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During the summer we had several examples of vans that had been converted into living quarters.  One of these was a Mercedes (1) which once you stepped inside you realised what a warm cosy place it was, especially as a wood burner had been installed. (2)  The owners were planning to extend the shower and toilet facilities and loved their nomadic life. (3)   The other one was a Vauxhall which had an impressive kitchen (4, 5) and a very good water and heating system. (6)  Inside was filled with “strip” lights and had an interesting interior design. (7, 8)  The lights could have been powered by a solar panel on the van roof.  In September another couple popped in and out of the campsite for a few days at a time in this attractive VW van, first registered in 1972 so it is now an historic vehicle being tax and MOT exempt.  (9)


The first calf of the year from my herd was born two weeks ago.  (10)  I am waiting anxiously for the other 5 cows to calf as they are all enormous.  Digging out ditches every autumn and winter is a necessary job so that fields do not get boggy around the edges.  (11, 12)  The pipe work under the gate next to this ditch,collapsed after only a few years so much larger pipes will have to be installed. (13)  Organising the removal of silage wrapping and plastic netting this year proved problematic.  It was difficult to co-ordinate someone to drive the Matbro tractor to move the large bags down to the bigger bottom yard,  and then to lift them into the huge lorry which arrived at 8 am to pick them up. (14, 15, 16, 17)  These bags have been known to burst in the middle of the yard.  It is not a pleasant job picking up all the contents and putting them into a new bag!


I managed to attend two harvest festivals this year and one harvest supper.  The first one was at Whitchurch where the floral decorations were as beautiful as ever.  (18, 19)  A harvest loaf was bought from the local farm shop ready to share with the congregation after the service. (20)  The other service, which was at Blackdown, was particularly child orientated.  We were treated to two soloists,   (21, 22)  accompanied by an organist.  (23)  Harvest produce was brought to the altar to be blessed. (24)  The harvest loaf  was chopped up and children served the congregation with bread, butter and cheese, and biscuits. (25)  Although Blackdown is only a small hamlet it certainly has a very dynamic community with all walks of life getting involved with church activities. (26)


A typical Screen Bites evening starts with a mini farmers’ market with food producers from Dorset and surrounding counties offering tastings and selling their wares.  There might be a talk or demonstration, followed by an interval during which you can enjoy delicious ice cream and then relax to watch the main film.  The theme of the film is nearly always about food .  Examples of films shown in the 2018 series included “The Hundred Foot Journey” with Helen Mirren (2005) and “Dinner at the Ritz” with David Niven. (1937)  (27)  The Food Festival covered 9 venues this year (28) and is under new management namely Julia, Susanne and Faith (29)  I attended  one at Burton Bradstock.

Also at the event was Wobbly Cottage (30, 31) selling delicious bread,  The Dorset Chili Shop, (32) Elaionaki (33) which had olive oil on sale produced from ancient trees in their olive grove in Greece.  In addition to them, there were The Chocolate Arthouse selling luxurious chocolate, (34, 35) Maison Elhoria offering high quality artisan textiles and paté,  (36, 37) and Bridport Organic Cider. (38)  A few days later I attended the Screen Bites event at Beaminster Town Hall.  I had my usual stall with honey and preserves at  both markets, (39) but also tried my hand at selling crab apples with a crab apple jelly recipe at the second one.  (40)   I did actually sell some!

Robert Golden, (41)  the very talented film maker, photographer and writer, who lives locally, attended both the Burton Bradstock and Beaminster events and introduced his next local production called “Savouring Dorset II”.    This will be a documentary about the state of the UK’s food and farming industries at this critical time in Britain’s history.  These two combined sectors of food and production are financially larger than the aerospace and car industries.  The film will show different sectors of the industry from small to large arable farming, dairy, fruit and vegetable growing, and it will offer an overview linking farming and food production to the state of the countryside’s flora, fauna and soil, and to the state of markets and regulations – to the health and well being of people and the planet.  It will concentrate on West Dorset but will have far broader relevance. (42)

It has been very interesting researching Robert Golden’s CV.  He was born and brought up in the USA and was educated at the Monteith College, in Detroit, Michigan.  He graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Modern European History and a BS in Design.  He also attended the London School of Film Technique.  He has had a very distinguished career.  In the early years he worked with many magazines and newspapers, creating photo-essays and stories for articles.  He has trained several well known photographers and his stills photographs have been exhibited at numerous galleries including the Barbican Concourse,  The Serpentine Gallery and the Battersea Art Centre – all in London as well as at the Bridport Art Centre.  He also has a semi permanent exhibition of still life work at the Lighthouse in Poole, Dorset.  He has written and filmed 40 documentaries concerned with culture, the arts and social/political problems and made over 900 commercials for TV.  The list goes on and on!  His work in the last 3 years has involved several half hour TV documentaries and 2 e books about photography. (43)


On Saturday 20th October we were invited along to a private showing of Colin Bentley’s (44) second exhibition on the Jurassic Coast at the Tithe Barn Symondsbury.  The paintings on show depicted scenes from Axmouth, Devon to Portland in Dorset.  (45, 46, 47)  Colin also painted portraits of several Jurassic Coast Ambassadors, including me.  I am looking rather bemused by it all. (48)  On the following Tuesday Kate Adie, (49) the award-winning journalist, hosted “Lessons in the Age of the Anthropocene”, also at the Tithe Barn.  She spoke of her love for Dorset’s outstanding World Heritage coastline and hosted a question and answer session after the main talk..  On arrival at the event we were offered “nibbles”. I think we used to call them “hors d’oeuvres”.  (50)

The main speaker for the evening was environmentalist and educator Doug Hulyer.  (51)  During his talk he explored the stories from the Jurassic Coast and deep time that resonate in the 21st century.

In summing up the Chair of the Jurassic Coast Trust, Alex O’Dwyer (52) encouraged people to join the Jurassic Coast Trust as Members, to help protect and conserve our World Heritage Site.

Anthropocene is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.  Various different start dates for the Anthropocene have been proposed, ranging from the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution 12,000 – 15,000 years, to as recent as the Trinity test in 1945.  The latter was the first nuclear test on 16 July 1945 at 5.29 am in Mexico.  Another proposal for the start of this period is at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in about 1780 with the invention of the steam engine.  Evidence of relative human impact – such as the growing human influence on land use, ecosystems, biodiversity, and species extinction – is substantial: scientists think that human impact has significantly changed (or halted) the growth of biodiversity, and may lead to the mass extinction of the Earth.  This would be the sixth since the Earth was created –  depending on which scientist you ask!


Thank you to all the people who have helped me with this newsletter:  Guy Kerr, Screen Bites team, Robert Golden, Caroline Lambert,  Jonathan (VW), Sheena Paterson. Chocolate Arthouse, Maison Elhoria, Sam Rose and Carol Lee.

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