Share Button

THE CAMPSITE

It was good to have a steady flow of campers during the winter. A returner, who walked everywhere last year with his dog, arrived before Easter with a Life Cycle electric bike, and trailer for his dog Billy. (1) It is a very new bike and he has only done 100 miles on it. He later helped clean the cabin ready for Good Friday when the water was switched on and people could use all the facilities. (2) My regular plumber, and carpenter revamped one of the showers in the cabin. (3, 4) As they have been so busy the job was only just finished in time late on Maundy Thursday. (5, 6) New tourist leaflets arrived a few weeks before Easter. It was great that the rep took all the old ones away and filled the rack with the 2018 ones. (7) Lots of friendly campers came for the Easter weekend, although some left a bit early because of the rain. One group who came in three units were so funny I couldn’t stop laughing (8). One of them decided he couldn’t be bothered to put up his tent so slept in the back of his car. (9)

FARM AND GARDEN

A brand new manure spreader arrived recently, (10) but the ground has been so wet that we have not been able to use it yet. A lovely female Simmental calf was born at the beginning of March who has been christened Belle. (11) Her mother’s name is Monkey. Some Dorset sheep were bought in by Eleanor recently. Their lambs are the first to appear on Bluntshay this year. (12) The wooden greenhouse had a good spring clean last month, possibly for the first time in its 30 year life. (13) In the process various bits fell off and repairs had to be done. (14)

In February a 1950s Ransome Syms and Jeffreys plough, made by the Ford Motor Company for the Fordson Major tractor arrived on the farm. Firstly there had to be a discussion on how it was going to be moved from point A to point B. (15) A friend air lifted it with powerful loader equipment. (16) Getting it to its final destination was a bit tricky manoeuvring the vehicle through narrow spaces (17) and then swinging it around (18) onto the hard standing where it will be repaired, cleaned and repainted. (19)

THE SNOW

We never normally get snow in this part of Dorset, so to have two separate weekends in March when I was cut off because of not owning a 4 x 4 was upsetting to say the least, especially when so many social events had to be cancelled. I did venture out to take some photos but only within the confines of the garden and farmyard. (20, 21, 22, 23) The second flurry of snow caught some caravanners off guard, and they left earlier than expected to get home. (24) A lot of daffodils and narcissus were in full bloom and ruined by the weight of the snow. (25) I should have cut them the week before and sold them to the local farm shop.

THE WW1 EXHIBITION AT WHITCHURCH VILLAGE HALL

In the lead up to the event I had posters and fliers printed and advertised in many spaces. (26) Before the event the 44 display boards had to be strengthened with strips of wood to make sure they stood up. (27, 28) Then I had to find 44 dry bricks from all over the place. The final pile looked like a museum collection, with some of them coming from a local brickworks which was in operation in the early 1900s. (29) The bricks had to be wrapped in green material (to match the display boards) and secured with black tape. (30) They were to be used to stop the boards slipping off the tables. As soon as the hall was free on the Friday before the event the boards and bricks had to be transported there by Stephen Lee’s “trusty man”. (31) There was much activity in the next few hours dressing the manikins (32, 33) and laying out the boards. I had to dash home to get some large bulldog clips to ensure that the boards stayed upright. It looked really impressive when it was finished. (34)

The four manikins created a lot of interest. The blue dress was a 1914 afternoon dress and the white one a 1916 day dress. (35) My grandmother’s wedding dress was put on the “headless” manikin which was probably size 18, whereas my grandmother was about size 10. This meant stuffing the space behind with white muslin secured with safety pins. (36) At the end of the exhibition I was informed that the dress was on back to front! I hope no one else realised this! The tea ladies were kept quite busy on both days, (37) and I was very pleased with all the visitors that the exhibition attracted. A lot of people came to see themselves and their ancestors in photos on display boards depicting servicemen who still have relatives living in West Dorset, such as, Lumbards, (38) Buglers, (39) Peaches (40) and Barnes. (41) Mr George Smith (the only one left in his generation) stood by photos of his forebears dating back to the early 1900s. (42)

Round about Sunday lunch time Paul Violet arrived and proceeded to undress the manikin in his Army Service Corp uniform (43) and put it on himself. Paul also displayed a lot of WW1 artefacts which created a lot of interest during the rest of the afternoon. (44)

All too soon 4 pm came and everything had to be dismantled. (45, 46) I had a file which quite a few people filled in with very complimentary comments. Someone had even found another serviceman which was not listed on the War Memorial, and a Military medal for Lance Cpl Peach which wasn’t previously noted. So if I do show this exhibition again I have more work to do to include this new information.

LETTER FROM AUSTRALIA

Many moons ago I did a lot of travelling and on two occasions lived in Australia. A cousin has given me a handful of letters I wrote in those long lost days. It felt very strange reading them after all these years. Here is an extract from one of them:

“I left my job in Sydney on 4th April and caught the train to Melbourne on 5th, going overnight. There I was met by a girl friend with whom I spent the day. In the evening she took me to the ship. I arrived in Western Australia on 11th (this was part of a cruise). Since then I have seen something of the south and south west of the state and am now at present in the north west. It is such a big state. I really need months and months to see it properly but I haven’t got time so I hope to do it in 4-5 weeks. I have just been visiting a girl friend who is working in a mining town up in this area. (I remember the whole place being covered in fine red dust). It is way out in the never never and the only way in is flying which is expensive. I did hope to arrange a lift with a company that travelled from the mining town to the coast where I am now, but they all seem to be going in the opposite direction. The only train that does the route carries only iron ore in trains over a mile in length, and no passengers are allowed.” I later managed to hitch a lift down the west coast of West Australia, back to Perth, but looking back it was a foolhardy thing to do, but I arrived safely.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thank you to all the people who have helped me with this newsletter: everyone involved in the exhibition, everyone involved in Easter on the campsite, Eleanor Lambert and Malcolm Castle.

Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email