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Since the lockdown, for the Easter holidays there have been a few people who have tried to book. I was surprised by this after all the publicity on the media telling people not to leave their homes. Hopefully things will get back to normal before the end of the summer holidays and I shall be allowed to have campers here again!


The rain has stopped at last and the ground dried up sufficiently so we could get on with harrowing all the fields that are to be mown. In order to travel on the roads and to the fields in question, the harrow has to be lifted off the ground and folded into three. Once the tractor reaches its destination, the power take off puts the harrow down on the ground. Then it has to be physically pushed into position (1) to make it flat on the ground. (2) It is then driven up and down the field making ‘stripes’. (3) as it pulls out dead material (4), breaks down the rough surfaces and aerates the soil. The wild daffodils were not harmed by this experience. (5)

Alisha (6) also rolled all the land, including the campsite. (7) Rolling consolidates the surface. As our soil is clay we get some deep ruts around gateways every winter so these are best levelled with a power harrow. (8) (9)

Last year was a good year for making silage and I need to use it all up before the cows go out to grass this year, so I had quite a few spare bales. These were going to be sold by auction (10) and an auctioneer came down to see them and give me a price. Of course that had to be cancelled but the auctioneer found a buyer anyway so they were sold to a farmer near Dorchester. A local farmer acted as haulier and because our yard gate is so narrow had to to load them individually with our matbro tractor onto his trailer. (11, 12). The only problem was the haulier timed his visit to coincide with 2 recycle lorries coming from both directions who had to wait half an hour while the loading finished. (13, 14)


The good sunny weather has cheered us up, but I have spent hours watering all the pots. Some parts of the garden were not tidied in the autumn so it took me quite a while to find the rhubarb under all the weeds and stinging nettles. (15). The garden daffodils and narcissi were quite a show (16) and the Kerria Japonica gives a colourful welcome as you come into the drive. (17) In the garden on the other side of the fence my nieces were enjoying the sun on Easter Sunday, but they had some repair work to do first before using the lilo. (18, 19)


The Society was started in 1995 with Cecil Amor as Chairman. (20) He continued in this role until 2015/16 being determined to do 20 years in the job. He has just celebrated his 90th birthday. Caroline Everall (21) joined the committee in 2010 and was promptly made the keyholder and person who had to book the hall. The meetings are held in the United Reformed Church Hall on East Street, Bridport. At that time Hilda Gudge was Treasurer with Jane Ferentzi Sheppard (22) Bill Holden (23) and Cecil Amor also on the committee. Mike Prescott joined the committee a few years ago and does a sterling job setting up the room for the meetings and assisting with the projector and sound system. (24)

Celia Martin (25) and Bruce Upton took over the Joint Chairmanship in 2015/16 and at that point the Society started to have regular committee meetings, with Jane Ferentzi Sheppard being the Minute Secretary. From this point there were registration forms for each new member to complete (26) and emails were collected so that the Society could contact the membership about forthcoming meetings etc. At the end of 2019 Celia took over being Membership Secretary. A5 programmes showing the year’s programme are also given to each member. (27)

We also now have a form that visitors can complete which includes their email (if they so wish). This has allowed the Society to widen the number of people it can contact about meetings.

Roland Moss was the Programme Organiser for many years. He is now an honorary member. Jane took over this role from him about 10 years ago. Since we have had a section on the registration form for ideas about speakers we have widened the range of topics covered: Archaeology, Military History, Family History, Industrial History, Local History, Folklore and Biographies. The programme shows what is on offer in 2020 (when the virus has gone away). Jane also designs posters each month which are distributed locally to spread the word. (28)

Bill has been the Editor of the journal for about twelve years, (29, 30) Once a member has paid her/his subscription they automatically get a journal 3 times a year. Bill is the current Chairman of the group. Ann, who joined us during 2019, is our legal expert and Vice Chairman. (31)

I started being Treasurer for the Society during the latter part of 2019. (32) It is very hectic on the meeting days. I have to organise 3 different floats – firstly one for me collecting the members’ entry fee, another for Bill who collects the visitors’ fees and lastly for Celia who collects the fees from new members. As people arrive through the door they have to be directed to the relevant table so that the money is collected. The current membership has nearly reached 100, (33) which is extremely good for a small society.

Over the years there has been many interesting topics. Unfortunately I have only been taking photos for the Society for a few years so do not have a full sample. Nevertheless this is one of Carlos (34) (who is also a committee member) during his talk about his new book ‘Where the dipping is ripping.’ Another meeting was about D Day and this lovely veteran, (35) who gained a medal for his part in the conflict, was in the audience. Tinkers Cuss came to our December 2019 meeting and entertained us with ‘Light to the darkness: from war to a new start.’ (36) During 2018, when we were commemorating the end of WW1, members gave talks on several servicemen who had fought in the war, including Marilyn (37, 38) who is an honorary member of the Society.

All our Society meetings are well attended and we also get quite a few visitors, who often join the Society after attending several meetings.


I have had rather an expensive time since Christmas. Firstly I had to buy a new boiler tank for my airing cupboard as the leak was getting too fast to cope with. Then I had to purchase a new liner within my chimney so that I could get my house insurance up to date in case of a chimney fire. My TV was working perfectly all right up until the heating engineers had to crawl onto the roof to put something on the chimney, and they also to move the slightly broken aerial in the process. Once it had been moved the TV did not work so I had to get a new one. The only consolation was that it could be put in the loft, (39) so now it wont get blown down in the future. This just happened before the lockdown came into force so it was the last job these engineers did before they went into hibernation. (40, 41, 42)


Under normal circumstances four of us would meet in Axminster about once a month at a friend’s house and have dinner together. Of course we can’t do that at the moment so Eileen from the group suggested that we keep in touch by sending poems on a regular basis to everyone in the group. I couldn’t find any poetry books initially so sent excerpts from famous children’s stories as my contribution. Then by a very strange coincidence my husband has just been sent “Rural Rhymes from Ryme Intrinseca” , by Jan Millward, which is full of farming “stuff”. (43) So the following is from this publication:


How to spot a farmer when they’re far from home?
They’re the ones sat in a corner talking silage on the phone
The one whose golden sun tan stops half way up the arms,
The guy or girl with calloused hands, they’re the one’s who farm

And if you are in London, they’ll look you in the eye
Say “morning folks, the sun is up, it looks like it’ll be dry”.
The ones who look frustrated whenever there’s a queue,
If there are more than twenty folk. They don’t know what to do.

They’re be wearing their clean jacket that they’ve had since ’83,
Get fingers stuck in china cups whilst they’re having tea.
And when they’re out for dinner, it’s eaten in a trice,
If it seems a bit expensive they will moan about the price.

And if you see them shopping, they’ll be bright red in the face.
Sleeves rolled up, jumper off, they cannot take the pace.
They’re used to striding forward not dodging prams and cars,
They do not like the noise and fuss, that’s just the way they are.

So if you spot a fellow farmer whilst you are in the city,
Nod and smile for they will know, they will share your pity.
They will be so thankful when they return to fields and barns
Back from the crowded conurbation to the haven that’s their farm!


Jill Millward, Carol Lee, Members of the Birdport History Society and Symonds and Sampson Auctioneers.

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