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I am still getting people in motorhomes and tents staying over night or for a few days, as a lot of campsites are closed at this time of year Some people like to try out a new vehicle to see if everything is working, as did this couple from Portsmouth with their VW motor home and cockapoo Pebbles. (1) Other people are en route to further into the West Country and need a stop over to break the journey. Autumn is a time for tidying up – pulling out annuals like marigolds from planters and recycling the soil on the garden, (2) and raking up piles and piles of leaves. (3)


A late addition to our calves, Maximus, (4) arrived recently, but needs a little tlc at the moment. The turkeys arrived quite late this year and enjoyed tucking into pumpkins (5) One turkey had to be separated from the others because of bullying and has his own cage. After dark some of them like to roost on his cage roof for the night. (6) The geese are getting fat (hopefully) but it is necessary to have some frost and ice towards the end of their lives to make sure they eat a lot and not get distracted with playing around and wasting time, which is what they were doing in the flood water this morning (7). We had to move them to a different paddock as the rain didn’t stop. I was afraid that the geese might hop over the fence into the River Char and end up at Charmouth– gone for ever!

We still have sheep being driven down the lanes as in the distant past, moving them from grass keep areas (belonging to other farmers) back to the home farm. (8). Also as smaller farms are sold and split up, the bigger farmers need to move their cattle for grass down the road to new outlying fields. (9)


It is important that bees pollinate apple tree flowers in order for the fruit to be of a uniform shape. Bees collect nectar and pollen and fertilize the 5 stamens on the flower with this. (10) The bees are sticky with pollen so the process is easily done. If on the other hand other insects fertilize the flower they may not necessary land on all five stamens. This is when an apple is misshapen like this (11 & 12)


Malcolm has devised a carrier for bee hives when they are full of bees and very awkward to move around. (13) This hive had been taken from the yard (where the cold storage unit will be placed in a week or so) and transported to a site in the new orchard. (14) Once it is in place the travelling screen (which ensures that the bees get plenty of ventilation during transportation) is taken off (15). Adjacent to this in the photo is a crown board which is placed on the brood box with a feed hole in the top of it so that a container of “candy” food (16) can be accessed by the bees. An empty super is placed on top and the roof on top of that with a heavy slab to keep it in place (see to left of photo 15). During transit a foam strip is put at the entrance to the hive to contain the bees. (17) This has to be removed immediately before the travelling screen is taken off in the hive’s new position. After we had finished this work in the new orchard we had to negotiate with Ed the ram to get through the gate. (18)


At the beginning of November we eventually had a hard enough frost to make the dahlias go black. (19) Luckily I had renewed all the name labels so I know which special ones to dig up and put in the spare bedroom without being mixed up. But there is still colour around the garden (20, 21, 22 & 23) and also around the lanes (24, 25 & 26) and hedgerows that have patchwork patterns (27). I sold my last bunch of sweet peas in November this year which must be a record (28).


Kelci, from Salway Ash, has been dancing since she was three years old when she attended Les Bois Theatre School in Bridport. Throughout her childhood she attended weekly classes in a range of styles including ballet, tap, freestyle and modern theatre craft. Kelci began teaching voluntarily whilst still at secondary school to gain experience. During this time she joined the Dorset County Council for a two week work placement in teaching children dance all over Dorset.

At the age of sixteen Kelci was accepted at Weymouth College to study a Btec National Diploma in Performing Arts, as well an A Level in Dance. During those two years she was involved in many performances and gained further qualifications.

After finishing college she went down the path of performing, and attended auditions in London for West End musicals, Disney and dance companies. From this experience Kelci realised that her passion was for teaching dance. After a long and hard audition she was accepted on a three year degree course at Bath Spa University. This course involved all aspects of performance and theory in contemporary dance. She achieved a 2:1 and then followed her passion and started teaching in local West Dorset schools and youth groups as well as starting the Kelci Dance Academy. (29) She wanted this academy to give everyone of all ages and abilities the chance to enjoy dancing to a variety of music. The number of students continues to increase and so do the classes. The Academy covers age ranges from 4 to 65. She has recently started a range of adult dance and fitness classes. The aim is to work towards local performances eg carnivals, fetes as well as local dance shows which can give the children a chance to do what they do best – dance and perform for people.

I have been to many of Kelci’s productions as my relatives has been involved in the performances. A recent one was entitled “A Journey through the Ages of Music (30). It covered music and dancing from 1920 right through to 2016 (31). The props were amazing. (32 & 33) This dance routine is from a couple of years ago. (34) Not long ago two star pupils from Kelci’s Academy won certificates for the “best smiles” while they danced. (35)


We had not celebrated this event for some years and the bonfire in one of my fields had been growing bigger year by year. We managed to “catch” a fine night to light the bonfire (36) and decided to roast some marshmallows, set off some fireworks (37 & 38) and hold a few sparklers. (517)


There are eight groups within the Society and 2016 was the turn of the Blackmore Vale Group to host the event. It was held at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton. It was well attended by members from all over Somerset & Dorset. This annual event is like a treasure trove for family historians with everything you can think of on offer: books, CDs, (40) historical maps, (41) and free access to the most important genealogical websites (42) to name but a few. It was only a few years ago that this site was the popular Sturminster Newton Cattle Market which farmers travelled from all over the west country to buy and sell. This was all sold off for development and The Exchange building would be the “jewel in the crown” of this new complex with a sweeping staircase to name but one of the interesting features (43).

There were several craft stalls on show including making lace (tatting) (44) and Dorset Feather Stitchery – which was being demonstrated by an enthusiastic lady in her 90s. (45) This type of embroidery was developed in Wootton Fitzpaine, West Dorset by Miss Olivia Pass in the 1950s. (46) She used feather stitch and combined this with buttonhole stitch, chain stitch and fly stick to create “embroidery of originality and beauty”. It was used to decorate clothes, bags, aprons, and all manner of things, making its début in the 1951 Bath and West Agricultural Show to great success. Dorset Feather Stitchery has its origins in the feather stitch embroidery traditionally used for borders and collars on rural workers’ smocks. (47)

During the AGM our West Dorset chairman, Brian Webber, was nominated to be a life member of the Society. (48) This will mean that Brian will never have to pay the annual subscription ever again.

The actual programme for the Open Day included Sue Thornton-Grimes who spoke about “Assisted emigration from Dorset to Australia 1830-1869”. I found this particularly interesting as I lived and worked in Australia twice during my youth. But the highlight of the whole event for me was the showing of a vintage restored film from the 1960s depicting my neighbours making cider and singing local songs in a strong Dorset dialect at “Wills Surgery”. This video can be watched below.


Thank you to all the people who helped me with the research for this newsletter: Ted Udall, Kelci Poole, Malcolm Castle, Alisha Lambert and Cynthia Worthington. Thanks to Girl’s Own Store for use of the smock picture.

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