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It appears that quite a few campsites are not open during the winter and if they are they do not necessarily have hard standings. So I have had a steady trickle of caravanners during the winter who arrive in large motor homes.

The Malaysians who spent just one night on the campsite in December have kept in touch and sent me photos of their entire visit to England and parts of Europe: Stonehenge (1), Bath (2), Charmouth Beach (3) Brighton Pier (4), Lapland, (5), Paris, (6) The London Eye, (7) Tower of London (8) and the Harry Potter Studio (9).


Daisy, the rejected calf, was 5 months old on 4th January. (10) She now has a much larger pen to live in and eats coarse mix and silage for her diet. The first lambs were born last week but this one needed extra vitamins (11) as well as being fed by the bottle (12). We leave the strimming along the river bank until after the geese have gone. (13) If we strimmed it earlier the geese may have been tempted to fly over the fence into the water.

The downpours that we experienced recently caused the River Char to flood (14), although it did not come over the bridge as in previous years. The sheep wash and the water course that feeds into it were also flooded (15, 16). Its amazing where the debris comes from, but it blocked the underground drain to the sheep wash and left a complete mess (17).


The gladioli did badly last summer living in big pots, so were dug up and planted in what was the pumpkin patch. As it has been very mild winter they had already sprouted long green leaves before being planted out in baskets about 8 inches deep into the soil. (18). Friends of Alisha had a sleep over at the farm, and were promptly put to work the next morning mucking out the goose house (19). They were even enthusiastic enough to fill a wheelbarrow which was emptied on the dahlia patch (20) The rest of the manure was dumped ready to use elsewhere. (21)


This club has been going since the early 1960s. Some of the present members are the grandchildren of the original members. In 2015 the Club did very well by winning the Upton Oil Cup (22) This meant that they had the most points overall in all the competitions during the year. They also won the Senior Sports Cup.


As it to be expected the high winds caused damage around the farm and garden (23). The rest of the fence was taken down, new post holes were made with an iron bar (24) and double digger (25). A spirit level and string made sure that the fence was vertical and straight (26).


During the week before Christmas there were massive landslides at Charmouth (part of the Jurassic Coast) after heavy rain. About 1,000 tons of cliff came down into the sea. (27, 28). Thousands of fossils were exposed – these mainly being ammonites (spiral shells of extinct sea molluscs) These creatures lived 200 million years ago. The ammonites found during this frenzy of fossil hunting varied between a fraction of an inch (29) and five or six inches, but some were up to two feet. Even at the end of December people were still visiting Charmouth to see what they could find and there were lots of children enjoying the water (30) I saw quite a few fossil hunters tapping away with a hammer hoping that the rock inside would expose another ammonite (31). On the beach was seen a long line of “gunge” (32) Apparently it is called velella velella (or by the wind sailor) It is a colonial hydroid related to the Portuguese Man O’ War – similar to a jelly fish. They come from the mid Atlantic and the Mediterranean. They are not poisonous and the Italians eat them! It was the last day the beach cafe was open until the tourist season starts again (33). Inevitably there was lots of debris washed up along the beach.


I have been involved with the West Dorset branch of the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society for 17 years as their treasurer. The Group has been going for over 30 years with an interesting programme of events, visits, exhibitions and Christmas lunches during that time. In 2015 we celebrated Brian Webber’s (our Chairman) 80th birthday (34) and Linda’s 90th. (35) Linda joined the S&DFHS in order to find out “What happened to Uncle Herbert?” Up to the present time she never has found out, but has made many friends along the way and discovered lots of interesting information about other ancestors.


In November Lavender Blue ( celebrated its 10th birthday in Bridport (36) The ambition of the florists is to serve Bridport and the surrounding area with the freshest flower arrangements, plants and a wide range of latex and foil balloons. (37, 38) Sue (39) and her team cater for all occasions: new arrivals, birthdays, weddings, Easter, Christmas and funerals. Lavender Blue is also able to offer the Interflora relay service offering same day flower delivery across the UK and the world.

Sue Clark’s grandfather was James Veryard. Originally he was a master baker in Bristol. He married Gertrude Tolman in 1912 and took over the Five Bells in Whitchurch in 1914. Besides running the pub he used to work at Moores Bakery in Morcombelake (of Dorset Knob Biscuit fame) doing the royal icing for wedding cakes, simnel cakes etc. He also had blocks of land around Whitchurch which he farmed with his cows and poultry. A Mr Jack Larcombe worked for him. During WW2 the Veryards accommodated evacuees at the pub.

Gertrude Veryard ran the village shop from the Five Bells premises. There was also a doctor’s surgery in one room of the pub. The Veryards were the second family to have a telephone installed in Whitchurch. Colonel Weston, at Genista was the first.

James and Gertrude had six children between 1913 and 1923: Doris, Olive, Kenneth, Freda, Daisy and Beryl. (see family tree below 43) Mrs Veryard died in 1960 and at that point her daughter Olive Godleman took over being landlady for 2 years until 1962. (40) This photo of the hunt at the Five bells was taken during the time Olive was running the pub. (41)

Notes from the family tree are as follows:

  • Frederick and Doris Legg farmed at Bonhayes, Whitchurch. Fred was very involved with the church
  • Olive was Dr Chamberlain’s Assistant at Charmouth before becoming Licensee in 1960
  • Reginald Bellamy was an Architect. During WW2 he was evacuated from Dunkirk and then fought in North Africa and Italy
  • Kenneth Veryard was a tailor
  • Fred and Freda Johnston farmed at Hodders Farm, Ryall
  • Beryl assisted her mother in the shop before her marriage

Charles Christopher was an apprentice stone mason to Ernest Mills, in Whitchurch, before WW2. He was in the army during WW2 and was involved with the D Day landings. He was wounded at Caen during Operation Goodwood and lost part of his left hand, therefore he was unable to continue as a mason after the war so became a postman instead. He married Beryl Veryard in 1954. (42) James and Gertrude Veryard are on the right of the photo.


Thank you to the people who helped me with research for this newsletter: Ian Chang, Brian Webber, Linda Puley, Sue Clark, Richard Edmonds, Eleanor Lambert, Caroline Lambert.

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