Sherborne Times February 2023

Page 28



with Jake Hobson of Niwaki



Stinging cheeks, crystal-clear lungs and peach-perfect skies – a late winter evening walk contains fuel enough to fill even the most questioning of hearts. A badger makes a daring raid into enemy territory – a lovesick, wily beast entirely at odds with this human landscape of chaos and corners, he soon retreats into the soothing gloom. A muscular hare hurtles across the lane and through the woods, stopping at a safe distance to study my tall, dumbfounded frame while the crows mock from on high and the buds on their trees slowly swell.

And so to February… Laurence Belbin gives The Little Art Shoppe a fitting send-off, we continue our series behind the scenes at The Sherborne and Dorset Wildlife Trust introduce us to the nudibranch. Simon Ford, Peter Littlewood, Paul Newman and Emma Tabor give us more than enough reasons to go exploring and Tom Matkevich is pickling ogo. James Hull writes a love letter, Dawn Hart takes a stand and Richard Hopton twists and turns his way through nomadic empires and complex crimes.

Claire and Katharine meanwhile visit Jake Hobson, the sculptor turned teacher, turned plantsman, turned importer of beautiful Japanese garden tools.

Have a great month.


Editorial and creative direction

Glen Cheyne


Andy Gerrard


Katharine Davies

Features writer

Claire Bowman

Editorial assistant

Helen Brown

Social media

Jenny Dickinson


Stephens & George

Distribution team

Barbara and David Elsmore

The Jackson Family

David and Susan Joby

Mary and Roger Napper

Hayley Parks

Mark and Miranda Pender

Claire Pilley

Joyce Sturgess

Ionas Tsetikas

Paul Whybrew


Laurence Belbin

Elisabeth Bletsoe

Sherborne Museum

Alex Boyd-Williams Sherborne School

Richard Bromell ASFAV

Charterhouse Auctioneers and Valuers

Mike Burks

The Gardens Group

David Burnett The Dovecote Press

Paula Carnell

Cindy Chant & John Drabik

Michela Chiappa-Patching

Dan Chiappa-Patching Sherborne Prep

David Copp

Rosie Cunningham

James Flynn Milborne Port Computers

Simon Ford

PO Box 9701

Sherborne DT9 9EU

07957 496193


ISSN 2755-3337

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John Gaye

Nico Goodden

Julie Haddow

The Sherborne

Dawn Hart YogaSherborne

Andy Hastie

Yeovil Cinematheque

Julie Hatcher

Dorset Wildlife Trust

Abigail Hole Dorset Mind

Lara Honnor

Skool Beanz

Richard Hopton Sherborne Literary Society

James Hull

The Story Pig

Annabelle Hunt

Bridport Timber

Izzie Jobbins

Imogen Kimber & Olympia Pudelko

Gryphon Sixth Form

Peter Littlewood Young People’s Trust for the Environment

Emma Marfé Communifit

Paul Maskell

The Beat and Track

Tom Matkevich

The Green Restaurant

Gillian Nash

Paul Newman & Emma Tabor

Mark Newton-Clarke


Newton Clarke Veterinary Surgeons

Mark Salter CFP

Fort Financial Planning

Julia Skelhorn

Sherborne Scribblers

Val Stones

Anna Timmis


Louise Troup

Sherborne Girls

John Walsh

Friars Moor Vets

Joanna Weinberg Teals

Anne-Marie Worth Mogers Drewett Solicitors

4 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
6 Art & Culture 20 What’s On 22 Community 32 Family 50 Science & Nature 64 On Foot 68 History 72 Antiques 74 Niwaki 84 Gardening 88 Food & Drink 98 Animal Care 104 Body & Mind 114 Home 118 Legal 120 Finance 122 Tech 124 Short Story 126 Literature 128 Crossword 130 Pause for Thought 74 FEBRUARY 2023 FOLLOW OUR JOURNEY Unearth the hidden secrets of Sherborne House, and gain exclusive insight into what lies ahead for its new life as The Sherborne. | 5


No.51 Izzie Jobbins, The Birthday Cake

My work explores memories and childhood and is inspired by humour. I have an interest in archiving the personal, particularly universal, experiences through different artistic processes. I often use papier-mâché and model-making techniques to create sculptures inspired by family anecdotes. These sculptures become remnants of these stories. I adapt the objects so that they are irrational and ridiculous in their forms, especially in their size. I use my sculptures with audio pieces in installations that reflect the stories and memories they are based on. Through my practice, I want to create my own archive of recollections and anecdotes that I can share with the audience. In other work, I have gathered memories and stories from communities to create installations and walking tours.

The Birthday Cake is inspired by children’s birthday parties and imagination. Family-favourite cake recipes are used repeatedly throughout childhood. This cake has expanded and changed, taking on a new form, just as family anecdotes are embellished over time. It has grown with the family itself. The piece is made from papier-mâché, utilising a child’s craft. The size is also reminiscent of a time when everything felt larger than life. The Birthday Cake recreates an impossible cake from a child’s imagination. Our distorted recollection of childhood memories makes them seem better than they ever were in reality. izziejobbinsart

Art & Culture
Papier-mâché and acrylic paint, 54 x 55 x 45cm, £350
6 | Sherborne Times | February 2023


curated by Rory MacLean

14th - 16th April 2023

Colin Thubron

Sara Wheeler

Anthony Sattin

Justin Marozzi

John Gimlette

Fergal Keane

Sophy Roberts

John Blashford-Snell

Demi Anter

Philip Marsden

Tickets and information:


Two excellent British films are programmed for February at Cinematheque – both are well worth catching. We are always happy to support independent British cinema in our season of films, especially award-winning ones, and these two deserve exposure to a wider audience. These days, with film-makers on increasingly tighter budgets, so much of the finance has to go on the screen maximising production values, leaving precious little for publicity and promotion. This is where word-of-mouth becomes essential in building momentum for independent films to break through into the mainstream, allowing them to survive or fall on audience viewing figures alone.

On 1st February we show Benediction (2022), Terence Davies’s exploration of the turbulent life of First World War poet Siegfried Sassoon. Personally I

feel Davies is one of the best directors around today and love his work, which always feels deeply personal, like his autobiographical Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), and The Long Day Closes (1992).

The film details Sassoon’s poetry on the horrors of the Great War and his experience on the Western Front, cleverly intercutting dramatic scenes with his relationship with Wilfred Owen and other key moments in his life. He was a war hero, receiving the Military Cross for gallantry in 1916, but also a contradictory troubled figure, despising his war experiences and trying to come to terms with his own homosexuality. Terence Davies has found in Sassoon’s story a narrative that touches on many of his own personal experiences, from his sexuality to his search for inner peace and self-acceptance. He has always been

Art & Culture
8 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
David Earl in Brian and Charles (2021)

a poet of British cinema and this, his latest film, is a dazzling, accessible example of his craft. ‘Profoundly affecting’ The Hollywood Reporter, ‘Staggering variety, moments of cinematic transcendence’ Mark Kermode. And now for something completely different! Two weeks later, on 15th February, our film is Brian and Charles (2021), an absurdist British mockumentary comedy. The tale follows Brian, a lonely inventor in rural Wales spending his time building ridiculous contraptions which seldom work. Undeterred by his lack of success, Brian builds a robot for company from a discarded washing machine and various spare parts. Much to his amazement it comes alive (in a convenient lightning storm, of course) and names itself Charles Petrescu. With nods to Wallace and Gromit, this distinctly British comedy is primarily about loneliness and the power of friendship and companionship according to director Jim Archer. However, it is a riotously bonkers heart-warming story with many big laughs along the way. This feel-good charmer won the Audience Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is just the best antidote to a dull, late winter

February night. ‘This moving buddy comedy has charm to spare’ Mark Kermode.

Two very different films then, but both with a distinctly British attitude. If you haven’t been to Cinematheque at Yeovil’s excellent Swan Theatre yet, do think about either (or both!) of these films as a starter. Come as a guest for £5 or consider taking out a membership for a season of films. There surely is something here for everyone. All details are on our website below.

Wednesday 1st February 7.30pm

Benediction (2022) 12A

Wednesday 15th February 7.30pm

Brian and Charles (2021) PG

Cinematheque, Swan Theatre, 138 Park St, Yeovil BA20 1QT Members £1, guests £5 | 9
Jack Lowden in Benediction (2022)
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DISCOVER | EAT | SHOP | STAY | CELEBRATE Welcome to Symondsbury Estate, set in the beautiful Dorset countryside just a stone’s throw from the Jurassic Coast. Join us for lunch. Browse our shops. Visit the gallery. Explore our fabulous walks and bike trails. Relax and unwind in our holiday accommodation. Celebrate your wedding day... +44 (0)1308 424116 Symondsbury Estate, Bridport, Dorset DT6 6HG
Art & Culture
12 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Anant Varman as Mohan and Kerena Jagpal as Kamila


Icaught the joyous production of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel when it was in Bath, which is now on tour before landing in the West End later this year. If you loved the films, you are going to enjoy this entertaining and uplifting performance of Deborah Moggach’s novel. Starring Hayley Mills, Rula Lenska and Paul Nicholas, who I have to say I didn’t recognise, the cast is full of veterans who know their stuff and the audience got swept along by the story of new beginnings and second chances. The set design was possibly over-busy with the frequent moving of chairs and tables which seemed to get in the way of the action however the dance scene was beautifully choreographed, and only lacked a few overenthusiastic audience members leaping up on the stage to join in. Passing through Cardiff in March and Southampton in May, it’s a light-hearted piece of theatre which is guaranteed to lift the spirits.

Best of Enemies is on at the Noel Coward theatre in London until 18th February. You might not think that a two-and-a-half-hour play about politics is of interest, but this is a really mesmerising play about powerful rhetoric and the power of television. David Harewood, who just received an OBE in the New Year Honours list for services to mental health, plays conservative William Buckley and Zachary Quinto, in his debut on the London stage, plays liberal Gore Vidal. Quinto has captured Vidal’s patrician and self-congratulatory manner perfectly, and is a joy to watch. The network channel ABC is failing in its ratings against the other giant news channels and conceive a new format of face-to-face confrontation, which pits these two opposing political figures in a series of nightly battles of will, in a desperate attempt to change their fortunes. The year is 1968 and America is suffering mass protests in the run-up to the next presidential election, which Nixon eventually wins. Buckley and Vidal’s debates on the morality of a warring nation electrify a fractured country and cement this style of political face-off forevermore. Both men want to gain the upper hand over their opponent in their TV debates, however the audience is also party to all of the background anxieties from the support teams and the controlling ABC ratings-driven manipulations. Written by the young English playwright James Graham, who also gave us one of my favourite plays This House which was recently voted Play of the Decade, and directed by Jeremy Herrin, with an innovative set design by Bunny Christie in the shape of an old TV screen, Best of Enemies is an absolute triumph.

By the way, I was recently asked why I never review anything at the Salisbury Playhouse which is a well-loved local theatre, so I promise to make amends and hope to see the Alan Ayckbourn play How the Other Half Loves in February or The Beekeeper of Aleppo in March. | 13
Image: Johan Persson
Timeless clothes and effortless style in sizes 8 - 22 Open Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm (and Sherborne Market Sundays) Four Seasons Boutique 36 Cheap Street, Sherborne DT9 3PX 01935 814212 SPRING IS ON THE HORIZON New spring collection launching soon. Join our VIP Email Club to be kept in the know! Receive exclusive discounts and launch event invitations.

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Open Monday to Saturday 9.30am - 5pm

Private appointments available outside these hours

01935 813812



Art & Culture
16 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Laurence Belbin

Most of you will have heard about the closing of The Little Art Shoppe in Sherborne after the death of Peter Stone. It is truly a sad loss to the town and to me personally having been a longterm customer. It was a joy to go in and spend a little time carefully selecting colours and brushes. Picking out different colours to experiment with and being able to open the tube to see the actual colour rather than depend on a printed sample or even worse a smudge on a computer screen makes all the difference. I’ve seen the growth of the retail space double if you can believe that! It was just the right-hand side when I first moved to Sherborne and was run by Peter’s mother. The left-hand side, I think, was the front parlour. It had the feeling of an old-style sweet shop and I don’t think we shall see the like of it again. 118 years of trading and belonging to the same family for four generations is remarkable.

Before the doors finally shut for good I took the opportunity to do a small pen and ink drawing of the outside. A three-story building in such a small space was a delight to draw. The number of positive comments from passers-by who admired what I was doing and that I was making a record of the place proved to me that it will be truly missed.

Whilst in the mood for drawing old buildings I took a stroll down Trendle Street. Trendle Yard is an interesting collection of buildings. Many years ago the whole area was once a brewery. I can recall a small

government surplus shop just under the arch selling ex-army camouflage clothes, netting etc. You’d hardly know the place was there! It was tucked away so. Now, both Riley’s Cycles and the Trouvaille Gallery, which was on Cheap Street, occupy the space. Trouvaille Gallery is a den of creativity. Right in the corner of the yard, the barn door opens to reveal a large space on various levels exhibiting a range of work by local artists from paintings, ceramics, jewellery, sculpture and a selection of cards and art materials. There is also an area for courses and workshops to take place. A very popular activity is ‘paint your own pottery’. Choose your item, paint it and then it will be fired for you! So, when one creative business closes another opens. If your bike needs to be fixed you can wander around the Trouvaille Gallery whilst you are waiting!

There are several viewpoints where I could have chosen to draw aspects of the yard, each one just as interesting as the next. This A5 drawing, I feel, sums it up. It was done on a buff-tinted card using pencil, Conté crayon and ink pen. The sense that these buildings had a former use comes across when you look at the placement and shape of windows and doors. It would be nice to be able to go back in time and have a good nose about! History is all around for us to see if we can just give ourselves the time to stop and look. | 17


No.18 Louis Cole: From Obscurity to Just Clowning Around

If you’re a fan of jazz-funk, electronica, avant-garde pop or grind-core you’ll probably find merit in the works of Louis Cole. Be it his insanely good jazz drumming, his superior keyboard skills or his penchant for injecting humour and sometimes surrealism into his songs his material is, without doubt, some of the most accomplished and inspiring songwriting of the present day.

Louis Cole was born and raised in LA by a jazz pianist father and a bass-playing mother. Cole learnt to play the drums at just eight years old. Throughout his formative years and with the encouragement of his parents he studied and ultimately graduated in Jazz Studies at music school. Shortly after graduating Cole began to upload music videos to YouTube on the advice of a friend. These videos began to gain some serious traction with posts on social media etc by celebrity fans such as John Mayer and Bjork. After the success of several songs on YouTube including the quirky Bank Account, which showcases Cole’s talent on drums, keyboards and vocals, he proceeded to co-found the band KNOWER to begin to create longer-formed songs. He co-founded the band with fellow Jazz Studies graduate Genevieve Artadi and proceeded to release both his debut solo album and the debut album for KNOWER. The first KNOWER

Art & Culture
18 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

album, Louis Cole and Genevieve Artardi, was an eclectic mix of jazz funk and electronica which was the perfect vehicle for Cole’s rather avant-garde approach to song structure and the super funky vocals of Artardi. Live sessions of the songs from the album have YouTube viewing figures in the tens of millions. Between the years of 2011 and 2014 the band released two more albums of intense funk which did much to increase their profile in the music community. They produced a single **** the Makeup, Skip the Shower for use on the console game Grand Theft Auto V. They then went on to record tracks with American jam band Snarky Puppy for their Family Dinner - Vol 2 album featuring on tracks I Remember and Hope.

At this point the live scene was demanding their attention and the duo formed a stable 5-piece live group, including Nate Wood, one-time drummer for Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, and began touring fairly heavily in the US. They got a huge break in 2017 –while still relatively unknown they performed a European tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and went on to build a great reputation for some seriously tight jazz/funk. This recognition propelled Cole into some unchartered territory as he co-wrote several tracks with Seal for his album 7 and went on to co-write two tracks with Thundercat for his album Drunk.

Cole was signed to Brainfeeder Records (run by the artist Flying Lotus) and released his third and fourth LP with contributions from his now good friend Thundercat and KNOWER vocalist Artardi. Thundercat had such admiration for his friend that he featured a song on his Grammy award-winning album It is What it is called I Love Louis Cole on which Cole added a ripping drum track. Take a listen to this track, the drums will blow your mind.

So what does a now celebrated virtuoso in jazz/funk, tour support for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, YouTube hit and friend and collaborator to Thundercat do next?

Well…(and this is purely speculation) he forms a two-piece grindcore/jazz/electronica band that performs anonymously in clown masks under the moniker of Clown Core. They’ve actually been creating music for some time now but it is only now widely regarded that the duo are made up of Louis Cole (drums, keyboards, vocals) and Sam Gendel (sax, keyboards, vocals). The music has been described as genre-defying and definitely has some heavy avant-garde moments as full screamo hardcore makes way for a classic smooth jazz sax solo in the same song. With albums entitled Toilet, Van and 1,2,3,4, all self-released and available on YouTube, Cole’s talent, humour and disregard for the norm has produced single songs with over 5 million views… if indeed it’s him. He’s not telling. And why would he? He’s just doing his thing and simply clowning around.

Pick up your copy at arts venues, galleries, museums, art shops, cafés, libraries and tourist information centres (etc) throughout Dorset, Somerset, East Devon, West Wiltshire, Bristol and Bath Or subscribe online at: Instagram: evolvermagazine
1 13/12/2022 19:14
Page | 19

Every Monday & Thursday 1.30pm-4pm

Sherborne Indoor Short Mat Bowls

West End Hall, Sherborne 01935 812329. All welcome

Mondays 2pm-5pm & Tuesdays 7pm-10pm

Sherborne Bridge Club

Football Clubhouse, Terraces 01963 21063

Every 1st Thursday 9.30am Netwalk for Business Owners & Entrepreneurs Pageant Gardens. @Netwalksherborne

Thursdays 1.45pm-4.45pm Rubber Bridge

Sherborne Bowls Clubhouse, Culverhayes car-park. 01963 21063

Thursdays 7.30pm-9.30pm

St Michael’s Scottish Country Dance Club

Davis Hall, West Camel

£2. Call Elspeth 07972 125617

Monday to Saturday until


Saturday 4th March 1pm-4pm (& all performance evenings)

Yeovil Art Group’s New Year Exhibition

The Gallery, Octagon Theatre, Yeovil Parking nearby. Disabled Access. Free entry.

Wednesday 1st 3pm & 7pm

The Arts Society Sherborne - Linking China With EuropeBlue & White In The Middle East Digby Hall, Hound Street

Free for members, £7 for non-members

Thursday 2nd 2pm

Sherborne Museum Winter Talk: The Powyses in Dorset Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Road

Members free, visitors £5

Thursday 2nd 8pm

Sherborne Historical SocietyBrent Shore - Chartism and the Plug Riots of the 1840s Digby Hall, Hound Street Members free, visitors £5

Sunday 5th 11am

Blackmore Vale Half Marathon

Bishops Caundle Sport Ground Sponsor, take part, support. 07748 090802

Thursday 9th 2.30pm

Sherborne and District

Gardeners’ Association TalkBonsai for Beginners

Digby Hall, Hound Street

Non-members £2. 01935 389375

Wednesday 15th 11am-1pm

Gordon LePard as The Mad Victorian Scientist

Sherborne Museum. Free family-friendly event.

Thursday 16th 8pm

Sherborne Historical Society - Dr Marc MorrisThe Anglo-Saxons

Digby Hall, Hound Street

Members free, visitors £5

Friday 17th 7.30pm

Sunset Cafe Stompers with Hamish Maxwell vocals

Cheap Street Church, DT9 3BJ. £15. Bookings:

Saturday 18th 10am-12.30pm (last repair 12.15pm)

20 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

Repair Cafe

Cheap Street Church Hall. Bring household items to be repaired & avoid landfill. repaircafesherborne@ or @repaircafesherborne

Saturday 18th - Saturday 25th 6pm-8pm

Wincanton Town Festival

An illuminating trail of artworks, themed on sustainability, across 15 locations throughout Wincanton

Sunday 19th 1.30pm-4.30pm

Sherborne Folk Band


Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Road, DT9 3NL. Suitable for all levels. £15 (or cheaper via the website) 07527 508 277

Thursday 23rd 7pm

One-man Story-Telling

Performance - The Gods Are All Here

Sherborne Library, Hound Street. Suitable 12+. 01935 812683. £10, £5 u18s. (Also a storytelling workshop on Friday 24th 11am-1pm in Sherborne Library)

Saturday 25th 11am-5pm

Mind Body Spirit Fayre

Digby Hall, Hound Street DT9 3AA

Beauty treatments, massage, Reiki, psychic mediums and stalls

Saturday 25th 7.30pm

Nu-Jazz Quintet, RWKUS

Charlton Horethorne Village Hall

Tickets £12 on the door, from or 01935 814199

Sunday 26th 2pm-4pm

Singing Bowl Soundbath

Oborne Village Hall, DT9 4LA £15. Advance bookings 01935 389655 or

Planning ahead

Wednesday 1st March 3pm and 7pm

The Arts Society Sherborne Mad Men and Artists – How the Advertising Industry Exploited Fine Art

Digby Hall, Hound Street Free for members, £7 for non-members


Sherborne RFC

The Terrace Playing Fields

Men’s 1st XV (3pm KO)

Saturday 11th

Newton Abbot (H)

Saturday 18th

North Petherton (A)

Sherborne Football Club

The Terrace Playing Fields

Men’s 1st XI (3pm KO)

Wednesday 1st (KO 7.30pm)

Clevedon (H)

Saturday 4th

Saltash (A)

Saturday 25th

Helston (H)

Tuesday 28th (KO 7.45pm)

Barnstaple (A)

To include your event in our FREE listings please email details – date/ time/title/venue/description/price/ contact (max 20 words) – by the 5th of each preceding month to

Join us on the first Wednesday of the month at 3pm and 7pm Digby Hall, Hound Street Members free; visitors £7 1st February: Linking China With EuropeBlue and White in the Middle East 1st March: Mad Men and ArtistsHow the Advertising Industry Exploited Fine Art NEW 2023 Programme can be seen at | 21


Jordan first appeared in the Sherborne Times when he was 16 and on the cusp of a farming apprenticeship. He has gone on to become a talented car upholsterer, learning his craft this past year working for a local company. Jordan also recently moved house and is now the proud owner of his first property.

22 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
V resivdA 3202T Ca v ?resivda I gnidulcni( uoyt E :sliated j ku.gro.tesremoshtuosecivdasnezitic@enu Volunteer Adviser Training 2023 Email June Carty or check our website for further details: Can you commit to a weekly session as a volunteer adviser? IfyouareagreatlistenerandaconfidentuserofIT (including typing skills) we would love to hear from you

After finishing art college, I somehow ‘fell’ into working on historic buildings after a chance conversation with a heavy oak carpenter. His boss had a skilled plasterer repairing an old decorative ceiling at his house who needed a hand. When I clapped my eyes on the building, Llowes Court near Hay-on Wye, I was captivated by the place – that’s how it all began. Prior to this, I didn’t even know that the trade existed or that I would be capable of becoming skilled at the job, but I had the enthusiasm and drive to work towards what I was interested in and it has been a


voyage of discovery.

I started with repairing decorative plaster, cornices, Jacobean strapwork ceilings, making moulds and ceiling roses. Later, I moved on to repairing lath and flat plasterwork and over the years to lime. I’d been working on historic buildings for a few years when I secured a place on the William Morris Craft Fellowship, awarded by the SPAB (Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings). It opened my eyes to the wide variety of skills in the historic building field and how they all relate to each other. I’ve now been working with lime

24 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Julie Haddow, Lime Plasterer, The Sherborne

mortars, plasters and renders for over 25 years.

Lime was first used by the Egyptians to plaster vaults inside the pyramids in 2,500BCE. The Romans made concrete by mixing lime with volcanic rock, and varieties that would survive under the sea by combining lime with volcanic ash. Despite the harsh salt water, some of these ancient marine structures survive today. The Romans brought lime technology to Britain and built villas and superstructures like Hadrian’s Wall. For more humble dwellings, a small proportion of lime was added to subsoil to make stabilised earth mortars and plasters. Pure lime mixes, being more labour-intensive to produce and therefore more expensive, were saved for topcoat plasters and lime washes (paints).

At The Sherborne, the old plasters are really interesting – the 1720 Palladian building ceilings have stabilised-earth plasters onto riven oak lath. These plasters contain masses of cattle hair, making them strong and incredibly flexible. The plasters do contain lime but only a small proportion.

Plastering and rendering is heavy work, with many projects too much for one person, so in 2008, I set up Lime Repair near Shepton Mallet and started recruiting. We are a small specialist company, and there are three of us on-site at The Sherborne; myself, Caspar and Dom. We’ve worked with Stonewood in the past, so we already knew the team.

All the guys working on The Sherborne are respectful towards me as the only woman ‘builder’ on site; we have a good laugh and there’s a very positive atmosphere. I’m a minority on most projects I work on so it feels normal being amongst ‘the guys’ but it would be nice to see more women in the industry.

With both Tudor and 1720’s phases, peeling back the layers at The Sherborne is fascinating. We started about a year ago with the Georgian building, where we repaired the lath and plaster ceilings. Many of the ceilings were sagging, but the timber joists often supported the plaster failing rather than the plaster itself. Some larger patches collapsed due to roof leaks so the carpenters repaired the structure first before we repaired the lath and plaster.

At the beginning of the project, we sent samples of the ceiling plaster off for analysis to Rose of Jericho, a Dorchester-based materials supplier. I was convinced that as the plaster had little lime and was mostly subsoil and hair, it was probably the original and not a later phase of work or repair. The analysis confirmed my theory and it’s incredible to think that most of the

plaster in the main house is still firmly intact.

Parts of the building are ancient; on the ground floor of the Tudor wing there’s a large oak-pegged doorway dating back to the 13th Century, and the moulded beams are mid-15th Century. Likewise, the plaster on the wing’s walls is also Tudor – a rare find. Considering its age, it’s in good condition. The strength of the plaster is in its flexibility – with so much hair in it, it could almost be a carpet! I’m really looking forward to seeing The Sherborne finished; top-quality contemporary design set against beautifully repaired historic buildings is very pleasing, if you get it right.

That’s what’s beautiful about this project; the various buildings are full of surprises. Take the ceiling roses in the Palladian House…we took some of these down for repair and found that some elements were in fact papier mâché fixed over a timber armature. We’re lucky they remained in such a stable condition when the building had fallen into disrepair. But this is the crux of our work – understanding the materials and learning how to repair and conserve them for future generations. You have to be aware of what materials you are working with and respect their condition. You can’t treat papier mâché like plaster; if you clean it or repair it using water, the paste could dissolve.

Most people don’t see ‘plaster’ or ‘pointing’ as a particularly historic finish, but it’s as important as the stone or the windows. It breaks my heart to see old, intact plasters being hacked off or old lime pointing being raked out just because it’s not a uniform colour –or has a few cracks and undulations. ‘Imperfections’ go a long way to giving historic buildings character. Today, we really struggle to match these traditional styles. Throughout Dorset and Somerset a few examples of very old lime putty pointing remain, but we are losing these – I think these finishes are precious and should be retained at all costs. | 25
"At The Sherborne, the old plasters are really interesting – the 1720 Palladian building ceilings have stabilised-earth plasters containing masses of cattle hair, making them strong and incredibly flexible."


A New Art Group Supporting Adults Experiencing Mental Health Challenges

Afew months ago I started to look for a local group that combined art and mental wellbeing, and although there are lots of great art groups in and around Sherborne, I struggled to find one that was specifically aimed at helping adults who are struggling with their mental health. So I decided to start ‘Art-Life’. This is a new community art project providing free art classes in Sherborne for adults who are experiencing mental health challenges.

The art courses will start on 22nd February, every Wednesday for six weeks. A fantastic qualified art tutor will teach participants, step-by-step, new techniques and skills whilst using a wide range of materials. The classes are suitable for all artistic levels, whether you are a budding artist or a complete beginner, our art tutor will be able to guide you. There is no right or wrong in art – anyone can learn to draw and paint. Classes will be small, relaxed, friendly and free of charge.

All materials and equipment will be provided, thanks to Sherborne School who have been incredibly generous and supportive of the project.

This is not art therapy – it’s simply a safe, nonjudgmental space to experience the therapeutic power of positive creativity whilst feeling the support and encouragement of others who may be experiencing similar personal challenges.

By focusing on new skills with others who care and understand, we can start to increase our confidence, self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

Cognitive neuroscientists have found that creating art reduces cortisol levels (markers for stress), and that through art people can induce positive mental states. These studies are part of a new field of research, called neuroaesthetics: the scientific study of the neurobiological basis of the arts. Neuroaesthetics uses brain imaging, brain wave technology and biofeedback to gather scientific evidence of how we respond to the arts. Through this, there is physical and scientific

evidence that the arts engage the mind in novel ways, tapping into our emotions and making us feel good.

I was first inspired to start Art-Life after my sister Sally and I visited a brilliant organisation in Gloucestershire that runs ‘Art on Prescription’ mental health art classes. Sally suffered from complex mental health challenges for thirty years. However, the one thing that really helped her to cope with her inner turmoil was the art classes. They gave her the opportunity to immerse herself in creativity;

26 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

something beyond the mental challenges she was experiencing. She also made much-needed friends, as well as feeling mutually upheld and supported, always coming away from her art sessions feeling better about life and proud of what she had created. Sally sadly passed away in 2020 aged 53 due to complications associated with her mental illness. But having seen firsthand the hugely beneficial effects that art and creativity had on Sally’s mental wellbeing I felt inspired to set up a group here in Sherborne.

With so many of us trying to cope with our own mental health challenges, my sincere hope is that the Art-Life classes will really help people in our community who are struggling.

In the words of Pablo Picasso, ‘Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.’

To join a 6-week Art-Life course please email, or for more information visit | 27


A Monthly Act of Remembrance in Sherborne Abbey

Behind the altar in Sherborne Abbey is the Lady Chapel which has for many years also been the spiritual home of the County Regiment of Foot, originally the Dorset Regiment, then the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and now the Rifles. As well as the more obvious retired Regimental Colours hanging from the walls, there is a glass cabinet housing four Books of Remembrance that list all those whose lives have been taken in war.

Each month, on the third Friday, a short but important ceremony takes place in the Abbey: the reading of the names from the freshly turned pages of those four Books of Remembrance.

The first book covers all those soldiers of the Dorsetshire Regiment who died in the First World War. As you can imagine, it is by far the largest of the four books and takes over 10 years of page-turning to arrive at the last page. It is beautifully illustrated throughout by skilled calligraphers and is a work of art worthy of the memory of those who perished.

The second book covers the Second World War’s losses of the Dorsets and once again is beautifully illustrated, but fortunately takes considerably less time to complete. Many of the names listed are well known by our regimental historians and by the families of those who served at the time.

The third book covers all those campaigns since the Second World War in which members of the Devon and Dorsets and the Rifles have participated. All of these individuals, who served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Iraq, Afghanistan or the Falkland Islands are well known and remembered fondly by their family and friends who are still very much alive today.

Finally, the fourth book covers all those from the town of Sherborne who were killed either serving in the armed forces somewhere in the world or killed as civilians in the town or elsewhere. It clearly illustrates how the population of a relatively small market town in Dorset is affected by war.

The ceremony is usually conducted by the Rector of Sherborne, or one of his team, and lasts about 15 minutes. Over the years many individuals from all parts of society have been invited to read the names, ranging from Generals and Admirals through to Riflemen and Cadets and numerous representatives from the town and county. The oldest reader to date was 96 and the youngest was 18 years of age. Reading the names can be quite an emotional experience and on occasions the readers have found it difficult not to be overcome by the sacrifices made by those whose names they read.

All those who have served in the County Regiments over the years regard this linkage with the town and county as something to be valued greatly. Many of the names listed are very much Dorset names which live on today amongst Sherborne families.

This short ceremony takes place every third Friday of the month at 11am. All are very welcome to attend.

28 | Sherborne Times | February 2023 | 29

Forthcoming Auction Programme

Coins, Medals & Stamps

2nd March

Model Trains, Cars & other Toys

2nd March

Antiques & Interiors

3rd March

Classic & Vintage Cars

9th March

Classic & Vintage Motorcycles

30th March

Further entries invited

1994 Honda RC45 £40,000-45,000 Contact Richard Bromell for advice on single items and complete house contents Valuations for Probate and Insurance The Long Street Salerooms, Sherborne DT9 3BS 01935 812277 30 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

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Oliver Darvill, Aged 16 Leweston School

At Leweston School, Oliver plays the violin in the Baroque ensemble and the orchestra, the viola in the Romantic ensemble, sings in the choir and often plays the piano in school concerts. He also showcased his theatrical talents in last year’s school production of Matilda, taking on one of the main parts – getting into character as a very comical Mrs Trunchbull, ‘wowing’ and entertaining the audience.

Oliver recently had the opportunity to travel to Poland with Leweston for a Music Scholar’s trip where he learned about the culture and performed in two concerts. Impressively, Oliver has also gained a place with The National Youth Choir. The Choir is made up of 9 to 25-year-olds from across the UK and is home to some of the best young singers in the world. Gaining his position in the Choir will see Oliver performing at The Royal Albert Hall in April, celebrating the Choir’s 40th anniversary, to an audience of 5,000 people.

Oliver intends to apply to Cambridge University to study Music when he finishes Leweston Sixth Form and to continue his impressive musical endeavours.



07808 400083

32 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

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Write your stor y at Sherborne Girls Girls 11-18 • Boarding and day To find out more, please contact admissions@sherbor 01935 818224 • sherbor

Children’s Book Review




This book is about two pandas, a granny and her grandchild, and the love between them. The illustrations are beautiful and metallic, they are really sweet. When I read this book it makes me feel like I am about to cry, but in a good way. On my favourite page, the pandas are sitting together above the clouds. This is a lovely relaxing book and really good to read before bedtime. I have read this book with both of my grannies and they both wish that they had given it to me!

8 Cheap Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3PX Tel: 01935 816 128 Celebrating 10 Years as Sherborne’s Independent Bookseller 2012-2022
Became Granny by Susannah Shane, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup Sherborne Times reader offer price of £10.99 from Winstone’s Books
Archie’s Apple Tuesday 2nd March 9.30am at Sherborne Prep All Primary School children and teachers invited Please contact the shop for details
Local author Hannah Shuckburgh joins us to read her latest book
Cheap Street Church, 1.45pm (unless otherwise stated) FREE ADMISSION ALL WELCOME 3 February Pianists 10 February Instrumental & Vocal Soloists I 24 February Brass 3 March Wind Band (BSR, Sherborne School) 10 March Instrumental & Vocal Soloists II 17 March Woodwind II | 35
Friday Lunchtime Recitals
Family 36 | Sherborne Times | February 2023


It’s an exciting time for us as we prepare to head out to The Gambia in February half-term. We are doing this as part of our Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, to volunteer with the Lisa Kent Trust. This small organisation is a UK-based registered charity dedicated to providing the children of The Gambia with the education they need for a brighter future, not just for themselves but to develop their own local communities. The Trust has been working to deliver quality education to children and young people in deprived communities of The Gambia since 2001 and we are very proud to be a small part of the work they do.

The Lisa Kent Trust owns and manages two purpose-built schools in areas of educational demand and provides education to in excess of 600 children at any one time. They have developed a team of experienced Gambian teachers and support staff and supplement this with one or two volunteer trips per year such as ours to help with logistics.

We are working with a small group of students from all over the UK and also from The Gambia itself. Our trip, which is already paid for, will see us carrying out several activities such as volunteering in classrooms, supporting a school trip to the local monkey rescue centre, helping at a medical centre clinic during an antenatal clinic and assisting with small projects, such as sorting out the new resources for the school library and building a sandpit for the nursery class.

Our aim is to raise greater awareness of this charity and ultimately encourage as much support as possible. Every donation however big or small really makes a difference directly on the ground.

73% of the population in The Gambia live under the poverty line and by helping even a little bit we can make a difference. The impact this small charity has is immense in the area it operates. Not only do they support the children in their education but also work with local and national Gambian industries to provide and encourage employment experience and job opportunities as they leave. The schools themselves provide local employment opportunities not just

in education but also for local trades and suppliers. They try to buy locally to support the local economy wherever they can. Through the provision of education, the charity aims to develop individuals who can join the country’s economy to not only support themselves and their families but also the development of The Gambia, eventually taking away the country’s reliance on overseas aid.

The schools are embedded in their communities and we are very much looking forward to immersing ourselves in Gambian life. As there are so many children wanting to be educated, the schools run two school days in one, with the younger children coming for a 5-hour day in the morning and the older children coming in the afternoon. We are particularly looking forward to helping in the classrooms with the children’s learning of English and also helping organise sports and art activities for a variety of age groups.

The charity also provides opportunities for the community to develop as a whole and they provide community education as well, for example, they have provided first aid and sexual health workshops. They have recently been encouraging families to move away from wood fires for cooking to using safer stoves. Not only do these reduce the risk of burns but also they mean cleaner air in their homes. We are very much looking forward to seeing this initiative in action and experiencing some traditional Gambian cooking.

In addition, many of the children are sponsored or supported through a scholarship scheme by generous donors from the UK and overseas. The charity has a YouTube video which is well worth a view, to explain more about the opportunities it provides. You can view it at

We are asking the lovely people of Sherborne to help us support this charity. If you would like to, you can do so by donating online at All donations will go directly to the charity.

For more information on the Lisa Kent Trust visit | 37


Skool Beanz CIC is a gardening club for children run by myself and a small team of volunteers in Chilthorne Domer near Yeovil. It started as an after-school gardening club at the primary school in June 2019 after I was inspired by Greta Thunberg and her Fridays for Future school strikes with young people around the world standing up for our planet. The club was so popular, I dreamed of creating a no-dig garden specifically for children where they can learn to grow food and flowers and how to garden to help nature with plenty of art thrown in and, above all, fun.

An allotment in the village became available and then the Covid pandemic started, providing the perfect opportunity to use the lockdowns to get to

work. Different areas were designed including a huge dahlia bed, veg patches, fruit trees, a worktable area, a rainwater collecting station, ‘Muddy Buddy’ compost bays (named by a 6-year-old Skool Bean) and a quiet wildlife garden with a tiny pond.

Saturday gardening club at the allotment started in April 2021, for 2 hours every week until Christmas, moving to the village hall when it got too cold and continued in 2022 from March through to Christmas. I also teach gardening at the school – using the allotment – on Fridays. Last year the Skool Beanz allotment expanded joining the plot next door. A secret den was added, more veg beds, some community-raised beds and a brand new polytunnel kindly gifted by no-dig market

38 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Lara Honnor

gardener Charles Dowding who I used to work for. This year I hope to host more weekday sessions and holiday clubs throughout Easter and the summer. With 1 in 6 children suffering from poor mental health and the UK being one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, children and nature need each other more than ever. It has been a joy to see the garden brimming with life over the past two years. Watching the children become confident gardeners picking buckets of dahlias, planting garlic, mulching beds with homemade compost, holding an elephant hawk moth, climbing the tree in the secret den and devouring handfuls of raspberries are life-affirming moments. It’s about creating happy memories and learning

skills that they can pass on to their own children and grandchildren. There is something magical about nurturing a tiny seed and seeing it grow into food that will keep you alive or a flower that provides nectar for a bee. Nature is the answer to everything.

If you have a child aged 6-13 who is interested in gardening and you would like more information about Skool Beanz, please contact Lara on skoolbeanzcic@gmail. com or find them on Instagram and Facebook @skoolbeanz

The Skool Beanz allotment will be open to the public for the National Garden Scheme open days on Saturday 15th April and Saturday 12th August 2023. | 39


Ilove my school. As Boarding Master at Sherborne Prep it’s an easy thing for me to say as my school is also my home. My wife and children live here. I belong.

My aim has always been to engender this same feeling within the children – a sense of home, a sense of belonging. Not always easy as children are notoriously difficult to please (apologies to those children reading this!) and they are – shock horror – all different! How can we provide for each of them an environment that caters to their individual needs and allows them all to feel like they belong? Ultimately, why would we want to do this? It’s school - it’s where children go to learn -

surely that shouldn’t be fun?!

Quite simply, a child who feels like they belong is one who is motivated to learn, grow and explore. And this is what school is about. Children should feel safe and comfortable and they should be understood in their environment and among their peers. They should feel accepted for who they are and indeed for whom they want to be.

Maslow highlighted this as far back as 1943 when he suggested that for an individual to be able to self-actualise (big term for the self-motivation of an individual to reach their full potential), each one of the prior needs must be met. Not surprisingly one of

40 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

the needs is love/belonging. It has become a buzzword recently, and rightly so, and yet it can be so intangiblehow do we know that we belong?

If you have a chance to step into a Pre-Prep classroom, the junior form rooms, or the boarding house, you will find areas that are brimming with love. Teachers know that students’ work on walls makes them feel valued and proud of what they have achieved, that a cosy nook where they can curl up and read a book provides a safe space and that drop-in prep sessions relieve anxiety and engender independence. The Art and Music rooms allow them to explore and create - for the joy of it. Sports and PE focus on being part of a team. Lessons provide academic rigour and challenge. Break time allows for friendships to grow and an exploration of identity. The table football and pool table in the games room provide a focus for a friendly contest. Saturday activities provide a smorgasbord of variety. Surely there

is something for everyone?

But belonging is not just about the space one occupies and feels comfortable in, it is about the support given to an individual to find their own identity when they don’t feel that they belong. Supportive staff and student listeners who take the time to help a child that feels out of place. This in itself is a huge part of belonging - a sense of community, where everyone knows each other.

We are well versed in guiding children to try new things and providing opportunities for a variety of experiences so a child can begin to travel from ‘Who am I?’ to ‘Who I am.’ Children are naturally inquisitive – they are voracious devourers of information, fads and trends. They are chameleons because they don’t yet know who they are. We are helping them find where they belong. | 41
Image: Katharine Davies


Louise Troup, Assistant Head, Pupil Aspiration and Wellbeing, Sherborne Girls

Across the country, we are seeing a decline in teen mental health, with 18% of those aged 7-16 suffering a mental health disorder in the last NHS survey. This rises to 22% of those aged 17-24. The impact of smartphones on teenage mental health, compounded by the lockdowns, is still being measured. But as educators, we already know that it is enormous

and largely negative.

At Sherborne Girls, we take teen mental health very seriously and always have. We are also conscious of the need to innovate and so this year we have introduced a raft of initiatives to respond to the pressures on our girls and to improve their wellbeing. The creation of my position, Assistant Head, Pupil Aspiration and

42 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

Wellbeing, is an exciting and meaningful evolution. Working alongside Jessica Briggs, our Deputy Head Pastoral, and a fantastic pupil leadership team, we are putting wellbeing at the heart of everything we do. Our three Upper Sixth Wellbeing Prefects now have a team of twelve Lower Sixth ambassadors across the School, working in-house to help the girls manage their own wellbeing better - giving them a real sense of control over their own lives.

We have been radical with our mobile phone policy too. This year we introduced two phone-free days every week. This has dramatically reduced screen time and facilitated better and more positive relationships between the girls. The return to reading for pleasure amongst the Lower Fifth, initiated by the English Department, has been a joy to behold.

But we felt we could go even further. With the full support of our Head, Dr Ruth Sullivan, we decided to do something truly radical, and in a sense, counter-intuitive for a school, in suspending traditional education for a whole day to accommodate Press Pause Day.

We wanted to see what creating a truly genuine space in our working lives and, sharing it with the whole Sherborne Girls community, could do for the girls and staff. We wanted to see how the girls would respond to a screen-free - and lesson-free day – and just ‘being’ together.

So, how did Press Pause Day look? Well, that depended on everyone’s choices. Pupils and staff were given the opportunity to design their own perfect day, made up of six different sessions. We based our ideas on three core concepts: creativity, physical activity and mental wellbeing. On offer was a range of activities, from art and craft workshops, gardening classes, wellbeing and mindfulness talks, group singing, cookery (or just ‘tea and cake’ sessions), quiet reading, colouring and yoga, to dance and fitness classes, five- and tenkilometre runs, golf, or whole day walks for those who love exercise and the outdoors. Girls and staff also enjoyed a brilliant ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ stand-up comedy show and were invited to a Mamma Mia Sing-a-Long.

The day started with a much-anticipated lie-in, followed by a delicious, healthy breakfast specially chosen by our Food and Wellbeing Prefects. Our student Wellbeing Team was instrumental in helping to design and deliver the day and designed beautiful Press Pause Day spaces in the houses where the girls could snuggle up and wind down together. House staff chose a special lunch for the girls and, of course, helped to make

the day happen by taking turns to stay at the helm.

We sought in-depth feedback from across the staff and pupil body, and their comments exceeded our expectations. Staff and pupils were fulsome in their praise.

So, what did we learn?

We learned that working together in groups on creative activities creates a genuine sense of wellbeing and personal achievement. Just ‘doing’ something together facilitates relaxed conversation and helps us to get to know each other.

We learned that mixing ages and abilities and creating a non-competitive environment helped the whole community experiment and laugh together. We were all novices together – be it learning to gospel sing or plant bulbs!

We learned that we all need to be given the space to stop and think about our mental health.

We learned to be grateful for what we have.

Press Pause Day was just that – a day for the whole Sherborne Girls community to stop, relax, unwind, laugh, and reflect together. I think that it has set a new benchmark for us in Wellbeing and reminded us all of the importance of making a space for creativity and ‘real’ conversation within our community.

Let us hope we can ‘Press Pause’ every year. | 43
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The Careers Team at Sherborne School is devoted to helping each boy find the best pathway for him as an individual. There are an infinite number of possibilities: university in the UK; university overseas; an apprenticeship; a degree apprenticeship; traditional training in the arts; more contemporary training in the arts; employment; selfemployment; gap year etc. We want the boys to be informed about what is out there, and also to be filled with the self-belief and confidence to know that with hard work and ambition they could access the very best pathways in the world.

We are fortunate to have a skilled, informed and dedicated team of five colleagues in the Careers Team and a wider team of supportive tutors working together to care for the boys and their families. We have staff focused on the following areas: UK university applications; global university applications; specialised university applications (Oxbridge/ Medicine/ Veterinary Medicine/ Dentistry/ Law); apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships and careers. This breadth allows us to provide bespoke guidance and coaching towards finding and achieving the very best pathways for each pupil.

When discussing pathways with pupils, we stress the importance of accepting this golden rule: They may not have yet heard of the best pathway for them. Similarly, when talking with parents, we want them to be open to the idea that they may not have yet heard of the best pathway for their son. Most of our UK-based pupils and parents will be aware of a number of UK universities. Most of these will probably be part of the Russell Group, and all are very good in their own way. However, it is important for pupils and parents to be aware that there are around 6000 university institutions in the UK – including many that are outstanding, with very high student satisfaction scores, that are not part of the Russell Group, and thousands more overseas. It is well worth making time to do the research and find out what is out there, even if this means dipping one’s toes into unfamiliar territory and stepping onto roads less travelled.

We want to give all of our pupils time to think long and hard, not just about what they might want to do after school, but also, very importantly, where they might want to do it. For example, if their home

address is in Dorset and they want their university to be no more than two hours away from home, it makes no sense to be looking at universities in Scotland. Similarly, if they want to be in a vibrant, multi-cultural city with banging nightclubs, it makes no sense to be applying to study at small university towns. In addition, we want the pupils to think about the geography of their pathway environment and how these factors might really enhance their wellbeing: if they really love surfing, why not apply to coastal institutions which will allow them to enjoy surfing, and be part of a surfing community, throughout the year? With this bespoke tailoring in mind, we very much encourage pupils and families to make time to visit potential destination locations. Choosing where to live/ study/work is an important heart and head decision. It costs a lot of money to study at university/art school etc. so it is well worth putting in the hours to make an informed and deliberated decision.

In the past, conversations regarding pathways often did not take place with pupils until their very last year of school. Now, we want our youngest boys to think about a pathway that excites them from their first year here. This is not to create undue anxiety or pressure, but rather to help the boys find their own self-awareness, self-belief, and place in the world. By helping the boys become more informed about the many potential pathways out there - and giving them time and space to talk through their interests and passions with the Tutor and Housemaster - we can help each and every pupil find a sense of purpose and a pathway which motivates them. Finding this sense of purpose can have a transcendental impact on the boys’ enjoyment of school.

We believe that this individually-centred approach enables our staff team to be responsive to what excites and fires the irresolute clay of our pupils. In addition, this skilled guidance empowers our boys to find out interesting and eclectic routes towards exciting destinations. This level of support makes all the difference with regard to pupils accessing the very best pathways, which then, in turn, enables them to make the very best positive contributions to the world. | 47



If you’re struggling to get extra veg or nutrients into your family meals, give these a go. Broccoli and sweet potato are full of lovely vitamins but made into balls the kids love to serve them creatively like popcorn for snacks. Baking them is obviously healthier but we sometimes shallow fry them if we want to treat ourselves.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30–40 minutes

Makes: 12–16


1 medium sweet potato (350g)

1 head of broccoli (350g)

a handful of cornflakes (40g)

1 clove of garlic

a handful of pistachio nuts (40g)

3–4 handfuls of breadcrumbs

olive oil, for greasing

1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme

1 egg

4 heaped tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (40g)

salt and pepper, to taste


1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

2 Peel and dice the sweet potato and cut the broccoli into florets.

3 Place in a steamer along with the peeled clove of garlic.

4 Steam the veg for 10–15 minutes, until soft, then leave to one side.

5 Blitz together the cornflakes and pistachio nuts using a blender and pot attachment and put aside into a small bowl.

6 Blitz together the breadcrumbs, broccoli, garlic, thyme, sweet potato, egg and Parmesan.

7 Remove a portion for the baby then season the rest with salt and pepper. Grease a baking tray with a little olive oil.

8 Roll into small balls and coat in the cornflake/ pistachio mix, then place on the prepared tray and drizzle with a little olive oil.

9 Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown, turning after 15 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Tips: For a change, substitute the broccoli with 2 handfuls of frozen peas or spinach. Use an ice cream scoop to measure out the balls onto the baking tray. Stick toothpicks into the unseasoned balls to distinguish the baby’s from the others.



Baby at the Table: A 3-Step Guide to Weaning the Italian Way (Michael Joseph) £16.99. Sherborne Times reader offer price of £14.99 from Winstone’s Books

Simply Italian: Cooking at Home with the Chiappa Sisters (Michael Joseph) £22 (hardcover). Sherborne Times reader offer price of £20 from Winstone’s Books

Family 48 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

Tel: 01963 23219

Fax: 01963 23053


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The Joinery
Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5HS


Scuba divers and television crews often travel to exotic locations to see, photograph and film marine wildlife. For that reason, Dorset residents may be more familiar with sea creatures that live on tropical coral reefs than they are with the animals swimming right here on our coastal doorstep. Yet surprises are in store for anyone who thinks UK marine life is dull. Here are just a few of the colourful marine fauna that call Dorset home.

Anemone shrimp, Periclimenes sagittifer

Mostly hidden within the serpentine tentacles of the snakelocks anemone lives the striking anemone shrimp with its vibrant blue bands and pink chevrons. This small shrimp, measuring a mere 30mm in length, was first recorded on mainland Britain at Swanage in 2007 and has since become a familiar resident in Dorset’s shallow coastal waters. Warming seas have enabled it to extend its range northwards across The Channel.

Nudibranch, Edmundsella pedata

Nudibranchs are a group of sea slugs that use colour for either camouflage or to warn off predators. They often sport vivid shades, like Edmundsella pedata, in its bright purple garb. Other nudibranchs might be orange, yellow, blue or a combination of colours. Despite its exotic appearance, Edmundsella can be difficult to spot because of its tiny size. Look for it beneath rocks on seashores, although you may need a magnifier to find it!

Devonshire cup coral, Caryophyllia smithii

Did you know we have corals in Dorset? Solitary cup corals belong to the same family as tropical reef-building corals, producing a hard, stony cup in which the soft animal lives. The Devonshire >

Science & Nature
50 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Ross coral Image: Peter Tinsley Anemone shrimp Images this page: J. Hatcher | 51
Devonshire cup coral

cup coral is not restricted to Devon and is often seen by scuba divers in Dorset waters, appearing like little jewels attached to seabed rocks and shipwrecks. The anemone-like animal occurs in a variety of colours from orange to yellow and lime green, each transparent tentacle having a small white blob on the end. When not feeding, it can retract inside its calcified cup.

Ross coral, Pentapora foliacea

The ross coral gets its misleading name because it looks like a hard, domed coral found on tropical reefs. However it is not related to corals and is, in fact, a type of colonial bryozoan, sometimes called the potato crisp bryozoan. These slow-growing colonies make an impressive display on tide-swept seabeds in the slightly deeper water accessible to scuba divers. Bright orange in colour, hard in structure and with a wavy, sculptured appearance, these animals are very vulnerable to damage.

• Warming global temperatures are affecting the distribution of many animal species with some more southerly species, like the anemone shrimp, extending northwards.

• Slow-growing colonial animals like the ross coral are vulnerable to damage by heavy fishing gear, cables/pipelines and structures built on the seabed.

• The Wildlife Trusts are calling for at least 30% of our land and sea to be connected and protected for nature’s recovery by 2030.

Science & Nature
52 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Image: J. Hatcher

Respecting the past, embracing the future

In the 231 years since we were established, The Abbey Pharmacy has seen many changes in our society. We continue to evolve and are now, more than ever, committed to meeting the changing needs of our customers.

Our vision for the transformation of The Abbey Pharmacy invests not only in the health of our community but also our high street – we need your support in making this a reality.

To find out more about our exciting plans and to register your support, please visit

Established 1790


Early Thorn Selenia dentaria

Flying now from February to May in the first of its two main flight seasons, the Early Thorn moth is often attracted to street lights or lit windows.

On the wing again from July to September, wing colour varies considerably in these second-generation smaller individuals, with subtle tones of orange and grey rather than the rich russet shades of the male and leaden grey of the female as seen in springtime.

Recorders are familiar with the several species of ‘thorn’ moths all of which have an unusual resting wing position. In particular, the Early Thorn rests with wings held upright and together and so could therefore easily be mistaken for a butterfly if seen during daylight hours or when feeding.

Resident and common throughout many areas of the UK, it may be encountered anywhere in its diverse habitat which includes gardens, woodland, parks, unmanaged wild places and urban areas alike.

The larvae exhibit remarkable camouflage; shades of dull brown

combined with a notched outline closely resembling twigs make them almost impossible to distinguish from the plants chosen for their daytime resting pose, motionless and cleverly angled away from small branches or stems.

First-generation larvae hatch from May to June, the second from August to October feeding on a wide range of trees and woody hedgerow species such as blackthorn, hawthorn, birches, sallow, alder, honeysuckles, hazel, sweet chestnut and bog-myrtle. Offspring of this second-generation once fully grown seek the cover of fallen leaves to form a pupa from which firstgeneration adult moths emerge the following late spring.

The Early Thorn appears to be successfully increasing in number throughout the UK and here in the southern counties.

Science & Nature
54 | Sherborne Times | February 2023


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The first signs of spring are in the air and February is a time to look forward to planning trips in the warmer months ahead.

I am often asked for ideas of places to explore nature. We are very lucky that we live in such an interesting area with a mixture of different habitats nearby. I will try to give some ideas of places to visit that are less than an hour away from Sherborne.

Chalk Downland: This is one of our most precious places, particularly if you are interested to see wildflowers and butterflies. Many species of orchid, such as fragrant, common spotted, bee, butterfly and frog can be found, along with cowslips, wild thyme, autumn gentian and small scabious. Marbled white, small heath, common blue, as well as rare species such as the marsh and duke of Burgundy fritillary and grizzled skipper butterflies, can be seen. Skylark, meadow pipit, red kite and buzzard may be observed. Unfortunately, much of the downland has been ploughed up, but there are some wonderful places such as on the steep slopes around the Cerne Giant as well as Fontmell Down (National Trust) near Shaftesbury and Hambledon Hill (NT) near Blandford Forum are particularly worth visiting.

Hay Meadows: Traditional hay meadows are a beautiful sight, studded with flowers such as ox-eye daisy, field scabious, wild carrot, common spotted orchid, birds foot trefoil, sneezewort and common vetch. They buzz with bees and other insects and swallows and swifts hunt overhead. Over 97% of these fields have sadly been lost since the war, but there are some still remaining on the Golden Cap estate (NT) near Charmouth at Hilfield Priory near Minterne and at the Plantlife Nature Reserve at Ryewater, near Halstock. Perhaps the star of them all is Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Kingcombe nature reserve near Powerstock.

Woodland: We are not especially well endowed with woodland in this area and unfortunately many of our local woods have big ‘Keep Out’ signs on them.

In the spring, bluebells are in full bloom and there are primroses, early purple orchid, bugle, pendulous sedge and campion on rides. Chiffchaff, song thrush, whitethroat, coal tits, long-tailed tits, tawny owls and woodcock can be seen, while silver-washed fritillary and gatekeeper butterflies are attracted to bramble. The Woodland Trust’s Duncliffe Wood near East Stour is a great place to visit, as is High Wood and Pamphill at Kingston Lacy (NT) or the Dorset Wildlife Trust’s, Brackets Coppice near Halstock. For coniferous forests, try Puddletown Woods (Forestry Commission) or around King Alfred’s Tower at Stourhead (NT).

Wetland: Wetlands often have extensive areas of reeds, waving in the wind and may have large areas of open water and rhynes or drainage channels. Birds such as the reed warbler and reed bunting, little and great white egret and even marsh harrier and bittern can be seen. In the winter, amazing murmurations

Science & Nature
Bittern stalking for prey in reeds
56 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

of starlings are almost akin to a black Northern lights as they move through the sky at dusk. If you are lucky, you may even come across cranes, which have been released and are now thriving in some areas. Ragged robin, brooklime, reedmace, sedges, marsh marigold, sphagnum moss and water lily may be seen and dragonflies are in abundance. For some of the best wetlands, it is best to cross the border into Somerset, where the Somerset Levels are particularly important as are places such as the RSPB and Natural England reserves at Ham Walls, Grey Lake and various sites around Glastonbury and Muchelney. Radipole Lake (RSPB) at Weymouth is also well worth a visit –remember your binoculars.

Heathland: Reading Thomas Hardy novels, many are set within the extensive areas of heathland that once covered eastern Dorset. Unfortunately, many of these have been lost to plantations and agriculture, but there

are still some beautiful examples. Bell heather, common ling, western gorse, tormentil, broom and wood sage are key species and you may be lucky to see some of the reptiles that inhabit heath, such as adder, slow worm, common lizard or even sand lizard and smooth snake. The Dartford warbler is emblematic of heath and birds such as the cuckoo, nightjar and woodlark can occasionally be seen or heard. Late summer is a great time to visit when there is a purple haze of heather, dotted with golden gorse. Head for the Purbeck heaths near Corfe Castle (NT), Winfrith Heath near Wool (DWT) or Holt Heath near Wimborne (NT) for some particularly good examples.

These are just a few short examples of places to visit and things to see but I hope this gives you some inspiration. However, you do not need to travel far to see wildlife as we have some great things to see within walking distance. Happy exploring!

Jamie Hall/iStock | 57


Recently I took a few days away in Dorset on a solo writing retreat. I knew that if I was ever going to finish my two current books, I needed to get away and focus! The time was fabulous, and of course not long enough.

I was staying in a cottage on a small farm near Plush. I had a large table looking out into the garden with the sunshine streaming in for most of the day.

I connected with nature, hugged trees, meditated, slept, wrote, wrote some more, made soup, watched birds, and grounded myself under the stars barefoot on the frozen grass. I also watched the Julie Christie version of Far from the Madding Crowd, one of my favourite books and films. It still makes me cry!

When we give ourselves peace, it enables us to hear what our bodies are telling us. I was writing chapters for my book Creating a Buzz about Health.

Finally, I am sharing what I did to recover my health. With over six years of good health, I am able to

look back at my poorly years with new insights, and less pain and fear. There has been a lot of pressure to remain well, not fall ill again, – the fear that my health was temporary. To truly value myself and understand the responsibility of self-worth.

Working with the bees and honey, and studying herbs, I have learnt more about why I was ill, and why what I did helped, even if sometimes treatments didn’t feel like they made a difference.

I am also sharing what I do on a daily basis to remain healthy. Regular retreats are a part of that.

I am writing it in the only way I know how, snippets of stories, sharing my thoughts, feelings and experiences in bite-sized chapters, like ‘Artist to Bees’.

I want to create a book that can be dipped into, or read from start to finish. I love books that you can randomly open and what you read is exactly what you need to understand at that time. Some of my experiences are painful to write about, yet sharing them is healing,

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58 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

and could help the reader who has similar traumas.

Since my birthday in November, I have also been on a self-development journey regarding my own selfworth. I didn’t realise that I wasn’t valuing myself – I still wasn’t paying myself for all the hours worked. Shining light, or even looking through a magnifying glass, at myself has opened up a can of worms, showing that even when we think that we are well and happy, there’s always another layer to unpeel and heal ourselves. I have often told clients, friends and colleagues that we cannot be valued by others until we value ourselves, and yet there I was not valuing myself! Perhaps Bathsheba Everdene is a character I admired because of her appearance of self-worth, yet her experiences showed that even she accepted less than she was worth, and of course, her hiving a swarm has been a subliminal message to me regarding my own connection with bees.

With this new self-awareness, I haven’t suddenly taken lots out of my business to pay myself and go on a spending spree! I have thought more carefully about my current and future plans – instead of leaping to invest in my business, I have considered going slightly slower and enjoying the ride a little more deeply.

The retreat was part of that. How indulgent to be alone, not working, during a working week. How indulgent to cook what I wanted to eat, to read in the daytime, to watch my favourite film. To lay in the woods on a Friday afternoon feeling the sunshine on my face whilst the ground was frozen around me. To watch and smell a fox, wander around a churchyard, and feel a bee on my favourite woollen socks that needed darning!

This was an important time to have this rest and contemplation. I also decided that my word for 2023 is ‘joy’. I am challenging myself to include more joy in my life and work.

Valuing ourselves doesn’t have to be about money. I

have been reminded about why I work and what is my business creating a buzz about health all about anyway? Why am I so passionate about saving bees, improving humanity’s general health and connection with nature? Why bother with such a mammoth mission? I also wondered why do I value myself so little, or even feel guilty about treating myself with money or, more importantly, time?

This morning, as I sat down to write this, I heard that I’d passed an exam. It was Module 2 of the BBKA beekeeping course. The subject was honey and products from the hive. With my work, experience and all the revision with a study group, many expected me to pass with flying colours. I even myself had moments of wondering if I could attain a grade of distinction! I have an uncomfortable history of exams, failing most of them aged 16 when at Lord Digby’s Grammar School in Sherborne in the 1980s. I was devastated and shocked by my catastrophic failures and it resulted in my having to leave school and take a further education path I wasn’t expecting. It certainly made life harder with my art career, although I wonder if the feeling I was ‘behind’ in some way motivated me to work harder and try even more to prove that I wasn’t stupid. The shame of not being academic carried right through to even now, and the memories of the horror of exams are hard to contain. I have been taking Herbal Medicine exams which have certainly helped, yet my results in exams never truly reflect what I write in assignments or even remember from what I am learning. So many are judged by markers that are not reflective of our real gifts and talents. A real measure of success for me by this time next year is to have found a way of combining joy with exams, perhaps then I can truly value myself and my achievements!

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Yes, I know. The well-known phrase should be ‘jumping’ for joy, but I tore my Achilles tendon during the October half-term. As a result of my injury, jumping, running, or even walking have been beyond me for about eight weeks. Tomorrow, I’m due to get out of the ‘boot’ I’ve been wearing for the last eight weeks. It’s been a miracle worker that has allowed me some degree of mobility while my surgically rejoined tendon has been healing. But now that the end is in sight, I’m looking forward to simple pleasures like wearing ordinary shoes!

More than that though, I’m looking forward to being able to go on walks again. I’m done with crosscountry running - I think I need to accept that I’m too old and to carry on risks further damage to my ageing frame. But getting out into the countryside, breathing the fresh air, feeling at one with nature - that’s what I’m looking forward to now.

So where to first? Well, the five-kilometre loop that travels from Bradford Abbas to Thornford and back seems like the obvious place to start. The loop begins very close to home and provides some fantastic views over the beautiful countryside we’re lucky enough to live in. Later in the year, I look forward to hearing the mewing cry of the buzzards and the warbling of the skylarks as a sonic backdrop to the walk.

But I look forward to being able to travel further afield too and once I’m fully recovered, I’d love another trip to my favourite part of Dorset – The Isle of Purbeck. There are just so many fantastic places in this small corner of our country and it’s so worth an explore. Take Studland beach, with its three miles of golden sand, its dunes and its heath, which is one of the few areas of the British Isles where all six of our native reptiles can be found. Or the geological drama of Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, which serve not only as a magnet for tourists, but also as a live lesson for geography students.

If, like me, you prefer to get away from the crowds, you could opt to walk along the chalk ridge of Nine

Barrow Down, which runs between Swanage and Corfe Castle. This part of the Purbeck Hills gets its name from the nine Bronze Age burial mounds that lie along the ridge as monuments to people long since gone, but not entirely forgotten. If you don’t want to walk back afterwards, you can always take the steam train!

Corfe Castle itself has over 900 years of history. Edward, King of Wessex, (also known as Edward the Martyr) was murdered there in 978AD, before the castle even existed. During the Civil War, Dame Mary Bankes bravely defended her home against attacking Parliamentarian armies.

Once it was captured, which was only possible thanks to a traitor in Dame Mary’s ranks, Parliament deemed it too dangerous a fortress to be allowed to remain and possibly fall back into the

Science & Nature
60 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Andrew Roland/Shutterstock

hands of the King. So the order was passed for the destruction of the castle and the result is the romantic ruin that we see today.

Or you could head down to the sea from Worth Matravers and you’ll find the abandoned quarry caves at Winspit, which were used as locations for several science fiction series, including Doctor Who, Blake’s Seven and most recently Andor. It’s a mysterious place –a memorial to the quarrymen who carved the limestone from the cliffs and craned it down to boats that waited below the cliffs, but also the haunt of smugglers.

On days when the Lulworth Range Walks are open, a visit to the ‘lost village’ of Tyneham is well worth it. Tyneham was requisitioned by the army in December 1943 and the villagers were never allowed to return, even after the war had ended. Their houses still stand, in various states of disrepair and there are displays in the

restored school and church. It has an atmosphere all of its own, whilst the spectacular Worbarrow Bay is only about a mile’s walk away. Above Worbarrow Bay, there’s Flower’s Barrow, the remains of an Iron Age hillfort. The area around Flower’s Barrow is said to be haunted by a ghostly Roman army. The ghosts were first sighted in 1678 by a local squire, his brother and four workmen. Whilst I’ve never seen the ghosts, you can easily pick out the remains of the ramparts, although a lot of the fort has long since disappeared due to cliff falls. There’s just so much to see, if not quite on our doorstep, then certainly close by. Whilst I don’t think I’ll be doing any more running, I’m looking forward to getting back to walking in our wonderful county again. I hope I’ve given you a bit of inspiration too. | 61
Coastal path towards Durdle Door


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On Foot 64 | Sherborne Times | February 2023


Distance: 3 1/4 miles

Time: Approx. 2 hours

Park: Lambert’s Castle car park

Walk Features: Dorset is blessed with many fine hill forts and this walk links two of them with a relatively easy route starting at Lambert’s Castle and exploring the interior, ditches and ramparts before heading over to nearby Coney’s Castle to do the same. There are a few small climbs around the hill forts but nothing too strenuous. With fine views across the Marshwood Vale, the forts are fascinating places with different twists and turns as well as a wide variety of wildlife. It’s a wonderful walk in spring when bluebells and wild garlic are out but also in autumn as the beech and oak trees turn.

Refreshments: The George Inn, Chideock > | 65

Each 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.

The hill forts of Dorset are well over 2,000 years old and their worn contours still endure, enabling you to imagine what life would have been like for those who either inhabited or worked in them. Given the locations of Lambert’s and Coney’s Castles, the views from their ramparts are often rewarding, with the eastern slopes of Lambert’s facing across the Marshwood Vale towards Pilsdon Pen and Lewesdon Hill, and the western ramparts of Coney’s Castle presenting a more secluded view towards Devon and the quiet valley from Fishpond down to the coast. Lambert’s Castle is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with a special mix of geology, archaeology and ecology. Here you can find remains of a bowl barrow, as well as being the site of a post-medieval fair and a telegraph station. Ecology includes pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies, stonechats, skylarks and many wildflower species. The eldest son of French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro, Lucien

Pissarro, lived at Fishpond during the First World War and work from this time is held in the collections of the Tate Galleries.


Start: SY 366988

1 Park in the National Trust car park at Lambert’s Castle. Instead of entering the grassy plateau of the hill fort surrounds, start in the woods to the left of the main entrance to walk clockwise around the outer edges of Lambert’s Castle.

2 Walk through the woods, keeping the fence around Lambert’s Castle to your right. The ground falls away to your left; keep the higher ground through the woods alongside the fence and after 400 yards you come to a small gate. Go through this to take you along the outer edge of the fort’s ramparts. In the north east corner of the fort, cross inside the ramparts and then outside again to walk along the eastern edge of the fort, continuing through trees. In a short while, emerge from the trees and the path splits, going back into the fort. Stay outside the fort ramparts and as the trees clear, there is a lovely

66 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

section with open views across The Marshwood Vale. Walk along the eastern edge of the plateau with a tall, narrow hedge behind you as you head towards the small southern entrance to the Castle.

3 Descend slightly to go through the entrance onto the road and walk across a small junction onto Long Lane. Now head gradually uphill, under the pylons, towards Coney’s Castle. After 1/3 mile, you will reach the car park for Coney’s Castle.

4 Go to the rear of the car park and turn left down the ditch of the outer defences of the hill fort which takes you around the eastern half of the fort. Keep going, for approximately 400 yards until you reach a wooden stile at the southern end of the fort which leads out onto the road that bisects the fort. Bear right here (instead of going over the stile) to enter the grassy interior of the fort. Take time to explore this beautiful spot with some lovely solitary oaks and small groves. Work your way to the far left hand corner to reach another stile which takes you onto the road. Coney’s really does have a magical ‘lost’ feel about it. Some of the oaks growing in the outer ditches are dripping with lichen and ferns and

the display of bluebells in spring is stunning. There are some fine beech trees too, adding to the drama and structure of the scene; in autumn, the leaf colour is a patchwork of warmth and in spring, the freshness of the newly budded leaves against the sky is equally enchanting.

5 Cross the road to enter the western half of the fort, over a small bank. Turn left, keeping the trees and hedge on your left. Again, take time along here; it is worth wandering over to the western edge of the fort, which falls away steeply, and with good views towards east Devon. Walk down towards the southern edge of the fort until you come to an opening in the hedge, to go back out onto the road. Turn left onto the road and walk back towards the car park and stay on Long Lane to retrace your steps to the southern entrance of Lambert’s Castle.

6 Upon entering the fort, walk back up the path and then after 250 yards, bear left, following the higher ground through gorse, walking along the edge of the grassy plateau before heading slight right and diagonally across into the far corner and back to the car park at the start. | 67


The current outbreak of avian flu has reminded me of Dorset’s higglers, or rural pedlars, who often took part payment in eggs and poultry. The parish register of 1862 for the tiny village of West Milton, set amidst steep-sided valleys near Bridport, records the marriage of two of them, Hannah Guppy, aged 25, to Thomas Knight, two years her junior. Hannah used to sell her produce at Weymouth market, ‘starting her journey almost in the middle of the night’. Thomas Hardy described them as ‘an interesting and better-informed class than agricultural labourers.’ Traditionally they sold everything from saucepans to patent medicines. The most common in Victorian Dorset were those hawking the traditional earthenware pottery made around Verwood, particularly egg crocks and the Dorset Owl – a flask for taking cider or cold tea into the fields when working.

The Dovecote Press has been publishing books about Dorset since 1974, many of which are available locally from Winstone’s Books or directly from the publishers. This photograph is taken from Lost Dorset: The Villages & Countryside.

68 | Sherborne Times | February 2023


In the museum’s Roman exhibition case on the ground floor are two curious artefacts which are significant and fascinating not only in themselves but also for the way in which they have been interpreted historically. They are discs of shale, roughly 5 cm in diameter, one with two circular indents on one side and some shallow rectangular markings, and the other with a tapering base and a smaller raised disc on top with a single square indent. The tiny labels on each read ‘Kimmeridge coal money’, written in a cramped hand, and are integral to the objects’ story. They are, in fact, offcuts created as a result of the prehistoric shale industry but their origins were initially a great mystery.

The source for these waste cores is the narrow band of Upper Jurassic kerogen-rich shale (‘Blackstone’) on the Isle of Purbeck and notably the cliff-sections near Kimmeridge and Ringstead Bay. The ‘Burning Cliff’ was so-called after a landslip in 1826 triggered spontaneous oil-shale fires that smouldered for several years due to the high percentage of organic material which combusts easily when fractured. The making of highly polished artefacts, such as armlets or bracelets, from this material has been traced back as far as the Iron Age; the activity continued into the RomanoBritish period when the site was particularly exploited.

The antiquary John Hutchins, while documenting the history of Dorset, noted in March 1768 that round discs from this area were at the time used for fuel by the poor and known as ‘Kimmeridge coal’. In the early c19th, W.A. Miles called them ‘curious and non-descript’, concluding that they were Phoenician, to be used as money ‘not in the way of circulating currency but as representatives of coin and of some mystical use in sacrificial or sepulchral rites’; he further conjectured they might have been produced on a lathe. The Dorset poet, historian and folklorist William

Barnes was the first to suggest they were a by-product of the armlet industry, as similar discs had been found alongside such ornaments at a Roman cemetery at Fordington. During an archaeological lecture of 1844 John Sydenham reiterated their use as fuel by locals of ‘primitive character’ where ‘coal money’ was found ‘beneath the unbroken pastures of this romantic district’. Sydenham also referred to their association with partially made armlets which further confirmed a lathe was involved.

The lathe would have had rotating discs to turn the material and was worked by a foot treadle. Initially shale was cut into 20mm thick circles. Two circular indentations were chiselled into both faces of the disc. Pegs (chucks) were placed in the depressions, enabling the disc to be held securely. A V-shaped circular groove was cut into both sides using flint tools, and later iron, as the lathe turned. Two sizes were produced from the same disc. The central core was then removed.

A shale bracelet found at the Tinneys Lane excavation (see the Sherborne Times, March 2022) shows such luxury goods were imported to this area, alternatively that raw material was brought in for use on a local lathe. Both raw and worked material has been found at Glastonbury Lake Village, for example. Over 105 museums in Britain have shale products in their collections; many, however, are unable to pinpoint the provenance or even identify them. How Sherborne Museum came by these waste cores is also unknown and they may well have been acquired by a collector and passed on as curiosities.

Sherborne Museum is open for winter hours Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 10.30am –4.30pm during February and March. Admission is free, donations are welcome. | 69


Poverty has always aroused conflicting emotions. Compassion and concern on the one hand, and sadly, contempt and condemnation on the other. In mediaeval times care of the poor was undertaken by the church, and a portion of the Tithes was to be set aside for these unfortunates. Hospices were founded, and monastic houses would take in the sick and the destitute. When these foundations were dissolved during the Reformation, the responsibility fell on the parish. During Elizabethan times each parish would care for its sick and ‘aged poor’ with relief in cash or kind, whilst the ‘idle poor’ would be set to work - the origin of the poorhouse or workhouse.

Between 1735 and 1749, the Abbey Priory had served as the workhouse, and between 1750 and 1814 the old town map shows the ‘Parish Poorhouse’ on the site now occupied by The Digby Tap public house. So good people, do remember that fact the next time

you are in The Tap sipping your drink! This of course fascinated me, so I decided to explore poorhouses and workhouses in Dorset, and in particular Sherborne, Cerne Abbas and Sturminster Newton.

By the early nineteenth century, the population of Dorset had increased and everything to help with the poor came under enormous pressure and strain. The return of soldiers from the Napoleonic Wars, the Industrial Revolution and the Swing Riots, all led to a massive increase in the numbers of ‘the able-bodied’ poor, all draining the funds of the Parish Relief. In 1834 the new Poor Law Amendment Act was pushed quickly through Parliament in the hope that it would promote much more efficiency and a greater economy. This new law gave power to each parish to form ‘unions’ and to set up institutions known as ‘workhouses’. This was meant to reduce the amount of money given to the paupers (the very poor) by placing

Cindy Chant & John Drabik The 1938-39 demolition of Sherborne Union Workhouse on Horsecastles (the site of what is now Durrants Close).
70 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Image courtesy of Sherborne School Archives

them in the workhouse and to reduce the number of paupers applying for relief. The Victorian authorities viewed poverty as a result of laziness, drunkenness and vice. This mistaken belief, that the able-bodied poor were idle from choice, led to life in the workhouse being made so unpleasant that no one would want to work there. Often people were separated from their families and were fed so little that many were literally starving. It was a word that terrified and as I was growing up in the 1950s, I remember my parents and my grandparents, even then, treating the word ‘workhouse’ as one to be avoided, or at least spoken in hushed tones. It was only the introduction of state pensions in 1909, and subsequently, the introduction of National Insurance in 1911, that ended the working person from being forced by sickness or old age to enter the workhouse. But it was not until 1929 that the workhouse system was officially abolished. These prison-like buildings were a constant reminder to the people of Dorset of the harsh treatment for the failure to support oneself and one’s family.

So how was it for Victorian Sherborne? In 1837 the Union Workhouse was built to accommodate up to 240 people. It was erected on a site, to the west of the town, chosen by the Guardians because ‘It was conveniently placed and was open to the air and to the sunshine, and well supplied with water’. This large building was built from local Sherborne stone and was on the corner of Lower Acreman Street. The entrance block, which was on the Horsecastles side, had an imposing three-story entrance. But it was demolished in 1938, just before the outbreak of the Second World War. The Guardians Minutes from 1836 to 1930, can be viewed in the Dorset Record Office in Dorchester. Some photographic slides are held in the Sherborne School Archives (with permission from the School Archivist) showing the building just before and during its demolition in 1938. The site was levelled and put to use as a park for military vehicles, and later covered in Nissan huts to accommodate American troops. A local friend of mine has told me that her father remembers the Camp Mascot, a live black bear that was tethered by a chain to a tree. A small part of the original building does still remain and is now incorporated as the front portal of Westcott House, one of the boarding houses for Sherborne School. It stands opposite the site of the Union Workhouse in Horsecastles. After the war, in 1946, the site was redeveloped into a totally modern style of cottage community housing.

will be in the Sherborne area on Thursday 23rd February to value your objects & antiques
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SHEILA FELL, RA (1931-1979) HAYFIELD, BRAYTON ROAD, ASPATRIA Signed, oil on canvas BOUGHT FOR £35,625 | 71


As you would expect, items come into our salerooms in all shapes and sizes on our regular free valuation days. They arrive on foot, by bicycle, in vans and in the back of cars.

Perhaps the most memorable bit of packaging I’ve seen containing a lot was some twenty years ago. The owner walked into reception with a plastic carrier bag. It was a nice Harrods bag, and inside the bag was an old sock. In the sock was a pocket watch. The owner agreed to auction the pocket

72 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
The case of over 100 enamel motoring-related pins collected in the 1920s & 1930s £1,000-1,500

watch which went on to sell for a staggering £25,000, although quite whatever happened to the old sock and carrier bag I cannot remember!

The pocket watch was relatively straightforward – a single item of high value. Sometimes collections are brought in for valuation and sale and these can need more thought as to how best to lot and sell them.

Straight after the Christmas break, I was invited to Devon to look at a vast collection of stamps. It took several hours on the first visit to look through all the albums and the owner was kind enough to keep me topped up with coffee. It was quite a task and to give you some sort of idea of the quantity, there were over 100 Penny Blacks. Many of these will be sold individually and maybe some in twos so the collection will need to be carefully split – there are simply too many stamps and with them all being worth towards £30,000, the number of stamp collectors looking to buy such a large collection as a single lot is unlikely.

Recently though, a chap brought some automobilia over from near Bridport for some help and advice. It has been collected by his late father, mostly back in the 1920s and 1930s. There were several car brochures, black and white photographs of cars racing at Brooklands, and a collection of carrelated enamel pin badges – it was these that grabbed my attention.

Given away as marketing trinkets 90-100 years ago they are just the sort of items which were easily and readily thrown away, but his father kept them all. Over time, he amassed over 100 of these little pins and built a case to display them.

As the owner had decided to let someone new enjoy his late father’s automobilia, I discussed the best way to auction the enamel pins. Should they be sold in smaller sets or as one lot?

It might seem a relatively straightforward decision, but the pins were not collected at the same time, unlike a pair of candlesticks which would have spent all their life together. In addition, with so many motoring brands on offer would a Maserati collector also want a Mercedes-Benz pin?

However, on this occasion, and unlike the Devon stamp collection, I recommended the pins remain as a collection as they are presented as such a fabulous display.

Now entered into our April specialist auction of automobilia, they are estimated at £1,000. Hopefully the next owner will also keep the collection intact. | 73


Ireckon that gardens, like sock drawers, reflect their owners,’ says topiary guru Jake Hobson, nodding to a bag of compost in one of the raised beds where he grows Japanese veg. ‘Well, I’ve no problem with a messy garden. I’m not a nurturer or a cultivator – I’m a shaper. Big organic shapes and strong gestures are my things.’ Looking out across Jake’s masterfully designed Japanese garden it is clear what he means. Every shrub and tree (or niwaki to give ‘garden trees’ their Japanese name) has been trained, pruned and clipped to form a bold, architectural shape. From Phillyrea cloud trees and towering multi-trunked Japanese conifers to mounds of Buxus that have been clipped into soft, interlocking hills, this topiary is unlike anything you’d expect to see in a Dorset back garden. And it clearly requires patience. >

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76 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

Jake’s wave hedge, for example, has taken five years of gentle clipping and coaxing to grow from small transplanted parterre hedging into a horticultural take on Hokusai Katsushika’s Great Wave. ‘It took a year to properly take root, a couple of years to get the basic shape, starting as crenellations, and now it’s finally at a point where it looks as it should,’ says Jake. ‘The trick with clipping Buxus sempervirens is to work as quickly, smoothly and rhythmically as you can. You need to keep contact with the surface, just like when plastering a wall.’

It’s that same dedication that goes into encouraging a single branch of Pinus thunbergii (black pine) to grow along a bamboo pole. ‘There’s a big tradition in Japan of training a branch over a rock or waterfall or just a patch of gravel,’ explains Jake, who has a couple of these ethereal forms dotted around his garden. ‘When I first went to Japan, I really related to these random branches, some of which grow longer than the tree is tall.’

For those all-important quiet, contemplative moments, Jake has a shingle-clad shed at the bottom of the garden, where he can enjoy a morning coffee on the veranda. ‘When we moved here 11 years ago there were originally five sheds, but I saved the old windows from one and repurposed them. I’ve planted a Japanese pear next to it and it’s surrounded by messy hazels that make this area feel like a little woodland.’

From whatever angle you view the garden, there’s no question that it makes for a beguiling scene. ‘By repeating the same shapes at the front and back you create a sense that the garden is much bigger than it actually is – it condenses it, in the same way as when you see mountains from afar,’ explains Jake. ‘Japanese gardens are about

creating a sense of scale through plants – it’s that very Japanese idea that you wander through a landscape.’

A graduate of The Slade where he studied sculpture, Jake has led the way in Japanese topiary for more than 30 years, having first been introduced to it when he visited Japan on a travel award after his degree. ‘I had a return ticket for a month and my brief was to investigate the annual celebration of the cherry blossom season, hanami. The problem was that when I got to Osaka in March it was too early for the cherry blossom, so I travelled around the country visiting a lot of gardens and really got into them from a sculptural and a landscape point of view. I was fascinated by why their trees looked so different from ours.’

Once back in the UK, Jake started reading up on the history of Japanese gardening, and after doing a TEFL course and teaching English for nine months in London, where he met his future wife Keiko, the couple returned to Japan where Jake took up a position in a traditional tree nursery near Keiko’s family home in rural Osaka. ‘I was introduced to every aspect of Japanese gardening, so when we eventually moved back to England and I got a job at Architectural Plants in West Sussex, I was able to draw on that knowledge and hone my pruning skills on the nursery stock. I then approached Anna Mumford at Timber Press and went on to write two books on the subject, The Art of Creative Pruning and Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way, both of which are still popular worldwide today.’

And then came Niwaki – Jake’s Japanese garden tool brand that now sells to discerning gardeners across the world, as well as through its store in Marylebone, > | 77
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80 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

London and HQ showroom at Chaldicott Barns, just outside Shaftesbury. It was the obvious next step for a man who couldn’t be without his secateurs. ‘Everyone kept asking me, “Oh, they’re amazing, where can I get them?”, and I’d have to say, “You can’t – they’re from Japan.” After a couple of years, I thought, “Hang on, that’s a silly answer,” so I changed it to “I’ll get you some.”

With a catalogue packed full of beautifully forged tools, from Taira Ueki scissors and Tobisho shears, to the famously safe Niwaki tripod ladder, I wonder where on earth to start. ‘The tools of the trade are a pair of shears for the big stuff and a pair of hand clippers for the detailed stuff,’ he says. ‘But we have a huge range of tools, each one incredibly well made by Japanese makers with a long tradition of working with steel.

‘The Japanese approach is to work to a desired quality rather than a price. They’ll think – how can we make a pair of secateurs really well? And then –how much are they going to cost? That’s the basic fundamental shift – it’s what English manufacturing used to be. A lot of our blacksmiths started around the mid 20th century or earlier, and from there went into garden tools, kitchen knives or industrial tools. They are typically third-generation businesses with the owner’s

wife or daughter taking the orders over the phone and the grandmother packaging it all up.’

As with most things, the key to a tool’s prolonged lifespan is regular maintenance. ‘The old Japanese sushi chefs will have sliced fish every day for 50 years and their knives will be really narrow because they’ll have cleaned and sharpened them every night since they began,’ says Jake, showing me a ‘little magic trick’ of how he removes rust and grime from a pair of shears with water and a scouring block. ‘In the summer I’ll clean my shears every time I use them. It’s a little bit of a symbiotic relationship between me and my garden tools. They might be interchangeable, but you do kind of get to know each one. If you continue to keep them clean and cherish them, they’ll grow with you.’

With a little luck, the right tools and a lot of patience, you can be creating beautiful niwaki in a quiet corner of your own.

The Niwaki Showroom, 7 Chaldicott Barns, Semley SP7 9AW is open Monday - Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm. | 81

Preparing for a greener spring

Save water

You can reduce waste by collecting rainfall with water butts and soak up even more rainwater by improving the soil before sealing the moisture in with a layer of mulch on top.

Care for wildlife

Increasing the diversity of your planting will attract more wildlife, while water stations, nesting boxes and bug hotels will help look after any new visitors.

Improve the soil

By incorporating organic matter, the soil will have a better structure which improves drainage and creates a more fertile environment in which your plants can grow.

More composting

Compost bins are an ideal way to produce your own soil improver. Keeping the material in your own garden is also environmentally sound.

Crafting quality timber buildings and gates since 1912 Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7LH Tel: (01963) 440414 | Email: | @sparkfordtimber | Open Monday-Saturday 9.00am-6.00pm, Sunday 10.00am-4.30pm (tills open at 10.30am) Castle Gardens, New Road, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5NR @thegardensgroup
82 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

At Bill Butters Windows Ltd we offer total window, door and conservatory solutions. Based in Sherborne we design, manufacture, supply and install high quality aluminium and uPVC products using market leading suppliers to service both the retail and commercial sectors.

For more information visit our website or come down to the showroom.

Unit 1a > South Western Business Pk > Sherborne > Dorset > DT9 3PS T: 01935 816 168 > >


As I write, we have had much lower-thannormal pre-Christmas temperatures, extraordinary weather in the US, and now record-high temperatures in parts of Europe. The chill of December is probably good news for the garden (although slightly early), as plants become dormant and will then be able to withstand the ravages of the rest of winter.

Advantages of a period of cold include the benefits

for plants that need winter – blackcurrants for example, which will then set better fruit as a result. It may also mean that plant pests get nobbled, giving the garden a head start come the spring.

The challenge comes though when the weather warms suddenly. Some plants take that as a sign it is now spring, and early waking up followed by tough weather could cause problems.

With the amount of rain over the last few weeks

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and the very wet autumn surely has been enough to fill up the water levels in the ground, but over the Christmas period, we were walking in Yorkshire and noticed that the river Nidd is still dry in places. Where the river goes underground, that’s normally the case in the summer, but in the winter, it’s usually flowing at all points. Bizarrely though the reservoirs were overflowing, so it’s probably too much rain in too short a time and drainage working too quickly

meaning the water is not filling the underground spaces.

The variability of the weather patterns caused by the changing climate has had some unusual impacts, including the magnolias in our garden flowering twice each year in the last 3 seasons. Quite why this is happening I’m not clear but it may be that a cool period after a hot spell is the trigger. Also, a now regular occurrence seems to be a second, late summer flowering of wisteria.

Last summer there were problems with the germination of wallflowers sown as seed in the heatwave. Sensibly the seed won’t germinate as it’s too hot but that means there was a shortage of plants in the autumn. Lettuce too takes umbrage at high temperatures when sown as seed and, as plants, will bolt (go to seed) much faster too.

In the long-term some studies suggest that yields of crops such as onions may be reduced as they will bolt earlier in the summer, whereas carrots may thrive with higher CO2 levels, and potatoes may have the same yield but with more but smaller tubers. Some of these impacts we are already seeing (onions are having a tricky time) but with others it will take longer to see what the changes will be.

The odd weather has an impact on us at the garden centre too, with a scrabble before Christmas to dust down snow shovels, search out grit for icy paths, and find the sledges – much of which was in vain although the grit salt came in handy! We had a run on watering equipment in the summer and at the same time were watering double time, luckily mostly using the water we had saved over the winter.

I’m not sure where this leaves us, but it’s a trigger to do as much as possible to be sustainable in our gardening. My top three are (1) to conserve water as much as possible by collecting your own rainwater, using natural mulches to keep the moisture in and to keep adding compost to the soil to make it more fertile and better able to hold onto moisture. (2) to keep our own garden waste and to convert it into well-rotted compost that can be used as a soil improver mentioned above and (3) to consider using companion planting principles which will also help encourage wildlife in the garden.

With the soil in good shape, so too will plants be in good shape, and they will be much better able to deal with the variations of the weather. | 85
Image: Katharine Davies


Join us for lunch at Summer Lodge to enjoy the best that Dorset has to offer. Enjoy two or three courses from our ‘Doorstep’ menu highlighting the amazing ingredients available to us right on the doorstep! Two courses for £30 and three courses for £35. Served Wednesday to Saturday.

Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, 9 Fore Street, Evershot, Dorset DT2 0JR T: +44 (0)1935 482000 | E: | W:

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It features a restaurant, food market, butcher, bakery, cheese counter, bottle shop selling wine local cider, and beer, a gift shop with independent-label gifts and healthy food to go. A healthy kitchen will serve nourishing plates from across the region.

We can’t wait to welcome you, through our doors to sample the local produce and enjoy the orchard. If you fancy a trip out with a friend or an alternative to shopping in the supermarkets this is a great destination worth exploring.

CALL US 01963 361755


OPENING TIMES 8am-6pm 7 days a week

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This simple recipe utilises a stunning seaweed variety that is extremely high in minerals such as iron and calcium, and is traditionally used in Hawaiian cuisine. It has an incredible texture, like a noodle-shaped marsh samphire! It can be foraged on the Dorset coast and is abundant in certain locations. Especially delicious served with fresh fish or eggs!


500g red ‘ogo’ seaweed

30g fresh ginger, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

½ medium onion, finely sliced

70g white wine vinegar

50g soy sauce

1 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp toasted sesame oil

3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds


1 Wash the seaweed well under a cold tap to remove any debris.

2 Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the ogo for 10-15 seconds and until it has turned a purplishgreen. Drain and submerge in cold water.

3 Remove the ogo and gently combine with all the other ingredients and place in a jar or container. You may wish to add additional salt, depending on the salinity of your soy sauce. The seaweed will quickly return to a deeper red colour.

4 It can be served after just 3-4 hours but optimum flavour and texture are between 1-5 days. | 89


Of all the step changes in our everyday lives that have taken place over the past decade – social media, environmental awareness, working from home – to some, one of the highest impacts could be our daily cup of coffee. Begone dried instant, stirred thoughtlessly into a cup of boiling water! Coffee is an art form: from the selection of the bean, the type of process it has gone through, the roast, the grind, right through to the personalised making of each order: the balance and strength of the coffee, the type, temperature and texture of the milk. There are worldwide roasting and brewing competitions, new career pathways, and a whole new language alongside. Whilst the cost of it has gone dramatically up alongside, when you think of what goes into your flat white, you could, at the same time, see it as extraordinarily good value.

When Teals was in its planning, great coffee was a key part of our vision. Somewhere beautiful and open, with soaring architecture and wide, long views, that served excellent food, sold the best in local provisionsand, always, a darn good cup of coffee.

For that, we turned to Origin Coffee in Cornwall,

arguably the leading coffee roasters of the UK. It’s Origin’s beans that are brewed for every cup in the cafe and in the cheery yellow packets of our Teals house coffee on the shelves which the barista will grind by request to your preferred size. The company was founded in Cornwall in the early 2000s by Tom Sobey, who grew up in a family that ran a coffee franchise. Having been, as he describes it, ‘rubbish’ at school (he left with 1 GSCE), he took a job first driving his Dad’s coffee delivery van then moved into a sales role. He developed an interest in the scented beans – to be honest, he didn’t feel like he had many other options - but it was a year of travelling in Australia in the late 90s, which really gave him the bug. There, coffee culture was advanced: that’s where the flat white was invented, the difference between steamed milk and textured milk explored, the new art form perfected.

Whilst in Australia, Tom trained as a barista and returned with an idea and vision for the future of speciality coffee, deciding to set up Cornwall’s first Roastery. ‘I had a huge advantage at the time – I could make a really great cup of coffee. So when I turned up

Food and Drink
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Images: Neil White

at sales meetings, whether to Rick Stein or Watergate Bay, all I had to do was make them a coffee to nail the sale.’ Origin Coffee was born. He spent four years learning the ropes and building relationships, at first working with a private label roaster to produce the beans before he could afford his own roaster in 2008.

Origin has always been about both quality and ethics. A hugely important part of the business is its relationship with growers and farmers around the world. ’From the very start, we were Organic, Fair Trade and Forest Alliance certified, which was a real point of difference at the time.’ But the flaw in Fair Trade can be the quality. ‘We created our own direct trade model, started visiting farms, auditing them, looking at what happens to the wastewater, how the people who worked on the farm were looked after,’ he says. They created their own ethical standards for Direct Trade, considering the people who cultivated the coffee they sourced, environments in which it was grown, education and much more.

As well as multiple UK and World coffee competition accolades, the company also attained B-Corporation status in 2020. This certification is recognised as the highest standard of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, covering a wide array of factors from environmental impact to employee benefits. It’s

an achievement of which Tom’s deservedly proud, validating Origin for who they are and what they stand for. Placing a marker in the sand – not a finish line, but a starting point from which to keep progressing in the right direction and striving to do better.

Like so many things, the pandemic took homebrewing to a whole new level. Web orders quickly grew six-fold, and at the same time, they became market leaders in developing compostable capsules. Now, Origin’s coffee offering is split between the mainstay espresso beans that are the base of the milk coffees, and the speciality feature coffees which tend to be drunk long and black and have extremely different flavour profiles. Tom’s own choice at home, which he brews to Specialty Coffee Association standards: 60-80g of coffee per litre, with the filter machine set to 4 minutes. ’I like adventure and variety of it. We buy the beans in small lots and once they’re sold out, that’s it.’

Tom’s tip for home coffee brewing? Grind your own and then brew it immediately. ’You need to brew coffee within 15 minutes of grinding it – otherwise you lose 65% of the aroma,’ he says. ‘And what’s the point in that? The smell is half the pleasure.’ | 91


Val Stones


Food and Drink
92 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Image: Katharine Davies

Along, long time ago I was given this recipe by a school cook. It made huge quantities and she used a very economical recipe with lard and margarine. I loved the recipe because it was so quick and easy but I exchange the two fats for butter and like it even more.

Serves 12-16

Prep time 15 minutes, cooking time 30-40 minutes

What you will need

A stand mixer if you have one or a hand-held electric mixer

A traybake tin

An offset spatula or a fish slice


375g unsalted butter

200g caster sugar plus extra for scattering over the top of the shortcake

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

570g plain flour

10g baking powder

175g glacé cherries, halved


1 Preheat the oven to 160C fan assisted, 180C, 350F, gas mark 4.

2 Place the sugar, butter and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat on medium until all combined but don’t over-beat.

3 Sift the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture and then, before folding in the flour, add the cherries so they get coated in a little of the flour.

4 Fold in the flour until fully combined.

5 The mixture is quite a firm dough and will need dropping into the baking tin. With an offset spatula/ fish slice push the mixture into the corners and level off so it will bake evenly, press down firmly so the finished bake will be firm and not too crumbly.

Tip - if the mixture sticks to the spatula, change to a fish slice dampened with a little water and continue until the shortcake is level and pressed down.

6 Place in the oven on the middle-to-bottom shelf and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check to see if the shortcake is ready after 30 minutes – it should be turning golden around the edges but still pale in the middle and slightly firm to touch. Give it 5 more minutes and keep doing this until it is ready to come out of the oven. Scatter caster sugar over the shortcake, then place on a cooling rack where it will continue to firm up as it cools. Allow the bake to become completely cold before cutting.

7 Once cold, cut and store the pieces in an airtight container where they will keep for 2 weeks. The shortcake freezes well for up to 2 months so if you are time-short but have an odd hour free at the weekend, bake a batch and freeze them until needed. Allow them to defrost overnight on a worktop.

Variation for another week

You can replace the glacé cherries with chocolate chips or mini chunks of chocolate. These go well for cake stalls – the parents like the cherries and the children go for the chocolate chips so it’s a win-win situation! | 93


As I was kneeling on my trusty kneepad, overalls soaked through on my knees, headtorch on, trimming lavenders in the misty darkness I contemplated what I should write about for February. I had an idea slowly forming under the head torch. But then as the darkness became too much I arrived in the kitchen where the radio gently burbled away and my senses were bombarded by the smell of cinnamon filling the air and I changed my mind. With it being Valentine’s Day this month I decided to write a love letter instead.

I first met Charlotte back in the winter of 2018 – she flew from Sweden to London and caught the train down to Sherborne. I remember the first time we spoke on the phone, two weeks after we knew of each other’s existence, her Scandinavian accent attracted me – it was different and made me smile. I hung in the window to get service and she was in her greenhouse, out of the wind. We chatted for an hour with no long pauses or difficult silences. From then on we chatted daily and as the beast from the east took hold she arrived on the other side of the platform at Sherborne station. I walked quickly up the corrugated walkway to meet her, a small bunch of early spring flowers in my hand.

We spent the next few days trying to stay out of the terrible wind, even feeding the pigs (I had many fewer then). She helped me as I struggled to get water to them before it froze in the bucket. It was a stressful time but she didn’t hide away and from the very start got stuck in. Jump forward to June and she moved from Sweden to Sherborne to start a new life with me here.

From day one we were inseparable and spent our time working and planning together – she had boundless enthusiasm and a vision that only complemented mine. Slowly our

Food and Drink
94 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

business grew and because there were two of us it changed and became what it is today. These days Charlotte has much less time to help me with the pigs – that’s become my job again. She has built her role of cake-making, pizza-throwing, meat-selling, organising staff, looking after me and many more and made it her own.

So, over the years we have realised what a good match we are together. It’s quite incredible but from music to flowers to paint colours to tv programmes, we have the same taste. We have the same vision for our future and she always supports me with my myriad of new business ideas! She makes me laugh until I can’t stop, with her jokes and impressions –she’s so funny, which I love. Charlotte’s incredibly loyal and will always offer to help me, even if she hasn’t really got time in her busy day.

Her laid-back Scandi style has become a big hit with our customers, with them often coming specially to try her cinnamon buns or her latest cake creation in the cafe. With a very limited kitchen Charlotte produces quite the most amazing food for us all. It’s not all about cakes though – she loves to help me in the garden when she has spare time. We’re really never far away from each other – as I write she is behind me throwing pizza dough around for tonight’s pizza evening. So, really there is only one thing we disagree on… I love our Henry hoover and Charlotte hates it!

Happy Valentine’s Day Charlotte!


Our Tamworth pigs are bred for quality and flavour. They are outdoor-reared and homebutchered to the highest welfare standards here at our farm in Sandford Orcas, just outside Sherborne.

Sausages, joints, bacon and burgers available to buy online for home delivery, click-andcollect or direct from the farm every weekend. BUY LOCAL!

Pizza Night!
5pm-8pm Lavender Cafe & Shop Saturdays and Sundays 10am-2.30pm Enjoy our beautiful views, lavender field, garden and animals together with our homemade cakes, warming drinks, sausage rolls, scotch eggs and much more! Please contact James and Charlotte Tel 07802 443905 | The Story Pig, Lavender Keepers, Great Pitt Lane, Sandford Orcas, Sherborne DT9 4FG See more at
Fridays | 95


This is the time for winter warmers. My preferred choice is for fine, aged, blended or single malts because I worked in the industry for 5 years and learned to appreciate pure malt Scotch whisky.

However, there are many excellent blended, aged Scotch whisky brands, such as Johnnie Walker Black Label, still going strong. But this short article focuses on three of my favourite pure malt Scotch whiskies - Glenmorangie from Ross-shire; The Macallan, from Speyside; and Bowmore, a peaty Islay malt whisky which was the pride and joy of my former employer, Stanley P Morrison, Scotland’s leading whisky broker.

Glenmorangie Original is still my personal favourite for its wonderfully mellow tones, creamy vanilla notes and great delicacy of flavour. Distilled in stills as tall as a giraffe to encourage flavours, it is matured in used bourbon casks and/or used sherry butts for ten years.

I promise anyone new to pure malt Scotch whiskies, they would do well to start with this wonderfully lush and creamy offering.

During my time learning the ropes at Invergordon Distillery I stayed at the Royal Hotel in Tain, directly opposite the Glenmorangie Distillery. Having spent all day ‘nosing’ maturing

Food and Drink
96 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Megan Frost Photography/Shutterstock

grain whiskies at Invergordon, I was ready for a glass of good beer when I returned to the hotel after work.

Fortunately for me, the head distiller at Glenmorangie also had the same idea and we soon became good friends. At the weekend he showed me around the distillery and allowed me to ‘nose’ his distillations over the previous 30 years or more, all of which were stored in either used American oak barrels (used for maturing bourbon) or used sherry butts from Spain.

But Glenmorangie was not the first single pure malt: that was made on Speyside where the wonderfully fresh watered Spey tumbled down into the valleys of the region. The local farmers found that by steeping their beautiful barley in the clean, fast-running waters of the Spey and passing it through simple homemade stills they could produce a beverage that not only cheered them on cold, dark nights but made their social gatherings more fun.

Thus, the single malt business started with local farmers providing their own homemade winter warmth. However, it was not long before government officials in London decided that their distillations should be taxed and in 1823 the British parliament passed the Excise Act, insisting that anyone practising distillation should be licensed. You can imagine small farmers’ reaction in central Scotland’s glens to such legislation coming from the deep south of the UK. However, one such farmer, George Smith, did as advised. There were two good reasons for his so doing. His landlord was the Duke of Gordon, an HM Government member. Secondly, Gordon advised Smith that he would be glad to recommend his beverage to London and Edinburgh society if he had a licence.

Smith took the advice of his landlord but became so unpopular with his fellow farmers that the Duke of Gordon provided him with two powerful pistols to protect him from raids on his farm.

However, his fellow farmers soon got the message when they saw the wagons laden with barrels flowing from Smith’s farm to be bottled in Edinburgh and London. They too applied for licences and copied Smith in adding Glenlivet to their own name. The same distilleries such as Glen Grant and The Macallan are today the leading producers of very fine single malt Scotch whiskies that I can heartily recommend on a cold night when the weather turns unfriendly.

Bowmore is a completely different style. Pungent and peaty it is distilled on one of the southernmost of the Hebridean islands, only 25 miles long by 19 wide. It has found a good audience among drinkers who like strongly flavoured liquor.

I prefer to drink such single malts with a little natural water because it opens up the whisky flavours, making them more attractive. I can vouch for sleeping quite well after a small dram on a cold night. Single malt whiskies are not cheap to buy but I am pleased to see that Asda and Tesco have made substantial discounts for the top brands. Glemorangie produce a half bottle of ten-year-old and, if you haven’t already done so, I would recommend a trial.

Corton Denham Winter Opening Times Wednesday to Saturday 11am-11pm, Sunday 11am-10.30pm | | 01963 220317 | 97


The Environmental Considerations of Seasonal Treatments

By now, the daylight should be creeping ahead of the darkness and with March around the corner, the prospect of spring is becoming a reality. The predictable cycle of our seasons provides the basis for the circle of life we experience here in the UK. With our part of the world turning again to the sun, the dormant starts to become active across the great spectrum of life on Earth.

So a great awakening is starting at all levels from bacteria and fungi, to plants, insects, gastropods (slugs and snails) and mammals. Although many of us may not want to influence this rising tide of life, the fact is that we often do, deliberately, with agricultural herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Obviously, the reason these chemicals are used is not to decimate the natural world but to protect the animals and crops that form the basis of our food supply. Where the balance lies between these conflicting factors is clearly the subject of much ongoing debate.

In the veterinary world, there is an equally active debate over very similar issues. The use of anti-bacterial drugs in animals has been a hot topic for a long time, especially for those antibiotics that are most useful in human medicine. The crux of this argument is bacterial

resistance develops the more antibiotics are used, to the point where many are now ineffective. So, the more they are used in animals, the more resistance there is out there to make human (and animal) treatment more difficult. This is not a straightforward subject as many of the most serious infections are caused by bacteria that are naturally resistant to most penicillins, due to the structure of their cell walls (we call these Gram negative bacteria). The good news, we have a range of non-penicillin antibiotics that are effective against Gram negative bugs; the bad news is, these bacteria are even better at drug resistance! In short, clinicians in both the human and veterinary world are keen to limit the use of antibiotics to protect our precious drugs from becoming obsolete. The most effective way of doing this is to target antibiotics to specific bacterial infections known to be sensitive to that particular drug. Sounds ideal but it really isn’t that easy for many reasons, not least of which is bacterial infections do not come with a name-tag!

I could go on about bacteria, their contribution to our general health in the form of the vast population in our gut, the so-called microbiome and the damage we do to them through lifestyle and diet (and antibiotics!). But it’s time to move on to parasites, probably our

Animal Care
Mark Newton-Clarke MAVetMB PhD MRCVS, Newton Clarke Veterinary Surgeons
98 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Fabio Lamanna/Shutterstock

biggest target for preventative medicine. This is where the agricultural and veterinary worlds are starting to meet and maybe not in a good way. The spring rise in parasites is well-known in agriculture and farm animals are treated regularly against worms, similar to our companion pets. Not so many years ago, we would recommend treating your dog and cat against worms just four times a year. Then along came a lungworm! Spread by slugs and snails in their slime trails, we used to see several cases every year in dogs, who, literally had worms in their lungs! In response to this new threat, we changed our recommended wormer to products containing ‘milbemycin’ as many others are ineffective against lungworm. We also increased the number of times these preventative medicines are used as significant lungworm infections can develop within a couple of months.

How about external parasites? Will they be on the rise this spring? For ticks, the answer is definitely yes as they like warm and wet, although parts of our winters can be spring-like so don’t take anything for granted. Nothing will prevent a tick from biting but approved products can kill it within hours, reducing the

chances of disease transmission (Lyme and tick-born encephalitis). Historically, we have used spot-on and tablet forms of the most effective drugs to protect against ticks but recent environmental data has shown a worrying trend. Some of the insecticides used against ticks and fleas are being detected in ecosystems across the UK, where their effect on insect life is likely to be harmful. For this reason, we now recommend using tablets rather than spot-ons for dogs, especially those likely to enter water courses. If just a trace of the active ingredient is washed off your dog’s coat and into a stream, the effect on insect life could be devastating. With enough environmental pressure from agricultural insecticides already, the last thing our natural world needs is adding to it.

So the next time you visit your vet, have a chat about the products that suit your pet with the environment in mind. Correct dosing for body weight and use at appropriate times can focus our protection against parasites while at the same time helping the tide of life to rise again this spring. | 99


The dairy industry celebrates all things dairy in February and hence the name Februdairy!

Most of my working time as a vet involves helping dairy farmers to produce milk to the highest welfare standards possible. Healthy, happy animals are always more productive and profitable. At the practice we also have specialist vets who look after milking goats and sheep too.

Humans have been consuming milk and its products for thousands of years. To digest milk, humans have an enzyme called lactase — something we need as babies but need a lot less of as we get older. A genetic mutation, called ‘lactase persistence’ developed in humans which enabled us to digest milk into adulthood. Because of the nutritional advantage this mutation gave people, it rapidly spread through Europe and as a result, more than 90% of Europeans have the ability to digest milk into adulthood.

The reason why this mutation was so beneficial to humans was, quite simply, because not many other single sources of natural food would provide such a wide range of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. In the words of Darwin, ‘it was all down to survival of the fittest’. Consuming dairy provided a competitive

advantage to those people, surviving longer and being healthier and fitter.

Of course, there are thousands of different products that are made from milk today including yoghurts, cheeses, creams and butter. These were all aimed at preserving milk for longer before the invention of fridges and freezers.

Cheese-making was a way of preserving milk in hotter climates. No one knows the exact time when humans first started making cheese, but the earliest signs go back about 7,000 years. Humans likely developed cheese and other dairy foods by accident, as a result of storing and transporting milk in bladders made of ruminants’ stomachs, as their inherent supply of rennet would encourage curdling.

In the UK we now have a thriving cheese-making industry. Regional cheeses are now celebrated for their varying tastes and textures, all of which are delicious. British cheese producers often win the prestigious world cheese awards for the best cheeses in the world!

So, in FebruDairy, support your local dairy farmers by drinking a glass of milk or enjoying a new local cheese you haven’t tried before.

Animal Care
Joe Kirby Photography/Shutterstock
100 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
John Walsh, Friars Moor Vets

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This winter many people experienced mental or physical health challenges which disrupted their routines. During colder months, it can be difficult to manage feelings of depression, anxiety, or loneliness amongst other mental health challenges. These past months have highlighted the importance of routine for wellbeing.

Practice self-care

As a result of being unwell with the flu, I experienced burnout this winter. After being bed-bound for a couple of weeks, I struggled to get back to my normal routine. I quickly realised I needed to adjust my schedule, reduce my commitments, and most importantly rest.

Initially, this caused feelings of guilt, not being able to complete set goals and activities at work and in my personal life. Adjusting my routine helped me get back to a sense of ‘normal’, restarting back to basics. Previously, I have struggled to manage my mental health and have found self-care to be vital when taking care of my wellbeing, especially during periods of change such as the beginning of a new year.


My advice is to determine your priorities (what you must do), what’s important to you (what you value) within your routine, and what things can wait. Can you create a compromise in your routine? i.e. Going to the gym for 30 mins instead of 1 hour or finishing work earlier to allow more time for sleep. Consider your time and energy. Be kind to yourself.

Schedule habits

Creating a schedule and blocking time in your calendar can help organise your routine. If an activity doesn’t fit into a specific time frame, simply allotting a day can help act as a reminder. This can also help identify your to-do tasks and assign time to complete them. Keeping a calendar helps reduce my stress by having focused activities each day.

Reset day

Book a weekday off work or set aside a day dedicated to having a weekday reset. Activities such as cleaning your living space and setting goals/plans (things to look forward to!) may help you to get back on track. During, my period of burnout, writing helped

Body & Mind
Rawpixel/Shutterstock 104 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Abigail Hole, Dorset Mind

motivate me. I reflected on my highlights from 2022, acknowledging the small things which brought me moments of joy such as taking my dog Wilf to Swanage for a walk.

If you need encouragement, I recommend setting aside time in your schedule to think about things you would like to do in 2023 as a motivator to help you get back on your feet. What are you looking forward to this year?

Ask for help

Friends and family may be able to offer words of encouragement. After breaking from my routine, and feeling in quite a low place, simply having someone encourage me to get out of the door for a 30 min walk for a couple of days, helped me regain some energy. Their company, patience and love helped motivate me to get out of bed. Support systems are so important – sometimes it takes two minds.

Befriending at Dorset Mind

If you would like further support with goal-setting, Dorset Mind provides a Befriending service which provides one-to-one support for those aged 18+ via check-in phone calls. This service supports people, helping reduce social isolation and improve self-esteem.


The charity also encourages regular physical activity as part of the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ initiative. The motion of exercise gives your mind focus, and your body the routine it needs to help tackle tasks within your day.

Joining a local group may be beneficial in making new friends and socialising with others. You can find many groups on Facebook or search for gyms in your local area to find available classes. Alternatively,

exercising outdoors is a free and great way of connecting with nature.

We hope you feel motivated going into spring to establish a routine which works best for you.

Dorset Mind Ambassadors had conversations with local personal trainers who shared with us the importance of resilience and keeping active in maintaining their mental health and wellbeing:

‘Wellbeing is all aspects of health. You can’t have a healthy body without a healthy mind.’

Tom Taylor, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach

‘In my early twenties, I was a very unhappy person and I think finding running and weight training and pushing my body to different limits has helped me believe I can do so much more than a 9-5 job.’ Sophie Hayes, Personal Trainer, Sweat with Sophie Weymouth

‘It ’s about taking that first step. There is never going to be a right time…the moment you feel you need to make a change go ahead and do it. Reach out to a friend, join a gym. Whatever it is, start!’

James Isaac, Head Coach and Co-Founder, E-Motion Fitness Hub

You can watch the full interviews on our Dorset Mind YouTube channel

If you need mental health support, visit

Reiki is a Japanese energy healing modality that is natural and holistic.

Reiki can help relieve stress, anxiety and depression. Book your appointment today at Reiki Wellness and begin your journey to inner joy and peace.

Milborne Port

07966 720007 | 105
Est. 2004 Member of the UK Reiki Federation


Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Ihave talked about how hard it is to just stop and lay down in Savasana - Relaxation Pose. I’m now going to add standing still on both feet to the list of surprisingly challenging postures.

Yoga teaches us to recognise body, mind and emotions, understanding that they are all part of us and shouldn’t be treated in isolation. For example, when we are emotionally tense we will hold that tension somewhere physically in the body. When we are mentally distracted we will find it harder to physically balance the body as well as our emotions. Mountain Pose grounds body and mind and is a simple posture we can practise virtually any time, any place.

Tadasana is the foundation for all standing yoga postures. Most obviously it brings an awareness of our physical posture, ensuring we are aligned and strong for the following movement. Practising regularly can improve overall posture and reduce or prevent backache. Tadasana also offers an active resting posture between poses or

flows by allowing open, full breathing. It gives time to scan through the body recognising any areas of tightness or strain we need to be aware of before we move again.

How to bring your body into Tadasana:

• Stand with your feet an inch or so apart or, at most, hip-width apart. Check your toes and knees and hips are facing forwards.

• Feel your body weight distributed evenly through both feet and through the 3 parts of the foot; heel, ball pads and toe pads. I like to give the toes a wriggle here and then feel each one as they plant firmly down into the ground.

• Scan up through the ankles, calves and knees – if they have locked back, gently soften them.

• Continue to scan up through the thighs, feeling the muscles gently engage as you reach the pelvis. Rock the pelvis a little as if you were trying to straighten out the lower back a little. There is a slight lift to the

Body & Mind
106 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
Philippe Degroote/iStock

top of your sternum without pushing out the rib cage.

• In your mind picture yourself lengthening, lifting taller. It can help to run your attention up your spine as you do this.

• When you reach the shoulders, loosen and lower them. Draw the shoulder blades back, just a small movement avoiding pushing out the chest.

• Let your arms relax and rest by your side. Palms may be facing inwards or forward as long as you are comfortable.

• Have your head centred and your chin drawn back. Often we are told to stand up straight, we lift the chin looking upwards. Think of a tortoise drawing its head back into its shell. Now feel the back of your neck lengthen. Let your gaze rest gently on something just ahead of you or, if it doesn’t make you wobble, close your eyes.

• Relax your face and jaw and rest your tongue on the floor of your mouth.

From the side you are aiming to bring your ear, shoulder, hip and ankle bone in line. It can help to have someone watch you a few times to find this. There are many tiny adjustments to find the correct posture and we all have different body shapes and body histories that may affect what we need to do. If you aren’t sure ask your yoga teacher, health practitioner or fitness instructor to take you through the steps.

How to bring your mind into Tadasana:

The body scan we just went through is itself a mindful practice. We let go, if only briefly, of all other thoughts as we focus on each part of the body and the sensations we feel as we come into the pose. As this happens your breathing slows and deepens and your heart rate slows. If visualisation works for you this may also help:

Art of Confidence

• Picture yourself like a mountain: grounded and strong. Taking up your space, fully part of the world around you and with a right to be here.

• Now feel expansive like a mountain as you feel your rib cage open up, expanding your chest and upper back. Breathe deeply and comfortably here.

• As you exhale, relax your shoulders, let stress and worries slip off them and away – see it happening.

• As you stand with your head held high, feel yourself stretching up towards the sky like the peak of a mountain.

When you experience strong emotions and need to find balance, this posture can bring it.

When you can’t focus and need clarity, this posture gives you a calm space.

When you need energy, be it physical, mental or emotional, this posture allows you to find it.

When you want confidence, coming into Tadasana physically will help your mind and emotions feel it.

Don’t save this for the class or even for your mat. Tadasana can be practised virtually anywhere… cooking, brushing teeth, waiting in line and showering are all moments where we are already standing and we can bring ourselves into Tadasana. You could also look for opportunities to stop and stand where usually we would keep going; as we close the front door behind us, reaching the bottom of the staircase and walking from one place to the next.

Introducing those few seconds where we stop and feel our feet, feel ourselves in our body standing tall, breathing deeply, can reset our body and mind; creating a foundation for the next step we take.

Sherborne, Milborne Port and Trent • Hath Yoga outside when possible • Relaxation and guided meditation Contact Dawn for more details 07817 624081 @yogasherborne Yoga Alliance qualified teacher
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Body and Mind
110 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
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Aspinal surgeon once gave me an ultimatum: either surgery or steroid injections. I pleaded for an option that didn’t require something being stuck into my spine. I know surgery can be the best option in some cases but I am a big wimp.

Suffering from a herniated disc in my lower back, I had not been able to stand up without help and had hobbled into the consulting room gripping the surgeon’s hand for support. We discuss the possibility of physiotherapy and exercise. ‘The trouble is,’ he said, ‘too often people don’t stick to it, so it doesn’t work.’ I resolve that this will not be me.

I start following my physiotherapist’s advice. I was hoping for a massage and some stretches – instead, it was strengthening exercises three times a day before moving on to Pilates exercise sessions. Soon I could get out of a chair without screaming – a vast improvement! My back pain eases and my body is in better shape than it has been for ages. My confidence grows and I start enjoying other forms of exercise too.

Over the past almost 20 years, I have used Pilates to relax from a stressful job, rebuild my core strength after the birth of my daughter, recover from back issues because of carrying around said daughter and reach my fitness goals.

Pilates is regularly associated with helping to alleviate lower back pain and there is a long list of other benefits. Here are some I have experienced myself:

• A stronger core and stronger all over

• Developing longer, leaner muscles

• Greater flexibility and feeling more mobile

• Better sleep

• Better mental health

• Being more resistant to injury

• A better understanding of and control of my own body Joseph Pilates (1883-1967) developed ‘Contrology’ which has become the Pilates method. Pilates himself

This month if you are able, please consider visiting the Just Giving website to donate money, which you can gift aid. Your cash donations are valuable and enable us to buy items for babies, children and people with special dietary needs.

Thank you.

07854 163869

overcame the impact of serious childhood illness by taking up exercise. It worked. He became a gymnast, a bodybuilder, a martial artist, a skilled diver and a skier, studying movement and exercise in all its forms. Joseph and his wife Clara went on to set up a studio in New York City with a loyal following.

Pilates has now grown into a worldwide phenomenon and is being hailed as the hottest fitness trend of 2023. The exercises are done with just a mat or with large apparatus such as a reformer (a bed-like frame invented by Pilates). They draw on a wide variety of other exercise regimens and philosophies to assist and challenge the body to its full potential.

Each class and instructor are different but we all follow the Pilates principles of breath, concentration, centring, control, precision and flow. Each exercise embraces these principles from the dynamic ‘hundred’ that focuses on abdominal strength to the controlled side bend – an elegant challenging take on a side plank. Each exercise can be modified to suit an individual’s ability, be it rehabilitation or an elite athlete looking for the edge in their chosen sport from football to cricket, to running to horse riding.

Pilates is for everyone – we really do mean everyone. All ages, all genders, all abilities, all shapes and sizes. For an exercise method invented by a man who was known to enjoy whiskey and cigars and may have used his experience in an internment camp during World War I to develop his exercise method, it is surprising we often equate Pilates as something for younger female celebrities in expensive gym gear. In reality, Pilates benefits a wide variety of people.

So with Pilates (and exercise more generally) becoming more accessible to all, we can feel welcome in a safe space and set goals on our own terms.

communifit communi_fit @communifit • Exercise classes • Running groups • Personal training • Events All age groups and abilities Call 07791 308773 Email | 111









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Few are lucky enough to fall in love at first sight. The reality for most is that there will be plenty of frogs before they find ‘The One’. Inevitably, there will be an element of compromise that must be either accepted or confronted, but usually there is some potential that can be nurtured. All relationships take time, and our relationship with the place we call home is no different.

Throughout life, our housing needs shift and change; a pied a terre in town close to work and friends, somewhere with extra bedrooms to accommodate a burgeoning family, school catchments, travel links, outside space, vibrant community, room for the grandchildren or perhaps downsizing. It may be something to do with the warm sunshine and nature’s reawakening, but spring seems to be the time of year when most people start to get itchy feet and think about moving home. However, the average cost of buying, selling and moving home in the UK is currently well in excess of £10,000, without even thinking about the cost of changes you might want to make once you’ve moved. It’s well worth thinking about what changes you could make to your own home so that you can fall in love with it all over again.

The key is to think about how you utilise your space and to work out what could be done to make life in your house better. Sometimes something as simple as rearranging furniture, changing the layout, or switching the function of rooms, can be enough to make a positive change. Perhaps that integral garage that’s just storing junk would make a great kitchen, or the tiny box room that’s too small for anything any bigger than a toddler bed could be transformed into an ensuite. Try to look past what is and instead think how it could be.

Even something as simple as tidying your space can have an enormous impact on how you feel about your home. The appeal of a holiday rental can largely be due to the fact that there’s none of the everyday detritus that we all accumulate over time. If you have space outdoors, even the smallest of sheds can be hugely beneficial. Tools, bikes, and boots that might otherwise be taking up indoor space can all be stored away out of sight. As boring as it sounds, once you’ve had a clear out, good storage is the answer to a clutter-free life and by only keeping the things we love, we can start to get a sense of our individual style. Much of what you love, memories and sense of security is wrapped up in favourite things, a familiar armchair or favourite pictures. By following what you like, you will create your own style which will make your home feel like you. All you need is the confidence to trust your taste and do it your way.

When it comes to redecoration, whether you choose to use colour in small accents or across every single wall and the ceiling too, it has the power to influence our emotions and sense of wellbeing.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by colour choices, think about how you want your home to feel, rather than what will it look like. Allow yourself to be led by colours you might find in a favourite painting, a piece of curtain fabric or a vintage teacup. A scheme built around something you love gives you a much higher chance of ending up with a space you love.

Our homes should be our most happy place; full of life and never static or too ‘finished’. They should be allowed to evolve and gently shift throughout the seasons, enfolding and enveloping us through the colder, darker months before opening up once again to welcome spring and summer. | 115
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AWill is never high on our list of priorities. After all, none of us wants to dwell on what would happen if we weren’t around but if the last few years have shown us anything it’s that life can certainly be unpredictable.

An out-of-date Will can often cause more problems than not having a Will. So, in order to protect your loved ones, it is vital that you regularly review your Will (the suggestion is every five years). The following reasons are reasons to revise your Will.

You had a family

If you have children, it is important to review your Will to ensure that it makes provision for your children in the event of your death.

Your financial circumstances have changed

If your financial circumstances have improved, this could alter the Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability of your estate.

You have married/divorced

Marriage automatically revokes your Will and therefore it is essential to update your Will as a newlywed.

Although divorce only revokes the clauses relating to your ex-spouse, you should review your Will to ensure that it is still valid to prevent your estate from being administered under the laws of intestacy.

You have moved in with your partner

Couples choosing to live together are much more vulnerable, as they don’t have any of the protections offered by law to married couples. If you move into your partner’s house, you may have no right to stay if they die. Reviewing your Will to ensure that it makes provision for your partner in the event of your death is important.

Changes in the law

Tax legislation is constantly changing and therefore it is important to review your Will in line with this.

An executor or beneficiary has died

If an executor or beneficiary named in your Will has died, it is important to ensure that your Will provides for a replacement executor to act or a substitute beneficiary to inherit.

118 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
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February is known for being the month dedicated to and all about love and romance. When we fall in love, marry and have children, the idea of them marrying one day in the future is often far away from our thoughts.

However, with the average cost of a wedding in the UK currently standing at close to £20,000 and adding honeymoon and hen/stag parties, anything up to £30,000, it is well worth planning towards this cost when your children are actually born.

Saving for your child’s wedding was a key financial goal once upon a time but today saving for their education often takes precedence almost universally. So, before you embark on this project understand whether this is something you would genuinely like to do or something you want your child to handle when they are an adult.

The best advice anyone can give is to plan! Start planning early, the earlier you begin planning the easier it will be, and you will have the magic of compound growth to help you.

Most of us don’t begin planning for our future when we’re in our teens, especially for our future children’s weddings, but people who plan are normally those people who achieve. You can start a DIY financial plan yourself or you can visit a professional financial planner who will develop a plan with you.

Set a budget - First, figure out the type of wedding you are planning for your child. While societal and peer pressure can compel you to spend more, you need not keep up with the Joneses. Each one’s financial circumstances are different; arrive at a budget for a wedding based on your financial situation.

Start saving and investing early - Thankfully, you need not invest the full amount. Instead, you invest for the long term and let the power of compounding work its wonders. By starting early, you also reach your child’s marriage goal faster. For example, saving £20,000 over 20 years with a 4% return would cost £54.80 per month but over a 5-year period, it would be as much as £301.22 per month.

Get the asset allocation right - Create an investment portfolio that’s well-diversified so as the famous saying goes ‘don’t keep all your eggs in one basket’. Another important tip is to make sure you keep your savings and investments in as many tax-sheltered vehicles as possible and remember to use each parent’s annual tax allowances. For example, each parent can invest up to £20,000 in ISAs for the 2022/23 tax year.

First, stick to the plan and target a specific financial goal without diverting retirement or other funds towards the wedding. A child’s higher education expenses typically come up 5-7 years before marriage. Ensure you have separate plans for both. Diverting retirement funds could compromise your financial status in the future or delay the achievement of your own personal goals.

120 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

Here we go again – once more unto the breach. There’s no hiding that times are tough but fret not, we’ve been here before and together, we can find ways to protect your finances and look to the future. Let’s hatch a plan.

Trusted, professional, fee based advice We live in a complex world. At FFP we aim to remove complexity, replacing it with simplicity and clarity so that our clients can enjoy their lives without worry Your Life, Your Money, Your Future FFP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority Telephone: 01935 813322 Email: Website: 01935 815 008 | CRISIS. WHAT CRISIS? | 121

Most people describe the internet in their house as Wi-Fi. For example, ‘the Wi-Fi has gone down’ or ‘I haven’t got any Wi-Fi’. Wi-Fi is however more of a facility that gives wireless internet access to smartphones, computers, or other devices when they’re in range of your router. Your router must be plugged into a telephone socket in your house to connect to broadband, or with a 4G router connected to a mobile phone signal. If there is an issue with your telephone line or socket or the 4G mobile phone signal goes down, you won’t have any broadband, but your router will still send out your Wi-Fi name and your devices will still connect to your router. I try to describe it as the plumbing in your house – your taps are connected to your plumbing system but if you turn off the water at the stopcock none of those taps can get any water, but they are still connected to the system. Wireless signal from your router can only be so strong, as any stronger and it could be damaging to us. This is why it’s always worth putting your router in the middle of the house as it will reach the rooms more equally. Obviously if that isn’t possible there are solutions.

Generally, I do not recommend repeaters/extenders as the repeater can only repeat the signal it is receiving from the router and the signal is repeated but under another network name, so you must manually change networks on your device.

Now, going back two or three years we used to sell a lot of powerline adaptors. They were the only thing that really worked and they were quite cheap and cheerful. They use the electrical wiring in your house to create a network. One plug is next to your router

which would then send the signal to other plugs placed around the house which would then emit a wireless network. In theory going through walls via a wire rather than wirelessly. The downside again was different network names for each room and depending on what other big electrical devices you had on i.e. the kettle or microwave, they might interfere.

Now along comes wireless mesh systems and a game changer! The mesh system joins two or more Wi-Fi access points together to create and share a single, seamless Wi-Fi network that can be expanded to cover even the largest homes or buildings. At first I was sceptical. I had six powerline adaptors around my house and the system worked until I was offered a mesh system by a supplier to try for a couple of weeks. It was brilliant. Basically, you have three or four of these units plugged in around the house, one plugged into the router and each unit then talks to each other and meshes together hence the name mesh. The network is called one name and your smart devices seamlessly change between each unit because they’re all called the same name. They have dramatically come down in price although you can still pay a massive amount for them –if I’m honest I’m not sure what extra you get for the big money. We would normally leave the system in for two weeks to settle down and see if you need any more. To use a cooking saying, you can always add more salt! As you can imagine we now sell loads of these.

As ever if you need help or more information, you know where to come.

122 | Sherborne Times | February 2023
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Harriet threw open the French windows and stepped onto the terrace to admire her garden. The late afternoon sun was still hot and the sound of bees in the herbaceous border throbbed in the sultry air. Blowsy Victorian roses bloomed in every shape, size and hue, creating a shimmering sea of colour, their scent floating across the garden on the warm air. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. The sound of the telephone disturbed her thoughts and she reluctantly made her way indoors.

‘Harriet McKenzie,’ she answered.

‘Nancy Pollitt here,’ came the response. ‘We haven’t spoken before.’ Harriet felt uneasy. ’Your name and telephone number were on a cleaner’s work list,’ Nancy continued. She gave the cleaner’s name.

‘Yes, Abigail Harris was my cleaner. She came for several months, then didn’t turn up one morning. No message to say why.’

‘I’m the owner of the girl’s rooms,’ Nancy told her, ‘above the stationery office on Bold Street. I’m afraid she died, in a tragic accident.’

Harriet grabbed a kitchen chair and lowered herself slowly. ‘How terrible!’ she exclaimed, searching for more words. ‘I’m so sorry.’

‘You’ll probably get a call from a clergyman with the details,’ the woman added. ‘He’s trying to trace family but so far, nothing has come forward. He won’t seek to involve you. It’s just that nothing appears to be known about the girl, little more than her name. He’s contacting everyone on her list. There was money in a drawer you see, enough for a small funeral.’

‘I see. Well thank you for ringing. I will await the clergyman’s call. Do you have his name?’

‘I think he said Fothergill.’

Harriet carried her cup of tea out to the terrace. Looking down the garden, she could visualise the poor girl. Always took her coffee break in the same spot and sat in the wicker chair in the dappled shade of the silver birch tree. Abigail Harris was not the kind of person to talk about herself so it wasn’t a surprise that little was known about her. She’d been a good worker. Better than most. It had crossed Harriet’s mind several times that it seemed strange she should be a cleaner. She wondered whether the girl had fallen on hard times. Or was she just lonely or perhaps, very private? Having been widowed for several years, Harriet understood how easy it was to feel lonely.

The following morning, doing her stint at the charity shop, Harriet couldn’t get Abigail Harris out of her mind. Sorting books that had recently been left, she put aside a copy of War Horse to read to the old men at the day centre. She arranged for shoes and garments, of no use to anyone, to be disposed of and listened to Mrs Chesham bringing her up to date with her husband’s angina medication. Rather than taking the short bus ride home, she walked across The Common, wondering when she would hear from the clergyman and on arriving home, put down her bag, opened the back door and looked down her garden. But the spectre of Abigail Harris was nowhere in the garden where she’d so often been urged to sit in the sun for her coffee, to pick the lily of the valley when it was profuse, and paperwhite narcissus before they drooped.

The call from Canon Fothergill came just after lunch.

‘The pedestrian light had changed to red,’ the clergyman told her. ‘The girl had gone on, unlike

Short Story
124 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

everyone else and a van unavoidably hit her. Onlookers said it looked as though she had planned it.’ Harriet gasped.

‘I’m sorry to distress you, Mrs McKenzie.’ She took details of the date and time of the funeral and noted the address of the church.

‘I will be there,’ she told Canon Fothergill.

‘Thank you,’ he said. ‘That will hopefully make five or six of us.’

Feeling distressed, Harriet donned her gardening gloves and tidied a herbaceous border. She picked the best of the deep red dahlias and plunged them in water in the kitchen, then returned to the garden and sat in the wicker chair under the silver birch tree. Suddenly, a tiny spotted, scarlet dome on black legs crawled across the back of her hand towards the curl of her little finger. Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home; your house is on fire, your children are gone. She must have nodded off and woke with a shiver. The air was now chilly, a signal that summer was almost over.

Her thoughts immediately turned to Abigail Harris. Somewhere, she thought, between childhood and death, the girl’s life hadn’t been worth living, her whole world blown away like feathers on the wind. Had she sought solace from her loneliness in this garden, where comice pears would soon fall and lacy hydrangeas decorated faded brick walls?

Harriet wept, and through the blur of tears, the beauty that existed in her garden was lost in distortion. Dabbing her eyes, she watched it return, becoming again resplendent. But that afternoon, it seemed all wrong rather than beautiful. It appeared to be a mockery.

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We, at Castletown Landscapes, provide complete landscaping services that breathe new life into your garden projects, whatever size they are. We can also help with making your garden more manageable, if that’s all you need.

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E: | 125


Nomads: The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World Richard Hopton, Sherborne Literary Society

It is a historiographic cliché that history is written by the victors but is equally true that it is predominantly written by settled people, that is, not by the nomadic. Anthony Sattin’s new book is an attempt to rectify this omission by tracing the history of the nomadic peoples. The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze wrote that ‘nomads have no history; they only have a geography’ but it would be more accurate to say that their history is missing from more conventional accounts of the past. It is, as Sattin puts it, ‘the shadow

side of our story’, one which is difficult to tell as nomads by their very nature ‘left scarce evidence of their passage through the world’. Nomads tread lightly, leaving few records or ruins.

The book opens in Turkey at the site of Gobekli Tepe (‘Potbelly Hill’ in English) where in the tenth millennium BC nomads built a complex of religious monuments, 7,000 years before the Pyramids and Stonehenge. Cutting, transporting, and erecting the immense blocks of stone was an operation which would

126 | Sherborne Times | February 2023

have required a large, willing workforce and a huge amount of organisation. It is significant that the people who built Gobekli Tepe were ‘hunters and gatherers, wanderers, unsettled’ as it demonstrates that the agents of change could include people who lived on the move. In Sattin’s view, this is important as it shows that nomad history is as crucial to our understanding of our past as the history of settled people.

It was the development of farming which opened the divide between settled and nomadic peoples. The biblical myth of Cain and Abel is a dramatisation of the conflict between settled farmers and nomadic pastoralists: Cain was the farmer but God preferred Abel the pastoralist’s offerings of ‘the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.’ It may be this choice riled Cain to the extent that he killed his brother.

The first cities were built in Mesopotamia, the fertile land between Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The earliest-known city site is at Uruk, on the banks of the Euphrates, to the south of Baghdad which began to take shape in the fifth millennium BC. Henceforward, the divide between settled peoples and nomads would be a permanent feature of human society but not an impenetrable barrier. It is a central contention of Sattin’s book that ‘nomads have always been at least half of the human story and have made essential contributions to the march of what many historians have traditionally called civilization.’ In the second century BC when the Romans had defeated Carthage and become masters of the Mediterranean, and the Han emperor Wu dominated China, the nomads controlled an area larger and more powerful than either of the two settled empires.

Many centuries earlier the nomads of the Eurasian steppes had learned to ride the horse, something Sattin characterises as ‘the equine revolution’. In time, the wagon came into being and then the chariot, which changed the nature of warfare. These revolutionary developments are wholly attributable to the nomadic peoples of the steppes.

At the heart of Nomads are the sections dealing with the great nomadic empires, starting with the Medes and their successors, the Persians, five hundred years before Christ. The Persians built Persepolis, one of the wonders of the ancient world, despite them not being a settled,

city-dwelling people; it was a place of ritual, ‘a tent in stone’ and ‘as such a fitting monument to nomad power.’ It was the nomadic Huns who hastened the end of the Roman Empire while the rise of Arab Muslim power in the seventh century AD ‘transformed the existing world order’. Within a century of Mohammed’s death in 632, the Roman Empire had been reduced to a rump consisting of Constantinople and its Balkan hinterland while the Arab hegemony extended from the Indus Valley to the Atlantic Ocean. As Sattin observes, the most striking thing about the new empire was not its size, but that it had been won by desert people, by nomads, whose habit of movement led to speedy conquests. These conquests brought their own problems, principally the conundrum of how to balance the nomadic traditions with the need for a capital city for a widespread empire. Ultimately, the problem was never resolved: as the Arabs shed their nomadic traditions and the vital energy - the asabiyyawhich had made them such a force gradually dissipated in the ease of city life.

Probably the most famous nomad ruler of all was Genghis Khan, a ruler generally portrayed in Western history as a bloodthirsty warlord. Settled historians, writes Sattin, ‘have tended to focus on the number of people the Mongol khans killed, not the advances and advantages that came from the pax Mongolia.’ Tamburlaine the Great’s empire was, despite its great cities of Samarkand and others, essentially nomadic. Babur, who established Mughal power in northern India in the early sixteenth century was rooted in the nomadic tradition. The Ottoman Empire which dominated the Near East from early modern times until the end of the First World War was nomadic in its origins.

By the seventeenth century nomad power was in eclipse, overcome by the rise of European maritime power and the new intellectual ideas spreading across Europe. But this should not blind us to the historical importance of the nomadic peoples and their empires, as this book makes clear. In their time, the nomadic, Mongol empires did change the world.

Anthony Sattin will be appearing at the Sherborne Travel Writing Festival, 14th-16th April. For tickets and information visit | 127

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1. Part of a pedestal (4)

3. Pertaining to education (8)

9. Matured (7)

10. Type of herring (5)

11. Disturbance; act of meddling (12)

14. Add together (3)

16. Falls to the ground (5)

17. Cereal grain (3)

18. Intolerable (12)

21. Quantitative relation between two amounts (5)

22. Type of photographic shot (5-2)

23. Showering with liquid (8)

24. Mocks (4)


1. Least clean (8)

2. Repository (5)

4. Partly digested animal food (3)

5. Exemption from a rule (12)

6. Country in northwestern Africa (7)

7. Call to mind (4)

8. Preliminary (12)

12. Run away with a lover (5)

13. Tries (8)

15. Imaginary scary creature (7)

19. Short high-pitched tone (5)

20. Large periods of time (4)

22. Argument against something (3)


128 | Sherborne Times | February 2023


The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels

Crime thrillers take many forms but at first sight, Janice Hallett’s latest novel reads like a criminal brief hastily put together for counsel by an idle solicitor. It comprises a vast quantity of raw materialtranscripts of interviews, printouts of e-mail and text message exchanges, excerpts from books and a film script, as well as newspaper cuttings - but almost no attempt at summary or synthesis. It’s left to counsel - or in this case, the reader - to make sense of this mass of documentation.

It quickly becomes clear, however, that this apparently randomly assembled mass of primary material in fact conceals an artfulness and a high degree of narrative skill on the part of the author. The result is an absorbing and entertaining novel.

The eponymous Alperton Angels were a small cult based in north-west London. In December 2003, the bodies of four men thought to have belonged to the cult were found in a derelict warehouse in Alperton. Whether it was mass murder or mass suicide was not clear. A fifth body found in an empty flat nearby the previous day was thought to be linked to the deaths in the warehouse.

This novel tells the story of the investigation in 2021 into the Alperton deaths by Amanda Bailey, a journalist turned true-crime writer researching a new book about the case. It is in fact two stories wrapped into each other: an account of Bailey’s investigation of the Alperton cult and its self-immolation and, at one removed, the gradual revelation of what had in fact happened in 2003. In pursuing the story, Bailey leaves no stone unturned and shows herself to be conversant with a wide

range of investigative techniques, some less scrupulous than others, including the playing of unsuspecting witnesses, the assumption of false identities, the covert recording of conversations, and so on.

The novel’s central relationship - and it’s a complex one - is between Bailey and her fellow journalist-turned-crime-writer, Oliver Menzies. Contrasting characters from very different backgrounds, they have history, as the saying goes, but are now both competitors and collaborators, contracted to rival publishers to produce books about the Alperton cult. Various other figures from the publishing world flit in and out of the novel: Amanda’s agent, several other true-crime writers - one of whom comes badly unstuck - a pair of colluding publishers, a journalist or two, and a screenwriter. The novel has much to say about the nature of belief, and emotional and psychological control in cults.

As Bailey’s investigation progresses, with many a twist and turn along the way, the story’s violent past begins to intrude into its present as people connected with the case die in unusual circumstances. Some of the twists in the story are more credible than others; there is one touching on the Royal Family which would strain the credulity of even the most fevered, copy-hungry tabloid hack. Bailey’s dogged investigation into the affair reaches an unexpected conclusion at odds with all the original suppositions about the Alperton case but the novel’s climax is sudden and shocking.

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Igave up making New Year’s resolutions some time ago and replaced them with hopes and prayers. My special hopes and prayers for this year are for an end to the Russian war against Ukraine which will allow people on both sides to rebuild their lives as good neighbours rather than enemies.

I should mention that I have a lifelong interest in Russia because one of my mother’s closest friends was Russian and I grew up liking Russian people, listening to their music and reading their literature.

As marketing manager for a brand of vodka distilled in Warrington, I delighted in ‘taking the mickey’ out of the Russian communist leadership in the 1970s, but when the chance came to entertain a group of thirty ordinary Russians at our vodka distillery in Warrington, I recommended to our MD that we take it with both hands.

At our encouragement, our guests overstayed their visit by some three hours as we tried to teach them English pub games such as darts and shove ha’penny. They invited us back to Moscow and thirty of our younger people from all branches of the business made the trip which they described to me as ‘unforgettable.’

As we pause for thought let us pray that Mr Putin will have a change of heart and recognise that probably the majority of people on both sides would prefer to be at peace. It is not untimely to recall that God is merciful to those of us who may have made errors of judgment but have seen the error of our ways and made an effort to put things right.

130 | Sherborne Times | February 2023 Follow our story Arrange your bespoke visit by contacting | 01935 810911 ‘the best of the best in the UK for sport’ The Week, 2022

Articles from Sherborne Times February 2023