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THE CAMPSITE

August continued to be busy with the main campsite being full. The hookups in the big field were all being used and tents were pitched around the hedges. (1 & 2). It was like a jigsaw puzzle fitting people in. Fortunately I did not have two caravanners wanting the same electrical hookup at the same time! Several people just turned up “off the street” hoping for a pitch and I managed to accommodate them. On the other hand I did wait up until 10.15 pm for someone who was supposed to be arriving at 9 pm to show them where to go, but they didn’t arrive. Someone else rang me from West Bay to say that they were lost and I gave them detailed directions on how to get to Crabbs Bluntshay, but they didn’t arrive either. It would have been nice if I had had a call from both of them to say what had happened! I managed to cut short someone’s shower by unlocking the token box to empty it. Fortunately he had a sense of humour. I learnt something that day! Another caravanner was very patriotic and flew the union jack outside his unit, as well as flying a plastic penquin (3). As it was the summer holidays we had lots of children on site, and I think these children were the cutest. (4). With such good weather during August it was the norm to have a barbecue and then to soak up the evening sun. (5). One lovely lady felt compelled to hang out some washing for me. (6) I was quite thrilled to be awarded a rosette from the Camping and Caravanning Club after a member had nominated my site for the category of “Best Friendly Club Welcome”(7). The big field was closed at the end of August as I am only allowed to open it to caravanners for a limited time. (8)

THE FARM

Our animals had to be split up before the bull arrived last weekend, whereby the young stock (animals born last year) had to be separated from the cows and calves. Bulls are very territorial and may bully young steers so it is best not to put them together. It was necessary to take a water bowser to the field in question and fill up the water tank. (9 & 10) One animal was anxious to have a drink from a leak in the pipe. (11) The animals have to be checked every day. (12) The bull’s name is Rotherwick Pickwick and used to be a show animal. It does not have a pleasant personality so it was difficult to get good close up photo of it (13). It is important that animals are kept in good condition so they are given a mineral lick in addition to grass and silage. (14). Unfortunately pylons have been striding across the Marshwood Vale since 1966 when the National Grid finally got around to giving us electricity. (15) The village of Whitchurch had had it since the 1930s.

THE GEESE

As soon as the geese leave their house in the morning they like to have a flutter to stretch their wings, which makes a very graceful sight. (16) This year we have had a record number of escapees. Geese have managed to fly over the hardboard or galvanise to freedom, only to realize that there is no food or water on the other side! (17) Fortunately the escapees have been found before they were in danger of getting into the big field or on to the road where it would have been very difficult to recapture them.

THE GARDEN

Coming up to harvest time I had lots of help from campers to gather in my various crops. It was dark by the time we finished picking the apples for chutney making. (18) Tomatoes in the polytunnel was also collected. Marigolds were grown next to them to ward off various pests. (19). We had an abundance of “stubborn” apples falling on the lawn so I regularly had to have them raked up and given to the cows and sheep. They were also free to caravanners for apple stew and pies (20 & 21). The children were always willing to give a hand and Sam filled up a container to make watering the flowers on the many rainless days a lot easier (22). I even had someone come and pick his own beans, (23) as George did with the blueberries. (24) One couple were keen to pick sloes ready to make sloe gin. (25) We have quite a good crop of plums this year which are destined for chutney. (26) The sweet peas have been flourishing and hopefully will keep going until the first frost in October – a long time after everyone else’s have gone over. (27) I sell bunches of sweet peas, sunflowers, dahlias and mixed flowers at markets every weekend during the summer and autumn (28)

LOCAL EVENTS

The summer is the season for agricultural shows and the second biggest in this area is the Melplash Show, held at West Bay near Bridport. (The biggest show being at Dorchester). In the past I used to enter flowers, fruit, honey and handicrafts. I arrived at about 4.30 pm which gave me just enough time to look around the Horticultural and Handicraft marquees to see what people were exhibiting these days. The honey, floral and handicraft classes had plenty of entries in each. (29, 30, 31). The only show I have time to exhibit in nowadays is a small WI one in a local hamlet at the end of August. I usually pull up the onions a week before, cut the flowers the night before, and dig up the carrots during the same morning and do all the final preparation in the three hours (including mounting photographs) before the exhibits have to be into the show for judging. (32) I did manage about 10 prizes this year. Our local flower show at Whitchurch celebrated its 101st anniversary this year on August Bank Holiday. There were plenty of things going on at this 3 hour event including smashing crockery, listening to a local brass band, buying locally made coloured candles, riding on a vintage International tractor dated late 1950s and gazing at a golf bag full of flowers and wondering what the owner was going to say when his wife brought it home. (33, 34, 35, 36, 37) The dog show was very popular and the dog scurry (an obstacle race) was very amusing to watch. (38)

A LOCAL SUCCESS STORY

With so many post offices and shops closing down in villages in recent times it is heartening that Broadwindsor (near Bridport) residents reopened its local shop which is successfully run by volunteers. (39) Thorncombe village (near Chard) has done the same.

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