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CAMPSITE

The cabin has been closed down for the winter with all the water drained out of the system. The electrical appliances have had old blankets wrapped around them (1) for insulation against very severe weather conditions and the heaters have been switched on so that they will operate if the temperatures plummet (2). Campers may still visit the kitchen area to have a look at the tourist information, but won’t be able to use any of the facilities. The smaller shower/hand basin/toilet unit situated down at the side of the farm house has been painted. We did attempt to remove all the paint from the floor as it gets wore away in certain areas within a month of painting. This proved a difficult task as after using a sander (3) and paint remover we still couldn’t get it all off. It now looks like a type of mosaic flooring and will remain like that until we have another go at it possibly in the spring. This unit is now ready for any winter or early spring campers who may want to stay at the site. The painting of the box around all the outside taps by the back door completed the decorating of items around the outside of the house. (4)

FARM

Some of the sheep have just been wormed. (5) A blue dot has to be sprayed on their heads to mark which ones has been done (6). If there are any lame ones their feet are sprayed (7 ). We do have a budding shepherd who is too small to help at the moment but he is a very keen observer (8). Our annual Tuberculosis Test came around again at the end of November (9). We drench the animals at the same time (10) and check their ear tags . The vet came to give the injections on Monday and then came to check to see if there were any large bumps on the following Thursday. Fortunately all the animals passed and the 5 young stock went on to Sedgemoor market this morning at 7 am. We didn’t escape the recent high winds and had several trees and a garden fence blown down (11, 12)

THE FARM’S HISTORICAL HERITAGE

During late summer we needed to clear out the corner of the hay barn in order to make space for straw during the winter. In 2012 I bought a container (13) especially for housing historical items. The biggest items to be moved into it was a late 1940s David Brown 24D tractor (14) (15). Lots of smaller things were found buried in this forgotten corner (16). A wuffler (early hay turning machine) (17) was hoisted into the container along with a double cheese press (18). If we ever do start a museum we will have plenty to fill it with.

APPLES

A friend came with his apple harvester in November (19). When in operation the boom and paddle bring the apples in line with the augur (20). The apples are then transported into the hopper (21). When the hopper is full the apples are mechanically tipped into a trailer. For our cider making we picked up the apples manually (22). The cows had a special treat with the cider apples that were left over after the pressing. (23) Apples were also harvested for my chutney making and stored in trays until they are needed. (24)

GARDEN

I have been selling chrysanths at Farmers’ Markets during the last month. The flowers will last for several weeks in a vase. (25, 26). I still have a very old variety which no one seems to know the name of, which was given to my mother as a cutting many years ago (27). The plain red dahlia tubers were covered over with straw for the winter (28). The other varieties, which I sell during the summer and autumn, have been dug up and stored in a spare bed room.

BONFIRE NIGHT

This year was the first time in three years that we have lit a bonfire (29), as it has been rained off in previous years. I had spent £140 on fireworks three years ago and they worked perfectly and could be seen all over the Marshwood Vale two weeks after everyone had had their display (30, 31).

FAMOUS PEOPLE BURIED AT WHITCHURCH CANONICORUM

Our village church is famous for having its patron saint’s bones buried within the building (in St Wita’s Shrine) The only other church in England that can boast of this is Westminster Abbey. There are several famous people buried in the church yard. Sir George Somers, the “discoverer” of Bermuda, used to live at Berne Manor situated in the village and was mayor of Lyme Regis. His body is buried under the vestry and there is a plaque about him by the church altar. His heart was buried in Bermuda in what was to become St Georges (32). George Markov, the Bulgarian dissident, was jabbed in the leg by an umbrella which was a subtly disguised poisoned pellet gun on Waterloo Bridge on 7 September 1978. He died 4 days later. He was buried at Whitchurch at 8 am in the morning (to avoid the media) because his in laws lived in the village. He has a headstone which has a Bulgarian inscription on one side and an English one the other (33, 34). The third famous person is Sir Robin Day, “The Grand Inquisitor” and political interviewer. Before his divorce he lived at Morcombelake and must have requested his ashes to be buried next to the south door. (35). I purchased my own grave space about 12 years ago, at great cost, in case I live to be a hundred and the churchyard is full up by the date!!!

CHRISTMAS

Christmas is upon us and I recently attended a Christingle service. Christingle means “Christ Light” and celebrates the light of Jesus coming into the world. The custom involves an orange being given to everyone in the congregation (36, 37) The orange has a red ribbon around its middle which represents “going all the way around the world”. The candle stuck into its top “gives light in the dark”. The four sticks that point out in all directions symbolizes North, South, East and West (and the four seasons) The fruit and nuts (and sometimes sweets) represent the fruits of the earth. Once everyone had an orange the lights were switched off to give a very surreal picture (38)

We were invited to have a stall at a Christmas event at the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre. Charmouth is the gateway to the Jurassic Coast, an ancient coastline of dramatic cliffs, fossils and beautiful scenery. Inside the building was full of fossils and interesting backdrops. (39, 40, 41)

The Symondsbury Estate has recently finished developing its Manor Yard and renovation of its “Symondsbury Kitchen” restaurant, and celebrated this with a Christmas Market. There were 90 stalls all selling Christmas wares (42), in the Yard, the Tithe Barn and other interesting buildings. We had a stall in a beautifully restored area with amazing old beams and rafters (43).

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