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CAMPSITE

I spent a very interesting weekend watching the antics of 17 sausage dogs on the campsite. (1, 2) I gave the Silly Sausage Dog Services Group sole use of the site for their weekend booking. (3, 4, 5) They did all sorts of exciting games and activities with the Dachshunds during their time at Bluntshay including Musical Chairs (without chairs) (6) and waiting to be told when to come and get a treat. (7) Prizes were given for each competition. (8) During their time here they went on several walks, including around Seatown. (9) and had Sunday lunch at the Shave Cross Pub, just up the road, where the dogs were the star visitors that weekend.

Emily Bright, the organiser of the weekend, started the company about 18 months ago. Someone had asked Emily if she knew anyone who could look after her sausage dog while she was at work. Emily took on this role and very soon the business grew. It is a home from home environment for a dog, specialising in Dachshunds. Day care, boarding and even a wedding service where they can support their dog on its owners’ special day are offered. Emily also introduced Sausage Dog Holidays whereby a group of people can arrange holidays around the country for people to attend with their Dachshunds, camping at various locations. Last Christmas they even did a Christmas Getaway in a dog friendly hotel.

It has been good to see several sets of grandparents with small grandchildren stay during the week, when other children are in school. (10) This young boy found an exciting fossil during his visit to Charmouth. (11) One father and daughter (12) drove all the day from Skipton in Yorkshire to Crabbs Bluntshay just to stay overnight whilst visiting relatives in Bridport.

Several people used the fire pits during the last long May weekend so I ran out of wood. In the past we would have hunted around the farm during the winter to fill up the wood bunker, but this year we didn’t have time, so I had to buy in a trailer load of logs. (13)

FARM

As the rain didn’t stop until the middle of May it meant that jobs like manure spreading were very much delayed. We have an enormous pile of manure which we have been adding to for years which really needed moving. (14, 15) It took hours spreading it over most of our fields. (16) The cows were finally let out of their winter quarters into a field that had to have a new fence put up first. (17, 18). With cutting away the brambles etc from the old fence before we pulled it out we managed to reclaim about 2 ft of ground all along the perimeter.

We check the animals every evening. (19) Benji, the orphaned calf born in May of last year has just been dehorned and is now a handsome fellow.(20) We now have a new recruit who is learning how to pick up silage bales with a grab, (21, 22) ready to take them into the yard for winter storage. There wasn’t enough silage to make the last bale so this was precariously brought up into the field where the cows were, (23) with the string wrapping quickly being cut off (24) before the animals ambushed it. (25)

GARDEN

I am spending hours watering the flower garden and all my big pots since the drought has descended upon us. I really must get a new hose, as the one I am using leaks continuously even though there are yards of tape trying to stop the fractures. (26, 27) This poppy has been self seeding all over the garden for years. (28) It is called Papaver Somniferum (Peony Flowered). I have been having trouble with a big black bird and grey squirrel who between seem to demolish everything on my bird table. I tried moving some of the food containers to the washing line to stop this, which has helped a bit. This young blue tit was having a feast while the coast was clear. (29) I have had an abundance of black currants and gooseberries this year which I am selling at a local farm shop. The black currants take hours to process. (30) We had our monthly Free Exchange Cafe at Whitchurch Church last Sunday so I took some branches along for people to pick their own. (31) Black currant bushes need to have a third of the oldest stalks pruned every year to encourage new growth. Unfortunately the birds got to my blueberries before I did.

BRIDPORT UNDRESSED EXHIBITION AT THE ART CENTRE, BRIDPORT

Recently the Bridport Museum unveiled an exhibition of treasures from its textile collection. (32) All manner of clothes were on show from period dresses, (33) christening gowns and bonnets, (34) wedding dresses from the 1800s through to 1950, (35) and a farmer’s smock. (36) (this dates from the early 18th century until the beginning of the 20th). In the same photo can be seen lots of bonnets which have a very interesting history. Another fascinating item was underwear. (37) These dates from the early 19th to 21st century and predate what we know as knickers.

The collection even had Queen Victoria’s blanket. (38) The label states that it was knitted by the Queen and used by her in her carriage. Alongside this was the oldest exhibit in the show, namely a 17th century child’s shoe. But the piece de resistance for me was the the early 1900s afternoon gown. (39) It has a very interesting history. In 1989 the dress was pushed through the grille door of the Museum’s porch and was in a very bad state of repair. After it was restored and exhibited a visitor reported “a female presence” around the dress which made the hairs on her arms stand on end, but it was felt that this “spirit” meant no harm. I think that this may have happened several times and eventually the Bishop of Salisbury was called in to exorcise the friendly ghost. Was she murdered? Did she drown? Or was it suicide? The dress was made for a small 5 ft 4 inches tall women with a 22” waist.

THE JURASSIC COAST GET TOGETHER

This event was held at the Salt House, West Bay and was led by Sam Scriven, (40) who is the Programme Manager for Conservation and Heritage for the Jurassic Coast Trust. The morning’s programme was based around two documents that had recently been published – the Jurassic Coast Storybook and Interpretation Toolkit. (41, 42)

In our groups (43, 44) we worked on various hypothetical interpretation exercises which included: “Create a self-guided trail about the Jurassic Coast to sell at Sidmouth Folk Festival”; “Organise a small event to engage holiday makers at a hotel in Lyme Regis in September”; “Create some accessible interpretation about the ice-age raised beaches on Portland”, and “Create some interpretation about the geology in the Lulworth ranges”. Rather mind stretching material!

The Salt House was erected to store salt. (45) It was built in the early 18th century when Dorset fishermen, mainly from Poole and Bridport, set sail in the spring to Newfoundland, Canada with their boats laden with nets, ropes and salt. They would mainly catch cod and also some seals, storing them in the salt. The fishermen would then either sail south along the American coast or return across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean countries to sell their catch, before returning to Dorset. The trade carried on well into the 19th century. The Salt House has since been used as a milking parlour, then as a cycle hire shop in the mid 20th century and more recently as a museum/information centre until 2005. Now it is used as a community hall. West Bay used to be called Bridport Harbour when it was famous for building ships. It is sited on the mouth for the River Brit and is about 1.5 miles south from Bridport. (46, 47)

A BEAUTIFUL SURPRISE

I was fortunate enough to be invited, with a friend, to see a new foal which was only 12 days old. On arrival both mother and daughter were close by the bungalow so it was easy to see them at close quarters. (48, 49) The owner had christened the new foal “Surprise” as the mother had foaled on time, for once in her life. The foal will be given a much posher name in the not too distant future. The mother’s name is Georgia and she is a thoroughbred broodmare. Nearby was the manege (horse riding area) with plenty of space for practise riding and jumping, with a very productive garden next door. (50)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thank you to all the people who have helped me with their newsletter: Sue Smiley, Guy Kerr, Carol Lee, Emily Bright, Bridport Museum personnel and Alisha Lambert.

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