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PASTURES NEW with Peter Hunt of Blackmarsh Farm



hh… October; the gentlest of months. With summer ringing in our ears and winter a bridge to cross when we get there, October sits content in the knowledge that it has nothing to prove. No alarms and no surprises, no demands or expectation. In response to the lull, Sherborne’s swallow contingent gathers on telegraph wires, a final roll call before heading south over Longburton’s fruit-laden orchards, then on and on to the deserts of Africa. Over this month’s pages, and with feet firmly on the ground, we meet a market-trading mycologist, witness a gypsy birth and explore ancient hill forts. We sample wine in the Côte-Rôtie, learn more about our moggies and discover why we should empathise with wasps. We convert a barn, read a few books and have a very interesting conversation with former Minister of Trade, Managing Director of Waitrose and Deputy Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Lord Mark Price. Katharine and Jo meanwhile spend a morning with Peter Hunt, third generation dairy farmer and disruptor of norms, on his 500-acre Blackmarsh Farm. Peter has seen and embraced many changes over the years. We meet him on the cusp of another. Keep well. Glen Cheyne, Editor @sherbornetimes


Editorial and creative direction Glen Cheyne Design Andy Gerrard @round_studio Sub editor Sadie Wilkins Photography Katharine Davies @Katharine_KDP Feature writer Jo Denbury @jo_denbury Editorial assistant Helen Brown Social media Jenny Dickinson Illustrations Elizabeth Watson Print Stephens & George Distribution team Barbara and David Elsmore Nancy Henderson The Jackson Family David and Susan Joby Christine Knott Sarah Morgan Mary and Roger Napper Alfie Neville-Jones Mark and Miranda Pender Claire Pilley Ionas Tsetikas

Kimberley Arnold Hazlegrove Prep School @HazlegrovePrep Tom Beattie Fruit Bodhi Organics Laurence Belbin David Birley Elisabeth Bletsoe Sherborne Museum @SherborneMuseum

Sherborne Times is printed on an FSCÂŽ and EU Ecolabel certified paper. It goes without saying that once thoroughly well read, this magazine is easily recycled and we actively encourage you to do so. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither 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 | October 2020

Annabelle Hunt Bridport Timber @BridportTimber Rob Marston Sherborne School @SherborneSchool Sasha Matkevitch The Green Restaurant @greensherborne

Mike Burks The Gardens Group @TheGardensGroup

Mark Newton-Clarke MA VetMB PhD MRCVS Newton Clarke Veterinary Partnership @swanhousevet

David Burnett The Dovecote Press Paula Carnell @paula.carnell Cindy Chant Sherborne Walks @sherbornewalks Gillian M Constable DWT Sherborne Group @DorsetWildlife David Copp Rosie Cunningham

Monsignor Robert Draper The Sacred Heart and Saint Aldhelm

01935 315556 @sherbornetimes

James Hull The Story Pig @thestorypig

Richard Bromell ASFAV Charterhouse Auctioneers and Valuers @CharterhouseAV

Jemma Dempsey

1 Bretts Yard Digby Road Sherborne Dorset DT9 3NL

Gayleen Hodson Dorset Mind @DorsetMind

James Flynn Milborne Port Computers @MPortComputers Andrew Fort B.A. (Econ.) CFPcm Chartered MCSI APFS Fort Financial Planning Annie Fry Craig Hardaker Communifit @communifit Andy Hastie Cinematheque Sarah Hitch The Sanctuary Beauty Rooms The Margaret Balfour Beauty Centre @SanctuaryDorset @margaretbalfour

Simon Partridge SPFit @spfitsherborne Cath Rapley Lodestone Property @LodestoneProp Mike Riley Riley’s Cycles Dr Tim Robinson MB BS MSc MRCGP DRCOG MFHom Glencairn House Clinic Val Stones @valstones James Stubbs Sherborne Scribblers Emma Tabor & Paul Newman @paulnewmanart Huw Thomas Sherborne Preparatory School @Sherborneprep Frances Walker Sherborne Literary Society @SherborneLitSoc Simon Walker Mogers Drewett Solicitors @mogersdrewett John Walsh BVSc Cert AVP DBR MRCVS Friars Moor Vets @FriarsMoorVets Sally Welbourn Dorset Wildlife Trust @DorsetWildlife

56 8

Market Research

OCTOBER 2020 48 Antiques

102 Finance

10 Film

50 Gardening

104 Tech

12 Theatre


106 In Conversation

14 Art

64 Food & Drink

110 Short Story

20 Family

72 Animal Care

112 Crossword

34 Wild Dorset

78 Body & Mind

113 Literature

40 On Foot

92 Property

114 Pause for Thought

44 History

100 Legal | 5




Johanna Kemp, your local independent mortgage and insurance specialist. Helping with mortgages, equity release and protection. 07813 785355



Regular lessons, short courses, wheel throwing and hand building.

Artisan distillery based in Cerne Abbas. Producers of the award-winning Viper Gin and, more recently, hand sanitiser.

One off lessons with a finish and glaze service. 07742 408528 @viperlondondrygin @viper_gin




We carry a large general stock of second-hand modern and antiquarian books, both hardbacks and paperbacks; also used sheet music, CDs and DVDs.

Exercise for all age groups and abilities.

New winter baby & children’s clothes just In!

Personal training, group training, outdoor bootcamps, running groups, over 50s exercise classes, charity events, mobile gym.

The only baby shop in town. Fly Jesse’s focus is on the artisan, organic & handmade.

Trendle Street, Sherborne DT9 3NT 01935 816262

07791 308773 @communifit

@shoplocalinsherborne #shoplocalinsherborne

37 Cheap Street, Sherborne DT9 3PU @flyjesseonline



THE PEAR TREE DELI Delicatessen & cafe open 9am-4pm, Monday - Saturday.

Television and audio, sales and repairs. Greenhill, Sherborne DT9 4EW

We are a bright and colourful shop selling a wonderful individual collection of clothes. Lots of new clothing, jewellery and accessories arriving. Half Moon Street, Sherborne DT9 3LN

Delivery & take away service for sandwiches, coffees and cakes plus many more deli items. Half Moon Street, Sherborne DT9 3LS

07718 253309 / 01935 813451

@Melbury Gallery

01935 812828 @ThePearTreeDeli @thepeartreedeli




Pure Hair is the perfect place to relax and be pampered. Established salon of 17 years. Hair and Beauty Finalist 2019 & 2020.

Riley’s is Sherborne’s long established cycle shop, providing a range of bicycles and e-bikes plus parts, accessories, clothing, repairs and servicing.

Half Moon Street, Sherborne DT9 3LN

Trendle Yard, Trendle Street, Sherborne DT9 3NT

01935 389709

01935 814172 @purehairsherborne @purehairsherborne

01935 812038




Your local ‘one-stop shop’ for everything that falls under the umbrella of web design; custom built for you.

Enjoy coffee and lunch in our garden and restaurant. Now open until 8.30pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Join us for Thai Night every Thursday.

118 Yeovil Road, Sherborne DT9 4BB

78 Cheap Street, Sherborne DT9 3BJ

01935 813241

01935 817777

16th Century pub serving Italian small plates. Authentic homemade dishes using some of the finest Dorset and Italian ingredients. Half Moon Street, Sherborne DT9 3LN

The country inn loved by locals and travellers for generations. The perfect place to soak up the sunshine and enjoy the views or curl up on an autumn evening. Trent, Sherborne DT9 4SL 01935 850776

@shoplocalinsherborne #shoplocalinsherborne

MARKET RESEARCH No.6: Tom Beattie, Fruit Bodhi Organics

Welcome to The Sherborne Market! What brings you here?

Thank you! We love The Sherborne Market; it’s a pleasure to be here, selling our locally grown oyster mushrooms. Where have you travelled from?

We are just over the hill in West Coker - so very local. Tell us about what you’re selling?

We are selling a range of oyster mushroom products. We grow and sell a variety of fresh and dried gourmet oyster mushrooms and mushroom seasoning, which offer the perfect addition to any meal. We have also launched an oyster mushroom grow kit range. Our grow kits are a great product for all ages to get their green fingers on! By following 4 simple steps, you can grow your very own delicious gourmet mushrooms in the comfort of your own kitchen. This is a great gift idea for friends and family or equally a treat to spoil yourself. We love what we do so much; we thought we’d let you have a go too! Where and when did it all begin?

I set up Fruit Bodhi Organics a few years back, after discovering a keen interest in mushrooms. From humble beginnings, with a makeshift grow space in my bedroom, Fruit Bodhi Organics has rapidly grown to a thriving business with our own mushroom farm in West Coker. We are a family-run business, who believe in family values, making the mushrooms that reach your plate all the more special. We are local and pride ourselves in growing and nurturing mushrooms ‘from spore to fork’ 8 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

in an eco-friendly, sustainable and organic manner. What do you enjoy most about selling at markets?

The markets are a great opportunity to meet our customers and share our passion with them face-toface. We also love the sense of community and the chance to support other fantastic, local businesses. The market is such a sociable day out, and is particularly special during COVID, as it is a great way to get out and enjoy Sherborne, safely. If you get the chance, which fellow stallholders here at Sherborne would you like to visit?

There are so many stalls we love to visit; it is hard to pick one! Black Shed Flowers though is definitely worth a visit – they sell the most beautiful flowers and all grown in Sherborne. We also love Viper Gin, and there is a wonderful stall near us that sells hand-knitted teddy bears. To be honest, you really are spoilt for choice at The Sherborne Market; there is something for everyone! Where can people find you on market day?

We will be on Cheap Street, just by Barclay’s Bank. Come and say hello!

___________________________________________ Sunday 11th October and Sunday 15th November The Sherborne Market Cheap Street, Abbey Green, Digby Road and Pageant Gardens @thesherbornemarket



Hand picked & selected artisan market featuring local producers, suppliers, amazing food, arts and crafts. Sunday 11th October Sunday 15th November



Andy Hastie, Yeovil Cinematheque

Séraphine (2008)


here’s still no real progress with the re-opening of our film society, Cinematheque, but do keep a lookout for developments as lockdown easing occurs. I’ve met a few of our members whilst shopping around Sherborne and had chats about how much we miss the routine of films to look forward to, and a desire to see the rest of the season we had to cut short in March. On being asked how they are filling their time; a couple have independently said that they have gone back to painting and are both enjoying it immensely. This good news set me thinking of films we have shown about artists over the years, so I thought I would recommend some favourites to view online. Séraphine (2008) is the multi award-winning true story of Séraphine de Senlis, an extraordinary artist in early twentieth century France. Although working as a maid just out of Paris, she secretly and passionately creates her inspired paintings using raw materials which come to hand. She is discovered by an art critic, who persuades her to bring her work to the world, but her new-found success comes at a heavy price. ‘Séraphine has a lyricism, passion and beauty unmatched in cinema this year’ Daily Mail. Crumb (1995) is a documentary chronicling the life of Robert Crumb, the legendary American cartoonist/ artist who was at the forefront of the development and genesis of many underground comics from the 1960s onwards. Including interviews with his, frankly, disturbing family (particularly his brother!), this nevertheless is both a hilarious and horrifying account of a complex and creative troubled individual. A film to watch through one’s fingers at times! ‘Sex, obsession, madness, death and lots of laughs’ Film Threat Magazine. There are more creative mental illness and awards in Lust for Life (1956), Vincente Minnelli’s Hollywood 10 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

biopic of Van Gogh. Kirk Douglas throws himself into the role of the tortured artist and is surprisingly good in this factually accurate portrayal of his life. Another Van Gogh biographical drama worth seeing is Loving Vincent (2017), a Polish animated feature, whereby the film’s 65,000 frames are each individually painted in Van Gogh’s style, using a huge team of oil paint artists. It is stunning to watch - like seeing a painting come to life. ‘Loving Vincent’s dazzling visual achievements make this biopic well worth seeking out’ Rotten Tomatoes. There are further awards with the French new wave’s Jacques Rivette’s fascinating ‘La Belle Noiseuse’ (1991). This 229-minute leisurely study of an artist at work with his model, and the interactions and tensions between them, stars Emmanuelle Beart and Michel Piccoli. Lots of the creative process and sketching are on show, as charcoal drawings take shape almost in real time. If you have the time to watch for nearly four hours, this is a rewarding masterpiece. ‘Ravishingly beautiful... immaculately acted’ The Observer. Finally, I’d recommend The Horse’s Mouth (1958), bestowed with more awards, and starring Alec Guinness as Gulley Jimson, is an adaption of Joyce Cary’s book of the same title. Jimson is an immoral, irascible, self-absorbed painter searching for an artistic vision, mostly at the expense of others, whom he exploits freely. This rather droll film is wonderfully acted by Alec Guinness as he finally reflects, but without regret, on what he has chosen to forfeit in order to pursue his art. ‘Really rather moving’ Philip Larkin. All these films will be viewable on various streaming sites. Happy viewing and/or painting!



Andrew Scott in rehearsal for Three Kings. Image: Manuel Harlan


hree Kings is a new play by Stephen Beresford written for and performed by Andrew Scott as a virtual theatre experience for The Old Vic: In Camera season. The title refers to three coins, which is a bar game challenge. The first king can be touched and moved, the second can be touched but not moved 12 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

and the third can be moved but not touched. This tormenting challenge is set a young Patrick, played by Scott, by his errant father, also called Patrick, who took flight very soon after the boy’s birth and meets him when he is about nine years old. The boy is desperate to be loved but is afraid that he will disappoint. Three

Kings is loosely divided into four short parts which equate to various important times in Patrick’s life. What we learn is that Patrick is very like his father; he can’t maintain relationships, drinks to forget and is completely unreliable. Throughout the short play lasting one hour, we find out that Patrick’s father has married four or five times, has spent time in prison and eventually dies of cancer living in squalor. One of the saddest moments is when he meets his younger brother, who he has never known, a few years after the father’s funeral, and finds out that he too is called Patrick. Three Patricks. Three kings. Not to be touched. Not to be moved. The last words of the play were the words spoken by his father just before he died. ‘Have mercy on us – Father. Forgive us.’ This play has so much depth. Scott’s performance is hugely emotional. I was left with so much to think through. Truly an exceptional play written for an exceptional actor. I heard an amazing play by the Donmar Warehouse, in partnership with VocalEyes – Blindness, based on the novel by José Saramago and voiced by Juliet Stephenson who plays the Doctor’s Wife. This is a story of an epidemic of blindness ending in hope. VocalEyes brings theatre, museums, galleries and heritage sites to life for blind and partially-sighted people and is publicly funded by Arts Council England. By closing my eyes and listening, I felt the richness of the audio and the dramatic tension was intense. There is live theatre going on, albeit it with a much-reduced audience. The Bridge Theatre is running a repertoire of twelve one-person plays during October with 250 socially-distanced seats on offer. Talking Heads written by Alan Bennett offers many delights with performances from Tamsin Greig, Maxine Peake, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Imelda Staunton amongst many. Please do visit the website and make a booking. Live theatre needs to survive. Zedel, in London’s West End, have begun running their cabaret evenings again. Issy van Randwyck and Tiffany Graves for example are performing Champagne Super Divas on 28th October. There are many other performances to enjoy live including The Jay Rayner Quartet on 17th October.




Carry Akroyd will be in the Gallery 12pm - 4.00pm on Saturday 10th & Tuesday 14th

SEE THE EXHIBITION ONLINE THE JERRAM GALLERY Half Moon Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3LN 01935 815261 Tuesday – Saturday | 13



No. 23: Annie Fry, The Silence of Rooms, oil on linen and beech panel, 15 x 20cm


have always been interested in colour, but my focus on people developed whilst I was teaching and I became drawn to the work of Freud, Rego and Spencer, Hammershoi & Wyeth, among others. My studies in sculpture at college made me more aware of surface qualities than of the effects of light on surfaces. This has informed my working practices and I now create textured surfaces on which to paint whilst I focus on the use of light in my painting. I work mostly with oils but often with a mixed media underpainting. I am analytical in my approach and investigate the subtleties of colour, painting with extensive colour mixing prior to and during the painting process. A lot of my work is developed with a very conscious focus and this results in a bias towards realism. I work primarily in oils, usually on canvas but my interest in surface also leads me to work in mixed media on board. Quite often I will work on a sequence of pieces where I can explore variations with different emphases.When forming a composition I sometimes work with unusual angles and a form of abstraction can be achieved. I also use the frame of the canvas as a deliberate tool for cutting off the image or only just containing the composition. Some of my work plays with time lapses, the same scene, a different time, a different content; sometimes they coincide. In the ‘Silence of Rooms’ I was exploring the fact that rooms can hold the presence of someone, with the clues that are left behind; the placed ladder, the draped dress. When I paint interior spaces I am considering that absent presence and how people have moved around in that space. ‘The Silence of Rooms’ is available to purchase for £320

14 | Sherborne Times | October 2020 | 15


AN ARTIST’S VIEW Laurence Belbin


’ve been out and about and as I always have my sketch pad with me, I make the most of any opportunity that comes my way. Shown here are two such examples. The first is a small boat yard next to Billie Winters café, as you first set foot on the causeway approaching Portland. I have driven past it many times and it always catches my eye. This time I decided to stop. The kind chap there, on asking, allowed me into the yard to draw. It was the arrangement of a few little boats on trailers in front of a large one propped up on blocks of wood – all varying in shapes and sizes - that appealed to me. A boat never looks very secure when supported this way, but I’ve never seen one collapse and I’ve been round a few yards. I had a wander around first, before picking my viewpoint. A small drawing about 6 inch sq. I went straight in with fountain pen and worked quickly. I was very aware of the chap directing men, driving trucks, to move the boats around that he didn’t want me there too long – not when he had real work to do! I would like to go back and spend longer there. Next time, I shall do it from the road. For a start, compositions seem to look better from the middle of the road whilst driving… The next opportunity presented itself as I was heading into Yeovil. I was still in Dorset, just. At the bottom of Babylon Hill, the garage there had on the forecourt an old truck. Now, those that know me will agree that I can’t be described as a vehicle geek but, this was an interesting

16 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

motor guv! A 1946 Chevrolet. I was given more info, but it went straight over my head. I do remember he said originally ‘it had a V8 under the hood’ and ‘she still pulls.’ Again, I managed two drawings before the weather changed and it began to drizzle – not a lot – but enough to make the pencil and paper hate each other. I used an HB throughout and concentrated on the line of the vehicle rather than include background etc. The solid bulkiness of it and the huge mud guards gave it a bit of a hillbilly look. The chain wrapped around the ‘fender’ added to this image. I could imagine John Walton from The Waltons TV programme years ago driving it! I was more interested in recording than making ‘a picture’. It’s not often you see such an individual truck or car these days. The location could have been better. Stood on the side of a dual carriageway is not the most peaceful way to spend an hour or so! It felt good to get the sketch pad out and do a bit. If anyone would like to learn, as a complete beginner or to improve their drawing skills, my Monday drawing class is now held in Sherborne. So, if you have always wanted to have a go but are unsure, please contact me for details. | 17

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







by c l iv e w e bbe r


Open Day Event – Digby Main Hall Saturday 10th October This special event will be held on Saturday 10th October from 10.30 AM – 3.30 PM. There is plenty of parking at the Digby Hall car park. We will be featuring our brand new Autumn Collection of Alpaca Knitwear, ‘Perfect Fit’ Pima Cotton Tops, and Silk Scarves – All by Artisan Route. This is a young company and brand name, but please remember that Clive Webber has had connections for over 20 years in Sherborne and really knows how to produce top quality designs in Alpaca, Pima Cotton

Kesia – Elegant links knit jacket with self covered buttons. Knitted in 100% Peruvian Baby Alpaca.

Caral Flower – Captivating floral intarsia jacket. Handmade in 100% Peruvian Superfine Alpaca.

Olivia – Effortless and relaxed ‘go anywhere’ long jacket. Knitted in 100% Peruvian Baby Alpaca.

Lauren – Classic links knit jacket with self covered buttons. Knitted in 100% Peruvian Baby Alpaca.

Patricia – ‘Perfect Fit’ Peruvian Pima Cotton long sleeved Crew. Available in 12 colours.

Paula – ‘Perfect Fit’ Peruvian Pima Cotton Roll Neck. Available in 9 colours.

and Silk. The beauty of the Open Day is that it provides the opportunity for Artisan Route to show our products in reality, giving customers the chance to see all the products we have. Personal service and attention is the focal point of our small business. Our very good friend Mel Chambers will be with us to help and assist. We are sure that you all know how to reach Digby Hall at Hound Street, Sherborne, but just in case, the postcode is DT9 3AA.

We have chosen a spacious setting in the Main Hall within a safety sensitive environment to give you a warm and friendly experience ! You can check out our collection in advance on our website, please enter the full address below

w w w. a r t i s a n r o u t e . c o . u k or phone for a brochure. T : 01896 823 765 ( Monday - Friday 10.00 - 18.00)

Sherborne Tutor

Nicola Jackman Violins

A-level English Literature GCSE English Language and Literature General academic English

Violin and Viola Music Theory Violin Hire

English Tutoring - Online or in-person lessons

Qualified secondary English teacher with 10 yrs. + experience BA English Literature – MA Education Studies – DBS certified

E. T. 07561 598080

Sherborne Tutor

Experienced Violin Teacher

Contact Nicola Jackman for more details 07504 220932

KATHARINE DAVIES PHOTOGRAPHY Portrait, lifestyle, PR and editorial commissions 07808 400083

20 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

yo B ur oo pl k ac e

Sixth Form Virtual Open Morning 10th October 2020

Join us for exclusive access to Sherborne’s Sixth Form including insights from a panel of current pupils. Scholarships and Bursaries are available. 01935 810403

UNEARTHED Jono Post, aged 17 Sherborne School


s a top-flight musician, Jono is Head Chorister of the 124-strong school choir. In that role, he coordinates and runs the choir from the boys’ side. Playing at grade 8 distinction level, he is also the lead trumpet player in the swing band and the wind band. Studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Biology, Jono is in the process of applying to Engineering degree courses for when he leaves Sherborne. Recognised early with tactful leadership qualities, Jono captained his Ten Tors team in the Fourth Form, has been an active member of School House and a natural mentor and support to other pupils. He was recently selected to be Head of School, a role which sees him working closely with the other school prefects as well as the staff senior leadership team. Evidently, the Army also saw his leadership qualities, recently offering him a highly competitive Sixth Form Scholarship, which will lead to a university bursary and see him joining Royal Military Academy Sandhurst after graduation.

Image: Ruth Lonsdale, Fuchsia Photography















Thornford Primary School

Open Day 23rd October 2020 (by appointment only) For more information or to arrange a private visit please contact the Headteacher, Mrs Neela Brooking on 01935 872706 or email Ofsted “Outstanding”, SIAMS “Outstanding” Boot Lane, Thornford, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 6QY

22 | Sherborne Times | October 2020


Children’s Book Review Ethan, aged 12, The Gryphon School

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury Children’s Books) £7.99 Sherborne Times Reader Offer Price of £6.99 from Winstone’s Books


he Good Thieves is about an elderly man who gets tricked into selling his family castle to a rich and very mean man. He promises to turn it into a building to help children, but instead puts heavy guards with vicious dogs on patrol and allows the place to rot and crumble so it can be turned into a housing estate. The old man’s granddaughter, Vita, and her mother, travel from England to New York to help. I especially liked this book because of the strength

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

of Vita’s love towards her grandpa and how it guides her, her three friends, and family towards a happier future. Although risky, she perseveres, picking up a few cuts and bumps along the way. I really like the way the author, Katherine Rundell, writes because she uses a lot of detail to create vivid imagery. The Good Thieves was voted Foyles Children’s Book of the Year 2019 and Katharine Rundell has won lots of awards, including the Costa Children’s Book Award. I would recommend this book to ages 8+.

Magical poems to bewitch you from beginning to end!




ow did it happen that I wrote a book with my ten-year-old grandson, found a wonderful illustrator, involved Sir David Attenborough, had it printed, and our profits are going to Dorset County Hospital? The answer is, that one morning, Alex, aged 9 at the time, came into our bedroom and said, ‘Granny I think we should write a book.’ I was up for a try; it might help his English. Alex lives in Sydney, so we planned which of our stories we would include, prepared an outline and when I came back to the UK, the emails began. The most memorable of which was one from Alex, ‘Dear Granny, I like what you have added. I have highlighted where your punctuation is inaccurate and changed an assumption that you made on page 3.’ I was very impressed: nine years old, talking about assumptions and sorting out my punctuation; this was helping his English, and mine. Before we could go to print, I explained to Alex that, as we had a character in our book who was a real person, we would need to get his permission or change his name. Alex was very keen for us to get his permission. We 24 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

wrote a letter and two days later received a reply from Sir David Attenborough saying he was flattered to be in our book. Wow, we thought that was cool. The illustrations were completed and beautiful, artist Martin Brierley had brought Foxy to life. We went to print and were delighted with the result. I then asked Alex how he would feel about giving the profits to the hospital that helped me when I was ill. Alex’s instant answer was, ‘that would make me very happy.’ Well, that made me very happy, so our profits are going to Dorset County Hospital Chemotherapy Appeal. Fearless Foxy the Red Panda, is available from Winstone’s Books and Dike & Son, Stalbridge. Proceeds raised for the Dorset County Hospital Chemotherapy Appeal will help bring the existing facilities up to date, increase the available space and enable patients to have someone with them when they are receiving chemotherapy. It will make a huge difference to the nurses and the patients.

11 Dreadnought Trading Estate, Bridport DT6 5BU 01308 458443

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




Huw Thomas, Director of Operations and Co-curricular, Sherborne Prep

he current crop of parents of children at schools are a discerning lot. They quite rightly compare state against independent education and independent schools against each other. It is a competitive market and justifiably so. Paying for an education is an expensive option and as such, we are often asked questions such as:

How do we add value? What marks us out from the crowd? How do we develop the individual child?

In the current climate, it is even more important for a school to deliver an excellent service to families and ensure a thorough ‘education’ in the broadest sense of that word. Here, at Sherborne Prep, we are looking to inspire our children to be valued citizens within a strong community. Clearly, in any educational establishment, combining the core academic business with outstanding pastoral care is fundamental. Generating inquisitive pupils who are equipped with the appropriate tool kit and approach for learning is paramount. The children must feel valued, respected and safe. This must be knitted together with a broad and vibrant co-curricular programme. Schools should provide a breadth of opportunity and experience for the children, with the support of expert staff who can help to inspire, develop and nurture the citizens of the future. All this sits alongside the vital social aspects of life in a school where children learn to mix with others, to make friends, work through differences, play and interact with one another. This part of school life is perhaps often overlooked as people think of them as academic institutions, but it came to the fore during the long absence of regular school for so many children across the country this year. To nurture core values such as kindness, perseverance and awareness, generosity, honesty and independence in each and every pupil, is a really enjoyable and important aim for our school. Delivering a programme of opportunities and experiences that dovetail with the academic and pastoral provision can be a logistical dilemma but 26 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

an enjoyable one. Harnessing the enthusiasm for learning of both the teachers and pupils is key to any successful co-curricular programme. With over 100 activities taking place within the school week, outside of the timetable, the choice for pupils is enormous at the Prep. The challenges of programming and then guiding the pupils down a balanced path is also crucial. For example, many of our sports-loving children would be keen to play 3 sessions of sport on a Saturday, before heading off to represent the school

in a match. We aim to guide the children to have more breadth and try new hobbies, to have a balance and explore other areas of life. With our impressive subject leads, who have their own interests and expertise to share with the children, there is so much on offer to the children to try. From Lateral Thinking to Historic Junk Modelling, Origami to Electric Car Club through to Dungeons and Dragons and Horse Riding – I am always amazed by how we fit so much into our working week. We still see this as crucial in these times where

we are having to be more careful and where the logistics of running a safe school has become more challenging. Schools should seek to blend a leading academic and pastoral provision with a broad, rich and vibrant co-curricular programme. This lies at the very heart of a positive and happy school community and will hopefully lead to a lifelong love of learning and a balanced approach for all pupils. | 27


THE ROLE OF DRAMA IN A CHILD’S TIMETABLE Kimberly Arnold, Head of Drama, Hazlegrove Prep School


hen taught with passion, enthusiasm, love and truth, drama has a profound effect on each and every child through the space it creates for trust and personal growth. Drama is all about communication, empathy, self-esteem and fundamental life skills. A life lesson learnt during a well-rehearsed school production will be utilised way beyond childhood school days. From feeling nervous 28 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

during a meeting with a prospective employer or holding it together at one’s first board meeting, all the necessary survival skills are experienced, talked about and delivered in role-play during a drama class. One of the main reasons for children to be part of a drama-based lesson is the subject’s ability to build selfesteem. With careful and considered planning, even the shyest of pupils can excel. There is a plethora of

"With practice and repetition, insecure children will eventually find their own inner spotlight and stand proudly in it."

techniques used; role-play, hot-seating, improvisation and mime, to name a few, that all contribute to a subtle, explorative and fun way in which a child is brave without even realising. With practice and repetition, insecure children will eventually find their own inner spotlight and stand proudly in it. This is why it is so important that all children have access to drama through their weekly timetable. An experienced drama specialist encourages and supports the less confident in such a way that their journey will be played out in an environment centred on trust and rewarding activities. Prior to teaching, I was fortunate to have enjoyed a successful and hugely enjoyable career spanning a decade performing on London’s West End stages in some of the world’s best-known productions including Cats and Phantom of the Opera. Working with children in the classroom, the benefits of drama lessons can be clearly seen firsthand. For naturally confident children, drama teaches them patience, empathy and teamwork. For those with low self-esteem, it encourages communication skills and builds confidence; this is even more important within the realm of today’s uncertain times and the prospect of children isolated within a remote learning environment. Stepping into the unknown has been a running theme for each and every one of us recently, with ‘remote’ becoming a buzz word and live online interactions becoming the norm. The annual Year 8 production took place in the midst of lockdown; it was never an option to cancel, instead, we decided to make a movie. Rehearsals, sometimes 30 a day, took place on TEAMS. Locations were found, props collated and costumes borrowed from the wardrobe of parents. The finished show was an experience like no other and brought together over 70 children in a two-and-a-halfhour production which saw every child involved and celebrating the group of which they were part. It was a privilege to see how the reach of drama could not be diminished, even by a pandemic. Drama in education plays an important role which enables children to benefit from this subject and enriches their overall learning experience. This understated subject can be the perfect vessel for a generation of confident, happy, problem solving, proactive team members. How can we not support that? | 29




Rob Marston, Assistant Head, Sixth Form, Sherborne School

ew would disagree that the class of 2020 have had a tough ride. In a year that has seen unparalleled disruption to the public exam system, this cohort of young men and women in our community have shown patience, adaptability and grit; raising the bar for those that follow in their footsteps. This is certainly the case at Sherborne School and our boys continue to rise to the challenge. Having been in post at Sherborne since September 2019, my first year has been quite something. I previously worked at Repton, where I taught Economics and Business and was a Sixth Form tutor, supporting students’ future pursuits. The whole of Sherborne School has felt privileged to witness the true strength of community spirit during these challenging times. The boys’ proactive engagement and diligence has been a testament to their resilience. Boys, both outgoing and incoming, have remained cheerful and positive under pressure and continued to build their own platforms for future success. There is very much a ‘no one-size-fits-all’ approach at Sherborne. My colleagues and I recognise that every boy is different, that a successful education is one that prepares them for a future only they will pursue because it is their future; their life. You could say we reverse engineer our offer to pupils, depending on their hopes and aspirations upon leaving School. We help boys discern what they want to achieve, then ensure the building blocks are in place for them to get there. With a number of bursaries and scholarships available, we’re attentive to the particular needs of every pupil. A number of our boys go onto Oxbridge or Russell Group universities, and our academic standards reflect that aspiration, but that is by no means the only route they follow. Some go to prestigious art colleges, others enter industry with top-flight employers, and others choose to pursue creative careers as writers, actors, musicians and entrepreneurs. The diversity of Sherborne’s alumni vocations reflects this. During lockdown, Sherborne offered a programme of academic enrichment and Higher Education activity including weekly careers-focused webinars from many Old Shirburnians. In addition, the School was also able to keep its extensive co-curricular offering very much alive and kicking, thanks to several creative initiatives. However, replicating this during lockdown and with social-distancing measures in place, is more of a challenge. Despite these obstacles, boys were offered and enthusiastically engaged in; fitness challenges, CCF skills, drama workshops and art classes to name but a few. Music runs through the veins of Sherborne and with boys missing the almost endless opportunities to rehearse and perform, including the popular Friday lunchtime recitals in Cheap Street church, our musicians rallied and created some magnificent virtual performances. With the new school year now in full swing, the current Sixth Form cohort are to be applauded on their positive start. The resilience and kindness they are showing as we navigate through an ever-evolving landscape both within the school and the wider Sherborne community is remarkable and a firm reinforcement of the values of what it means to be a Shirburnian. Sherborne School is running a virtual Sixth Form open morning on Saturday 10th October. To find out more and to book your place visit

30 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

Image: Josie Sturgess-Mills

Rob Marston (centre) with Sherborne School Sixth Form students | 31




Jemma Dempsey

re you feeling OK? You haven’t stopped grinning for the last couple of miles, you look like a mad woman.’ Smirking, I waft a dismissive hand at the husband’s concerns and suggest he concentrate on the driving, as we accelerate towards the M5 leaving the familiar countryside of home behind. I am, of course, feeling completely fine; not because we’ve by some miracle actually left the house and got on the road for our staycation within half an hour of the designated time, nor because I’ve managed to get the kids and us packed for a fortnight away, clean the house, change the bed and even spray room freshener around the place in preparation for my parents, who are staying to look after our dog. No, I am smiling because while this is a self-catering holiday, always a double-edged sword, we’ll be ‘Eating Out to Help Out,’ or, my personal favourite, ‘Going for a Rishi.’ And that means freedom from the kitchen. RESULT! Knowing the Lake District will be full of staycationers, I set about making a list of participating pubs and restaurants in the Ambleside area and gaily begin to make calls to book tables. And this is where the problems begin. Hardly anywhere is taking bookings. Apparently, we just have to turn up and walk in. So that’ll be us and every other family, couple and hill walker in Cumbria. This does not bode well for the week. I can feel my Herbert Lom twitch coming on as the smile on my face is replaced with a frown. ‘Let’s stop at the next services, I need a coffee,’ I declare, ‘and some chocolate.’ Turns out the National Trust safari tent has only just ‘opened’ for business and while the kids hoon around the forest, I fuss around our rather luxurious abode, catching glimpses of genuine campers in muddy wellies, who I’m convinced are glaring at me and my lack of camping paraphernalia. I want to shout that I’m very familiar with composting toilets and that sensation when you wake in the middle of the night and realise your airbed has failed and that you’re one step closer to a Japanese style of sleeping than you would like. But I don’t. Instead, while the husband huffs and puffs unpacking the car, I fiddle about with the supplied fairy 32 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

lights to make the tent look pretty. ‘Great,’ says the husband, ‘at least we can all sing Kumbaya while we starve. But what about dinner?’ Our travelling supplies are somewhat depleted – half a packet of chocolate digestives, two apples, some sugarfree sweets, a can of pop and a bruised banana are all that remain. I admit defeat and shout for the kids to come back; we’re heading into town. A queue outside an Italian doesn’t look too depressing - sheep-like we join it. A waiter with a visor and a clip board speaks in broken English but with such urgency that I can’t understand him, and I can’t hear him either because of the plastic barrier between his mouth and my ears. It is 5.30pm but I think he's saying 7pm or maybe 7.30 for a table. So, I leave my name and number along with dozens before me. At this rate, it won’t be ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ but ‘Wait Out to Help Out.’ Bellies rumbling, I consult my list and suggest a pub nearby. We arrive as a family in front of us are told, ‘Sorry, we’re packed and it’s at least an hour’s wait, and there are no tables for a drink either. Really sorry…’ It is at this moment I see the beckoning neon lights of a Tesco Express on the other side of the road and I catch the husband’s eye. We are both thinking the same thing – should we just give up and get some basics and have a ploughman’s for supper? ‘Let’s just try one last place. We can’t give up just yet,’ I implore, determined to spend taxpayers’ money and help everyone by eating out, not least me who really doesn’t want to make dinner. We find another Italian and with the air of a hopeless, if somewhat bedraggled optimist, I go in. The waitress tells me every table is triple booked but refusing to take no for an answer I plead, beg, entreat and say we’ll be ever so quick because we are all so hungry. Clearly, she takes pity on me like some lost dog, taps her screen with her impossibly long fingernails and says if we can be finished by 7.50pm, she can fit us in. Yes! I call the others in past the growing queue of starving zombies and we're quickly seated. We order, barely looking at the menu, and the kitchen supplies the goods quick sharp. We inhale the food, gulp down our drinks, pay up and leave. Never did a meal taste so good. Thanks Rishi.

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Wild Dorset



Sally Welbourn, Dorset Wildlife Trust

s autumn looms and we start to notice a colder bite to the temperature in the mornings and evenings, nature starts turning its attention to survival. For a lot of the wildlife we saw this spring and summer, that means hibernating for the winter. During the colder months, life becomes tougher – namely because food is harder to come by – so ‘by-passing’ this season entirely through hibernation, and re-emerging in spring and summer seems like a good survival technique. Some animals are better known than others for hibernating – the much-loved hedgehog and dormouse are famous for being dormant in the winter, but the tiniest of wildlife are also hibernating, such as the small tortoiseshell butterfly, bumblebees and ladybirds. Insect hibernation is known as ‘diapause’, where like hibernation, insects conserve their energy by dropping their temperature and slowing down their heart rate. Successful hibernation depends on finding a safe and sheltered place to see through the winter, but it is a complicated process which isn’t without risks. A long winter for example, can have a detrimental effect when it’s time to wake up and, if they do wake up and food is still scarce, they’re back where they started. Sleeping wildlife which are unaware of changes in their surroundings for weeks on end can leave them vulnerable to predation and disturbance, no matter how protected their shelter is. Butterflies can be seen hanging upside down in sheds or garages. Not all will hibernate, depending on their life cycle, but the peacock, brimstone and red admiral butterflies are often the first to emerge from hibernation as the weather warms up. Ladybirds and beetles huddle together closely for warmth under tree bark or on plants. Wasps and bees, (depending on the species) will often burrow under-ground or stay in plant stems or bug hotels. Some insects will die before winter, as part of their life cycle – leaving their eggs to hatch in spring. The best thing you can do in your garden is create lots of space for hibernating wildlife, and not disturb them. You’ll be pleased to know that one of the best things you can do in your garden is leave it alone for wildlife – and keep the tidying to a minimum! Read more about what to do for garden wildlife in winter at:

34 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

BMJ/Shutterstock | 35

Wild Dorset


Gillian M. Constable, Dorset Wildlife Trust Sherborne Group Committee Member Image: Gillian M Constable


nce again, we have had to cancel our next meeting. It was to have been on Dorset otters, however we hope to reorganise it for 2021. Dorset now has otters on all waterways and so they are relatively much easier to see. Many people have been fortunate and watched them at Blandford from a bridge over the Stour. They are about locally, since friends have seen them at Sherborne Castle Lake, depicted in the autumn scene above, or sometimes, someone complains that their fishpond has been raided. Dorset Otter Group monitors their presence and details of their work can be found online. Last year, DWT recorded increasing numbers of deaths of otters on roads. Their theory being that the rivers were too full after all the rain and otters resorted to roads when unable to get under bridges. Over the summer, DWT has welcomed new arrivals to the Kingcombe Centre. They are black bees from an established colony in North Wales and it is hoped that they will settle well in their new surroundings. The black bee is also known as the dark European honeybee and a century ago, they were believed to be extinct in Britain. Most mornings, I check Portland Bird Observatory records to discover the previous day’s sightings. This year seems to have been a difficult one for birding there. Martin Cade, the warden, is sometimes very despondent, 36 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

particularly following some of the very windy days we have suffered. Birds are known to migrate at night and a piece of equipment called ‘nocmig’ allows recordings of the calls of such migrants to be logged and analysed. Recently, using this method, 746 tree pipits were detected overflying Portland in one night. However, in the morning, only 57 were found in the observatory garden. Butterfly recording seems to have kept many individuals busy this summer. The Dorset Butterfly Conservation website indicates that in early September, records of over 82,000 adult butterflies of 49 species have been received. The most numerous species being meadow brown with 23,856 sightings and perhaps the most exciting recording being the long-tailed blue (1) swallowtailed (2), and purple emperor (4). Alners Gorse Butterfly Reserve also provided excitement for the moth fanatics. It has been established that the light crimson underwing is breeding there; this is the first confirmed breeding population in Dorset. One of the Portland bird recorders, who also runs a moth trap, has recently found a rosy underwing in her moth trap – this is the first record on Portland since 1993. The total for Britain is now around 20.


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Wild Dorset


Paula Carnell, Beekeeping Consultant, Writer and Speaker


he season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us and what an abundant harvest it is! Bees have done well with plenty of honey to share. My husband is a cider maker and so, between us, we’re very aware of on and off years. This year, it’s definitely ‘on’ for his favourite, the Kingston Black apples, and our tree is so overladen with fruit that it makes access to my hives very tricky! I believe this particular tree is so bountiful due not only to its proximity to my hives, but also because of the fabulous Russian comfrey planted at its base. It wasn’t planted on purpose, it just appeared, like many of the plants in our garden. This particular comfrey is a spectacular bee attractor. It’s where I spot the first of the hairy footed flower bees each year, swiftly followed by carder bees and bumbles of all shapes and sizes. The red mason bees also frequent this area and, being the most prolific pollinators of apples, that could well explain this bounteous crop. Many trees have on and off years and I’ve also noticed that the oaks seem to have been having an ‘on year’. Acorns litter the pathways. I’ve managed 38 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

to harvest just enough elderberries for my annual syrupmaking session and this year, I’m able to add rosehips to my harvest. I love to observe my hives throughout the year, but during autumn, as my life tends to calm down a little, I notice the bees either relaxing too – content that their larders are filled with honey or fighting for their lives against wasps. This year has definitely been an ‘on’ year for these pesky striped insects. I am eager to find a humane way to live amongst them and in between more pressing work, I have been dabbling with researching more about wasps. Since understanding that the wasps at this time of year are in a desperate state, their queen no longer laying the much-needed eggs to produce larvae from which adult wasps feed. Larvae process the scraps of meat and fish brought in by adult wasps and then feast on the resulting excretion. With no more larvae, the adults are left to find their own source of pure pre-digested food to fuel themselves. Hence, the interest in honey and our own sugary drinks. With Mr C making cider at this time of year, we’ve always been

Andrey Ezhov/Shutterstock

conscious of the interest these insects take in apples and juice, thankfully rarely being stung. My office has also become a thoroughfare this year, as a nest was in our roof space and they’d found a way through the smoke detector into my office. At first, I was casually opening windows as, yet another wasp entered my space. It was after a lunch break and returning to find SIXTY wasps waiting to be let out that I realised we had a problem! They didn’t sting me passing through, but I crushed one as I placed my arm on the desk – looking at my screen and not where I was placing my arm. I can tell you that wasp stings are more painful than bee stings! I was also stung over the weekend by a wasp sat on a clothes peg. The really interesting thing is that both stings are on my right hand and arm, connected to my two painful arthritic fingers. Could it be that it’s not just bees who sting us to heal, as is the belief of many apitherapists? More investigation is required… What I do love to see is calm bees practising

their grooming skills on the landing boards at this time of year. This time last year, I was at Apimondia in Canada and listened to 4 days’ worth of lectures about bees, their health and in particular, the effects of over management and chemicals not only used inside the hive by beekeepers, but also the impact of chemicals brought into the hive through nectar and pollen from the bees. Prof. Tom Seeley has been studying bees since the 1970s, both managed and in the wild. His lectures are always inspiring and informative; he confirmed my observations of bees having more time to groom when they are left with honey stores. He studied colonies comparing his ‘Darwinian’ style along with more conventionally spaced and managed colonies to find that over a two-year period, 83% of the non-chemical treated colonies had survived, compared to the 12% of chemically treated colonies. A whole host of great scientists and speakers spoke of the importance of good nutrition for bees. Sam Comfort, a commercial beekeeper of 16 years, has a strapline of ‘Treatment free, but not stupid’ shared tips on management and care to increase the natural immunity of colonies. A summer of healthy chemicalfree forage and good gut bacteria increases the chances of colonies lasting through the winter months. As I often state in my talks, if we were to feed our kids on a diet of pure sugar all winter, would we be surprised if they were all to fall sick? With my beekeeping, not only do I not use chemical treatments inside the hives, but by leaving the bees a selection of their year’s harvest, including a variety of honeys from clover, willow, bramble and lime, I am ensuring they have a balanced and nutritious diet. The bees are all too aware of the minerals and vitamins they require, and as Professor Moran of York University discovered in 2017, bees add lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to avoid pH imbalances. Large quantities of LAB were found in pollen collected by bees, suggesting they use it as probiotics to protect their health. 43 species of LAB were found inside beehives with 20 showing inhibition against 28 species of human and animal pathogens, some of which are resistant to antibiotics. We can learn from the bees that a balanced and abundant harvest is beneficial to vital to our good health and wellbeing. I am off now for another walk along the hedgerows to see what else I can harvest to boost my immunity for the winter months! | 39

On Foot

So gorgeously hath nature drest thee up Against the birth of May; and, vested so, Thou dost appear more gracefully array’d, Than Fashion’s worshippers. From Lewesdon Hill, by William Crowe

40 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

STOKE ABBOTT, LEWESDON HILL AND THE WESSEX RIDGEWAY Emma Tabor and Paul Newman Distance: 6 miles Time: Approx 3 1/2 hours Park: There is plenty of street parking in Stoke Abbott Walk Features: Stoke Abbott village and its 12th Century church, Lewesdon Hill and hill fort, the Wessex Ridgeway, Waddon Hill and views towards the coast. Refreshments: New Inn, Stoke Abbott


ach month we devise a walk for you to try with your family and friends (including four-legged members), pointing out a few interesting things along the way, be it flora, fauna, architecture, history, the unusual, and sometimes the unfamiliar. For October, we cover the hills to the west of Beaminster, including Lewesdon Hill, the once-disputed highest point in Dorset, with a short stretch along the Wessex Ridgeway. It’s an ideal spring walk, awakening sensations as wild garlic and bluebells push through, and has sweeping vistas, ancient settlements and some surprises in the hollows along the Jubilee Trail stretch. At 915 feet, Lewesdon is six feet higher than nearby Pilsdon Pen. Directions

Start: SY803124 The walk starts at the Lion Head Spring in Stoke Abbott 1 Walk uphill through the village, away from the spring and past the junction with Norway Lane, following the sign for Bridport; don’t forget to visit the 12th Century church. After a short while, turn left up a track signed for Brimley Mill, on a righthand bend in the road, past Higher Farm. After a few yards, turn right through a metal gate. Cross a field to a gate and stile in the middle of a hedge. Go over the stile, across another field to a small metal gate, with a pretty, white, thatched cottage to your left. After the gate, go down some steps and cross the drive for the cottage. Go through a wooden gate, keep straight ahead and follow the fence > | 41

steeply downhill. At the bottom of the field, head to the right-hand corner and a kissing gate. This leads onto a walkway over a brook, through a beautifully sheltered spot with ferns and wild garlic. Make your way steeply uphill, then towards the left of a barn, heading for a kissing gate. Go through this to walk along a short path past farm cottages, to meet a bend in the road coming from Stoke Abbott. Turn left and follow the road for approximately 1/3 mile towards 4 Ashes junction. 2 Upon reaching 4 Ashes, cross the main road. After a few yards, turn right through a metal gate with a footpath sign into a field. Head towards the beeches at the bottom of Lewesdon. Pass through a second gate and walk up the right-hand side of a field to follow a hedge round until you meet another gate. Here, go slightly left across a concrete drive then turn right to go through another gate into the woods. Head up between two banks and after a few yards there are numerous paths on the left which will take you up the southern flank of the hill. After a short while, there is a National Trust sign for Lewesdon Hill - go past this to start the steep final climb to the top, a grassy plateau surrounded by trees. The route continues to the right although you can venture left to explore the remains of Iron Age defences on the western flank of the hill. 3 From the summit, head down the northern side to meet the Wessex Ridgeway which runs east-west. Turn right and after a short while find yourself entering a holloway. Follow a sign for Stoke Knapp; eventually the holloway meets the BroadwindsorBridport road again. 4 Cross the road and follow the footpath sign opposite to go past old farm buildings on your right. After a few yards, look for a bridleway and footpath sign - keep straight on, following the sign for Chart Knoll. With the fence on your left, the track meanders uphill to reach two metal gates. Keep on this track to reach another metal gate into the next field. Go through this and continue, to reach three footpath signs and views of Gerrard’s Hill and Beaminster, then follow a hedge to a five-bar wooden gate. Pass through this then onto a track with Chart Knoll ahead of you. The hill drops away steeply to the left and the trail becomes more enclosed. Where the track splits, bear left, past a sign for Beaminster. Go through a small wooden gate to pass the buildings on your right 42 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

and make for a stile in the hedge ahead. Go over this to another stile then across a field keeping the boundary on your left, towards the beech grove on Gerrard’s Hill. From the grove and triangulation point there are fine views all around. 5 Head off the hill, dropping down towards Beaminster, to the corner of a field. Go over a stile, cross a farm track, over another stile then across the middle of a field towards a single hollow tree by another stile. Keep aiming down, towards a stile at the bottom of the hill and through pony paddocks, to cross a wooden footbridge and enter Puckett’s Wood. Go straight ahead and after a few yards turn right at a signpost for ‘Stoke Road ¼ mile’. Initially the track is not well defined but soon broadens. Reach a five-bar gate and then a short footpath which meets the road at Knoll Farm. 6 Turn right onto the road and follow this for just under half a mile. After a short, steep meandering climb through trees, the road flattens. On a righthand bend, look out for a field entrance on your left, with remains of a footpath sign in the hedge! Go into the field then turn right and head for a stile in the far hedge, by a telegraph pole. Go over the stile, turn right onto a grassy lane then left, through a small wooden gate. Cross a track, then head between a pony paddock and a farm building. Enter another paddock through a kissing gate and walk towards a small metal gate in the far-left corner. Go through this and descend into a fern-carpeted wooded dell. After a few yards, cross a footbridge. Follow the Jubilee Trail signs and cross the bottom corner of a field to emerge onto a track. Go left and then immediately right up some steps, to follow the Jubilee Trail through the woods above the stream. Look out for the moss-covered outline of an old leet. This is a particularly lovely hidden stretch, with alder, snowdrops, bluebells and wild garlic. The trail meanders down to meet the stream again. Cross another footbridge, with a metal gate, into a field. Keep to the right-hand edge of this field, skirting the bottom of a steep hill. Go through a metal gate onto a footbridge, then start to climb towards some houses. After another metal gate, follow a concrete footpath between houses. At the end of this, turn left onto the road and head back towards where you’ve parked.

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rom about 1630 and certainly by 1640, there was always a weekly coach service to and from London to Exeter. In 1754, a ‘flying service’ was organised; the coaches had 6 horses and were changed every 10–15 miles at staging inns and achieved an average speed of 6mph. In 1773, the ‘Exeter Flyer’ took about 4–6 days for the journey, depending upon the weather conditions, and this road went along what is now roughly our A30 trunk road. It was often said then that the road was ‘not good and the journey very uncomfortable.’ Well, that was not very surprising! Through Wessex, the main coach road ran east to west from London to Exeter and then on to Devonport, which is of course part of Plymouth. In these early days of coaching, the best route was thought to be via Bath, but by 1823, there was a choice of two main routes, one from London, via Andover – Salisbury – Shaftesbury - Sherborne Yeovil – Crewkerne - Chard - Honiton Axminster - Exeter. The other via Andover – Amesbury – Wincanton – Ilchester – Ilminster – Honiton, where it joined the other route coming in from Salisbury. Both routes included leaving the capital via Hounslow and then the five miles of ‘galloping ground’ between Bagshott and Andover. This bit was said to be the best five miles in all of England, where the coachmen galloped their coaches for all they were worth. 44 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

The Sherborne route was the main coach route along which, amongst other services, ran the famous ‘Quick Silver’, or the ‘Devonport Mail’. This route became famous and was then described as a ‘miracle road’, as these coaches travelled very quickly reaching Exeter from London in about 16 hours, and to Plymouth from London in around 21 hours. A journey of about 216 miles. It was said to have around 23 stops for changes of horses. To those readers who want a quick ‘nostalgic glimpse’ at a long-lost staging inn, the Quick Silver in all its modern glory lies at the top of Hendford Hill, as you are leaving Yeovil, on the A30 Yeovil to Crewkerne road. The great rival of the Quick Silver was the ‘Telegraph’ travelling from London via Wincanton. Other services which ran via Sherborne, were the ‘Traveller’ and the ‘Herald’, both of which took 23 hours to reach Exeter from London. Cross country stagecoach routes included those from Bristol and Bath to Lyme Regis, and to Weymouth and to Poole. From Exeter, over 70 coaches a day set off for London and other destinations. Although William Chaplin made a fortune from his coaching business out of London, it is doubtful whether the profits were very high in the majority of cases. Coaches cost from £120 to £150 to build, which meant a cost of 3 pence (3d) a double mile to the operating hirer. As the demand for horses grew, a single coaching

horse could cost as much as £27 - £28 or more, and although they only worked 3 days out of every 4, the job of pulling a heavy coach was very tiring and a coach horse’s life only lasted 3-4 years, at the most. There was also feeding, care and stabling costs to be met, plus the coachman’s wages. Then, as now, any activity earning money attracts the attention of the government. The coaching business was no exception and incurred first a ‘coach wheel tax’, then a ‘mileage duty’, which crept up from a halfpenny to threepence a mile and also a licence fee based on the passenger capacity of the vehicle. The turnpike payments would add about £3 for 100 miles of route, and there were many other incidental expenses like wages for the booking clerks, the whale oil for the lamps, advertising payments and so on. Fares for the inside seats were very much more than those for outside places and were often doubled. In addition to the journey fare, there could be a further three shillings and sixpence (3/-6d) to be paid for an overnight stay at a decent inn, plus two shillings (2/-) for dinner and a shilling (1/-) for breakfast. Tips for the porter, waiter, chamber maid, and coachman, would cost as much again, bringing the total cost for the journey with baggage and over a medium distance approaching two pounds and ten shillings (£2.10/-). Although beyond ordinary people, this represented reasonable value when compared with using a postchaise, or the two hundred pounds for the annual cost for running your own vehicle, or several saddle sore days on horseback or roughing it on a stage wagon. Now before I end this chapter, here is an interesting little snippet which I have found to share with you all. ‘The Sherborne Journal – 6th November 1828’ ‘ Yesterday morning the Devonport Mail for the first time passed over the new road at Babylon Hill. On this occasion, a considerable number of persons assembled, headed by the road contractor in a carriage, ornamented by laurels and streamers, one of which was placed on the Mail on its arrival, amid the cheers of some of the spectators…and the occasion was further celebrated by a dinner given to the workmen and a display of fireworks in the evening’. In our present times, this is hard to imagine when viewing the modern traffic rushing up Babylon Hill from Yeovil to Sherborne! Next month, sadly I will write about the end of this era, but what followed?

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A GYPSY BIRTH, BULBARROW, APRIL 1906 David Burnett, The Dovecote Press


his is surely one of the most remarkable of all Dorset postcards. Doctor Fielding and Nurse Marlow attending a gypsy birth; one of the 17 children born to Lavinia and Arthur Hughes, a ‘ratand-varmint destroyer’. Note the crow on the roof and rabbit hanging from the front of the bender. Thanks to the work of celebrated folk singers Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, who collected traditional travellers’ songs (Travellers’ Songs from England and Scotland, 1977), more than usual is known about the Hughes family. They were part of an extended Romany community that travelled widely throughout Dorset, settling on Canford Heath prior to its being built on, and which still flourishes today. Another child, Caroline, born in a horse-drawn caravan in Bere Regis in 1900, became, like her mother Lavina, a well-known singer. ‘My mother sang all the time. When she were making clothes-pegs or making 46 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

we children’s bloomers, shifts and petticoats. We be all around the fire singing these old songs, and I been with my mother listening, listening, and I made her sing them over and over until I learned the lot.’ Caroline, like all the daughters, went hawking with her mother from the age of ten. ‘Where are you going to find a good mother when she’s gone? One who’s worked, slaved hard, runned and raced for you, been through bitter frost and snow, finding snitches of wood, buckets of water, through all the ups and downs.’ Caroline never learnt to read and went on to have 8 children and 35 grandchildren herself. Lost Dorset: The Villages & Countryside 1880-1920, by David Burnett, is a large format paperback, price £12, and is available locally from Winstone’s Books or directly from the publishers.

TEDDY ROE’S HORN Elisabeth Bletsoe, Curator, Sherborne Museum


very year, around the time of Pack Monday Fair, people ask us about the origins of ‘Teddy Roe’ and his band. Various theories are floated including the popular idea that Teddy Roe was foreman of the Abbey renovations after the fire of 1437 and that when these were completed, a musical celebration was led around the town. The name ‘Teddy Roe’ does not seem to have been applied to the town’s night of rough music (a common phenomenon that traditionally ushered in most great fairs throughout the country) until the early nineteenth century, when the name started appearing in local newspaper reports. Teddy Roe was then a character in Victorian popular culture, known and celebrated as far afield as the United States, headlining in farcical plays in music halls and theatres. He featured as a Dublin fishmonger in a long poem called ‘The Wake of Teddy Roe’ which describes a ludicrous and drunken event, printed in The British Minstrel in 1827. The name was also the title of a popular tune. It may well be that to call something such as Sherborne’s noisy midnight perambulation ‘Teddy Roe’s Band’ signified that it was a chaotic and lawless event, led by a kind of Lord of Misrule. Teddy Roe’s Band, while special to Sherborne, is by no means unique and shares features with other similar bands such as the Broughton Tin Can Band in Northamptonshire, which takes place annually at midnight, on the first Sunday after 12th December (old St Andrew’s day). As with Teddy Roe, it follows a set route; participants carry pans, cow horns, metal trays, whistles and the like, while in earlier years locals often

found themselves the victims of dustbin-lid stealing. Both bands have invited controversy and attempts at eradication owing to the supposed presence of ‘undesirable elements’ from other parts of the region, but there has always been a stalwart core of locals insisting that the tradition is kept alive. This brings to mind the years of the police ban in Sherborne, when former mayors Arthur Sweet and Alwyn Lugg would walk the route together at midnight in order to keep the continuity running. Even during the Second World War blackout, participants would perambulate in silence apart from the jingling of coins in their pockets. It was Alwyn Lugg who ensured that the cow’s horn, said to have been played in the band and discovered by a builder in a garden in Westbury, was eventually gifted to the Museum for safekeeping. On careful examination, its rim can be seen to be inscribed with hexfoils or daisywheels, traditional symbols used to ward off evil. This reinforces the idea that rough music was employed to expel both undesirable spirits and people from the community and it seems that Teddy Roe’s Band is one of the country’s few existing survivals of this once common tradition. Sherborne Museum is currently closed to the public due to the COVID-19 crisis, but we will be welcoming you all as soon as it is safe for both visitors and our wonderful volunteers. The 2020 Pack Monday Fair has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions & hopes to return in 2021. | 47


The contents of a kitchen cupboard from a Somerset Manor House, including an 18th century flintlock pistol.

WHAT’S IN YOUR KITCHEN CUPBOARD? Richard Bromell ASFAV, Charterhouse Auctioneers


have to admit I am happiest being out and about visiting clients rather than sitting at my desk dealing with paperwork. Being out and about usually includes conducting formal valuations for probate or insurance or advising on single items, collections or complete house contents, with no single visit the same. As written in last month’s Sherborne Times, we sold the contents of a Devon country house at the end of July, which produced some staggeringly high prices. Now it looks like Somerset’s turn, as we have been 48 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

instructed to auction the contents of a Somerset Manor House in our two-day October auction. In many respects, the Somerset house is quite a different kettle of fish from the Devon house. The property is some 400 years older and unlike the Devon house, this home has only been lived in by the owner for the past 45 years. However, during the past 45 years, the owner, who is now in a home, has managed to accumulate almost as many items as the family in Devon managed over 120 years, but there is a good reason for this – the owner was an antiques dealer.

Being an antiques dealer is pretty much the same as being an auctioneer – you love all the lots you see and handle, and usually fill you home up with them! Work is underway as I pen this and by the time you read it, the property will be cleared, and everything brought back to our salerooms to be sold. When clearing a property, we work hard to extract as much value as we possibly can. We have a great team who are experienced in collecting just a chest of drawers or removing the the contents of an old manor house and are often spotted driving around the West Country and further afield in their silver Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. Clearing a property needs to be carried out respectfully, carefully and thoroughly. It needs to be respectful as we are dismantling someone’s lifetime accumulation; it needs to be careful as we pack fragile and valuable items, and it needs to be thorough whereby the property, attics and outbuildings are cleared. On my initial visit to the Manor House, I was impressed with what had been collected and gathered. The furniture and furnishings are traditional rather than being modern – just the way I like it; minimalism is not a word you could use here.

The hall, quite a formal room back in the 16th century, is large with pictures all over the walls, plus copper and brassware dotted about on top of country oak furniture. There are also various ceramics, glass and other decorative items on display in the hall, and this is replicated throughout the property. Even in the kitchen, this traditional look carries on, but we still need to look in all the kitchen cupboards and drawers, and this is where I found an item I never expected to see in a kitchen. Generally, in kitchen cupboards there are tins of soup, packets of biscuits, china, glass and utensils. To a degree, most cupboards had these items stored in them, apart from one. On opening the door, I noticed an old bottle of olive oil, a couple of glasses, a group of mixed cups and saucers, a silver napkin ring, a couple of napkins, but it was the 18th century flintlock pistol which grabbed my interest – it is the most bizarre item I have ever seen languishing in a kitchen cupboard in 35 years. Quite what it was doing there I will never know, but I am fairly confident the next owner will not keep the pistol in a kitchen cupboard!

CHARTERHOUSE Auctioneers & Valuers

Forthcoming Auction Programme

Two Day Auction of Pictures, Books, Sporting Items & Beswick 1st & 2nd October

Classic & Vintage Motorcycles 28th October

Contents of a Somerset Manor in our October Two Day Auction

Contact Richard Bromell for advice and to arrange a home visit Two Day Auction of Jewellery, Watches, Silver and Asian Art 5th & 6th November

Valuations for Probate and Insurance

The Long Street Salerooms, Sherborne DT9 3BS 01935 812277 | 49

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PLANTING FOR NOW AND NEXT YEAR Mike Burks, Managing Director, The Gardens Group


52 | Sherborne Times | October 2020


ome of the things we do in the garden at this time of year are for now and some are in preparation for the spring. For those who are just interested in instant gratification, I’ll allow that, but I’ll need you to match it with some long-term projects! Flowering pots planted in the spring and summer will probably be starting to fade and will need spicing up in order to brighten up your day. Take out the offending plants and several inches of compost, as by now it will be exhausted and needs refreshing. Refill the tub with new potting compost before replacing with plants that will flower over the next few months. These include the wonderful violas with their bright faces or the larger flowered pansies. These give such joy and are available in a vast range of colours. I love the yellows because they are still cheerful even on the dullest of days. Combined with blue, they can be stunning. You’ve had your treat, so something for next year can come in the form of spring flowering bulbs. I love tulips. The bigger the bulb the better the flowers next year, so don’t be stingy, get some decent quality bulbs and plant them at a depth twice the size of the bulb in the soil with some multipurpose compost mixed in. That hard work now will be rewarded with a treat come late spring. If you need a boost after that effort then have a look at cyclamen, which are available now in a range that will give spectacular colour for long periods outside in the garden. In the old days, there were varieties that were just used inside the house, but the newer varieties look the same and will grow very happily outdoors even as the weather gets cooler. And to balance that gratification, plant some wallflowers now that you won’t see the benefit of until next April and May. They are available in the old fashioned ‘bare rooted’ way, which means that they aren’t in pots but are wrapped in newspaper in bundles of ten. Planted now, they put out fresh roots and establish before starting to grow in the early part of the spring, before giving a glorious display of colour later on. The beauty is that these can go on top of the tulips you have already planted. Don’t worry about smothering the bulbs; they’ll find their way through and will create a perfect display with the wallflowers. My favourite are the Tom Thumb wallflowers – a great mix of pastel shades. Be good to yourself with some heathers – many of these in flower now love our local soils and will keep going for many months whatever the weather throws at them. There are pinks, reds and whites and if the weather is warm enough, insects, including bees, will really enjoy feeding from the flowers. Some gardening needs a bit of perseverance and it’s a good time to pull up any weeds in the border to give yourself a good start in the spring. And to finish off with something really positive, cover the bare soil with a mulch such as Bloomin’ Amazing. This bi-product of sustainable energy production is locally produced and will keep the soil warm, conserve moisture, keep the weeds suppressed and the slugs at bay. Not only that but it will break down in the winter, improving your soil so that it’s ready for you come the spring. So have a bit of fun now and treat yourself; you surely deserve it, but a bit of effort thinking ahead to next year will give you even more pleasure in the future. | 53

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BLACKMARSH FARM Words Jo Denbury Photography Katharine Davies


ust east, on the outskirts of Sherborne, sits Blackmarsh Farm. Having evolved over the years, with new businesses springing up on its premises, it’s a place that most of you will already know, and love. The Toy Barn appeared a decade or so ago and more recently, Black Shed Flowers. But behind the façade, is a 500-acre, mixed arable, dairy farm that has been tended and cared for by three generations of the Hunt family. The current Hunts at the helm are Peter and Amanda, who have been running the farm since 1993. I meet them in the midst of a hot September day, yet this doesn’t deter Peter who, full of energy, suggests we walk the farm and chat as we go. I have to admit, I am not a ‘cow person’ and have been known to walk an extra mile or two to avoid crossing a field full of them, but as we pass rows of Friesians in one barn – too content with munching to lift their dark, glossy eyes at us walking by – it strikes me just how remarkably laid back the Blackmarsh cows are. Almost pampered, I would say! >

56 | Sherborne Times | October 2020 | 57

58 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

We’re then at the pens for the calves; where a maximum of twelve live together, learning to co-habit and socialise. ‘They leave their mothers early,’ says Peter, ‘it’s better for everyone that way…’ The large and airy new barn (thanks to an EU grant) where they reside, looks positively luxurious. Admittedly, we’re at the end of a dry summer, but there is no mud, cow pats are at a minimum, and it’s incredibly tranquil. To my untrained eye, it looks like a well-run farm filled with content residents. ‘Cows like routine,’ says Peter, ‘they like nice food and clean water. These cows are the farm; without them, we won’t survive,’ he continues, ‘and happy cows produce good milk.’ Blackmarsh Farm is one of Sainsbury’s ‘top dairy farms’ and therefore, undergoes annual visits to check standards are maintained. Peter puts his contract with Sainsbury’s down to luck, but my hunch is that Peter has achieved this status through more than ‘just good luck.’ Farming is in his blood… Peter is the third generation of Hunts to have farmed Blackmarsh, and it’s likely that his and Amanda’s son, Charlie, will become the fourth. ‘My grandfather on my father’s side took charge of the farm after his older brother was injured in the First World War,’ explains Peter. ‘My father then took over in 1968 and that’s when I moved here,’ he says. ‘Amanda and I then took the reins in 1996.’ At sixteen, Peter left school, studied for a year at Kingston Maurward, then headed to Michigan for a year’s experience on a dairy farm. ‘It was all done differently there,’ he reveals, ‘but it was good to see. When I came back, I spent 15 years working alongside my dad as the herdsman and slowly bought my way in. I’ve built my herd up from scratch and worked on its genetics.’ Nowadays, the farm supports five families: Mike Case, the herdsman; assistant herdsman Phil Heal; Brian Domoney and Mark Stickley – the tractor drivers, and Di Ackerman, the calves person. Despite not being officially ‘certified organic’, the Hunts and their team make a point of using very little toxins on the farm; being on the Yeovil water table, they have to keep their use of nitrates down too. Much like the expansion of the premises and the businesses within, the milking process on the dairy farm has evolved too. Long gone are the days where Peter’s grandfather would take a month to bring the harvest in, and milk cows by hand. In 2020, it only takes two and a half hours to milk 200 cows and three

to five days for harvest. But despite the reduction in manpower, the costs are ramping up for dairy farmers. The result being that milk production needs to increase. Peter points out, ‘the cows are our lifeblood; we need to look after them.’ In a bid to produce more milk, Peter has set out to give his cows an even better life than the one of luxury already noted and has adjusted the farm buildings to make them more accommodating for his precious residents. ‘We’ve built in fans, so that the cows want to spend more time in the barns,’ he tells, ‘plus, our cows have two months off before they calve, and a dry period.’ He insists that he ‘doesn’t want to push them too hard’ and also ensures that their routine includes fortnightly vet check-ups, quarterly visits from the ‘foot trimmer’, with all cows being well looked after. ‘It’s the price you pay for good milk!’ says Peter. Although Peter is very thankful for the good relationship he has with Sainsbury’s, he still admits that farmers are at the bottom of the food chain. ‘The choice is with the consumers; they have to ask themselves What do I want on my table? Food needs to be better valued,’ and he fears that Brexit doesn’t bode well for us on the food front. ‘Agriculture can’t keep cutting costs to stay afloat and the impact of climate change on farming is severe,’ he adds. ‘Cows need water – on average they each consume 100 litres per day.’ The success of Blackmarsh Farm, in Peter’s eyes, is down to working as a team. ‘One of the fundamentals of farming is the celebration of life as a community. We all do our best; everyone pulls together.’ Like most, they found this summer extremely challenging under the threat of COVID-19. He worried ‘who would milk the cows?’ if he, and others on the farm, went down with the virus. But looking forward, he adds that he enjoys his job, ‘no two days are the same and I have loved having Charlie home to help.’ Creativity and diversification in the face of adversity have been something that the Hunts have executed well over the years. In 2003, having been through a hard few years with BSE and foot and mouth on the farm, The Toy Barn was established. ‘I am a creative person,’ says Peter, ‘and the idea for The Toy Barn came out of our own need for our three children. We couldn’t find outdoor toys that we liked, so we decided to make them! I really enjoyed the creative side and the interaction with people and kids.’ The business grew and toys were added to the outdoor playhouses that they produced. ‘It also gave a purpose to an old barn,’ states Peter. > | 59

60 | Sherborne Times | October 2020 | 61

62 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

Since then, he has cut an annual ‘maize maze’ for the public to visit, which is a summer highlight in Sherborne; it’ll be their fourth, next year. ‘The idea for the design begins on a piece of paper,’ says Peter, ‘we cut it using a grid system and it usually takes about 5 days to complete.’ The result is lots of fun for the children who visit, and the adults that accompany! There's talk of plans for taking Blackmarsh Farm in a new direction. Peter and Amanda have decided to create a ‘muddy-boot friendly’ café and space for people to come, enjoy the farm and tuck into a healthy light lunch. There will still be the space for children to play under the apple trees with outdoor climbing frames and treehouses but, as Black Shed’s flower business flourishes in a nearby field too, it might also be a place to enjoy a coffee, buy some flowers or make vital decisions over choices for a wedding bouquet. It’s early days and nothing is confirmed but further diversification plans are certainly afoot.

‘We are hugely lucky to be in Dorset,’ says Peter. ‘So, I try to give back to the community. All our children went to the Gryphon and we frequently host pupils for projects at the farm. We also do charity fundraisers for the Samaritans and the Yeatman Hospital.’ He’s keen to point out that none of this could happen without his team of staff who are, ‘the backbone of Blackmarsh Farm. They are the ones who let me diversify,’ he says with a smile. As I wind my way back from the farmhouse to the yard, the milking herd are still engrossed in their feed – blithely munching. I can’t help but notice their glossy coats those bright eyes again. Contentment is in the air and I really hope that Peter and Amanda name one of their milkshakes in the café-to-be the ‘Happy Cow’ because that truly is what they have here… | 63

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64 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

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Food and Drink



Image: Katharine Davies 66 | Sherborne Times | October 2020


didn’t start making chutneys until my children started school and I had a few hours in the day to play with ingredients and have time to make a batch, before picking them up from school. My recipes have been developed using the ingredients to hand, ones I have foraged, – home grown or swapped. My garden has five apple trees that produce pounds of apples that I freeze, dry or use in jams and chutney. The garden is small but I grow courgettes next to the Canterbury bells and garlic, amongst the strawberries. Sometimes, my courgettes get away from me and I catch them just before they become marrows, but they are fine for chutney-making – saving the smaller ones to eat in salads, roast or serve with dinner. You can replace the courgettes with the same amount of pears and turn it into a pear, apple and ginger chutney. Preparation time - 2 hours to allow the courgettes to drain, 20 minutes peeling and chopping Cooking time - 1 hour cooking, then 20 minutes for packing and labelling What you will need

A large 10 litre, preferably steel, pan 5 1lb jam jars placed in an oven set to 130C fan oven to sterilise them Waxed preserve circles and labels Ingredients Makes 4-5 lbs of chutney

1.5kg courgettes, peeled and chopped into small pieces 250g apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces 250g onions, peeled and chopped 100g crystallised ginger, finely chopped 1 teaspoon ground ginger 225g sultanas 225g Demerara sugar 12 twists of black pepper (mill) 500ml malt vinegar Method

1 Place the chopped courgettes in a colander and sprinkle on a little salt. Leave for 2 hours to enable the salt to aid the removal of some of the water content.

2 Rince and drain the courgettes, then place a bowl that is smaller than the colander on top and press it down on the courgettes to get as much water out as possible. 3 Place the courgettes in the pan, with the apples and onions, and gently cook them for 10 minutes until they soften –stirring occasionally. 4 Add the ginger, sultanas, sugar, pepper and vinegar, stirring continuously until all combined and the sugar is dissolved. Bring gently to the boil, making sure the sultanas don’t stick as this will impart the chutney with a burnt taste. 5 Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring every few minutes, until the mixture thickens and there is no excess liquid. 6 Pot the chutney, covering each jar with a waxed circle. Label the jars whilst the chutney is warm. 7 The chutney, once cooled, should be placed in a cool dark place and allowed to mature for at least a month for the flavours to mellow and meld together. If you make chutneys at this time of year, they are ready perfectly in time for Christmas, for yourself and as gifts. | 67

Food and Drink


Image: Clint Randall


his is one of my favourites. A typical Italian style Risotto with a unique absence of Parmesan. Buy the freshest scallops you can find and treat yourself to this quick and satisfying dish. Ingredients Serves 4

8 large scallops, cleaned and roes removed 8 baby leeks 500ml vegetable stock 90g butter 20g onion, finely chopped 320g risotto rice 100ml white wine 1tbsp olive oil 10g fresh lemon juice Salt and white pepper Method

1 Slice the scallops in half, horizontally to make two discs. Trim the leeks, then cut the white parts to about 5cm long and split in half lengthways, set aside. Chop the rest of the leeks into small pieces. 2 Put the stock in a pan and keep it simmering over a low heat while you prepare the risotto. 3 Heat 20g of the butter in a risotto pan, or a heavybottomed casserole dish, and cook the onion over 68 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

medium heat until soft. Add the rice and chopped leeks. Stir with a wooden spoon until well coated with the butter. 4 Raise the heat slightly, then add the wine. Wait until the wine has evaporated, then add 2 ladlesful of the hot stock. Stir the rice gently to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Continue to add stock, one ladle at a time, until the rice is tender. This should take about 17 minutes. When ready, the consistency of the rice should be all’onda (‘all’onda’ meaning the finished product should ripple yet maintain its classically creamy consistency.) 5 Meanwhile, cook the leftover leek lengths in boiling salted water for 2 minutes then drain. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the scallops briefly on one side, only for about one minute. 6 When the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat and gently stir in the remaining butter and lemon juice. Season to taste. To serve 7 Divide the risotto among 4 warmed plates and place 4 scallop halves over each serving, uncooked side down. Arrange the leeks between the halves and serve immediately.

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


ast week, on my Instagram, up popped a phrase ‘chances are, if they don’t tell you where your meat comes from, they don’t want to tell you’. It struck a chord with me and so I thought, I might go back this month, back to the beginning. Two piglets, an idea, a dream, an ethos and very little money. The idea was to farm pigs outdoors and the ethos was to produce the best pork possible, going back to basics and using an old-fashioned breed that actually has flavour in the meat. Hand in hand with that was the welfare element; for us, no concrete, almost no medication, fenced in paddocks, but free to exhibit all their natural behaviours. As anyone who starts a business from scratch will tell you, it takes a long while to get established, to get respect from your peers and to gain trust and understanding from your customers. Slowly, without noticing things change, at local markets people seek you out, new customers ‘have heard about your sausages,’ wholesale customers start to approach. Along the way, we have learned so much; to start with, we tried to engage wholesale customers who cannot be engaged - to tell them what we do and expect them to buy into our meat and our approach to pork production. Of course, they all loved the free samples we gave them, but a lack of understanding meant we went no further. And then something changed… the people you want to deal with start to come to you, they want to visit the farm and see what we do, they are excited to see pigs produced this way, they see the passion in us and we see their passion too. What sets these customers apart is their willingness and desire to pass on our ‘story’ to their customers. To set them apart from their competitors and to show an attention to detail and a level of transparency rarely seen in the food industry. Of course, not all can pay the higher prices that rearing our pork entails and still many more don’t care. As we all know, farming and food production in general has become a thing of mystery to huge numbers of our population; a fact that saddens me deeply. Surely, it must be one of the most fundamental parts of being alive, along with a roof over our heads and reproducing. Hopefully, here at Lavender Keepers, we are doing our tiny bit to show people how things can be. So, I ask everyone who reads this and thinks that welfare and actually knowing where your food comes from is important, to ask their butcher, cafés and pubs they eat in where their food actually comes from - don’t get sucked in by the ‘it’s local’ phrase. If we actually think about it, it means nothing. There are huge supermarkets and wholesale low grade food suppliers in every local town. If we all ask, then they will start to understand how important this is, and they too will change for the better. And so, to all our loyal customers, big and small, we thank you for understanding what we do and your support. Next month, I promise to write about piglets. | 69

Food and Drink



n the 2000’s, I was one of the international wine judges at the annual Hungarian Wine Festival held at Pannonhalma Abbey. One of my fellow judges was Réné Rostaing, a Frenchman with a reputation for making meticulous wines in the Côte-Rôtie, a small but highly regarded appellation in northern Rhone, just south of Lyons. Apart from his passion for making fine wine, Réné was also an enthusiastic rugby man and we became firm friends and he invited me to his winery at Ampuis. It was a memorable day, which we started by climbing the most vertiginous vineyard I have ever been in anywhere in the world. Rising from the banks of the Rhine at an angle of 40 degrees, it gets even steeper the higher you go. The soils are limestone loaded with schist and they retain every degree of warmth and sunshine that is cast upon them. Réné was a hobby winemaker who owned a few small plots of his own. However, he inherited some rather more special ones in prime locations through his marriage to Monique, daughter of the Côte-Rôtie 70 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

grower, Albert Dervieux and niece of Maruius GentazDervieuz, both highly respected local growers. Altogether, the plots he owned added up to seven and a half hectares. It was not enough in the 1990s to support a growing family because Côte-Rôtie was a small, relatively unknown appellation and most of its wines were sold for the equivalent of £5 per bottle. Réné earned his living with a law firm, but his hobbies were working the vineyards and playing rugby for Vienne at weekends. As we ‘climbed’ the vineyard in front of his winery, he told me of his absolute determination to do justice to the confidence that his father-in-law and uncle had shown in his ability to make fine wine. He showed his appreciation by taking the greatest possible care of his inheritance, developing his viticultural knowledge by constantly ‘working the vineyard’ and in the cellar using his natural intelligence to combine traditional methods of wine making with successful modern approaches. With a twinkle in his eye, Réné described himself as an ‘enlightened traditionalist’ firmly in the modernist

them under the Côte-Rôtie label: but it was a small appellation hardly known beyond the Rhone valley until Etienne, then Marcel Guigal, began making more distinctive wines from individual vineyards that produced wines with the finesse of the great wines of the Côte-de-Nuits in Burgundy. They found an influential admirer. The American wine critic Robert Parker so championed their wines that connoisseurs from all over the world came to see for themselves - and liked what they found. Their enthusiasm for the best wines was such that, within a decade, they were happily paying ten times the price obtained in the 1990s. Thus, Réné, and similar competent hard-working small growers in the Côte-Rôtie, have profited from their hard work in tending their unbelievably steep vineyards. Réné’s son is now doing the hard work while Dad still prefers the Blondes.

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE Domaine Georges Vernay, Marcello Brunetti/Shutterstock

‘Blonde du Seigneur’, Côte Rôtie £68, Vineyards Syrah 95%, Viognier 5%

camp of producers. He partially destems his fruit, uses carefully tried and tested fermentation equipment and believes in long, slow macerations that enhance colour and develop tannins. He uses oak extremely carefully so that he does not unduly influence the fruit flavours of his beloved syrah. The Côte-Rôtie is divided into two appellations: a south east facing spur below Ampuis, known as the Côte Blonde, and the hillier sites of the Côte Brune, above the town, which have slightly heavier clay soils. When pushed, Réné admits to a preference for the ‘Blondes’ because the chalkier soils produce lighter, more elegant and charming wines. The Brunes are more virile and favoured by those preferring bold wines to accompany roasted meats and game. Both Blondes and Brunes are planted to syrah, which has been the predominant red varietal of the upper Rhone valley for more than 2000 years. Vines first planted by the Romans have prospered in the soil and climatic conditions ever since. Producers used to blend Blonde and Brune and sell

In 2019, Domaine Georges Vernay was awarded the prestigious 3 stars by ‘La Revue du Vin de France’.

Georges Vernay is known as the

‘King of Condrieu’ and was responsible for the growth and worldwide

recognition of this small appellation

during the 1950s. A touch of viognier in

the blend adds floral nuances to the blackcurrant and spicy notes of the syrah.

‘Vernay’s Côte Rôtie Blonde du Seigneur has 5% Viognier and spent 18 months in 30% new oak. It’s a lovely wine, brimming with perfumes of violets, roses and jasmine,

plus plenty of raspberry fruit, all framed by hints of pencil shavings. It’s medium to full-bodied yet with a delicately

silky texture and ample freshness on the long finish. 93/100’ | 71

Pet, Equine & Farm Animals

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Animal Care

FRIENDS DOMESTIC Mark Newton-Clarke, MA VetMB PhD MRCVS Newton Clarke Veterinary Surgeons


s in all walks of life, there are many old sayings in veterinary medicine, and one is ‘a cat is not a small dog’. How true. Vets often specialise in large or small animals - not really logical as cows are very different to horses and cats very different to dogs. There are, of course, dedicated equine and bovine practitioners but in the world of small animal medicine, we see cats and dogs in varying proportions. In Sherborne, the clinic definitely has a greater canine case load, not shared by Yeovil where numbers are about equal. So, this month, in an attempt to redress the balance, I thought I would share some thoughts about that singular animal, the domestic pussy cat. Unlike dogs, who have shared our hearths for 40,000 years, earliest evidence of humans and cats cohabiting comes from a 9500-year-old grave in Cyprus. Here, human and feline remains were found together, suggesting domestication. Most of us are familiar with ancient Egyptian images of cats that appeared to be important in high society, but cats had a practical use, being encouraged to catch rodents around the grain stores of early Middle Eastern farmers. Dissimilar to dogs, humans had very little input into cat breeding, who maintained their independence by choosing breeding 74 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

partners with no regard to the preferences of mere humans. Only in the last two hundred years has selective cat breeding been practised, resulting in the pure breeds we see today. I am often drawn to make comparisons between Siamese cats and pet dogs as they seem to share some similar characteristics, being sociable, vocal and facially expressive. I have no doubt that these have been selected to satisfy our own requirements. Not so your average domestic cat. A relatively recent and shared heritage with wild cats means they have retained their solitary habits. Because of this, cats have not developed the communication skills of dogs, lacking the diverse repertoire of facial expression and having a limited range of body language. Oh, we all recognise an angry cat but how many of us spot the early signs of imminent aggression? All our vets (me included) and nurses are regularly on the receiving end of feline tooth and claw, delivered so fast and without warning. Not unjustified, to be fair, as placement of an intravenous cannula can be quite painful but, as many animals need this often life-saving procedure, our regular use of antiseptics and band-aids will continue. Those who don’t want plasters certainly regret their decision the next time they use the alcohol-based hand gels that

now forms part of our daily lives. So, what does this have to do with feline medicine and surgery? Well, quite a lot. The delivery of the practical part of treatment is potentially hazardous (cannulas, taking a temperature or even just asking Pusskins to get out of the cat carrier) but more importantly, the lack of communication cues expressed by cats means our recognition of their pain is difficult. Pain recognition in cats has made huge strides in recent years and we now have a way of scoring pain in an objective way so that we can provide more analgesia. But this isn’t perfect and if there is doubt about the amount of pain a cat is in, we’ll give analgesia anyway just to be sure. If I couldn’t speak and was in pain, I would expect the same treatment. The feline brain has evolved for a solitary existence; its emotions expressed in a way designed to minimise contact with rivals and so reduce the risk of aggressive meetings. So how do cats communicate with each other? Visual and vocal communication are closecontact skills and if cats get that close, violence is more likely than not. Instead, cats use long-range strategies such as facial rubbing, urine marking and scratching on objects as ways of signalling their

presence. As humans, we just hope it’s the former if used on us! The rubbing of head, face and tail base on something or somebody delivers a scent that signposts ownership - a clear message for any other cat. As humans, we interpret this as affection, and it might well be. Being sprayed with urine is not quite so welcome but it carries the same message! So, cats don’t use Facebook or Twitter, they use the traditional social media of physical and chemical marking to interact with others. When feeling stressed, these displays are often exaggerated and that’s when we vets and nurses become involved, especially if symptoms of ill-health accompany the behavioural signs. We see many stress-related conditions in cats, manifest as urinating around the house and scratching furniture. Some cats develop skin and gastrointestinal disorders either as a direct result of stress or as a contributory factor. For these reasons, management of stress often forms part of feline therapy. So, what is the commonest cause of stress for your cat? Usually another cat that has marked its presence in the vicinity of your home. It can also be domestic changes such as new people staying, building work or even changing the furniture or just decorating. They are sensitive creatures! There are several good natural de-stressing remedies available and if the cause cannot be eliminated, they provide at least some relief. Do ask us for advice if you find the internet is its usual confusing mixture of fact and fiction. Apart from the effects of stress and aggression, what else brings us feline patients? At this time of year, external parasites (harvest mites and fleas, mainly, although ticks are an issue) feature on the consult list, so check up on your control measures. Call us for advice on the most appropriate for your cat. Infectious disease is a real problem, although cat ‘flu’ and feline AIDS can be prevented with regular vaccination. Middle age and older cats often present with heart disease, kidney dysfunction, diabetes and over-active thyroid glands. We ‘like’ the last two as they are often successfully managed with medication or surgery for the rest of the cat’s natural life. Unsurprisingly for a population of stressed individuals, high blood pressure and its myriad complications is very common in older cats. Perhaps we all need to learn to relax, kick back, take it easy... and not just give the impression of doing so. Maybe cats and humans are not so different? | 75

Animal Care



John Walsh BVSc Cert AVP DBR MRCVS, Friars Moor Vets


sually the summer months and twinges of early autumn are times when the farming community get together at local agricultural shows. Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, many organisers have had to either cancel shows or they are being held under severely restricted conditions. At Friars Moor Livestock Health, we support and attend many of the local shows, which include; the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show, the Sherborne Castle Country Fair and Rare Breeds Show, and The Dairy Show at the Royal Bath and West Show Ground. These shows are not only a great day out for the whole family, but farmers and vets use these events as chances to catch up with old friends, show their animals, look at new farming technologies, meet new business contacts and advertise their own businesses to the wider farming community. The Dairy Show unfortunately has been cancelled. The show is usually kicked off the night before with a ‘Grand Dairy Dinner’ - a great start to what is normally a fantastic show. It is a chance for the farming community to get together to taste some delicious food and drink, often produced by the local farming community, and to celebrate the winner of the Dairy Industry Award. This award is made to an individual who has provided the greatest contribution towards the development of the dairy industry and is announced at the end of the dinner. There is often a charity collection on the night to raise money for farm-related charities and foundations. The next day, with a few sore heads after the night before, the show begins. Under normal circumstances, Friars Moor Livestock Health have a show stand and use this as an opportunity to put on some hospitality for all our farming clients who come and visit us at the show. It’s also a great chance to catch up with all our clients when we are not up to our armpits out on their farms! If we make it off our own stand, we also get to meet lots of colleagues from the local area and catch up with the industry representatives, which is quite easy as everyone from the industry is usually there! In fact, when I go for a walk around the showground, I usually don’t get very far without bumping into people I know and stopping for a chat. I hope that when everything returns to normal, these great traditions of British agriculture will continue to thrive and will still be going for many years to come. If you are at any of these shows in the future, please come and find our stand; the cakes are usually very good!

76 | Sherborne Times | October 2020 | 77

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Body and Mind

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

G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock


ollagen is probably most well-known for its appearance on pouting celebrities, but it actually forms part of the protein scaffolding that holds the body together. Originating from the Greek work for ‘glue’, collagen is the body’s most abundant protein, made up of amino acids, and literally glues our bones, cartilage, skin and blood vessels together. It’s what makes our tissues grow, mature and move and is also the secret to a supple and youthful complexion. Our bodies begin to lose collagen in our 20’s and by the time we hit our mid 40’s, the levels in your skin have slackened off by 30%. Leading to sagging facial contours, wrinkles and fine lines. Lifestyle factors such as a high sugar diet (including alcohol), excessive sun exposure and smoking can accelerate this decline. There are many Collagen products popping up from lip enhancers and injections to liquid products that you consume, and some suggest even putting it in your coffee! The likelihood of a large amount of collagen from any source getting through your digestive tract to your skin’s surface is very small. The only benefit that may occur is an improvement in gut immunity which may help your arthritis. The collagen molecule itself is too large to penetrate the surface of the skin and will just sit there until you wash it off. Soluble collagen (often written as hydrolysed collagen), which is broken down into smaller fragments, does penetrate the skin but is possibly too small to really obviously improve skin firmness. It is 80 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

far better to apply creams containing the nutrients skin needs to keep its own production of collagen going. Vitamin A, vitamin C and peptides are all pivotal to collagen production; in fact, without vitamin C our body cannot produce collagen at all. Most of us have enough protein foods in our diet, which contain the amino acids, to make collagen at a certain level. As we age, what our skin needs is the blend of nutrients that make the process of converting amino acids into collagen more efficient and to protect the fibres from breaking down as we mature. Some of the five-star nutrients to give an additional boost are: vitamin C, ideally taken twice a day as our body doesn’t hold it; zinc, to support the stability of collagen fibres; MSM, to build collagen; grapeseed extract, an antioxidant to reduce collagen breakdown, and protective melon concentrate to fight damaging free radicals. These nutrients taken as food supplements alongside a good diet will give your body the added capability to hold on to your own collagen for longer and to re-ignite its manufacturing process deep in your skin. Support the skin further on its surface with a high quality and high-level SPF – I would recommend SPF50, every day of the year. Power up your skin’s healing and repair with skin-renewing ingredients, such as retinol at night which will deliver vitamin A to the base layers of your cell-building epidermis.


106x157 Sher Times new.qxp_Layout 1 07/09/2020 09:09 Page 9


Joining fee

for October* *New members only | 81

Body & Mind


Gayleen Hodson, Dorset Mind Volunteer

Yurii Zymovin/Shutterstock


BT (cognitive behavioural therapy) taught me all about the impact of anxious thoughts. Throughout years of suffering with crippling anxiety, my family and friends would always tell me to just ‘distract my mind.’ I would throw myself into a variety of distractions, such as watching TV or going 82 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

out shopping, but nothing really helped get rid of that anxious feeling and the thoughts I was struggling with. Thankfully, whilst I went through CBT, I learned all about a coping strategy: distraction vs dealing with the anxious thoughts. Here’s how I overcame the power of anxious thoughts…

Distraction from anxious thoughts

I was told that it was very much ‘mind over matter.’ So, I would try to be strong and distract myself from all thoughts and worries that were swarming through my head each day. I would go out shopping, watch films or bake. Although there’s nothing wrong with any of these activities, they never cured my anxiety. If anything, I felt more stressed by the end of the day, ironically. All the anxious thoughts had built up during the day and had not been dealt with. They still existed. In the long run it made my suffering with anxiety even worse. When I went to CBT, my mental health counsellor told me that distraction actually hinders your progress with dealing with anxiety. Initially, this was quite alarming to hear; as that was the only way I’d learnt to cope with it until then. Thankfully, the counsellor taught me a new method that I was to use going forwards, which would help me to deal with my anxious thoughts. It took away the power that they had over me. Worry time

The method he taught me was called ‘worry time’. Throughout the day, when you encounter anxious thoughts, make a note of them on a piece of paper or on your phone. Every anxious thought that comes into your head. As a worry arises, you must acknowledge it. Say to yourself, ‘I acknowledge this worry, but I’ll deal with it later.’ In the evening, dedicate 10 to 15 minutes to sift through these worries. Remember to set a timer – be really strict with yourself — and deal with these worries in one go. What you are learning to do here is to allocate a set amount of time and give yourself permission to think about these thoughts consciously. By doing so, the remainder of your day should technically be worry free. I discovered that some of the concerns I had earlier in the day had already been dealt with by the time I sat down. I found this quite reassuring. The other worries that were left could be split into ‘hypothetical worries’ and ‘practical worries’. Hypothetical worries

Hypothetical worries are worries that you have that you cannot do a single thing about. For example, worrying about a scenario such as a fire happening or your parents passing away. These are all very valid worries

and are something that a lot of us fear, however, there is nothing you can do about them. And they are likely to not happen, certainly not when you think they will. Therefore, with these worries, you should acknowledge them by saying, ‘I acknowledge that I am worried about X, Y or Z, however, there is nothing I can do about this worry, so I’m going to let the worry go and move on.’ These thoughts are very hard to overcome to start with. You might end up worrying about them every day for a while at first, but over time you will develop a habit of knowing that you cannot affect these worries. You will realise that it’s unhealthy and detrimental for you to keep processing those worries through your brain and learn to not think about them until your allocated time. Over time you realise that some worries just never come to fruition, therefore it’s pointless energy. Practical worries

Practical worries are those you can do something about. For example, if you have got a debt that you need to deal with, your next action during your ‘worry time’ is to create a plan to deal with this issue. Break it down into achievable, realistic goals – and your worry will soon be dealt with. By simply creating a plan, it will be much easier to deal with. It makes this big worry suddenly shrink before your eyes in importance. What you’re left with is a problem or challenge that you can, and you absolutely will, resolve. You could also ask a trusted friend or family member to help you for extra support. Don’t be afraid to tackle your thoughts

The aim of this article is to help you to realise how important it is to deal with your anxious thoughts and worries rather than let them grow through your inaction. Ultimately, when you distract yourself from solving problems, what actually happens is that they become more powerful. In the long run, this could make your mental health worse. By tackling your worries each day and getting into a healthy routine of breaking them up to be more digestible, you will chip away at your anxiety. This in turn will lessen the impact your anxious thoughts and feelings have on you. If you are struggling with anxiety and you need help, whether that’s 1-2-1 or group support, please visit Dorset Mind’s website at | 83

Body & Mind



Mike Riley, Riley’s Cycles

s I pen notes in preparation, I struggle to determine a message I wish to convey on this multifaceted subject. Since last month was a documentary, an alternative perspective will keep things fresh. The Tour de France is an institution on the sporting calendar, and passionate cyclists or French Nationals will fully support it, but should they in the current COVID conscious world? I observe the contrast between cricketers in their bubble battling the antipodean enemy in empty grounds and Djokovich managing to hit someone in an empty tennis court; compare this with 1500 riders and their support teams travelling round the country and encouraging the loyal Tifosi to congregate. I wonder how the phone call went when Christian Prudhomme, race director, had to tell the French Prime Minister he shared a car with the previous day that he had tested positive for COVID-19... Sacre bleu! I reflect on the wisdom of holding the event but want to explore, here, why it is considered so important that the benefits of the event have been deemed to outweigh the risks…

from cafés. It has always been dogged by performanceenhancing drugs. Again, in its primary years, riders would have a concoction of amphetamine, pain killers and alcohol known as ‘stew’ in their drink bottles. However, in the riders’ defence, the race organisers were infamously called out as assassins because they made the event so tough that riders died attempting stages. There are some more edifying traditions though, such as the race pauses if the race leader is held up by a mechanical failure or call of nature.

Tradition and History


The tour has been an annual event since 1903, with breaks only for world wars. Fans, known as Tifosi, plan their holidays to spectate and prime locations are staked out. Dutch fans claim hairpin seven of Alpe d’huez to celebrate historic victories there. Iconic rides, especially climbs, have become part of cycling lore, such as Mont Ventoux, where there is a memorial to British rider Tom Simpson. In early years of the tour, riders often came from poverty and prize money was life changing; this did lead to them not always behaving honourably and riders cheated hitching lifts and would steal wine and food

The origin of the tour was to promote sales of the newspaper l’Auto; this was printed on yellow paper, hence the colour of the leader’s yellow jersey. Mayors of communities bid for hosting stages at great expense, even resurfacing roads. This is because of the value to local economies from visitors during and post the event. When watching the TV coverage, the helicopter cameras show dramatic panoramas of mountains or monumental man-made features, then zoom into the detail of a weathervane on a rural church spire or an installation created to celebrate the tour in farmer’s field. If you wanted to make a promotional tourism

84 | Sherborne Times | October 2020


film, you would be hard pressed to find better footage. I take an interest in results of teams riding bikes that we sell at Rileys and this year, both team Astana and Direct Energie are riding Willier bikes. Cycling fans want to emulate their heroes and want a bike like the winner rides; this was demonstrated emphatically when Lance Armstrong rode relatively unknown Trek bikes and his race domination escalated the company to become a significant international bike maker. More recently, the exciting and media savvy Peter Sagan has been responsible for popularity of Specialized bikes. Pressure for success at all costs now comes from commercial sources, and watching Sagan head-butting and barging his way in the sprint yesterday illustrates the drive to ‘win at all costs’ mentality, but perhaps that is what it takes to be a champion? Fascination

Commentator and ex rider David Miller used a great phrase, ‘there are many narratives within the peloton.’ I find it fascinating because there are so many levels, layers and complexity to the tour. The scoring is complex with several competitions within the race. The primary categories are: yellow jersey for overall leader; green

jersey for sprint leader; polkadot jersey for king of the mountains; white jersey for best young rider, and a race number in red shows the most combative rider of the previous day, whilst yellow helmets show the best team. Allegiances and alliances are formed by riders making a breakaway; tactics are plotted by teams to lead out their star rider for a sprint or climb finish. The teams have great discipline and domestiques sacrifice personal success for the team leader like a hive of bees dedicated to the survival of its queen or a military unit dedicated to the success of a mission. There are heroic individual breakaways with nail biting climaxes as the peloton like a shark chasing a lone prey closes in - will they make it to the safety of the race finish or stage win before they are devoured? I don’t feel I should give a judgement of the morality or wisdom of holding the event and it may not even complete if riders or more staff test positive for COVID-19. But while it continues, I will be gripped by the spectacle, the intrigue and the great cycling feats of the riders. No contrived reality TV show can match the drama of ‘The Tour’. | 85

Body & Mind

Craig Hardaker, BSc (Hons), Communifit


t is wonderful to have been able to restart our group training. From our outdoor bootcamp, to our Sit and Strengthen programme – it has been great! Lockdown restricted us, and although online videos and home training have been a huge hit, getting back to training in groups (currently) of up to 30 people has been very special. There is nothing quite like a group of determined, fun, like-minded individuals who train well, always with a smile, listening to music you just can’t help but dance to! This creates the most amazing motivational climate that, in turn, helps us to achieve our health and fitness goals. There are many benefits to group training and here are some: Motivation

Catchy music, fast-paced moves and an instructor with a seemingly endless amount of energy – if you’re ever in need of a pick-me-up, group training classes are your best source of motivation. Having other people exercise alongside you can also provide the boost you need to keep moving. This can be somewhat harder when you train alone. Fun

Exposure to a fun, social environment is why many people prefer group training to a lone gym session. The variety of exercises you undertake and the camaraderie between your fellow exercise participants makes group training more enjoyable. When classes are kept fresh, each one different, this helps, we believe, to maximise enjoyment. Structure

When you’re working out, having a consistent or wellstructured plan in place is a must to ensure positive 86 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

Image: Stuart Brill


results. Incorporating group training sessions into your weekly workout routine will give you a structured foundation from which to build strength, lose weight or tone your body. All you need to do is turn up! Accountability

Just like personal training, group training sessions hold you accountable for turning up and putting 100% effort into your workout. That sense of accountability you feel is what will prevent you from staying at home and putting on another episode of your favourite television programme. Support

Both your trainer and your fellow participants are there to support and assist you throughout your entire session. This support group can be just what you need to power through your workout, push yourself a little bit further and reach your health and fitness goals. Many class attendees form friendship groups that result in coffee meets, WhatsApp groups and the most powerful support framework. Safety

During these challenging times, all own our classes follow Government guidelines and are tailored towards the individuals in attendance. There are no classes without a natural air supply (no air con!) Whether the class is outside, or with windows and doors open, you are guaranteed fresh air! For some classes, we ask for attendees to bring their own equipment, whilst other classes use our own kit, with equipment getting deep cleaned regularly throughout the day. Track and trace, deep cleaning, social distancing… we have you covered.

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Body & Mind

NEVER TAKE YOUR HEALTH OR FITNESS FOR GRANTED Simon Partridge, BSc (Sports Science) Personal Trainer SPFit


his month is a slightly different article to the ones I have previously written. We usually write about a specific exercise like a deadlift, as my cocoach Dan and I wrote about last month. Or a specific type of training such as weightlifting, running or yoga… However, in July, I suffered a serious neck injury in the Lake District, which led to a five-hour operation on 12th August. I am now the proud owner of lots of metal and new vertebrae in my cervical spine (neck). This operation has been a great success; however, I was warned by my surgeon that I might not make a full recovery, including running again, or the use of my right arm and hand. This led me to really think about why I exercise and what to do in the future, if I want to live life to the full. As a result, I have asked lots of my clients why they exercise. Here are some of their answers: Body transformation

We see this all across the media and it mostly means build muscle (tone up) and lose body fat. Cardiovascular fitness

Being fit means different things to different people, but one of my favourite quotes is from a female 67-year old client of mine who trains with me, ‘so that I can keep up with my husband walking to the top of Golden Cap’. Flexibility and mobility

These are actually different but are often used interchangeably. Most of us need to be more flexible and mobile, and the proliferation of yoga classes has, in my opinion, greatly facilitated this. 88 | Sherborne Times | October 2020


The benefits to being stronger are numerous from building muscle to helping us do things in our everyday life, for example, shifting bags of compost in the garden. Another benefit for women is weight training increases bone density, which helps prevent osteoporosis. Mental health

This is a much talked about subject at the moment and exercise is great to improve our mental health. For me, going for a run in our beautiful Dorset countryside clears my mind like nothing else. I love fresh air and great scenery. Social interaction

Exercising in groups is very popular, or it could be playing tennis, other team sports, joining a running club or perhaps just taking part in a bootcamp. No doubt there are many more reasons why people exercise, and this has become even more so post lockdown and changing habits. But I will finish with two thoughts; firstly, my wife, like many other people, exercises so she can drink lots of wine and eat lots of chocolate. Secondly, let’s never take our health and fitness for granted. To finish on a positive note, my injury may mean that I cannot do what I could before, namely I was meant to run an ultra-marathon on 22nd August in memory of my father. From now on, I just intend to have fun doing any form of exercise that makes me smile. I hope you will too. Good luck.

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Body & Mind


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


s a consequence of COVID-19 there has been a significant increase in mental health issues, particularly anxiety. This is related to the threat of contracting COVID-19 and suffering its possible tragic consequences; the impact on the family dynamics; lifestyle and occupation; the pressure of home schooling, as well as the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Anxiety may present with panic because of this feeling of vulnerability, but also anger due to some individual’s irresponsible behaviour that could lead to the much feared ‘second spike’. The effects on mental health has led to a number of allied conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, depression, tension headaches and migraines, as well as sleep disruption. These can, in turn, lead to an impairment of the immune system which is clearly undesirable. Mental health issues can be tackled by a number of conventional treatments – beta blockers to counteract fear-generated adrenaline effects such as palpitations, rapid breathing, dry mouth and muscle tension. Anxiety will be effectively addressed with a non-addictive Prozac-related drug called Citalopram. Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms of gut distension and colicky pains are treated with Mebeverine and peppermint oil. Imigran will tackle acute episodes of migraine. On the complementary medicine front, studies have convincingly shown that anxiety can be helped by the regular practice of mindfulness meditation; this can be learnt by the apps on your mobile phone such as ‘Headspace’ or ‘Calm’. Breathing exercises by concentrating on your breath cycle, along with body scan relaxation is also very calming. ‘Journaling’ i.e. writing a diary of your thoughts and feelings during 90 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

troubled times has been found to be helpful in giving focus as has ’visualisation’ of a favourite scene by the seashore, a stream or a mountain view. Regular exercise such as country walking, bike riding or running are also therapeutic – body fitness is beneficial for mind resilience, but also to top up your body’s own happy hormone ‘endorphin’. Exercise will also promote a better sleep pattern which is important to support the immune system, as will supplementation with zinc, vitamin D and C. Yoga practice is also good for support of the immune system according to studies; it also provides mind-stilling as well as building core strength. Why not do a daily online yoga workout with ‘Yoga with Adriene’ – she offers a 30-day free introductory course – she has 4 million followers worldwide! Much has been said about new ways of working using digital video technology such as Zoom. This has enabled many of the work force to continue their jobs remotely, but also to keep many of us in touch with friends to combat isolation. Zoom coffee chats and drink parties have really taken off ! Besides all the above, many people have used lockdown to learn something new – painting, sewing, singing – all great opportunities to improve ourselves at the same time as staving off boredom and frustration –so essential to prevent anxiety and the other conditions listed above. Hopefully these suggestions will help to support your mental health during what seems like the ongoing and potentially resurging problem of COVID-19.

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he most common question I get asked by clients is how to bring character and personality into a decorating scheme, and there are as many answers to this as there are colours on a paint chart. Personal preference is the most important factor when you are making decisions about colour. After all, you are decorating your house, not your neighbour’s, and if a particular colour makes you feel happy, that is the effect you will experience when you use it in your home. Each and every one of us responds differently to colour depending on preferences, associations and phobias, but by using colours that you are drawn to, you will create an environment that will make you feel good. This is all very well, but most of us share our home with others, and what happens when we just don’t agree on a particular shade? Whilst there is always compromise to be made, often in decorating the result can lack commitment to the original idea. I find that rather than simply presenting your husband/wife/teenager/toddler with your preferred shade and trying to convince them that it really is exactly what they want, building a few different schemes around it can be more persuasive. A simple complementary colour scheme is an easy starting point. Look for colours which sit directly opposite each other on the colour wheel and you will find high contrast pairings of blues and oranges, yellows and purples or reds and greens which will all create strong, energetic spaces. For a more restful variation on this idea, complementary colours can be used in small doses against a palette of neutrals. The idea of negotiating the colour wheel may feel a little daunting and if that is the case for you, an analogous colour scheme is an easy option. All you have to do is pick a colour you love and use the two colours that sit on either side of it on the spectrum. A monochromatic colour scheme is in analogous colour scheme using neutrals, but don’t be tempted to think monochrome has to be pale. Be a little more daring with dark neutrals like charcoals or chocolate browns. For the brave, a vibrant variation on monochrome, using one deeply saturated colour such as a verdant green or an inky blue, would make a dramatic style statement. ‘The Rule of Three’ is a useful interior design trick to have up your sleeve. Using odd numbers will help your room feel balanced and visually interesting, and this works for choosing colours as well as it does for arranging objects. Any combination of your chosen colours in proportions of 6030-10 can work whether you’re using a complementary scheme with a third accent colour added, an analogous or monochromatic palette. If your colour combatant is still not won over to your way of thinking, rather than using your preferred colour floor to ceiling, you could suggest using it as an appropriately named ‘disruptor colour’. Having pored over colour charts for hours, carefully building a beautiful, considered decorating scheme, throwing in an unexpected contrast may seem like odd advice, but it will bring another element to the room and stop it feeling too co-ordinated. It is a great way to reflect your personality, bringing an element of irreverence and fun to a space. Think about painting the inside of an alcove or cupboard or draw attention to a stylish radiator. Rugs, lampshades, even books in your ‘disruptor colour’ can all be used to great effect. When used throughout your home, small accents of an unexpected colour will link rooms and spaces by creating a so-called ‘Red Thread’. As you move around your home, glimpsing even a small burst of your favourite colour as you look along a hallway or pass an open door is sure to make you feel happy. | 95


21ST CENTURY BARNS Cath Rapley, Lodestone Property


ikitionary describes the phrase ‘born in a barn’ as meaning: ‘Engaging in the behaviour of inappropriately, and usually neglectfully, leaving an exterior door or window open, considered ill-mannered.’ But in 2020, the reality of being born in, or living in a barn, actually means you’re likely to be comfortably well-off; you and your (young) family are also likely to be able to work from home in a bucolic area, enjoying superfast broadband and because of your ecological awareness, there’s no chance you’ll wilfully leave the door open, wasting the energy from your air source heat pump. Rather, if you do leave any doors or windows ajar, you’ll use your smartphone to control the heating and slide open bifold doors from the large living space to enjoy your rolling-country views. In 2020’s rush to leave London (and the South 96 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

East), many families are looking to move into character properties like former agricultural buildings – but the trend is increasingly for these homes to be modern in finish and full of technological functionality. “There’s been a swing from the traditional to contemporary,” explains Simon Neville-Jones, the manager of Lodestone Property’s Dorset office, “and people – especially the younger generations – are currently looking for spacious homes that they don’t have to alter.” Former modern barns – the large kind that often dominate the rural landscape, rather than tumbledown shepherd’s retreats - tick the boxes for developers who can use these roomy spaces in rural locations (usually on the edge of a villages) to create something new and exciting while referencing the past. So what changed? “There’s always been a desire to see how people could reuse nice attractive stone

barns, the kind you see turning up in estate agent windows with an associated paddock and cracking views” begins John Hammond from Chapman Lily Planning, a Dorset-based planning practise with a wealth of local-authority experience. “But in locational terms, they are often quite isolated. Planning officers see them as being away from facilities and that people need to drive to use them. So councils have often approved their redevelopment as holiday or employment units, but resisted them being used as houses.” Then around 10 years ago, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, oversaw a review of planning laws through the Treasury, resulting in the National Planning Policy Framework. In order to meet a requirement of 300,000 new houses, this looked at how you could convert buildings more easily. “He was probably thinking of big empty office blocks on the way into London, rather than Georgian High Street offices for solicitors,” laughs John, before becoming serious, “but it opened the door to reusing redundant or underused modern agricultural buildings too. Bit by bit, clever architects showed that you can create some very attractive living spaces that don’t have any sort of traditional scale to them and that provide quite an attractive and innovative house.” Which is exactly the kind of property Nathan Hopkins and his family property development company of 48 years, Hopkins Estates Ltd, have created at Blackford in Somerset, currently under offer with Lodestone Property. Manor Farm Barn was originally an old agricultural building but is now a 356.5m squared, light, spacious and breathtaking family home, with modern features that 21st century families scroll their Insta grid for. It’s highly insulated, with Smart Systems, powder-coated aluminium windows and doors, aluminium bi-fold screen doors, an aluminium and oak glass roof over the sunroom and dining room and electrically-operated Velux conservation windows, with rain-sensor technology. There’s also low energy LED lighting throughout, with an 8KW PV system installed on either side of the roof and a Tesla Power Wall 2 battery storage system fully integrated into the control system. Not forgetting Nu Heat underfloor heating, controlled by app based control technology and a central IT managed system with seamless WI-FI, as well as TV access points and fibre BT broadband. Unsurprisingly, the house sold in super-quick time, with two further prospective buyers asking to be put on a back-up list in case the current sale falls through.

Hopkins Estates Ltd is now working on a property for TV presenter and property expert, Sarah Beenie, nearby. Property developers and planners all agree that the beauty of a barn conversion, in any style, is that you’ll have something truly unique at the end – something with character; vaulted ceilings and beams perhaps, or just lots of room for open-plan living. So if you find an old barn to buy, or one comes with your next house, it’s a project you could consider taking on. And if you don’t want to live in it yourself, or use it as an office or extra living space, they can also be brilliant revenue generators. Confirms Andy Sturgess from longestablished Dorset building firm Sturgess & Sturgess and who has a raft of master craftsman at his disposal and once built a farmhouse for Prince Charles: “We’ve been doing barn conversions for about the last 20 years, since they have become more fashionable. We recently completed one at a place near Steeple near Kimmeridge - where we took farm buildings that covered about 2,500 feet and at the end of it, because the quality was outstanding, they were able to rent it out as a long-term let for just under £4,000 a month. But,” he warns, “they can be a money pit if you don’t know what you’re doing, so make sure you get a good team around you before you start.” Which is why sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

Top three tips for converting a barn 1. Assemble a great team around you.

Listen out for word-of-mouth recommendations and look for professional accreditations. For example, planning companies like Chapman Lily in Wareham are members of their professional body RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute). 2. Expect to spend more

Budget to spend at least 10-15% over what you would a new build, says Nathan Hopkins of Hopkins Estates Ltd. 3. Do your research

“My advice to anyone wanting to buy a barn to convert is to get advice early [about planning and design] from someone who genuinely knows what they’re doing because you could be sold a bit of a pup and end up struggling to get what you want.” says Andy Sturgess, of Dorset building firm Sturgess & Sturgess. “When the owner has done a lot of research, it helps us a lot”. | 97


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98 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

WE’VE MOVED! We are excited to announce the opening of our new office in Shaftesbury covering sales and lettings throughout Dorset Please pop in to the Old School House to meet the team - we look forward to seeing you! Simon Neville-Jones Branch Manager, Dorset 01749 605099

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Coming to the market this month Yetminster

Independent Letting Agent representing town and country property throughout Somerset and Dorset

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Newly decorated, attractive three bedroom home in the centre of the village. Sitting-room with open fire, newly fitted bathroom, small enclosed garden. £POA

Charlton Horethorne

Mid-terrace period cottage in rural setting, newly decorated, new bathroom, enclosed garden, storage, off-road parking. £POA


Modern family home in popular development, three bedrooms, landscaped enclosed garden, conservatory, parking and garage. £POA


Ground floor apartment, one bedroom, very well presented, small terrace, off road parking. £POA


Semi-detached barn conversion, two bedrooms, sitting room, well presented, parking, garage, terrace. £POA


Detached period farmhouse in quiet rural setting with views, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, sitting room, reception hall, large kitchen with AGA, detached office with kitchenette and w.c., outbuildings, parking, pretty garden and vegetable plot. £POA | 99


MEET YOUR LOCAL EXPERT Introducing Simon Walker – Family Solicitor at Mogers Drewett

What attracted you to a career in Family Law?

I started my career in the healthcare profession and came to law later in life. Following the completion of my training contract, I had the opportunity to work in clinical negligence law or family law. My work life to date had always been working with people as this is what I enjoyed. The pull to family law felt natural and I have never looked back. How long have you been a family lawyer?

I am just passing my 16th year as a qualified lawyer and, 4 years prior to that, I worked as a para legal. What do you love about the job you do?

For me, it has to be working directly with the client. They are often in a difficult place and unable to see the wood for the trees. Having worked in this area for nearly 20 years, you learn how to personalise the service you offer to best suit the individual needs of your client. It’s so rewarding to be able to help a client through a difficult time and see them and their family move forward at the end. What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting divorced?

Remember that you were once in love with the person that you are separating from, so don’t let the hurt and 100 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

anger prevent you from working together to resolve your differences and find a solution. Divorce and financial separation are difficult and can sometimes be a long process. Before starting on your journey to separation, take professional advice about the options available to you and importantly, how to avoid the pitfalls along the way. If you decide to DIY, whether by attending mediation or issuing your own proceedings, don’t rely on what you read on the internet. Remember it took me seven years to qualify! How do you relax after a tough day?

I am a potter and a keen sailor. In relation to my pottery, I have built my own studio and work mainly with earthenware. I love the ability to create something on the wheel. The level of concentration I need to achieve my pots means that there is no room in my brain for anything else, so relaxation is achieved. I love being physical, and near water. Sailing was the perfect combination of the two. I spend a lot of time on the south coast racing with friends on their boat. Where is your favourite place to go in Sherborne?

I am really keen on food, so it has to be the Cilla & Camilla Cook Shop and Oxford’s Bakery - I love their pastries!

WE UNDERSTAND THAT LIFE ISN’T ALWAYS PLAIN SAILING. If you find yourself in uncharted waters, our family team are here to guide you through.

ON YOUR SIDE, AT YOUR SIDE FOR: Starting a relationship

• Divorce


• Cohabitation Agreements

• Dissolving a Civil Partnership

• Parental Orders

• Pre-Nuptial Agreements

• Divorce & Jurisdiction

• Parental Responsibility Disputes

• Domestic Abuse Support

• Child Abduction

• Financial Resolution

• Surrogacy Legal Planning

• Complex Financial Settlement Including Business & Pension

• Adoption Legal Planning

Ending a relationship • Alternative Dispute Resolution • Mediation

Our family experts are here to help – get in touch today. | 0800 533 5349 |




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

any of my preceding articles extol the benefits of stock market investing over the longer term. One common fear, even among experienced investors, is that markets may fall very soon after making an investment. While experienced investors understand that markets fall as well as rise, no one wants to see their money fall in value – let alone soon after investing it. In this month’s article, I shall explain an alternative to making a one-off investment of capital, especially pertinent as many stock markets around the world are at or around an all-time high. Some investors favour a pound-cost averaging (PCA) approach to deploying their investment capital. Unlike lump-sum investing, in which the full amount of available capital is invested up front, PCA spreads out investment contributions using instalments over time. The appeal of PCA is the perception that it helps investors ‘diversify’ the cost of entry into the market, buying shares at prices that fall somewhere between the highs and lows of a fluctuating market. So, what are the implications of PCA for investors aiming to generate long-term wealth? Entry Level

Let’s take the hypothetical example of an investor with £12,000 in cash earmarked for investment in stocks. Instead of buying £12,000 in stocks today, an investor going the PCA route buys £1,000 worth of stocks each month for the next 12 months. If the market increases in value each month during this period, the PCA investor will pay a higher price on average than if investing all up front. If the market decreases steadily over the next 12 months, the opposite will be true. While investors may focus on the prices paid for these instalments, it’s important to remember that, unlike with the lump-sum approach, a meaningful portion of the investor’s capital is remaining in cash rather than gaining exposure to the stock market. During the process of capital deployment in this hypothetical example, half the investable assets on average are forfeiting the higher expected returns of the stock market. For investors with the goal of accumulating wealth, this is potentially a big opportunity cost. Despite the drawbacks of pound-cost averaging, some may be hesitant to plop down all their investable money at once. If markets have recently hit all-time highs, investors may wonder whether they have already missed the best returns and so ought to wait for a drop before getting into the market. Conversely, if stocks have just fallen and news reports suggest more declines could be on the way, some investors might take that as a signal that waiting to buy is the wiser course. Driving the similar reactions to these very different scenarios is one fear: what if I make an investment today and the price goes down tomorrow? In next month’s article I will reveal the conclusion of research into the returns of the American S&P 500 index from 1926–2019.

102 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

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James Flynn, Milborne Port Computers


will start from where I left you in September’s article, ‘your computer is only as good as your last backup.’ We last wrote about backup in October 2018 and Jimmy said then, ‘the message seems to fall on deaf ears.’ Not much has changed – most people still don’t back up! There are two basic methods of backup available to you today; removable devices and online backup. A removable device is either a USB memory stick or hard disk and the simple difference is the size. A USB stick can provide between 8 gigabytes (GB) and 64 GB of storage, whereas a removable hard disk can provide between 500 GB and 2 terabytes (TB) in size. So how much backup space do you need? Most computers we see have between 40GB and 100GB of data made up of documents, pictures and music. You’ll see therefore, that a memory stick, whilst useful for a quick copy from one computer to another, is not really practical for a proper backup. A removable hard disk is much more suitable, robust and long-lasting. Whatever you do, you must never move data from your PC to backup as the whole idea is to have TWO copies of your precious data, in case of failure. Let’s dispel a myth here – don’t be worried about how much stuff is stored on your PC in terms of documents, pictures and videos; it won’t affect the speed of your PC one bit. The speed of your PC is dented by the programs you’ve installed and have running at any one time. Don’t go deleting pictures in the hope that your PC will speed up again; have it cleaned up properly or if you have an old style hard drive in your PC or laptop, then let us upgrade it to a Solid State Drive as it’s much cheaper than buying a new one! 104 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

Once you’ve got your backup device, then it’s simply a matter of copying your data from your PC to your device. You can do this manually – use the Windows Backup system that came on your PC (Backup & Restore – Windows 7, or File History – Windows 10) or use any of the many proprietary backup programs (FBackup or Always sync). If you use a Mac, then use the built-in ‘Time Machine’ backup system. If you accidentally lose a file or have a disaster with your PC, then it’s simply a matter of restoring your data from your device using the same method as you used to create the backup. Online backup is a paid-for service (approx. £50 a year) where your computer uploads all your data to a secure storage server for safe keeping. We supply a program called LiveDrive, PC World use the same program with their own branding. These programs automatically update every day or whenever you set them to back up and restoring is simply a matter of downloading your data again. I always recommend this method as it’s automatic and you don’t have to faff about with sticks or other USB paraphernalia. Furthermore, you don’t have to remember to do it! Although, you should always check every so often, as these programs require updating from time to time and, like any other program, can crash and won’t run again until you restart or shut down. The final word… these days we store more pictures and more documents than we’ve ever done and it can all disappear with the click of a wrong button or a sudden hardware failure. Back up now or regret it later! As always, you know where to come!

Commercial Development Management Sales








Chesters Harcourt have been managing commercial property in Sherborne for well over 30 years. If you have an interest in commercial property or land do give us a call or visit our website.

01935 415 454


LORD MARK PRICE David Birley DB What was your childhood like? MP I was born in Crewe in Cheshire and had a very happy childhood. My father, who was rather entrepreneurial, had a grocery shop and then became a wholesaler. My father was a preacher and I went to church three times every Sunday. I learnt some great life lessons from my parents such as we are all equal and have different skills and abilities, and that everyone has a different point of view and one should find out why people developed that view. I went to Crewe Grammar School for Boys. I am a great believer in Grammar Schools. I loved sports and did cross country running and played football, rugger and golf. I also developed a love for history, especially Roman and Greek, and regularly went to Chester to see the Roman remains. I then went to Lancaster University to study archaeology under Ruth Whitehouse – a brilliant professor. I had a wonderful time and every summer went to dig in Rome and I also did some work at Assisi. I had a great time and made some great friends. When I left, I was not sure what I wanted to be. I thought of being a professional golfer or a marine archaeologist and do a PhD on a vessel near Aosta. However, my Dad said I should get a proper job. DB How did your career develop? MP I applied to Marks and Spencer and John Lewis both of whom offered me a job. My choice of John Lewis was partly influenced by the fact that they had two golf courses and two ocean going yachts. I never thought I would stay at John Lewis but they kept promoting me and I stayed twenty-four years. One of the reasons for this is that the partnership shared my father’s sense of values in that its purpose is the happiness of the people who work there. I chose to go 106 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

Image: Gareth Iwan Jones

to the Southampton branch, which was run by Brian O’Callaghan – a brilliant and incredibly successful retailer. I worked in various departments and was still mad keen on golf and was playing every weekend and every night after work. After one tournament, when I was twenty-seven, I sat in the changing room and thought why am I putting so much energy into golf –

I am never going to be a professional, so is this a good use of my time? If I put the same energy into work, I would do so much better. I put down my golf clubs and did not pick them up until ten years later by which time I was on the board of Waitrose. I worked all over the country including Edinburgh, Manchester, Kingston and High Wycombe with

amazing support from my wife. I joined Waitrose in 1997, when there were ninety or so branches, as marketing director and was sent to Inseat to learn business management. I worked my way up and from 2007 to when I retired in 2016, I was managing director of Waitrose and also on the partnership board by which time we had three hundred and fifty > | 107

branches. The reasons why it is so successful are that it has great foundations and deep roots. It also has a really strong culture based round customer service and quality of products. The challenge was that it was under scale compared to bigger competitors. So pricing was difficult. It also had a quite narrow appeal and was not the customer’s main shop. What we did was to introduce ‘Essential Waitrose’ as an entry product level; we also offered free cups of tea or coffee and newspapers. We introduced Heston Blumenthal and the Duchy brand. Also, all our staff are very helpful and call customers Madam or Sir. We also built up our export side and you can find Waitrose products all over the world. I left in 2016 because you could retire at fiftyfive and I wanted something different to do. I had been appointed a trustee of the British Museum, which I was looking forward to. I had also set up the Prince’s Countryside Fund in 2011. The aims of this include helping farmers in difficulty and young people to get jobs. The Prince of Wales is a remarkable man and I am a huge fan. However, all this had to stop. I was on the board of the Cabinet Office when completely out of the blue, I was asked by David Cameron to be Minister of Trade and Investment. I was told to give my answer by 8am the following morning and that if I accepted, I would be given a peerage so I could do the job from the House of Lords. My wife had always said she would divorce me if I went into politics. I had never been politically minded or active; you weren’t allowed to be in the John Lewis Partnership. I joined the Government four months before Brexit. The result of the referendum was a complete shock to all ministers; it was a very surreal day. Theresa May reappointed me to do trade policy and trade deals. After the election, I worked on a Trade Bill rebuilding links with the old Commonwealth and setting up new trading groups. I did a great deal of travelling including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and the USA. I left in 2018 as it was the right time to go and I had set up as much as I could. DB What have you learnt along the way? MP Socrates said there were two types of happiness. One is from buying or achieving something, but that only gives fleeting happiness, whereas working to help other people achieve or working as a team brings the greatest joy and happiness. I have found that 108 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

if you invest in your people, they will pay you back a thousand times and doing a job is far more satisfying than the rewards at the end of it. DB What might you have done differently? MP Virtually everything, though I would not have married anyone else! Perhaps I might have been a marine archaeologist, but from a business perspective I would not change anything. I have been really happy with the big decisions I have made. DB What changes have you seen? MP In business, people are under more pressure, capitalism is very voracious and on average, people spend six and a half hours a day looking at their screens. I don’t think this is good for human interaction or society and can lead to depression. The sense of community is in danger of being lost in the drive for greater profitability. Nowadays people work on the train and at home. I am a firm believer in the old values of family life and that home and weekends are private time for relaxing with friends and family. DB What piece of advice would you give your younger self ? MP Chill out, don’t be in a rush and be more reflective. DB What are you currently involved in? MP I am chairman of Fairtrade Foundation and on the board of Coca Cola Europe. I am also on the council of Lancaster University – my old alma mater – and am writing books. My major project is building a digital business from scratch, which I hope will take on the American giants. DB What brought you to West Dorset? MP My wife was born in Dorchester and I was thinking of Stockbridge. We saw our house in a magazine and Judith, my wife, and our elder daughter fell in love with it. Our younger daughter said she would rather live in a dustbin, though we are all really happy there now. DB Do you have a personal wish? MP No, but I want my wife and children to be happy. DB Do you have a wish for West Dorset? MP I would like the headquarters of my tech company to be on this part of the world and bring quality employment here. I would also like Sturminster to be a food hub. It used to have the biggest cattle market in Europe. I would like it to have an amazing farmers’ market rather like the Boccaria in Barcelona.



Short Story



James Stubbs, Sherborne Scribblers

he Dowager, with her inscrutable face devoid of apparent emotion was determined to see what was going on at the garden end. Given her great age, it seemed unlikely to the people who knew her that she would venture into the back woods and outer reaches of what she termed the ‘jungle’ area of the manor grounds. It was an area where great lime trees stood sentinel, for the most part dark and motionless, at the parameters of the adjoining corn field, but she had made the deliberate decision that she should go down there and investigate. It was early May and the soft air was full of the murmurings of bees, and the clouds were slowly and sedately and in no particular hurry, gently allowing themselves to traverse the sky. Her Siamese cat accompanied her. Every now and then she paused, and stood up straight on her two sticks, visibly pacing herself to reach the bench by the Italian garden, where there were moss-covered sculptures and a pretty pond that was shaded slightly by a magnificent ancient willow. She had known this tree as a child, had spent many hours on the old swing and now, as she paused for breath, let her gaze marvel at the huge heavy limbs that stooped so low and the delicate tracery of the leaves that gently brushed the grass. She was for the most part alone now; husband, dear friends, most had departed one way or another, some had slipped away barely unnoticed which, when she looked through old address books, she found rather alarming. She was used to having a strong and vital memory but lately the world seemed to her to be fuller of impressions, hazy colours and feelings. As she passed the lavender that was brimming with bumblebees, she overheard, above their murmur, the sound of a lawnmower moving up and down the large back lawn. In the old days, it had been big and vast enough to accommodate a spacious game of croquet and there had lately been an attempt to bring it back from a certain amount of neglect. With the help of an old hand in the village, and after some hours spent by him scratching out the moss, a spread of fertiliser and other chemical concoctions, the grass had been running away. ‘More like off-road croquet’ the old hand had said to himself as he attempted to iron out the divots and old mole hills with a cumbersome roller. The young man in charge of the lawnmower was a young philosophy student, a nephew of the old hand. He had come to stay and been put to some use catching up with grass cutting and odd jobs in the village. At the sight of the lawn, which appeared to him like a vast green canvas, he had paused and considered his options. It would be a shame to mow up and down in a boring pedestrian way, he thought to himself, aware as he was of contemporary culture, the zaniness of street ‘art’, the love of the young to indulge mildly in the augmentation of his elders’ perception of the norm. He liked to conjure a new ‘slant’ or a new interpretation of things. He was aware also that many older people could not bear to see vulgar graffiti and were quick to denounce many forms of contemporary culture as rubbish, but he liked to challenge the status quo. In his mind, it was the

110 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

indefinable feeling of the importance of being a humanitarian, and felt that his inherently sensible views about the value of pluralism were somehow always under attack that prompted him and persuaded him to do things differently. He started the mower and set off at an obtuse angle, weaving his way across the ground. Within twenty minutes, he had carved out a superlative sunburst across the whole lawn, occasionally pausing to admire his gallant design. This will make those croquet players utterly perplexed and bamboozled! he grinned to himself. Out of the corner of his eye, he perceived a white shape approaching. Wiping the sweat from his eyes, he observed with alarm that it was the old dowager approaching slowly and hesitatingly, and despite his surprise, quickly moved to be of assistance. Her companion, the Siamese, mewed and the lad gently picked it up. The cat allowed itself to be cuddled. The lad walked ahead, perplexed to see the old Dowager so far from the house and waited for her to admire his handiwork. Again, stiffening straight on her sticks, she surveyed the view. ‘Oh no, this will not do at all! … are you a complete baboon?’ ‘Definitely, maybe,’ was the embarrassed reply, the lad reddening and feeling a touch mortified. ‘That, my boy is an oxymoron,’ said the Dowager, ‘please, see me to that bench over there and I will watch as you mow out your silliness.’

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ACROSS 1. Fully settled (3,3,5) 9. Sceptic (5) 10. Secret agent (3) 11. Recently made (5) 12. Recipient of money (5) 13. Crashes into (8) 16. Disease (8) 18. Promised (5) 21. Decay (5) 22. Limb used for walking (3) 23. Plants of a region (5) 24. Stargazers (11)

112 | Sherborne Times | October 2020

DOWN 2 - Totally (7) 3 - Old-fashioned (7) 4 - River in Europe (6) 5 - Go over again (5) 6 - Piece of writing (5) 7 - For all practical purposes (11) 8 - Devices popular before computers existed (11) 14 - Gun (7) 15 - Regain strength (7) 17 - Urge to do something (6) 19 - Earnings (5) 20 - Postpone (5)


LITERARY REVIEW Frances Walker, Sherborne Literary Society

The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story, by Kate Summerscale (Bloomsbury) £18.99


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he account of the disturbing psychic phenomena experienced by Alma Fielding was recorded in precise detail during 1938 by Nandor Fodor, a Jewish-Hungarian journalist who had been working as a ghost hunter at the International Institute for Psychical Research in London for four years. Kate Summerscale has neatly incorporated the unsettling political events of that year to heighten the tension of this true story, not only for Alma and her household but also for the Hungarian émigré who becomes more intensely involved in the investigation as the year passes. Summerscale writes, ‘The nation’s phantoms were distractions from anxiety, expressions of anxiety, symptoms of a nervous age. Fodor had been in Britain for less than a decade, but as a ghost hunter he had already become intimate with his new country’s fantasies and fears.’ Descriptions of flying teacups, smashed glasses and eggs whirling through the air are just some of the initial activities of the poltergeist in the Fieldings’ terraced house in Thornton Heath near Croydon. As the weeks go by, however, the phenomena become increasingly mysterious. Apports materialise about Alma’s person: flowers, pieces of jewellery, mice, a scarab and even, on one occasion, a live finch. Fodor was open-minded in his assessment of Alma’s supernatural powers. Summerscale points out that since the First World War there had been a surge of interest in spiritualism and a longing to trust mediums

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to contact deceased loved ones, but Fodor recognised that many self-professed mediums were fake. Was Alma Fielding genuine, or was she trying to escape marital tensions and household drudgery by seeking warmth and admiration from enthusiastic psychical researchers? Fodor and Countess Nora Wydenbruck, another member of the Psychical Research Institute, felt a genuine tenderness for Alma and, despite certain misgivings about Alma’s duplicity, they were puzzled by her motives. It was a conundrum which intrigued and excited them. As the year progresses, we learn more about Alma’s history and discover trauma that could be linked to the psychological disturbance in which her psychic gifts might be rooted. ‘Fodor believed that Alma’s phenomena were generated by her own nightmares and memories, acquiring physical energy as they spilt from her.’ Alma’s apparitions and visitations become more extreme and violent as the investigation continues and increasingly, Fodor’s opinions are at odds with the council of the International Institute for Psychical Research. Even the Countess, his great ally, had become become exhausted of Fodor’s theories and by the end of August 1938, Fodor’s investigation of the Fielding case had been terminated. He was devastated. This is not, however, the end of the story. We follow Fodor to America at the outbreak of the war, and Summerscale’s research reveals a surprising development in their story; one with links rather closer to us here in Dorset than one might expect.

Winner of the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty (Little Toller Books)



Monsignor Robert Draper

o, there are lots of pre-occupations at the moment in all sorts of areas of life – and the danger with the way things can change so suddenly is that anything I say may be out of date by the time you read this. Lots of pre-occupations, lots of politics, lots of problems – all of which can change in a moment - but, I suspect, not that much changing of real priorities. I am sure I’m not the only one who has spent quite a bit of time over the last several months pondering what things in my life really matter. Lots of things that seemed really important have gone out the window – holidays that have been cancelled, meetings and deadlines that have simply gone, arrangements that might happen sometime – but not for the foreseeable future. The garden has had a lot of attention lavished on it, and perhaps some of the cupboards have finally been organised – but that is not really a priority – more something to do while I have been waiting for life to begin again. So, I look at what my ‘priorities’ are – what things and importantly, what people, really count in my life? Do I know? And also, if it is people – do they know? I am sure we are all frustrated and irritated by not being able to do all sorts of things in the way we are used to doing – but instead of just putting all that energy into being annoyed, we could put some of it into appreciating what (and who) we have in our lives. I have found myself often remembering past people and past events and recognising how important they were and how much they helped me grow into the person I am – how much poorer and dull my life would be without those experiences and those people, even when they might not have known what they were doing. And I find myself feeling embarrassed and ashamed for all those incidents and occasions in my life when I have been selfish and ungrateful. That too is something to be considered and pondered. It is also an opportunity to ask about my ‘ultimate’ priorities – not just when we get back to ‘normal’, but beyond that; that too is important to ponder. I can easily make a priority out of finding a nice holiday for next year to make up for this year’s lack – or even one for 2022. There are many other things that I could prioritise, but I think that this enforced period of inaction and time spent in my own company has invited me to consider the bigger priorities: in a world where so many are succumbing to the pandemic, where for so many everything is being taken away piece by piece, I need to ask myself what really matters to me? I have to ask myself what are my real priorities and how do I discover them, and then – what do I do about it?

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Sherborne Times October 2020  

Featuring Blackmarsh Farm, Film, Theatre, Art, Family, Wild Dorset, Walking, History, Antiques, Interiors, Gardening, Food & Drink, Animal C...

Sherborne Times October 2020  

Featuring Blackmarsh Farm, Film, Theatre, Art, Family, Wild Dorset, Walking, History, Antiques, Interiors, Gardening, Food & Drink, Animal C...

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