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CAMPSITE

Both months have been quite busy with several ’28 day campers’ staying during that time. One lovely couple came to the campsite particularly to look for somewhere to live in West Dorset or East Devon. After visiting many properties during their stay they unfortunately went away empty handed and very disappointed. An intrepid couple and their two little boys have just stayed for two days, ‘just to get away’. They enjoyed looking at the livestock around the farmyard including Wilber and Gertrude, the pigs, (both female) (1) and the hens (2) which proved remarkably shy when we approached the hen house, and only came out into the run when we walked away. (3)

FARM

The cows came into the covered yard for the winter later than usual because the weather was so mild which saved several bales of silage being eaten.

Three of Alisha’s pigs went for processing on 6 December (4) so that leaves 2 sows which will be breeding sometime in the new year.

On 29 November all poultry farmers were advised that their poultry had to be kept indoors or under netting because of the outbreak of bird flu. So we got the old tractor out and moved gates to create a pen. We had to support them with dustbins full of water because the soil beneath is full of stone being part of the farm yard and not suitable for stakes. (5) The only netting that was available locally was for beans, though not ideal, was better than nothing. (6, 6a) In the following weeks as it rained quite a lot the area became a quagmire and the geese enjoyed the puddles. Ideally if we had had continuous hard frosts the geese would have eaten more wheat and growing pellets and possibly put on an extra pound or two. At the end of the day I was really pleased with the weights, with only one small one, and lots of medium and large ones – but not quite so good as the weights I had in 2020. My biggest goose was sold to one of my regular loyal customers and was oven ready at over 14lbs. (7) Several of my other customers sent photos of their Christmas meal. (9, 10, 10a)

We have just welcomed a new puppy to the farm. (11) Her name is Millie and she is a pedigree English Springer Spaniel and 16 weeks old.

GARDEN

Earlier in the year we completely weeded and repotted all the chrysanthemums and gave them a good dose of bone meal. Once placed out in the garden with all the rain during the summer, many of the newer plants “bolted” and as I never kept up with the growth and tying up, some of the stems went ‘curly’ at the top and were unsaleable to the local farm shop. But the ‘curly’ ones were still useful at Christmas and there were enough good specimens to place on my family graves in Whitchurch churchyard. (12)

The shrub Mahonia is in full bloom in the front garden at the moment. (13) Not knowing much about this plant I had to research it and found that it originally came from the Himalayas and North and Central America. They can grow up to 6 ft high and 3 ft wide. It seems that they flower right through to the end of January by which time green berries form which eventually turn black. They are acidic with a very sharp flavour. These berries are used in traditional Chinese medicine and exert the effects for relieving internal heat, eliminating dampness, removing toxins, suppressing pain, promoting blood circulation, inhibiting coughs and alleviating inflammation.

FIREWORK NIGHT AT THE FIVE BELLS INN

This was a very enjoyable evening attended by many villagers and friends – although I missed it unfortunately! (14, 15) Shaun Symonds, Philip Bearpark and Paul White were responsible in making sure that the firework display went off without a hitch. Casey Symonds and Millie Legg helped the landlady Pat with the barbeque and Joanna House managed the very busy outside bar. A total of £806 was raised towards next year’s event

REMEMBERANCE SUNDAY AND THE COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES IN WHITCHURCH CANONICORUM CHURCHYARD

This annual service was held on the Sunday closest to 11th November and started at 11 am. (16) Nigel Carter, who created the original Order of Service, has been running the service since 1987 with his wife Elizabeth who played the musical accompaniment to the service on her flugelhorn. Two wreaths were laid. One was a traditional Royal British Legion wreath for the men who died, and the other for the women who suffered in the conflicts. (17) (For further details see my newsletter dated November 2017).

Recently a Commonwealth War Graves plaque was erected outside the churchyard (18) to notify visitors to the church that there are war graves within the churchyard. Our churchyard has two, made of slate. (19) The inscription on it says 1320 Driver R J Hobbs Field Artillery died 9.9.17 Age 20. For Ever with the Lord and (20). The inscription on this one says Lieutenant J Hackett RN died 10.10.18 Age 26 HMS “Nimrod”.

The Commonwealth War Graves’ work is funded predominantly by grants from the governments of the six member states. This is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa, established through Royal Charter to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations. There are over 306,000 commemorations to the men and women of the Commonwealth Forces in the United Kingdom and Ireland at over 13,000 locations.

In very broad terms a casualty may be commemorated in the United Kingdom for the following reasons: They died of sickness or disease in a military hospital after being repatriated.

Lieutenant J Hackett died of pneumonia following on from Spanish influenza on board HMS hospital ship Garth Castle, Rosyth, Edinburgh. His father Rev Dr John Hackett, previously Chaplain to the Forces, died at Lyme Regis on 29.5.15 and was buried at Whitchurch Canonicorum. His widow, Nora Hackett, who was living at Beer, Devon at the time of her son’s death, arranged for her son to be buried at Whitchurch.

Driver R J Hobbs enlisted on 26.8 14 and arrived in France on 30.8.14 His unit took part in 10 actions between 25.9.15 and 4.5.17. He was discharged due to sickness on 14.7.17 and transported back to England where he died in a military hospital in Colchester on 9 9.17. Reginald was the son of Martha Hobbs and the late Walter Hobbs and at the time of Reginald’s death his mother, (who was born and bred in Whitchurch) still resided in Whitchurch. He is actually commemorated of the Charmouth War Memorial.

CHRISTMAS IN WEST DORSET

The Christmas season started off for me on the last Saturday in November when I attended our annual West Dorset Family History Christmas lunch. It was held at the Bridport Golf Club – a new venue for the group, (21) and the food was delicious. Seventeen (22) members and friends attended. (23) This was the highest number we had had for some years and the event was even more important as it didn’t happen last year because of Covid.

Several buildings were lit up in Whitchurch, one was in Gymkhana Field (24) and the other was the Five Bells which looked a bit spooky to me. (25) At the beginning of December the Clausners had a special Christmas market at Berehayes with lots of stalls. The weather was brilliant and sunny and Pat from the Five Bells did a roaring trade with her mulled wine. (26) Charlie “Farmer” was kept busy selling all his different cuts of meat to the locals. (27) There were several handicraft stalls including this one. (28) To round off the event Kevin, with his special bear hat on, auctioned a beautiful quilt for £25.00. (29)

Bridport and Beaminster had their usual festive decorations (30, 31) along with some interesting shop window displays, namely an Advent calendar (32) and elaborate festive flowers. (33) On the road leading into Bridport two brightly coloured reindeer welcomed people into the town. (34)

A very energetic lady, Pauline Bale, from Chideock, organised her annual wreath making sessions at Venn Farm, North Chideock in a barn belonging to Jane and David Warren. (35) This was a new venue for 2021. The marathon task of making numerous wreaths started on 3rd December with 20 people making wreaths for themselves to take home. Pauline also sold wreath kits with instructions so that people could make them at home with friends or family. Along the way Pauline took orders for 75 wreaths which were to be made on 6th December. What a task ahead of them!

But they made it, (36) and even enlisted the help of husbands. (37) Some wreath bases had also been made for the next session. (38)

In 2020 Pauline tried a new format for raising funds for the Weldmar Hospicecare, as there were no workshops because of Covid. Instead a small team of makers made the wreaths at home. They were sold on Pauline’s GoFundme page with the option to donate and add gift aid, a bonus for the charity. This mammoth effort raised £2245 for the charity. Pauline started the Christmas wreath workshops 13 years ago and had at the end of 2020 raised over £15,000. The GoFundme page raised approximately the same amount in 2021 for Weldmar

One of my favourite little churches, Blackdown, had a carol service on Christmas Eve We were socially distanced (39) and had a very pleasant time listening to Christmas readings (40) and beautiful flute music. (41) Continuing with the Christmas spirit I went to Communion at Marshwood Church on Christmas morning. The church was attractively decorated with flowers, a tree (42) and stable scene. (43)

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Alisha Lambert, Kevin Clausner, Pat Hawkins, Carol Lee, Pauline Bale, Helen Doble, Alison Johnstone, Nesta Davies, Will Hall, Ines Cavill, Richard Southam, Nick Gray, Georgie Deverell, CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission), and Briony Blair.

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