Sherborne Times December 2023

Page 1



HYVÄÄ JOULUA with Nora Nilsson of Aitta



arly Christmas morning 2011 and the first that son no. 1 is old enough to fully appreciate. He pads scruffily into our room dragging an oversized stocking behind him, his face a picture of unbridled joy and bewilderment. As he hauls himself onto our bed, my wife and I, despite the hour, are vividly conscious that a family ritual is forging in front of us. He sits between us, not knowing yet how this works and pulls a present tentatively from his stocking. It is unwrapped to reveal a toy dinosaur and met with absolute delight. He plays and plays with the dinosaur, showing no signs of stopping, so we are almost reluctant to point out that there might be more in the stocking. Disbelievingly, he opens another then another until he is giddy with excess and buried, along with the briefly sufficient dinosaur, beneath a small mountain of wrapping paper. There endeth our lesson. Now, thirteen years on, when son no. 1 is asked what he would like for Christmas, the answer is a lighthearted, ‘Nothing really.’ I think we peaked with the dinosaur. Wishing you all a peaceful, restful and very Merry Christmas. Glen Cheyne, Editor @sherbornetimes

CONTRIBUTORS Editorial and creative direction Glen Cheyne

Laurence Belbin Elisabeth Bletsoe & Betty

Design Andy Gerrard

Sherborne Museum

Photography Katharine Davies

Mandy Bloom

Features writer Claire Bowman

Liv Bowditch Gryphon Sixth Form

Editorial assistant Helen Brown

Richard Bromell ASFAV

Social media Jenny Dickinson Print Stephens & George Distribution team Jan Brickell Barbara and David Elsmore Douglas and Heather Fuller The Jackson Family David and Susan Joby Mary and Roger Napper Jean and John Parker Hayley Parks Mark and Miranda Pender Claire Pilley Caspar Sheffield Joyce Sturgess Ionas Tsetikas Lesley Upham Paul Whybrew

Sarah Hitch The Sanctuary Beauty Rooms and The Margaret Balfour Beauty Centre Polly Hobbs Richard Hopton Sherborne Literary Society James Hull The Story Pig

Charterhouse Auctioneers and Valuers Annabelle Hunt John Bullock

Bridport Timber & Flooring

John Bullock Lighting Design Sarah Jane Mike Burks

Sarah Jane Ceramics

The Gardens Group Joelle Lindsay Paula Carnell

Sherborne Turf

Jack Clarke

Chris Loder MP

Dorset Wildlife Trust Paul Maskell David Copp David Cooper

The Beat and Track Tom Matkevich The Green Restaurant

Nathan Cracknell ReBorne Community Church

Gillian Nash

Rosie Cunningham

Paul Newman & Emma Tabor

Louis de Pelet MBACP

Mark Newton-Clarke

Louis de Pelet Counselling

MA VetMB PhD MRCVS Newton Clarke Veterinary Surgeons

PO Box 9701 Sherborne DT9 9EU 07957 496193 @sherbornetimes ISSN 2755-3337 Sherborne Times is printed on an FSC® and EU Ecolabel certified paper. It goes without saying that once thoroughly well read, this magazine is easily recycled and we actively encourage you to do so. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither Sherborne Times nor its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or any other cause. Sherborne Times does not officially endorse any advertising material included within this publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form - electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise - without prior permission from Sherborne Times.

4 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

James Flynn Milborne Port Computers

Miroslav Pomichal Sherborne School

Simon Ford Hazel Roadnight Jan Garner

Winstone’s Bookshop

Sherborne Scribblers Mark Salter CFP Annabel Goddard

Fort Financial Planning

Dorset Mind Val Stones Craig Hardaker Communifit

Simon Walker Mogers Drewett Solicitors

Dawn Hart YogaSherborne

John Walsh Friars Moor Livestock Health

Andy Hastie Yeovil Cinematheque

James Weston GP Weston

Terry Hawrylak The Hub, Sherborne School

72 6

Art & Culture

DECEMBER 2023 68 Antiques

130 Legal

20 What’s On

72 Nora Nilsson

132 Finance

26 Community

80 Gardening

134 Tech

38 Family

86 Home

136 Short Story

48 Science & Nature

96 Food & Drink

140 Literature

60 On Foot

108 Animal Care

142 Crossword

64 History

116 Body & Mind

145 Pause for Thought

OPENING SPRING 2024 Unearth the hidden secrets of Sherborne House, and gain exclusive insight into what lies ahead for its new life as The Sherborne. | 5

Art & Culture

ARTIST AT WORK No. 61 Journey, Polly Hobbs

Acrylic and Charcoal on linen, 100 x 75cm, £950 (Framed)


nspired by the landscapes and environment around me, I strive to create captivating art that brings joy to the viewer. The work I make is a blend of moments captured at a location, memories, feelings and my own imagination. I work in my studio on several pieces at one time, experimenting with colour and shapes using various mediums and techniques. I love taking parts of my initial responses and reworking them through scale and mark-making, perhaps not knowing where it will take me but letting myself go with it. Colour is also

6 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

a very important part of my process, it is integral to how my work develops. Relocating to Dorset in the last couple of years, I set up my studio and have been working with monotype printmaking and collage as well as painting. Journey is from a recent body of works inspired by my new surroundings, in a county I have loved for many years and now call home. @pollyhobbsartist

Childr e go f ree n

Winter Wonderment

That festive feeling is sweeping across our Somerset estate, as plans continue apace to make winter at The Newt more magical than ever. The heady scent of spiced mulled cyder fills the air; chefs, bakers and drinks makers go all in on the flavours of the season; and the House & Garden and Farm Shop have been transformed into a treasure trove of gifts and treats. Add a vibrant programme of woodland walks, workshops and Christmas crafts, and now’s the perfect time to join us with a Membership as we celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!

Enchanted Woodland Trail – 1 December Christmas Market Weekend including St. Nicholas visit – 9 & 10 December Foraged Festive Adornments – 12, 13 & 14 December Visit our website to discover more about Newt Membership. Free entry for children (0-16 yrs) when accompanied by an adult member.

Stay . Visit . Shop @thenewtinsomerset

Art & Culture


Andy Hastie, Yeovil Cinematheque


erzy Skolimowski, the veteran Polish film director is a man of many talents. Not only is he still one of Poland’s finest directors, he is also a poet, actor, dramatist, painter and screenwriter. Now in his eighties, he grew up at a particularly fertile time for Polish film-making, although he went to school in the Czech Republic alongside both Milos Forman The Fireman’s Ball (1967) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and Ivan Passer Intimate Lighting (1965). In his early twenties, he was introduced to Andrzej Wadja Kanal (1957), Ashes and Diamonds (1958) and Katyn (2007), one of the world’s greatest directors and a leading figure in the Polish Film School. He encouraged Skolimowski in his screenwriting and directing and helped him enrol at film school to get access to film stock, something in very short supply in post-War Poland. Skolimowski first gained recognition in this country with Deep End (1970), shot in London, starring Jane Asher as a manipulative woman toying with different men and John Moulder-Brown as an obsessive adolescent in love with her. This was followed by two more English language films, The Shout (1978), a rather strange tale based on a short story by Robert Graves, with John Hurt, Susannah York and Alan Bates, then Moonlighting (1982) starring Jeremy Irons.

8 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Eo (2022)

He is the leader of a gang of Polish builders working over here as the Solidarity protests galvanise Poland back home. On 13th December Cinematheque are therefore pleased to be showing Skolimowski’s latest film EO (2022) in the Swan Theatre, which deservedly won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022. It is a contemporary update of Robert Bresson’s masterpiece Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) - a simple yet profoundly moving tale of a donkey in rural France, being passed from one owner to the next. Treated in turn harshly then gently, Balthazar lives in a world beyond his control. EO however, a grey donkey, begins his life as a circus performer before escaping across both the Polish and Italian countryside. Encountering an eclectic cast of characters including a Polish football team, much of the film is shot from EO’s point-of-view with a low-held camera, somehow making the scenes more meaningful as seen through the donkey’s eyes. His travels and travails, point out societal ills but remind us of the need for humility and innocence on a quest for freedom. This is a wonderful film from a great director, full of laughter and joy, but with a strong message of the follies of humanity. ‘Brilliant, the no. 1 film of the year’ The New York Times. So EO is a fitting last film before Christmas at Cinematheque. I recommend it, along with the other films mentioned in this article. To thank our members for their support and to welcome any potential new members as guests, we will have a glass of wine and snacks waiting at the Swan Theatre before the film starts on the 13th. Finally we wish everyone a joyful Christmas, and, dare I hope for, a peaceful new year across the world.

___________________________________________ Wednesday 13th December 7.30pm EO (2022) Cinematheque, Swan Theatre, 138 Park St, Yeovil BA20 1QT Members £1, guests £5


Join us on the first Wednesday of the month at 3pm and 7pm Digby Hall, Hound Street

6th December: Bring an Object. Audience participation talk based on artefacts brought in 7th February: Banksy: Fraud or Genius 6th March 2024: The Three Great Game Changers of 19th Century Opera Members free; visitors £7 | 9

Art & Culture


Andrew Scott in Vanya


saw Andrew Scott in Chekhov’s Vanya at the Duke of York’s Theatre and, in my eyes, this is an actor who can do no wrong. Over nearly two hours, without interval, he demonstrated his huge versatility by portraying multiple characters, each with their own tic, mannerisms or accent. As the focus on human frailties played out, Scott delivered some of the most 10 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Image: Marc Brenner

poignant meditations on life. He fought with himself, seduced himself and went through the whole gambit of human emotions, leaving the audience mesmerised. It took a little time to separate out the characters, made easier by the fiddling with a chain, dishcloth and sunglasses, or exiting and entering through a mid-stage door, to differentiate. I did feel that Scott enjoyed the

process and seemed to improvise according to whim, embodying favoured characters with sharpness, pathos and comic facial expressions. I had seen Uncle Vanya a few years ago, with Toby Jones and a stellar cast, which I enjoyed immensely but Scott’s solo performance was a tour de force. National Theatre Live is showing Vanya in selected local cinemas from 22nd February 2024, so do try and catch this unique performance. My wonderful friends took me to the Royal Opera House to see Carlos Acosta’s production of the ballet Don Quixote. I had never been to the Royal Opera House before and loved the beauty of the atrium and the red velvet opulence of the auditorium. This was a new experience of an audience whose appreciation spilt over into spontaneous applause throughout and intermittent cries of ‘bravo’. We sat close to Wayne Sleep, minute of height, much to the amusement of my small Welsh friend, who seemed similarly enthralled. The cast was spectacular and Acosta ensured that many dancers were given an opportunity to present their individual talent to the audience. The gipsy scene was a favourite and the matador proved to be a worthy opponent. I reflected, as the soloists reached new heights of dexterity and suppleness, that each had spent years honing their skill and bodies which could be cut short by the smallest mistake, which demonstrates the demanding nature of ballet. After taking three curtain calls as an ensemble, the curtains closed only to be lifted seconds later so that each principal and soloist could be applauded singly and given due adoration. The atmosphere in the auditorium was friendly and congenial as if we were in one accord - that this had been a spectacular evening. I was invited to the Chelsea Arts Club for lunch and it was the first time that I had walked through those hallowed doors. Doyens of the art scene relaxed, surrounded by fabulous works of art and a large billiard table taking centre stage. The actress who I was with very firmly told me that she paid no attention to theatre reviews because we are all individuals, and one person’s enjoyment is another person’s torture. I loved Vanya whilst others did not. Lyonesse, with Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James, has received a kicking but I am looking forward to it. Go and see what you think you will enjoy.





MORNING, SOMMIERS THE JERRAM GALLERY Half Moon Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3LN

01935 815261 Tuesday – Saturday | 11

CHRISTMAS @ CRAFTY CHRISTMAS EVENTS Join us for crafts on Saturday 2nd, 9th & 16th then everyday from Monday 18th to Saturday 23rd December. (We are closed on Sundays)

Christmas Trees wreaths, fresh &dried flowers

(Open 7 days a week)

the home of

TOYS STOCKING FILLERS GIFTS LIFESTYLE CARDS cafe & kitchen garden serving hot daily specials, brunches, light lunches, pastries, cakes and coffee. fresh seasonal produce from our no-dig kitchen garden, homemade chutneys, honey and free range eggs.

Blackmarsh Farm, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 4JX @blackmarshfarmsherborne


01935 815040

07859 911817


Sherborne Town Band Christmas Concert Wednesday 13 December 2023 7.30pm Gransden Hall | Merritt Centre Sherborne Girls | DT9 3QN

For more information please contact 01935 818304

Tickets: £12 adults | £10 Concessions Please scan the QR code for tickets to include a Christmas treat

Art & Culture



Laurence Belbin

he two drawings shown here of farm buildings are not too far from Sherborne. Round Chimneys Farm at Glanvilles Wootton combines the old with the new. The site dates back, according to an article I found on the internet, to 1232 and the house, formally the manor, has a very interesting history as do some of the previous owners – one being a highwayman! I recently organised an art day there which was a success despite the sudden downpour about lunchtime. Because I was giving instruction and unable to draw anything myself, I decided to go out the next day, on my own, and see what I could come up with. I am always attracted to any subject that has plenty of lines and farm yards and buildings are irresistible. All those gates against dark interiors just do it for me! I went straight in with ink as is often the case. Proportions need to be accurately observed and the line, once you know where it should be, needs to be drawn with a sure hand with no hesitation. It’s the sort of adrenalin rush I imagine a mountain climber experiences on a sheer face without ropes but with less of the danger! Often it is the old buildings that attract the artist but I’m happy with both.

14 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

The first one was of the yard and I needed to take shelter in a similar shed opposite those that I’ve drawn as the rain started again. It is very easy to fall into the trap of overworking any piece of artwork. So selective cross-hatching/shading is called for or the end result will be fussy and confusing. I stopped for a cup of tea and a bite to eat in the café they have there. This is a gem of a place, still very much a working farm with cattle, sheep, goats and chickens all on-site. They rear and sell their own meat, beef and lamb, alongside other local produce – a proper farm shop. I have already discussed my Christmas order and look forward to picking it up. The next drawing, also pen and ink on 160g cartridge paper, is of the old granary. This wonderful little wooden structure perched upon staddle stones is no longer used for grain storage but serves, no doubt, some other useful purpose. The slates are shifting a bit and there is a generous covering of moss over the ridges, all making it interesting. The petrol pump is also no longer in use but I was pleased to see it hadn’t been removed. I will definitely be visiting again with a sketch pad and pen, combining a little work with a very satisfying cuppa be it tea or coffee followed later with lunch. I have mentioned it before in these pages and feel that here in Dorset we are blessed with some outstanding places to enjoy and all right on our doorstep. | 15

Toni Davey, FAN (detail), 2016


2-22 Dec 2023 & 4-20 Jan 2024 Toni Davey Jane Harris Carali McCall Anna Mossman Katherine Perrins Alice Temperley Denise Webber

Join us for our exhibition opening: 1-3pm, Saturday 2 December 2023 Exhibition continues by appointment Thurs & Fri 10-3 Sat 10-1 Book online at Close House, Hatch Beauchamp, Somerset TA3 6AE





Plus SPEND £100 on gift vouchers this month, and receive a FREE GIFT WORTH at least £50! S WA N YA R D, SH E R B O R N E , D T 9 3 A X 0 1 9 3 5 8 1 6 1 7 7

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T H E S A N C T U A RY S H E R B O R N E . C O. U K

Art & Culture

COUNTER CULTURE Paul Maskell, The Beat and Track

No. 26 Refused: The Pioneers of Punk Resurrection


n 1998 while living in Germany, my major source of entertainment as always was music. It was while reading (at that time probably some Irvine Welsh or Brett Easton Ellis) with one eye on MTV Europe that a video appeared on screen with a sound that blew me away. The video consisted of alternating clips of the band entering some kind of underground facility to a mellow almost techno beat and synth line. Guitars joined the fray as the band, now clad in their standard skinny jeans and jumpers, started a performance. As soon as the mop-topped lead singer shouts ‘Can I scream?!’ I was in. So blown away by the song was I that I failed to take note of the band’s name or the title of the song. I didn’t see or hear of the band for over 6 years until I picked up a CD that I didn’t recognise but something told me it was important. The album was The Shape of Punk to Come and the song I had been searching for all this time was New Noise. It turns out my ‘old’ favourite band was Refused and they were my ‘new’ favourite band too. In the realm of punk music, where rebellion, chaos and raw energy reign supreme, few bands have left as indelible a mark as Refused. This iconic punk outfit 18 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

burst onto the scene in the early ‘90s and challenged the very foundations of the genre, leaving an indomitable legacy that continues to inspire new generations of punk rockers. Refused was formed in 1991 in Umeå, Sweden, by a group of young, passionate musicians with a burning desire to push the boundaries of punk rock. Dennis Lyxzén (vocals), David Sandström (drums), Kristofer Steen (guitar) and Jon Brännström (bass) came together to form the band, and little did they know they were about to ignite a revolution. Their early releases, such as the EP This is the New Deal and their debut album This Just Might be... the Truth established their reputation in the hardcore punk scene. These albums showcased their relentless energy, politically charged lyrics, and dedication to exploring new musical territories. Their appeal as a hardcore band, maybe purposely confused fans all over. Fans who loved their energetic, sometimes brutal music, weren’t into the highly charged political message within it. Fans who rallied around the political aspirations of the band were often alienated by the hardcore nature of the music. That was until the revolution.

If there’s one album that defines Refused, it’s unquestionably The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts, released in 1998. This masterpiece of punk innovation shattered the conventions of the genre, incorporating elements of post-hardcore, jazz and electronic music into their sonic palette. The result was a boundary-breaking record that was light-years ahead of its time. Tracks like New Noise and The Refused Party Program remain anthems of punk rebellion, characterised by Lyxzén’s impassioned vocals and Steen’s explosive guitar work. The album’s lyrical content was equally groundbreaking, addressing political and societal issues with an urgency that resonated deeply with fans. The Shape of Punk to Come was a catalyst for change, not just in music but in the punk ethos itself. It challenged listeners to think beyond the confines of their genre and to confront the issues of their time headon. Sadly, the band disbanded shortly after its release, leaving behind an album that would define their legacy. After disbanding in 1998, Refused seemed like a relic of days gone by. But their influence only grew stronger during their absence. The Shape of Punk to Come became a touchstone for punk musicians looking to push boundaries, while fans clung to the band’s rebellious spirit. In 2012, Refused pulled off one of the most anticipated and surprising reunions in punk history with the release of Freedom. While it didn’t reach the same groundbreaking heights as their earlier work, it showed that Refused still had fire in their bellies. The band’s live performances, characterised by Lyxzén’s unbridled stage presence, were a testament to their enduring impact. Refused’s cult status solidified during their hiatus, with fans constantly asking, ‘Are Refused f*****g dead?’ - a question raised by the band themselves on

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their iconic album. The answer was a resounding ‘No.’ Refused had not only survived; they had evolved and come back even stronger. Refused’s impact on punk music is immeasurable. They tore down the walls of convention, inviting new sounds and perspectives into the genre. Their fervent political activism and lyrical content encouraged fans to question the status quo. The legacy of The Shape of Punk to Come lives on in countless bands who have taken inspiration from its fearless innovation. Today, Refused stands as a symbol of punk’s resilience and capacity for evolution. While they may not have achieved the commercial success of some of their peers, their cultural significance cannot be overstated. They proved that punk rock could be both a vessel for raw, unbridled energy and a platform for profound social commentary. In a world that constantly grapples with political turmoil and societal unrest, the music of Refused remains as relevant as ever. It’s a reminder that the spirit of punk, embodied by this Swedish powerhouse, can be a force for change and a rallying cry for those who refuse to accept the status quo. Refused may have been born in the ‘90s but their spirit continues to shape the future of punk rock.

___________________________________________ Tuesdays 7pm-8pm Under the Radar Abbey 104. The Beat and Track’s Paul Maskell often joins

presenter Matt Ambrose on his weekly radio show, bringing

you the best new sounds from established underground artists and new and rising acts from across the world. Listen live on 104.7FM or online at



No. 2 in a series | 19

WHAT'S ON Mondays 11am-12.30pm

Military History Talk via Zoom

St Michael’s Scottish

Nature Writing for Fun

£5, information

Country Dance Club

Fun creative writing exercises, using

Every 1st Thursday 9.30am

£2. New starters very welcome.

Sherborne Library, Hound Street


Davis Hall, West Camel

nature and the outdoors as inspiration.

Netwalk for Business


Owners & Entrepreneurs

Mondays 1.30pm-3.30pm

Pageant Gardens

Fridays 3.30pm-5pm


Sherborne Library, Hound Street

Craft and Chat Group

07972 125617



Children’s Board Games Club

Bring along your current project and

Every 2nd & 4th Thursday

Drop-in for children age 5 and over.

Sherborne Library, Hound Street meet others.



Castleton Probus Club

Mondays & Thursdays

The Grange, Oborne, DT9 4LA

1.30pm-4pm Sherborne Indoor

Play board games, including chess, or bring one of your own.


New members welcome.

Every 1st Saturday

(March-December) 10am-3pm


Sherborne Digby Hall

West End Hall, Sherborne

Thursdays 2pm-5pm

Monthly Market

01935 812329. All welcome

Rubber Bridge



Next to Library, Hound St. Antiques,

Mondays 2pm-5pm &

Sherborne Bowls Clubhouse,

Short Mat Bowls

Tuesdays 7pm-10pm Sherborne Bridge Club

arts, crafts, cafe and more. Free entry.


Culverhayes car-park

Saturday 2nd 7.30pm

01963 210409

Sherborne Chamber Choir


O Radiant Dawn

01963 210409

Thursdays 2pm-4pm &

Sherborne Abbey. Tickets £5 to £18

Sherborne FC Clubhouse, Terraces

Fridays 11am-1pm


Digital Champions Sessions

Tuesdays 10am-12pm

Sherborne Library, Hound Street.

Fine Folk Dancing Charlton Horethorne Village Hall

£2.50 per session. Beginners welcome. 01963 220640.

____________________________ Every last Wednesday

from or 0333 666 3366.


Bookable sessions for help with basic

Saturday 2nd - Saturday 9th

library computer. sherbornelibrary@

Sherborne Christmas


Cheap Street Church. Free entry to

skills using your own device or a

daily 10am-5pm

Tree Festival

Thursdays 7.30pm-9.30pm

see over 30 individually decorated

O RADIANT DAWN Music old and new for Advent and Christmas

Sherborne Chamber Choir Conductor Paul Ellis

Sherborne Abbey Saturday 2 December | 7.30pm Tickets £5-£18 | under 18s FOC | available from 20 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Sherborne Christmas Tree Festival A Sherborne Churches Together Event

Cheap Street Church Sat 2nd-Sat 9th December 2023 daily 10am -5pm Free entry to see over 30 individually decorated Christmas Trees by local charities, clubs and schools!

Tree Festival Highlights All events are free unless specified otherwise Saturday 2nd Dec 7pm The Mill Singers Male Voice Choir Christmas Concert

tickets £10 from Kafe Fontana, Cheap Street

Sunday 3rd 10.30am-12pm Sunday Morning Worship All are welcome to attend this Church service, but we request that you do not wander around the festival during this time please Monday 4th 10.15am-11.15am Sherborne Primary School Carols Monday 4th 2.30-3.30pm Abbey Primary School Carols Tuesday 5th 2-3pm Leweston Prep Carols Wednesday 6th 11am-12pm Sherborne Prep Carols

Wednesday 6th 2-3pm U3A Choir Carols Friday 8th 2-3pm Sherborne Rock Choir Friday 8th 7.30pm Jazz Concert with Mike Denham on piano, ‘Spats’ Langham on the banjo, guitar, ukulele and vocals and Mike Piggott on jazz fiddle. £15.00 Tickets by email:

Saturday 9th 5pm Closing Carol Concert led by Rev Jim Edie, with The Town Band, Town Mayor and presentation of cheques to this year’s local beneficiaries: The Open Gate Club: A social club for adults who are learning disabled and live in the Sherborne Area Youth for Christ: Providing support and activities for young people in and around Sherborne

Kindly sponsored by

WHAT'S ON Christmas Trees by local charities, clubs

artefacts brought in from audience


performances. A Sherborne Churches

objects interspersed. Free for members, £7

Sherborne Town Band


Gransden Hall, Merritt Centre,

and schools plus carol concerts and

members with some of the presenter’s

Wednesday 13th 7.30pm

for non-members

Christmas Concert

Sunday 3rd 11am–2pm

Thursday 7th 2pm

Festive Messy Museum

Sherborne Museum Winter

Sherborne Girls, DT9 3QN

Sherborne Museum, Abbey Gatehouse,

Talk - A Masterpiece on your

kids making Christmas tree decorations.

Digby Road, DT9 3NL

Gardeners’ Association

members. Tea and cake provided.

Digby Hall, Hound Street. All are

Cerne Abbas Village Hall. 07823 778758.

Friday 8th 7.30pm


Together Event


Tickets £12 adults, £10 concessions. 01935 818304

Church Lane, DT9 3BP. Crafting for

Mantelpiece: Images on Christmas Cards

Thursday 14th 2.30pm

Free drop-in event. 01935 812252.

Digby Memorial Church Hall,

Sherborne & District


Admission £5; free to museum

Christmas Party and Quiz


welcome. Visitors £3. 01935 389375

Sunday 3rd 7.30pm Siger - Folk Music from Flanders


£13, £6 u18s, £35 family

Dean Carter: OUT OF THE LOOP

Friday 15th 7pm


Album Launch

Christmas With Continuum

Monday 4th – Saturday 9th

Digby Memorial Hall, DT9 3NL

- Choir of Young Cambridge

Cross Israel-Palestinian Appeal

Cheap Street Church, DT9 3BJ


(cash only) from Winstone’s Books

7.30pm (& Saturday 9th 2.30pm) Amateur Players of Sherborne Twelfth Night Sherborne Studio Theatre, Marston Rd

Entry by donation to British Red


Tickets £15, students £8, under 16s free

£11-£14 07786 070093

Friday 8th 7.30pm


Live Jazz

Saturday 16th 10am-12.30pm

Tuesday 5th 6.30pm for 7pm

Cheap St Church, DT9 3BJ

(last repair 12.15pm)

vocals, Mike Piggott - violin, Mike

Cheap Street Church Hall. Bring

avoid landfill. Volunteers and repairers

Clare Balding - Isle of Dogs: My Canine Adventure Through Britain Cheap St Church, Sherborne

Talk and book signing with one of TV’s best-loved presenters.


Tom ‘Spats’ Langham - banjo, guitar,

Repair Cafe

Denham - piano.£15. Bookings

household items to be repaired and



Tickets £5 available from Winstone’s

Tuesday 12th 7pm




Digby Hall, Hound Street DT9 3AA

Thursday 21st 10.30am-11.30am

Play ukulele or sing-along led by

Hound St, DT9 3AA

£5 entry. Music available. Contact



Charity Song & Ukulele Evening

Tuesday 5th 8pm

A fun musical evening in aid of charity.

Sherborne Library - Craft Event

Sam Brown. Everyone welcome.

Free. Suitable for ages 3 and over.

Members’ Christmas Evening Henry III: How Can We Know the Personality of a Medieval King? Digby Hall, Hound Street

____________________________ 07818 068384

Sunday 31st 2pm-4pm


Singing Bowl Soundbath

Wednesday 13th 10am-2pm


Fernando Velazquez

Oborne Village Hall DT9 4LA

Wednesday 6th 3pm and 7pm

Contemporary Artist

Audience Participation Talk -

'Storms and Lights'

Bring an Object

Old Tannery Studios, Victoria Road,

Members free, visitors £5

Digby Hall, Hound Street. Based on 22 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Yeovil, BA25 1AZ

£15 please book in advance 01935 389655


DECEMBER 2023 Planning ahead

Saturday 9th

Saturday 23rd


Combe Down (A)

Shaftesbury (H)

Talk - The Death of Nelson - The

Saturday 16th

Saturday 30th

Painting by A. W. Devis Examined

North Dorset (H)

Laverstock & Ford (H)

Digby Hall, Hound Street



Members free, visitors £5

Sherborne Football Club

Sherborne Tennis Club


The Terrace Playing Fields

Dorchester Road, Sherborne,

The Terrace Playing Fields

Dorset DT9 5NS

Dorset DT9 5NS

Thursday 4th January 8pm

Sport ____________________________

Men’s 1st XI (3pm KO unless otherwise stated)

Sherborne RFC

Saturday 2nd

The Terrace Playing Fields

Fareham (H)

Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5NS

Saturday 9th

Men’s 1st XV (3pm KO)

Hamble (H)

Saturday 2nd

Saturday 16th

Dorchester (H)

Andover New Street (A)

Dorchester Road

Dorchester Road, Sherborne, Yeovil and District Tennis League Division 1

Sunday 17th 10am South Petherton (H) ____________________________

Prebook now

Talk and signing by presenter (and dog lover)

Clare Balding Isle of Dogs: My Canine Adventure Through Britain

Tuesday 5th December

Tickets and further information available in store 8 Cheap Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3PX Tel: 01935 816128 | 23


or visit the website

or visit the website


Sherborne Abbey

Saturday 9th December

Sherborne Churches Together

Sunday 3rd December

5pm Carol Service with Sherborne

Saturday 2nd to

1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm

Methodist/United Reformed Church

Town Band

Saturday 9th December

Sunday 17th December


10.30am Morning Worship Christmas Eve 10.30am Informal Communion

Christmas Tree Festival - Cheap St

Saturday 16th December 11am Carol Singing - outside Waitrose

with Carols

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Lunch - Digby Hall


Shoppers’ Carols

5pm Advent Carol Service Friday 8th December 10am Mothers’ Union Carol Service Sunday 10th December 5pm Christingle Service


Monday 11th December

11am Christmas Service

St Martin Of Tours, Lillington

7.30pm Christmas Concert

For further information visit the

6pm Carol Service


Christmas Day

Roman Catholic church

9.30am Family Service

Sunday 17th December


5pm Festival of Lessons and Carols


Sacred Heart and St Aldhelm, Westbury

Sunday 17th December

with Holy Communion

Thursday 14th December 7pm A Quieter Christmas

1.30pm and 2.30pm Shoppers’ Carols

Christmas Eve

St Mary Magdalene, Castleton

10.30am Fourth Sunday of Advent Mass

Christmas Eve

Wednesday 20th December

6pm Vigil of Christmas Mass

11.15am Mattins

7pm (Lady Chapel) Mulled Wine

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

9am Christmas Mass

11am Service of Lessons and Carols

For further information contact the

For further information contact the

10.30am Christmas Mass

Church Office: 01935 812021

24 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

followed by BCP Holy Communion

Parish Office: 01935 713777

& Mince Pies with Carols

Saturday 23rd December 2.30pm UK Steam Railtours Carol Service

Christmas Eve

8am BCP Holy Communion

Christmas Day

ReBorne Sunday 17th December

3pm & 5pm Crib Services

10am All Age Celebration at The Gryphon

9.30am Parish Eucharist

and Lighting of the Tree

11.30pm Midnight Mass-The First Eucharist of Christmas

For further information contact the

Christmas Eve


Church Farm, Purse Candle, DT9 5DY

8am BCP Said Holy Communion

St James The Great, Longburton

11.30am Festal Mattins

4pm Carol Service with

9.30am Parish Eucharist with Carols

For further information contact the

at Digby Hall, DT9 3AA

St Paul’s Office on 01935 816444 or visit the website

Christmas Day

4pm Refreshments & Carol Service

Sunday 17th December 'Dress up Nativity'

10.15am Refreshments & service.

For further information email or visit the website


Christmas Eve

The Society Of Friends

or visit the website

11.30pm First Eucharist of Christmas


St Paul’s @ The Gryphon

Christmas Day

Sunday 17th December

10am Family Communion

10.30am Meeting at the Digby

Parish Office: 01935 713777


10am All Age Nativity Service at The Gryphon

For further information contact

Christmas Eve

or visit the website

10am Holy Communion at St Paul’s

Sunday 17th December Memorial Hall

Christmas Eve

the Parish Office: 01935 713777

10.30am Meeting. Venue to be decided


For further information text 07877 944649

FRIDAY 8 - SUNDAY 31 DECEMBER 2023 | Box Office: 01935 422884 | 25



Welcome to The Sherborne Market! What brings you here? I live close to Sherborne and was delighted that Jules was putting together an artisan market… so refreshing! As an independent market, it’s often difficult to find the right fit for you but this works beautifully for us. Where have you travelled from? We live in North Dorset and my studio is in Chicklade on the Fonthill Estate. Tell us about what you’re selling. All of my work is designed and handmade by me. I mainly work on functional, everyday items but at Christmas time, I work with porcelain to create keepsake ornaments and tea-lights. Where and when did it all begin? It began for me as a hobby in 2010 and quickly grew 26 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

into a larger project, having started in the garden shed! I now offer workshops and taster sessions. What do you enjoy most about selling at markets? The markets are great fun. I’m lucky enough to have my husband helping me and we both enjoy chatting to a range of people. If you get the chance, which fellow stallholders here at Sherborne would you like to visit? I’m always tempted by the other stallholders’ wares and makes. I love Bramblewood Soap and Lavender Blue Bakery! Where can people find you on market day? You’ll find us on Digby Road. Come and say hello.

Hand picked artisan TRADERS featuring local producers, suppliers, amazing food, arts and crafts.

DEC 17TH 10AM - 3PM 2024 dates



OCT 20TH NOV 17TH DEC 15TH Flying the flag for local



28 | Sherborne Times | December 2023



The Sherborne

hat right do you have to be merry?’ exclaimed Scrooge, one of Charles Dickens’s most miserly yet transformed characters and the protagonist of A Christmas Carol. Dickens’s festive tale that sought societal change has captured the hearts and imaginations of readers for generations, arguably playing a significant role in the way we celebrate Christmas to this day. Sherborne’s celebratory Festive Shopping Day will be held on 3rd December this year and is themed as ‘Dickens Day’. Unlike Scrooge in the opening pages of A Christmas Carol, there will be lots to be merry about in our charming market town. With festivities planned such as carols and lantern parades, festive food and seasonal stalls lining the streets, and the big Christmas light ‘switch on’, it’s set to be a very merry day. We can’t wait to be fully involved with the revelries next year but for now, and in this Christmas edition of the Sherborne Times, we wanted to delve a little into the fascinating connection between Charles Dickens and Sherborne House. A frequent visitor to our town through his close friendship with William Macready, the renowned Shakespearean actor-manager who once rented our glorious building as his home, Charles has left his literary mark on Sherborne forever. ‘Marley was dead: to begin with.’ – the opening line of A Christmas Carol, read aloud by Charles Dickens himself, in Sherborne, on 21st December 1854, at what is thought to be just the second public ‘outing’ of his famous festive story. The venue was the Sherborne Literary and Scientific Institution on Newlands, once a stable block to Sherborne House where Macready lived and now home to Macintosh Antiques. Macready was President of the Institution and invited his literary friends to help raise both its profile and much-needed funds – it is said to have gone from strength to strength under his presidency. Macready also gave readings and lectures himself alongside friends such as William Thackeray and Dickens. Hard to imagine as a contemporary audience,

Dickens’s visit to Sherborne for his famous reading was shrouded in drama for a variety of reasons. A ticket price perceived to be too hefty leading to low sales, a subsequent change of venue to ensure it felt like a ‘full house,’ and a timetable clash with the last market before Christmas, Macready felt like his dear friend had been let down by the committee and the town. In the end, a three-hour long reading was delivered to an overcrowded room, raising £22 for the Library Fund (approximately £1300 in today’s money). After the event, a vote of thanks to Mr Dickens was proposed by Sir William Medlycott of Ven House and seconded by Macready. Given how close their relationship was, the years it spanned, and an archive of old letters and correspondence, many believe that parts of A Christmas Carol may have been penned during Dickens’s visits to Sherborne – though this is not firmly confirmed. One thing that is for sure is the creation of the remarkable Macready/Dickens Screen that was conjured between the two friends and thought to be made by a local craftsman. With eight panels, covered in carefully curated pictures that related to contemporary life at the time, it truly is an extraordinary sight. This exquisite screen is destined to be unveiled periodically at The Sherborne, once the restoration is complete and we open our doors to the public, so do keep your eyes and ears open for when you may catch a glimpse. One of the most iconic elements of A Christmas Carol is the spirit of giving and charity that permeates the story, after an incredible transformation – something which resonates with our vision for Sherborne House. A restorative story with a goal of giving back to the community – our gift to you. Wishing you a very merry Christmas and an inspired New Year. | 29


Mary Hatt during her nursing career

Mary Hatt




Mandy Bloom

he life story of 101-year-old Sherborne care home resident Mary Hatt is among those featured in a new book of wartime memories. Mary is well known in the town, having been born here in 1922 and then returning to Sherborne in more recent years after retiring from a long and prestigious career in nursing. The book is a compilation of interviews carried out at local care homes including Eastbury House in Sherborne. Mary’s story tells of her move to London to train in nursing in April 1939, along with aspects of her family history. Mary’s father Alfred Percy Hatt was awarded an immediate Military Cross at 23 for his bravery at Passchendaele. Between the wars, he became a Quantity Surveyor and worked on the Sherborne Abbey Lady Chapel WWI Memorial. Most of his artefacts were donated to the Wellcome Collection in London but her father’s pencil holder fashioned from a First World War bullet is held by Sherborne Museum. These were sent to overseas service personnel by the Soldiers & Sailors Christmas Fund in 1914. Alfred is also mentioned in the Western Gazette (27th July 1923) when the Prince of Wales visited Sherborne and congratulated him on 30 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

the MC honour. Mary started training at Great Ormond Street at the age of 17 and qualified as a RSCN. In the book she gives a first-hand account of wartime bombing, ‘I will never forget the first night of the London Blitz – Tuesday 7th September 1940 – when the hospital suffered a direct strike from a German incendiary bomb, which hit the main lift shaft and boiler house, shattering the water and gas mains. We had to carry all the children and babies down to the basement, which was thought to be the safest place, but this soon started to flood and I remember seeing ration books and babies’ bottles floating past us. We were carried out by firemen but once we were outside, we were in total darkness because of the blackout. All the windows had been blown out so we had to walk out across shards of broken glass, still carrying the babies and their cumbersome gas masks.’ She spent part of the war based at an EMS hospital in Hemel Hempstead and completed her general training at the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital in Aylesbury, where she celebrated D-Day. ‘There was a huge bonfire built in the Market Square - the medical students made streamers and garlands out of toilet rolls.

Margaret Stringer

There were these pink toilet rolls all around the lamp posts and goodness knows what – it was certainly a memorable time in my life.’ After working in hospitals in Manchester and Hackney, Mary was still only in her early 30s when she returned to Great Ormond Street as a Sister Tutor in 1953. The final part of her career was spent working at the Mayday Hospital in Croydon, lecturing classes of 40 student nurses. Other Eastbury residents featured include 101-yearold Margaret Stringer who trained with the Red Cross and worked as a nursing auxiliary; and 95-year-old Ron Haynes who worked as a telegram boy during the war. Ron remembers, ‘By 1942, the war had depleted the labour force and staff were badly needed everywhere, so the pressure was on for teenagers to leave school and go out to work. At the age of 14, my first job was working for the post office (GPO) as a telegram boy. Telegrams were used for important information because very few people had telephones. If there was a heavy bombing of Manchester or Liverpool and people wanted to let their relatives in the south know they were OK, a telegram was the way to do it. It was a very important service and we didn’t have WhatsApp! I wore a full uniform with a cap and had a small pouch containing the telegrams, a pencil and the reply forms. The normal telegrams were delivered in a small yellow envelope and had to be handed to the recipient personally, so we would knock on the door, and say

Ron Haynes

‘Mrs Smith?’ and when she had read it, would ask, ‘Is there any reply?’ But there was also a different telegram which had a blue stripe on the top and the word ‘Priority’ on the envelope. The wording of these would always be, ‘His Majesty regrets to inform you…’ If you were delivering a blue telegram, you knew instantly it contained bad news and we were told not to wait for an answer. Very often you would get halfway down the footpath and would hear a horrendous scream coming from the house – it was terrible.’ Another resident of the home, Penny Jones, remembers life during wartime as a young girl in the Chew Valley, while centenarian Barbara Morton describes teacher training in London and Ann Taylor tells of the bomb damage to Southampton and life at boarding school. As a writer of memoirs, I was asked to record resident’s memories from the Second World War. Once the residents’ stories began to unfurl, however, I realised that these experiences could not, and should not be isolated from the wider social history of their long and fascinating lives. I feel privileged to have helped to preserve these important narratives for posterity. I Remember the War is available to order from Highfield Care Home, Castle Cary – 01963 350697 | 31

CHRISTMAS FOOD BOX APPEAL Please donate: Tinned Ham • Packet Stuffing Mix • Christmas Cake • Christmas Log • Xmas Crackers • Shortbread • Mince Pies • Festive Biscuits & Chocolates • Christmas Puds/Desserts • Long-life Spray Cream • Tinned Fruit • Long-life Desserts, Jellies and Custard • Jarred Pickles • Tinned Salmon • Jarred Pate and Dips • Savoury Crackers & Snacks • Cordials • Children’s Treats Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Vegetarian/Vegan options are always welcome Donation points can be found near the check-outs at: 07854 163869 |


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




Chris Loder MP, Member of Parliament for West Dorset

ne of the many beautiful things about Sherborne is Christmas time here. Cheap Street is adorned with Christmas trees. The Conduit is home to the crib telling the Christmas story and of course, the Abbey gives us our home for Christmas music, worship and reflection during what is often a wonderful time albeit tinged with fond memories of those no longer with us. I do hope you’ll be able to enjoy the annual Festive Shopping Day on 34 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Sunday 3rd December and of course to celebrate over the festive period and New Year with family and friends. For most people, home ownership represents the largest investment made in a lifetime. It is a sizeable economic and emotional commitment that typically lasts for decades. But, here in West Dorset, getting onto the property ladder is not easy, especially for first-time buyers. I purchased my first one-bed cottage for £130k in Sherborne back in 2011. More affordable housing is

a necessity but it’s important that we take a pragmatic approach to achieve this and to prioritise housing provision for local families and people who contribute so much to our local economy. There is a proposed housing development situated to the west of Sherborne – known officially as West Sherborne. The proposal comprises 1,200 commercially built homes on greenfield land stretching to the west and north of Sherborne Abbey Primary School, Bradford Road, the A30, and to the north-west of the Persimmon Corelli estate. There had been considerable debate about this development at Sherborne Town Council back in April 2021. It resulted in the whole council expressing their support for the development. The Town Council confirmed that it would mean the overall introduction of at least 1,200 more houses, increasing the town’s size by an enormous 34% - taking the overall number of properties in the town to at least 5,900. The proposal also includes reducing the A30 dualcarriageway from double lane to single lane on the approach to Sherborne; this road carries around 15,000 vehicles per day. The development would also see the construction of properties near Lenthay Common, which many local people will no doubt recognise the flood risks. In my time as a Member of Parliament, I’ve seen several proposals to construct thousands of homes in West Dorset. From Dorchester to Sherborne, multimillion-pound housing proposals have emerged which might look good on the face of it. But we also need to understand the downsides. It is incumbent upon all of us to question the impact of these large-scale developments and what they will do to existing services and the environment. Is it sustainable for the town to cope with an estimated 2,400 extra cars for example – especially when the proposal singles the dual carriageway?

"From Dorchester to Sherborne, multi-million-pound housing proposals have emerged which might look good on the face of it. But we also need to understand the downsides." I am conscious that the town has not yet properly debated or had the opportunity to express its opinion, other than when I wrote to the town about it a few years ago and I am increasingly concerned that we as elected politicians do not fully know the town’s opinion about the proposed development. If you don’t know much about it, visit the developer’s website: It will give you an outline. I would then appreciate it if you would share your opinion with me about this development – you can do so by emailing or by writing to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. As the Town Council has already supported the development, it may also be worth asking for your Town Councillor’s view as well, to help inform you about the proposal from their perspective and the reason for backing the development. Contact details can be found at Regrettably, this is my last column in the Sherborne Times. I hope you have enjoyed these articles and the sharing of the work that I do on your behalf or a view on the issues that impact our town. If you’d like to stay up to date, you can sign up for my newsletters chrisloder. I’d like to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Office Available for Rent H O U N D S T R E E T, C E N T R A L S H E R B O R N E —————— Separate entrance, unfurnished, shared WC/shower and kitchen facilities. £325 pcm + £25 pcm fixed contribution to business rates, electricity, water, heating, kitchen cleaner and facilities. £325 deposit. Flexible lease terms. —————— Contact: 01935 852175 • | 35

Deliciously Christmas... THE CLOCKSPIRE Discover our fabulous Festive Menu We’re now taking bookings for festive celebrations and Christmas Day - whether it’s a family get-together or a treat for your team. View our festive menu online - served from November 15th and throughout December 2023 Wednesday to Friday Lunch & Dinner and Saturday Lunch.

2 Courses £38.00 • 3 Courses £45.00

...and Festive Afternoon Tea Seasonally inspired finger sandwiches and mouthwatering sweet treats crafted by The Clockspire’s talented pastry chefs. A little festive feast for £38 per person!

Cocktails and canapes on the Mezzanine Join us in the Mezzanine bar for pre-dinner cocktails and canapes.Our gifted team have developed some tonguetingling treats for the season ahead!

Gourmet gifts from The Clockspire Show your appreciation this Christmas with one of our specially curated Christmas Hampers - bursting with gourmet delicacies selected by Head Chef Luke Sutton. There are 3 to choose from. Call 01963 251458 or email to enquire.

01963 251458 • Gainsborough, Milborne Port, Sherborne DT9 5BA

Yeovil Audi. Look No Further. At Yeovil Audi, we have a selection of unmissable end of year new car offers waiting for you!

Audi Q5 Up to £8,500 finance deposit contribution (11.3% APR representative)

Audi Q8 e-tron

Audi Q4 e-tron

Up to £10,500 finance deposit contribution

Up to £6,000 finance deposit contribution

(8.9% APR representative)

(6.9% APR representative)

> Impressive loyalty offers for existing Audi customers > Generous finance deposit contributions available across the new car range > Service Plan for just £299 on eligible models covering your first two services > Additional offers for electric cars including either a free home charger or £500 charging voucher

For more information, please visit or call us on 01935 574 981 Terms and conditions apply. Deposit contribution and loyalty deposit contribution available when purchased with Audi Solutions Personal Contract Plan. At the end of the agreement there are three options: i) retain the vehicle: pay the optional final payment to own the vehicle; ii) return the vehicle; or iii) replace: part exchange the vehicle, finance subject to status. Retail Sales only. Subject to agreed annual mileage. Excess mileage chargers apply. Offer available for vehicles ordered between 1st November 2023 and 31st December 2023. Further charges may be payable if vehicle is returned. Offers are not available in conjunction with any other offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Available to 18’s and over. Subject to availability. Finance subject to status. Electric car offers apply to selected electric cars available for delivery before 31st December 2023. For full offer terms and conditions see Accurate at time of publication [November 2023]. Freepost Audi Finance. Ocean Automotive Limited acts as a credit broker and not a lender.

Yeovil Audi | Mead Avenue, Houndstone Business Park, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 8RT | Tel: 01935 574 981 |



UNEARTHED Theo Wormald-Riches, Aged 17, Leweston School


ixth Form Art and Design Scholar, Theo, studies Fine Art and Textiles at A Level, with the prospect of studying a fashion degree at university. Theo’s coursework is inspired by Games of Thrones, putting together lavish costumes influenced by a variety of cultures and styles whilst practising many techniques ranging from synthetics, heat press printing, embroidery and fabric burning. Theo is a co-creative director for the upcoming Leweston Fashion Show, organising music, clothing, lighting and set design. He is also working on costumes and props for the school production of Les Misérables. Head of Leweston’s Art and Design Department, Ms Lacey, said, ‘Engaging with Fine Art has been transformative, enabling Theo to explore an array of techniques. By merging traditional methods with digital innovation, he seamlessly bridges classical artistry with contemporary expression.’ As well as the creative aspect of his art studies, Theo incorporates his passion for sustainability and humanitarianism. Theo sold some of his designs raising enough money to provide Christmas dinner for 12 homeless people. At the Leweston Public Speaking Competition, Theo set his focus on fast fashion, looking at its environmental and social impacts. His hard work and passion paid off, winning the competition. Theo shares his infectious enthusiasm for the subject in his position as Prefect; helping to run art, textiles and fashion clubs, and an after-school club for younger art scholars. Theo is driven to explore uncharted artistic territories and continues to be an inspiration to younger students who also wish to pursue a career in the field of Art and Fashion.


Portrait, lifestyle, PR and editorial commissions 07808 400083

38 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

FREE MONTH when you sign up in January*

*applies to direct debit and fixed term memberships only. Terms and conditions apply. Please visit our website


Christmas Book Ideas for Children Hazel Roadnight, Winstone’s Books


The Night Before Christmas

The Christmas Owl

Clement Moore, illustrated

Ellen Kalish & Gideon Strerer,

by Christian Birmingham

illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki

(Harper Collins £8.99) The classic poem, written in 1822 by a New York clergyman and originally published anonymously, is beautifully brought to life in this edition with atmospheric artwork on every page.

(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers £7.99) The amazing true story of Rocky the owl who makes an unplanned trip to the Rockefeller Centre in New York one Christmas when her home, a beautiful tree, is cut down to take for the city decorations.

40 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

tine This nr es t


(Scholastic £12.99) Another tale of a favourite festive character in a book dedicated to Raymond Briggs. This snowman finds a friend and takes a tour of London’s snow-covered landmarks with a cheerful robin.


Michael Foreman

le itt t l as ea tm ! gr is nt A Chr ese pr

The Snowman and the Robin

Leila and the Blue Fox Karen Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston

(Orion Children‘s Books £7.99) You know you’re in for an exceptionally good book when you pick up something by this author. This one is based on a true story and manages to take us on an emotional journey that covers migration for both people and animals as well as the climate problems in the world. Winner of the Wainwright Prize 2023 for Children‘s Writing on Nature and Conservation.

Illustrations and verses by Sally Evetts

‘A humorous look at some of the quirkiest memories of childhood, depicted through 17 pages of drawings and verse.’

The Repair Shop Craft Book: Over 30 Creative Crafts for Children

(Walker Entertainment £14.99) A fabulous assortment of things to inspire the crafter in children. Packed with helpful step-by-step illustrations from Sonia Albert and helpful tips from all the Repair Shop experts. Some inventive indoor things to keep them busy as well as outdoor projects for little hands. A Whale of a Time: A Funny Poem For Every Day of the Year Selected by Lou Peacock, illustrated by Matt Hunt

(Nosy Crow £25) Another in this brilliant series of anthologies for children, following on from Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright and I am The Seed That Grew The Tree. This time it’s what we all need; a funny poem for every day of the year.

To purchase your copy of Ernestine Thistle by Sally Evetts for £7.50 (including p&p) please contact the author at or call 07867 541070

Individual prints also available Ernestine_Thistle | 41

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Liv Bowditch, The Gryphon Sixth Form

his September, I attended Dorset COP (Conference of Parties) as the Sherborne Area Schools’ Trust (SAST) youth representative. As I chatted with the other members of the audience, what became abundantly clear was that the vision for a greener future looked slightly different to everyone; some want to completely tear up society and start from scratch, whilst others would like a softer approach. Being sustainable means more than just thinking about our carbon footprint. I, like many of us, want to sustain our wonderful way of life here in Sherborne… but to do this, we need to be honest with ourselves. To maintain life as we know it, we must stop pretending that Earth’s resources are unlimited and start adjusting. I know that change can seem scary to many, especially in rural communities like ours, but in truth, being more sustainable is less about change and more about learning to adapt to the needs of our environment. Adapt? Scary? No! We homo sapiens have done that for hundreds of thousands of years! At The Gryphon School, our 10:10 mission – ‘living life in all its fullness’, instils in us a drive to take opportunities and make the best of what life throws at us. We do not want our youth to feel anxious about climate change; we want to empower students with knowledge and equip them with the tools to embark on humanity’s greatest challenge! So, may I present to you… Gryphon COP28, to be held at The Gryphon School on 13th December 2023. What is a ‘COP28’? COP is the United Nation’s annual international climate meeting. Each year, countries are party to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, where each country commits to voluntarily take action to tackle ‘human-caused interference with the climate system’. This year, the 28th COP is being held in Dubai. Inspired by this, we at The Gryphon School have decided to host our own. We have invited schools throughout our multiacademy trust – a mixture of primary, secondary and sixth form, to send delegates to a miniature COP28. Each school will be given a country to represent, as well 44 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

as a fact file beforehand so that they can learn about the various climate-related issues that their country faces. The topics that will be covered will be oceans, forests and food, energy and cities. This portion of the event will encourage students to see how climate change impacts other countries and teach the importance of diplomacy. During this part of the day, we will host some fantastic speakers: Doug Skinner – a marine biologist, Peter Littlewood – the Chair of Young People’s Trust for the Environment, Lola’s Cupcakes’ MD – Asher Budwig and Seb Brooke from The Eden Project’s new site in Portland. As an A-level economics student, I know that sustainable economics isn’t really looked at in the curriculum and yet society is going to need a generation of adults, as well as leaders who inherently think sustainably and problem-solve. We need to find a way to mesh the old with the new, without creating an environment that leaves others feeling excluded. For this reason, we will be hosting a Sustainable Careers Fair in the second half of our COP28 event. To start, we will be connecting 1,500+ students with universities like Exeter, Plymouth and Cardiff

who will showcase their degrees that can lead to sustainable careers, such as green engineering, economics, law, technology, logistics or agriculture! Following on from that, we are signposting national businesses to our students, such as RSK, NatWest and Lola’s Cupcakes. We have also invited local businesses and organisations such as the Sherborne Chamber of Commerce, Footprint Architects and Dorset Council, who will talk to students about sustainable jobs of the future, their green credentials or their sustainable vision for their business. Did I mention our marvellous mayor, Margaret Crossman, will be there too? Students will also meet the inspirational Jenny Morisetti of Defashion Dorset and the heroes at Sherborne Repair Café, who will introduce a generation of throwaway fashion and consumer goods to the age-old concept of ‘repair or repurpose’, as opposed to the 21st Century default of ‘replace’. What I love most about this component of the day is that it is a fantastic way to connect with a community. We can help one another and share skills and it may even inspire students to seek apprenticeships in a particular field. And farmers – we need you too!

We want our students to shop locally and feel passionate about supporting local businesses; it is the easiest way to sustain our market towns whilst reducing our carbon footprint. If we invest in local businesses, only then will they have the confidence to innovate and turn sustainable ideas into a reality – which we all benefit from! The Gryphon School wish for nothing more than to bring our community together so that students feel hopeful about the role they can play in a greener future. If you are reading this and would like to speak to students about your business at our COP28 Careers Fair on 13th December or would like to support us in some way, please do get in touch with me at COP@ Alternatively, our doors will be open to the public from 3.30pm to 4.30pm - we hope to see you there!

___________________________________________ Wednesday 13th December 3.30pm-4.30pm COP28 Sustainable Careers Fair Gryphon School, Bristol Road, Sherborne

___________________________________________ | 45



Miroslav Pomichal, History of Art Teacher (and Master in Charge of Fencing!), Sherborne School


t is always a privilege to impart knowledge to future generations but I do feel that art has a very particular place in the curriculum. From a very early stage, our desire is for pupils to ‘own’ their projects and coursework, to truly find their own aesthetic path. In other subjects, there is set material to learn, the challenge being how it is used. In art, the material itself, topic and subject matter is a free choice. I over-generalise, of course, but there is a marked difference in teaching Art to, let’s say, even History of Art (I teach both, incidentally). In the former, oneto-one discussions predominate from GCSE onwards, and pupils are nudged to exploit their own expressive potential. There are specific workshops and segments of the year to introduce specific skills, such as painting, printmaking, sculpture or ceramics, and it is thrilling to see a pupil naturally take to a particular method and run with it. My work as an artist slots into that perfectly. I am mostly a painter but have in the past worked in sculpture, installation, digital art and even performance. I have exhibited internationally but most of my exhibitions take place in London. I think the benefit of being a practising artist and teacher is essentially twofold: the response from the pupils and the way it benefits my role as a teacher. The enthusiasm with which pupils respond to ‘sir doing a show’ is, I must admit, always very flattering and surprising. I think it drives home to young people the fact that they are not living and studying in an isolated bubble, that we are connected, linked to the world and that our (and their) decisions and actions count. It also elevates their own identity as artists; no longer is it a ‘subject’ but an endeavour which perpetuates its values and is a lifetime adventure. I have had, as a result, extraordinary conversations where I become the

46 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Images: BJ Deakin Photography

‘pupil’ and I face a barrage of challenging questions about my practice. That table-turning helps the pupils become so much more aware of their own relationship to their artwork and helps them formulate the ideas and concepts which underpin their coursework and exam units. The exhibitions are in many ways even more useful for my History of Art A level pupils, leading to many exciting conversations about the contemporary art world that enrich their knowledge and fit well into that particular specification. Although mostly the class just insists on including errant artworks of mine in their art history PowerPoint presentations! The second benefit I can see is the way it keeps me sharp and in tune as a teacher. Art is in so many ways a sensory activity and we must refine our own physical abilities and responses to our materials. Every teacher (and technician) in the department spends considerable time exploring their own practices, in the evenings or during the holidays, and that passion and excitement for a particular method or process shines out of them daily. I need to keep up with them! Miroslav Pomichal exhibited at the British Art Fair (in the Saatchi Gallery in London) in October, with his gallerists OHSH Projects Boccaccio’s Dream and was part of a group exhibition called Don’t Look Back with Vivienne Roberts Projects. In December Miroslav takes part in a Christmas group show at Bobinska Brownlee New River and next year will be taking part in a group show of Eastern European artists with OHSH Projects. | 47


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Wild Gift Adopt a beaver, barn owl, red squirrel or seahorse for a loved one (or yourself!) and your gift will help protect wildlife and vital habitats across Dorset. Visit to choose an adoption today. Registered Charity No. 200222 48 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

© Gillian Thomas


Science & Nature



Common Marbled Carpet Dysstroma truncata


Gillian Nash

o one could be blamed for thinking a moth with such a name would be responsible for colonising carpets and ruining expensive clothes. Anything but is true, the innocent larvae feed only on vegetation, which includes a wide variety of hedgerow plants such as bramble, hawthorn, privet, sallow and honeysuckle together with docks and heathers. The moth itself seeks only nectar, often from ivy flowers and over-ripe fruit including blackberries. It is an extremely varied species and can therefore easily be confused with others. Despite this variability, the general forewing pattern is fairly consistent in shades of black, white grey and brown, with one exception that has a bold orange area on each forewing. It is easy to imagine that the common collective name ‘carpet moths’ for this group of species could refer to a resemblance to the intricate woven designs often seen in our carpets. Geometridae to which family it belongs comprises in excess of three hundred species and is the second largest

of the two groups of British ‘macro’ moths. Within this group, the small green larvae typically have legs at each end of their body and are often referred to as ‘loopers’ because of the way they move, hence the family name’s derivation from the Greek geometra or ‘ground measurer’. Found in many months of the year, secondgeneration individuals overwinter among vegetation, eventually forming a pupa followed by the emergence of the adult moth in late spring. Flight is weak and ‘fluttering’ resembling that of butterflies, although easily separated by the absence of clubbed antennae. Resident and common throughout most of Britain with a flight season of usually two generations from May to November, there are however occasional December sightings in favourable weather when this delicate nocturnal moth may grace lit windows. The Common Marbled Carpet’s ability to thrive in almost any habitat has no doubt assisted an increase in UK numbers and distribution in recent decades. A welcome success story for such an attractive moth! | 49

Science & Nature

BARN OWLS Jack Clarke, Dorset Wildlife Trust

Barn owl with vole


he barn owl is perhaps the most iconic and beloved owl found in the UK. Barn owls can be seen gliding over grassland and farmland at dawn or dusk in search of prey, which consists of mice, shrews and other small mammals. Perfectly adapted to hunting by day or 50 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

night, their heart-shaped faces direct high-frequency sounds, allowing them to locate prey in the thickets, whilst specialised feathers allow for near-silent flight as they approach their unsuspecting prey. However, like many animals, barn owls struggle throughout the winter months. The feathers of a barn

owl are not particularly waterproof. Heavy rainfall can result in feathers becoming water-logged and flying becoming laboured. As a result, its stealthy flying capabilities become compromised and prey is more likely to be alerted by approaching barn owl wings. As temperatures fall in winter, mammals become less active and make far less noise. It becomes much harder for barn owls to detect their prey. Typically barn owls need to catch three to four prey items a day to survive, which is extremely challenging in winter. So, it is no surprise that mortality in this species peaks between December and March. To increase their chances of survival, barn owls will adapt their hunting techniques. Instead of searching for food in flight, they will switch to ‘perch and pounce’ attacks to conserve their energy. When temperatures are particularly low, barn owls will also opt to hunt during the day, when small mammals are most active. A dry, warm place to roost is also crucial to the survival of barn owls. Thanks to Dorset Wildlife Trust’s barn owl webcam at Lorton Meadows nature reserve, viewers can enjoy watching a pair of resident barn owls return each year to lay their eggs and raise chicks. This year viewers were fortunate enough to witness two chicks successfully fledge the nest box. Since then, the parents have been seen using the box to shelter from the elements. Help barn owls in Dorset by purchasing an online barn owl adoption. A fantastic eco-friendly Christmas gift, the adoption pack is emailed to you straight away and consists of an online adoption certificate and information leaflet full of fascinating barn owl facts. Your email adoption will fund important conservation work to protect and manage suitable habitats and secure the future of these majestic birds in Dorset. Find out more about wildlife adoptions at

Image: Shazz Hooper, Dorset Wildlife Trust Photography

"When temperatures are particularly low barn owls will also opt to hunt during the day, when small mammals are most active."

Barn Owl Facts • Throughout history, barn owls have been given various nicknames, such as ‘ghost owl’, ‘church owl’ and ‘screech owl’. • The average lifespan of a barn owl in the wild is four years. • Barn owls have a wingspan of around 89cm. | 51

Science & Nature

NATIONAL PARKS Simon Ford, Land and Nature Advisor



any years ago, when I was a student, I lived in South Devon. I was studying for a degree in Environmental Science but still was not certain of exactly what I wanted to do after graduating. One cold autumn day, a group of friends and I decided to go for a walk on Dartmoor. We wound our way up some incredibly narrow lanes, overhung with low-growing oak trees, cloaked with mosses and ferns until we came to a small car park in an old quarry. As we arrived, I remember seeing a tall man get out of a Land Rover, with a ‘National Park Ranger’ sign on the roof rack and set off up the bridlepath with his rucksack, Barbour jacket and pointer dog. That was the moment I knew what I wanted to be! A couple of years later, I completed my degree and started job hunting. I quickly realised

52 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Red Tarn and Ullswater from the summit of Helvellyn mountain range, Lake District National Park

that I was not going to be able to get such a job, without volunteering and then working my way up, through lesser jobs to gain experience. However, after many attempts, I was successful and became National Park Ranger for Western Dartmoor, looking after the beautiful area between Plymouth, Tavistock and Princetown for 8 years. It was a wonderful job in an incredible area and provided invaluable experience for my later work with the National Trust. We have recently been very lucky to visit Western Canada and to go to some spectacular National Parks in the Pacific Rim on Vancouver Island as well as Jasper, Yoho and Banff in the Rocky Mountains. The landscapes were of course majestic and the wildlife – particularly the mammals – fascinating and memorable. > | 53

Science & Nature It made me think about the difference between the two countries and the way the National Parks are managed. In Britain, we talk about ‘protected landscapes’, such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Heritage Coast and the pinnacle of National Parks. (We of course have the Dorset and Cranborne Chase AONB near us, but sadly the idea of a Dorset National Park was rejected.) In reality, these are planning designations, where there is control over some forms of development. They are places where people live and make a living, for instance, farming, forestry and even quarrying and the military uses the wilder areas for training. Sadly, there is no more protection for wildlife than in any other part of the country and many writers have highlighted the problems from overgrazing by sheep in many upland areas, denuding them of trees and nature. Our National Parks have always been poorly funded and in recent years, they have suffered very deep cuts, preventing even the most basic services, despite seeing an ever-increasing number of visitors. Even when I worked on Dartmoor in the 1980s, I remember we said that it cost each visitor, ‘only the price of a first-class stamp in their taxes’ to fund the work of the National Park. It was therefore interesting to see how this differed from Canada. The first evident thing was that the areas are mostly wilderness, with few people living in the parks. Commercial forestry, quarrying and farming were prohibited and the protection of wildlife was at the forefront of what they do. There are large teams of scientists and rangers and, in many areas, there are exclusion zones to allow nature to flourish, unhindered by people. The car parks and trails are beautifully managed and people respect and care for these areas, with a total absence of litter. Dogs have to remain on a lead at all times to protect wild animals (as well as to protect the dogs from some of the larger animals such as black bear, cougar, grizzly bear and elk!). I wondered how this work was funded. In the UK, it is through our taxes, which is also the case in North America, but the key difference is that there is also a charge to enter the National Parks there. This is either an annual fee of $72 Canadian (about £43) or a daily charge of $10.50 (about £7). I think I know what some people would say if we suggested a similar funding stream in Britain! Of course, we are comparing very different countries and we live in a much more congested island, with no true wilderness. The historic and cultural landscape is also of enormous significance in the UK, whereas there is a real focus on wildlife in Canada and America (although thankfully there is now great emphasis on the indigenous First Nation people). Two very different models but one thing is clear – we need to start resourcing our National Parks and also putting nature at the forefront.

Louis de Pelet Counselling MBACP

outdoor therapy | 54 | Sherborne Times | December 2023



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Science & Nature



was visiting a well-known supermarket in Sherborne over the weekend, my first venture into a supermarket for many years. I needed lemon peel to make my Christmas cake and only remembered as I was returning to the car park. The baking ingredients were opposite a honey display. Despite the own brands and local sounding apiary honey looking like honey, the price clearly showed it couldn’t be. Every supermarket in the UK has repeatedly been fined for fraudulently selling honey. In a recent EU study, 100% of the honey imported to the EU from Great Britain was found to be fraudulent, highlighting the large honey-packing industry which many consumers are completely ignorant of. The Honey Authenticity Network ( 56 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Image: Katharine Davies

has been tirelessly raising awareness and taking the honey fraud industry to task. They are making progress, however, the industry is so large and powerful that it really is up to consumers to change their purchasing habits to change the industry. Why does honey fraud matter? Firstly it means that consumers are buying products which do not accurately state what the contents are. You may think it’s great to buy a jar of honey for £2.99 however, how can a genuine beekeeper justify the same product, namely honey, for £7£12 if the consumer thinks both jars are the same? Britain imports 80% of the honey consumed here, showing that we just cannot supply enough for the demand. I say that any honey priced under £5 can’t be true honey.

When you look at a jar of honey, if it says on the back, ‘A blend of EU and non-EU honey’ there is the potential for fraud. Honey is sold on the global markets from China, India, Argentina and Brazil in large barrels at the lowest possible price. When checked randomly, many of the barrels contain at best water diluted honey, and at worst, fructose corn syrup, rice syrup or plain sugar syrup. None of these have any of the beneficial properties we expect from honey. As winter’s chill descends, many of us yearn for warmth and comfort, often accompanied by a soothing cup of hot lemon and honey. We all appreciate foods that fortify our health during the colder months and nature offers a remarkable ally in honey. Beyond its variety of flavours depending on the floral source, honey plays a crucial role in maintaining health during winter. As the radiators come on and many of us spend less time in fresh air, our cosy homes can become a breeding ground for colds and flu. Comforting ourselves by eating foods high in sugars and fats, weakening our already compromised immune system, honey is nature’s cold-fighting elixir: For centuries, honey has been cherished for its medicinal properties. When winter arrives, it becomes even more invaluable. Here are some reasons why: Immune System Support:

Honey is a potent immune system booster. It’s rich in antioxidants, enzymes and antibacterial properties that help protect your body from various illnesses. With over 180 compounds found in honey, each variety provides a different combination of goodness. Soothing Sore Throats and Coughs:

Honey’s natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities make it a trusted remedy for soothing sore throats and suppressing coughs. Many people already go for honey and lemon to ease a cold’s symptoms, however, it’s best not to pour the boiling water straight over a spoonful of honey. Wait until the water is ready to drink then stir in your honey. Many of the antibacterial properties of honey are weakened when overheated - so definitely don’t be tempted to repeatedly place your mug in the microwave! Natural Energy Boost:

Winter often brings feelings of lethargy. Honey provides a quick energy boost by supplying glucose, which is readily absorbed by the body. Already ‘processed’ by the

bee’s digestive system, honey doesn’t stress our own livers, making honey ‘anti-diabetic’. It balances the blood sugars rather than a simple rising or lowering. Skin Protection:

Cold, dry air can take a toll on your skin, leading to dryness and irritation. Honey can be used in skincare routines to lock in moisture, nourish your skin and prevent the harsh effects of winter weather. If you haven’t ever tried a honey facial, I highly recommend it! Tannis Bridge in Castle Cary is a regular honey facial practitioner. Honey also contains propolis that the bees collect from trees – this is known to protect our skin, just as bees use it to protect their hives. Better Sleep:

Wintertime often leads to sleep disturbances. We know we need to rest more yet the busy festive season encourages us to go against our natural inclination to sleep and rest. Just like over-tired newborns, lack of sleep often makes it harder to wind down. Honey can promote better sleep by aiding the body’s release of serotonin and melatonin, which regulate sleep patterns. Digestive Health:

The festive feasts can sometimes be hard on the digestive system. Honey is known for its digestive benefits, soothing stomach discomfort and promoting healthy digestion. While honey is a true ‘superfood’ for winter, it’s important to note that it should not be given to children under one year old, as their developing digestive systems can’t handle the natural bacteria sometimes found in honey. Additionally, if you have allergies to pollen or bee-related allergies, exercise caution and consult a healthcare professional before adding honey to your diet. To celebrate honey I am holding some ‘Honey at T h e Hive’ tasting days sharing single variety honey from my personal collection, from Chile, Turkey, Yemen and Rapa Nui, as well as giving you the chance to taste before you buy my own honey such as thyme, lavender, coriander, avocado, holm oak and sweet chestnut. paula.carnell Paula’s weekly podcast, Creating a Buzz about Health, is available on all popular listening platforms. | 57

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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

On Foot

60 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

On Foot



Emma Tabor & Paul Newman

e are reaching the end of our series of West Dorset walks, and are currently writing the fortieth and final walk, albeit with progress hampered by the recent Storm Ciarán. We’ve selected twenty favourites to put into a book so we thought we would revisit some of the walks from our first year of writing from when they initially appeared in Sherborne’s sister title – the Bridport Times. We’ve selected these walks for their diverse range of interest and we hope they inspire you to plan adventures if you missed them the first time around. Dorset’s modest beauty is part of its charm and West Dorset’s character feels especially intimate, with close-knit valleys, hillfort-studded knolls and ridges and open chalk downland. The area is bordered by the impressive sweep of Lyme Bay - from the mysterious undercliff between Lyme Regis and Axmouth, to the geological anomaly of Chesil Bank and The Fleet with the highest point on the south coast, Golden Cap, in between. The geology of Chalk, Greensands, Oolite, Lias and Limestone underpins the rich tapestry of the Marshwood Vale and its fringes. It is no surprise that the area has inspired successive writers and poets including William Crowe, William Barnes, Dorothy and William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Geoffrey Household, and John Fowles. Traces of West Dorset’s once-rich natural history can still be glimpsed in places like Kingcombe Meadows, an untouched area of lowland meadow. > | 61

Waymarked routes crossing the region include the South West Coast Path, The Monarch’s Way, The Jubilee Trail and the South Dorset Ridgeway, which traverses a Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape rich with structures and features built in response to the surrounding topography. As with any area, West Dorset has its fair share of popular landmarks and locations, but with our walks we have tried to reveal some of the more secretive areas and less-explored routes, sometimes feeling like we’ve set free from time. We’ve enjoyed discovering more about West Dorset’s rich history, natural wonder and folklore and hope the walks have illuminated the particular nature and character of this area - one of encircling hills, old ways and glimpses of deep time. 62 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Sweet Be’mi’ster, that bist a-bound By green an’ woody hills all round, Wi’ hedges reachen up between A thousan’ vields o’zummer green. William Barnes Stoke Abbott, Lewesdon Hill and The Wessex Ridgeway

This walks starts in the picturesque village of Stoke Abbott with a lovely range of old buildings and it’s unusual natural spring which gushes from the jaws of a lion’s head. The village is hidden away, nestling snuggly beneath Lewesdon Hill, Dorset’s highest point at 915 feet. Approaching tree-clad Lewesdon from the south and then heading over the top is rewarding, partly for the far-reaching views, but also

for the wonderful mixed woodland which covers Lewesdon, with a great show of bluebells in spring. The summit has iron age bank and ditch remains, and part of the route to the north of the hill explores a holloway as you head east along the Wessex Ridgeway, giving this part of the walk an ancient and magical feel to it. Continuing east you pass the remains of Waddon Hill, a Roman fort, before reaching the gap at Chart Knolle. Gerrard’s Hill makes a good picnic spot, before leaving the Ridgeway to then explore a magical fern-carpeted woodland dell as you make your way back to the start. We’ve included the map from this walk as it was not originally published at the time. Toller Fratrum and Wynford Eagle

Despite most of this walk traversing open downland, the chalk valleys south of the River Hooke have a clandestine, calming feel to them. This route is studded with small surprising gems which start in Toller Fratrum and the church of Saint Basil with its late Saxon/early Norman font carved with intriguing figures. Heading across High Hill towards Wynford Eagle, the views are panoramic and the bare hills provide a sense of complete remoteness. Wynford Eagle, like Toller Fratrum is a tiny parish, but also has a handful of fine buildings including the manor house, church and farm which huddle around a stream in a charming setting. A lone burial mound encountered on the Jubilee Trail south of Wynford Eagle also adds to the sense of timelessness and detachment on this walk. The return route skirts Wynford Wood; a good place to see a variety of birdlife including ravens, yellowhammers and blackcaps.

Kimberlins and Slingers - The Isle of Portland

We wanted to follow the South West Coast path on its route around the Isle of Portland with the opportunity to explore Portland’s fascinating timeline from geology, through to early settlement, quarrying, military activity and now a haven for wildlife. The Isle of Portland has a unique, enigmatic and idiosyncratic charm which is worth exploring and the route around its coast is a walk through vivid layers of history. There is much to take in on this walk, so it is best to allow a full day to be able to stop and explore places like Tout Quarry Sculpture Park, Portland Bill, Church Ope Cove, Rufus Castle, St Andrew’s Churchyard, Verne Citadel and High Angle Battery. Part of the appeal of this walk was for us to experience this intriguing 13-mile section of the 630mile South West Coast Path. Littlebredy, Long Bredy and Poor Lot Barrow Cemetery

Many of our walks are planned around locations that we already have some knowledge of and they always provide us with the opportunity to explore and understand the character of a particular area more deeply. The Bride Valley was an area which we were not that familiar with, but the walk from Littlebredy to Long Bredy and back via Poor Lot Barrow Cemetery has remained one of our favourites to date for its variety of historical interest, views and just the feeling you sometimes get from walking in a particular place. It is hard to put into words exactly why one walk can be more appealing or interesting than another. Sometimes this can be the time of day or season, or a chance discovery which can surprise or delight. One thing is certain, walking always lifts the spirits, so we look forward to sharing a collection of revised walks with new photos and artwork in 2024!


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64 | Sherborne Times | December 2023



Elisabeth Bletsoe, Curator, Sherborne Museum & Betty (aged 9)


his much-loved and worn wooden rocking horse once belonged to the infants’ department of the old Abbey School, formerly situated on Horsecastles Lane. It is fixed to a safety stand and is believed to date from the early twentieth century. When the school moved to its new site at the end of Lenthay Road in January 2000, the horse was kindly donated to Sherborne Museum for posterity. Making horses into children’s toys has been a pastime for hundreds of years worldwide. In the 1300s wheeled horses were made for children to re-enact jousting games, while the earliest known rocking horses were possibly inspired by infants’ cradles. One dating to c. 1610 was made for the sickly child who became Charles I and is now in the V&A. By the mid-nineteenth century pull-along, rocking and hobby horses were popular in England, Europe and America. They became more sophisticated in their carving and were much favoured by the wealthy classes. Spotted horses were fashionable in the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century; the more subtle dappling that appears on ours was developed a little later when the royal patronage of grey horses exerted an influence. Prince Albert favoured the rocking horse as part of his family Christmas ritual and it has since become the classic toy of childhood symbolising a time of life associated with happiness and innocence. A young student, Betty, aged nine, expressed such a great interest in our horse that I asked her to co-author this article with me, so I will now hand over the reins to her: ‘I have always loved horses and we were unable to have a horse in our garden, or my bedroom, so I started to be interested in rocking horses. They don’t need feeding, mucking out or a big field. Then I found out that it would be possible to make one (my dad is a

cabinet maker). However, we didn’t have the materials to make a full rocking horse, so Dad and I decided to make a hobby horse as an initial project. He is now complete and his name is Shadow Knight. I was so pleased with how he turned out and I had learnt lots of new woodworking skills that I really enjoyed, so I decided to research how to make a full-size rocking horse as my next project. I have already started making a miniature one in preparation. I do home education and we had been learning about local history and decided to visit Sherborne Museum as part of that topic. I saw the rocking horse there and wanted to see it restored as it had part of its muzzle missing. We think that this horse is an F.H. Ayres horse because the nose snapping off like this was a common problem with them. It did also have a mane that would have been nailed in. You can still see one of the tacks that held it in place. This horse was made for Gamages Ltd which was a large department store in London that had a famous toy section. If you look to the right of the stand you can see the Gamages plate. I wrote a letter to Elisabeth explaining I would like to see it restored. This sparked a big interest in me in the history of rocking horses. I researched the details about how the old ones were restored, who the makers were and where they were sold. Elisabeth explained that the museum leaves things in their original condition to allow them to tell their story but I got to write a piece about what I had found out instead.’ Sherborne Museum is closed from Sunday 10th December and will reopen on Tuesday 6th February. We wish all our visitors, volunteers and members a peaceful Christmas and a joyful New Year. | 65



George Collings outside the Forge, Nether Compton


ow I have enjoyed David Burnett’s series of articles in the Sherborne Times on Lost Dorset. I have my own memory of scanning one of his early books which led to a surprising revelation for me. I was in Sherborne Library and came across a book entitled A Dorset Camera 1855-1914 (published 1974) which contains nearly 150 old photographs that captured the life and character of the countryside through the eyes of the travelling photographers of up to a century and a half ago. Many of those depicted have been identified, making this book a wonderful source for family historians. At the end of the book, I came upon the section on Crafts and before my very eyes a photograph of my great grandfather George Collings leapt from the page. He is pictured outside the Forge at Nether Compton and the caption reads: ‘Mr Collings outside Collings and Bicknell’s yard’. George appears to be a very typical Dorset working man of his day - stocky and strong and he likely had two large and capable hands evidence for which has been passed down the generations and exists in the hands of his descendants today. George was born in Halstock in 1847 and as a 14-year-old he became an apprenticed carpenter builder to William Hull of Nether Compton Forge. George had already spent two or three years of his life working on the land and signing up as an apprentice would see him gain a trade 66 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Image: Eddison Plant Hire Ltd

and a more settled life than that of his father. He and his partner George Bicknell spent many years working together with other local craftsmen on the building of new cottages and the refurbishment of many of the older ones in Over and Nether Compton, for Colonel John R P Goodden, between the early 1880s and into the turn of the 20th Century. As reported in the Western Gazette in May 1925 at Col and Mrs Goodden’s golden wedding celebrations the Colonel stood up to announce to all the villagers invited to share the festivities: ‘Fifty years ago today, we were married in London and after a happy honeymoon abroad we came to settle here at Compton. One of the first things that struck both of us was that the people in the village were not at all well-housed and we made up our minds that before very long we would try and alter that state of affairs. I hoped that you would think that we had to a very great extent done so.’ This was followed by loud applause as many of those present were reaping the benefits of the improvements made to the local housing stock. You can see the evidence of these past endeavours if you wander around the villages today with the initials J.R.P.G. and a date carved in stone on the front of many of the houses and cottages. A lasting testament to the vision of Colonel Goodden and the skills of that long-ago local workforce.


DRAWING TO A CLOSE Richard Bromell ASFAV, Charterhouse Auctioneers


here is always a sense of relief at this time of the year as we move into December, Christmas and the end of the year. Getting closure on a year usually suits most of us as we look forward to the proverbial fresh start in a new year with great anticipation and of course, a couple of New Year resolutions which we endeavour to keep going for as long as we can, which for me is maybe a month or two until I revert to my old and usual self again. However, working at Charterhouse, whilst the December auction as the last sale of the year, is exciting, we have had an eye on next year’s sales for some time. With specialist auctions planned, there are always plenty of lovely lots with us already entered, such as our Classic and Vintage Motorcycle auction on 27th March which already includes over 30 bikes and the star of the show being a collection of vintage machines from a well-known West Country Collection that have already generated quite a bit of pre-sale interest. Looking ahead to our first sale of 2024, entered into the 4th January Picture & Book auction is a folio of watercolour drawings from a client in Bath. They were brought to our Sherborne Salerooms on valuation day when I was on a couple of days’ leave in Bath. As mentioned in this column before, I cannot paint or draw, I even find stick people difficult to produce. I am therefore always impressed with other people’s artistic abilities. When in Bath Mrs B and I made the time to wander around the wonderful Holburne Museum. In particular, I wanted to see the Lucie Rie exhibition (available until 7th January) and also the Gwen John exhibition (available until June). Both exhibitions by these leading artists are well worth the short trip to Bath by car or train. When I returned to the salerooms, I felt not only inspired by the trip but how the exhibitions encouraged me to look at art from a different perspective. The folio of watercolour drawings brought to our salerooms were all painted by Mary Pearce. Some are 68 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Drawing of Margaret, 1944, Mary Pearce

signed, either in full or just with her initials and a few are dated - up to the early 1950s. Subjects include landscapes, towns and people from, in and around Buckinghamshire, as she lived in Iver. In the way of valuation, some are better than others. Here, I am not critiquing them as they are far better than I

will ever be able to produce but I do have to look at them from the (somewhat harsh) commercial aspect. Among the 20 or so pictures, one stands out to me of a lady, called Margaret, knitting. It is a very peaceful painting to look at and she is clearly focused on the job at hand. Whilst Lucie Rie and Gwen John can command

six-figure prices at auction, this delightful little folio of watercolour drawings by Mary Pearce from the 1940s & 1950s is more modestly estimated at £100-150 in our picture auction on 4th January. | 69

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70 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

1918 Indian Powerplus £30,000-35,000

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NORA NILSSON Words Claire Bowman Photography Katharine Davies


very family has its unique way of celebrating Christmas and Nora Nilsson’s is as eclectic as the patchwork quilts she designs. Stitching together Finnish and English traditions, Christmas in the 19th-century cottage she has just moved into with her partner James and three children, Elmer, Woody and Lumi, looks set to be the stuff of fairy tales. ‘Actually, I’m not as good as I could be carrying on all the Nordic traditions because I’ve taken on quite a few of James’s English ones over the years,’ says Nora, who grew up in the town of Rauma on the south-west coast of Finland, a UNESCO heritage site famous for its colourful wooden houses. ‘But my sisters always send me a little pouch of spices for our special gingerbread and I will try my best to source some Glöggi and we’ll bake Finnish Christmas plum tarts called Joulutorttu.’ >

72 | Sherborne Times | December 2023 | 73

74 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

‘Back in Finland, we visit the graves of relatives and loved ones on Christmas morning to pay our respects and light candles for them, before going home to eat plum soup and rice porridge, which has a lucky almond stirred in for the children to make a wish. It’s usually dark by about two o’clock in the afternoon so we’ll sit down to eat a Christmas ham and lots of fish with Rosolli (beetroot and potato salad), and then drink coffee and wait for Santa Claus to come knocking on the door, rather than coming down the chimney as he does in the UK.’ Santa had better make sure he takes extra care when he clambers down this particular chimney because there’s a huge Christmas wreath above the fireplace that I’d hate to see ruined. Crafted from foraged dried fern fronds, twigs, berries and hydrangeas by the floral designer Tattie Rose, it makes a striking focal point to the sitting room, hung alongside huge floral and harlequin-print bows that Nora has designed. Despite the fact that the family only moved in two months ago (‘There’s so much to do! Come back in two years and we’ll have the cottage exactly how we want it!’ smiles Nora), there’s something beautiful for the eye to settle on everywhere you look – a striped vase of

flowers here, a pretty frilled cushion and fluted rattan lampshade there. It’s enough to make you rush home and redecorate. Following in her mother’s stylish footsteps and assisting in today’s photo shoot is six-year-old Lumi, a vision in a little red floral dress and hand-knitted gilet, which Nora tells me came from D’Ubervilles in Sherborne. When we arrive, the Scandi scene has already been set – the dining table covered in a rust gingham tablecloth and bedecked with hand-blown olive glasses, fluted bowls, orange splatterware plates, candles and artisanal mugs, the room redolent with fresh eucalyptus. While ordinarily I’d enquire after the stockists, on this occasion there’s no need: they’re all from Aitta, the homewares shop Nora opened two years ago on The Green in Sherborne. Open as a shop-come-showroom three days a week, as well as a space from which Nora can design and send out her collection of quilts, cushions, tablecloths, pyjamas and bed canopies to homes across the world, Aitta is named after the old red barns that are commonly used to store family possessions in Finland. ‘They’re always full of treasure,’ says Nora, who grew up rifling through antique shops with her parents and has a magpie’s eye > | 75

76 | Sherborne Times | December 2023 | 77

78 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

for a gem. ‘My grandma would give me the keys and I’d find amazing old toys and magazines from 30 years ago. I’ve taken photographs of my quilts in front of them in the past, so the name Aitta was the obvious choice.’ With a celebrity client list that includes Sienna Miller and actress Karen Gillan, Nora has seen her brand PROJEKTITYYNY (‘It means Project Cushion in Finnish – in retrospect, I should probably have gone for something easier!’) go from selling cushions at London craft markets to designing collections for Liberty and appearing on the pages of Vogue and Elle Decoration. But, like most successful businesses, it didn’t happen overnight. ‘I started dabbling with making cushions when I was a fashion buyer. I’d come back from trips to India with amazing fabrics and make them in the evenings after work,’ says Nora, who moved to England at the age of 21 and graduated with an Arts degree from East London University. ‘I’d stuff the cushions with lambswool, post images on Instagram and suddenly people started buying them.’ It wasn’t until the pandemic, however, that PROJEKTITYYNY really took off. Having ticked along nicely since meeting James in 2016 and moving to Dorset with her two sons to be with him, the obsession for homewares in lockdown sent it spinning off in a whole different direction. ‘It just went crazy,’ she laughs. ‘We lived in Cerne Abbas at the time and I’d tramp across the fields to fulfil the orders in the barn I shared with James, who runs his own drinks business, Forager Spirit. I desperately needed a space where I could take someone on to work for me and that’s when the Sherborne shop came along.’ Having picked up the keys in October 2021, the couple spent five months transforming the space into the beautiful shop it is today, with its glass-fronted haberdashery counter and clever little room sets. Step inside the door and the first thing that greets you is the scent of tuberose and jasmine candles. ‘I wanted to create a signature candle that people would associate with us – and it’s worked because people say that all they have to do is follow their nose to find us!’ Above all, Aitta provides a space for Nora to play around with the product. ‘If you’re just working from a tiny room at home or in a barn full of boxes, you can see it individually, but you never get to see it laid out as if it’s in a bedroom or a kitchen. Once I’d started fitting out the shop it felt weird to have, for example, an empty table with just one of my tablecloths on it, so I decided to start selling things I love, such as plates, bowls and candlesticks.’

"In Finland, we visit the graves of relatives and loved ones on Christmas morning to pay our respects and light candles for them, before going home to eat plum soup and rice porridge." Inspired by the colour combinations of her native Finland, Nora works in a joyous palette of mustards, peachy pinks, raspberries, olive greens and sky blues. ‘The different colours of the houses in old Rauma are incredible,’ she enthuses. ‘I grew up looking at them and although I didn’t realise it at the time, the pinks and browns of the houses with their mustard borders obviously inspired me, as did the quilts my grandmother used to make. They’d be on every bed in the house.’ As well as her childhood home of Rauma, Nora has fond memories of the family summer house in eastern Finland, close to the Russian border, where she’d spend entire summers as a child. ‘We’d be outdoors, swimming, taking saunas and whittling wood for weeks on end,’ she says, fanning an impressive collection of butter knives made of juniper wood out on the kitchen table in front of us. ‘It was a forager’s dream because we could literally step outside the front door and be able to create a meal from the fish we’d caught and the chanterelle mushrooms we’d picked that day.’ Our time drawing to a close, we take advantage of a break in the weather and brave the mud to explore the surrounding countryside. While Nora, James and Lumi lead the way up a narrow path behind the cottage, the family’s two-year-old husky collie Juno bounces excitedly at her heels. ‘We walk across the fields to school every day,’ says Nora, stopping briefly to scoop Lumi up to avoid the nettles. ‘After years of ferrying the boys to school along the streets of south London, it’s so nice to be able to pull on our wellies and walk. It’s probably only now that we’ve been in the cottage a little while and have found our feet that I’m able to appreciate what a luxury that is.’ projektityyny | 79

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Amaryllis Santiago

Marc de Boer/Shutterstock

Christmas Cactus

Boryana Manzurova/Shutterstock

Christmas Cherry


Clematis cirrhosa


Hellebore Christmas Rose


Sweet Box

82 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Tom Meaker/Shutterstock



Mike Burks, Managing Director, The Gardens Group

f you are stuck choosing a present for a friend or need to suggest something for others to give to you, then a plant is a great choice. There are quite a number of plants with Christmas in their common name, with many being very traditional plants which now have been improved by modern breeding techniques. Some are more recent adopters of the ‘Christmas’ common name, presumably for marketing purposes. I used to joke that anything with Christmas in the plant name meant that the plant did nothing at Christmas with the Helleborus niger – ‘The Christmas Rose’ in mind. We used to have plastic Christmas Rose flowers that could be pushed in alongside the plant or used in wreaths but the modern varieties are very reliable and the specialist growers that we work with are good at getting the plants in perfect form for Christmas. As I write, I’m looking at the variety Helleborus niger Wintergold which is budding up nicely with the first sign of white poking through. We also have the Lenten Rose Helleborus Winter Bells which has green flowers with pink blushes from early winter onwards. Still out in the garden, the Christmas Box or Sarcococca never fails to deliver. Its tiny green buds open to small white and highly scented flowers right through the winter. There are a number of varieties but almost all are suitable for planting in a pot which means that they can be positioned somewhere that you walk past on a regular basis to get the full effect. My favourite is Sarcococca confuse but some of the newer varieties such as Winter Gem are very reliable with strong growth and lots of flowers. In recent times, a number of plants thought to be just for indoors have crept outside too. These include the mini cyclamen which are now a staple part of the winter bedding scene. Another is the Christmas Cherry, a variety of Solanum called Thurino. This has orange/ red round fruit on top of bushy growth to about 9 inches and can be used outside for the autumn or in a cool bright spot inside, or indeed in a conservatory. Its name ‘Christmas Cherry’ sometimes causes confusion between it and the Winter Flowering Cherry (or Autumn Cherry) Prunus autumnalis. This is a

real Flowering Cherry and grows as a small tree with delightful winter flowers, pink in bud turning to white or there is also the variety ‘rosea’ which has pink flowers. The blooms are small and dainty but look fabulous on the bare stems on a bleak winter’s day. This is a great example of why the use of the Latin name can avoid difficulties, as the true cherry won’t fit on the kitchen windowsill! If it’s fruit that you yearn for then there is an apple variety called Christmas Pippin. It is a Cox-style apple which matures late so will easily store to be eaten at Christmas time and beyond. I can vividly remember as a child our family being given a present of a whole box of Coxes Orange Pippin apples – different times but much more memorable than an Xbox! The sound of bells at Christmas can be matched by the sight of the flowers on the Clematis Jingle Bells. This evergreen variety with small neat leaves is a manageable size and the creamy white hanging flowers come in the winter months. It would prefer a sheltered spot but again is a sign of hope in the depths of the winter. A classic at Christmas is the Amaryllis with its enormous trumpets of flowers in red, white or pink, with other variations too. Bought now as bulbs and potted into a large pot, they will start to grow and will put up at least one flower spike. The larger bulbs we have sometimes put up as many as three and those growing in my greenhouse have got so large as to have up to five flowers per plant. My mum, in recent years, has given these as Christmas presents to her many grandchildren and the recipients have delightedly shared their success with Granny! On a smaller scale is the Christmas Cactus which is one of those plants that can be kept for generations. It can be forced into flowering by neglecting it for a number of weeks in the summer until flower buds start to form. Then potting it on or increasing the watering brings it back into good health and lots of flowers will follow. You should now be able to write your Christmas list! Enjoy yourself ! | 83


WINTER GREENS Joelle Lindsay, Sherborne Turf

Sahara Prince/Shutterstock


s surprising as it may seem, did you know that winter is actually an excellent time of year to lay turf ? Thanks to our turf being plastic netting-free and grown for at least 18 months, it has a much thicker root bed and can be laid all year round. When it comes to cold weather, there is no reason you cannot lay turf as long as you can prepare the ground. Simple steps to follow when laying turf (at any time of year): Prepare the ground:

• Remove existing turf, weeds and larger stones 84 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

(smaller stones will help with drainage). • Lower or raise levels as required by removing or adding soil. You will not need special or expensive soil underneath turf as long as the soil is relatively free-draining. • Firm the ground by treading then rake and level the soil, leaving a fine tilth on the surface. • The ground can be considered well-prepared when a trodden shoe makes a mark but does not sink into the soil. • Ensure the soil is damp before laying the turf. • Apply a dressing of a balanced fertiliser to aid

root establishment. Lay the turf:

• Lay the borders first, like a big frame. • Rolls should be laid tightly together and kept moist to aid establishment and fusion. • Use planks to work from and walk on. • Lay turf in alternate directions in a staggered bond, ensuring the joints are pulled into each other but avoid stretching the turf. • It is better to have too much turf than too little to ensure a good-looking finish. Immediately after:

• Ensure turf is watered in well and kept damp for 2-4 weeks or until the lawn is fully established. • Avoid walking on the turf until it is established (especially during rain or after watering to prevent divots whilst establishing). • Do not mow until the lawn is established. You can check if it is ready by pulling at the edge of one of the rolls. If it does not come up, it is good to mow.

Laying turf in frost and freezing conditions:

Prepare the ground as normal, laying the turf as per our instructions above. Cold weather will cause the turf to go into a dormant state. It will stay alive throughout the winter but it will not grow. This means the roots will not establish until warmer weather and the turf will remain easy to lift back off the ground until this happens. Do not mow. The turf roots will not have established so it will not be safe to mow. (This applies to all lawns, including recently laid turf where the roots have established. Refrain from mowing in freezing conditions as this may lead to disease later in the year). Don’t over-water it – otherwise, it will freeze. The moisture in the frost should be enough to keep it watered. Remember, the turf is alive in its root mat. Because our turf is grown without plastic netting, it has a thicker root mat. This means it will happily sit throughout the winter and will start growing again when the weather warms up. | 85



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Annabelle Hunt, Bridport Timber, Colour Consultant

s the days grow shorter and the year turns once again towards the colder months, now is the perfect time to add some warmth and cheer to your home. Midwinter decoration is all about creating a cosy, inviting atmosphere that embraces the spirit of the season through both festive celebrations and everyday comforts. Whether you are celebrating holiday traditions or simply embracing the season, it’s a time to cherish old customs and make new memories. While traditional colours like deep reds, forest greens and glistening golds are classic choices that immediately bring to mind the holiday season, midwinter decorating is not just about Christmas; it’s about creating an atmosphere that offers comfort throughout the chilly months. Darker tones are wonderful for creating a cosy cocoon of colour. The rich jewel tones of Farrow & Ball’s Preference Red and Vardo are vibrant and exciting, whilst Cardamom, from their Carte Blanch range, has more of a muted sophistication. To create maximum impact, think about colour-drenching your walls, woodwork and ceilings in one delicious velvety-matt finish. This especially suits rooms you use in the evening, inviting you to relax and linger for a while. If you prefer lighter colour schemes, this decorating style can still be used to great effect. Taking a light or mid-shade across the whole room will help to make it feel bigger and airier. It is a clever technique to use in awkward-shaped spaces as the angles and lines where the walls and ceiling meet become blurred and indistinct, helping to create the illusion of a bit more space. For most of us though, getting out the brushes and rollers and completely redecorating in the middle of December is the last thing on the to-do list. Fortunately, there are simpler ways to bring a seasonal feel into your home, regardless of your colour palette. Consider incorporating natural elements by collecting twigs from a winter walk and transforming them into a centrepiece or garland. This connection to the outdoors can add a touch of nature to your indoor space. Garlands made of evergreen foliage intertwined with fairy lights can provide a subtle, enchanting sparkle, evoking the magic of the season. As daylight hours grow shorter, the role of lighting becomes essential in creating a cosy atmosphere. String lights, candles and lanterns all play a crucial role in creating an inviting and warm glow. Candles, in particular, can contribute to an intimate ambience especially when adorning a well-set dining table for a festive feast. Layering textures with soft carpets, woollen throws and velvety cushions can add warmth to your living space, transforming it into a welcoming and snug retreat. By incorporating some simple seasonal elements, you can turn your home into a welcoming haven during the darker months of the year. It’s about creating a space where you can escape the cold, where the soft glow of lights and the warmth of textiles provide refuge from the winter’s chill, making your home a place of comfort and joy.

88 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Chinese Blue No. 90 (Archive) Modern Emulsion | 89




‘ve worked as a lighting designer for the best part of 40 years, lighting clients’ homes and businesses. But in all that time we‘ve only ever talked about the visual effect of lighting on the way that we live and work. That changed for me recently, when I was asked to investigate the re-lighting of a care home from the point of view of the residents’ physiological and psychological health. Can we do that? Lighting for health and wellbeing has been a serious topic in the lighting industry for the past decade, following research coming out of universities around the world. We now understand more – though certainly not all – about the ways that the body responds to light. Light isn’t the simple bright thing that we thought; processes are going on in our bodies, driven by our exposure to light. There is a thing called circadian rhythm and we 90 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

all have one. ‘Circadian’ simply means ‘daily’. We have a daily pattern that is based on our relationship with light. To understand that we need to divide our day into three active phases: Daytime: coming into the day after, hopefully, a good night’s sleep, the brain is ready to receive visual indicators that it’s time to wake up. You’re probably reading this at the darkest time of the year and we all know how difficult it can be to get out of bed while it’s still dark outside. Unlike the summer, when there’s no need to switch a light on to get up, wintertime calls for all the stimulation that we can get. While the alarm clock wakes us up, it doesn’t send vital information from eye to brain. We need artificial illumination to help provide that stimulation. And if we’re indoors during the day, like so many of us at work or home, we need to find ways to introduce

Yulia Lisitsa/Shutterstock

good quality artificial daylight into our rooms. It needs to be brighter than we’d normally expect from our home lighting, which might sound odd but, as I said at the start, we’re trying to do far more than just illuminate the room. First action note: We need to introduce blue-rich white light into our rooms. ‘Cool’ LED bulbs can be used in table lamps and floor lamps. As I say, we need at least twice as much brightness as we’re used to and what I’m suggesting are several dedicated ‘daylight’ lamps placed around the main daytime rooms. This sounds like a trip to B&Q – other retailers are available! Evening: evening time is a transition period for most of us. The working day is done and we’re ready for that soft descent into a relaxing evening. That bright lighting needs to fall away and the cool colour of daylight needs to shift towards warm, candle-like tones.

In a care home environment, this will all happen over a three-four hour period. It’s not the flick of a switch, in the same way that sunset doesn’t happen immediately (unless you’re somewhere around the Equator – where different circumstances apply). We want our internal systems to recognise that there’s a steady change taking place that will eventually lead us to our duvets. Second action note: Because we don’t all live in care homes our domestic lighting DOES function at the flick of a switch. We can turn off the brighter daylight lamps and shift to our familiar home lighting. Home lighting needs to be warm in tone, making our living spaces feel cosy. We’re starting to see LED bulbs come along that are warmer than the old filament lamps that we grew up with – making for an even cosier ambience. But there is something else going on in our lives that needs to be thought about… One contentious issue is the role that social media and electronic devices play in our lives. Research suggests that looking at e-books and phones doesn’t have that much of an impact on sleep patterns – we may take ten minutes more to fall asleep, which we think is OK. So while using electronic devices during the evening has a smaller impact on sleep behaviour than was originally thought, there is a marked improvement when NO devices are used in the couple of hours before bedtime. There is an argument that the real cause of disturbance is the content that we’re accessing. That’s the contentious bit – especially among habitual surfers. Nighttime: The ideal bedtime condition is a dark room – and a room that’s a bit cooler than our living spaces. Black-out conditions provide the best way for the body to relax and allow our internal systems to ‘repair’ themselves. We may think that nothing is going on but the internal workings of the body’s systems are as busy while we’re asleep as when we’re awake. Third action note: If you can’t make the room dark then invest in sleep masks. Also if you need to have light around, maybe for that 3am trip to the loo, then invest in a plug-in light for the landing, tuned to amber, mimicking candlelight. A good night’s sleep sets us up for the early morning indicators that it’s daytime again and time to get up and go through the whole process again. That 24-hour process is called the sleep-wake cycle – and, to be honest, we’ve not been very good at managing it for ourselves. But then again, we probably didn’t know how important it was – until now. | 91

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James Weston, Co-Owner, GP Weston

here are always challenges when moving house, whatever the market is doing! When the market is hot and things are selling fast, the tricky thing is finding a property and getting yourself into a ‘proceedable’ position before it sells. Many would-be home movers fall into the trap of putting theirs on the market once they have already found their next home, only to lose property after property. When the market is slow, there is more time, but, perversely, the challenge remains the same, which is finding a buyer before it sells. So, how do you make the process less stressful? And once you have managed to tie a chain together, how do you keep it together? Well, as Robert Baden-Powell would say, ‘Be prepared.’ It is vital in any market to instruct your solicitor (and not a cheap one! Avoid conveyancing firms and go to a solicitor’s firm.) Get all the paperwork together, especially if you have made changes to the property and do an electrical safety test. You want to be able to get the ball rolling as soon as an acceptable offer comes in. 94 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

A cheap solicitor or conveyancer must carry so many files they never have time to speak to you. Many conveyancing firms operate a switchboard and different teams that manage your case as it progresses, making it impossible to find out what is happening. A mid-rangeexpensive solicitor will oversee the case from start to finish, answer emails and phone calls, and is more likely to be proactive in pre-empting or solving any problems. In a slow market, it is imperative you price correctly; if you have three agents round to price it, make sure each of them can justify their prices. You can ask to see proof in the form of redacted memorandums of sale or offer letters – don’t just take their word for it. So, you now have your property on at the right price, you have your paperwork sorted and next you have to present the property well – declutter, declutter, declutter! If there are things you want to keep but don’t use often, then put them into storage. The property is now on the market and viewings are taking place. You have researched online where you want to move to and house prices so it is an idea to go

and see 3 or 4 houses to make sure they look in real life like they do online. Assuming you have worked out you can afford what you want, where you want, STOP LOOKING! Too many people fall in love with a house and immediately put themselves and their agents under pressure to sell quickly, possibly accepting a low offer that allows them to make the move but undersell their own home. There really is no point in finding the next home until you are in a position to move on it. So, assuming you have taken our advice so far, your home is in the best possible position for getting offers; once you are happy with the level, accept an offer. It is worth noting that the level of the offer, the time frames being offered, and a few other things can all go to make up the ‘value’ of that offer. Now is the time to go out and find your next home because if you find it, you can provide a complete package to the owner and their agent. You can commit to time frames, you know the level of your budget and ideally, your buyer will already have done their survey and got their mortgage offer, meaning they have cleared the two biggest hurdles that can cause a sale to fall through. Being in such a strong position also means you can negotiate harder on your purchase. By following our advice so far, you have avoided accepting a low offer on your home and have negotiated a good price on your next one. Your buyer has been moving at an acceptable speed so the time has come to move quickly yourself. Get that survey booked in within the first couple of weeks. It will give your vendor confidence that you are spending money, and if any buyers saw the house previously and try to gazump, it’s less likely that the sellers will change. We now have a ‘chain’ and it is the agent’s job to speak to their clients, the buyers, the solicitors and each other to ensure everyone is on the same page. If there are any delays, they can tell the various parties what the hold-up is thereby nipping any paranoia in the bud. People always imagine far worse things than what is usually going on. During the conveyancing period, communication is vital, yet another reason why non-responsive conveyancers and solicitors should be avoided. With agents all working together, keeping everyone in the loop, then assuming all buyers and sellers are acting in good faith, there is no reason for the sale to fall through, and it won’t be long before you are in your new home having had a painless experience.

With over 20 years experience in the property market, we are passionate about helping you achieve your property goals. We use cutting-edge technology to market and find your property effectively. We are a small agency, meaning you’ll receive personal attention, only dealing directly with the owners of the company.

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As we don’t have targets to hit we don’t need to flatter you, we can give honest advice telling you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear.

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Jessica Grant Peterkin 0787 5355 382 | 95

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98 | Sherborne Times | December 2023


warm and comforting festive dessert. The pear slices can be arranged into a variety of aesthetically pleasing patterns so get creative! Fantastic served with vanilla ice cream or Chantilly cream as well as the sticky mulled wine sauce. Ingredients

For the cake: 3 pears 210g caster sugar 1 tbsp clear honey 2 eggs 125g self-raising flour 140g salted butter

2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp ground cloves 1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the mulled wine reduction: 300ml mulled wine 50g caster sugar Method

1 2


4 5




Preheat the oven to 200C. Line the base of a 20cm round springform cake tin with baking paper, then grease generously with butter. To make the mulled wine reduction, combine the wine and sugar in a medium saucepan and place on a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil and let reduce until much of the water has evaporated and the volume has reduced by 2/3. To make the sponge, soften 125g of the butter. Add to a medium mixing bowl or stand mixer and beat with 125g of the sugar until the mixture is fluffy and almost white. Beat in the eggs and vanilla then gently fold in the flour. Set aside. Meanwhile, peel and core the pears. Cut them into similar slices around 1cm thick. Line the base of the cake tin with an even layer of the pear slices. To make the caramel, add the rest of the sugar (85g), 15ml of water and the honey to a saucepan. Place on a medium heat and swirl frequently until dissolved. Allow the caramel to reach a deep amber colour or 183C. Remove from the heat and immediately add the rest of the butter (15g), stir until incorporated, followed by the 4 spices. Immediately pour the hot caramel over the pears. Tap the cake tin gently on the countertop so the caramel spreads evenly. Let cool for around 3 minutes then add the cake batter and spread very gently into an even layer using a spatula. Place in the oven for around 30 minutes and check if the sponge is cooked using a wooden skewer or cocktail stick. It is important to act fast and remove the cake from the tin quickly whilst it is still hot. First, remove the outer ring. You may need to run a small knife around the perimeter to free it from the mould. Next, place a plate or cutting board on top of the cake and flip it all in one motion. Place on the work surface and gently tap so that the cake releases. Slice and serve warm, drizzled with the mulled wine reduction. | 99

Food and Drink



Image: Katharine Davies


y mum was a really good baker but the one thing she didn’t make was a Christmas pudding. She always bought one and I think over-steamed it, so what we ate on Christmas Day was a dark, rather bitter pudding. When I was 17 I met my future husband and his mum and grandma made a delicious Christmas pudding. I wrote down the recipe and learned to make it – we never had a bought pudding after that. I have altered it slightly over the years by adding butter, not beef suet as the original 100 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

recipe required. If you wish to make the Christmas pudding alcohol-free replace the soaking alcohol with fresh orange juice and the brandy with 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice. Serves 6-8 Preparation time

Fruit soaking – overnight Pudding – 20 minutes, steaming – 6 hours and on Christmas Day a further 40 minutes to warm through.

What you will need

A 1.4 litre/2½ pint pudding basin. Greaseproof paper, string, foil. A steamer if possible or a large saucepan with a lid and a tea plate or metal lid. Ingredients

150g sultanas 150g raisins 50g currants 50g dried cranberries 50g finely chopped apricots 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped 1 small carrot, grated Juice and zest of an unwaxed orange and lemon 3 tbsp brandy, sherry or rum 200ml sweet cider 75g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 100g light muscovado sugar 2 free-range eggs 100g self-raising flour 1 tsp mixed spice 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 grated nutmeg 40g fresh white breadcrumbs Method






Place the sultanas, raisins, cranberries, currants, apricots, apple and carrot into a bowl with the orange and lemon zests and juice. Add the brandy (rum or sherry) and cider, stir and leave to marinate overnight to plump the fruits up. Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and cream together with a wooden spoon or a handheld whisk until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle. Sift together the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg then fold into the creamed mixture with the breadcrumbs. Add the soaked dried fruits with their soaking liquid and stir well. Generously butter the pudding basin. Place the small disc of baking parchment into the base of the basin and press down firmly. Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin and press the mixture down with the back of a spoon. Cover the pudding with a layer of baking parchment paper pleated across the middle to allow for expansion. Tie securely with string,

trim off excess paper and wrap the lid of the basin in foil. 6 To steam, put the pudding in the top of a steamer filled with simmering water, cover with a lid and steam for six hours, topping up the water as necessary. 7 If using a large saucepan put a metal jam jar lid, or a tea plate, into the base of the pan to act as a trivet. Place a long, doubled strip of foil in the pan, between the trivet and the pudding basin, ensuring the ends of the strip reach up and hang over the edges of the pan. This will help you lift the heavy pudding basin out of the pan of hot water when it has finished cooking. Lower the pudding onto the trivet and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the bowl. Cover with a lid, bring the water back to the boil then simmer at a slightly rolling simmer for about six hours, until the pudding is a deep brown colour, topping up the water as necessary. Check water levels regularly. 8 When cooked through, remove the pudding from the pan and cool completely. Discard the paper and foil and replace with fresh greaseproof paper. Store in a cool, dry place. 9 To serve, on Christmas Day, steam the pudding for about 40 minutes to one hour to reheat. Turn the pudding onto a serving plate. If you wish to flame, warm a tablespoon of brandy or rum in a small pan then pour it over the hot pudding and set light to it. 10 We like to serve our pudding with rum sauce but you can make rum or brandy butter or fresh cream. Tips

If you have time allow the fruits to soak for 2 days. If you are soaking in fruit juices then place in the fridge to prevent the fruits from fermenting. Weigh the pudding mixture into the pudding bowls and write in pencil the weight of the pudding, a pound pudding will only need 6 hours of steaming whilst a 1 1/2 lb pudding will need 7 hours and a 2 lb pudding will need 8 hours. Place a half lemon in with the water in the steamer pans as this will stop the pan discolouring. If adding a coin to the pudding do this just before serving and wrap it in greaseproof paper. | 101

Food and Drink

Image: Agata Trotman 102 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

TERRY’S LUXURY MINCE PIES Terry Hawrylak, Hub Café, Sherborne School


his simple yet indulgent take on the traditional mince pie offers a mincemeat filling in a sweet pastry case, with a sprinkle of crumble topping for the added extra. If your mouth stops watering for long enough, try the recipe below! Prep: 20 mins (plus soaking) Ingredients Makes around 12 mince pies (3.5” tins)

Mincemeat (makes around 4 x 500ml jars) 250g raisins 375g currants 100 ml brandy Zest and juice of 1 lemon 300g shredded suet 250g dark brown sugar 85g mixed peel, chopped ½ small nutmeg, grated 1 large Bramley apple, peeled and grated Sweet Pastry 225g plain flour 110g butter 85g icing sugar 1 egg yolk Crumble Mix 120g plain flour 55g oats 225g demerara sugar 120g butter 55g flaked almonds Pinch of cinnamon



Soak the raisins and currants in the brandy and lemon juice until the dried fruit plumps up. 2 Add the shredded suet, sugar, mixed peel and nutmeg into the mixture and the apple. Stir slowly and thoroughly. 3 Spoon the mixture into sterilised jars and press well, to exclude any air. Cover and leave the mincemeat for at least a fortnight before using. Store the mincemeat mixture in the fridge for up to six months – it’s worth popping a note in your calendar if you like to plan for next year! 4 Crumb together the pastry flour, butter and icing sugar. 5 Mix in the egg yolk to make a paste and then cool the mixture in the fridge for around an hour. 6 Roll the pastry to around 3mm thick and cut to the size of your tins/your preference (I suggest 3.5” tins). 7 If you have any spare pastry left save it to cut out stars or leaves to decorate the mince pies with. 8 Rub the crumble ingredients together gently and sprinkle it over the top of the mince pies before popping them into the oven for 20 minutes at 160 degrees. 9 Once cool, sprinkle icing sugar over them and serve with a little clotted cream. If you’re lucky they might last until Christmas! SherborneHub | 103

Food and Drink

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


t’s dark, dark as a bag, the radio gently burbles in the background and the fire is crackling from just being lit. It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and everything is calm and quiet. I always wake up early. I always have, since a little boy waking up early and sneaking out to help on my father’s farm – doing jobs before school or going out in the fresh morning air to garden, the weeds wet with dew and cold and the sun coming up behind me. Mornings are my 104 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

time. A customer asked me the other day, ‘Why do you get up so early?’ These days it’s basically because we have so much to do – as the days shorten the daytime list of jobs is harder to keep on top of. For me, every day of the year starts with feeding the pigs – it is such a routine now that I am sure I could do it in my sleep. I don’t feel settled until I have done the most routine of jobs. At this time of year, I don my layers of shirts, and jumpers with more holes in than

jumper (long since a ‘best’ jumper, taken on for work), overalls dried above the fire overnight, now crisp and hard in the morning from days of caked mud and pig muck. As I disturb them an outdoor odour hits me – they smell of stuff and farming. I hold them up carefully so that I don’t let all the straw that has gathered in my pockets spill out on the floor, accompanied by numerous screws, ear tags, scraps of worn paper and other farming detritus. Once on, they soften and become a second skin. I find my gloves, also hopefully dry and warm, if I remembered the evening before to bring them in, otherwise it’s cold damp gloves – today they are good. I pull on my boots and pull my leggings up – these stay on my boots now until March sometime, getting heavier and heavier. When it’s really cold they become frozen together. I have to shake them to wake them up but now it’s mild and wet everywhere. I trudge outside, hoping it’s not going to rain as I feed. It’s still too dark to see how the day will be but it’s dry, the air anyway! I let Blue out and he stretches and spins around me excitedly, smiling broadly, with love in his eyes – he knows he is allowed to jump up when I have my overalls on so he plants his paws on me. I talk to him, tell him I love him, kiss his head – he spins round some more and waits. I grab my head torch, jump in the Polaris and back it out to the feed bin. I have to fill the bags from a chute under the bin. I count in my head how many bags I need – 26 bags in total, 25kg in each. I start cold and stiff but after 5 bags I am warming up. However, by the time I have filled all of them, I am hot, sweating, with too many layers on now – this is my daily workout. And then it’s up to the fields, the light is just starting to come. Blue races ahead of me – he knows exactly which order we feed and he barks excitedly at the first group. The field is filled with the noise of screaming hungry

"It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and everything is calm and quiet." pigs – as soon as they hear the vehicle start up they start their noise. I slip and slide – it’s muddy from all the rain. I know that however wet it is now it’s nothing to what will come over the next few months. We stop by the first paddock – the pigs stream around the troughs, screaming, barging through each other, absolutely no manners. Food is everything to them. Three bags for this group – there are 40 here, big pigs, soon to be ready. I pour the first bag quickly along the whole length of the troughs, a thin trickle for all of them, to settle them into a line and stop them from pushing each other through the fence. Two more bags and they have their full ration. They eat like pigs, noisily, moving around, always thinking there might be more food at the other end. I know their characters – the ones that always stand at the end, the ones that scream the loudest, the one that always stands in the trough. It’s quiet now, apart from their munching and all the other ones yet to be fed, are still screaming at me to come quickly. I repeat this all around the farm, group after group, little ones, mothers with piglets, our boars and dry sows until everyone has had their breakfast. Now the rest of the day can start and the sun can come up but I feel better now they are all fed, the fences are ok and all is good. I come back to the farm for a coffee with Charlotte before I lose her to a myriad of Christmas gammons and packs of pigs in blankets, it's a busy time for both of us!

Corton Denham

Enjoy the Festive Season at The Queen’s Arms* For the perfect Christmas Gift, our Gift Vouchers are available for rooms and restaurant Please see our website for festive opening times *Please note we are not open on Christmas Day | | 01963 220317 | 105

Food and Drink

MALBEC David Copp

Mendoza, Argentina


t is some time since I have written about Malbec. Looking through my student notes in the 1960s I seem to have dismissed it as a somewhat rustic grape, popular for beefing up ordinary vins de table. In those days in southwest France, it was known as Côt and generally not considered fit to be included in decent Bordeaux blends for export. Most widely grown and consumed in and around Cahors, its main centre of production, it was not a variety that wine enthusiasts came looking for. However, a lot has happened over the last sixty years to make it a sophisticated, refined and charming variety worthy of your attention. However, the main reason for looking at Malbec with fresh eyes and taste buds is because the Argentinians have found superb sites in the Andes foothills to produce Malbec with body, flavour and finesse. Argentina, now one of the world’s largest wine producers, is producing fine wines that really are worth getting to know. While good supermarket Malbecs are available at £10-£20, estate bottled examples justifiably command higher prices and really will provide something rather different for your next dinner party. If you are not sure where to start, I would strongly recommend asking your wine supplier for some guidance. Why do I like good Malbec so much? Partly because my wife likes the grape variety, partly because her culinary skills bring out the best in Malbec wines and partly, in my opinion, they represent truly excellent value in what is generally called the fine wine market. There are several excellent Argentinian growers but my favourite wine is made by the brilliant French 106 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

T Photography/Shutterstock

oenologist Michel Rolland who also studied under the late and great Emile Peynaud. Rolland, Mariflor Malbec, Argentina, 2015 (15%) - £19.95 The Mariflor Malbec is produced from a family estate situated high in the foothills of the Argentinian Andes. The wine is a rich and sublime expression of Malbec, perfumed and exotic with deep aromas of black fruits and spice, it has great strength and generosity. Xige, N28 Malbec, China, 2020 (14%) - £28.95 Xige Estate is located in the Dove Mountains area of Ningxia, the epicentre of China’s burgeoning wine scene and new frontier of world-class Malbec. This pure Malbec has spent 12 months in French oak barrels and offers rich and vivid aromas of violets and blueberries. On the palate, smooth blackberry and plum is balanced with earthy notes, along with plush tannins and a savoury finish. Jack Priestley, The Drinksmith





The Drinksmith, South St, Sherborne, DT9 3LU 01935 315539 @the.drinksmith @thedrinksmith


Pet, Equine & Farm Animals

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Animal Care

AWAY IN A MANGER Mark Newton-Clarke MAVetMB PhD MRCVS, Newton Clarke Veterinary Surgeons


y Christmas article for the Times has taken many forms over the years – gifts for pets, the life-threatening Christmas pudding (if you’re a dog) and the dangers of toppling the Christmas tree if a kitten. I’ve usually tried to find something festive for the December edition. This year my thoughts are drawn to that ultimate Christmas scene – the Nativity. First created in 1223 by that famous lover of animals, St Francis of Assisi, it’s quite a formula, placing large animals in close proximity to the newborn Jesus whose parents are having quite a night of it. The introduction of a menagerie of birds and animals into the centre of the event, placed in a stable, is possibly Francis’ construction as Luke’s gospel only describes the baby Jesus in a manger (a food trough) as there was no room at the inn. Every modern version of this scene depicts peace and harmony among all the party-goers on that starry night without a drop of horse or cow dung to make things messy. No, it’s clean straw and smiles all round. Even when the three posh lads on horseback rock up with some fancy gifts, hardly a ripple disturbs that silent night. Whether the details of the Nativity should be taken literally isn’t really the point – for me, it’s an example of the symbolic use of animals to convey a sense of interdependency between all species, including man. Nothing modern in that idea – the Celts’ Tree of Life represented the interconnectedness of all forms of creation, which later found its place in Christianity as a symbol of eternal life through Christ. Attending births in stables is a daily occurrence for livestock farmers and large animal vets, the occasion is always enjoyable with the successful delivery of a live calf, lamb or foal. Some I attended in the past were not dissimilar to the Nativity as the farmers’ children would often be present and occasionally, so were mine. The strawed-down stable was not just the delivery room, it had to be the recovery area and sometimes the operating theatre too. As a vet, you don’t get called to straightforward births and so every delivery is complicated, often requiring difficult obstetrics and 110 | Sherborne Times | December 2023


quite intensive post-natal care. Just as well the baby Jesus didn’t require much more than a piece of straw stuck up the nose (I speculate…this technique is used on neonatal farm animals to initiate breathing) although the shepherds present might have known what to do if they had arrived a bit earlier. Humans and horses have a similar problem when giving birth so whether you’re a mare or Mary, a big foetus needs to be propelled through a small hole. I’m always amazed this works as often as it does although complications are pretty common. In horses, premature birth makes the newborn foal weak and unable to stand in the usual time frame of 2 hours – important as that elixir of life, colostrum (first milk) can only be taken from a standing mother by a standing foal. Here’s where I have come closest to that Nativity scene, nursing a recumbent foal next

to its mother. This can be tricky as mares are VERY protective over their foals and as both baby and I were on the ground at her feet, I was very much at mum’s mercy. Initially, a low partition was used to separate us which allowed a very worried mother to sniff and nudge her offspring and, quite often, do the same to me. It was essential to make a connection with the mare in these circumstances as the next step was to milk her. Mares are not dairy cows and the only fiddling with teats should be done by her own foal, so my initial approach was cautious. Not too cautious though as horses sense fear like no other animal I know. Gentle persuasion, some molassed feed and pressure building in mammary glands all helped the process, along with a few tricks of the trade. An improvised milk pump made from a large syringe speeded things up and unlike calves, foals only need 200mls or so of milk at any one time. It was

a humbling experience to be bottle feeding a foal – its head resting on my lap as its mother leaned down to poke her nose in my face, snorting her disapproval if her baby was struggling with the teat. So as Nativity scenes are recreated this Christmas, it’s worth pausing to reflect on St Francis’ depiction of the harmony and respect that should exist between man and animals. Also the sharing of one of the most important events in human history between the very rich (the Three Wise Men) and the very poor (the shepherds). Hopefully, the Nativity will carry these Christmas messages for generations to come. From all of us at the Sherborne and Yeovil surgeries, we wish all our clients and readers of the Times a very Happy Christmas and a better New Year. | 111

Animal Care



ecently, I was asked a series of questions about what we do as a practice to help promote sustainable food production. This got me thinking about how we define sustainability in relation to the animals under our care on our client’s farms. Whether this is the carbon footprint of agriculture, the environmental impact, animal welfare or antibiotic use, it all centres around one fundamental principle. Healthy, happy animals that are managed to promote animal health, welfare and efficient production, will give us the most sustainable food production system. If we get each and every animal 112 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

on the farms we look after to be as healthy and productive as possible then fewer animals are needed to produce the food we eat which ultimately makes our food production system more sustainable. We work to achieve these aims through our dayto-day work on farms, farmer training, discussion groups and the practice and industry-wide initiatives we are involved in. One of our most successful practice-wide initiatives was started about 6 years ago when the decision was made not to use antibiotics that were classified as the ‘Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics’ to help prevent antibiotic


resistance and preserve their use for humans and animals in the future. This was a great success and involved one of our vets travelling around the country promoting what we were doing as a practice to the livestock industry and stakeholders. This resulted in us winning the Cream Awards for the ‘Dairy Team of the Year’ in the following year. Since then, we as an industry have made great strides to reduce the amount of antibiotics given to animals with sales of antibiotics reduced by 55% since 2014 and now stand at the lowest recorded level. The UK is now one of the lowest users of antibiotics in livestock in the EU. I am very proud of this statistic,

as I know we as a practice have helped and continue to help contribute towards this reduction. So, with Christmas approaching please think of all the hardworking farmers that strive every day to produce the most sustainable, healthiest, welfarefriendly food for you and your families. Make sure you buy British food this Christmas and support the UK livestock industry. Wishing all the readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Friars Moor Livestock Health Team. | 113


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Open Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm (and Sherborne Market Sundays)

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Body & Mind

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

Nicoleta Ionescu/Shutterstock


ith Christmas fast approaching we are full into the party season! Festive gatherings allow the opportunity for increased joie de vivre and preparing our appearance for being with friends and family has extra incentive. Along with hunting out the perfect outfit for the 116 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

most important do of the period, our attentions turn to our physical appearance too. Whether you are a seasoned hand at self-care or a frequent receiver of the professional care of a beauty therapist, it’s time to add the extra sparkle. Starting at the top, hair requires a deep conditioning

treatment and at least a trim to freshen the ends. If you colour your hair get an appointment with a hair professional for the most flattering results. Refresh your whole skin with exfoliation to slough off dead skin and revive radiance in preparation for party clothes that may show a little more skin than winter weather allows. Don’t overdo the self tan but an application every few days of a light gradual tan or sometimes bottled as a ‘daily tan’ can just knock the pallor off your appearance and add a spring to your step. Dry body brushing in an upward direction or toward your heart from extremities invigorates our circulation, smooths dimpled and puffy skin and well as providing a helpful detox. Moisturise your body often as soon as the advent calendars start for soft and comfortable skin. Body oils are a real treat in darker months as they pack a punch in increasing the lipids and natural moisturebinding properties of our skin. Hands require protection from the cold as they lose oils and get dehydrated as they migrate back and forth from cold to hot climates. Wear gloves when you can and apply hand creams and oils to lessen the blow to them. To prepare nails for looking their party part, and to get some length on them, have a gel polish manicure 2 weeks before a festive event and then again for the party. This tactic will protect them from breaking and the lower temperatures helping to increase their length. You are then far more likely to have super nails to flash about and wrap around that glass stem. Toes are frequently overlooked by even the most ardent summer pedicure enthusiasts during winter months. The old wives’ tale lingers on of, ‘I’m giving them a rest’ or ‘I’m letting them breathe.’ There is no requirement for this at all if your toenails look a healthy colour and have a healthy appearance. Nails are made of dead protein and if treated with good quality bases coats and nail polishes they are perfectly happy to be crowned in glossy glory all year long. Wellpainted toenails are also a must for open-toed party sandals and in preparation for that kick-the-shoes-off moment on the dance floor! There is a joy to revealing crimson-painted toes when pulling off your welly socks and warming them in front of the fire as you recover post-party. This satisfaction does not occur on viewing unadorned feet! Wishing you a very relaxing and beautiful Christmas.

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YogaSherborne Sherborne, Milborne Port and Trent • Hatha Yoga, outside when possible • Relaxation and guided meditation Contact Dawn for more details 07817 624081 @yogasherborne Yoga Alliance qualified teacher | 117

Body & Mind

REFLECTING ON THE YEAR Annabel Goddard, Volunteer Marketing Placement Student

Vadym Petrochenko/iStock 118 | Sherborne Times | December 2023


s we start to wrap up against the cold, we can use this time to wrap up the year and reflect on all we have accomplished since January. For many, it’s been a tough year, with the cost-of-living crisis affecting all of us in different ways. For some of us, having just made it through the year is enough. If you celebrate it, we now have the festive season to look forward to and if you don’t, it can be a nice time to relax and reflect, nonetheless. Before we enter the new year, it could help if we all reassess what went well and what didn’t. Often, our lives seem to revolve around work and technology - to reflect on the year properly, it might help to unplug for a weekend or even just an evening. Take a moment to appreciate what’s around you. This could be your family, friends or even a pet – focus on being grateful for your surroundings more than usual. Practising gratefulness can look different for everyone. You could make a list of your favourite moments of the year and look back at photos from the time - it’s hard to recognise how far we’ve come without taking the time to see it. In the same sentiment, you could keep a photo or video diary going into 2024 to look back on at the end of next year. A helpful way to reflect can be utilising journaling or keeping a diary. This can help you keep track of your emotions on a daily basis and can help you analyse parts of life that might be hindering your mental health. This can also help you when motivation is low, if you feel a bit lost, to help change your moods. Going through each month of the year and reflecting on what was going on in your life and how you felt at the time, can be a good way of reflecting ahead for the new year. This can be used to make positive changes and make an effort to keep doing what you know helps improve your well-being, such as making time to do some regular exercise. Instead of setting yourself unreasonable resolutions

in the new year, it could be more effective to think about consistency. If you find that a nature walk makes you feel refreshed and revitalised, set yourself the intention of trying to do it every week. If you set yourself an unreasonable goal, you may feel unmotivated and disappointed in the new year. You can never fail an intention – so instead of trying to make unachievable resolutions, focus on carrying the good things from this year into the next. Similarly, try not to set intentions which are all based on one area of your life. For example, if you’ve decided to keep going to the gym regularly, try to find something different alongside this, to keep things varied; such as tending to a creative project or outlet. Again, think about what has worked well in these areas previously and what you want to continue doing or adding to instead of ‘fixing’. This will help to alleviate a lot of pressure on yourself going into the new year, especially if your goals aren’t realistic for you. Remember that we’re all lucky to be given a fresh start every year but you don’t have to limit yourself to that. You might find that setting weekly intentions right now is a better place to start rather than waiting for January. You could use the festive season to your advantage to start practising your intentions before the new year – which could help you stick to them in the long run.

Support for you • Visit for local mental health support and ways to keep mentally healthy • Call Samaritans for free 24/7 emotional support on 116 123 • Call Dorset’s mental health helpline Connection for support on NHS 111 | 119

Twilight Spa Package For just £60 per person, this relaxing spa evening package includes the following: One-hour exclusive use of our Spa Facilities, including our luxurious outdoor jacuzzi hot tub, hydrotherapy tub, sauna and jacuzzi shower A 30-minute GAIA spa treatment Upgrade to an hour treatment for just £20! Available every Thursday 4pm-8pm (subject to availability) Full payment is required at the time of the booking

Christmas Spa Shopping Event Thursday 7th December 4pm-8pm £10 per person (redeemable against purchase on the night) Let us welcome you into our Woodland Spa with a glass of mulled wine and homemade mince pie. Our Spa Therapist will treat you to a mini treatment, and one-to-one consultation from our GAIA Range. Our gorgeous Christmas Gift Sets from GAIA skin care will be available to purchase as well as gift vouchers for treatments Pre-booking is essential. Full payment required at the time of booking

Call us to book your spa package or ticket to our events on 01935 813131 or email The Eastbury Hotel & Spa, Long Street, Sherborne DT9 3BY T 01935 813131 | E | W

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Body & Mind

NATURE’S COURSE Louis de Pelet MBACP, Counsellor



rowing up, ‘going for a walk’ mostly meant getting to a destination and its quality was rated by the distance covered or the beauty of the surroundings. It was about doing a job or gaining a sense of achievement: it needed a purpose. More recently, it has meant dog walking, and lockdown walking, and walking our lockdown dog. As I have traversed the same tracks again and again, my awareness of seasons and changing surroundings has increased and deepened. Or perhaps that is just me getting older. Switching from a traditional indoor therapy practice to one based outside has been a wonder. The outdoors is rich with metaphor which highlight parallels between 122 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

the way nature works and the way we work. It’s not so much enjoying or loving nature, more realising that we are nature. When I explored the idea of an outdoor practice with family and friends it elicited excitement as well as jokes about how it would work, since I am usually found 10 strides ahead of everyone else. Of course, when I am working, I fall into my companion’s pace, walking and pausing as we see fit. Recently I was fortunate enough to join a group organised by the charity Plant Life to see some of their work with the National Trust in Exmoor’s Horner Wood. It was exciting to explore a new part of the world and I was looking forward to a good walk, but I

also had some trepidation about kit and meeting new people. What version of me would I bring? I figured the allotted 4 hours would mean easily covering many miles, following the river and crowning the wooded valleys. In hindsight, I realise that being issued a loupe (the kind of magnifying glass a jeweller would use to appraise your family heirloom) should have tipped me off that this was a different kind of exploration, not least because we were briefed how lichens are being encouraged and cared for. This walk was going to be one not about covering distance, nor vistas or sweeps of beauty, but the wonder literally in front of our noses. After an hour we had gone about 200 yards. It’s not that I hadn’t looked at lichen before, I have occasionally marvelled at its ability to appear and grow on stones and tiles and trees. It’s more that I had never looked at it before in a way that helped me actually see them. If you have a magnifying glass, or micro lens on your phone or indeed a loupe, then do take the time to look the next time you are out. It is truly mesmerising. Having adjusted my tempo, I got to enjoy a new way of seeing the world. Nature’s rhythms often fail to fit our own. More than that though. You see, it wasn’t the opportunity to study lichen that had brought me to Horner Woods, rather the brief mention of how they were going to talk about tackling the challenges wrought by Ash Dieback. One of many many changes in our Dorset landscape is the accelerating presence of this, a fungal infection that is set to kill around 80% of our Ash trees, altering the countryside for generations. I have been mourning this inescapable change for several years, despondent about how there is little that can be done to combat it. Those tracks I traverse again and again are frequently framed by sick Ash. Early responses to this new threat

were around containment, getting rid of it. It was believed that by identifying and felling the infected trees we might limit the disease’s progress. Soon it became clear that it was too late, the spread of spores was uncontrollable. Indiscriminate felling had also removed resilient strains from the mix. By contrast, our European Ash’s Asian cousins live alongside the fungus, having evolved with it. Another concern was around people’s safety; infected trees are unpredictably brittle, and so many were felled to reduce the risk of accidents. Once well used and loved paths were shut off or sometimes no action was taken at all. These are similar responses to the ways we can end up countering painful situations, emotions and relationships in our own lives. I had arrived hoping to learn about Ash dieback management as a way of mitigating my despondency and resignation at a catastrophe playing out in slow time. I hadn’t expected to be lit up with awe. Seeing lichen has given me hope from a place to which I had paid scant notice. It thrives on bark whether the tree is alive or not. This meant seeing a woodland full of Ash in a different way. There was another layer of ecology that was in rude health. Part of a psychotherapist’s role is to help clients recognise what they are carrying or what they are avoiding. Loss and grief are a part of living whether at the close of the long arc of a life fully expressed or with the sudden ending of a relationship. Losing most of a tree species is too painful to contemplate, let alone feel. Yet avoiding those feelings can lead to missing out, being unable to engage with ourselves or others. Horner Woods gave me hope, from an unexpected place and a way of carrying both. As Raynor Winn says in her book The Salt Path ‘…and let death in. And life came with it.’

Muntanya is an independent trekking and outdoors shop offering clothing and equipment from major suppliers. 7 Cheap St, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3PT 01935 389484 • 07875 465218 | 123

Body and Mind

CANDLELIGHT MEDITATION Dawn Hart, YogaSherborne simonapilolla/iStock


his meditation is a lovely way to train your mind to become calm and slow down – something you may need a little more this time of year. It’s a favourite in my evening classes where we can sit wrapped in a cosy blanket and end the physical part of the class with a still, quiet moment. I use it as a way to improve concentration and reduce stress but it can also have benefits for the muscles around the eyes, especially if you are looking at a screen for long periods during your day. Before practising this meditation it is a good idea to do some gentle eye exercises. For example, look slowly side to side, up and down as far as you comfortably can. Followed by some slow circles, keeping your head still, just moving the eyes; releasing any tension around this area and ensuring the eye itself is not dry. If you have any concerns about the health or suitability of your eyes for this exercise please consult a health professional.

124 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Prepare for your meditation:

• You can sit on the floor or a chair. You will be sat for at least 5 minutes and as you use this meditation more it could be as long as 15 minutes so make sure you are comfortable. Always allow yourself to sit up straight with support – don’t try and hold a position if it becomes a strain as this will distract you. • You will need to place the candle a little way in front of you, around a metre is a good place to start but you can adjust this to suit you. Make sure the candle flame is at eye level without holding your head at an awkward angle. • The candle flame needs to be bright and a reasonable size. I find a tea light too small the flame is harder to see once you close your eyes if it is small and dim. You may like to experiment with different-sized candles. • Once you have everything you need turn all the lights in the room off. Light your candle and settle into your comfortable sitting position. • Close your eyes and notice if you are squeezing them shut – they should feel soft and relaxed. • Now open them halfway, keeping the muscles around the eyes soft so you aren’t squinting or straining. Gaze gently at the flame long enough so that everything else in the room disappears and all you see is the flame; around 30 seconds to a minute to start. • Gently close your eyes. You may notice something where the candlelight was. Maybe a purple, red, orange or blue spot or a more definite image of a flame. If you do then hold your gaze with the eyes closed on that image as long as you can. If it starts to move bring it back to the centre of your eyebrows. • When you can no longer see it or if it wasn’t there at the start half open your eyes and repeat the process, perhaps trying a little longer this time. • Continue to practise for around 5 minutes unless your eyes become tired in which case stop sooner. • Then sit and absorb the calming effects of your meditation. You can over time build up to 15-20 minutes but at all times take care to keep the eyes relaxed, never straining. I hope this brings you a little quiet and calm during the next few weeks and into the winter evenings. yogasherborne




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Body and Mind


Craig Hardaker BSc (Hons), Communifit


e would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. As we enter the final month of the year, we reflect on what has been another hugely successful year for Communifit. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for your support. We will host our Christmas Sweater 5k/10k run on Sunday 17th December, raising funds for Sherborne Food Bank. We believe our 5k/10k events represent much of what Communifit stands for, bringing together all ages and abilities to promote both physical and mental well-being whilst also providing financial support for worthy causes. It is the wide range of individuals who attend our events that brings me to my topic of choice for this month’s article – inclusivity. 126 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

Each and every week we are incredibly proud to say we offer exercise for all ages and abilities within our local community – delivering nursing and care home programmes, children’s activities and providing classes and individual sessions for all ages in between. Our commitment to inclusivity for all individuals however can be highlighted even further. Here are some examples of how we bring inclusivity into our exercise classes. Vision impaired

We often have individuals attend our classes who have limited eyesight or are completely blind. This is not an insurmountable hurdle and our team is more than capable of supporting such individuals. Reserving space closer to the instructor and being

Mental health issues

It has been suggested that approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. It comes as no surprise therefore that many of our class attendees tell us of the problems they are facing. Problems causing anxiety, stress and depression are common and are often discussed. However, we are also aware that some participants will decide not to let us know of the problems they are facing. Whether they wish to share or not, creating a warm, friendly and caring environment will hopefully provide the perfect opportunity for individuals to come and escape their problems. Hearing difficulties

If you struggle to hear, this shouldn’t put you off from attending a group exercise class. Worrying about communicating with fellow participants and understanding instructions can put many off. Communifit employs a visual approach where required and hand signals and the use of a whiteboard are examples of great tools with which to communicate. Wheelchair-users

Image: Dave Bendell

as descriptive as possible with exercise instructions are just examples of techniques we can utilise to make such individuals feel both supported and fully involved in our classes.

All our class venues are wheelchair accessible. Our carefully thought-through exercises are easily adaptable to suit an individual needing to sit. In some cases, the chair is used as a tool to perform exercises, such as when tying elastic to it. An inclusive fitness community provides an accessible space where everyone feels welcome, safe, valued and able to be fully involved. This is Communifit in a nutshell and we can’t wait to welcome you to our community in 2024.

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communifit communifit communi_fit | 127

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THE ERA OF RESOLUTION TOGETHER Simon Walker, Senior Associate, Mogers Drewett


t has been almost 12 months since the option became available for one lawyer to assist a couple in divorcing and reaching a financial resolution. As someone who undertook the training course last December and by January had taken on my first case, I believe now is a good time to reflect on how this new programme has developed. I have always viewed my role as dealing with adults who can make their own informed decisions about marrying or separating. Individuals choose to end relationships for various personal reasons - some moral, some simply to move on. However, the intensity of emotions when ending a marriage should not be underestimated. While the goal is the division of assets and the legal dissolution of the union, this belies the inner turmoil most couples experience leading up to separation. The anxiety over an individual’s future is often more frightening than remaining in a loveless marriage. The levels of anger, hurt and resentment are often elevated despite sometimes having waned during the final stretches of the failing marriage. In my experience, the intensity extending years of suppressed frustrations boiling over is more pronounced than the subdued feelings existing at the end. As the single lawyer assisting couples seeking divorce, you quickly understand each person‘s motivations and strategies amidst this maelstrom. The key is not to provide advice or take sides but to offer solutions and remain independent. It was the uniqueness of each case that surprised me, as each couple could confirm why their relationship had ended without attributing blame and what they needed from the other both emotionally and financially 130 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

to move on. Despite the end goal being their separation, this was a critical juncture in their relationship. The collaborative process creates space for a new form of relationship beyond the separation, regardless of children being involved. My cases so far affirm it as a beneficial programme, enabling couples to divorce with dignity despite difficulties. The intensity of emotions is handled constructively rather than escalated. I aim to provide sound legal counsel while allowing the intensity to flow, not be bottled up and likely to explode. There are challenges as the single solicitor balancing empathy and boundaries but for most couples, it offers space to reframe the relationship with less acrimony. I see progress in dealing with the rawness of separation in a solution-focused manner. Emotional maturity is modelled. While the process is draining at times, I feel rewarded for facilitating stability amidst the turmoil. It has renewed my commitment to facing the intensity with compassion and guiding couples to make legal decisions aligned with their values. This uplifts the profession even as the system evolves. I look forward to seeing how the programme continues to shape the field‘s future. We have come a long way to make space for the emotional dynamics within the legal framework. As society recognises the harm of contentious divorces, especially with children involved, Resolution Together provides a powerful alternative. I am proud to be part of this new era, empowering couples to divorce, with dignity, despite the challenges.

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Mark Salter, Certified and Chartered Financial Planner, Fort Financial Planning

ompounding is one of the most powerful forces in the world. Just ask Albert Einstein, who’s said to have called it the ‘eighth wonder’. The seemingly small decisions we make every day gain power over time. That’s why it’s important to take the long view and come up with a plan — in both wellness and investing — that creates momentum in the direction of our goals. Don’t squander the power of time when you can recruit it to work in your favour. Most of us understand that little things add up. Nowhere is this more evident than in our exercise and nutrition habits. Trading just 10% of your calories from meat for calories derived mostly from plants can extend your lifespan. And don’t feel like a failure if you can’t reach 10,000 steps per day. Another study shows that 4,000 are enough to reduce the risk of dying from any cause. The bottom line? What we do today really matters in the future. No one expects to get stronger by lifting weights just one day per month. But when it comes to investing, there are folks who think the occasional big win is their ticket to success. This is simply not true. Just as your muscles benefit from the incremental increase in strength that comes from consistent training, so too do your investments benefit from a long-term time horizon. Because when it comes to investing, compounding means more than little amounts just adding up. The potential exponential growth provided by compound returns proves that time is literally money. Let’s say two people decide to make a one-time investment of £10,000 and pay in £100 per month with an average annualised return of 6%. One is 30 years old, and the other is 40. When they reach age 75, the investor who started at 30 will have £401,161, while the one who started at 40 will have £214,890. Those extra 10 years investing in the market and contributing for another 10 years turned out to be worth more than £186,271, even though the initial investment was the same. And keep in mind that the extra return only comes if you stick to your plan and stay invested in the market. Now let’s factor in the importance of how you choose to invest your money. Just a 2% increase in returns makes an enormous difference. We just looked at compound returns resulting from a 6% annualised return over a 35- and 45-year period. What about investing the same amount of money for the same amount of time, but at a rate of 8%? Instead of ending up with £401,161, the investor who started at 30 ends up with £802,873. Yes, you read that right. So make investment decisions very carefully. Don’t settle for the status quo when you can do just a little bit better — because a little bit becomes a lot over time. In one of the year’s best-selling books, Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity, physician Peter Attia writes ‘Sometimes doing nothing is the riskiest choice of all’. He’s talking about being proactive about your health but the same is true in investing, where we talk about ‘opportunity cost’. Every minute your money isn’t invested in the market is one in which it can’t compound. Economics is the science of making choices. Considering how many choices human beings are required to make every day – we’re all economists. With advances in medical science, many of us are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. This means it’s more important than ever to invest for the long term. Because with good habits, even if you didn’t start investing at age 20, you may get those 10 extra years of compound interest after all.

132 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

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AN APPRECIATION OF PRINTERS James Flynn, Milborne Port Computers


n a world driven by digital communication printers may seem like a relic of the past however these workhorse machines have not only survived but evolved into powerful tools that continue to shape our daily lives. From the humble dot matrix printer to the sophisticated 3D printer, the realm of printing technology has witnessed a remarkable transformation. Sadly, I have zero experience and knowledge with 3D printing and most of you will know they aren’t my favourite item of technology, but here’s my take on the printers that most of us will use in our day-to-day lives. So, what is a printer? In computing terms, a printer is a peripheral which makes a persistent human-readable representation of graphics or text on paper. In English, they put what you see on the screen onto paper. One of the most popular types of printers in households and small offices is the all-in-one printer. These versatile machines offer a combination of functions, including printing, scanning, copying, and sometimes even faxing. (Yes, that still exists!) They have become an essential tool for managing documents and photos, saving users time, space and money. Two primary printing technologies, laser and inkjet, have dominated the market for decades, each with its unique set of advantages. Laser printers use a combination of laser technology and toner to produce high-quality text and graphics, making them a preferred choice for office environments. On the other hand, inkjet printers use liquid ink to create vibrant colour prints, making them popular for home use and creative projects. Modern printers have embraced wireless connectivity, allowing users to print from a variety of devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. Mobile apps and 134 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

cloud-based printing services have made it easier than ever to send documents for printing, even when you are miles away from the printer. This convenience has streamlined the way we work and share information. Although it is very convenient to print wirelessly, we are still inundated with phone calls to fix wireless printer connection issues and sometimes it’s easier if you have the right cable, to use a USB connection. The other main phone call we get with printers is that someone hasn’t used it for a while or the print quality is very poor. To keep your printer running smoothly, regular maintenance is essential. Cleaning printheads, replacing ink or toner cartridges and ensuring software is up to date are some of the routine tasks that can extend the life of your printer and maintain print quality. As technology advances so does our responsibility towards the environment. Modern printers are designed to be more energy-efficient and eco-friendly. Features like duplex printing (printing on both sides of the paper) and toner-saving modes help reduce paper waste and conserve resources. Many printer manufacturers are also investing in sustainable materials and recycling programs to reduce their environmental footprint. In conclusion, printers have come a long way since their inception and they continue to adapt to the everchanging technological landscape. From basic home printing needs to complex professional requirements, there’s a printer for every purpose. So, the next time you hit ‘print’, take a moment to appreciate the marvel of modern printing technology that brings your ideas and documents to life.

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Short Story



Jan Garner, Sherborne Scribblers

t was just getting light when Jed woke up. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, threw back the grubby covers on the bunk in the truck’s overhead cab and swore as he banged his head. ‘How on Earth did I get here?’ he shouted as he raked his fingers through his thick curly hair. ‘Nobody in their right mind would want to be in this Godforsaken place.’ He lay back and ran a finger gently over the faces of his wife and daughter in the photo sellotaped above his head. ‘I wish I was at home with you.’ During his long drive across the country, he’d made up his mind that once he’d delivered this cargo of oranges from the Sunshine State he’d find a regular job closer to home. Trucking paid the bills but it wasn’t the life he’d planned for himself. After a swig of juice and a bite of a stale doughnut, he fired up the engine, switched on the radio and pulled out onto the empty highway. The station was playing a tribute to Buddy Holly on what would have been his 50th birthday had he not died in a plane crash back in ‘59. As the wipers swished across the rain-splattered windscreen in time to the beat of Peggy Sue, Jed’s voice boomed out at full throttle. He had the long straight road through the unforgiving sparse landscape to himself. Only the odd gas stations and rundown homesteads populated by crazy prospectors convinced there were still fortunes to be made from the derelict mines of the Californian Gold rush, peppered the highway. It was almost an hour later when, through the misty haze, he caught sight of a figurehead bent against the driving rain shuffling along the rocky ground that butted the highway. He slowed the truck and came alongside a bedraggled old woman in a long woollen skirt, with a cloak draped over her head. ‘Terrible weather,’ he said as he jumped down from the cab and nodded up at the sky, ‘unusual for these parts. May I give you a lift, ma’am? You sure look in need of one.’ For a moment, she hesitated then her watery grey eyes, sunken in badly scarred weatherbeaten skin, looked up at him. ’Why, thank you, young man. That’s mighty kind of you.’ ‘Leave that,’ he said as she reached down for an old carpetbag. ‘I’ll get it.’ With a bit of a struggle, he helped her onto the steps of the truck and into the cab before carefully tucking her heavy bag next to her tiny booted feet. As the miles disappeared behind them he kept up a constant stream of small talk. But apart from giving him her name and saying that she was making her way to Sutter’s Mill, what little else she said made no sense to him at all. Sutter’s Mill, the location of the 1949 Gold Rush, was almost 100 hundred miles away. ‘Hell, that’s some walk,’ his laughter masked his concern that something about her wasn’t quite right and he reckoned it wouldn’t hurt to alert the sheriff ’s office at his next pull-in. Surely someone must be looking for her. ‘I usually stop at the next diner,’ he said, ‘it’s nothing fancy but the tuckers real good. Breakfast is on me, if you’d like to join me?’ For the rest of the journey, he told her about his family. Of how his wife, Mary-Lou, had been his high-school sweetheart. How they’d married

136 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

when she was just sixteen. Baby Ellen, the apple of his eye, had arrived the following year. ‘I sure as hell do miss ‘em. But what the heck, I’ve made up my mind this is going to be my last run. There’s bound to be some job back home that’ll pay the bills.’ He gave her a wide smile. ‘I’ll let you into a secret Mrs Mulroney. Ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do was sing. Country music, that’s my passion. I don’t mean to sound boastful ma’am but I do play a mean guitar and folks say with my voice, I could make the big time. Even as a young whipper-snapper I dreamed of singing at the grand OLE OPRY down in Nashville. But, I’ve a family to support. So unless I have some luck or strike it rich, that’ll never happen now.’ He looked down as her bony fingers squeezed his arm. ‘Never give up on your dreams young man. Sometimes good luck will find you when you least expect it.’ He grinned, shook his head and began to sing. ‘That’ll be the day…’ He was still singing Buddy’s song as he pulled up in front of the diner. She thanked him but refused his offer of a meal and reluctantly he left her in the truck. He was headed to the washroom when he saw the sepia copies of old Wanted posters decorating the wall. It was the name of the only woman that caught his eye. ‘Reward $2,500.00 for the capture of Kitty Mulroney. Wanted for the murder and robbery of Mr Jack Critchlow.’ It was dated 1851. He didn’t recognise the young good-looking woman staring back at him. It was the strange-shaped scar on her cheek that made him shiver. ‘Are you OK?’ the man behind the counter asked. ‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost.’ ‘ Tell me,’ Jed said, ‘what do you know about that woman on the poster?’ ‘Ah, that’s our Kitty. She’s pretty famous around these parts. Legend has it that Jack beat her so bad he left her with a monster of a scar on her face. Story goes that one night after he’d had too much hooch, she slit his throat and made off with a sack full of gold nuggets. She was never caught. But even now, after all those years, there are lots of crazy people who swear they’ve seen her walking along the highway. Poor devils,’ he called out as Jed reached the door, ‘they really believe in ghosts.’ Whoever she was, she was gone. The cab was empty, except for a dirty cloth bag she’d left on the seat. A smile of disbelief crossed Jed’s face as he opened the bag to find Jack Critchlow’s gold.

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LITERARY SOCIETY PREVIEW David Cooper, Sherborne Literary Society

What is a Doctor?: A GP’s prescription for the future Dr Phil Whitaker


or many years there has been rising public discontent with the actual or perceived shortcomings of services within the NHS generally and of General Practitioners in particular. Successive governments have long faced much shrill commentary laden with political bias from all directions, often compounded by ignorance of the immensely complex medical, economic, managerial and demographic issues at stake. Dr Whitaker’s book is a very thorough attempt to bring this all into focus and to point a way forward. It is not a quick read and some patience will be needed to navigate the inevitable plethora of technical references in a field so complex in both content 140 | Sherborne Times | December 2023

and management structure as healthcare. Assiduous readers will be rewarded by many interesting insights into how that structure works, or at times does not work, and some glimpses of how it might work better. The author draws from his impressive familiarity with practice both as a GP and within hospitals to either support or question many of the academic and political initiatives that continue to confront the healthcare industry. His own involvement dates from his entry into medical practice in the mid-1990s but his story stretches from Lloyd George’s invention in the 1920s of a manila envelope-based medical record filing system that remained unchanged for a century (fully

digitised only from 2021) to the impact, both good and bad, of artificial intelligence (AI) tools currently in use. Throughout the book his points are often illustrated with case studies. These detail the personal and medical profiles of various patients whose identities have been disguised for obvious reasons. First to be examined are his own childhood paper-based personal medical records and those of his immediate family, all in the familiar handwriting of their longstanding family doctor. This is where his interest first arises in how non-medical issues ranging from plain bad luck or circumstance to mental health can impact perceived medical conditions (along with much else familiar to old people like this reviewer whose own childhood significantly pre-dates both the author’s and indeed the NHS itself !). A recurrent theme develops around how a patient’s path from initial presentation to diagnosis and on to a satisfactory prognosis can be ridden with false signals, judgement calls and trade-offs between desirable and undesirable outcomes. With the advent of the Computer Age other interesting vignettes appear, notably his particular aversion to software that grades outcomes by ‘traffic light imagery’ such as coloured typeface or rows of differentially coloured icons. He condemns such overly exact representation of data that can naturally vary widely from patient to patient, triggering, especially in more junior staff, an inappropriate urgency, over-diagnosis or even fear of legal censure if ignored. The use of such imagery by NHS 111, it is further claimed, has led to a riskaverse culture in turn leading to frequent unnecessary callouts of scarce ambulances and demotivation within a paramedic service highly trained to expect to be confronted with emergencies rather than mislaid inhalers. In later chapters, these same concerns arise with even greater force in the context of the increasingly ubiquitous AI aids. The theme of continuity in doctor/patient relationships repeatedly evokes memories of the archetypal family doctor whose comprehensive knowledge of a patient’s household circumstances provided some protection from diagnosing medical treatment for issues unrelated to physical as distinct from mental health. Perhaps at times, the reader might question his grasp of economic realities given the ever-burgeoning demands born of population growth, medical advances, specialisation and not least the rise in patients’ expectations. He acknowledges his own

place amongst GPs now seeking improved lifestyles, job satisfaction and advancement by dividing their time between work in general practice and other specialisms or for those with children a work/life balance that incorporates a growing family. All these factors strain the credibility of resourcing lifetime doctor/ patient relationships during a prolonged economic downturn. Readers may wish to overlook his occasional predictable swipes at drug companies’ ‘handsome profits’ (which arguably funded the very research that saved everybody’s bacon during the pandemic) or thinly disguised irritation with ‘corporate lobbying’ by companies that spend £8 billion a year (according to the UK Market Research Society) asking consumers what they actually think and want. Even the book’s laudable central premise inevitably fosters images of kindly doctors piloting fog-bound Rover 90s to the midnight bedsides of the sick and worried. How does that sit with mandatory 10-minute limits for consultations? Such carping does not do justice to the book. When trying to navigate a ship through rapidly changing weather patterns, it is unwise to ponder too long on deficiencies in its construction. Direction of travel is all. To that end, Dr Whitaker’s book does a great deal to explain how current shortcomings have been shaped historically. Detailed analysis is given of how changing demographics and fast-paced technological change have driven successive governments of all political colours into well-meant but ultimately flawed interventions. Nowhere is this clearer than in their attempts to introduce muchneeded improvements to management control and the promotion of best practice. Not least, Whitaker’s diverse professional interests and long-time residency in the Oxford area give his views particular heft from his many interactions with academic thinking and medical research. It is a thought-provoking piece of work.

___________________________________________ 25th January 6.30pm for 7pm What is a Doctor?: A GP’s Prescription for the Future Raleigh Hall, Sherborne, DT9 3NL Dr Phil Whitaker will be speaking about his book (preceded by

Sherborne Literary Society AGM). Tickets £8.50 (£7.50 members) via

_____________________________ | 141

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LITERARY REVIEW Richard Hopton, Sherborne Literary Society

The Rest Is History by Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook (Bloomsbury, £18.99) Sherborne Times reader offer of £16.99 from Winstone’s Books


066 And All That, published nearly a century ago, demonstrated that history can be fun. Sellar and Yeatman delighted in debunking the solemn certainties of the past, in showing that there is more to history than dusty archives, soporific biographies and the hushed rustle of the college library. Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook have for the last three years presented The Rest Is History podcast in much the same spirit, proving to them, as Holland puts it, ‘that the fascination of the past is infinite.’ They are both wellregarded historians, albeit of strikingly different periods: Holland’s books have ranged between ancient and early medieval history whereas Sandbrook is best known for his social histories of Britain since the 1950s. This book is a distillation of the podcast. The Rest Is History (the book) is bite-sized history – a series of short essays, lists, games and historical riffs, for the most part determinedly lighthearted in tone and full of arch jokes. It is not, I’d say, a book to be read from cover to cover, rather a bedside book or loo reading, to be dipped into at random. On one view, it’s a giant repository of historical trivia but it does also contain some thought-provoking material, for example, the article on conspiracy theories or the piece about the anti-Nazi resistance group The White Rose. There is also an excellent parody of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code which captures perfectly the crass idiocy of the original. Holland and Sandbrook have a roving eye which alights on a dazzling array of subjects: Babylon, the

ancient Persians, Nero, Alfred the Great, Robin Hood, the Ashanti, the Battle of Trafalgar, the American Wild West, Jeremy Thorpe, Watergate and the mystery of Somerton Man to name but a few. Some of the pieces are cast in the image of popular TV culture: the Tudors are reimagined as a spin-off of Succession (in which the authors get their dates rather muddled) and the Vikings as an early iteration of Mamma Mia. The authors manage to shoehorn Love Island into the act by way of a bizarre interview between two imaginary winners of the show, Stanley Baldwin, the early 20th century British Prime Minister and the ancient Byzantine empress Theodora. Likewise, the authors are unable to resist the laddish allure of extended football analogies: thus we have a Prime Ministers’ World Cup, a World Cup of Kings and Queens and one of the Gods for good measure. There are a good few lists: ‘Top 10 Eunuchs in History’, ‘Top 10 Dogs in History’, ‘Top Twelve Australian Prime Ministers’, ‘Top Five French Presidents of the Fifth Republic’ and so on. The Rest Is History would be a terrific Christmas present for any history buff - teenage or older – providing hours of amusement and, along the way, increasing their fund of historical knowledge. The authors clearly understand that anything that popularises history and disseminates historical knowledge is, as Sellar and Yeatman might have said, a Good Thing. | 143

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Nathan Cracknell, ReBorne Church

e don’t always recognise people. I recently attended the wedding of two of my school friends. It was a brilliant occasion and I was able to see some friends that I haven’t seen for a long time – some since I left school. For the most part, we all recognised each other. Although, there was a conversation at one point about the identity of one of the bridesmaids. Initially, I didn’t think I knew her at all. It was only when she walked past a second time that I realised not only had we been at secondary school together, but we had also been at primary school together. Slightly embarrassing. There are times when failure to recognise someone correctly is much more serious. Once, some years ago whilst working in our family business, I failed to recognise that a particular seller was not genuine. Despite having a smart website, seemingly in-depth knowledge of the product over the phone and letterheads on their correspondence complete with VAT registration numbers, the products I purchased never arrived. Much more embarrassing and much more serious. Sadly, such incidents are becoming more common. According to the 2022 UK Finance Annual Fraud Report, in the year of the report over 1.2 billion pounds were stolen through fraudulent activities. Such figures are no doubt behind the regular reminders from financial institutions of signs to look out for in their communications with us so we can recognise genuine correspondence. In the New Testament book of Luke, we see a similar technique being used in the nativity story. When the angelic messengers appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus they said, ‘This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ (Luke 2: 12). The shepherds were given the distinctive detail of a baby lying in a manger so they would be able to recognise God’s son when they looked for him, a God-given sign of a genuine message. The first nativity scene, depicted on Christmas cards and arranged in window displays in a myriad of different ways since has become so familiar to us that perhaps we no longer recognise the true significance of the manger. Instead, relegating it simply to a prop in a play or the rustic centrepiece of a traditional scene. The danger of this is that we might just miss its message too. Once again, this Christmas, the manger will be in the centre of nativity scenes all over the world. Once again, this Christmas, we are reminded of the sign given so that those searching for God’s Son might recognise him. | 145


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