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CAMPSITE

There was a mad flurry of activity to get the campsite ready for its opening on 12th April. Bibi and Alex, the brilliant cleaning team from last season, came and spring cleaned everything in sight. (1)

The ‘hub’ for the electricity on the campsite is situated in the garage. This needed a major overhaul. The garage was built in 1987 before I had hookups on the campsite. Consequently over the years since, various fuse boxes and the like had been added and it was over capacity. This was all ripped off the wall and gradually made up to date. (2, 3) The final result was a modern main consumer unit covering everything, except the meter readings for the hookups. (4)

Once this was done all appliances, and all manner of extension leads (5) (that are used by campers) were PAT tested and labelled. (6) This electrical work was done by Phoenix Electrical and Plumbing Services. (7)

Another urgent job on the campsite was to resurface the hardstandings and drives with road planings. I bought 112 tons of the material thinking that amount would be ample. (8) But we didn’t quite cover the large hardstanding in front of the garden or the drive off the road. It was a slow painstaking job laying the material and getting it to the right thickness. (9) Then it was necessary for someone to make sure that nothing was left on the grass. (10) The final job was to hire a drive-on roller to break up the big pieces and to completely flatten the surface. (11) The site looked amazing after this treatment.

To avoid queues in the kitchen, at the height of the season, I cleared out the area next to the campsite wood bunker and installed a sink with a double drainer, a splash back, and mini workbench. (12, 13, 14)

From now until 17th May I am allowed to have campers who have their own facilities as the cabin cannot be used by more than one family. As far as I understand from 17th May until the middle of June my facilities can be used but need to be operated, as last summer, with social distancing etc.

FARM

Earlier this year, on a cold frosty morning, Nick and Will arrived with 5 oak trees to plant in some of my hedges (15) as part of the Landscape Enhancement Initiative scheme. Several double hedges were chosen for the task and it was necessary for Will to make his way into the middle of the hedge and start digging. (16) Once planted each tree was protected with recycled square box pvc guards. These are left on for 2-3 years until the trees have established themselves. (17) The last task which was done a few weeks later, was to place blue plastic tubes next to the little trees so that the contractor cutting the hedge next winter is made aware of their existence and won’t cut off the tops. (18)

I sent 6 yearling animals to market at the beginning of March, after the TB restrictions had been lifted. The day before they went to Sedgemoor we had to separate them from the other cattle, and put them in a different covered yard. (19) As usual my animals were the first to be picked up by haulier the next morning at 6.30 am. We quickly put up the high metal hurdles, linking them with coupling rods, to make a “race” for the yearlings to run from the covered yard to the lorry waiting out in the road. (20, 21, 22). The animals ran straight up into the lorry without any hassle, in record time! They made very good prices and are now in pastures new.

We had recently cleared and tidied the bee site and it was the perfect place to plant the three apple trees that had been grafted onto root stocks a few years ago. (23) The tape that had bound the scion to the root stock was taken off and any little branches that had grown below this point were cut off. (24) A few weeks previously we had collected well rotted manure, with hundreds of worms in it, from a massive heap we have in our furthest field. (25) This was mixed in with the soil below where the little tree was to be planted and also over the top surface to discourage weeds. Each tree was secured with two chestnut stakes. (26) Apple tree ties were placed as seen in the photo (27) which were then attached by wire to each stake.

There is a new law which operates from 17th May which states that any wood that is bought in has to be kiln dried. As I have to keep my Rayburn burning for 365 days a year this came as a shock. Since then I have bought a lot of seasoned wood from a local person who owns Prime Coppice, (28) and another supplier. A local farmer who lives a little way up the road has given me all his brushwood from recent hedge work. (29, 30) This field corner actually marks the extent of a Medieval deer park where the local lords and gentry used to hunt before the Civil War (1640-1660). During the war Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads sequestered the land, killed the deer and threw out the lords. So from the Marshwood Vale being one of the most important baronies in the whole of Dorset it was then reduced to a “backwater”.

This brushwood needs to be cut into short pieces (31) so that it can be bagged up to light the Rayburn and keep it going, before adding smokeless fuel and logs.

CHARIOT OF FIRE PIZZAS

Paul and Dan started this business at the end of April 2020 during lockdown. (32) Previous to this Dan had been working as a chef for 18 years including 4 in London. Paul was landlord of the Anchor Inn at Seatown, near Bridport and bought the Chariot of Fire business in November 2019 as a side project. But with lockdown happening quite soon afterwards he was forced to open the business as it is now.

Their main selling pitches are,

  • Felicity’s Farm Shop, Morcombelake, on Thursdays 12 to 3
  • Travis Perkins, Lyme Regis on Thursdays 5.30 to 8
  • Bridport Building Supplies on the Gore Cross Trading Estate on Fridays 12 to 3
  • Seatown Beach, near Chideock on Saturday 12 to 3 ish.

When it gets warmer they will also be visiting Seatown Beach on Friday evenings and on Saturdays all day. Their menu is quite extensive. (33)

Dan and Paul make all their own dough at their unit in Wootton Fitzpaine near Charmouth, and cook everything in their wood fired oven. (34) It reaches temperatures of around 400-500 degrees and will cook a pizza in around 90 seconds.

The residual heat is used to cook the ham and spicy pork they use on the pizzas. This meat goes into the oven after they have finished serving pizzas and cooks for 12 hours overnight.

When I queued up for my Cupid pizza at Felicity’s, Dan quickly rolled out the dough (35) which was followed by Paul adding the topping (36) before it was whisked away to the oven. (37) In 90 seconds flat it was cooked and being cut up (38) and ready to take away. (39)

Chariot of Fire is available for functions, weddings and events. More information can be found on their website www.chariotoffire.co.uk, or on Instagram and Facebook.

THE ONLY FOUNDRY IN DORSET

Bridport is fortunate to have the only foundry in the whole of Dorset. (40, 41) There has been a foundry on this site for over 300 years. It has been in the Lambert family for 25 years. John and Steve bought the business from their parents in 1998, when the name was changed from J I Blackburn & Co to Bridport Foundry. During the next 19 years the brothers made very significant investments in furnace equipment. The Foundry bought Plaistow Traction Engines from Stuart Models in 2004 and then bought Stuart Models in 2012. (42) The 4 ½ inch Burrell traction engine is an example of one of their models. (43) In 2017 John and his wife Caroline bought the business off Steven which they now run together.

Vital equipment at the foundry is the inductor inverter for the furnace and the furnace body. (44, 45) The work covered in this thriving business has many facets.

RESTORATION

The foundry supports the UK’s restoration movement from national heritage restoration to traction engines, locomotives, tractors and cars.

SIGNS AND PLAQUES

They have a variety of shapes and sized patterns to suit all needs for signs and plaques, from house name plates to memorial plaques. In 2019 they created a bronze plaque which measured 1.4 m diameter to be located in the new hub at West Bay.

COMMERCIAL

The foundry has the facilities to work with commercial companies. They can use ferrous and non-ferrous materials and can make one offs to big quantities. Photo (46) shows the customer’s mother’s hands that were made in brass from a plaster mould.

SHEPHERD HUT WHEELS

They provide a range of different sized wheels which can also include the name on the company. Photo (47) shows a 42 inch wooden pattern for a wheel. Photo (48) shows the finished wheels.

SHOT BLASTING

This is a relatively new service with the purchase of a new shotblaster in 2017 with a 6 ft table.

MISCELLANEOUS

Bridport Foundry is one of only a few jobbing foundries in the UK. They can produce one off castings, examples being sculptors, plough shears and window frames. Photo (49) shows a mould for an aluminium Somerset finger post. (50) displays motorcycle barrels in cast iron.

(51) shows moulds with weights on them, to hold them down, waiting for the metal to be poured into them.

This photo (52) displays the tipping of the furnace of molten metal iron into the ladle to take to the moulds to pour.

The final part of this process (53) is the molten hot iron being poured into the moulds.

Two additional photos (54) shows the sand mould of traction engine parts and (55) displays the mould of a bronze plaque.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Caroline Lambert, Eleanor Lambert, Dan Bentley, Dan Hopkins, Will Dixon and Sanford Larson.

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