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I am organising a conservation and fossil walk on 6th July at 2 pm. The cost is £5 to be paid on the day but I do need bookings in advance. If anyone is interested please read the poster and contact me by email preferably (1). The deadline for booking is midnight on Thursday 2nd June.

CAMPSITE

In April I had a campsite full of people celebrating a birthday. They were very organised and in no time there were tents and cars everywhere and a meal was being cooked. (2, 3 & 4). The next day I took everyone on the farm walk, but our first stop was at one of the barns where the children saw the cows at close quarters. (5). Since then I have had another family who came down into the covered yard to visit Daisy who promptly chewed his jacket (6). I regretted letting Daisy suck my fingers as she thought they were they were there to chew which was rather painful. (7) Next we went to see the smallest lamb which was much easier to handle (8)

MORE FARMING IN CANADA

My first stop in Canada, after an overnight stay in Vancouver, was with my first cousin in Grand Forks, British Columbia. After emigrating to Calgary, Alberta to lecture at the university Terry and his wife Elizabeth decided to become bee farmers in British Columbia. During my stay we visited bee sites in Osoyoos and Oliver, being at the southern end of the Okananagan Valley near the US border, in order to check the overwintering of their nuclei stocks. (9 & 10). It was my job to cut the pollen patte slabs into 6 ready for them to be placed on the top section of each hive. On another day Terry and I made up some new patte by mixing sugar syrup, brewer’s yeast, pollen, lemon juice and live yogurt together (11 & 12) until it became a thick paste. It was then put in layers between paper (13) ready for the next feeding. On another day when Elizabeth and went for a walk around Grand Forks she stopped to check some other hives en route (14)


My next stop in British Columbia was at Kamloops where another cousin and her husband took me to the Highland Copper Mine (15). In this area we saw covered coarse ore stock piles ready for processing. (16) and a snow covered tailings (mine waste) pond, which looked really attractive. But I was told that once the snow had melted it would be really quite an ugly scene. On the same day we visited the Logan Lakes Visitors Centre to see an historic Mining Shovel (17) and Ore Truck.

THE GOSLINGS

They arrived at the beginning of May as three day olds (18). As usual I set up a circular run for them with three heat lamps. This year I added polystyrene covers to keep them warmer at night (19 & 20). By last Friday the goslings had grown tall enough to have the heat lamps lifted up higher. Also another section had to be added to the circular run to give them more space (21, 22 & 23). I have now started to give them clumps of grass which they demolish in 5 minutes flat.

THE LENGTHSMAN SCHEME

The term Lengthsman dates back to the Middle Ages when parish councils employed men to maintain a length of road. But it began to fall into decline after the late 1880s when road maintenance became the responsibility of country councils. By the 1960s increasing mechanisation of maintenance and the labour costs involved in keeping a lengthsman saw them disappear – and with them their close knowledge of local highway networks and the communities they served. But in recent years they have returned. Stephen Lee was appointed Lengthsman to both Upper Marshwood Vale and Char Valley Parish Councils. Firstly he was partly funded partly by the County Council with the rest being paid by the parish councils. More recently the CVPC pays for his labour directly. He offers an efficient service, doing a job within a short time after a phone call. Clearing drains seems to be a major part of his job especially on Gassons Lane in Whitchurch after heavy rain. He knows every drain in the area and regularly checks all of them. One of his most interesting tasks was clearing out a big drain at Stoke Mill Farm in the River Char. (24) Stephen Lee also does carpentry jobs and made and erected the new notice board at the Five Bells Inn (25). He was also given the contract for the grass maintenance at the new affordable housing areas in Whitchurch. He has a team of men who help with the work (26) and on one occasion it needed all of them to get the van going (27)

A LOCAL SINGING GROUP

The Lyme Regis Shanty Singers started out a few years ago as an informal gathering of men and women who wanted to sing to celebrate the launch of news boats in Lyme Regis. (28) In addition to singing traditional shanties, the launches were marked in a very special way: on each occasion, one member of the group, Sue Beckers (our local doctor) (29) created a new song to be sung on the slipway. Another member of the group is Gail McGarva, a traditional wooden boatbuilder, who built several of the boats that they sing about. (30) The group’s aim is twofold: to preserve traditional songs of the sea, and to add to these by creating new songs which commemorate and celebrate local events in our maritime history. Through women being given an active role in the group they hope to highlight the significant, and often overlooked, contributions that women have made throughout history along the local shores. The group created a show “Harbour Voices” which was performed to full houses at the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis, at village halls and more recently at the Bridport Arts Centre. At each concert seafaring items were placed at the front of the stage to add to the atmosphere. (31 & 32)

LYME REGIS FOSSIL FESTIVAL TENTH ANNIVERSARY

This event was held on the first long weekend in May in both Lyme Regis and Charmouth and builds on the amazing geology and palaeontology of this local area. The real focus of the Fossil Festival is young people. They deliberately target this group as they would like the event to inspire their interest and possibly their career path into the Earth Sciences. As well as speakers and presentations from experts at the Natural History Museum, the British Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Society the programme of events included a “festival campus” at the Marine Theatre Square and a range of hands-on activities. The Jurassic Coast Trust, of which I am an Ambassador, had a lot of activities going on at the Hub (33). As we climbed the stairs we were met by Megan the Megalosaurus (34) and then “Charles Darwin” and “Mary Anning” (the most famous fossil collector of all time) visited the event. (35) There were lots of activities for youngsters going on including: finding a fossil (36) and making plasticine dinosaurs and then placing them under the sea, on the sea, on the land or in the air (37). Twister was a popular game (38) but it looked as if you needed to be double jointed to join in (39). Just down from the Marine Theatre there was the Natural History Museum Marquee where you could do an earthworm watch (40), identify fossils through a magnifying glass (41) and lots of other exciting activities. On the beach there were the amazing stone balancing sculptures (42).

LOCAL EVENTS – A 50/50 AUCTION

This was held at the Bettiscombe village hall and the auctioneer was the infamous Jim Rowe (43). There were one hundred and thirty five lots which varied from books, pictures, ladders and a bicycle (44, 45, 46 & 47). The highest bid of £60 went for a car trailer. Obviously whatever was made on an item half went to the original owner and the other half went to the event. £300 was made at the auction. The money raised is to go towards the Queen’s birthday celebrations in June.

 

EXCITING FAMILY HISTORY

About eighteen months ago I was contacted by Lee Yeung from Newcastle. He had been doing some research into his birth grandmother and her mother and father for about three years prior to this. After an exciting breakthrough Lee found himself at Hackeridge Farm, Pilsdon near Bridport where his great grandfather Tom used to live. From there Lee was directed to a great nephew of Tom’s who lived just down the road. After several phone calls Lee tracked me down, as a relative who had done quite a lot of work on the Peters’ family (my grandmother being a Peters’). I then spread the word about this amazing information which culminated in a wonderful Peters’ reunion last week in Bridport at the home of one of Tom’s nephews. (48) Being an avid collector of family photographs I managed to put three display boards together showing many generations of Peters. From this collection you can see Tom on the left with his siblings (49) , then Tom’s parents (50) , William and Anna Peters, and lastly Tom’s grandparents, (51) William and Alice Peters – ancestors stretching back to the early 1800s. Lee has now met lots of his relatives, who want to keep in touch, and it is hoped that the reunion will become an annual event.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thank you to the people who helped me with research for this newsletter: Lee Peters Yeung, Ann Studley, Guy Kerr, Penny Dunscombe, John West and Connie Kurnile.

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