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Several months ago a Malaysian called Ian contacted me with a booking on my campsite for 20th December for one night. He had done a lot of homework on his trip to England and gave me several websites on this local area to check out. His group was particularly interested in the Jurassic Coast. They duly arrived at 7 pm, on their third night in England, at the campsite having visited Stonehenge, Wiltshire, and Bath (presumably for all the Roman remains in the area) since their arrival. I had hoped to give them a farm walk sometime during their stay, or even a look at the animals in the covered yard, but this was not to be. Straight after their arrival I took them to the Five Bells Pub where Richard Edmonds, a freelance geologist, gave them a talk on fossils, and a meal was provided.

The next morning they had to be at Charmouth Beach by 8.30 (before the tide had come in very far) for a walk and fossil hunt. Unfortunately it rained a lot and no photos were taken! Next was a visit to Chris Moore’s fossil collection and then they went to the County Museum in Dorchester. At 3 pm Ian announced that the group wanted to see Durdle Door so they rushed down there only to find that the car park closed at 4 pm. But they did get a glimpse of this world famous geological wonder. They then had to be on the road by 4.30 pm to get to Brighton in time for tea.

I heard from Richard that they intended to travel to Finland for Christmas Day to be with Santa Claus. They were then booked to visit Germany and France before heading back to London and thence home to Malaysia!


There has been quite a lot going on on the farm in the last few weeks. In our new orchard, which was created in 2000, several young trees had fallen over. Fortunately the root systems were still intact so it was a case of carefully pulling them up (4) with a tractor and chain until they were in a completely vertical position (5). Then an iron bar was used to make a good hole for the wooden post to go into. Then a post driver (6) was used to make sure the post goes in the ground as far as possible. The last process was to hammer in a cross bar so that the tree could be supported (7) with the aid of some strong rope.

We have to take the manure that is scaped from the cow yard during the winter away from that area and transport it to my furthest field for storage until it is spread over the fields as an organic plant food containing potash, phosphate and nitrate which builds up the humus. As with the whole farm the clay soil gets very rutted during the winter and it has been necessary to create a new track in the field where the manure has to be transported. (8). Just as it was getting dark a huge lorry arrived (9) and deposited its loads of large rubble just inside the field gate (10). Later on a mini digger was used to spread the rubble. (11) Once this was done other lorries came and deposited 2 loads of road planings which had to be dispersed. (12) It took twice as much rubble and road planings than estimated to do the job and cost me a fortune! The tractor and trailer can now go into this field on a decent surface to shed its load. (13, 14)

When the animals were brought in for the winter into the covered yard it was necessary to separate out the young steers and keep them in a separate pen from where the bull was located. (15) The reason for this is that bulls are very territorial and are apt to bully any competition. A few years ago (before I knew about this problem) the hired bull at the time managed to break the collar bone of my best steer and the steer had to be killed and taken to the knacker’s yard. I was incredibly upset by this incident, plus the fact I was unable to claim any insurance on the animal to boot. Later in this winter one of the steers managed to jump in with the bull and his harem. We had to go to a lot of trouble to separate the steer from the other animals and when he was back in his own enclosure it was necessary to put up high gates to stop the problems arising again. (16)

I normally send on some animals to market (Sedgemore, Somerset) during December. Usually the prices are good because of the Christmas trade. This year I sent on the two steers, a young heifer, and my oldest suckler cow Bunty with her calf. The cattle lorry usually arrives any time after 6 in the morning as my animals are normally the first ones to be picked up. This year was no exception as it arrived at 6.30 am. (17) From this point much moving of gates had to be done (18, 19). The lorry had to park out in the road as it is too big to get into my yard so that means that gates have to be placed from the farm gate to the lorry so that the animals won’t escape into the Marshwood Vale! (20) After a bit of “messing around” all the animals went up into the lorry, and this is last we saw of Bunty disappearing into the darkness. (21) I was very pleased with the prices they made later that day.


At this time of year there is only maintenance to be done and the digging up of dahlia tubers (22) They are placed in boxes onto newspaper with as little soil as possible to be stored on my attic stairs for the winter. All dahlias have had labels on their stakes during the summer and these are stored with the dahlias. A job that should have been done months ago was the taking off of the dry runner bean pods for storage to use as seeds next spring. (23). I have yet to plant some new bulbs bought in the autumn, and hope to replant my gladioli bulbs into the pumpkin patch. I have decided not to grow pumpkins next year as I have so much of it frozen in my freezers ready to be made into chutneys.

Recent high winds blew my roadside notice board off because the wood it was attached to was rather rotten. This is actually the milk stand we used to use when sending on churns of milk to the local milk factory. This method of collection ceased in the late 1970s when bulk milk tankers were introduced. It was decided at that time Crabbs Bluntshay would no longer be a dairy farm, but operate with a suckler herd instead. It was necessary to remove the two closest rotten planks and replace them (24) and then reinstate the noticeboard which had been slightly damaged.(25) I advertise goose fat on this board, and also put up posters for local events. (26) and we still have one milk churn from our dairy farm days.


This newsletter would not be complete without something on Christmas. Every December the United Reform Church in Bridport hold a Christmas Tree Festival. It really was an amazing sight walking into the church. (27, 28) This is the 18th year that they have held this event and over 60 trees were in place. Among the entries were several from W Is, Primary Schools, Pre Schools, Music Groups and the Living Tree Cancer Support Group. The rooted trees are delivered by C W Groves and Son from West Bay Road, Bridport. Each year a charity is chosen. This year it was the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance (29).

Symondsbury held its 3rd Christmas Fair and had even more stalls than last year.(30) The illuminated Tithe Barn looked resplendent and an interesting stall just along from mine was Dorset Diversions. (31) Humphrey Walwyn sells cards and fun things with an anarchic sideways look at life in West Dorset. The Laterally Speaking book on sale is a collection of articles written by Humphrey from the Marshwood Vale Magazine.

Human dynamo Pauline Bale ( organised several wreath making workshops at the Symondsbury Estate and at Groves, this one being in the Tithe Barn at the beginning of December. (32) The bases of the wreathes were made of wire and wrapped with moss. Participants needed to bring their own greenery but Pauline had supplemented this with some more material (33, 34). The room buzzed with activity (35). Several demonstrations were made during the morning including one showing how to make Christmas decorations with willow (36) This could include Christmas trees, baskets, wreathes and a Christmas card holder.(37) The last stage of the process was learning how to make a bow to go on the wreath. (38). The finished items were very attractive (39) Of course no event is complete without a raffle (40). The plan of the day was for participants to make one wreath for themselves and another one to sell. The workshop cost £10. Over £1700 was raised from the three workshops with the sale of wreaths and the raffle. The money was given to the Somerset & Dorset Air Ambulance.

I was invited to read one of the lessons at the Whitchurch Carol Service earlier this month as a representative of Friends of St Candida (the church). I was into the third paragraph about the shepherds when I was aware of some kind of a kerfuffle going on behind me. I kept reading in a measured way and finished it. It was then announced that several cars parked in the vicinity of the church were blocking the route of a huge milk tanker. Several of us rushed out to rectify the matter. Fortunately it didn’t involve my car. After the next carol was sung the tanker driver appeared again to ask for the driver of a red car to step forward. A red faced man disappeared from the congregation very quickly to sort it all out! As usual the church was beautifully decorated – especially the altar (41) (with the tomb of a local lord who died in 1611 in the backgound) The stable scene had been in place for several weeks, but the baby only appeared when there was a service. (42)

I attended another carol service at Blackdown Church. My first cousin’s grand daughter, aged 9, played Away in a Manger beautifully on the church organ. (43)


A couple of years ago I attended a local auction in Bridport (44) with the intention of buying the personal effects of one of my mother’s first cousins. I arrived first and obtained my bidding card and with the arrival of two cousins waved at them with this card. The auctioneer thought I was bidding for some pipes. Fortunately she asked me whether this was the case and I promptly said no! It shows how careful you have to be at auctions! I bought all the framed family photographs (45), a top hat (46) and paid through the nose for the Love family bible (47) Another of the deceased’s first cousins had put a reserve on this and I paid twice as much for it as I expected!

In a strange twist of fate I was contacted by the grand daughter of one of my grandmother’s first cousins who emigrated to Canada in the early 1900s. Heather Love is Canadian but lives in Ireland at the moment. Heather and I are related through the same great great grandparents (48). They were James Love, born 1823 and Sarah Love (nee Durrant) born 1824. James was a master butcher and Sarah was descended from French Huguenots (who were persecuted by French Catholics in the late 1600s). Belinda, Helen and myself met up with Heather and her friends at Chideock on Boxing Day. Her grandfather Clement Love was born at the old Castle Inn in 1892. (49, 50). Clement’s father James Love was the publican at the Castle – and a butcher. (51) This shows the Inn in about 1900 with James Love at the right in the doorway. This closed as a public house in the 1988. We also visited the churchyard and found Heather’s great grandparents’ grave (James Love and Harriett Love (nee Chedd) – born 1856 and 1848 respectively). (52) Belinda’s and my great grandmother Sarah Chedd (nee Love) was James Love’s sister. Helen’s great great grand grandmother (Susannah Catherine Barnes (nee Love)) was also James Love’s sister. We rounded off the visit by going for lunch at the George Inn, Chideock and tucked into a delicious meal and talked non stop! (53)

James and Harriett Love had ten children between 1878 and 1894. Of those ten six emigrated to Canada and stayed there. The Love family bible has entries of Love births dating back to the early 1800s which includes everyone mentioned above. As a family historian Heather’s visit made my Christmas – linking up Love descendants across the Atlantic was really exciting.

Below is a very basic Love family tree showing how Heather, Helen, Belinda and I are linked in case you are confused.



Thank you to the people who helped me with research for this newsletter: Ian Chang, Henry Tan, Pauline Bale, Belinda Bailey, Helen Doble, Humphrey Walwyn, Caroline Lambert and Heather Love.

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