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The animal safaris continued all summer and into September.  We needed to pick good apples that were wasp free.  (1) The cows got to know the sight and sound of my car because as soon as I got into the field for the last month it has been a case of driving quickly over to where the animals were and getting the children to throw good apples out of the windows long enough to distract them while someone emptied buckets or pots of fallen fruit from the boot. (2,3).  It was then necessary to drive quickly back to the road gate before the animals stopped eating and followed us.

The geese proved as popular as ever with children queuing up to get them out in the morning and feeding them, and then to put them to bed in the evening. (4,5)  We even had a cat come to stay. (6) Willow was a mixed breed domestic short haired cat who celebrated her 5th birthday during her time at Bluntshay.  I understand that she did escape a few times, but always came back when she was hungry.  One family was keen to hone the cricket skills of their children, (7) and this particular photo won second prize at a local flower show for ‘action sport’  The paddling pool was available during the summer. (8)


We have continued to look for wood for the winter and found this fallen tree.  The cows were curious to know what was going on. (9) Short work was made of the sawing up. (10)  We have to buy in straw for bedding every winter.  This year it will be more expensive because the wheat grew shorter through lack of rain, therefore more was  needed to make up each bale.   The huge bales arrive on a long trailer (11) and then have to be “grabbed” ( 12) in blocks of  3 to be removed to a temporary storage place before being  permanently put in a barn for the winter. (13)

We had to have some new pipework done in the plot below the yard during last spring.  A combination of churning up soil which hasn’t been disturbed for many years and a hot summer meant that two  unwanted plants appeared.  Firstly Solanum Nigrum which is also known as black nightshade.  (14)  This plant is native to Eurasia and introduced in the Americas, Australasia and South Africa.  Parts of this plant are toxic to livestock  and humans.  Most poultry will avoid eating poisonous plants due to their bitter taste but birds are at risk from this black nightshade.  I have sought advice about whether or not to put my geese in this plot, but no one seems to know for sure whether they would nibble at it or not.  Consequently I will have to pull up every last plant shortly before I let the geese eat off the other grass.  A second plant Thorn apple (datura stramonium) also of the nightshade family (15, 16) popped up in the plot.  We did have a lot of these about 10 years ago, the seeds of which we assumed had come in with poultry feed, as the plants were concentrated in the poultry run area.  These were all pulled up and destroyed, but one seed must have got away, laid dormant and germinated because of the hot summer.  Although the thorn apple possesses a number of therapeutic properties, for instance analgesic, antispasmodic and narcotic, all parts of the plant are tremendously venomous and may possibly result in death.


Since 2013, Bridport Heritage Forum has been very fortunate in receiving two grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund supporting a long-term project commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Great War.  While a considerable part of that project explored the lives and conditions of local men and boys serving overseas, it also focused on the stories of the families those men left behind and the life of the town itself, a hundred years ago.  A wealth of material was gathered from families, archives and local records and it soon became clear that the stories uncovered were too valuable to be left unrecorded and so the idea of gathering and recording this information into a book, began to take shape.

A group of sixteen local people set to work – writing, editing and proof reading texts and designing page layouts which incorporated many formerly unpublished pictures.  Finally at the beginning of July 2018, hours before the ‘print deadline’ expired, twenty four articles arrived at the local printers – Creeds.  The result was ‘War, Peace and New Beginnings – Bridport 1912-1920’   (17)

The official book launch took place on Sunday 8th July.  The venue for this was at the Station Kitchen, West Bay. (18, 19)  An original WW1 ‘railway nursing carriage’ provided the backdrop to a pop-up exhibition displaying high points from the book.  The interior of the carriage was quite spectacular. (20, 21). The original West Bay railway station building housed the bar and the changing room. (22, 23)

Theresa Weller provided a wonderful selection of beautiful vintage costumes for authors and helpers and the area was alive with more than a dozen people ‘in role’ adding to the wonderful atmosphere of the afternoon. (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)  Quite a number of boards displaying various topics connected to the book, including ‘Women and the Net Industry’ and ‘Horses – at home’ were placed along the platform. (31, 32)

A WW1 ammunition lorry (33) and nursing station were set up at the end of the platform.  Local police officers were initially unaware of the special permission that had been sought to park the lorry at West Bay. (34)

On one of the hottest Sundays of the year while guests and visitors enjoyed welcome, cold refreshments they were entertained by Tinkers Cuss and Chris Deacon who played popular music and songs from the era.  (35)  The book was officially launched by Bridport Town Mayor Barry Irvine, and his words of encouragement to “buy the book” were very effective – the first print run sold out before the end of the afternoon!  The book is available at local bookshops and at the Tourist Information Centre, priced £4.99.

Another part of this project was to mount an exhibition at Bridport Town Hall in August which included all the boards seen at West Bay along with a few others, which included  ‘Rations’ (for the soldiers) (36) and a chart showing all the  businesses along South Street, Bridport in 1911. (37)  During the same visit I spotted something close to my heart about the Suffragettes.  (38, 39)


I had never visited this particular flower show (40) before, so was interested to see how it compared to the Whitchurch one.  The only cards given out were to prize winners, so you didn’t know who else had entered into classes.  There was only an hour’s viewing time, whereas you have 3 hours to wander around at Whitchurch.  The exhibits were of a high standard (41, 42) and the refreshments delicious. (43)  There were quite a few cups to give out (44) and my gardener/handyman gained two cups, being the Bernard Gay cup for overall winner, and Sandra Huxter cup for best in show (a cabbage!!).  (45)  He was like a cat with two tails.  His son gained the Charlie Gadsby cup for the man with the second highest points.  (46)


Thank you to all the people who have helped me with this newsletter:  Sheila Meaney, Nigel Lee,  Sheena Patterson, Yvette Milton and the Middleton family.

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