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CAMPSITE

The long weekend at the beginning of May was very busy, with the biggest group of people that I have ever had visiting the site. They were celebrating a birthday (1). One of them had this cute tent, but didn’t want her photo taken (2) There was space on the campsite for other people and one of them brought their Eriba caravan (3)

THE FARM

During the long weekend the children enjoyed throwing fodder at our animals who took it very well (4). They also had a chance to bottle feed one of the orphan lambs who never quite mastered the automatic feeder (5). The cows should be out to grass by now, but we do not have enough for them to feed on at the moment without supplementary feeding out in the field. So we decided to keep them in the covered yard for a while longer. Before the silage reaches the feeder the plastic wrapping and plastic mesh has to be cut off (6) and then the bale is placed for the cows to eat (7). We are supplementing their feed with some hay (8). The manure in the yard has to be scraped every day (9) and then put in a trailer. Boris the lonely ram continues to be bad tempered and can’t be trusted with anyone in his fenced area of the orchard (10). There are many fields of yellow oilseed rape in West Dorset during early May which made for an attractive landscape as you drove down the A35. (11)

 

GOSLINGS

The goslings arrived a week earlier than planned, so the preparation had to be speeded up. The circular run from last year was re-erected with a few repairs, and the heat lamps set at the right height. The cobwebs needed to be swept away (12) the building had to be made rat proof again (13) and bedding put into place (14). We had a few cold nights just after their arrival so the run had to be partly covered in to make sure that they were warm enough. The caravanners were given a chance to hold and stroke a gosling (15). The goslings are now growing at a rate of knots with their webbed feet growing faster than the rest of their body, so they don’t look cute any more.

 

THE GARDEN

All the seeds were eventually planted with sunflower, sweet pea, marigold, runner beans, marrow and pumpkin put in individual pots in the greenhouses (16) I bought some new chrysant and dahlia plants this year, so hopefully they will bring in some income later in the year. In the biggest cottage garden I have planted shallots, onions and beetroot and covered them over with anything that I can find to prevent the cats and birds digging them up (plastic wire and trays from old cookers and freezers). The rest of the space will be taken up with sweetpeas and sunflowers when the plants are ready, and marrow plants if I can’t sell most of them at the markets. Flower pots have been placed next to each tomato plant to ensure that they get the same amount of water each day. (17) The marigolds will go into planters with the tomatoes that are in the small polytunnel to ward off the minibeasts. Today canes have been put up for sweet peas, sunflowers and runner beans (18)

ROBOTIC MILKING

Modern technology has definitely arrived in the Marshwood Vale in that one local dairy farmer has installed a state of the art robotic milking system. After a little training the cows know when to go to the unit to be milked. They queue up (19) when they want to be milked and then go inside the unit where their teats are automatically washed (20). The milking cups are then electronically placed on the teats and the milk is squeezed out (21). While this is going on the automatic manure scraper travels down the walking area being guided by a wire in the middle (22). Each cow has an apparatus that will tell the computer on the side of the unit all about its milk yield etc. (23) When the cows want to lie down they have sand as bedding (24), and silage as food. (25)

 

BROADCHURCH

This drama series, shown in 2013, was filmed mainly at West Bay close to Bridport. The programme was very successful and had a good economic effect on the local area. (26) This is East Cliff and the Jurrasic Pier which provided the setting for many of the scenes in the drama, as did these attractive buildings further down the pier. (27). On West Quay The Folly provided the police station exterior (28). The old Methodist Church was used for the Sea Brigade Hall (29). The Ellipse Café was the setting for Broadchurch Cafe (30). The exterior of this shop (31) was used as the series’ newsagent, but the shots for the interior were filmed elsewhere. The filming of a second series is imminent, with some of it being filmed at West Bay with the rest at another destination in West Dorset. I hope that they will improve on the West Dorset accent this time.

KATE ADIE

Journalist Kate Adie recently spoke at the Bridport Town Hall. This was organised by the Bridport Museum. Her talk was based on the book she had just published “Fighting on the Home Front” which explored the “much overlooked” role of women in the First World War effort. In Bridport women took over the traditionally male jobs which included net and rope making. Some of it included Top Secret Work making nets for catching submarines. In Question Time after the talk Ms Adie said that one of the most memorable reporting jobs she had ever done was in Tianenmen Square in Beijing in 1989 (32) when she and her cameraman were the only two outsiders to witness the dreadful event.

WW1 EXHIBITION

I have had quite a few responses from my Bridport News and the Greenwood Tree (family history) articles about the exhibition, but J Legg still eludes me. None of the local Legg families appear to have fallen serviceman during WW1. I am starting to put together display boards for each person starting with Colin Wood (33) who emigrated from the Marshwood Vale to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1911. As soon as the war broke out he enlisted in the Canadian Infantry and was unfortunately killed in action on 6 September 1917. The most famous person to be commemorated at Whitchurch from WW1 is Lt Comdr Edgar Cookson VC DSO (34) who has a plaque dedicated to him inside the church (35) Cookson had had connections with Whitchurch since he was a boy.

LOCAL EVENTS

The annual Dorset Knob Throwing and Food Festival event was held on the first long weekend in May. (36) The weather was good and thousands of people thronged to it. The master of ceremonies had a very busy day (37) Ferret racing was popular to watch and afterwards children could stroke them (38) One of the main events involving the biscuit was to see how far it could be thrown (39) Dorset Knobs (40) were invented by accident in the Bakehouse (41, 42) by the Moores family at Stoke Mill Farm just across the fields from Crabbs Bluntshay in the 1800s when there was a mill and a bakehouse in operation. The photo shows the Moores family at Stoke Mill with the waterwheel to the left of the group taken in the late 1800s.(43) The second son, Samuel then moved to Morcombelake on the A35 and set up a bakery there which is still in operation today. (44) The trademark sign that hangs on its wall has changed little over the years (45)

A DOUBLE TRAGEDY

In the Marshwood Vale during the 1950s there was a double tragedy when two local men died down the same well. The first man was digging the well in his own garden to acquire a better water supply. What he didn’t know was that below a depth of 12 ft down the air became foul and dangerous, with toxic gas being given off from the blue lias soil. He fell to the bottom of the well and lost his life. His wife called a neighbour who came to help and he went down the well too. Unfortunately he also lost his life. A person from Beaminster who had had a lot of experience in locating water and sinking wells said that the chances of finding water in the strata were remote. He also mentioned that the toxic gas from the well was not marsh gas but carbon dioxide. The coroner said that the first man had died from a broken neck after slipping going down the well. The second man had died from asphyxia. The Coroner told the second man’s widow that she should be proud of her husband’s actions as it had been a very courageous thing to do. The well was later filled in but is marked by this small statue to this day (46)

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