shadows and we were treated to glimpses of Roe deer and fox before they melted away into the dark woods as we sped northwards. At the northern boundary of the nature reserve lies the A35. Threading our way across the busy weekend

traffic, we continued onto a tranquil wooded track that lasted a short distance before 4 miles on country lanes. Whilst the tarmac offered us some respite, it was not long until we encountered the next gravel bridleway at Mapperton which took us onto the North Dorset Trailway, 2 miles south of Blandford St Mary. Our battered bodies were grateful for the respite from the rough tracks as we rode along the old Somerset and Dorset Railway line that threads its way through the quaint villages and bucolic countryside of the Blackmore Vale. Due to the lateness of the hour we did not stop for refreshments at Shillingstone railway carriage cafÊ, which is always a delightful place to enjoy a cup of tea and slice of cake. Sturminster Newton signaled the northern terminus of the Trailway. It is due to be extended to Stalbridge and beyond in the coming years but for now we made a short detour past Sturminster Newton Mill to Stalbridge lane which runs parallel with the old railway line. After 8 hours in the saddle we began to flag more than a little, but we pushed on as dusk was fast approaching and we still had 10 miles and three gravel sectors to complete. We made it back to Sherborne just after 8pm; it was a little darker than we would have liked. The Wessex Gravel Safari is not a race; riders are free to complete the 176km at whatever speed they wish so long as they do it safely and show respect to the countryside and other users of the trails and byways. We averaged just over 12mph (20kph) over the route which took 8hrs 20mins, not including stops for refreshments. We were out on the road for about 12 hours in total, and we enjoyed it all the more as a result. Rides like this are a wonderful alternative to organised events; they are huge fun and enjoyable but no less challenging. There are no spectators lining the finish straight, no bag of freebies that invariably get thrown in the bin, and no medals rusting away in some forgotten box in the garage – just a pint of gold in a pub and a smattering of cheeky comments from the regulars about middle aged men in Lycra. So next time you have a day available for cycling, round up a few friends and head off into the wonderful Wessex countryside. For more details on the Wessex Gravel Safari route or if you are interested in joining a Saturday morning ride please visit the website. thecircusboutique.com/cycle-rides. sherbornetimes.co.uk | 97

Body and Mind


Sarah Hitch, The Sanctuary Beauty Rooms and The Margaret Balfour Beauty Centre


hen you’ve got a big event or party to attend it’s helpful to get your make-up right so that it lasts and you feel your best. Before applying make-up, consider the base that you are putting it on. Exfoliate your skin, ideally a few hours before in case of any residual redness, so that there is a smooth and even base. Hydrate your skin with a serum to help firm, tighten and smooth, and then add a moisturiser. Allow this to sink in for about 10 minutes. If you’re in a rush, leave it just a couple of minutes and blot off any excess from shine-prone areas with a tissue. Next, apply a primer to your face; this is designed to blur fine lines, smooth the skin, and increase the adhesion of the make-up so that when you are partying or working hard it will stay put for longer. There are many choices for the make-up base depending on the coverage you need and like: a tinted moisturiser for a light, sheer glow; a BB (Beauty Balm) 98 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

cream which is a lightweight foundation; a CC (Colour Correcting) cream which has a lighter, whipped cream texture; or a full foundation. Foundation can be different weights and give different benefits to the skin such as firming, illuminating, mattifying and pore-reducing. Apply your chosen base carefully and either blend with the warmth of your fingertips or with an appropriate foundation brush. Don’t forget to take it slightly down your jawline and slightly towards your neck to avoid a tidemark line at the jaw. Blend around the eye area and then, if you need additional coverage, apply under-eye concealer. Apply gently with your fingertips above and below your eyes and to any other areas where you have a blemish that your base make-up has not covered. Again, allow that to soak in for a couple of minutes if possible. It is then advisable to lightly dust over a layer of loose or pressed powder, to help set your make up and to make

Lia Koltyrina/Shutterstock

blending easier. Work this powder down your face in criss-cross motions with a large powder brush to allow the hairs of the face to lie flat. Include your eyelids so that you can blend your eyeshadows effectively. Start your eye make-up with a light base colour, either matt or very slightly shimmered, in an ivory or soft cream shade applied with an eyeshadow brush. Its purpose is to even out the eye area further, support blending and slightly highlight the eye area and the browbone. Take a different shadow brush or a sponge applicator and apply a colour that complements your outfit or your eye colour. Use gentle stroking movements to colour your eye lid up to the crease of your eye socket. Then take a slightly larger contouring brush and apply shadow in a rich brown, a dusky grey or a soft mauve to use as a contouring aid. This darker colour should be seen the least however its use is the most affective in contouring

the eyes. The application of a darker coloured product will push back the eye area, so if you have quite deep-set eyes you will need to apply that darker contouring colour slightly above the eye crease line in order to hollow out and push back your overhanging lids. The general rule of thumb is a darker, smokier contouring shadow is used on the outer corner of the eyelids and gently blended a third of the way back in towards the corner of the eye. Use your original light- or ivory-coloured base shadow brush to blend a little bit more just to soften it off so that the colours are well blended with smudgy edges and are not just stripy areas of colour. We will continue your make-up walk through next month ready for the New Year! thesanctuarysherborne.co.uk margaretbalfour.co.uk sherbornetimes.co.uk | 99

Body & Mind

A ‘TOOL-BOX’ FOR ANXIETY Gayleen Hodson, Dorset Mind Blogger


100 | Sherborne Times | December 2019


he last six years have been a very long journey for me but I am now in a place where I can reflect and share a ‘tool-box’ which has helped me over the years. Staying Active

There is nothing worse than being in the depths of an anxious mood and being stuck in the house. You end up going round in circles in your head. The best thing to do is to get some fresh air and get active. Something I have done for myself over the years has been to take up regular walking and a hobby. I love baking and being crafty so I make sure that I schedule time to do this. Being Patient

It’s easy when you’re full of emotions to get caught up and take action. When you are patient and do not act instantly on your feelings, you can think logically. In the past I have made rash decisions based on my temporary emotions. I now allow my feelings to just be, and I wait until I have a clearer head before making decisions. Connecting

It is important to connect with others. Dorset Mind offers groups that can help with mental health and wellbeing. You can connect with others who are going through similar experiences. They also host events throughout the year including ‘Red January’, a monthlong campaign involving organised walks and activities. It’s also important to connect often with family and friends. Social activity helps to boost healthy endorphins. Mindfulness

Early on when I was suffering with anxiety, a few people suggested mindfulness to me. I shrugged it off for quite some time, as meditating isn’t something I can do. Yet, mindfulness goes deeper than this and it is a great grounding tool. It allows you to focus on the moment, taking in everything around you. I now take in the green scenery and blue skies on my walk. I try not to dwell too much on the past or worry too much about the future. Learn

The key to overcoming the worst part of my anxiety was to learn about it. I learnt about how the brain works. I read about how low self-esteem can form over the years. I strive to learn more about anxiety as, by understanding it, I am able to handle it better.


It is said that those to give to others feel a boost in self-esteem and self-worth. Getting involved with a charity or volunteering is a great way of giving. You also have the opportunity to connect with likeminded people. Seek Help

The bravest thing I ever did for myself was to seek help. I went to the doctors and told them how I was struggling with my anxiety. From there, I was referred to Steps to Wellbeing. This service was incredible. I learnt so much about why I was feeling anxious and I received invaluable tools. It may be difficult to begin with but be brave and seek help. Help is available and it is the most important tool in the tool-box. It’s hugely reassuring to know that I can seek help if I ever need it again. Be Kind

We are often too self-critical. It took a lot of practice to learn to be kinder to myself instead of criticising everything I was doing. It has taken years, and I am still guilty of being too tough, but now I try not to be so harsh on myself. I understand humans make mistakes and I understand that I do try my best. TLC

When we are in the deepest parts of anxiety or depression, taking care of ourselves becomes a chore that we are unable to achieve. Find something that relaxes you and makes you feel pampered and create a healthy habit out of it. For me, it is painting my nails. Journal

It can be very effective to get thoughts down on paper as a way to release our emotions in a controlled way. Writing has always been a healthy outlet for me and I would recommend it to anyone. You don’t have to share your words but by writing them down you may find a great tool. I hope that my ‘tool-box’ for anxiety is helpful. Over the years, you build your own strengths and coping mechanisms and, one day, you will look back and see how far you have come. mind.org.uk

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 101

Body and Mind

HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT! Image: Stuart Brill

Craig Hardaker, BSc (Hons), Communifit


appy Christmas from us all at Communifit! It is such a special time of the year to spend with loved ones — we hope you have an amazing time. A time for giving, sharing and… eating! It is suggested that during Christmas dinner alone we consume over 5,200 calories – and a whopping 190g of fat! You’d have to run two marathons, or 52 miles, to burn this off. If you were to eat this way every day, you’d be 22 stone heavier by this time next year. Here are some tips on how you can cut Christmas Day calories without feeling like a dietary Scrooge! Drink water throughout the day – not only will this keep you hydrated but also it will stop you mistaking thirst for hunger and therefore overindulging. Have your smoked salmon with freshly squeezed lemon and black pepper instead of hollandaise sauce and skip the butter. You can afford to be more relaxed with Christmas dinner itself, which is fairly well-balanced, containing lean protein, starchy carbohydrates and plenty of veg, but try to avoid the fattier parts of the meal, such as chipolatas and crispy turkey skin. When serving, make sure the majority of your plate is piled high with vegetables, and portion control the rest. Make your bread sauce with skimmed milk. Steam your vegetables to retain the nutrients and swap roast potatoes for boiled. Aim to have low-calorie, non-alcoholic drinks such as water between each glass of wine. Go easy on the cheese (my demon!). Try having a small amount of the strongest one available, such as stilton or Roquefort; this 102 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

will make you feel more satisfied than a large amount of mild cheese would. Choose oatcakes over crackers for the slow release sugars they contain – they keep you feeling fuller for longer. Oats also contain heartfriendly soluble fibre, which may help clear cholesterol from the blood stream. Skip the mince pies (by the time Christmas Day rolls around you’ll probably be sick of them anyway!) Over the festive season, avoid crisps and baked snacks if you can, swapping these for more seasonal treats such as nuts and satsumas. Not only will you be cutting your fat and calorie intake but also you’ll be providing your body with healthy oils and vitamin C. Give the chocolate a miss, or try good quality dark chocolate instead; this will give you the cocoa kick in fewer calories. As an added bonus, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate may, in small amounts, help to prevent heart disease and high blood pressure. Swap full-sugar fizzy drinks for diet drinks or diluting drinks. If you do over-indulge, or just want to generally stay fitter, we have a full range of exercise classes to suit your needs. Exercising as much as we can, burning many calories in the process, will leave us feeling less guilty when we consume more calories than we should. Following these tips could reduce your intake by up to 3,000 calories, which just shows you really can have your cake and eat it! communifit.co.uk

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Body and Mind


Simon Partridge BSc (Sports Science) Personal Trainer SPFit


unning my own personal training business for over 15 years has presented many challenges and, like so many things, it is constantly changing and adapting. If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be a yoga instructor I would never have believed you, nor I am sure would my clients but now we run fully booked yoga classes. For me the most amazing development was to be invited to the first-ever accredited meditation course for personal trainers. My own issues can be encapsulated by what the Zen Buddhists refer to as ‘monkey-chattering minds’ which is where our minds are filled with constant chatter. I had heard about mindfulness and meditation but never associated them with exercise and personal training, which was silly really because my job is all about coaching both the mind and the body. As a result, I felt very honoured to be invited on this course in Norwich and then fascinated to find out what it was all about. The course itself was eye-opening and also very challenging. Now back in Sherborne, I try to find 10 minutes each day to put what I have learnt into practice. The more I practise it, the better I get at it and hence the more I benefit from it. Keep it simple. Anyone who is prepared to learn how to meditate can do it successfully, albeit at different levels, just like most other things. I use 21st century, non-religious meditation techniques that are proven to work both quickly and efficiently. It has not changed my entire way of life, nor did I expect it to, and I have not become ‘at one with the universe’ as many meditation gurus suggest. However, it has made 104 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

a significant difference for me. Meditation and mindfulness are the ultimate stress-busters

Meditation and mindfulness are simply a way to calm your mind. They enable you to deal with your daily stresses far better. Once you learn the simple techniques, they will give you more energy, clarity, happiness and focus in your everyday life. At the same time, you will also feel more relaxed and less stressed. Anyone and everyone can learn meditation and mindfulness, anywhere and at any time. If you can think, you can practice meditation and mindfulness!

Everyone who exercises correctly feels physically much better. Everyone who learns meditation and mindfulness correctly feels mentally much better too. You must want to learn and practise your meditation and mindfulness techniques regularly. It’s exactly the same as your physical personal training programmes. If you do not practise what you are taught, you cannot possibly get fit! It really is that simple. I truly believe in keeping an open mind in order to progress and learn all the time. I never thought I would ever teach yoga, or practice and teach meditation, but how wrong I was. I am reaping the benefits now. What would you like to benefit from? spfit-sherborne.co.uk meditationpersonaltrainers.com



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Body and Mind



Lucy Beney MA MBACP, Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling

hristmas. What does it mean? Maybe it is magical childhood memories of piles of presents under the tree, or lip-licking festive fare. Perhaps it is eager anticipation of frosty mornings and crisp, star-filled nights, or happy gatherings of family and friends. On the other hand, our hearts might sink just reading these words, leaving us feeling that we want to throw the Sherborne Times at the nearest grinning reindeer. Amid all the sparkle, excitement and preparation, it can be easy to forget that Christmas is the hardest time of the year for many people. If that isn’t difficult enough, talking about it can be even trickier. With tidings of good cheer coming from every direction, admitting that we don’t feel cheerful at all can leave us feeling more miserable than Scrooge. Many people never had those childhood Christmases which popular culture convinces us are a near-universal experience. Sometimes, Christmas is inseparable from conflict, isolation or separation. For others, Christmas is not a reminder of what they have missed, but what they have lost. Through bereavement, family break-up or simply distance, the festive season is not what it used to be and may never be again. Christmas also induces high levels of anxiety and exhaustion. There is the financial burden, with evidence everywhere of conspicuous consumption. There can be a lot of competition: in the Christmas stocking stakes, in the kitchen and in getting every little detail just right. So what can we do to help ourselves and others, when the end of the year feels more a case of ‘in the bleak mid-winter’ rather than ‘joy to the world’? Suffering inner torment is especially hard when everyone else is heading for the mulled wine and the mince pies, but simple connection and acceptance is the place to start. It always feels better to know that we are not alone - even in our distress. Reach out to people for whom you believe that Christmas might be struggle and offer to include them. Acknowledge that they may not feel like being the life and soul of the party and let them know that that is okay. At the same time, it is also important to accept their choices - a need for solitude, for reflection and time away from the hubbub. Nobody should feel obliged to join in, even at Christmas. If we are feeling low when all around us are feeling festive, it can be difficult to talk honestly and openly, without feeling judged. This is when talking to a counsellor can be useful, to offload what is on our minds and help us find that candle in the darkness to light our way into the new year. Ultimately, ‘love came down at Christmastime’. It’s is all about being present for each other and giving ourselves, rather than fretting about the gifts or the goose. Happy Christmas! 56londonroad.co.uk

106 | Sherborne Times | December 2019


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Body & Mind



Dr Tim Robinson MB BS MSc MRCGP DRCOG MFHom GP & Complementary Practitioner


he menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life when fertility draws to a close due to the depletion of the female hormones. As this happens a number of symptoms are experienced, the most troublesome being hot flushes and night sweats which can last for 5-10 years. They may occur hourly both day and night. They can be embarrassing especially with facial blushing. Interrupted sleep results in daytime tiredness, poor concentration, and mood changes such as irritability and weepiness. Conventional treatment is by taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is a perfectly safe treatment but many women prefer to deal with their sweats and flushes naturally. Some women are not able to have HRT due to cardiovascular disease, or previous breast or gynaecological cancer. HRT is no longer prescribed indefinitely and, unfortunately, in some women flushes and sweats return upon HRT discontinuation. For each of these reasons women look for alternative ways to eradicate their sweats and flushes. Dietary measures can help reduce menopausal flushing; oestrogen-like plant hormones, phytooestrogens, are found in many plants. They are much weaker than human oestrogen but still provide a natural boost, as demonstrated by scientifically based studies. Two classes of food, namely isoflavones (in soybeans and soy products such as tofu, chickpeas, red clover) and lignans (in flaxseeds, cereals and dark green vegetables), should be included in the diet to reduce flushing. Herbal preparations have also been used for menopausal flushes with mixed success. Black cohosh, sage leaf extract and agnus castus are all herbs that can be sourced from the pharmacy and health food 108 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

stores. Before taking any supplements check with the pharmacist to rule out any adverse effects or interactions with conventional medication that you may have been prescribed. Experiment with each in turn over a 6- to 8-week period; if there is no benefit, proceed to another herbal medicine. Homeopathic medicine is another treatment that frequently relieves menopausal flushes and night sweats. Belladonna, Sulphur, Lachesis, Sepia and Pulsatilla are often successful. These can also be obtained from pharmacies and health food shops at low potency. However, advice from a homeopath is preferable in order to be prescribed the most appropriate medicine according to the symptoms as well as the overall profile of the person. Lifestyle tips can be very helpful. Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise and reducing caffeine and alcohol intake can reduce flushes. Smoking reduces oestrogen levels and brings about earlier menopause. Yoga and Tai Chi have been shown to reduce flushing. Therapies such as reflexology and acupuncture have also been shown to have some benefits in menopause treatment. To sum up, management of menopausal symptoms is best done through combining several strategies regular aerobic exercise, plant-oestrogen food built into your diet a few times a week and treatment with herbal black cohosh or homeopathy. Following this advice will hopefully reduce or eliminate your hot flushes and sweats, restore your energy and give you a good night’s sleep. doctorTWRobinson.com GlencairnHouse.co.uk

Brister&Son Independent Family Funeral Directors

When your family suffers the loss of a loved one, we are here to support, guide and reassure you – every step of the way Call Daniel on 01935 812647 100 Lenthay Road, Sherborne DT9 6AG Email: daniel@wsbrister.com www.wsbrister.com

A J Wakely& Sons Independent Family Funeral Directors and Monumental Masons – 24 Hour Service –

Private Chapels of Rest Website www.ajwakely.com

Independent Family Directors and Monumental Mason 33 SparrowFuneral Road, Yeovil BA21 4BT Tel: 01935 479913 16 Newland, Sherborne, DorsetService DT9 3JQ -Tel: 01935 816817 - 24 Hour Please contact Clive Wakely, or a member of our dedicated team for any advice or guidance.

Private Chapels of Rest


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Season’s Greetings to all our clients with a grateful thank you for your custom throughout 2019 Lettings & Property Management

Independent Letting Agent representing town and country property throughout Somerset and Dorset 1 Horsecastles, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3FB T: 01935 816209 E: info@stockwoodlettings.co.uk www.stockwoodlettings.co.uk

110 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Let us take the stress out of your move this winter We offer a personalised approach to all things property. Whether selling or letting, we can help you make your next move with ease. Call our Sherborne office on 01935 814488 or come in and see us.



LET US HELP YOU TO BUY IN YETMINSTER The Ford and Milestone properties at Upbury Grange are located in the picturesque village of Yetminster, Dorset. These two and three bedroom homes are the perfect choice when thinking about making the next step to buying your first home. With Help to Buy, your dreams of a contemporary Burrington Estates home are closer than you think.


Upbury Grange is just a stone’s throw away from a local primary school and convenience stores, with good road links to the wider region. Let us help you get on the property ladder today. To speak with a sales executive and to visit our show home, contact 01935 345020 or email upbury.grange@burringtonestates.com



*Prices correct at time of printing. Help to Buy criteria apply, see www.helptobuy.gov.uk for details. Images are for illustrative purposes only.

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A PROPERTY OWNER’S GUIDE TO COMMERCIAL TENANCY Justin Hopkins, Mogers Drewett, Partner and Head of Commercial Property


he process of drawing up a commercial lease can be a convoluted and time-consuming experience. Here’s a quick and helpful guide to steer potential landlords through some key considerations. Heads of Terms

The basic premise of heads of terms is to set out the agreed key commercial terms (which can sometimes take up to 6 months to negotiate). In exceptional cases, heads of terms have been held by the courts to be legally binding so, if you are in any doubt as to the legal status of a document, legal advice should be sought from commercial property solicitors. Tenancy background checks

It may seem obvious but knowing who your tenant will be and their ability to keep tenant covenants is vital. Questions to consider should include the viability of the tenant’s business, whether it would be wise to secure a rent deposit and whether a limited company tenant should provide a personal guarantor. Getting this right at the start will considerably reduce the chance of running into difficulties further down the line. Lender considerations

A commercial property mortgage is typically a longterm loan of up to 25 years, provided at a rate of 70% of the property’s value. The remaining amount will need to be funded by the tenant business and their associated rent, which is an important consideration. When selecting a lender, it is important to ensure that bank consent will be forthcoming on the grant of a lease. Ensuring your own house is in order

All leases in excess of 7 years must be registered at the land registry. Title documents need to be available to 112 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

the tenant at the outset of the transaction. If documents are missing, the sooner your legal advisor is aware, the sooner corrective action can be taken. For a lease of longer than 7 years, land registry compliant plans are required and should be professionally drawn up. Repair and maintenance

When investing in property it is vital that you are aware of the condition of the property and your associated responsibilities for repairs as landlord. If the property is standalone, it is likely that the tenant’s repair responsibilities will be for the entirety of the property including its structure. Being certain about who is responsible for repair and maintenance can prove to be one of the most important aspects at the end of the lease when establishing end of term liabilities. Alterations

The changes you are willing to allow a tenant to make during their lease and the type of alterations permitted are important and largely dependent on the nature of the property and the degree of control you desire. The priority for any landlord is to protect the value of their interest and ensure that any changes will not affect the property’s future value. The importance of break clauses

Break clauses (the ability to end the lease early) are amongst the most heavily litigated terms in a lease and require careful drafting. It is always a good idea to obtain legal advice to ensure the clause meets your requirements and that you can comply with any conditions in the break clause to avoid the risk of you losing the right to end the lease early. mogersdrewett.com

Straight to the point legal advice

A law firm without the baffling jargon Sherborne | Bath | Wells | Frome mogersdrewett.com | 01935 813 691




Andrew Fort B.A. (Econ.) CFPcm Chartered MCSI APFS, Certified and Chartered Financial Planner, Fort Financial Planning

n most endeavours, there are things you can control and things you can’t. That’s true in life. That’s true in business. That’s true with investing. The good news about investing is that markets have rewarded investors over the long term. Over the short term however, as anyone who has paid attention to markets knows, they go up and they go down. I thought it would be helpful to share some observations about the investment business and what it takes to have a good experience. Things you can’t control

Few things have been studied as extensively as the performance of professionally-managed funds. While the results indicate that some managers have good track records, there are far fewer of them than you would expect by chance. What does that mean for investors? It means that even after analysing all the data, you can’t separate skilled money managers from lucky ones. And if you can’t identify superior managers after the fact, how can you identify them in advance? Based on the overwhelming evidence, there is no magic to investing. Throughout their lives, people must continually deal with uncertainty and make choices: which school to attend, which career to pursue, where to live, and so forth. You make these decisions without knowing the outcomes. You look at all the possibilities and then you decide. Much of the financial services industry is geared toward making people think they can eliminate uncertainty in investing. However, the future is unknowable. The best approach to dealing with uncertainty is to make informed choices, adjust as your needs and objectives change, and be comfortable with the range of possible outcomes. 114 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Things you can control

A philosophy serves as a compass to guide you through turbulent times. When you’ve got a compass, it doesn’t take drastic directional changes to find your way. Small adjustments are all you need to stay on course. In 2009, the US stock market was down more than 50%, which seems to happen about once every generation. A lot of people were stressed out by the uncertainty, so they cashed out. That locked in their losses. The market, as it turned out, rebounded and some of those people who got out of the market may have to wait decades to get back to where they were. It’s unfortunate they didn’t stick it out so that they could have better weathered the storm. Trust involves many different parts. To trust markets, you must understand how they work, which means having a source of reliable knowledge. The best source is scientific research, not opinions and hunches. Most people lack the knowledge to manage their own investment portfolio. A trusted financial adviser can help you figure out your goals, present different ways of forming portfolios, and ensure you understand the possible distribution of outcomes. This way, you can make informed choices about how to invest. Your adviser then keeps watch over what is happening, and together you revise your investment plan if needed. Investing is a dynamic process and a lifelong journey. It’s having a philosophy you can stick with, considering the range of possibilities, and adjusting along the way. These are the keys to a better investment experience. Stay disciplined, control what you can control, and keep a long-term view on your destination so you can focus on what really matters and enjoy your life. ffp.org.uk

Your Life, Your Money, Your Future Trusted, professional, fee based advice We live in a complex world. At FFP we aim to remove complexity, replacing it with simplicity and clarity so that our clients can enjoy their lives without worry

FFP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Telephone: 01935 813322 Email: info@ffp.org.uk Website: www.ffp.org.uk

AHEAD IN THE CLOUD Our real-time cloud accounting solutions present you with a full picture of your financial position 24/7, allowing you to proactively plan and respond ahead of tax deadlines. For a fresh take on your accounts, speak to Hunts

T: 01935 815008 E: info@huntsaccountants.co.uk W: huntsaccountants.co.uk @Hunts_Sherborne The Old Pump House, Oborne Road, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3RX

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 115



think we’ve been here before in one guise or another, however this is a perennial issue that I like to keep in the minds of all my clients. Businesses and individuals use IT to quickly and effectively process information. We use electronic mail and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone systems to communicate. Electronic data interchange is used to transmit data, whether that be orders and payments from one company to another or ordering a tin of beans from Tesco online. Servers process the information and store large amounts of data; desktop computers, laptops and wireless devices are used to create, process, manage and communicate information. So, what are you going to do when your IT stops working? Most small businesses and individuals can cope with an interruption such as a power cut or internet failure for a short while; it’s inconvenient but it’s not usually life-changing. Bigger businesses, however, should have a disaster recovery plan as their whole business could stop operating. Imagine a supermarket without power; it would have to close because it could not operate. Furthermore, all its perishable stock would be lost, although I’m sure they have insurance for that. Happily, once the power is restored, life goes on. What would you do if your server died a nasty death, or your mobile was accidentally flushed somewhere it wasn’t designed to go? Much of your data is important; some of it is vital to the survival and continued operation of your business. The impact of data loss or corruption from hardware failure, human error, hacking or malware could be significant, so a plan for data 116 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

backup and restoration is essential. In planning your recovery strategy, you should consider the loss of one or more of the following system components if it applies to you: • Servers (secure location, backup power supply, etc.) • Hardware (networks, desktop and laptop computers, wireless devices and peripherals) • Connectivity to a service provider (fibre, cable, wireless, etc.) • Software applications (internet, e-mail, resource management, office productivity, etc.) • Data and restoration (backup!) My plan focuses on data restoration as all the others can be ordered for next-day delivery - or I could connect to my neighbour with a long bit of cable. All of my data (personal and business) is backed-up daily to a cloudbased system for which I pay an annual fee, and my email system is cloud-based. If everything failed or got burned to the ground, I’d just buy a new PC, install my programs, download my data and connect to my email. Yes, it would be a faff. Yes, it would be inconvenient. Yes, it would cost me time and money. But would I lose anything? No! However modest your needs, you should have a plan! The choice as always, is yours, but if you need advice, you know where to come. Coming Up Next Month: Usernames and Passwords that old chestnut! computing-mp.co.uk

J. Biskup

Property Maintenance Ltd

TO-DO LIST ✓ Kitchen & bathroom installation ✓ Tiling ✓ Flooring ✓ Wallpaper removal ✓ Painting and decorating ✓ Plastering

✓ Wall repairs ✓ Roof repairs ✓ Loft insulation ✓ Carpentry ✓ Window renovation ✓ PVC guttering and facia boards

BEST PRICES ON THE MARKET FREE QUOTATIONS SHERBORNE Tel: 01935 815712 • Mobile: 07912 145988 Email: jm.biskup@gmail.com www.jbiskup.com

• Exercise classes • Personal training • 5k run series for local charities • Homes programme All age groups and abilities Call 07791 308773 @communifit





The Curtain Circuit Second-hand Curtains

Why not sell your unwanted, top quality Curtains and turn them into Cash! We also take in Lampshades, Bedheads, Fabric, Decorative Pieces, Cushions, Rugs and more. Clean, unmarked and attractive only! Open Tuesday to Friday 10.00am to 4.00pm & Saturday 10.00am to 1.00pm The Old Cycle Shop, Long Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3BS Call 01935 815155

DAVE THURGOOD Painting & Decorating interior and exterior

07792 391368 NO VAT www.sherbornedecorators.com michellethurgood@sky.com

Roger Dodd A CLEAN SWEEP Flue Enemist • Power Sweeping • Brush & Vacuum • Clean and Efficient

NACS Member HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep acleansweepsouthwest@hotmail.com

01935 813989

Yenstone Walling Ltd Suppliers and Manufacturers of quality Signage, Graphics and Embroidered Workwear

T: 01935 816767

info@swsigns-sherborne.co.uk www.swsigns-sherborne.co.uk

Unit 14, 0ld Yarn Mills, Sherborne Dorset DT9 3RQ 118 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Dry Stone Walling and Landscaping All types of stone walling undertaken Patrick Houchen DSWA member CIS registered

01963 371123 07791 588141 www.yenstonewalling.co.uk

Wayne Timmins Painter and Decorator • • • • •

Interior & Exterior Fully Qualified 20 Years Experience Wallpapering & Lining Residential & Commercial

Top quality Nordman non-drop Christmas trees + wreaths and dried flower bouquets Free delivery in Sherborne 07859 911817 On the A30 at The Toy Barn, Sherborne, DT9 4JX

01935 872007 / 07715 867145 waynesbusiness@aol.com

Covering South Somerset & North Dorset Small Business Support

Networks & Cabling

New PCs & Laptops

Wireless Networks

Repairs & Upgrades

Broadband Setup

Virus Removal

Disaster Recovery

The Weighbridge • High Street • Milborne Port • DT9 5DG www.mpfix.co.uk

01963 250788

Competitively Priced, High Quality Carpets, Vinyls, Woods & Rugs SHERBORNE SHOWROOM NOW OPEN Unit 12, Old Yarn Mills, Westbury, Sherborne, DT9 3RQ A family run business established in 1998, we promise a highly professional level of service Tel: 07733 101064 or 01935 817885 www.lsflooring.co.uk

Residential, commercial & heritage interiors Exterior work undertaken, paint spray finishes for new residential & commercial work

07976 565 285

www.justmintdecorating.co.uk justin@justmintdecorating.co.uk


Wills ––– of Sherborne –––

Plu m b i n g & H eati n g Ltd Local & reliable plumber. Gas Safe registered, fully insured • New build • Renovations • Boiler installations • Vented & unvented cylinder installations

• LPG • Bathroom installations • Free quotes • Competitive prices

T: 07885 420609 E: wills.plumbing@hotmail.co.uk

Ideal Christmas Gift Includes: • Two Hour use of Spa Facilities • Delicious Dorset Cream Tea One of the following treatments: •ELEMIS Full Body Massage 60min •ELEMIS Touch Facial 60min •ELEMIS Garden of England Rose Restore Manicure with Polish 60min •ELEMIS Best Foot Forward Pedicure with Polish 60min

George Albert Hotel Wardon Hill, Evershot, Nr. Dorchester, Dorset DT2 9PW Tel: 01935 483435 • www.gahotel.co.uk sherbornetimes.co.uk | 119




olunteers with Sherborne Good Neighbours have been helping those in Sherborne and the local community for over 30 years. Good Neighbours (GN) resulted from an initiative by the then vicar of Sherborne, Robert Willis, and a committee was established through Sherborne Churches Together under the chairmanship of Jonathan Stones. Over the intervening years, the way GN operates has stayed very much the same. Anyone requiring essential help telephones one of the five links who then phones round our 60 volunteers until they find someone who is free to help. In the early days volunteers mainly visited those who would welcome company, read to the elderly or housebound and helped with shopping etc. While we continue to provide such assistance, 90% of the requests we now receive are for transport to surgeries, dentists, clinics and hospitals both near and far. This reflects the cut-backs in public transport in rural Dorset as well as within the town. In the course of a year GN undertakes over 1000 journeys; volunteers, using their own cars, cover between 12,000 and 15,000 miles. GN is not a taxi service – Sherborne has several excellent taxi firms. Our volunteers collect anyone wanting help, take them to their appointment and wait until they are ready to be returned to their home. This may mean a wait of only half-an-hour at a surgery but it could be several hours at a hospital. This personal service is much appreciated. While most of the requests for help come from the older section of the community, we have taken young 120 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

mums and their children to clinics etc. when they are unable to access any other form of transport. We are available to assist all, of any age, who need and would welcome help. As our population ages we are finding that an increasing number of those seeking help can be confused. Great patience is required by our links and volunteers in making sure that they arrive at the right place at the right time. As we do not have an office, all our links operate from their own homes, we ask that messages are not left on answer-phones as the link may be away. As demand for our services has increased, we are aware that it can be difficult to get through to a link. This can be frustrating for those needing assistance, however a link may have to ring 10 or more volunteers before they find someone who is free to help. Patience is required on all sides. We are all volunteers! In recent years organisations similar to Sherborne Good Neighbours have been established in several local communities and most of Dorset is now covered by a range of transport schemes. Our 2020 card, listing the services we provide and the telephone numbers of the links, have been distributed together with the churches Christmas card to every house in Sherborne at the beginning of December. If you would like to volunteer please contact, Mike Hatch, Chairman, Sherborne Good Neighbours via the website. sherbornegoodneighbours.org

Sherborne’s Luxury New Care Home OPENS THIS DECEMBER You’re invited to our Open Weekend 14th–15th December, 10am–4pm Trinity Manor is now complete. Join us for our open weekend, our friendly team would love to show you around. • Bespoke residential, dementia and respite care Daily life-enrichment programme • Choice of nutritious and delicious home-cooked meals • Interactive multi-sensory environment for residents living with dementia

Tel: 01935 574 968 Bradford Road, Sherborne, DT9 6EX • www.barchester.com/TrinityManor Private dining • Concierge service • Choice of lounges • En-suite rooms Spa bathroom • Cinema room • Hairdressing salon • Minibus • Wifi • Café


DIGITAL CHAMPIONS Arek Malang/Shutterstock


orset has a group of people who come from a wide variety of backgrounds but who have a common interest in helping others, particularly the older generation, in the digital world. They are called the Digital Champions and they volunteer across the county. Originally recruited to assist Dorset County Council to deliver on the pledges of superfast broadband, they have become much more than just advocates for the updated internet access system. They now offer communities advice and assistance in getting up to speed with the digital world in which we all now have to survive. There are around seventy Digital Champions and many of them have been trained in specific areas such as helping with Universal Credit applications in support of the Citizens Advice Bureau. They offer clinics where people can drop in and seek help or book appointments for a one-to-one session. In Sherborne, the library staff can help with many issues but each Thursday afternoon between 2pm and 4pm, a Digital Champion is also available to assist, supporting the library staff with some of the more tricky or time-consuming issues that individuals may have. Naturally their individual skills and expertise vary greatly but all of them can help with the basics of getting online and achieving the more common tasks such as searching for the best energy deal, checking a postcode or shopping online. Some of the issues that cause concern might include: • Getting email sorted so a grandparent can communicate more easily with a distant grandchild; 122 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Andy Taylor, Digital Champion • Sorting out photographs and how to share them with relatives and friends; • Understanding how a spreadsheet might help with planning a house move. Security is often a topic of concern and the criminal world continues to get better at finding new ways of taking our money or information. The Digital Champions can help by advising on the best ways of dealing with suspect emails, what to watch out for when there is an unexpected telephone call about the computer, or any other potentially fraudulent activity. Sherborne library has suitable devices (PCs) to allow the individual to be shown how to do something but, if a person has their own device - a tablet, laptop or smart phone - this can be used and makes the advice even more relevant to the individual. With the festive season nearly upon us, thoughts will be turning to relatives and friends, perhaps around the world, and how to get in touch with them. This might be an email or perhaps a video call. Digital Champions can advise how best to achieve this. The digital world is now full of concerns particularly for the older generation but it need not deny them access to the wonders and benefits of the internet that should be enjoyed by all. If you are concerned and in need of friendly, independent advice, pop along to Sherborne Library on a Thursday afternoon or book an appointment via the library on 01935 812683.

Shop/Office To Let in Sherborne due to relocation

Short Story



Jenny Campbell, Sherborne Scribblers

n that bleak, midwinter afternoon, snow was on the hills and all around as Jack, Hetty and I walked along the lane to Mr Hardy’s house. ‘I’m scared,’ said Hetty. ‘Suppose they don’t like carol singers?’ ‘Don’t be such a silly cuckoo, Hett. Mum always says the Hardys were known for their singing at Christmas, so they’re bound to like us.’ ‘And give us something,’ said Jack. ‘I’m cold,’ whispered Hetty. ‘My teeth are chattering. Can’t we go home now?’ I looked down at my sister, prepared to scoff at her girlishness. But her little face was red raw, so I stopped to take off my own knitted scarf and wrap it round her. ‘Not far now, Hett. Look! We’re almost there,’ I said, pointing to a house just visible within a cluster of tall, dark pine trees draped with snow. ‘We’ll sing a few carols and then we’ll soon be home – it’s always quicker on the way back.’ It had been my idea to earn some money for a small book of Mr Hardy’s stories to give to our mother at Christmas. Used as we were to walking a few miles to school each day, it had not seemed any great distance to Max Gate from our village outside of Dorchester. But the snow underfoot, icy in places, had slowed us up; and it was a relief, at last, to reach our destination and see the soft light of an oil lamp through a downstairs window. The large gate creaked as we pushed it open and our wellington boots crunched on the path up to the Hardy’s front door where we stood, for a moment, and looked at each other before launching into Silent Night and Once in Royal David’s City, our voices thin yet clear in the stillness of the garden. We sang one more carol, then I knocked on the door which was opened by a maid. ‘Madam says you are to come in,’ she said, haughtily, while at the same time trying not to grin at us. Wide-eyed, half afraid, we followed her into the enormous hall (or so

124 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

I thought of it as a child) where a large grandfather clock ticked at the bottom of the staircase. A cat ambled towards us and wrapped its tail around one of my ankles as we entered the drawing room, where Mrs Hardy sat beside the fire with another cat on her lap. ‘Come in, come in, children. Cake for the children, Agnes!’ she ordered the maid. ‘And would you like lemonade?’ she asked us. Awestruck, we nodded, and Mrs Hardy beckoned us nearer the fire to get warm. People in our village often said she was odd, but I would only ever recall her warm greeting, the vague mischief in her eyes and her kindness to us that day. Later, after the cherry cake and lemonade, Mr Hardy came down from his study to join us and asked if we would sing more carols for him. So, we did, while the great writer occasionally exchanged affectionate glances with his wife and tapped out the notes with his right foot. The clock on the mantelpiece above the fire struck three as we sang. Glancing towards the window, I could see that the light was already fading – a reminder that we should be going home. ‘Now, tell me, young man,’ said Mr Hardy, looking straight at me with his bright, enquiring eyes as we prepared to leave, ‘What brought you all the way to our house on such a cold day?’ So, I told him about our mother’s love of his stories and how we wanted to earn some pennies to buy a small book of them for her. ‘Well, well, children, I think we can do better than that,’ he said, and immediately reached for one from among the vast array on his shelves. ‘Now, what is your mother’s name?’ And after I told him, he took the book over to a small desk in front of the window and wrote in it. I had never seen my mother cry before. But, on Christmas day, when she undid the brown paper parcel, tied with a pink ribbon, and opened her present with its inscription to Rebecca Diamond from Mr Thomas Hardy, it was a wonder that her tears did not wash out all the ink. Decades later, I searched in vain for some literary mention of our Christmas carolling and came to think that it was, perhaps, our own gift to the Hardys - something treasured and not to be shared but, as with us, kept long and warm in memory.

sherbornetimes.co.uk | 125


LITERARY REVIEW Mark Greenstock, Sherborne Literary Society

Up in the Attic by Pam Ayres (Ebury Press 2019) £16.99 Sherborne Times Reader Offer Price of £15.99 from Winstone’s Books


am Ayres has a mouth that goes up at both ends and sends dimples into her cheeks under her bob of auburn hair. Once you have seen her, it is impossible to read her poems without visualising her speaking them, nor without hearing her distinctive, though mellowed, Oxfordshire burr reflecting where she was brought up. Add to that her talent for innocent but devastating rhyming endings, mix in a realism about humanity learnt over a lifetime, and you have one of the great performance poets of our age. Up In The Attic is her latest volume (her eighteenth, she tells us); it contains 36 poems, two of them (Flight Time and Once-Topical Tweets) subdivided into smaller chunks, with a few introduced in her own words. There is inevitably some nostalgia here: for lost youth, or even middle-age; for the days when she was slimmer; for men who asked her out for a night on the town; for cod and chips served on a proper plate; for vanished companions. ‘My once-jolly girlfriends are widowed and bleak, / Stuck in a home at two thousand a week, / In floral armchairs at the end of the journey, / Having relinquished their power of attorney.’ The illustrations by Susan Hellard are, on average, on every other page, yet so perfectly do they fit the text

that you could easily imagine the poet had conjured them out of thin air. One four-liner (Puppies in Their Basket) needs, and gets, two line-drawings on the same page: ‘Puppies in their basket, / Smell as sweet as any roses. / Older doggies smell, / Of flatulence and halitosis.’ So what are you going to do with this collection, now you’ve bought it - as you probably will - as a stockingfiller or something to chuckle at on a winter’s evening? You can read it out loud in your own voice, but that would be a mistake, as I rapidly discovered: I simply couldn’t arrive at the dialect or the timbre, and I got tripped up by the cavalier scansion. Much better to let P. A. take over your brains, even if she fries them occasionally, and imagine her reading them at your shoulder. Pam Ayres is not one of the major satirists of our day – she’s only too happy to puncture any serious social criticism as soon as it raises its head – but she is one of our most adored entertainers, and it would be a sad day should her voice ever fall silent because she’s run out of her apparently inexhaustible stock of justthe-right punchlines. sherborneliterarysociety.com

Pam Ayers, Up in the Attic Talk & Book Signing Tuesday, December 3rd, 3pm – 4.30pm Digby Hall, Hound Street, Sherborne

Tickets £12 from Winstone’s or online at pamayres.eventbrite.co.uk

'Independent Bookseller of the Year 2016’ 8 Cheap Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3PX www.winstonebooks.co.uk Tel: 01935 816 128



OPEN ALMS with Cupboard Love



Available across Bridport and beyond Read online at bridporttimes.co.uk sherbornetimes.co.uk | 127


Robert Draper, St Adhelms and the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church


ith just a few weeks to go, most us will have made our plans for Christmas. Probably not fully detailed — there is always scope to alter things — but where we will be and who will be coming and what we will do, and probably what we will eat and drink — that will be sorted by now. Those plans may include a trip to the church on Christmas Day or for a carol service or nativity play or something else. For some people that will be a fixed and essential element, and for some it will be something that they expect they will probably do, or something they will ‘just go along with’ because it’s good to join in with the others. While we make lots of plans for the season, we know that, because normal routines are suspended to some extent, there will be lots of opportunities that just crop up. The chance of the casual interesting and significant conversation with family members we don’t get to see often; the odd note in a Christmas card — sent or received – that brings back memories or assurances of affection; the moment of calm in the bustle when we realise how important these people are in our lives. All these incidents can be signs to us of the richness and depth of our lives, which are so often caught up in the busy day-to-day and lived so much on the surface. Perhaps the singing of the carols, the sight of the crib at the bottom of Cheap Street, and the visit to the church with family or friends will also be the occasion of a moment of reflection and contemplation that shines a light on our life, the things that make it up, and what really matters. The Christmas story is a simple one — that God slips into our world in a quiet and unexpected way, that he gets overlooked and is not noticed except by a few who are struck by signs, make the effort to find out what those signs mean and find that they are changed. It is still like that — for you and for me as it was for the shepherds and wise men. The chance encounters, the moments of reflection, the sight of dear ones, the cribs, candles, carols and crowds can all make us stop and think, and reflect and recognise what is important, what truly matters. If we take a moment to let that sink in, we can see that, for each of us, there is a moment of encounter, that the God who slipped quietly into Bethlehem can slip quietly into our lives too. If we can fit that into our plans somehow — perhaps by putting ourselves in a place and at a time where that encounter can happen — then maybe this Christmas will be for us too a meeting with the unexpected God who quietly slips into our life and changes it.

128 | Sherborne Times | December 2019

Beginners Italian Course in Sherborne Fun 10 week course starting Tuesday 7th January at 2pm and 5.30pm 1.5 hours per week, ÂŁ15 per lesson Learn all you need to travel, eat and chat! Group and individual French tuition also available Amanda Donnelly 07739 972538 amanda@italianindorset.co.uk www.italianindorset.co.uk

19 Cheap Street, Sherborne. 01935 815005 www.oliverscoffeehouse.co.uk @OliversSherbs @OliversCoffeeHouse @oliverscoffeehouse




1. Neutral (11)

2. Bivalve molluscs (7)

9. New ___ : Indian capital (5)

3. Swam like a dog (7)

10. Lubricate (3)

4. Measuring sticks (6)

11. Hushed (5)

5. Coldly (5)

12. Resay (anag) (5)

6. Hawaiian greeting (5)

13. Gift of money (8)

7. Difficult and intricate (11)

16. Disease (8)

8. Mean (5-6)

18. Allow in (5)

14. Become tense (7)

21. Established custom (5)

15. Very young infant (7)

22. Long period of time (3)

17. Free from a liability (6)

23. Entice to do something (5)

19. Eg September (5)

24. Menacing (11)

20. Name of a book (5) sherbornetimes.co.uk | 129




130 | Sherborne Times | December 2019



4 East St, Bridport Dorset, DT6 3LF 01308 459854

Beaminster (Shop & Café)

22 The Square, Beaminster, Dorset DT8 3AU 01308 863189





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Profile for Sherborne Times

Sherborne Times December 2019  

Featuring Sherborne Abbey Bell-Ringers + What's On, Family, Environment, Shopping Guide, Wild Dorset, Family, Art, History, Antiques, Interi...

Sherborne Times December 2019  

Featuring Sherborne Abbey Bell-Ringers + What's On, Family, Environment, Shopping Guide, Wild Dorset, Family, Art, History, Antiques, Interi...