Sherborne Times June 2024

Page 1

A CUT ABOVE with Susanne Cooper of Dorset Walled Garden



I’ve always thought of Dorset as a gorgeously plump sort of county.

As we tip into summer, our roly-poly landscape of hills, hedgerows and thick ancient woodland is at its cherubic best. Add to that the incentivised rewilding of farmland, conscientious ‘neglect’ of verges and the increasing number of managed wildflower meadows, and things are looking even more green and pleasant.

Meanwhile, in our own gardens, there is a growing realisation that sometimes just leaving things be can produce magical results. It certainly provides sanctuary to a colourful world of bugs, birds and furry things. It’s an approach I have embraced in part due to a lack of time but does inevitably mean I spend my weekends pulling up angry fistfuls of bindweed.

I look forward to the day I am free to tend my garden but until then, I will be in awe of anyone with a well-kept lawn and thriving flowerbed. So while I wrestle with weeds and chat with shield bugs, Claire and Katharine pop down to meet Susanne Cooper at Dorset Walled Garden and discover five acres of sensory delight.

Have a great month.

Glen Cheyne, Editor @sherbornetimes

Editorial and creative direction

Glen Cheyne


Andy Gerrard


Katharine Davies

Features writer

Claire Bowman

Editorial assistant

Helen Brown

Social media

Jenny Dickinson


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Distribution team

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Barbara & David Elsmore

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PO Box 9701 Sherborne DT9 9EU

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Fiona Ashley-Miller Sherborne Good Neighbours

Laurence Belbin

Elisabeth Bletsoe Sherborne Museum

Richard Bromell ASFAV Charterhouse Auctioneers and Valuers

Mike Burks The Gardens Group

Paula Carnell

James Cartwright and Nick Gray Dorset Wildlife Trust

Daniel Combes

Sasha Constable

David Copp

John Crossman St Pauls Church

Rosie Cunningham

Barbara Elsmore

James Flynn Milborne Port Computers

Simon Ford

Dawn Hart YogaSherborne

Andy Hastie Yeovil Cinematheque

Ashley Helliar Helliar Pest Control

Giles Henschel Olives Et Al

Sarah Hitch

The Sanctuary Beauty Rooms and The Margaret Balfour Beauty Centre

Richard Hopton and Crispin Black Sherborne Literary Society

Jules Horrell Horrell & Horrell

Charlotte Hull The Story Pig

Annabelle Hunt Bridport Timber and Flooring

Lucy Lewis Dorset Mind

Jude Marwa

Paul Maskell The Beat and Track

Tom Matkevich The Green Restaurant

Sandra Miller BSc, MSc, BCNH Dip, FDN-P Wholistic Health

Gillian Nash

Mark Newton-Clarke

MA VetMB PhD MRCVS Newton Clarke Veterinary Surgeons

Jan Pain Sherborne Scribblers

Lois Pearson Beaminster Festival

Hilary Phillips Hanford School

Oddur Roth Hauser & Wirth

Mark Salter CFP Fort Financial Planning

Val Stones

Dr Jonathan Tham New Nights Sleep Clinic

Hugh Tatham Sherborne School

Fernando Velazquez Sherborne Prep

Andrew Waldron The Cheese Meltdown

Simon Walker Mogers Drewett Solicitors

John Walsh Friars Moor Livestock Health

Julia Witherspoon Julia Nutrition

4 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
NOW OPEN A DESTINATION FOR THE ARTS EXHIBITIONS | VERSATILE SPACES | EVENTS | EAT & DRINK | SHOP A house of many tales and many people Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm Sunday 11am - 4pm 8 Art & Culture 26 What’s On 32 Community 36 Family 51 Science & Nature 58 History 60 Antiques 64 Home 68 DORSET WALLED GARDEN 76 Gardening 82 Food & Drink 100 Animal Care 106 Body & Mind 124 Legal 126 Finance 128 Tech 132 Short Story 134 Literature 136 Crossword 138 Pause for Thought 68 JUNE 2024 | 5



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67: Najima, Sasha Constable

Alabaster Sculpture, 32 x 30 x 11cm, £4,200

My sculpture Najima is hand-carved in Alabaster which is a relatively soft gypsum stone that comes in numerous colours and levels of translucency. The carving was inspired by a vector graphic taken from a photograph by Giles Duley of a 13-year-old girl injured by shrapnel in Afghanistan in 2021. I decided to carve Najima’s silhouetted face projected onto a grid, reminiscent of what remains of any building block blown out during conflict. This sculpture is a collaboration with the Legacy of War Foundation. My creative starting point is usually an emotive response to an experience, a story or an object whether it is about conflict, endangered animals, climate, mental health, humour in political skullduggery or simply something of beauty to enjoy.

I used to sketch my ideas, make maquettes in clay and then replicate the form in stone, however, my approach to carving has become more fluid recently as the selected stone often dictates the form I decide to create. Stone carving is a time-consuming process starting with the main form being blocked out by hand with a mallet and chisel, followed by hours of filing using riflas and graded diapads to smooth the surface if required.


Sasha’s sculptures and relief prints are on show at Dorset Art Weeks venue 11, Class Creative Studios, Tut Hill Farm, Bishop’s Caundle until 9th June.

Art & Culture
8 | Sherborne Times | June 2024


The popularity of Italian cinema has been in a bit of a lull over the past twenty-odd years, with a few notable exceptions of course, in contrast with its earlier international standing during the 1950s and 60s. In 1937 the Fascist government built a vast film studio just south of Rome, aware of cinema’s value as a propaganda tool. Cinecitta, ‘cinema city’, is still the largest film studio in Europe but today is used increasingly for TV productions and also now has a theme park which opened in 2014. Ironically, during the prestigiously popular Neorealist movement of the 1950s - the Golden Age - most films were shot on location because of bomb damage to the studio from the war and a shortage of finance. Many nonprofessional actors were employed as films mostly addressed the poverty and harsh conditions the Italian population were facing. Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948) and Umberto D (1952), with Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City (1945) being stand-outs. Into the 1960s, and after rebuilding, films went

back into the studio with Federico Fellini dominating. His La Dolce Vita (1960) and 8 ½ (1963) were hugely influential internationally, whilst in the 1970s Italian ‘auteur’ cinema became more politicised; see Elio Petri’s Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970), Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970) and Ermanno Olmi’s The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978).

The 1980s foreshadowed the beginnings of a decline in Italian film production but still managed to come up with Giuseppe Tornatore’s supremely popular Cinema Paradiso (1989). The 2000s most acclaimed director is surely Paolo Sorrentino, whose Il Devo (2008) and The Great Beauty (2013) (both seen at Cinematheque) are ultra-stylish stunning films, while Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro (2018) is a baffling joy.

Coming up to the present brings Cinematheque’s first showing this month. At the Swan Theatre on 5th June we screen The Eight Mountains (2022), co-directed by Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeerch. In a secluded village in the Italian Alps, a friendship

Art & Culture
Andy Hastie, Yeovil Cinematheque
10 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
The Old Oak (2023)

develops between two young boys, one from Turin, the other local. Even though Pietro moves away and Bruno remains, as the decades pass and both lives unfold, their paths lead them back to each other where they first met. Set in the magnificent Italian landscape, this is a profoundly moving portrait of a lifelong friendship.

‘A movie of soaring visual majesty and churning emotional force’ LA Times.

The final film of this season is surely Ken Loach’s last, completing his trilogy - I, Daniel Blake (2016), Sorry We Missed You (2019) and now The Old Oak (2023) showing on 12th June. Set in a once-thriving mining community in the northeast, the Old Oak pub is the last remaining public space where people can meet. When Syrian refugees are housed in the village without notice, the landlord tries desperately to show the two communities how to understand and help each other. This deeply moving, relevant film is a fitting tribute to a towering British filmmaker’s career. Definitely not to be missed. ‘A film as fired up and

human as any you’ll see this year’ Time Out magazine.

So this month is the end of another successful season of films but do look out for updates to our next season starting in September. All details are on the website below.

Visit Cinematheque as a guest for £5, or take out a membership for the rest of the season. See website for details.

Wednesday 5th June 7.30pm

The Eight Mountains (12) 2022

Wednesday 12th June 7.30pm

The Old Oak (15) 2023

Cinematheque, Swan Theatre, 138 Park St, Yeovil BA20 1QT

Members £1, guests £5

The Eight Mountains (2022) | 11


Rosie Cunningham

Ihave been reflecting on the recent Olivier Awards nominees, particularly Sarah Jessica Parker for Plaza Suite, which I did see, at vast expense, in the majestic Savoy Theatre. Matthew Broderick, who played her husband and is her husband, didn’t even get a nod but whose performance was nuanced, engaging and very, very funny. The actors have been doing this play together on and off for five years so, like marriage, I suppose that every couple has their ups and downs.

Ian McKellen is playing Falstaff in Player Kings, a modern rendition of Shakespeare’s Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, adapted and directed by Robert Icke, which I saw at the Noël Coward Theatre. If you love Shakespeare and are happy to watch an excellent production which lasts almost four hours then you will not be disappointed. McKellen played a swaggering, boozing, bawdy but fragile Falstaff who is eventually cast aside by the young king-in-waiting when he finally ascends to the throne. The audience feels Falstaff’s pain as the foolish, boozy, forgotten playmate is discarded in favour of more

serious and senior advisors, as befits a ruler. A young American couple sitting behind us looked rather perplexed at halftime so a potted English history lesson was needed. They got last-minute tickets at the door for those aged 30 or under for £30, which the theatre offers daily to draw in a younger crowd, so were delighted to see Sir Ian in action. It’s in the West End until 22nd June and then touring, including Bristol Hippodrome, from 3rd-6th July.

Sarah Snook, of Succession fame, whose solo performance in the outstanding show, The Picture of Dorian Gray, completely deserves her Best Actress Olivier Award. Over the course of two hours, without a break, Snook fabulously brought to life all 26 roles throughout this contemporary production. The up close and personal oneman show, whereby the audience is privy to Dorian Gray’s internal monologue, was cleverly made possible through a handful of roving camera operators who tracked the many fast-paced and fluid character changes, as wigs and clothing were discarded and replaced, never once being out of shot and always on camera. The interplay

Art & Culture
12 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Image: Manuel Harlan

between live performance and video helped to create an atmosphere of distortion and warped unreality, as Dorian Gray’s face gradually metamorphosised into something grotesque and whose behaviour descended into madness. This was a magnificent performance and on par with Joe Comer in Prima Facie.

Harry Clarke, recently at the Ambassador’s Theatre, was also a one-man show starring Billy Crudup, who performed all 19 roles. A timid homosexual boy from Indiana called Philip Brugglestein finds his childhood more bearable by adopting the brash personality and accent of a geezer from Camden Town called Harry Clarke. As he leaves home and arrives in New York, he transforms himself into the suave Englishman and pretends that he is Sade’s tour manager and a smooth operator. Barely able to make ends meet he tells more and more lies to keep himself one step ahead of the game because the truth simply won’t pay the bills. THE JERRAM GALLERY 01935 815261 Half Moon Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3LN Tuesday – Saturday
Ian McKellen and Geoffrey Freshwater in Player Kings



22 June - 20 July

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Garden Lates - 6 June, 13 June, 4 July, 11 July, 18 July

Farm-to-Knife: Beef - 8 June

Gardener & Chef - 5 June, 19 June, 10 July, 24 July, 7 August, 21 August

Visit our website to discover more about Newt Membership. Free entry for children (0-16 yrs) when accompanied by an adult member.

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When I walk to the studio I sometimes stroll down Blackberry Lane and into Coombe. Heading towards the Marston Road I pass a yard which has been for a while the home for a couple of old London buses. I received permission to stand there and do a drawing or two. The second bus was out of view at the time but they are now side by side. The setting seems so out of place for a bus, surrounded by bricks, slates and roof tiles. How things have changed – I remember on the rare occasions I stayed at a friend’s house out of town and we had to catch the school bus the following morning. It was on one similar but had an open platform at the rear and stairs to the upper deck were at the back too. The school bus was a real treat for me as I lived just under a mile from school and had to walk rain or shine. The older children were allowed upstairs but we little ones were kept an eye on below deck by the conductor, remember them? The driver being in his own cubby hole probably had the easier job! The pop group Dave Clark Five was quite prominent at the time and the top deck vibrated, thump, thump, thump from the stamping of feet to the song Bits and Pieces sung, sort of in tune by the older kids. No radio, just remembered lyrics. The conductor was up and down the stairs constantly trying in vain to keep order during the five or six-mile journey.

Art & Culture
16 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

All good fun and not a phone in sight!

I walked along Acreman Street, turned into Trendle Street then Westbury and stopped at ‘Pastimes’ the tiny shop on the left. Here we have a grown-up child’s dream! Nostalgia is in every corner, shelf and cabinet. Boxes of toy cars and farmyard animals, puzzles and board games. Tractors and combine harvesters shared shelves with zoo animals and circus wagons. Train sets with wonderfully depicted engines and carriages along with the engine sheds and little figures on the platforms. I recognised some of the treasured toys my mother threw out without me knowing! I certainly didn’t get rid of them. I’m over it now though!

I spent a while trying to get a feel of the place and included what I could in the space I had. It was all about trying to portray the Aladdin’s cave effect where your eyes wander around this relatively small room seeking out all the goodies in the hope of finding a childhood memory. I don’t think it was all from the forties, fifties and sixties, I think there were memories from later decades too. Many of the cars and lorries were still in their original boxes – there was even a red bus!

Laurence’s studio on Westbury will be open for Dorset Art Weeks from Saturday 25th May – Sunday 9th June 10.30am-5.30pm daily, showing paintings, drawings and automata. He will also be selling his new book My Road To Sandford Orcas. | 17
18 | Sherborne Times | June 2024


Oddur Roth, Artist

My father, Björn Roth and I were some of the first artists-in-residence at Hauser & Wirth Somerset in 2014, when we worked on creating the bar that formed an integral part of the original Roth Bar & Grill, the gallery’s on-site restaurant. A decade later, I was invited to return to Bruton with my team, Einar Roth, Bjarni Grímsson, Sigrún Holmgeirsdottir, Thrandur Gíslason Roth and Gudmundur Oddur Magnusson, to reimagine Roth Bar as a site-specific artwork and fully functioning bar within the Threshing Barn at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, to mark the 10th anniversary of the site.

First conceived by my grandfather Dieter Roth in the early 1980s, the bar is a dynamic and changing installation. It is a continuing element in the Roth family’s cross-generational practice. The story of Roth Bar at Hauser & Wirth began when my grandfather insisted that a bar form part of his first show with the gallery in 1997 and has subsequently travelled to many global locations since. Inspired by the history of Durslade Farm, Roth Bar in Somerset is composed of salvaged materials and objects from reclamation yards in the surrounding area.

I lived and worked in The Maltings, the gallery’s residency studio space in Bruton, from January to March, which provided my team and I with the opportunity to have everything in one place. Usually, we would have to contend with a lot of materials, long distances between

Art & Culture
20 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Roth Bar, work in progress, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, 2024 © Oddur Roth. Images: Bjarni Grímsson

locations or shipping things which we have built elsewhere. Here we had space upstairs where we could paint and another room that was converted into a design studio. Downstairs, we fabricated most of the elements of the bar, which we then easily moved to the gallery. To have the ability to build a site-specific artwork on the ground is unique.

The best thing about The Maltings is its functionality as a space for artists. When I was first here 10 years ago, we were some of the first artists to be in residence – things were new – but now you can see the traces of other artists also working here; there is paint on the floor that gives the space a life of its own. It is a ‘home away from home’, a place to live and work and it is great that other artists can also experience that.

Another significant element in reimaging the Roth Bar was the local landscape and environment in Somerset. It was very important to collaborate with local people to source materials to give the Roth Bar the feeling that it is from here and not just a work that was made somewhere else and installed. The bar has roots in Somerset and we wanted to respect those who came before us.

Roth Bar reopens on Saturday 25th May at 12pm. Visit Wednesday – Sunday, 10am–11pm. | 21
Roth Bar, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, 2024 © Oddur Roth. Images: Bjarni Grímsson


Being an arts festival, the Beaminster Festival is eclectic, aiming for a wide audience, yet still attracts performers of the highest calibre – some say it’s the country air, the enthusiastic audience and a generous ‘Green Room’!

The festival starts on 17th June with your very own Sherborne Abbey Choir singing a Choral Evensong followed by a short recital. Our pianist this year is the brilliant Mishka Momen Rushdie, who presents a programme of Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn. She regularly collaborates with Steven Isserlis and also Guy Johnson who joins us earlier in the week. BBC Young Musician finalist of 2016, Ben Goldscheider already has a stellar career and his trio with Callum Smart (another BBCYM finalist) and Richard Uttley performed at the Wigmore Hall earlier this year. Their programme includes the beautifully elegiac Brahms Horn Trio. Richard Uttley also joins Classic FM Rising Star, Mathilde Milwidsky, to give a charming violin recital of largely French, passionate and romantic music. The organ comes into its own this year with a recital by Jeremiah Stephenson, who, with the characteristics of St Mary’s excellent Skrabel organ in mind, has chosen a dance-inspired programme with music from Buxtehude to Gardner. Jeremiah is Organ Education Lead at

St Paul’s Cathedral. Later in the week, the brilliant Richard Gowers, who played for us last year, returns playing organ and then piano with trumpet player Matilda Lloyd. They open with Bach’s dramatic Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

Proving highly popular is a first visit from the Treorchy Male Choir, sure to raise the roof of the beautiful St Mary’s Church, Beaminster, the venue for most of the events. Internationally renowned cellist Guy Johnson will be joined by two friends, Lizzie Ball, violin and Morgan Szymanski, guitar, for a delightful programme of well-known classical pieces. Concerts in a lighter vein include the Wiggin Wass Duo, harp and saxophone, which includes the ever-popular Debussy’s Girl with the Flaxen Hair and the Recuerdos de la Alhambra. The Tim Kliphuis Trio performs its own jazz-influenced take on Mussorgsky’s Pictures of an Exhibition, an example of one art form being inspired by another, a theme which runs through the festival. There’s great fun but also astonishing virtuosity from the brilliant young trombone quartet Bone-afide. Bursting with humour, ritual and playful energy, storyteller Emily Hennessey and Sheema Mukherjee, on sitar, entertain with stories from both Hindu and modern culture.

Art & Culture
Mishka Rushdie Momen Image: Benjamin Ealovega
22 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Mathilde Milwidsky Image: Neda Navaee

Combining top-quality musicianship with wellknown music, Emma Johnson and Friends bring Tales from Vienna with music from Mozart to Lehar and she sets the music in historical context with art of the era.

There is an excellent wide choice of authors to meet – Rob Hutton is in conversation with John Dean, about his book The Illusionist. If natural history is of interest Lev Parikian will discuss his book Taking Flight with local author Jon Woolcott. From SOE to Dressing the Queen is a fascinating account of the multi-faceted life of Hardy Amies by Lynda Rowland in conversation with Sarah Russell Hill. What must it be like to be the only mixed-race family in a small rural village? Bridport Prize winner Fiona Williams discusses her book The House of Broken Bricks with Jo Willett. A Sculpture that Sings is both the name of a multimedia project and a book to be launched at an event celebrating the role of bells in rural life.

Al fresco theatre is always the perfect way to spend a June evening and we are so lucky to be able to use the glorious gardens of Beaminster Manor. This year the Rain or Shine Company present The Importance of Being Earnest – so pack up your picnics and bubbly and enjoy the fun.

Encouraging people to have a go at creativity is very much part of the festival this year and again we are looking at how one art may inspire another. There are various workshops in the weeks before the festival: Jo Burlington of Oops Wow Messy Art will encourage

young and old to respond in the drawing to music and she will even invite some people to work to live music.

Lulu Allison, an artist turned author, will lead a creative writing session again looking at how to use music for inspiration. Story-telling is a fast-growing art and Emily Hennessey will lead a workshop helped by Sheema Mukherjee, sitar.

Highly popular is the Comic Art Masterclass of the highly amusing Kev F Sutherland who aims for a comic to be produced by each group of wannabe comic artists – all ages (above 7) are welcome. Great entertainment for families during half term!

Artistic Director Lois Pearson comments, ‘It is a privilege to welcome such an amazing group of performers to our small but vibrant town of Beaminster. Well over 70 local volunteers help with catering, hosting, driving and stewarding so they get to know our guests and this is what makes both performers and audience feel so at ease – the perfect way to celebrate such a feast of talent.’

Monday 17th – Sunday 30th June

Beaminster Festival

Beaminster’s annual festival of music, theatre, art and literature. Venues across the town. More information and tickets 0333 666 3366

Guy Johnson Image: Benjamin Ealovega | 23
Ben Goldscheider


No. 30: The Eagles of Death Metal: Peace, Love and Death Metal….but mainly Peace and Love

In the landscape of rock music, few bands embody the raw energy, unbridled spirit and showmanship quite like The Eagles of Death Metal. Formed in 1998 by childhood friends Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), this enigmatic ensemble has carved out a unique niche in the annals of modern rock history.

The genesis of the band can be traced back to a fateful encounter between Hughes and Homme in Palm Desert, California. United by their shared love for classic rock, blues and punk, the duo set out to create a sound that paid homage to their eclectic musical influences while forging new frontiers.

The band’s moniker, a tongue-in-cheek nod to the contrasting styles of the Eagles and Death Metal, encapsulates their irreverent approach to music-making.

From the outset, The Eagles of Death Metal have blended elements of garage rock, blues and boogiewoogie with potent results.

Their debut album, Peace, Love, Death Metal, released in 2004, catapulted the band into the spotlight with its infectious hooks, swaggering rhythms and tongue-incheek lyricism (and absolutely no Death Metal). Tracks like I Only Want You and Speaking in Tongues showcased the band’s knack for crafting anthemic rock tunes that were as catchy as they were unapologetically fun.

However, it was their follow-up album, Death by Sexy (2006), that solidified the band as a force to be reckoned with. Produced by Josh Homme himself, the album saw the band doubling down on their signature blend of high-octane riffs and infectious grooves, resulting in a collection of songs that were equal parts

Art & Culture
24 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

sassy, sexy and sublime.

As their success was knocking on the door of ‘next level’, their world imploded. I was lucky enough to see the band perform in Bristol in November 2015. A gig that sticks in the memory as one of the best performances I’ve seen. A matter of days later on 13th November 2015, tragedy struck the band, the fans and the heart of Paris. The Bataclan Theatre, a symbol of the city’s vibrant cultural scene, became the epicentre of a horrific terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 89 concertgoers, including the band’s merchandise manager, Nick Alexander.

The band, performing onstage when the attackers stormed the venue, found themselves thrust into a nightmare scenario beyond comprehension. Amidst the chaos and terror, they displayed remarkable courage and compassion, helping fans to safety and sheltering in a backstage room until law enforcement could secure the premises.

In the aftermath of the attack, the band faced a profound reckoning. Gripped by grief and trauma, they grappled with the weight of the tragedy and loss. Yet, in the face of unimaginable adversity, they made a courageous decision: to return to the stage and reclaim their music in honour of the fans who lost their lives supporting it.

Their first performance following the Bataclan massacre took place less than a month later, as they joined U2 onstage in Paris to deliver a defiant message of unity and resilience. The Eagles of Death Metal’s decision to return to the stage was met with an outpouring of support from fans and fellow musicians around the world. In the months and years that followed, they continued to honour the memory of those lost in the tragedy while refusing to let it define them.

EM_ST.qxp_Layout 1 12/05/2024 16:14 Page 1

In interviews and public statements, the band members spoke openly about their experiences and the impact the attack had on their lives. They became advocates for survivors of terrorism and champions of the healing power of music, using their platform to spread a message of love, hope and resilience. The band made a very powerful and moving documentary regarding the events and subsequent memorial concert held in Paris called Nos Amis (Our Friends). I would urge everyone to watch this film and defy anybody not to shed a tear.

In the years that followed, The Eagles of Death Metal continued to push their sound with albums like Heart On (2008) and Zipper Down (2015), further cementing their status as one of rock music’s most exhilarating live acts. Their electrifying performances, characterised by Hughes’ flamboyant almost preacherlike stage presence have earned them a dedicated global following and a reputation as an incredibly entertaining band. Their infectious enthusiasm and love for the craft have endeared them to fans and fellow musicians alike, solidifying their legacy as true torchbearers of the rock genre. They are currently performing at festivals across the U.S. and also working hard for causes such as Music Saves Lives – a charity dedicated to suicide prevention.

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

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Pick up your copy at arts venues, galleries, museums, art shops, cafés, libraries and tourist information centres (etc) throughout Dorset, Somerset, East Devon, West Wiltshire, Bristol and Bath Or subscribe online at: | 25

Mondays 11am-12.30pm

Nature Writing for Fun

Sherborne Library, Hound Street

Fun creative writing exercises, using nature and the outdoors as inspiration.

Mondays 1.30pm-3.30pm

Craft and Chat Group

Sherborne Library, Hound Street

Bring along your current project and meet others.

Mondays & Thursdays


Sherborne Indoor

Short Mat Bowls

West End Hall, Sherborne 01935 812329. All welcome

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

Sherborne Bridge Club

Sherborne FC Clubhouse, Terrace Playing Fields

01963 210409

Tuesdays 10am-12pm

Fine Folk Dancing

Charlton Horethorne Village Hall £3 per session. Beginners welcome. 01963 220640.


Every last Wednesday

Military History Talk via Zoom

£5, information

Every 1st Thursday 9.30am

Netwalk for Business

Owners & Entrepreneurs

Pageant Gardens


Every 2nd & 4th Thursday 10am-12.30pm

Castleton Probus Club

The Grange, Oborne, DT9 4LA New members welcome.

Thursdays 2pm-4pm & Fridays 11am-1pm

Digital Champions Sessions

Sherborne Library, Hound Street

Bookable sessions for help with basic skills using your own device or a library computer. sherbornelibrary@

Thursdays 7.30pm-9.30pm

St Michael’s Scottish Country Dance Club

Davis Hall, West Camel £2. New starters very welcome. 07972 125617

Fridays 3.30pm-5pm

Children’s Board Games Club

Sherborne Library, Hound Street

Drop-in for children age 5 and over.

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

Every Saturday 7.30pm-10pm

Whist Drive

Trinity Church, Lysander Road, Yeovil BA20 2BU. £5 including raffle. Contact Nigel 01935 862325

Until Sunday 9th

Dorset Art Weeks

Open Studios, exhibitions and events across Dorset.

Sunday 2nd 11.30am-3.30pm

Sherborne Steam & Waterwheel Centre Open Day

Castleton Pumping Station, Oborne Road DT9 3RX. Entry free, donations welcome.

Join us on the first Wednesday of the month at 3pm and 7pm

Digby Hall, Hound Street, Sherborne DT9 3AA

5th June: A History of the National Gallery in 10 Paintings: highlights to show how our vision of the “ideal” collection has evolved over time.

3rd July: George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham: A discerning patron with houses renovated by Inigo Jones, with John Tradescant as his garden designer and a fine collection of paintings.

Members free; visitors £10

26 | Sherborne Times | June 2024



Wednesday 5th 11am

Sherborne Probus - The Search for Great-Grandmother’s Farm with Brian Margetson

The Grange Hotel, Oborne DT9 4LA

Wednesday 5th 3pm and 7pm

A History of the National Gallery in 10 Paintings

Digby Hall, Hound Street Free for members, £10 for nonmembers.

Thursday 6th 11am

80th Anniversary D-Day Memorial and Laying of Wreath

Sherborne Abbey War Memorial D-Day display of work at the Conduit. or 07769 407130.

Sunday 9th 12pm-5pm

National Garden Scheme

Opening - Yew Tree House

Hermitage Lane, Hermitage, Dorchester DT2 7BB. Adults £5, children free. Profits to the National Garden Scheme.

Tuesday 11th 9pm-10.30pm

Singing Bowl Soundbath

Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Rd DT9 3LN. £16. Please book in advance 01935 389655 or email


Thursday 13th 7.30pm

Sherborne and District

Gardeners’ Association TalkCultivation and Use of Unusual Herbs

All are welcome. Visitors £3. 01935 389375

Friday 14th June 6.30pm for 7pm

Damien Lewis -

SAS Great Escapes III

The Digby Memorial Church Hall, Digby Road, Sherborne DT9 3NL

Author talk and signing. Tickets £10 (members) £12 (non-members), available from Winstone’s Books, Cheap Street or (see preview page 134)

Saturday 15th 10am-12.30pm (last repair 12.15pm)

Repair Cafe

Cheap Street Church Hall, Sherborne Bring household items to be repaired and avoid landfill. Volunteers and repairers needed repaircafesherborne@ or @repaircafesherborne

Saturday 15th - Sunday 16th 2pm-6pm

Cerne Abbas Open Gardens £8 adults, under 16s free. Profits

distributed between The Historical Society (to support Abbey dig) and Godmanstone Church restoration fund.

Sunday 16th 10am-3pm

The Sherborne Market

Local producers, suppliers, food, art & crafts.

Sunday 16th 3pm

Wessex Strings Concert

Cheap Street Church

Penderecki, Vivaldi, J. S. Bach, Mudge Tickets £10 from Winstone Books (cash only) or £12 on the door. Under 18s free.

Monday 17th - Sunday 30th

Beaminster Festival 2024

Music, theatre, art and literature.

Wednesday 19th 11am

Sherborne Probus -

LIFE DRAWING Tuesday’s, 7-9PM, £15 / £12 under 25’s



ABSTRACT PAINTING & INSPIRATION -TALK BY LEONARD GREEN Saturday 8th June 11AM - 12PM, £15/£12 under 25’s


Continues until 9th June,Thu-Sun 10.30AM - 5.30PM

28 | Sherborne Times | June 2024


Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 July*


Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 July*


Friday 19 July


Monday 22 and Tueday 23 July*




8-13 years | 9am – 5pm


£55 per day | £200 for four days

£330 for all seven days

Lunch and

our qualified coaches you will acquire new skills, lear n about game tactics whilst in a team environment and lear n more about the benefits of nutrition.
energy snacks are included. Equipment can be provided. *Both days to be booked together as run as a course E N T E R P R I S E S
To book please contact: 01935 818277 | osc | Sherborne Girls | Bradford Road | Sherborne | Dorset DT9 3QN

Protect The Ones You Love with Linda Fisher

The Grange Hotel, Oborne DT9 4LA

Sunday 30th

Symondsbury Estate Summer Fete

Bridport DT6 6HG.Food stalls, games, live music, entertainment, Maypole dancing, faceprinting and more. Free admission. Car parking £2

Sunday 30th 2pm-4pm

Singing Bowl Soundbath

Oborne Village Hall, Oborne DT9 4LA £16. Please book in advance 01935 389655 or email

Planning ahead

Wednesday 3rd July 3pm and 7pm


George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham – The Handsomest Man in 17th Century Europe and his Patronage of the Arts Digby Hall, Hound Street. Free for members, £10 for non-members

Saturday 29th

Bere Regis (H)

Compton House Cricket Club

The Park, Over Compton, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 4QU 1st XI. 1pm

Sunday 7th July 10am-10pm

Pride Sherborne

An all day celebration of love is love. Parade, party in the park, artisan street market, live music, pop-up performers, comedy, cabaret.


Sherborne Cricket Club

The Terraces, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5NS 1st XI. 1pm

Saturday 1st (KO 12.30pm)

Wimborne (H)



City And Guilds Courses

Creative Techniques

Interior Design

Painting Techniques

Creative Sketchbooks

Printmaking Techniques

SWAC Workshops

Silver Clay Jewellery

Acrylic Techniques Still Life in Oil

Abstract Alcohol Inks

Perspective Drawing Appliqué

Saturday 1st

Weymouth (A)

Saturday 8th

Corfe Mullen (H)

Saturday 15th

Wimborne 2nd XI (H)

Saturday 22nd

Marnhull (A)

Saturday 29th

Corfe Mullen (A)

Beginners Workshops Acrylic Oil

Watercolour Printing Drawing Embroidery

South West Art Courses Compton Court Coldharbour Sherborne DT9 4AG 07549357138 / 07917190309

30 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

My Road To Sandford Orcas

“A beguiling record of the artist Laurence Belbin’s 40-year-long journey along a single road, from his home in Sherborne to the neighbouring village of Sandford Orcas. This book of paintings and previously unseen sketches offers a unique and privileged glimpse into the musings and meanderings of one of our town’s best-loved artists. Spend even a short time in Laurence’s company and you will, quite literally, never see the world in the same way.” Glen Cheyne, Sherborne Times.

Copies available (priced £10) from Laurence’s studio at Westbury Hall, Westbury, Sherborne DT9 3EN and Sherborne Antiques Market, 71 Cheap Street, Sherborne DT9 3BA

Copies can also be ordered for delivery by post. Please contact

LAURENCE BELBIN A Se ect on of Words and Paint ngs
My Road To Sandford Orcas



Welcome to The Sherborne Market!

What brings you here?

We have been visiting the market for years and love the atmosphere. All the traders have been so welcoming.

Where have you travelled from?

We are based 14 miles away in Bower Hinton, a small village in Somerset.

Tell us about what you’re selling. At The Meltdown we use the best flavour combinations to create the ultimate cheese toasties – inspired by flavours of the world whilst very much staying true to our roots, using the finest Somerset produce.

Where and when did it all begin?

Our love for cheese… they say do something you love and this is truly our passion. We love discovering new cheeses and incorporating them into our toasties. Supporting local suppliers is very important to us. Our

bread is from the local bakery under a mile from our home and our cheese is all sourced within 15 miles. We did our first event last summer after months of research and tasting – all part of the job!

What do you enjoy most about selling at markets?

We love catching up with our regular customers and meeting new people with a shared fondness for cheese.

If you get the chance, which fellow stallholders here at Sherborne would you like to visit?

For more cheese, we love to visit the Truckle Truck, always a great selection. For something sweet we’ll go and see Bayside Bakery, the best brownies in the world!

Where can people find you on market day?

We are located in Pageant Gardens –hope to see you there.


32 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Image: Stable Design

Hand picked & selected artisan market

Hand picked & selected artisan market

Flying the flag for local featuring local producers, suppliers, amazing food, arts and crafts.

Markets held between 10am - 3pm on the dates below.

Markets held between 10am - 3pm on the dates below.

April 21ST

June 16th

May 19th

July 21st

June 16th

Sept 15th

Flying the flag for local featuring local producers, suppliers, amazing food, arts and crafts.

10am - 3pm

10am - 3pm

Aug 18th Sept 15th

July 21st

Aug 18th

Oct 20th Nov 17th Dec 15th

Oct 20th Nov 17th Dec 15th

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Fiona Ashley-Miller, Sherborne Good Neighbours Volunteer

Over 35 years ago, Sherborne Good Neighbours was set up as a voluntary organisation to provide friendly assistance to those who did not have family, friends or next-door neighbours to take them to medical appointments, collect prescriptions, do occasional shopping and offer home visits for the lonely. We continue to offer this service today and perhaps you have used us. Now Sherborne Good Neighbours is looking for your help, please. We need more volunteers and you may be interested in joining us.

The demand for drivers and supporters continues to grow. In the last 12 months, our volunteers have taken customers on over 2,000 journeys covering a total distance of more than 27,600 miles. These are mostly in the Sherborne and Yeovil areas but sometimes as far as Bristol and Taunton for hospital visits. We will happily take those without transport to doctors’ appointments at The Grove or The Apples surgeries and further afield, but we are not a general taxi service and we won’t arrange lifts to hair appointments or lunch with a friend! We are simply here to help those in need so long as they are a registered patient at one of the two Sherborne surgeries.

Being a volunteer is not a big, demanding role, nor is it a regular commitment. It could be for just one hour a month or five-plus hours a week – it’s entirely your choice. One of the Links – there are six of us who coordinate the requests – will ring you with a specific task for a certain day (usually no more than 2 weeks ahead) and if you are available and willing then that one-off task is yours. If not, you don’t have to make

excuses – we will find another volunteer! And you don’t have to be a driver – you can be a supporter who visits and helps a neighbour in town by walking round to their house. Our volunteers range in age from 40 to 90plus, some are retired, some work part-time, some work full-time and offer their services at weekends. There is every combination.

Do you get paid? Yes, in all the things that money can’t buy – the enjoyment of driving customers to their appointments, listening to their stories (we all have them) getting out of the house, getting into the community spirit and offering acts of kindness to total strangers whom you might then meet again on another journey or around town. Most journeys are within a 1020 mile radius of Sherborne and the customer will pay you 45p per mile to cover your fuel expenses. You don’t need any formal training – just common sense and the willingness to help on an ad hoc basis.

So how do you find out more and apply? We don’t need a CV – there is a simple one-page application form to complete. We will ask you for two references and we will complete a DBS Check (Disclosure & Barring Service) on your behalf – otherwise, all we need is your time! If you would like to discuss the role in more detail, please ring our Chairman Mike Hatch on 01935 815806 or email him at

The truth behind what makes our lives meaningful is the people we know, we meet, we work with, the people we live with and those we help.

• G O O D N E I G H BO U R S 34 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Pride Parade | Party in the Park Artisan Street Market | Live Music Pop-up Performers | Comedy | Cabaret An all day celebration of Love is Love sunday 7 th july 10am- 10pm • free event what’s on? SHERBORNE

Children’s Book Review

Beatrix Norman, aged 6, Leweston Pre-Prep

Mouse on the River by Alice Melvin (Thames and Hudson, £14.99 hardcover)

Sherborne Times reader offer of £12.99 from Winstone’s Books

Mouse is going on a journey down a river in a boat. He passes through lots of places and meets lots of other animals. Then it’s nighttime and he has a sleep and in the morning he carries on to see his friend.

It has flaps in the book. It’s exciting to see what’s underneath. The words are rhymes and the writing is wavy because it’s set on a river.

The pictures have been drawn with coloured pencils and the soft colours make it look beautiful. There are things in the trees and in the river that you can see if you look closely. Foxes are eating ice creams and a

badger is the lock keeper!

It is a special book and it was really interesting to learn about the different animals at the end. There was also a list of all the things Mouse took on his journey. It was funny to see a pair of mouse’s shorts and trousers on the list!

My favourite part is when Mouse and his friend watch the sea together at the end. One has their arm around the other. It makes me feel happy.

I would recommend this story because it makes me feel calm and relaxed and it might make other people feel the same.

8 Cheap Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3PX Tel: 01935 816 128 Celebrating 10
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Liv Bowditch, aged 18

The Gryphon Sixth Form

Liv is a powerful advocate and as she completes her studies at The Gryphon Sixth Form this year, we wanted to highlight the impact she has had on her school and the wider community. During her time at The Gryphon, Liv has always been keen to get involved and make a positive change. In 2022, she took part in the first TEDx Shaftesbury Youth event, using her TEDx talk to highlight the gender pay gap. This year, she chaired the Gryphon COP28 event, which brought together schools from across the Sherborne area to debate climate change issues. She personally contacted charities and organisations, securing high-profile speakers. But it wasn’t enough for students to learn about the issues, Liv wanted to empower them so they could go on to make a difference, so she organised a sustainable careers fair, featuring universities and businesses, so students would know what green career options are available. Liv also helped found the Sherborne Youth Council, which brings together the local council with representatives from local schools to discuss issues that matter to young people.

Outside of school, Liv enjoys working for her local MP and what started as a six-month internship has been extended to a longer-term role. She also regularly writes letters for the charity ‘From Me to You’ helping patients receiving cancer treatment feel less isolated. Liv is currently studying for A-levels in Geography, History, Economics and Maths, and is looking forward to attending university in London. She hopes to pursue a career in sustainable economic policy and has recently been invited to attend the 2025 World Economic Forum in Davos. We can’t wait to see what a difference she makes!

07808 400083

Portrait, lifestyle,
PR and editorial commissions
38 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Image: Nigel White
Bradford Road | Sherborne | Dorset | DT9 3DA osc For more information please call reception on 01935 818270 or visit our website S T U D E N T M E M B E R S H I P S A V A I L A B L E T H I S S U M M E R * *Direct debit and fixed term options available


In our current unpredictable times, we are all affected by change. We all listen constantly to words such as ‘unprecedented’ or ‘unbelievable’, doubting reality and being forced to rapidly adapt to new global realities. While there seems to be no solid ground anymore, a new society is emerging, a society that will bring new challenges and new solutions. Teaching is about imparting information and experience but it is also about developing and awareness. Teaching art, in particular, is a fascinating way of understanding education and its wider implications. School curriculums continue to encourage traditional fine art skills and the appreciation of artistic expression but in my long career as a professional artist and as Head of Art, I have perceived an undercurrent of constant change in art education. Changes in social structures, geopolitical shifts and new trends affect the way we see the world whilst making us reflect upon priorities. In this context, it is more important than ever not to lose sight of the bigger picture. We must keep at the forefront the core of our educational vision whilst taking care of the everyday life in the classroom.

In the art room, I see the doctors of the future, the lawyers, the digital gurus, the politicians, reporters, architects and the engineers of a new society. I also see the future artists in the making. Art itself has changed, with faster processes and instant results using widely available digital tools, and yet, a drawing or a painting continues to take time as much as a sculpture requires planning and method. However, we cannot ignore the power of technology and the wonders of the online world. Our children process information at a speed that frightens anybody beyond their forties. They see things that we cannot, they feel things differently from us and yet, they still love a well-done drawing and value praise based upon achievement using ancient tools. This is the key, to balance the two worlds, the

known and the unknown, the tested and proven methods and the new sensibilities and techniques.

A profound transformation is afoot in our time. The apparent clash between tradition and innovation can bring both confusion and true progress. We must choose progress. The artist of the future will probably need a new approach to collaboration in which leadership will manifest differently. There might be global art pieces where ownership and success will be shared between many individuals in partnership with technology. Artificial intelligence is clever, fast and vast and it is here to stay, but we are also incredible entities, capable of extraordinary things

40 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

that start at a young age. Pupils should be encouraged to be themselves in a world of change that requires awareness and character. They should look at the art of the past with curiosity, admire and reflect upon talent and originality before us but also understand our different views and the power of art today. Critical thinking is key as much as the balance between the individual journey and the collective responsibility.

Art education is much more than the creation of artwork and it is now more central than ever in the development of our children. Art is a subject with a finger on the pulse of who we are – a discipline for true expression in a society full of superficial emotions.

Art allows questioning and the developing of personal views whilst respecting different opinions – a positive formula for a fairer society. Art is essential for academic growth and not just an added value to our curriculum. It is not entertainment but rather a source of invaluable knowledge at the most precious time in the lives of our children. We must therefore nurture change whilst preserving the core vision of education as we explore the new world – with joy, curiosity and true love for the power of art to make the world a better place. | 41
Image: Justin Glynn
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Our stable staff are looking a little blearyeyed at the moment. The reason? Our early morning rides have started again! Ask any Old Girl what her favourite memories of the school are and I’m sure that early morning rides will feature at the top of the list.

Girls in the upper end of the school – we have pupils from 7 – 13 years old – take part in these rides well before the rest of the school is up. It’s a team effort. The boarding staff wake the girls at 6.15am and they are in the saddle by 6.50am, the stables staff having caught and tacked up the ponies. They get a good hour and a quarter’s ride and explore further than they often do on an afternoon ride. Once back, they untack the ponies, give them their breakfast then head inside where the catering staff have kept breakfast for them. They have to eat fast then change and get to registration but teachers treat them kindly if they are a little late for roll call.

If you were to go into a classroom here, it would be very easy to see who has been on an early ride. There’s

a flush to their cheeks and a whiff of ozone freshness. There may also be a faint smell of the stables… What is more striking, however, is the way the girls attack their lessons with more energy.

We all know the benefits of exercise and how it helps us stay healthy and focused. However, I think the exercise and contact that our girls have with horses bring something extra to the mix. As Winston Churchill said, ‘There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.’ As social animals, horses are a lot like humans. They have different personalities and hierarchies in their social structures and it is easy to find parallels with the similarities horses have to our own lives. This provides opportunities to learn from them that are very relevant to our girls. They learn about communication, relationship building and emotional control.

The horses here make their presence felt in many ways, as do the guinea pigs and the chickens, not to mention all the dogs on site. I’m fairly sure there’s a

44 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

dog for every classroom and it’s a common sight to see girls taking the staff’s dogs for a walk during their free time. But this is more than just a fun time spent with animals. The girls learn a huge amount from our school animals but, I believe, it’s our ponies that teach them the most. Ponies are sensitive creatures, even the most bombproof, and they reflect emotions back to the girls. It’s crucial to use this feature to help the girls understand their emotions and the impact they can have on those around them. Girls learn to relax, to breathe, to be in the moment around horses. They can see a direct correlation between what they do and how the horse reacts but the emotion that would usually come from interacting with a person is absent when you are dealing with a horse. You don’t have to ‘put a face on’ when dealing with a horse and the talking flows better when you have a large, warm, confidence-inspiring presence next to you in the shape of a horse! ‘When we have exams and I am feeling worried, I just go to the stables and hug a pony and everything suddenly feels better,’ said one of our Year 8 girls.

Now, I’m not trying to say that all the girls here are struggling with their mental health, far from it, but the reality is that we all will be affected by mental health issues – if not directly ourselves, then through

someone we love and the more we can do to understand ourselves and understand others is crucial to our future well being. Relationship struggles, whether relationships with ourselves, others, our environments or our beliefs and emotions, are usually at the foundation of mental health issues. Horses provide an opportunity to heal those relationships and learn new skills that can support healthier interactions.

You don’t even have to ride to benefit from horses. In fact, the most positive effects come from groundwork and that is why we try to involve the girls in pony care as much as possible. It helps that our horses are in our Victorian stables in the heart of the school. Girls pop over at every break time to help out and hang out. They will be mucking out, grooming, feeding or just simply, being, with a pony. Through this contact time, they will be strengthening relationship skills, building resilience and improving their decision-making, all leading to a strong feeling of self-worth.

Sending girls out into the world with these skills will help not just them but those around them and this aspect of social responsibility is at the heart of what we try to do here. | 45
Images: Amelia Johnson
Open Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm (and Sherborne Market Sundays) Seasons Boutique 36 Cheap Street, Sherborne DT9 3PX 01935 814212 SUMMER COLLECTION FROM IN STORE NOW NOW STOCKING CAPRICE SHOES Sleeveless Top £49 Mid Calf Jeans £89
“...offers the most magical upbringing a little girl can dream of” Independent boarding and day school for girls aged 7 to 13 Contact Admissions to arrange a private visit: 01258 860219


Following the success of last year’s inaugural Ruth Strauss Foundation Cricket Week, Sherborne School has, for its 2024 version, set an ambitious fundraising target of £5,000 for this wonderful charity. The Ruth Strauss Foundation was conceived by double Ashes-winning captain, Sir Andrew Strauss, on the premature death of his wife, Ruth, in December 2018. Ruth was only 46 years old when she died and the mother to two boys, then aged 10 and 13 - just two of the 46,300 children in the United Kingdom who are affected by the death of a parent every year. That’s 127 children on average who are facing the death of a parent each day. The charity has a dual mission: to ensure that every family with a child facing the death of a parent is offered the professional emotional support they need to prepare the family for the future and to facilitate collaboration and influence research into the

fight against non-smoking lung cancers. In Ruth’s own words, the aim is to help families to ‘do death well’ and to build a worthy legacy that will have a genuine positive impact on people’s lives. The ‘Red for Ruth’ test match at Lord’s is now a well-established annual event, whilst cricket clubs up and down the land also seek to play their part and ‘turn cricket red’.

Sherborne’s Cricket Week will take place between Saturday 22nd and Thursday 27th June, with matches on The Upper and Carey’s Fields, and this year’s event is considerably bigger and broader in scope than its predecessor. Last year’s four days have grown into six and nine matches into thirty. Where three different sides represented Sherborne last year, this has nearly trebled to eight, and the number of opponents has gone from five to fourteen! On Saturday, there will be four fixtures against Blundell’s before the 1st XI takes

48 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

on Sherborne Pilgrims on Sunday. On Monday, the Under 15 sides will play Prior Park College and then Tuesday will see the 1st XI in action again, against St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown, who are on tour to England from the Eastern Cape of South Africa. There is then an evening T20 game between the Bow House (Sherborne Staff) XI and Perrott Hill Plodders.

Wednesday is dedicated to the Jimmy Adams Prep Schools’ Tournament, before the week (and school season) comes to a close on Thursday with the 1st XI’s match against MCC. The grounds will be decked in red balloons, with red stumps and the 1st XI players in red caps – all of which will contribute, we hope, to a super atmosphere and a fabulous week.

However, putting on more games of cricket isn’t the only route by which the event has expanded, not least since relying on the British weather is always something of a risk! As last year, souvenir brochures and specially commissioned prints by art teacher and cricket coach, Ollie Senneck, will be on sale on the grounds, but there is also a cricket-themed prize draw with some wonderful prizes to be won. These include an England shirt signed by Zac Crawley, tickets to watch Hampshire, Southern

Brave kit, and signed copies of three books by the Old Shirburnian author, Peter Oborne – to name but a few. Tickets can be purchased online via the link below or on the grounds, and the prizes will be drawn at the tea interval of Thursday’s MCC match. Pupils at the school will also pay to take part in a red-themed non-uniform day. There will be a ‘Beat the Batter’ competition where anyone of any age can test their skills against some of the 1st XI players and local businesses are also being invited to sponsor the 1st XI’s matches.

Sherborne is delighted to once again be supporting the Ruth Strauss Foundation. The money we raise will make an enormous difference to the foundation, especially in training healthcare professionals to support families facing the awful challenge of the death of a parent. Our teams are excited about ending the season with this super event and we are hoping that we can have a wonderful week of thrilling cricket in glorious sunshine. Do come and join us as we go Red for Ruth and end the 2024 cricket season in style.

For more details, please go to fundraise. | 49
Images: Josie Sturgess-Mills
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50 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Linnet © Chris Way


Magpie Moth, Abraxas grossulariata

Gillian Nash

It’s very likely that most of us will have encountered this striking moth, perhaps whilst walking on summer days or even in the garden, as although strictly nocturnal it is easily disturbed from its resting state amongst vegetation in daylight hours. Papery fragile wings sporting a highly variable arrangement of bold yellow and black dots and dashes on a pure white background, identification is unmistakable.

However, its resemblance to a butterfly – settling with large wings held flat, slender body, delicate flight combined with such a dazzling appearance – can understandably sometimes cause confusion.

Wing pattern and colour are a clear deterrent to bird predation, whilst its second line of defence is a tendency to feign death, falling motionless to the ground if danger threatens.

Adult moths may be seen on the wing from June until the end of September in one generation. Eggs are laid on a wide variety of both cultivated and wild

plants such as hawthorn, blackthorn, spindle, privets, sedums and the leaves of soft fruit bushes including gooseberry and currant. Tiny larvae hatch during mid-to-late summer, remaining on the chosen plant throughout the winter, to resume feeding when conditions are favourable. In common with the moth, larvae have yellow, black and white colour. When feeding is complete, a pupa is formed within a silken cocoon on a foodplant followed by the emergence of the adult moth.

Widespread throughout much of the southern half of Britain, it is found in many habitats, including parks, gardens, woodland and hedgerows. Recent decades have seen a decline in the Magpie moth and its larvae are therefore unlikely to ever become pests in our gardens. To attract and assist these and other beautiful pollinators, dedicating even the smallest sunny corner of the garden to grow larval foodplants will create a more diverse environment in which to experience more of our wonderful wildlife.

Science & Nature | 51
Johannes Robert Pronk/Shutterstock


James Cartwright, Assistant Warden & Nick Gray, Conservation Officer, Dorset Wildlife Trust

From the cascading calcareous cliffs of the eastern Purbeck coast to the myriad, magnificent meadows found at Kingcombe Meadows in west Dorset, our county offers a diverse array of grassy terrains, stretching right across the county.

With over 700 soil types in the UK, each influenced by different rock formations within the earth, there is no wonder we have such a variety of grassland habitats. These areas become a unique vegetative ‘Tetris’ of species, with each plant using adaptations to arrive, survive and thrive in the varying pH and nutrient levels in the ground, determined by these substrates.

Being at the base of the food web, a mosaic of plants within grasslands provides a haven for a wealth of life. Insects such as bees, butterflies and moths depend

not only on a nectar source when they are adults on the wing but also on the availability of their food plants. Whether species are polyphagous (able to eat a selection of plants) or monophagous (eating only one foodplant), pastures are platters catering for many. Multiple mammals, like the field vole, frequent the undergrowth through a network of interconnecting tunnels, hiding from the swooping predators above.

In times of such climate uncertainty, grassland is an unsung hero of carbon sequestration. Like trees, plants within grasslands consistently photosynthesise in sunlight, turning carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into glucose with energy from the sun. Globally, trees store a lot of their carbon within their biomass which can unfortunately be released during wildfires. On the

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other hand, the carbon within grasslands tends to be stored underground with some estimates indicating that between 15-30% of the world’s carbon is stored in this way. It is important to not rule out these modest ecosystems as a tool to tackle changing times. It is critical to the survival of countless species that we maintain, restore and join up isolated pockets of fragmented species-rich grassland.

Of course, it is never too late to create space for nature, whether that be in our back gardens or volunteering, to encourage and enable landowners to do the same. Joining movements like #NoMowMay has never been more important!

• Today around 40% of the UK’s land surface is grassland.

• Most of today’s grassland is farmland or rough upland grazing, with just a small proportion of ‘unimproved’ grassland remaining. This is grassland that hasn’t been reseeded, fertilised or drained and tends to be full of flowers and wildlife.

• In England, there are around 4.5 million hectares of grassland, of which just 100,000ha are unimproved.

Visit to explore a grassland nature reserve near you. | 53
Donna White/Shutterstock


Late May and June is when our native wildflowers reach a crescendo of vibrancy and diversity. Along our local footpaths, through woods, under hedges, across downland and on roadside verges, the ground is studded with flowers. Some are small and low-growing while others are tall and blousy. Even in our lawns, if they have not been fertilised and had weedkillers applied, there will be a lovely mix of low-growing plants that have adapted to being regularly mowed. If you have done Plantlife’s ‘No May Mow’ then you will almost certainly have lots of wildflowers to enjoy.

I enjoy going out to see what is in flower and to see

if there is anything unusual. Sometimes, I need to do a bit of research in my botanical identification books or check its characteristics using a hand lens.

One group of plants I get particularly excited about are wild orchids. I am not sure whether it is their beauty or sometimes their rarity that makes them a joy to find. They are a remarkably varied group of plants, growing in all manner of habitats. Some are low-growing and lack colour, while others are nothing short of spectacular, with pink or magenta flowers. There can be single spikes or sometimes whole fields covered with orchids.

Orchids have always exercised a particular

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Common orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsia)

fascination, both from botanists as well as herbalists. After all, the paired tubers are thought to resemble testicles and it was thought that this would mean they could be used to concoct potions to enhance virility!

There are believed to be over 28,000 varieties of orchids in the world, making them only second to the daisy family, although only 45 of these live in the UK. The earliest flowering orchids in Britain will flower in April, such as the early spider and early purple orchids, while the autumn ladies can still be in flower in late September. However, May and June are undoubtedly the best time of year to see many of the species.

Orchids are very particular about where they will grow. Some like lime-rich or calcareous soils while others prefer acid soils, but one of the most important things is that the soil contains the necessary fungus or mycorrhiza. This is because the orchid seed has a symbiotic relationship with the fungus – gardeners will be aware of this when planting roses and shrubs. Unfortunately, this is easily destroyed by ploughing and applying fungicides and is one of the reasons why orchids have become very rare and confined to nature reserves and undisturbed sites. Once disturbed, it may take centuries to re-establish the necessary conditions.

We are very lucky to live in Dorset because, along with Sussex and Kent, it is one of the best places to find orchids. This is partially down to the chalk geology as well as the milder climate but also because of the variety of habitats from sand dunes, to mires and heathland to broad-leaved woodlands and downland.

There is only space here to cover some of the more commonly found species in this area. Early purple orchids often put on a beautiful display along shady roadsides and woodland rides. Common spotted orchids have dramatic spotted leaves and paler pink flowers and are found on the downs. Pyramidal orchids have a triangular bright pink flower head and can be found on chalk and limestone soils as well as on sand dunes. Occasionally you may find a beautiful bee orchid, mimicking its pollinator on unimproved limy soil. Twayblade has two broad, butterfly-like leaves and a green/yellow flower. One of my favourites is the butterfly orchid, with a beautiful white flower, often growing to over a foot in height. In a wet boggy area on more acidic soil, there may be some tall, stout, deep purple spikes of southern marsh orchid. Also on heathy soils, there may be a large number of pale pink flowers, which resemble common spotted orchids but are actually heath spotted orchids. Later in August and September, a tiny vanilla white spiral flower can be seen on shallow chalk soils and is called autumn ladies tresses.

To make things more complicated, orchids are notoriously promiscuous and keep hybridising with each other, creating slightly different mixtures of features and colours!

I would highly recommend putting on your walking boots and exploring some of our local sites, such as the Dorset Wildlife Trust reserves at Kingcombe or Brackets Coppice, or the National Trust’s Fontmell Down or Golden Cap or the downland near the Cerne Giant. You may become hooked, like me! | 55
PJ photography/Shutterstock


Iam often asked about swarms. What are they?

Why do bees swarm? Is a swarm dangerous? To observe and understand something is how best to then respond. A swarm of bees in many cultures and throughout history is seen as a wonder of nature, a gift even. Bees are very particular and organised in all that they do. Every action and behaviour has a purpose, swarming is no exception.

During April and May, a colony of bees is rapidly expanding, making the most of available nectar and pollen sources. In the UK, these are often the best months.

Bees need to survive and survival means procreation. Inside the colony of bees in a hive, you have a single queen, 49,000 female worker bees and a few hundred male bees, known as drones. The queen does not mate with the drones inside the hive, her sons. At this time of year, the colony will have produced many drones and their life may look like one of privilege. They are fed and cleaned by the female bees and spend their days, not foraging for nectar and pollen, their mission is to find a queen and mate with her.

The drones a few days before maturity have a surge of magnetite develop in their abdomens. This is vital for ‘drawing’ the bees towards Drone Congregation Areas, ‘DCAs’. Like a large club or pub for bees, the drones gather at geographically magnetic areas, often at the

brow of a hill, or near landmarks such as ancient trees. They hang around waiting for a passing virgin queen’s pheromones to be picked up and off they charge to follow her. The queen flies higher and faster than the other female bees and many of the males, so only the strongest and fittest will catch up with her. They are the lucky ones – they get to mate with her during flight, only to fall to their deaths afterwards.

The queen will continue to mate, with between 15 and 48 male bees, sometimes over a few flights from the hive, depending on the weather. This variety of drones donates their genetic material to provide diversity and improvement to the next generation of bees. The queen stores all the collected sperm in her ‘spermathica’ to be released drop by drop as she lays eggs back in the hive. The fertilised eggs become female bees and the unfertilised ones become drones. The virgin queen is the result, or cause of a colony of bees swarming. The ‘old’ queen makes the most of advantageous conditions, an abundance of forage, warm weather and a long summer ahead to divide and therefore creating two colonies from her original one. She leaves the hive with around half the adult bees in the colony and they search for a new home. This new home will have been selected by ‘scout bees’ looking for a new location – the right size, safe from predators and weather, also large enough to allow expansion and to store enough honey to last them through the coming winter. Lots of boxes to tick for an

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ideal home.

Historically bees lived in cavities of trees. Many of the middle-aged trees with suitable cavities have been felled for various reasons, leaving a problem for swarming bees. A beekeeper can capture a swarm whilst they are still deciding on their next location or if they chose somewhere that is unsuitable, for instance, a post box, or somebody’s chimney or roof space, can remove them from there. That isn’t an easy job and during the summer months, the colony will quickly expand and build wax comb making removal time-consuming and difficult.

If you have a history of bees living in or around your property, place a small amount of Dettol on a sponge in that area – that should be enough to deter the bees as they hate the smell and won’t build a home where the smell isn’t to their liking! Alternatively, consider placing a log hive or bait box high up on a nearby tree and provide a home for a lost swarm! Overall, bees need to be healthy and strong to swarm and survive the experience, as well as the bees left able to rear and mate a new queen. Next time you see or hear a swarm of bees, be grateful and admire this wonder of nature!

I am writing this from a very hot and humid Indian Ocean island, Cocos Keeling, where I am living for the coming year with my husband Greg. We are setting up a bee research project which we will be recording for a documentary film. With the year-round tropical climate, bees are on the go all year round. There is always something in flower and the weather is never cold enough for them to need to store honey. Here, there has been a recent invasion of an Asian paper wasp which is rapidly expanding. I am here to learn the impact they’re having on the honey bees and to share the wisdom of the bees with the Islamic community living on this island with us. If you’re interested in following our journey, listen to episode 10 of my podcast where I share how I initially dreamt about the islands in 1992. Also, you can become part of my membership community where I’m sharing videos and my diary whilst the film is being made. All the information is on my website

degrees centigrade and it is warm enough for them to fly and forage. Late spring/summer is known as ‘Swarm Season’ when a new queen emerges and carries other bees in search of a new home. Property owners may realise that the bees have chosen their property for this purpose when they see a swarm or many bees flying into and out of the same place. Chimneys, roofs and cavity walls are favoured locations.

In previous years, the accepted course of action for contractors was to eradicate the nests using insecticides. Although there is no law against this, we strongly recommend that it is not an approach to consider, rather it is better to contact an organisation that will remove and relocate the entire colony to the care of experienced beekeepers. Not only does this prevent other non-target colonies from being unintentionally harmed (as bees could leave the colony and take the insecticide elsewhere) but it also means that these vital parts of the UK’s ecology are saved.

Contractors who attempt to remove and relocate colonies need to understand the life cycle and behaviour of honeybees, to increase the likelihood of a successful removal. A colony is populated by one queen; drones (male), who remain within it; and workers (female), whose role is to forage for food. In early spring the colony’s queen begins laying eggs (up to 2,000 per day during summer) and her colony will rear the new brood through the season. Contractors who attempt to relocate colonies mainly do so during late spring and early summer, when the egg-laying is at its height and any bees lost in the removal process can be replaced.

Why not leave the bee nests in situ? This approach is not advised as nests can cause considerable disruption and potential damage to properties (particularly to wall cavities and roofs) and, as new queens emerge, they could leave and form new colonies nearby. In addition, the bees can become aggressive if their colony is unintentionally disturbed.

pring brings warmer weather and an increase in calls to pest control companies about bees. We see bees when the temperature climbs above 10

After the colony is removed, the contractor will carry out further preventative work to reduce the likelihood of the bees returning or a new colony forming in the same place as the previous one. Although removing live bee colonies is a complex procedure requiring a professional contractor with the right expertise, its value is priceless. Relocation means that many thousands of bees can be saved, thereby protecting our ecological system and producing more honey for us to enjoy. | 57


This curious little object made from copper alloy and approximately 91mm long is the top half of a ‘bolster’ or cover to a set of blades known as fleams, which would have been fixed and rotated at the aperture, rather like a penknife. They are commonly found by metal detectorists; this one was unearthed from farmland in Motcombe and, owing to its inscription ‘J. Ingram Sherborne 1771’, both finder and landowner agreed to offer it to the museum after it had been logged by a Finds Liaison Officer.

This multi-bladed medical instrument originally evolved from prehistoric tools which employed fish teeth, sharp stones or thorns. The name is derived from the Greek phlebos meaning ‘blood vessel’ and it would have been used for bloodletting, a practice that dates to antiquity but is rarely employed today. The fleam was more often reserved for veterinary purposes, particularly with horses; its use on people, however, was not unknown.

The blade, which had a small projection, was placed over a vein and then struck with a fleam stick, a short wooden club, which resulted in rapid penetration with minimal risk. After the incision was made and the desired amount drained, a pin would be placed through the edges of the cut and then a thread or long horsehair would be sewn in a figure of eight over the pin to keep the cut closed.

‘Bleeding’ was unsurprisingly not often of great assistance to the patient although sometimes there was a certain placebo effect. Coincident with this practice was an ancient system of belief, The Four Humours, where it was thought that the body contained a balance of black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm. True health was considered as a particular humoral makeup or constitution in an individual, an imbalance in which would result in disease. Humours were holistically connected with other phenomena such as diet, climate, environment,

planetary alignment, age and social class. Restorative regimens were established through bloodletting, vomits, enemas and other purges, and these were accompanied by diet and lifestyle recommendations.

The theory was associated originally with Hippocrates (460-370 BCE) but was elaborated by Galen in the second century CE. Galen discovered that arteries were filled with blood, rather than air; a belief persisted, however, that blood did not circulate but stagnated in the vessels, particularly in the extremities. Any letting would have to be performed as close to the diseased organ as possible, to release the ‘bad blood’.

Galen’s ideas were further developed by Arabic writers in the ninth century and reached Europe by the eleventh. At this time the so-called barber surgeons were allowed to perform bleeding as well as tooth extractions and amputations, hence the symbolic red stripe we still see today on the barber’s pole. By the sixteenth century, medicine became more sophisticated so that bloodletting returned under the aegis of physicians with whom the practice reached a peak in c. 1800.

In human cases as varied as diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, cholera, acne and cancer, treatment might include the use of twelve spring-driven blades that could make multiple shallow cuts, a procedure known as scarification. Alternatively, suction cups might be placed to form blood blisters on the skin that could then be drained by leeches. It is reassuring to know that, nowadays, trained phlebotomists release blood mainly to take samples for diagnostic purposes, using sterile instruments in an appropriate healthcare environment.

Sherborne Museum is open from Tuesday-Saturday 10.30am-4.30pm. Admission is free though donations are much appreciated.

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Barbara Elsmore

Iremember the early days of Who Do You Think You Are? when the hopeful participant was viewed sitting on a train, tap, tap, tapping away on a laptop and up would pop details of their great, great grandfather living in the destination they were travelling towards. How on Earth did they do that? It all looked so easy. Fast forward a few years and now I am fortunate to be able to understand a little more about how to begin such searches of my own. This was just as well as I was recently challenged to see if I could discover the identity of the person who built a stone wall in the back garden of a house in Newland leaving behind a small plaque with ‘Percy’s Wall’ chiselled into it.

First, to locate the house, which is in the middle of a row of ten cottages and houses, with the wall in question running from the back of the house and joining at right angles another stone wall at the end of the long garden. Clearly, the first thing to do is find some old maps. Was it just a coincidence that I should turn to Edward Thomas Percy’s town map of Sherborne of 1834? Would I find a connection between the mapmaker of yesteryear and Percy the wall builder? Some time ago I purchased from the Dorset History Centre my own digital copy of this map, together with its accompanying Terrier which provides background information about the properties numbered on the map. What did the Terrier reveal? Maria Percy owned all

the properties except one which was owned by George Percy. Maria lived in the principal house on one end with gardens that wrapped around the back of all the other properties, with George’s cottage at the other end. All the remaining properties, including George’s, were occupied by tenants. Who were Maria and George? It was time to build a family tree. Maria was a daughter of Thomas and Ann Percy and George was the eldest son. George had moved away from Sherborne to live near Weymouth with his wife and family. It appears Maria, as the youngest daughter, may have stayed at home looking after her ageing parents, which was very much the way in days gone by.

Did Thomas leave a will? Yes, and it is here that the origins of the wall can be found. He died in 1832 stipulating that three years after his death George would inherit the lower half of all the properties leaving Maria with the upper and that a wall be built between the two sets – ‘the expense of building the said wall to be jointly and equally borne and paid for by my said daughter and son.’ And so, it can be concluded that at some point between 1832 and 1835 Percy’s wall was built by walling masons who painstakingly placed each stone into its final position.

Were Maria and George related to the mapmaker Edward Thomas Percy? Yes, Edward Thomas Percy was the son of Thomas’s brother John, making him first cousin to Maria and George. | 59
One of Sherborne's many stone walls


The older I get, the more I feel similarities between myself and my late father. Certainly, there was no argument about who my father was when you compare photographs of the two of us, as the likeness is great.

Whilst I am sure I inherited many of my father’s strong points, I also inherited some of my father’s weaker points.

On the strong side, there is the memory. As an auctioneer having a good memory is important. Whilst at school, my memory worked well in history and French lessons but less so when it came to maths, which I generally attribute to my having more interest in history and French rather than maths. In my working day, I am asked to look at a wide variety of items. I can usually look back to my decades of experience to remember comparable lots or pictures by the same artists seen and sold over the years to give advice and valuations, so the memory works well here.

However, one of my father’s weaker points was an inability to put items back together and I am the same and confess not to be the most practical of people.

I remember my father was excellent at taking items apart, which I am generally proficient at, and just like my father, the items either stay in pieces or are put back together never to work or have bits left over which can be quite concerning! My first car, a rather ropey 1962

Triumph Herald, suffered from my inability to repair and maintain it. On one occasion, the brakes needed attention. With a new set of brake shoes from Halfords in Yeovil and a trusty Haynes manual, I managed to only change one side which took an inordinately long time and involved quite a lot of swearing. Needless to say, it pulled to one side under braking after this.

Quite often I am tempted by the treasures we are asked to auction, and recently a motorcycle caught my eye. The bike is a 1948 AJS 7R. As a fan of post-war bikes, this one ticks a lot of boxes for me. Successful in period with factory race teams, they were also successful with privateers at races. Affectionately known as ‘boy racers’, I think they are great-looking bikes, especially with their gold-painted engines.

The AJS 7R in our classic & vintage motorcycle auction, being held at the wonderful Haynes Motor Museum on 6th June, comes to us from a client in Northumberland.

Estimated at £8,000-£10,000, it could possibly tempt me but then reality hits me as it is a project bike. With all the hard work done, it still needs putting back together. Clearly beyond my capabilities, I am sure the lucky new owner will get it put back together in no time and enjoy riding it on the road or track once again.

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1948 AJS 7R project
Forthcoming Auction Programme Further entries invited Mid-Century Modern & Decorative Arts 4th July Pictures, Books & Antiques 5th July Vinyl, Film & Entertainment Memorabilia 3rd July Classic & Vintage Cars 27th June Classic & Vintage Motorcycles 6th June 1993 Jaguar XJS V12 Convertible Contact Richard Bromell for advice on single items and complete house contents Valuations for Probate and Insurance The Long Street Salerooms, Sherborne DT9 3BS 01935 812277 All aspects of bespoke, handmade joinery including: Doors, Windows, Staircases, Tables and Chairs T 07973 224648 E All aspects of bespoke, handmade cabinetry including: Fitted Wardrobes, Media Units, Kitchens and Bookcases T 01935 726650 E BESPOKE INTERIORS SHERBORNE SHERBORNE JOINERY | 61
LIZZIE PRICE SHADING SOLUTIONS Blinds, Shutters, Awnings, and so much more... Call 07879 992000 / Affordable interior fabrics 01935 851025 Wayne Timmins Painter and Decorator 01935 872007 / 07715 867145 • Interior & Exterior • Fully Qualified • 20 Years Experience • Wallpapering & Lining • Residential & Commercial CAMILLE ELIZABETH PAINTER AND DECORATOR DUST FREE SANDING SYSTEM Fully qualified 20+ years experience 07759 644755 62 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

The Joinery Works, Alweston

Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5HS

Tel: 01963 23219

Fax: 01963 23053


Wallpaper: Hornbeam BP 5007 Stiffkey Blue No.281 & Dix Blue No.82 Wallpaper: Paisley BP 4702 Purbeck Stone No.275 & Ammonite No.274 Wallpaper: Vermicelli BP 1553 Parma Gray No.27 & Borrowed Light No.235
64 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Wallpaper: Paisley BP 4701 (Archive) Wimborne White Estate Eggshell No.239


The power of paint to transform a space from uninspiring to uplifting is undeniable and whilst choosing colours for your home can be exciting, it can also be more than a little daunting. As a colour consultant, one of the things I love most about what I do is the social aspect; both getting to meet new people and catching up with familiar faces along the way. From chatting about a few ideas to seeing the final transformation of a room, my goal is to create spaces that stand the test of time. I want clients to walk into their homes years from now and still feel that little thrill of excitement, that deep sense of belonging.

Whether you are embarking on a decorating project with the help of a professional or going solo, lighting plays a critical role when it comes to colour choices. Whether a room is flooded with natural sunlight streaming through the windows during the day or softly bathed in the warm glow of lamps by night, understanding how light plays with colour is essential. It’s all about creating a space that feels just right, no matter the time of day.

As well as considering light and the style of a property, the success of any scheme is rooted in understanding the lifestyle and personality of each client. It’s about delving deep into people’s preferences and aspirations to capture the essence of who they are, and then translating it into a palette that they really connect with. It’s not just about picking paint; it’s

about creating spaces that feel like a true reflection of their personality.

Before an initial meeting, I always ask people to jot down any ideas and inspirations, perhaps gather together images or samples that they may have. Whether it’s just a few favourite colours circled on a paint chart or a full-blown mood board, it helps to have a starting point when it comes to finding the perfect colour scheme. Customers often appear in the shop laden with curtains and cushions, tiles and even kitchen cupboard doors.

One of my most memorable jobs was with a lovely lady who arrived at our meeting bearing a basket. Inside, there were pieces of studio pottery, driftwood, a favourite mug and a handful of pebbles. She had told me that she needed help with choosing colours because she had no idea what she wanted. Whilst the items she’d brought weren’t necessarily what you might think of when beginning a decorating project, all the objects were beautifully tactile and gave a really strong, tangible impression of the tones and textures that she preferred, providing a perfect springboard for her colour schemes. The journey of choosing colours is as much about self-discovery as it is about design. It’s about finding out what resonates with you on a personal level and translating that into your home.


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Hardwood Flooring Specialists Registered Farrow & Ball Stockist In-Can Tinting Bespoke In-Home Colour Consultancy Certified Bona Contractor 11 Dreadnought Trading Estate, Bridport DT6 5BU 01308 458443


On a June morning, it is hard to imagine a lovelier place to be than at Dorset Walled Garden in the Sydling Valley. Brimming with roses and with the early morning sun already warming the gravel-lined paths, it feels like a sweetsmelling corner of paradise. Roses grow lavishly in all directions, tumbling over old flint walls, climbing over stone arches and oak obelisks and brightening the borders. I had been told by my sister, a painter of English gardens, to expect something special (‘It’s probably one of the nicest gardens I’ve ever visited.’) but as I drive down a narrow country lane, cross a cobbled ford and arrive at a picture-postcard Georgian farmhouse with a lake in the foreground, nothing has prepared me for the romantic abundance of it all. >

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‘We have more than 100 different varieties of roses, a mix of old English and French, some once-flowering and others repeat-flowering, along with some newer varieties,’ says owner Susanne Cooper, squeezing in a tour of the garden before the morning’s creative floristry workshop. ‘The collection has evolved over time, mostly due to the fact that we garden organically and some roses are better suited to the garden than others.’

Opened for horticultural groups for charity and with a busy programme of workshops and masterclasses, not to mention 400 rose shrubs, climbers and ramblers to water and deadhead, there’s never a quiet moment for Susanne and her small team of gardeners, especially in June, which is prime roses time.

‘The more you deadhead, the more flowers you have,’ says Susanne, pausing to snip a spent bloom. ‘It becomes quite compulsive after a while. There are some you want to leave because they have beautiful hips but I find that difficult when they are in a prominent position. We don’t spray but apart from the odd yellow leaf here and there if it’s been very dry, generally our roses are healthy. I’m ruthless about unhealthy roses: if leaves fall apart with black spot, I take them out.’

It has been 22 years since Susanne and her husband

Alastair swapped London life for a farm in a chalk downland valley deep in the Dorset countryside. A passionate conservationist, Alastair immediately set about converting the farm to organic status. Renting locally while this ‘major project and mud bath’ was underway, local landscape architect Simon Johnson redesigned the area close to the house that contained large lambing barns, a food processing yard and an indoor swimming pool, and created a framework for what is now a walled garden, swimming pool courtyard, orchard and spectacular rose garden behind the house.

In 2011 the Coopers embarked on a second phase of the garden design, approaching Julian and Isabel Bannerman, the award-winning duo behind King Charles’s gardens at Highgrove, the famous gardens at Cornwall’s Castle of Trematon and Houghton Hall in Norfolk, to give it a softer, more romantic feel. ‘We wanted the Bannermans to add their signature frothy, romantic style of planting, with a focus on scent, and to take on the large open landscape around the house and garden,’ explains Susanne.

Since then, Susanne has developed the five-acre garden further, introducing a lilac and philadelphus (mock orange) walk and generally ‘adding more, > | 71
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changing things around and enjoying trying to get it to where it is now.’ Roses rub shoulders in the herbaceous borders with peonies, lupins, foxgloves, delphiniums, lavender and euphorbia. Artichokes and runner beans jostle for space in amongst the spinach, salad leaves and asparagus in the veg patch. There is no corner of the garden that isn’t giving its best show.

Wildly inspired and keen for tips on which rose varieties to order, I ask Susanne to share her favourites – something with a wow factor that smells glorious. ‘Well, I think this is very delicious,’ she says, inviting me to lean in and inhale a lilac-pink bloom called Rosa La Ville de Bruxelles, which has a ruffled centre and a wonderfully musky fragrance. It was one of the first roses to be planted at Dorset Walled Garden. ‘If you can get scent, health and wonderful flowers then you’re doing very well. And Skylark is just beautiful too. It’s one of my favourites; I always recommend that as a really healthy, old-fashioned doer.’

Keen for something sturdy and fast-growing that will attract plenty of pollinators, smell lovely on a summer’s evening and cover a stone wall at the bottom of my garden, I ask Susanne to recommend some vigorous ramblers and climbers. ‘I like Francis E. Lester, which has clusters of flowers with lovely big, yellow and white centres, as well as Rambling Rector,’ she says, directing my gaze to a mass of creamy-white blooms rambling over one of the gates. ‘Mary Delaney is also

lovely and is a really good repeater.’

As we leave behind the more formal parts of the garden, neat lawns with yew beehive topiaries give way to high meadows. Grassy pathways cut a swathe through an orchard dotted with wildflowers. But for the birdsong and the low-pitched chirrup of grasshoppers, it is beautifully quiet – the quintessence of an English summer. ‘We introduced this area early on,’ explains Susanne, pointing out varieties of apple, pear and plum trees. ‘We have a very busy garden so it’s nice to have some calm breathing spaces.’

Looking out across the wide chalk valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, I can see what she means. It is so hypnotically peaceful that even the prospect of having my floral-arranging skills brought under the spotlight later in the workshop doesn’t faze me. In fact, I’m looking forward to it. And one thing’s for certain: I’ll be ordering that Rambling Rector the moment I get home.

Dorset Walled Garden will be running a five-day Gardening Through the Seasons course this September, a rose pruning workshop next January, and a planting design course, all led by Troy Scott Smith, Head Gardener at Sissinghurst. Floral workshops are added to the website throughout the year. | 75
Contact Stephen & Claire: 01963 441454 | garden & planting design | wildflower meadows gardening with nature Sandhurst Garden Design Julie Haylock Garden Designer 20 Sandhurst Road, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 2LG Tel: 07899 710168 Email: Contact Julie for garden and border design, planting plans, plant selection advice and garden styling BBC Gardeners’ World Live Gold Medal Award Taunton Flower Show Gold Medal Award and The Western Daily Press Cup for Best Show Garden 01963 371123 / 07791 588141 Patrick Houchen DSWA member CIS registered Yenstone Walling Ltd Dry Stone Walling and Landscaping All types of stone walling undertaken GARDENING SERVICES • Lawn Mowing • Hedge Cutting • Strimming • Leaf Blowing Contact Billy on 07849 571742 MISSED A COPY? CATCH UP ONLINE 76 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

Open Monday-Saturday 9.00am-6.00pm, Sunday 10.00am-4.30pm (tills open at 10.30am) Castle Gardens, New Road, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 5NR @thegardensgroup

Colour for summer

As outdoor spaces continue to burst into colour, now is the time to make the most of the garden’s summer show.

Bedding plants, such as Begonias, Nemesia, Geraniums, Fuchsias and Petunias, can bring scent and colour to flower beds and borders, while pots and hanging baskets can add vibrancy to your patio or decking area. Make sure to feed with Boost and water regularly to bring out the best in each plant.

You can pick up your seeds, plants and pots 7 days a week:

Monday to Saturday: 9am – 6pm Sunday: 10am – 4:30pm 01935 814633

Crafting quality timber buildings and gates since 1912 Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7LH Tel: (01963) 440414 | Email: | @sparkfordtimber | | 77


Daniel Combes, Garden Designer and Ecologist
78 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Image: Louisa Lewis

Iam deeply passionate about garden design, ecology, architecture and the importance of celebrating traditional craftsmanship through the beautiful spaces and landscapes we create. I love my job and for that, I am both fortunate and thankful. Happily for me, as an ecologist and environmentalist, the conversation around garden design and our relationship with the natural world has changed dramatically since I grew up in a little corner of South West Wiltshire known as the Nadder Valley, where farming dominates the chalky terrain and nature has traditionally sat on the periphery of conversations.

Not anymore. To me, it feels as if an environmental awakening, which I first experienced in my late teens and early twenties when I travelled deep into the Amazon rainforest, immersing myself in nature while also witnessing the destructive effect on communities of oil and gas exploitation, is happening across the developed world. Certainly in the UK.

Everyone from farmers to architects, designers and landowners seems to be reimagining what our landscapes can look like and how we can effect positive environmental change at scale. In many ways, it is an incredibly exciting time. Restoration and regeneration are at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to designing landscapes and gardens. Change is unquestionably afoot.

As the penny drops about climate change and biodiversity decline, people are naturally and increasingly urgently seeking solutions. And it’s clear to me that people are realising the central role good design and land can play. And that’s why I say I am fortunate because through garden design I have the opportunity to help our clients cultivate a deeper appreciation for the natural world. I can also make a positive impact on how land is managed, creating a biodiverse and healthy environment for the benefit of us all.

I first fell in love with garden design, having studied botany and political economy at Arizona University, when I worked and observed a brilliant designer called Dan Back in London more than a decade ago. I absolutely loved watching Dan at work but back then conversations around restoration of natural habitats and designing with nature in mind were not especially high on people’s agenda.

Today, in a relatively short space of time, I would say the opposite is true. Almost every client I speak with now says to me, ‘How can I rewild this land?’

The conversation just drops.

When I studied in America, I experienced

wilderness and national parks but when I came back to England I realised that while we had this supposedly green and pleasant land, literally the whole country is farmed. Everything. We have no wild spaces, zero wilderness. We’re living in the most nature-depleted landscape in Europe. It’s all managed and controlled.

Why our landscape looks like it does today is partly due to industrialised agriculture but it’s also to do with design and architecture. Whether it’s the landscape movement of Capability Brown and expressions of Arcadia and visions shown in some of the great country estates. But the conversation is changing and changing fast. Today, all the talk seems to be about restoration, regeneration and allowing nature to take the lead. And going hand-in-hand with that conversation is one around maintaining and sustaining traditional craft and communities which are under direct threat from evermore mechanised and technologically based processes.

We hope to inspire the next generation of gardeners, designers and craftspeople through opportunity, education and shared community and by collaborating with the very best craftspeople, architects and landscapers we create restorative gardens which respect tradition and use local resources.

The briefs we are receiving now are incredibly exciting in terms of the impact they could have on the landscape and biodiversity more generally. I’m doing one job in Tetbury (300 acres) and one near Cirencester (100 acres) which both back onto the Monarchs Way. Both projects have the house and garden but in the wider landscape, we are proposing this mosaic of woodland, pasture and meadow.

We’re just beginning to do more exciting things. But, if we look at where we started six years ago and where we are now, in 10 or 20 years who is to say we can’t start creating giant habitat and conservation zones and linking these projects together? As an ecologist, the transformation and shift in attitudes is amazing. We have started to gain access to land and some seriously interesting projects and people. Effecting change on scale.

It’s not all about gardens. Gardens are a vehicle by which we express something we love doing and that’s design and designing gardens. But we’ve also got a bigger dream – having a serious environmental impact at scale and for the long term while providing jobs for designers, gardeners, local craftspeople and artisans.

What’s not to love about that? | 79


After so many months of rain, it seems odd to be speaking about saving water but that’s exactly what I’m about to do!

With the changing climate, water will be the big issue for everyone around the world. For some, there will be just too much, for others too little and then in places the situation can and will reverse perhaps with alarming speed.

Rainwater is so much better for our plants than mains water and so the more of it we can collect, the better for our gardens. We will also make savings on our water bills and we will then play our own small part in helping reduce flooding. Indeed, I’ve noticed on various water company brochures that they are highlighting the role

that individual gardeners can play in reducing flooding.

In our garden centres, we have been steadily increasing the amount of rainwater harvesting that we do and a recently installed 55,000-litre tank at Castle Gardens which filled in a matter of weeks when my careful calculations of roof area and ‘normal’ rainfall patterns suggested it would take all year to reach capacity!

We’ve been working on the gardens of the wonderful

The Sherborne project which has now opened and I was really pleased to see that rainwater harvesting is one of a number of environmentally sound elements of the whole project. Rainwater collected from the roofs is stored in tanks and then is sent through a network of pipes through the borders of the garden and gently

80 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

keeps the plants watered through seep hoses.

Where we have been watering with our collected rainwater, we have noticed an enhancement in the quality of growth in the nursery and such improvements can be realised in your own garden.

To make sure that water isn’t wasted, it is a good idea to water out of the heat of the day so in the early morning or late evening. This will reduce the amount of water that is lost through evaporation and so more will get to your plants.

Soak plants really well three or four times a week rather than a little bit every day but with tubs and baskets increase this to daily watering.

For borders, the use of a good depth of mulch – a

layer of fibrous material such as Bloomin Amazing –will help conserve moisture. Not only that but it will also help reduce weed growth, protect your soil from heavy rain when we get it and will also improve the soil quality in the long term.

By improving the soil, you will also have improved its ability to hold onto moisture for longer when it’s needed and the improved structure will mean that excess water can escape more easily too.

In the vegetable garden or on newly planted borders as at The Sherborne, seep hoses can be used. Such hoses are made from recycled car tyres and when connected to a garden hose the water will gently seep out onto the soil. Because there is no splashing, the efficiency of the amount of water that gets to your plants is very high.

The use of mini-irrigation systems has become increasingly popular. A main pipe is laid around the perimeter of the garden and from this ‘spaghetti’ tubes with a dripper on the end can be inserted into your pots, hanging baskets or grow bags as well as in borders. A timer can be used back at the tap to control how often and for how long the watering is carried out. These systems can be really efficient at getting water precisely where needed but they need to be lived with and the nozzles adjusted as all plants have different levels of thirst but after a while, with good observation, this is easy to work out.

The use of Rootgrow when planting can also reduce the amount of watering required because it enables plants to find their own water. Rootgrow contains mycorrhizal fungi which are naturally occurring and are a sort of mould which attaches itself to the roots of plants and grows out into the soil like an extension to the root system. It occurs naturally in the wild and adding it when planting, significantly improves the establishment and success of plants.

In tubs and hanging baskets, the use of moistureretentive gels can give a helping hand in making sure plants get enough water. In times of abundance, the gel (which can be added to your compost when planting) swells up absorbing water. In times of drought, the water is released to the plants.

Although all the time spent watering might sound like a chore, it can be a very peaceful and relaxing job. It’s very useful in keeping tabs on pest or disease issues whilst also enjoying the detail and the beauty of the plants in your garden. | 81


This is a wonderfully simple dish that really lets the ingredients sing. John Dory is a beautiful fish that can be prepared in a variety of ways. We like to use the trimmings to make a fantastic fish stock, which can be used to make flavourful sauces like the one below. We find June is the ideal time to forage for samphire as later in the season it can become a little woody. Taking care not to overcook it preserves its satisfying bite and vibrant colour.


4 John Dory fillets (roughly 180g each)

200g marsh samphire, washed

500g new potatoes, cut into rough chunks

15g capers, roughly chopped

10g fresh parsley, finely chopped

10g fresh dill, finely chopped

10g fresh chives, finely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

4 tbsp unsalted butter

150ml dry white wine

300ml fish stock

200ml double cream

Olive oil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Food and Drink
Tom Matkevich, The Green Restaurant Image: Katharine Davies
84 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Tom and Sasha Matkevich, Eype, Dorset, 2016

1 To blanch the samphire, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the samphire and cook for 1 minute; it should turn a deep, vibrant green. Plunge into ice water immediately. Once cool, drain and set aside.

2 To make the sauce, place a medium saucepan on a medium heat with a splash of olive oil. Add the garlic and shallots and cook gently until fully softened. Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine, bring to a boil and reduce until almost all the liquid has evaporated.

3 Add the fish stock and reduce again, this time by roughly half. Add the cream and gently boil for 5-6 minutes, stirring regularly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4 To make the potato cakes, place the potatoes in a pan of salted water and bring to the boil and cook for 7-10 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool completely.

5 In a large mixing bowl, roughly mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher, making sure some chunks remain. Combine with the 1



A Dorset cafe with a difference, we champion homegrown and celebrate nature. Meet our Tamworth pigs, feast on our artisan produce, and enjoy our idyllic views.

tbsp olive oil, capers, fresh herbs, plenty of black pepper and salt to taste. Shape the mixture into equal, rounded patties.

6 Place a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp butter and gently fry the potato cakes until browned on each side, taking care when flipping.

7 To pan-fry the fish, place a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Add a generous splash of olive oil to the pan and, once it begins to shimmer, gently place the fish into the pan, skin-side down. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until the skin is golden and the flesh is almost entirely opaque. Gently flip, reduce the heat slightly, add 2 tbsp of butter and baste the fish, cooking for a further minute.

8 To serve, add the samphire to the sauce and gently warm together on a medium heat. Place the potato cakes on each plate followed by the fish, and finish with the sauce and samphire. Serve immediately.

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Method | 85



Marmalade is a very English breakfast thing but is going out of fashion as its bittersweet taste doesn’t suit everyone. I decided to develop a sweeter marmalade that would tempt others to return to toast and marmalade for breakfast. I prefer homemade marmalade as I can adjust the sugar and cut the peel to suit my family’s taste.

Marmalade isn’t just for breakfast it can be used on top of pancakes and added to yoghurt. My marmalade cake is a family favourite along with sticky orange flapjack. It can

also be stirred into chicken casseroles and stir-fries and brushed onto ribs, sausages and chicken when BBQing. Don’t be put off by how long it takes – it’s well worth the time and effort. The blood orange season is coming to it’s end though so get them while you still can!

Makes - 10 small jars or 5 pound jars

Preparation - 1 hour to prepare the fruit, 2 more hours to cook the peel and a further 1 hour to cook, jar and label.

Food and Drink
86 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Image: Katharine Davies

What you will need - A very large pan – mine is a 10-pint steel pan. I prefer steel pans for jam- and marmalade-making as steel does not react with fruit acids. A large muslin cloth to place the pith and pips in – both these parts of the orange contain pectin to set the marmalade. Two food clips – one to fasten the muslin bag and the second to fasten the bag onto a large wooden spoon. A baking sheet to warm the jars on. A bowl suitable to put the sugar in and warm in the oven. A pair of rubber gloves. Optional – a sugar thermometer. A Pyrex jug for pouring the finished marmalade. Labels.


1 kg unwaxed blood oranges

1 unwaxed lemon

2 litres water

2 kg granulated sugar

4 passion fruit


1 Start by juicing the oranges and lemon.

2 Scrape out the pith and the pips, place them in the muslin, form a bag and tie with a food clip. Secure the bag onto the wooden spoon and then place over the pan. Add the water and juices to the pan.

3 Take the peel shells and cut as thin as you can into strips – this takes some time but it doesn’t seem so long if you put on your favourite music.

4 Place the peel into the pan and bring to boil over a high heat. Once the pan has reached boiling point, turn down to a gentle simmer and simmer for 2 hours. The peel needs this slow cooking to ensure that it becomes tender and soft. After 2 hours taste a piece of peel – if it isn’t tender, simmer for a little longer before checking again. Whilst cooking, place the sugar in an oven-proof bowl, set the oven to 100C and warm for 10 minutes so that when you add the sugar to the pan it won’t make the temperature of the mixture fall too much.

5 Lift the muslin bag out of the pan and place on a plate to cool sufficiently to squeeze – this is where the rubber gloves come in. Squeeze out as much juice as you can into a bowl – keep going until you can’t get any more out. Use a spatula to scrape all the gooey pectin into the pan.

6 Carefully add the sugar and stir on a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved, turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a fast boil and boil for 20 minutes. Whilst the marmalade is boiling place

2 tea plates into the freezer and allow to chill – these plates will be needed to test the set of the marmalade. If you have a thermometer, the mixture should reach 100C before testing – this will take about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes place a spoonful of marmalade onto one of the chilled plates and leave for 5 minutes.

7 Whilst waiting for the marmalade to set on the plate stir the passion fruit juice and seeds into the marmalade and stir to distribute well.

8 After 5 minutes, test the set of the marmalade – push your finger across the mixture and if it crinkles and doesn’t run back it is set. If it runs back then boil for another 10 minutes and repeat the test again.

9 Once the set is reached, remove from the heat and allow to stand for 20 minutes. This is essential for the marmalade to begin to set and the rinds to be evenly distributed throughout the jars and not float to the top.

10 After the waiting time, remove the warm jars from the oven and use a jug to pour the marmalade into the jars, fill to within 1/4 inch of the top of each jar. Place the lids onto each jar whilst still hot. The labels can be added immediately or added when the jars are cold.

The marmalade is best left for 6 weeks before opening to allow the flavour to develop. It will keep for up to 2 years in a cool dark place. Once open I keep mine in the fridge. | 87
Food and Drink
88 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Images: Jesse Wild


June is another busy month in the garden and finally, the weather has been on our side. Our cucumbers and tomato plants are now thriving in the polytunnel, with the aubergines about to go in. Outside, peas, beans, courgettes and fennel are all planted out. These young plants need some slug protection at first so we use sheep wool from our friends at Gather. Gather make the most beautiful woollen blankets using sheep wool collected from local farms. There is of course wool that does not quite make the grade so this is perfect for safeguarding our tender plants at this time of year.

Alongside fruit and vegetables, Steve uses an abundance of culinary herbs for our dinners, which also feature in the table decoration, particularly the prettier and more fragrant herbs such as caraway, dill and sage. We don’t have a herb patch as such but we love to integrate herbs all across the garden, which seems to work well. We paid a visit to Glenholme Herbs in Sandford Orcas over the bank holiday weekend, to top up our collection of herbs and salvias. We met with Alan, Alison, Rob and Maxine who have been growing over 250 varieties of culinary and medicinal herbs, salads and native wildflowers in their gigantic glasshouses since 2005. The nursery was started by Ali’s father in 1955 with these impressive glasshouses added throughout the 60s and 70s. It’s a must-visit and they neighbour James and Charlotte at Story Pig, so you have the bonus of popping in for a cup of tea and homemade cake on the way home!

Of course, we cannot produce everything we need for the table so we continue to work with local growers who provide us with all that we need. It’s important to us to celebrate the people we work with, particularly those who provide hyper-regional food for our table. So, we have been busy planning a rather special evening which will take place on Thursday 8th August (weather pending – we have a second date in reserve!) at Off Grid Organics here in Sparkford. We have teamed up with local grower Cam, to host a summer supper for 50 guests on a long table down the middle of her small-scale regenerative vegetable plot, with everything

sourced from her land. August is the perfect time of year with lighter evenings, to dine amongst vegetables, wildflowers and even ducks! Cam has turned this parcel of depleted pasture into a thrivingly productive growing space, that is now teeming with life, and we cannot wait to share it with you. Tickets are limited and available via our website – we hope we can welcome some of you there.

Whilst we harvest and grow in our gardens, the wild food in our fields and hedgerows continues to thrive. Ahead of our suppers, we always take a basket and collect the season’s bounty. We leave the grass to grow long in our orchard, which encourages the bees and butterflies, and dragonflies which hover over the stream. We discover vetch, goosegrass and common sorrel amongst the grasses, and hawthorn and elder in the hedgerows. The sweet scent of elderflowers graces our walks at this time of year and we love to gather their creamy-white flowers early in the evening when we find them most fragrant. Elderflower spritz is the perfect summer thirst-quencher and one we will be serving throughout June. I will leave you with this recipe to try at home:

1 Collect 30 or so elderflower heads, washing them well to remove any bugs.

2 Add the zest and juice of 2 oranges and 3 lemons.

3 Bring 1.5 lt of water to the boil and pour over the elderflowers and citrus.

4 Strain the liquid into a saucepan through a large square of muslin.

5 Add 1 kilo of caster sugar (and 1 tsp of citric acid optional) and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

6 Use a funnel and bottle the cordial – it will last up to a month in the fridge.

The cordial has a multitude of uses. Add a good glug to sparkling water with ice and mint, drizzle over ice cream or even use it to make ice lollies. It’s so easy and has a delicious taste of summer! | 89


June is the month of strawberries, cream teas and fragrant elderflower blooms!

Is it just me or do strawberry plants seem to thrive in this area? In my own garden, strawberry plants seem to pop up all over the place and I often see brave little plants vying for space next to the pavement along our road.

Strawberries and other berries have been the subject of a substantial amount of research. They are a remarkable fruit, laden with nutritional goodies and genuine, research-backed, health-promoting effects, all wrapped up in attractive, bright red berry bundles. Their simple sugar content gives them their delicious sweetness but here’s the thing that separates them

from refined sugars: they come with their own fibre and possibly other nutritional factors which help to offset the sugar hit. Research shows that strawberries actually slow down glucose digestion and people experience reduced spikes in blood glucose and insulin following a high carbohydrate meal when strawberries form part of that meal.

They are good for the heart and cardiovascular system in multiple ways. In a group of middleaged people with established high risk for heart disease, strawberries were found to improve their ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, blood pressure and platelet function. A freeze-dried strawberry supplement given to people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic

Food and Drink
Sandra Miller BSc, MSc, BCNH Dip, FDN-P, Wholistic Health
90 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Tatevosian Yana/Shutterstock

syndrome significantly reduced their risk factors for disease including lowered ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, inflammatory markers and oxidised LDL in just a few weeks. Strawberries reduce the oxidative stress and inflammation that drive cancer. They’ve been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth in animals with mouth cancer and in human liver cells.

With all this in mind perhaps you’ll consider adding strawberries to your next cream tea and possibly in exchange for some of the jam? There are options when it comes to the cream too. A lighter version with increased gut-health properties can be brought about with dollops of crème fraiche or kefir quark. These fermented, lower-fat alternatives still look appealing piled up on a plate but boast enhanced digestibility that you might appreciate once the cups and saucers have been put away. But how do we know which of these changes might give each of us the greatest benefit? As we all know it’s not usually the occasional choices that form the trend, it’s the repetition of them over a period of time. Often, it’s numerous little changes that become our habits which determine our outcomes.

DNA testing can help. I’m not talking about delving into your ancestry or discovering a disempowering sense of inevitability about certain diseases. There are ranges of DNA testing which focus on actionable genetic variations, what you can specifically do to alter the expression of those genes and relatively how important it is that certain diet and lifestyle habits form part of your every day. This testing need only be done once but you can reap the rewards of a personalised plan for a lifetime. You can make informed choices that give you more energy and vitality today along with lowered risk of chronic disease in the future.

I use the information I gained from my own DNA testing daily and it makes such a difference to me.


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"Strawberries are a remarkable fruit, laden with nutritional goodies and genuine, research-backed, health-promoting effects"

For instance, I discovered that I am at high risk for inflammation so I do, in fact, choose to eat berries almost daily. I have a moderately reduced ability to metabolise saturated fat well so I generally opt for lower fat versions but I can still indulge occasionally. My capacity to eliminate toxins is significantly impaired so choosing organic strawberries is an absolute must and worth the higher price tag. Sadly, strawberries are consistently one of the most sprayed crops when farmed according to conventional practices. I’m so thankful that we have good access to supplies of organic strawberries, including those homegrown beauties!

When I first looked over my DNA test results a lot of things fell into place for me. I had already worked very hard on my health and had empirically discovered something of what my genetic profile reported. However, before testing my DNA, my willingness to keep going with certain habits and supplements sometimes waned as I couldn’t be sure of the long-term benefits. Now, I have a strategic and evidence-based plan in place. And I’ll be enjoying bowls of organicallygrown strawberries this June and not mind the odd accompanying scone or dollop of cream!


sup (verb)

take (drink or liquid food) by big sips or full spoonfuls shrub (noun) a drinking apple cider vinegar infused with fruit & other botanicals

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2,500 miles done. 28 days in. 7 countries crossed – France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and now Greece with another 6,000 miles and 61 days to go. When planning this trip to research how the changing weather patterns are affecting the olive harvests, we asked ourselves a few questions: What do you pack for three months, living out of a bag on a couple of elderly motorbikes and could be considered a little elderly yourselves? Who will you meet along the way? What sort of a welcome will you get? What will the border crossings be like? Where will you stay?

In terms of packing, it turns out that seven pairs of underpants with two emergency ones hidden away along with spare socks, a smart shirt and a decent pair of trousers is more than enough. Eight pairs of socks is also more than enough. The daily routine of stopping for the day is to immediately colonise whatever space you find yourself in and wash that day’s socks and pants as fast as you can, before doing anything else, so they have a chance to dry before the morning. By colonise, we mean turn wherever you are into a version of Widow Twankey’s wishy-washy laundry. However, this does mean that we have only used three pairs of

pants and socks in almost 28 days on the road. That’s each. Not between us. That would be wrong on a number of levels, even if it would have saved on space.

As for everything else, our discipline is strict –everything has a place and everything needs to be in its place unless it is in use. Use it. Clean it. Put it back. Ride, Rest. Go Again. Stay Upright. Those are the mantras that must be followed, otherwise the world will explode. When we did our first trip around the Med, Middle East and North Africa back in 1992 all we had was maps, a notebook and a pencil. I’m not sure how often we got lost as we didn’t really know exactly where we were going – it was all very freeform. No mobile phones. No internet. No sat nav. No All very analogue, Lonely Planet and, quite possibly, a lot simpler.

This time around we have definites. People, places and dates that are hard fixes in the diaries –appointments to be kept, exact locations to be navigated to. And this time, we have tech to help: mobile phones that double as cameras, a sat nav, a Go Pro, Insta 360 cameras for shooting video, two power banks that are charged each night and used during the day to keep the phones alive and a solar charger which works a treat when the sun is out but is a bit crap when it isn’t.

Food and Drink
94 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

Our helmets have intercoms so we can talk to each other as we ride – a blessing and a curse but more the former than the latter – they need charging every day. So, whilst the bikes are still very much analogue, we’ve teched up a tad.

As for the people you meet along the way, life is a rich tapestry to be experienced as it unfurls (or unravels depending on how lost we’ve got) before you. The wonderful Jacky Roux who swept us into his home and looked after us with a grace and style that will not be forgotten. The goat farmer who drank our wine and then charged us for it the following morning who also will not be forgotten but for different reasons. Francesco and Sara at Acetaia Leonardi who taught us so much about balsamic vinegar and gave us their take on the weather and how it was affecting them. The German Yugoslavian in Croatia, Alexander, with utter disdain and contempt for our current crop of politicians with a very particular take on what was wrong with the climate:

‘It’s the people – I tell you – it’s the people. It’s not the climate – that comes and goes. It’s the people. 60 years ago what you grew, you ate; what you didn’t eat, you sold. Now, no one wants to work the land properly.’

Contrast him with Cesar, who still works the land his family have tended for generations and still produces amazingly good oils but fears for the future; or the lady at the oil-tasting house we called into who, when we asked her name, said it was Snyeźana. I tried it:

‘Ah, Snyeźana.’

‘No. Snyeźana.’


‘NO. Snyeźana.’

I tried the emphasis a little differently ‘Snyeź ana?’

‘No, No, NO. Snyeźana.’

I honestly couldn’t hear how I was getting it so wrong so I tried this:

‘Schneeze Arna’ the first part delivered as if stifling an actual sneeze with a very small snort to kick off with.

‘Yes, Schneeze Arna. You call me Nana. Is better, I think.’

And so, I’m sorry to say, that she is forever remembered as Sneezy Anna. Her oils were excellent though and more than made up for my appalling pronunciation and cloth ears as to the subtlety of the lilting Croatian language which has a sing-song appeal similar to a chainsaw.

Our favourites, so far, though, have been the two wonderful Montenegrin olive producers, Fatmir Sideku and Senad Arabelovic who tend and steward ancient trees well over 1,000 years old, still producing and still standing in the spot where they were once saplings. Both of them are nervous for the future but both believe the trees will find a way to adapt to what we’ve done to the climate. I’m sure they are right. Hope so for all our sakes.

If you want to know what the border crossings are like and the sort of places we’ve stayed – go check the diaries at | 95


Charlotte Hull, The Story Pig

Iam stepping in to write James’ article this month as he has come down with flu and is resting in bed. We had to shut the cafe today because on Sundays he is currently the only barista. We don’t like to close our cafe and disappoint everyone that had planned to visit but it was the right thing to do.

Even when you have a nasty flu with high fever and a very achy body, as a farmer you still have to work, especially if you have animals that have to be watered, fed and looked after. So when I returned from the pretty old train station at Castle Cary, to wave off our Swedish friends this morning, James had just finished feeding all the pigs and looked so tired and poorly. I quickly supplied him with pills, healthy fruits and

drinks and sent him back to bed.

He must be well for tomorrow as we have a person here for two weeks to help James put in a fence around what is going to be our new garden. We are very excited to design and create this new area and pond. We know that it will take years to become what we have in our minds.

A lot of lavender has been under James’ care in the polytunnel, during the winter, like a big army, in rows, waiting to be planted in the new garden. But we are not yet at the planting stage. Little by little, as it is often only James and myself. We love it here and we love gardening. We don’t need much more than good health, good food and our garden.

Food and Drink
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We do have a good team here at the farm, including our garden volunteers. We are grateful of that. Last week we had our first event of the year - Spring Farm Family Day. As usual, it is a lot to prepare for, many cakes to bake, lots of bacon to be sliced, fields to be mown for all the cars, you name it. Our days are always longer than normal before an event but James and I are focused and work hard to fit the extra work around our usual daily and weekly duties on the farm.

On the day of the event, all our staff arrived early, everyone at their work stations, aprons on. Celia welcomed children with maps for the farm trail, Sarah ran the bar as usual, Jo and Sten carved the delicious hog roast, James and co. manned the coffee machine and myself at the griddle!

New for this year was Dustin with his creative bushcraft workshops. During the day he helped children build their own shelters that when complete were tested for watertightness and storm-proofing! The children loved it.

In the weeks ahead of Family Day I had tamed and trained six small piglets with leftover cinnamon buns, cakes and greens in preparation for the day’s main event. My last task of the day had me changing my kitchen apron for overalls and coaxing the six little piglets into the limelight with my singing and cinnamon buns. Fortunately they loved the buns (and maybe my singing) and by now we had become good friends. It was a fun task and we had a jolly good time.

Why had I dedicated so much time to these little piglets? Piglet racing! The crowds gathered and hundreds of people cheered them on, hoping that their number would come in first. The race was over in a flash then the heavens opened bringing the day to its natural end. I was happy to see that not many cakes were left on the counter.

I love to cook and bake using the best, healthiest ingredients from ours and our neighbours gardens and of course our very own super high-quality, homegrown and home-butchered Tamworth pork. My wish is for every meal I serve to be real, delicious and pretty!

Thank you to every one of our wonderful regular customers. We love seeing you every week. And if you’ve not visited us yet - see you soon!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the news from the other half of The Story Pig!

Thursday 8th August

We are relocating for one night only to Offgrid Organics in Sparkford. Working in collaboration with Cam, who runs this thriving market garden and grows us fresh seasonal produce throughout the year.

Guests will dine al fresco on a long sharing table, seating 50 guests, down the middle of Cam’s market garden, surrounded by the seasonal crops and wild flowers. You will be greeted with a garden spritz, before feasting on a supper picked from the garden and cooked over fire. Drinks as always are BYO.

To reserve a space, please visit at

Sparkford, Somerset, BA22 7LA

Join our Summer Supper at Off-Grid Organics | 97


For five years I had the very pleasant task of judging at Vinitaly, Verona’s international wine fair. This year’s event in April was a truly enjoyable experience not only because we tasted the whole spectrum of Italian wines – Amarone to Zibibbo, but we were able to enjoy some of them with magnificent Italian foods at lunch and dinner over five days.

Small family wineries competed against some of the largest and most famous Italian wineries. There were several thousand entries in each of the main categories but we only tasted the ones that had made it through to the latter stages.

It was a fascinating experience which demanded enormous concentration and plenty of pure table water. Each wine we tasted was served from a decanter with only a number.

What I really learned from the experience was what an extraordinary variety of wines the Italians produce and how immensely proud they are of them.

The northeast is now the most prolific producer and

Verona is at the heart of the region. All around are quite splendid vineyards blessed with fertile volcanic soils that enjoy long hours of sunshine each day.

It is a productive region in which yields are considerably higher than most northern European vineyards. The vine runs riot on any pergola on which it sets sight. Most ordinary wine is very acceptable as a beverage but if you are choosing wine for certain foods it makes sense to find a supplier you can trust to recommend a wine that suits your palate and your pocket. Most of the large food chains have extremely qualified buyers and have proved themselves to be reliable wine suppliers. If you are not sure where to start or want some more particular recommendations, I would recommend a chat with your preferred wine supplier, particularly when spending twelve or more pounds on a bottle.

It has been my very pleasant duty to taste many different white wine varieties from around the world but Soave Classico remains one of my very firm

Food and Drink
98 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

favourites. Of course, one has to pay more for DOC Classico wines but they offer excellent value for money particularly when planning open-air supper parties.

Talking of open-air parties, do not forget Italian Prosecco. I love Champagne but it is increasingly expensive and Prosecco fits the bill perfectly for those who do like a bit of sparkle in their lives. Prosecco used to be dismissed as ‘a cheap Italian sparkling wine‘. I challenge anyone who likes sparkling wine to find a better value for money than a good Prosecco. I like to support our own budding sparkling wine trade which is doing wonderfully well in world sales but if you do have to watch the pennies, good Prosecco answers the call.

There is an enormous variety of Italian wines. If you are at the beginning of your Italian wine adventure I would recommend starting with the white wines from Verona and the red wines from Tuscany. If you are already on the trail, I hope you will have fun exploring good examples of appellations such as Bardolino, Valpolicella and Soave.

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Free registration appointment for new clients when accompanied by this advertisement 100 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

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Mark Newton-Clarke MAVetMB PhD MRCVS, Newton Clarke Veterinary Surgeons

We are moving! After almost 20 years in Lower Acreman Street, the practice is relocating to new, purpose-built premises on the Barton Farm estate, near Bradfords. We open there on 15th July and look forward to welcoming old clients and new to what is a truly modern veterinary surgery, equipped for the 21st Century.

Many of us remember the All Creatures Great and Small TV series of the 1970s where James Herriot conducted small animal consultations in a back room of Siegfried Farnon’s house in the Yorkshire Dales. Although set in the 1930s, many of the situations the vets faced then were instantly recognisable to me as a newly qualified vet in the mid-80s. And here we are, 40 years on again and the face of modern veterinary medicine looks very different. So why this drive to upscale facilities, import state-of-the-art technology

and invest very significant amounts of money?

Especially when our pets, in general, suffer the same sorts of problems and diseases that Mr ‘Erriot saw and treated 90 years ago.

The answer to that question lies in a peek behind the scenes of today’s veterinary clinic. Faster, more accurate diagnostics lead to quicker treatment, less pain for the patient and stress for the owner and shorter recovery times. Our pets are part of our family lives and we want them to receive the best possible treatment, be comfortable and pain-free and get better quickly. The best way to achieve all that is to design animal hospitals with animals and their welfare centre stage. The next step is to pick the right ‘cast’, the receptionists, the nurses and the vets who share the same ethos, to do our best for all pets and their owners. Being in the right environment,

Animal Care
102 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
"Nothing will replace the gentle touch of the human hand and we know how intuitive animals really are, responding to genuine care in much the same way as do we all"

one that minimises that alien feeling we all get as we step into a clinical setting, is all part of it. I’m reminded of this thought every time I enter a dental practice (a personal perspective!).

One of the biggest improvements in the new building will be better parking…and the other a CT scanner! The former will be obvious to all who visit us but the latter is truly a game-changer. Standard X-rays are still very useful but they provide a flat, 2-dimensional picture with everything superimposed on itself. By taking multiple X-rays at different angles, we can separate out the internal structures of limbs, lungs and loins which we then try to make 3D in our minds. CT produces images of transverse slices of the body with no superimposition, that can then be pieced together by a computer to produce stunning results. The use of special dyes, injected into the bloodstream, highlights specific areas and gives another level of imaging magic. The complexity of the information a CT scan provides means interpretation has to be done by a specialist, probably sitting at home next to their computer, receiving and reporting on the data electronically. About the best use of the internet, I can think of!

So you might say, doesn’t all this high-tech mean modern veterinary medicine is now a battle between computers and compassion? The more reliant we become on clever machines, the less we use our own brains to solve difficult cases. Well, no and no. Nothing will replace the gentle touch of the human hand and we know how intuitive animals really are, responding to genuine care in much the same way as do we all. As for automated answers to difficult clinical problems, I can assure you the more we know, the more complex the questions become. And as I have often said to students, it’s more important to ask the right questions than think you have given the right answers.

Talking of which, if you have any questions of your own, why not come to the Open Day for the new practice on Saturday July 13th, up on Barton Farm? Tours of the building start at 1pm and complimentary refreshments are available. As we want to give our full attention to human visitors, for this one day ONLY, we are asking you to leave your dogs (and cats!) at home. Children are welcome and we hope to inform and entertain everyone on what we hope will be a sunny afternoon. | 103
Illustration: Something Yellow


Farmers are always striving to improve the performance of their herds. Performance can encompass many areas and can include milk yield, lifespan, number of cases of mastitis and longevity. Performance is affected by a combination of both the genetics and environment or management within the herd. We often focus on the environment to improve animal performance, such as improving ventilation within a building or feeding better feed, but genetics also plays a vital role.

Each farmer pays a levy when they sell their milk to an organisation called the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). This organisation carries out research projects and education and helps to organise farmer meetings. One of their main jobs is to produce what are called ‘Herd Genetic Reports’ for dairy herds. These reports show the genetic makeup of the cows and youngstock in the herd and are then compared to national averages. For each animal within the herd, there are different genetic indices which can be used to make breeding decisions for the future. For example, if we take milk yield, the trait is expressed as kilograms of milk – this figure represents how much more milk that cow will produce per year compared to the average cow in the country. Milk yield is a type of trait called a production trait. There are other traits

called health traits and these help us to predict how healthy a cow will be. They can predict how likely a cow will be lame, get mastitis or even how fertile that animal will be.

These Herd Genetic Reports help farmers evaluate the genetics in their own herds and help highlight areas where improvements can be made. The reports also highlight the top genetic animals within the herd to enable farmers to breed replacement animals for the future from these top girls.

The report also provides the farmer with access to all the available bulls in the UK so they can then pick from this list the bulls which have the traits that will improve the areas where their herd is lacking. Farmers can even input the animals they want to breed onto the system and carry out an online test mating to make sure the cows and bulls are not closely related –this is called the ‘inbreeding checker’. This checks back ten generations in both the bulls’ and cows’ breeding history to make sure there are no common parentages that would cause inbreeding.

These valuable tools help farmers make informed breeding decisions and determine the future health of their herds.

Animal Care
John Walsh, Friars Moor Livestock Health
104 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Rhian Mai Hubbart/shutterstock

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Sarah Hitch, The Sanctuary Beauty Rooms

Beautiful eyelashes speak volumes. When they look and feel fantastic, they provide us with confidence in the blink of an eye. Eyelash treatments include extensions, tints and lifts so the first step is to find out how they look, how they fit with your style and whether they suit your lifestyle too. Some treatments require a greater upkeep and therefore there are time and financial factors to think about.

Eyelash extensions save time. They have revolutionised how many girls do their make-up in the morning because apart from a quick brush through there is little to be done – your eyes are simply good to go at all times. There are a range of thicknesses and lengths to choose from and a consultation with your lash technician will identify the look you want to achieve.

To maintain eyelash extensions, infills are required every 2-3 weeks. The frequency of these top-ups depends on how well you look after your lashes and also the style of lashes you are wearing. A full set of individual lashes can be left a little longer to infill if fully applied at the start because the shedding of lashes here and there across your lash line is not so noticeable. However, a fluttery set of hybrids, which are created using fan-shaped extensions, can get unevenly gappy if you lose a couple of fans from the same section. Keep any oil-based products away from your lashes and don’t pick or rub your eyes so you don’t damage your extensions and inadvertently your own lashes.

Poorly applied and heavy extensions can damage the hair follicle which can cause your lashes to drop out or in some cases cause permanent damage. The extra weight on lashes from extensions can have an adverse effect on lash growth and condition so it’s important to see a professional who is trained, considers the strength and health of your lashes and follows safety standards.

Lash lift treatments give a lift and curl to your own lashes making them appear longer and it includes a lash tint too. This treatment is a great low-maintenance option as, apart from keeping the lashes dry and mascara-free for 24 hours after treatment, there is nothing else to do. The results last for about 8 weeks and then you simply return to the salon for your next treatment. Lash lifts are a great pre-holiday or prespecial event treatment because they give a natural enhancement to the whole eye area, making eye makeup really pop and giving a youthful lift to mature eyes.

Lash-tinting can be performed on its own and creates defined and darker lashes for 6-8 weeks.

Available in several colours so that you can keep the look very natural or intensely pitch dark. Some people use lash-tinting as their semi-permanent mascara and others use the tint as a dark base for applying mascara for a fuller look to the lashes.

What eyelash enhancement would fit your face? Pop into your salon for therapist guidance and a patch test.

Body & Mind
Voronin76/Shutterstock 108 | Sherborne Times | June 2024 Contact your local Slimming World Consultant
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Fostering Mental Well-being in the LGBTQ+ Community

Lucy Lewis, Dorset Mind Ambassador

Allyship plays a crucial role in creating a supportive and inclusive environment for members of the LGBTQ+ community. By actively advocating for and standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ individuals, allies can help combat discrimination, promote acceptance and improve mental health outcomes. June is Pride Month in the UK so, in this article, we’ll be exploring the importance of allyship in fostering mental well-being within the LGBTQ+ community.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand what it means to be an ally. Being an ally involves more than just expressing support; it requires actively listening to the experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ individuals, educating oneself on issues affecting the community and taking meaningful action to create positive change. This may involve challenging discriminatory

Body & Mind
110 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Tint Media/Shutterstock

attitudes and behaviours, advocating for inclusive policies and practices, and amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Allowing LGBTQ+ individuals to share their own voices and opinions is crucial in supporting them authentically. By giving them the platform to express their own experiences, perspectives and needs, we acknowledge their autonomy and validate their identities. Speaking on behalf of them, without their input, can perpetuate stereotypes and overlook the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community. It’s about fostering inclusivity and respecting the individuality of each person, ensuring their voices are heard and valued.

Moreover, allyship can help challenge the systemic barriers and social inequalities that contribute to mental health disparities within the LGBTQ+ community. By advocating for inclusive healthcare practices, supportive school and workplace environments, and equitable access to resources and opportunities, allies can help address the root causes of mental health challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals.

Additionally, allies can provide invaluable support and validation to LGBTQ+ individuals during times of crisis or hardship. Whether it’s offering a listening ear, providing practical assistance or simply standing in solidarity, knowing that there are people who care can make a significant difference in someone’s mental well-being. Allies can help counteract the negative effects of discrimination and stigma by offering love, acceptance and affirmation.

Furthermore, allyship is not just about supporting LGBTQ+ individuals; it’s also about challenging oneself and one’s own biases. It requires a commitment to ongoing learning and self-reflection, as well as a willingness to acknowledge and address one’s privilege. By confronting internalised prejudices and actively working to dismantle systems of oppression, allies can contribute to creating a more just and equitable society for all.

In conclusion, allyship plays a vital role in promoting mental well-being within the LGBTQ+ community. By standing up against discrimination, advocating for inclusivity and providing support and validation, allies can help create affirming environments where LGBTQ+ individuals can thrive. It’s essential for all of us to recognise the power we hold as allies and to use it to create positive change in the world. Together, we can build a more inclusive and supportive society for everyone.

If you are struggling with your mental health, please speak to a GP or mental health professional. offers a range of LGBTQ+ mental health resources and support options, including MindOut, a mental health support group for the LGBTQ+ community.

If in crisis, please call 999, visit A&E, or call The Samaritans at 116 123.

Sherborne Food Bank relies solely on the generous food and cash donations from the community and is in urgent need of your help. Please consider adding the following items to your shopping trolley:

• Anti-bac hand gel and wipes • Savoury biscuits

• Instant coffee • Sachets of pasta ‘n’ sauce

Donation points can be easily found at

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Sherborne, Milborne Port and Trent

• Hatha Yoga, outside when possible

• Relaxation and guided meditation

Contact Dawn for more details 07817 624081


Yoga Alliance qualified teacher | 111


Dr Jonathan Tham

It’s 4am and I’m awake. I turn to the clock for answers, which I know it doesn’t have. My mind is itching and every minute that goes by becomes more desperate as I creep towards a morning that I’m sure I won’t be able to face. It’s 5am and I’m awake. If I go to sleep now, it’s two hours. That’s not enough. How can I be so tired and yet unable to sleep? How can my body let this happen to me? How have I lost control?

Sound familiar?

Sleep is a necessity. Total sleep deprivation kills you faster than starvation and yet, unlike food, you can’t choose it – it chooses you and sometimes it just doesn’t. Clinical insomnia affects 10% of adults and it’s becoming more common. It’s not a modern problem – twelfth-century Saints Thomas Becket and William of Norwich offered miracle cures for sleepless sufferers, while centuries later, Shakespeare gave Henry IV a lengthy monologue on the subject. However, aspects of modern life have made matters worse. Before the industrial age, sleep patterns were different. ‘Biphasic

sleep’ was common, with people getting up in the night after the ‘first sleep’, to do a few gentle jobs, maybe have a snack, maybe have sex, before drifting off into the ‘second sleep’ until morning. But the march of progress with its never-ending workday and artificial light, drove bedtimes later, until there wasn’t enough room for both sleeps. It’s difficult to say whether biphasic sleep is better for us – as with most things, it probably depends. There are places where it’s still embraced. In Spain, the siesta pushes the evening meal late, protecting the sleeper from the midday sun. Churchill was a famous napper; even in the height of the Blitz he never was without his afternoon slumber.

So, is modern life really that problematic for sleep? Well, artificial light is an issue. Your body is an orchestra, with every cell playing to the beat of its conductor, your brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus, your body’s clock. If you were left in a cave for months (and people have been, this experiment really has been done), you would still keep a roughly 24-hour cycle. Your

Body and Mind
112 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

internal clock would hold true. However, the ebb and flow of the seasons with their differing sunrises, means this clock needs regular updates. It must be trained and light is the key. Receptors at the back of your eyes keep your body clock in line with the day. Well, at least they did, two hundred years ago. Now, light isn’t an accurate reflection of the day. We spend our days indoors, where your typical office measures just 500 lux (the unit of brightness), this compares to the 10,000 lux of ambient daylight. Then, by sundown we’re in artificially lit homes, staring into screens. Our days are dim, our nights are bright and our body clocks, bamboozled.

Artificial light isn’t the only problem. We’re now constantly connected and expected to be available always. Our phones are fishhooks, dragging us into this unsleeping realm, purposefully designed to hijack our brains to keep themselves forever checked. Then there’s the dichotomy of unrealistic expectation and unhealthy attitude. Sleep is something we either need in the kind of abundance we can’t achieve or something to

be discounted as a waste for the weak. We’ve all met that person who seems strangely proud of how little they sleep.

However, if you’re having trouble, you’ve probably considered all this already. You follow ‘sleep hygiene’ advice. You switch off your phone, dim the house, avoid caffeine, exercise regularly, all the good things… but insomnia persists. It has a life of its own. Why? Unfortunately, for people who’ve struggled with sleep for more than three months, new factors appear. These ‘perpetuating factors’ include ‘conditioned arousal’, where the bed and bedroom become so linked to wakefulness, they cause it. Sufferers notice they drift off more easily in places other than their bed. Sofas, hotels, even a seat on a train are preferable. When this happens, you can take away the triggers, the things that caused the insomnia in the first place, but it endures.

Thankfully, there’s a treatment to combat the things that keep insomnia going. It isn’t sleep hygiene, it doesn’t involve pills and it’s internationally recognised as the best. So, what’s the catch? Despite being recommended in English, European and American guidance, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia, also known as CBTi, is hard to access. Nevertheless, the news isn’t all gloomy. Sleep is becoming more prevalent in the media, with good advice from this gold standard, talking therapy percolating through. Exciting new ways of accessing it are coming. Digital platforms, short form therapy and apps have been developed and are waiting to be approved and commissioned. Meanwhile, self-help books on CBTi are effective, with a number of these available.

Finally, if you can’t wait and self-help isn’t for you, there are private options. Sleep medicine is a multidisciplinary field, with some of the most promising new techniques delivered by practice nurses and other healthcare professionals, not only the practitioner psychologists who tend to give most other talking therapies. If you do go down this route, just make sure whoever you see has some form of professional registration, GMC, NMC, HCPC – these are the regulatory bodies that will hold them accountable. So, despite creating a challenging environment, the modern world is providing some exciting times for sleep and insomnia treatment. If you suffer, there is reason to be hopeful and there are treatments waiting for you.

I hope you found something for you here and, as always, sleep well. | 113
Lysenko Andrii/Shutterstock

Body and Mind

Duet PandG/Shutterstock 116 | Sherborne Times | June 2024


Yoga and meditation are often associated with quiet, serene environments but practising them outdoors introduces a whole new dimension. I have been practising outside for years now but it was the lockdown restrictions that made me take the leap to teaching classes outside.

As we settled into our yoga practice outdoors, we enjoyed the fresh air, sunlight and connection with other people (at a safe distance of course). Many of us ventured off the mat to feel the grass between our toes. We also become acutely aware of the sounds around us. At the time we were on the playing fields with only the birds and the occasional rustle of leaves from the trees around us. But as the restrictions eased we were joined by children playing football in the next field and cars in the nearby streets. To begin with, I was frustrated and thought I would have to find more rural ‘peaceful’ locations if teaching yoga outside was to work long-term. But I soon learnt that even in a local woodland, on a hilltop at The Story Pig, or tucked into a corner of the Therapy Garden at The Potting Shed, after the immediate serenity there was always a moment where the human world crept in. Bees humming over the lavender interspersed with the chink of plates as the cafe prepared to open. The woodpecker drowned out by a passing helicopter or tractor from the road beyond the hedge.

When we take our practice outside we are usually far more accepting of nature’s melodies – no doubt there is a primal connection here. But simultaneously, the



07702 681264

urban landscape pulses with its own rhythm – the hum of traffic, the chatter of voices, even a helicopter flying past! Rather than viewing these sounds as disruptions and fighting against them, we can cultivate a sense of openness and receptivity. Every sound serves as an anchor to the present moment; inviting us to pause, listen and fully experience the world around us.

Meditation can become a practice of following sounds to their natural conclusion. Try it yourself… find a sound anything at all and follow it until it ends. Notice the spaces between the sounds. When your mind wanders into the story behind the sound or you feel yourself reacting emotionally to it, pause, notice what’s happened then go back to simply listening without judgement. Try to innocently hear the sound and accept its place. In this way, yoga and meditation become not just a practice of inner stillness but a journey of exploration and discovery. By embracing the soundscape around us, we can learn to cultivate a sense of resilience in the face of life’s inevitable ups and downs.

So the next time you find yourself outdoors whether it’s a remote hilltop, your back garden or a bench in the high street, tune into the sounds that surround you. Allow the sounds both natural and manmade to be your guides as you navigate the landscape of your inner world and trust that even amidst the cacophony of life, moments of peace and clarity are always within reach.

Diet and lifestyle coaching: a powerful path to healing and weight management

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Sandra Miller BSc, MSc, BCNH Dip, FDN-P Functional Medicine Practitioner
Therapy is a deeply restorative form of treatment for the body, mind and soul. It is a heartcentred holistic approach to healing and suitable for all ages from newborn babies to the elderly. | 117


Yes, it is entirely possible to breathe in an ‘unhealthy’ and inefficient way that can be detrimental to our health. Re-learning how to breathe in the way our body has been biologically designed to breathe can have really quite profound health benefits.

Over time, many people unconsciously develop breathing habits that are less than ideal, particularly as they age - it’s not just the muscles we can see in our arms and legs that become weaker but also the muscles of our respiratory system and our airway.

They may over-breathe or breathe through an open mouth during wakefulness and sleep. This alters the natural levels of gases in the blood, reduces oxygen delivery to the body and brain, and causes constriction of the smooth muscles surrounding blood vessels and airways.

Such dysfunctional breathing habits can contribute to numerous health concerns, not least shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, feelings of anxiety or panic, difficulty concentrating, digestive disturbances, poor posture, high blood pressure and disrupted sleep.

Developed in the 1950s, the Buteyko Method consists of a series of breathing exercises and guidelines specifically designed to reduce over-breathing (clinically known as ‘chronic hyperventilation’).

The method teaches us how to restore functional nasal breathing, normalising the volume of air that is breathed and helping to alleviate the health issues above. The exercises are easily integrated into one’s everyday routine, whatever one’s age, health or goals.

Buteyko’s simple, tailored breathing exercises and daily programmes can help improve:

• Anxiety, stress, racing mind and panic attacks

• Asthma and respiratory disorders (including coughing, wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness)

• Sleep disorders (including snoring, insomnia and sleep apnoea)

• Dysfunctional breathing patterns (including mouth breathing, over-breathing, upper chest breathing, frequent sighing and yawning)

• Fitness and recovery

Buteyko exercises also help:

• Reduce nasal congestion, stuffiness, rhinitis and respiratory infections

• Release nitric oxide and boost your body’s defences against infection and inflammation

• Improve sleep quality using techniques to maintain nasal breathing during sleep, reduce nighttime awakening and the need to visit the bathroom during the night

• Regulate breathing volume and enhance oxygen delivery throughout the body and brain, promoting optimal health and wellbeing

• Stimulate the vagus nerve to activate the ‘rest and digest’ arm of the nervous system to calm the body and mind, promoting relaxation and building stress resilience

Numerous scientific studies and case studies have demonstrated that Buteyko breathing exercises can have considerable beneficial effects on physical and emotional health.

For me personally, I have been blown away by the health benefits I have felt since embarking on my own breathing re-education journey.

Could this be the missing piece of your health puzzle?

Body and Mind
118 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Image: Barbara Leatham
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Part IV: Five Months and a Mural

For five consecutive months, I lay in a hospital bed staring at a mural of a palm tree. As someone who moves house regularly, changes jobs every couple of years and loves to travel, the idea of such intense stillness was almost as unnerving as the diagnosis itself. Each time my son visited me he would ask how I hadn’t gone insane. It was a valid question and the answer is I built myself a toolkit. This is what I put in it:

Positive Thinking. I knew that my biggest challenge was going to be managing my thoughts about my situation. Negative thoughts lose power when you don’t dwell on them. Occasionally I would allow myself a little wallow but generally, as soon as I’d acknowledged a negative thought was present, I moved my focus away from it and onto something else.

Living In The Present. This was a confusing tool at times. Because a lot of my moments were filled with throwing up or rolling around in agony, I would wonder how embedding myself fully in that moment was going to help me get through it. I never really found an answer to that, apart from just accepting it was a bad day, but I did see the benefit of leaving those moments once they were over. I didn’t let myself dwell on the past

or project fears for the future. I took it a day at a time, sometimes an hour at a time and looked no further than whatever I was doing at that moment.

Appreciate The Little Things. I thought a lot about the phrase ‘live each day as if it’s your last’ while I was in hospital. I’d always thought it meant flying to New York for the weekend, going sky diving, swimming with dolphins…and I’d wondered how I was supposed to afford to live each day as if it was my last. But lying in bed staring at that mural of a bloody palm tree I realised what living each day as if it was your last actually meant. Find the joy in the little things. There is so much of it if you look properly…I’m normally too distracted planning imaginary trips to New York to notice them. I’m grateful I was forced to spend time appreciating the tiny things.

Gratitude. While I was being cared for, I was so genuinely thankful all the time – to nurses, doctors, friends, family, medicine, nature, technology, books – I naturally practised gratitude several times a day. Research shows the act of gratitude helps you process toxic emotions like envy, resentment, frustration and regret which makes room for joy, love and optimism. Daily gratitude helped me feel joy even in the most

Body and Mind
Tim UR/Shutterstock
120 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

challenging of times.

Structure. Adding structure to my day gave me a sense of control over all the uncertainty I was facing. It also helped me feel productive. I’d wake up, meditate, exercise (which literally constituted rolling my wrists and ankles some days) and write and I wouldn’t watch TV until the evenings. Loosely timetabling my day made it pass more quickly and at the end of it I had a sense of achievement. This kept my mood high.

Traditions are important no matter what the situation or how temporary. So, I set some for my kids to create a sense of continuity in their worlds that had been turned upside down – to build a connection between us and this strange place we found ourselves. My daughter would visit in the evenings and we would lie in my very narrow hospital bed together and watch box sets. My son would come on Sundays after rugby and we’d order pizza and chat. Traditions brought some security, normality and a sense of belonging.

Exercise. It seems so obvious to say but exercise with all its physical, mental and hormonal benefits was essential. Sometimes I’d walk up a flight of stairs, sometimes I’d follow a workout on YouTube. Once I tried to run in the hospital corridors but I looked like a newborn foul tripping over their own hooves so I knocked that on the head and stuck to walking.

Nature. When I was allowed out I either headed straight for a forest or the sea. Living in Dorset we are all used to seeing stunning scenery on a daily basis. I’ve always appreciated a decent view and the benefits of nature but having been starved of them I appreciate their healing qualities even more now. It’s a rare day that I don’t go for a walk just to breathe it all in.

Vibrational Healing is generated by instruments such as singing bowls, gongs and tuning forks. The science behind it is that as the vibrations enter the

body, they promote deep relaxation and can alleviate blockages and tensions. I listened to vibrational sounds every day on Spotify.

Meditation helped me get to know myself more deeply than I ever have. It took me away from my thoughts and straight to the core of my emotions, helping me identify what I was feeling rather than what I was thinking. This meant I could do something to process my emotions. Sometimes I’d do something specific to alleviate them – frustrated I’d go for a walk; anxious I’d do some breathwork. But sometimes I’d just sit with the raw emotion knowing that it too would pass. No emotion stays forever – it’s the thoughts we attach to them that linger and shape us if we let them. Meditating freed me from forming negative attachments to what I was going through. In the words of my son, it stopped me from going insane.

Laughter was my most reliable tool of all. No matter what was going on, if someone could make me laugh, it snapped me back into a moment of joy. Luckily, I have some pretty funny people in my life and, even more luckily, I shamelessly find myself hilarious so this was my go-to tool for boosting my mood.

Of course, there were days where all I did was sob, there were days where I struggled to see the point in anything and there were days I wanted to graffiti that ‘effing mural. But practice makes perfect and after months of lying in bed, I actually mastered the art of stillness. In moments of adversity or despair, our bodies will tell us what to do – we already have everything we need within us. If we trust ourselves and trust the process we ’ ll make it through the tough times and things will work out as they should…whatever that ends up being.


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In the evolving landscape of family law, separating couples have a new, refreshing alternative to help navigate the process, with less conflict and more collaboration. The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has paved the way for couples to jointly apply to end their marriage – a landmark move aimed at reducing animosity and fostering a more amicable separation.

Out of this practical updating of family law emerged a process which embraces the advantages of finding a collaborative solution to separation. Resolution Together offers a couple the option to instruct a single qualified professional who can guide them both through the process.

This innovative development supporting couples seeking separation has recently taken a further positive step forward. As of 29th April 2024, a revision to the Family Procedure Rules states that for cases of divorce or those involving children, it is recommended that parties be encouraged to undertake *non-court dispute resolution (NCDR), where time permits. This will impact most cases. Those determined as the ones

not choosing to mediate could now be left with an unwelcome and expensive order for costs. *Resolution Together is a form of NCDR.

Introducing Resolution Together

Resolution Together represents a ground-breaking approach to divorce and separation disputes. This method allows solicitors to jointly advise both parties, offering legal guidance and support to collaboratively resolve issues related to children or finances.

This collaborative model is designed to mitigate conflict and encourage a unified approach to finding solutions. It embodies the spirit of the recent changes in the law, emphasising cooperation and shared decision-making.

How Does Resolution Together Operate?

The process involves a series of joint meetings where you, your ex-partner and your shared solicitor work together to reach a fair and satisfactory resolution. These sessions promote open dialogue, with information freely exchanged

124 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

between all involved. When necessary, expert advice can be sought to inform discussions and decisions, ensuring that all parties are well supported throughout the process.

Is it the Right Fit for You?

Resolution Together isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It thrives in environments where both parties are committed to working together amicably and openly. It’s an excellent fit for those willing to engage in constructive discussions with the help of a solicitor to resolve their disputes.

However, it may not be suitable in cases involving unresolved domestic abuse, child safeguarding concerns or where there’s a significant imbalance of power or high levels of conflict. In such situations, exploring other dispute resolution methods with your solicitor is advisable.

The Cost Advantage of Using Resolution Together

Choosing to work collaboratively with your spouse and a single solicitor can be a cost-effective strategy, potentially minimising legal fees. However, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of this approach with

a potential lawyer. Understanding the process and ensuring it aligns with your needs is essential for it to be effective and to avoid unnecessary expenses or delays.

Your Move

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of resolving your dispute through Resolution Together, the next step is to discuss your specific situation with a solicitor. This conversation will help determine if this collaborative approach is suitable for you and set the stage for moving forward under specialised terms and conditions tailored to your needs.

Embracing Resolution Together can be a powerful step toward a more harmonious resolution, keeping legal costs in check and reducing the emotional toll often associated with divorce and separation. If you’re ready to explore this option, you should reach out and seek expertise schooled in the management and processes of Resolution Together. They will be able to provide guidance tailored to your unique circumstances, ensuring you make informed decisions for your future.

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As the summer sun beckons with promises of relaxation and escape, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your financial future. Whether you’re lounging on a beach or exploring a new city, taking a holiday can provide a unique opportunity to step back from your busy life and focus on setting financial goals and retirement plans. Here’s how you can make the most of your time away from work to secure a comfortable and fulfilling retirement.

Reflect on Your Retirement Vision

Start by envisioning your ideal retirement. When will it start? What does it look like? Are you travelling the world, pursuing hobbies or spending time with family? Understanding what you want will help guide you when building a plan.

Assess Your Current Financial Situation

Take stock of your current finances. How much have you saved? What are your debts? How tax-efficient are you being with your income and investments? This will give you a clear starting point for your planning.

Set Clear, Achievable Goals

Break down your retirement vision into achievable financial goals. Consider short-term objectives, like saving a certain amount by the end of the year, and longterm goals, such as a target retirement age and income.

Create a Budget That Includes Saving for Retirement

Develop a budget that accounts for your regular expenses but also prioritises saving for retirement. Even small contributions can grow significantly over time thanks to compound growth and if the regular savings increase each year as your salary rises, then this can have an even bigger impact on the size of your retirement pot.

Remember there can be large tax benefits on investing in pensions which you might be missing out on.

Invest Wisely

Consider diversifying your investments to spread risk and increase potential returns. Also, make sure you’re not paying too much in fees as high management charges can have a detrimental impact on your investment return. If you have a number of different pensions, then consolidating them all helps reduce costs and increase the potential returns.

Plan for the Unexpected

Life is full of surprises. Ensure you have an emergency fund and insurance to cover unexpected expenses without derailing your retirement plans.

Review and Adjust Regularly

Your financial situation and goals are likely to change over time so review your plans regularly. It’s much easier to make smaller adjustments on a more frequent basis than waiting too long and having to make significant changes to bring you back on track.

Enjoy Your Holiday

Remember, taking a break is also about recharging. Allow yourself to enjoy the present while planning for the future.

By dedicating time during your summer holiday to focus on your financial future, you’re taking proactive steps towards a secure and enjoyable retirement. With careful planning and a clear vision, you can ensure that your golden years are spent creating special moments and lasting memories for you and your family.

Finance 126 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

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Aweb browser is the first port of call when you are looking to search the internet. It is not the same as a search engine, although the two are often confused. In the ever-expanding universe of the internet, web browsers are like the rocket that takes us to the World Wide Web. Among the plethora of options available, Windows users have a variety of browsers to choose from, each with its own unique features and capabilities. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular ones.

Google Chrome

With its sleek interface and lightning-fast performance, Google Chrome has become the go-to choice for many Windows users. Its robust features include built-in security measures, seamless synchronisation across devices and a vast library of extensions to enhance your browsing experience. Whether you’re a casual surfer or a power user, Chrome offers something for everyone.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox has long been known for its commitment to user privacy and customisation options. With features like Tracking Protection and Enhanced Tracking Protection, Firefox offers users greater control over their online privacy. Additionally, its extensive library of addons allows users to tailor their browsing experience to their specific needs and preferences.

Microsoft Edge

Formerly known as Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge has undergone a major transformation in recent years. Built on the Chromium engine, Edge combines speed and performance with seamless integration


with the Windows operating system. Features like Collections which allow users to organise and share content across devices and built-in security tools make Edge a compelling choice for Windows users.


Opera may not be as widely used as some of its competitors but it boasts a loyal fan base thanks to its innovative features and focus on speed and efficiency. Opera’s built-in ad blocker and VPN functionality set it apart from other browsers, offering users an extra layer of security and privacy. Its customisable interface and unique features like the Opera GX gaming browser make it a favourite among tech enthusiasts.


Brave is a relatively new player in the browser market but it has quickly gained popularity thanks to its emphasis on privacy and security. Built on the same Chromium engine as Chrome and Edge, Brave offers a familiar browsing experience with enhanced privacy features like built-in ad blocking and tracker protection. Its unique Brave Rewards system also allows users to earn cryptocurrency by viewing privacy-respecting ads. Choosing the right browser ultimately comes down to personal preference and individual needs. Whether you prioritise speed, privacy or customisation, there’s a Windows browser out there that’s perfect for you. So, fire up your spacecraft of choice and prepare for a journey through the boundless expanse of the World Wide Web. Happy browsing!

128 | Sherborne Times | June 2024 Giving you confidence in the decisions you make. Commercial & Private Law Comprehensive legal service, in the heart of Sherborne. Pop in and visit our team today. Bretts Yard, Digby Road Sherborne, DT9 3NL 01935 813101
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His memory’s completely shot,’ the young woman said, standing a discreet distance from her father as he gazed absently out of the window. She had directed her remark at

Audrey Williams, matron of the upmarket care home, Infinite Horizons, who, doing her best to control herself, was inwardly reeling from the shock of seeing him after so many years.

It was him, wasn’t it, and yet it didn’t tally with the name on the paperwork. She admonished herself for being so foolish, feeling certain this was no doppelganger but the man she had loved for what seemed a lifetime until the affair came to an abrupt end.

‘I know you’ll give him the right sort of care,’ his daughter continued. ‘His needs aren’t great, especially now, with someone on hand to assist with his lack of mobility. Because of the memory problem, he can’t engage in the here-and-now but there are often flashes from the dim and distant past. He’ll have very few visitors, apart from me, but there might be a carer who looked after my mother for many years and there’s a retired cousin in Scotland to whom he was very close as a youngster. Sometimes, he comes to town for professional reunions and has said he’d make a detour to Hampshire for old-time’s sake.

Audrey took a deep breath and pulled herself together.

‘Our staff have a lot of experience of the ups and downs of your father’s condition, so I hope you’re able to leave here feeling he’s in good hands.’

‘Thanks so much. That’s very reassuring and, by the way, he loves music, in fact, he could easily have been a concert pianist but chose another career. We’ve downloaded masses of piano music onto his iPad and he’s amazingly adept at using it, losing himself for hours. I believe it’s very therapeutic.’

Audrey nodded assent, looking down at the beautiful hands – long, tapering, sensitive fingers with square cut and neatly trimmed fingernails. Again, her heart missed a beat as she remembered his gentle caresses and his fastidiousness. I must snap out of this, she thought, as she bade the daughter goodbye.

She turned towards the newly arrived resident, appraising him minutely for further familiar characteristics. The tight, dark curls at the nape of his neck, through which she used to run her fingers, were now silver. His mouth was still sensuous but she had to own his eyes gave her cause for doubt. They had a dreamy softness, which Robbie’s never had, and that troubled her.

That night she couldn’t sleep as memories of her past flooded back. She pictured the private London hospital over which she had presided as matron for nearly fifteen years – one of the most prestigious in the capital. Audrey’s list of patients during her tenure read like entries in Who’s Who, including royalty, heads of state, dictators and pop stars. Its fame was such that it commanded the very best medical experts such as Robbie Anstruther, a gastroenterologist, with whom she began an illicit affair a few months into her appointment.

Their trysts were not difficult to arrange. He had rooms in Harley Street and Audrey’s flat comprised the top floor of the hospital building so Robbie was free to come and go as he pleased. They dined together often, frequenting Michelin-starred restaurants and doing the rounds of London theatres, the ballet and opera and, in particular, listening to classical music and piano recitals in the Wigmore Hall. Their social round included Ascot, Henley, Wimbledon and Glyndebourne and always a salmon fishing trip on the Tay in the autumn.

She was head over heels in love, enjoying the frisson of the affair and throwing caution to

Short Story
‘ 132 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

the wind when his invitations included holidays to the homes of grateful patients, offering villas and ski lodges in recognition of their consultant’s skills.

She could not overlook the fact that her attentive lover also had a wife, Verity, who pursued her own career and interests until the fateful day she suffered a massive stroke, rendering her an invalid requiring 24-hour care. At this defining moment, Robbie’s latent guilt manifested itself and he told Audrey their affair was over. His children had got wind that something was going on and had shamed him into returning to their stricken mother. Audrey railed against him but her tears and protestations did nothing to soften his heart and there was a disturbing hardness in his eyes.

Inconsolable and devastated, still loving him with an inexplicable intensity, she gave in her notice, settled in Hampshire and did her best to begin a new life. With a wealth of experience, she sailed into the job at Infinite Horizons and tried to come to terms with her loss.

Her ongoing obsession was such that when Angus Murdoch arrived on the scene she visited him every day, living in a fantasy world where she pictured him as her long-lost lover. On her rounds, she would pause and listen to some music by Chopin, as he kept time with his expressive hands and regarded her wistfully. So familiar was she with this routine, she never bothered to knock and one day she walked into his room as usual to be confronted by what appeared to be twins – Angus and Robbie, side by side like two peas in a pod.

‘This is my cousin, Matron, visiting from Scotland,’ Angus said. Audrey did a double take, composed herself and extended her hand.

‘Robbie, after all these years! Please come by the office before you leave,’ she said and hastily withdrew.

Boldly, her former lover confronted her.

‘Well,’ he said, ‘this puts a different light on things! Verity died last year and now I’m wondering if we could take up where we left off, having met you again.’

Audrey eyed him levelly.

‘Sorry to disappoint you, Robbie, but surprisingly I’ve found someone else with the light of true love in his eyes in a case of mistaken identity,’ and with that, she showed him the door.

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Notice is given that Henrietta Eniko Murfit has applied to Dorset Council for a new premises licence in respect of Old School Gallery & Café, Boyles Old School, High Street, Yetminster, Dorset, DT9 6LF for the provision of alcohol generally between the hours of 11:00 - 23:00, 7 days a week.

Any interested party or responsible authority may make representations by e-mailing: or writing to, Licensing, Dorset Council, County Hall, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1XJ within 28 days from the date of this notice.

The licensing register and details of this application may be inspected by contacting the licensing Section during normal office hours via email or phone on 01305 838028.

It is an offence under Section 158 of the Licensing Act 2003 to knowingly or recklessly make a false statement in connection with an application, the maximum fine on summary conviction is unlimited.

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Crispin Black, Sherborne Literary Society


134 | Sherborne Times | June 2024
Image: Lorentz Gullachsen

This exhilarating book follows the fortunes of five Special Air Service Operations in the Second World War: the first two aggressive sabotage missions in Italy in 1941 and Libya in 1942, determined to hit back at the Germans who seemed to be winning the war. The blowing-up-the-enemy part of these missions (the ‘shoot’ phase) was meticulously planned with the SAS’s signature attention to detail well in evidence from the very start. Evasion (the ‘scoot’ phase) – getting away and back to Blighty or the nearest British forces after the (very big) bangs had gone off seemed to have been left to look after itself, relying on personal ruggedness, guile and a certain chutzpah to carry off an escape. Even before Hitler’s infamous and illegal Commando Order of September 1942, those taking part in military operations of this type ran a high risk of torture and death if captured – in addition to the risks of parachuting into enemy territory at night and shooting it out with German troops guarding the bridges and installations that were their targets.

The later chapters give accounts of raids in Italy in the second half of the war – after the Italian Armistice of September 1943 and in France in support of the D-Day landings. One of the hairiest accounts is of Operation Speedwell, designed to destroy railway lines between Genoa and Bologna. A two-man team manages to blow up a long tunnel with two military trains actually inside it ‘the wreckage piling up in a chaotic, macabre monument to the damage that the two SAS saboteurs had wrought’. After admiring their handiwork for a few moments, they leg it for a distant rendezvous but no other teams turn up – some of them unlucky enough to have fallen into German hands. Then everything begins to go wrong and as winter comes, they have to flee for their lives through the mountains with German patrols and Gestapo informers not far behind.

Two months later, the pair stumble half-starving into a remote Italian village, at the end of their tether. The family they come upon are in the middle of Sunday lunch with three guests – all initially horrified by the German sub-machine guns the pair are carrying, preferred to the less well-engineered and slightly unreliable British version. Given the tense, vengeful mood of German troops in Italy at that stage of the war the three guests, escaped British POWs in civilian clothes, face being shot on the spot as spies along with the Italian family sheltering them. But luck is on everyone’s side and the famished pair are soon tucking in.

The heroic pair get home eventually but not before further adventures including an episode where after a few glasses of rough Italian vino in the hayloft where they are hiding out, they decide to go to church on Christmas Eve only to find most of the local German garrison also in attendance - straight out of Where Eagles Dare.

Carol Mather, from my old regiment the Welsh Guards, pops up in the book doing his SAS thing in Italy at the time – his thing being killing as many Germans as he can in as short a time as possible. After leaving the Army, Mather became an MP and famously tough Whip under Mrs Thatcher’s leadership. He never lost his distaste for Germans, something no doubt shared by many other British and Italian figures in this book – who experienced the sheer nastiness, spite and murderous brutality of the German forces in Italy between 1943-45. One night, on bumping into Douglas Hurd, then Foreign Secretary, outside the House of Commons, sporting his signature green Loden coat (from the Bavarian Alps) Mather said to him, ‘Last time I saw someone in a coat like that, I shot him.’

This action-packed book weaves together and brings to life an impressive array of sources on which Damien Lewis is an acknowledged expert - especially first-hand post-action accounts held in the National Archives at Kew. They need little embellishment. It’s also reassuring: most of the young SAS men who appear in it seem ordinary enough to begin with but do extraordinary things for their King and country when it really matters. Until 29th July the National Archives have a special exhibition ‘Great Escapes: Remarkable Second World War Captives’. It’s free and on the ground floor as you go in, next to the rather good cafe. Damien Lewis gave a presentation there in May.

Crispin Black is the author of Too Thin for a Shroud (Gibson Square), a personal memoir of the Falklands War

Friday 14th June 6.30pm for 7pm

Damien Lewis -

SAS Great Escapes III

The Digby Memorial Church Hall, Digby Road, Sherborne DT9 3NL

Author talk and signing.

Tickets £10 (members) £12 (non-members), available from Winstone’s Books, Cheap Street or | 135

Suppliers of both new and pre-loved vinyl, official t-shirts, merchandise and memorabilia. Come visit and “Try before you buy”.

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1. Red gem (4)

3. Male riders (8)

9. Things that evoke reactions (7)

10. Governed (5)

11. Break up into pieces (12)

13. Son of one's brother or sister (6)

15. Attack someone (6)

17. Uncertain (12)

20. Inert gas (5)

21. Unit of heat energy (7)

22. Abruptly (8)

23. Image of a god (4)


1. Living in (8)

2. Starts to bubble (of liquid) (5)

4. Small oval fruits (6)

5. Shockingly (12)

6. Civilians trained as soldiers (7)

7. Plant stem part from which a leaf emerges (4)

8. Most perfect example of a quality (12)

12. Wild flower (8)

14. Fell quickly (7)

16. Relating to government revenue (6)

18. Uncovered (5)

19. Puts down (4)

The Weighbridge • High Street • Milborne Port • DT9 5DG
136 | Sherborne Times | June 2024


Richard Hopton, Sherborne Literary Society

The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley (Harper Collins, £18.99 hardcover)

Sherborne Times reader offer price of £16.99 from Winstone’s Books

The Manor, the setting for Lucy Foley’s fourth novel, is a country house hotel, ‘the new jewel of the Dorset coastline’. Perched on a clifftop, the fine old house, an ‘imposing ancestral block of stone’, commands a wonderful view out to sea which includes The Giant’s Hand, ‘five limestone stacks that stick out beyond the line of the cliffs like four huge fingers and a thumb’. This is the Jurassic Coast at its most serene.

The Manor is owned by Francesca Meadows who, having inherited it from her grandmother, has converted it into a swanky hotel aimed at the London market, catering for the needs of wealthy millennials. There is an infinity pool, woodland sleeping pods, circular cliff-top dining cabins and a treatment centre or ‘state-of-the-art wellness infrastructure’, as Francesca prefers it. ‘I’ve always thought,’ she reflects, ‘there’s something a little budget, a little Groupon voucher/ Boots toiletries aisle, about the word ‘spa’.’ Every room is provided with a selection of healing crystals.

The hotel was created by Francesca and her architect husband Owen in her own image. She is a devotee of the modern religion of wellness: the black opal ring on her finger ‘signifies purification for the body and soul’; she has her own ‘meditation space’ at The Manor and considers herself ‘blessed’.

The novel opens on the weekend of the summer solstice as the hotel is welcoming its first guests. Francesca is in her element, ‘radiant in a pale rose, off-shoulder fantasia of washed silk, hair rippling down her back, face aglow with candlelight’. The guests

loll around, ‘chatty and giddy’, drinking a ‘Woodland Spirit’ cocktail, on antique rugs and huge scatter cushions. A harpist plays. Years of work are coming to fruition. But, right from the start, all is not quite as perfect as it seems. The atmosphere of the first evening’s drinks is spoiled by the appearance of a gaggle of scruffy walkers, exercising their right to use the public footpaths which run through the hotel grounds. Likewise, down on the hotel’s beach, a crowd of local youths are having their own, rather coarser, party.

As the novel unfolds, we are introduced to a cast of characters for whom, likewise, nothing is quite as it seems. There is Owen Dacre, Francesca’s architect husband, handsome and apparently successful but suffering from imposter syndrome. One of the guests, Bella Springfield, is staying at the hotel under a false identity, while several members of the establishment’s staff have hidden secrets. Even the investigating Detective Inspector is not what he seems. This is true, too, of Francesca, whose devotion to spiritual calm and holistic wellness is soon revealed to be little more than skin deep.

The Manor’s expensive, calming cocoon is a striking contrast to the rural deprivation which surrounds it: a derelict holiday caravan park and a dirty, ill-kept farm are its nearest neighbours. Likewise, the locals are set against the incomers. But, as the novel moves to its dramatic conclusion, with many a twist along the way, it’s the past which comes to dominate the present.

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In February this year, I was privileged to attend the funeral of one of Sherborne’s finest sons. I first got to know Paul Wilkins about twenty years ago, when he welcomed me to the Baptist Church. You would probably recognise him; he was a big man with a big heart and a loud voice and was out in the town most days. At his funeral, we were not surprised to discover that his father had been the town crier!

Paul grew up in Sherborne as a healthy young boy but a serious childhood illness left him with learning difficulties. But Paul never complained. He was a good-looking young man and did many jobs around the town. He was the gardener at the Baptist Church, where he was a lifelong member, he worked at cleaning cars and also gardened at the Coldharbour Hospital. He was a star collector for the Poppy Appeal.

Above all Paul loved people. He knew so many and would introduce us to each other in the street – what a lovely gift! He was always interested in how you were – but you had to be careful – tell Paul anything and everyone would know about your bad feet or your hernia!

Another of his great gifts was his remarkable memory. He could remember and adjust your car mileage – I met Paul about a year after lockdown, ‘How many’s yours done John –54,000?’ Just about right – it was 52,000 at the beginning of lockdown! Paul sent hundreds of cards every year – he remembered so many birthdays – and it was very useful. I have been genuinely thankful for Paul reminding me of my wife’s birthday a week before. His Christmas card list was a mile long and they were often signed ‘God bliss you (sic)’ A blessing from Paul was special and the thought of God’s bliss – a valuable reminder of what God wants for us all.

That Paul was able to live happily and mainly independently owes a great deal to the deep love and care of his family who gave up much to enable him. But also important was where he lived: Sherborne at its best is a safe town where you can be known and loved; a place where people take note of others – if Paul was inveigled by unscrupulous sellers on Cheap St, friends would rescue him. Sherborne Baptist Church and, after it closed, Cheap St Church, loved and nurtured him – his carers made sure he got there every week. When younger, Paul would travel around the town and villages by bicycle. I remember seeing him out at Yetminster Fair.

Until shortly before his death Paul lived in a bungalow in Culverhayes where he was supported by local services. In his last few months, he moved next door to the Hayes Residential Care Home, whose staff had kept a friendly caring eye on him and his housemates for many years.

So much to remember about a unique local figure with a deep Christian faith. My lasting memory of Paul is in Bible study. He would say little but when we finished with prayer and there would be a silence, this beautiful deep Dorset voice would burst out, ‘Lord it’s been too wet – we need good weather Lord – pray for Mrs xxxx bad knees Lord… and pray for yyyy (his housemate) he don’t know the Lord.’

I regard him not just as a great local man but as one of Sherborne’s heroes of faith. Thank you Paul. Rest in peace.

138 | Sherborne Times | June 2024

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