Thursday, 11 September 2014

Sea shanties, hats and fish!

It was a beautiful Friday evening down by the harbour in Weymouth. As we arrived we immediately spotted a tall ship in the distance and followed the sound of music to its berth.

The magnificent three mast scooner Le Marité was visiting from Normandy. We watched the sailors folding up these front sails. It seemed such a long way up and it must be quite a terrifying experience doing it in rough seas.

Weymouth sea shanty group the Dorset Wrecks were on board adding to the atmosphere. This was   the open event for a Waterfest over the weekend, which was celebrating the maritime history of the town.

Unfortunately we didn't see any more of the Waterfest as we already had another event in our diaries- Bridport Hat Festival ! Regular visitors may remember this event from last year  it is when  everyone even dogs wear hats around the town!

It was so much fun we had to join in again this year and also encouraged our daughter and boyfriend to come with us too!

 As always there were some wonderful creations........

 These were some of my favourites ones- there was so much detail in the wildlife one on the top left. The one that copied the ceramic poppies currently surrounding the Tower of London was a brilliant representation.


Our hats were quite ordinary in comparsion - maybe next year we will have more time to be creative! I bought mine in a charity shop for £3.75 a few weeks ago, I think I need to visit Ascot in it now!

 The highlight, the mass hatted photo is always an incredible sight -  so many hats!

We ended the weekend with a walk and evening picnic down the Fleet. It is always such a peaceful location.

  As we watched the tide flowing in, two local fishermen returned to shore with a boat full of mullet.

 Sarah x

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Briantspuddle a unique Dorset village

Firstly thank you so much to everyone who left a comment on my last post.Your comments have helped so much, and our hearts have been uplifted by the huge response.

We have been avoiding our  favourite walks and following an article in a magazine we decided to visit Briantspuddle, a village close-by. Although we have been here before many years ago I didn't know all about it's history. Do you also find that however long you live somewhere there is always something new to discover?

The name Debenham is well known today for it's department stores and the shop can trace it's origins all the way back to 1778. In 1914 Ernest Debenham bought 3,500 acres in Briantspuddle . His vision was to bring together both the production and selling of products direct from the farm, cutting out the middle man. It is strange to see this idea one hundred years later gaining in popularity again.

The farm buildings and estate cottages were built in the Arts and Craft Style and each cottage had a bathroom, an inside lavatory and a quarter acre garden and a pig pen! As you see the buildings look so attractive. The estate workers must have been so lucky to have such a beautiful home.The major building programme started after the First World War and provided employment and homes which were both in short supply at this time. The cottages still have large back garden,we didn't however notice any pigs! It was lovely to see the grass had been cut in the traditional way and left to dry.

During the 1914 War Ernest appointed his sister Alice as farm manager and she went on to become a co-founder of the Soil Association, which promotes and certifies the growing of organic food. We have always cared passionately about the environment and supporting local producers and were very surprised to discover that this village had been involved in such pioneering agriculture experiments.

There are many signs of autumn appearing all around too! 

Our walk took us to the banks of the River Piddle (many of the villages in this location include this river in  their name  Affpuddle, Turnerspuddle, Tolpuddle, Puddletown!  The views across the meadows were equally good.

Back in the village we discovered this "Dead Woman's Stone". It was believed to mark a medieval suicide stone dating back to the 14th century.   It was rediscovered by some Canadian soldiers on a nearby moor in the 2nd World War and it has now been relocated here.

The village has no church but has a very unusual war memorial which was designed by the printmaker and sculpture artist Eric Gill (1882-1940), who also followed the Art and Crafts Movement. It records the seven men who died in the First World War as well as a further six from the Second World War. It was built from the locally provided Portland stone.

The village hall held an exhibition documenting the history of the village unfortunately it ended the day before we visited here, but this information sheet gives more detailed information and pictures. 

 I apologise for my lack of comments and visits lately, there is lots going on here at the moment. Thank you for still popping by to visit me.

Sarah x

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A tribute to Daisy

We said goodbye to our beloved and faithful dog Daisy on Thursday. She was such a special dog and the hole she has left in our home is so huge.

She only came into our lives when she was 5 years old having had 2 previous owners and she has shared our home for the last eight years. She was born in Paris on 26th December 2000 and lived with her first owner a Frenchman for about 4 years. She then moved to London with him and when he had to find alternative accommodation and couldn't find anywhere that accepted dogs she came to live in Dorset with one of his friends' mother.

When our previous dog died we got a cat from Cats protection league and our daughter asked each year for a dog whenever it was her birthday or Christmas. We had just made the decision to have a dog when our cat was diagnosed with acromegaly. We decided that it would be too much for our cat and instead put an advert in the local Co-op to ask if anyone would like their dog walked. Daisy's new owner had 2 dogs and answered our advert and that is how we came to meet her. After a year when our cat died we were asked to look after Daisy and she came to live with us on a permanent basis.

She was such a gentle dog , her greatest pleasure was to join in with whatever we were doing....

 She could also be stubborn and on walks in particular knew exactly which way she wanted to go!

And like other West Highland Terirers she loved to roll in the smelliest deposits she could find even if this would result in a shower that she didn't enjoy!

She believed the cushions on the sofa were there just for her!

Twinkle has always been fascinated by Daisy and was initially attracted by her to our garden when she was  a stray cat. She too joined our home when she reappeared in the garden injured, and despite searching no owners ever claimed her. Daisy put up with her, whereas Twinkle was always trying to get closer to her!

      Daisy was very wary of most other dogs and wasn't sure about snowmen either!

It was always a challenge to take a good picture of her as she always noticed the camera and would look away!

This blog has included images from the many walks we have taken with her and she has captured many dog and human friends from all around the world.  It is going to be hard no longer having her to share these special moments with us.

 Stone angel pointed me a few weeks ago towards the poem The Power of the Dog"" by Kipling this is just one of the verses.....

When the body that lived at your single will,
With it's whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone-wherever it goes-for good,
You will discover how much you care
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

Sarah x

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Overlooking Southampton Water

 First of all thank you for all the lovely comments you left with me during the last week. I was very touched and many bought more than a tear to my eye! Dear Daisy has had a reasonable week.

Back in May we headed to Southampton for the day, not to visit the shops or Ikea but to walk along the seashore at Royal Victoria Park and also to unexpectedly discover a part of history!

It was a beautiful day and the views were equally stunning and different from our part of Dorset.

 I was attracted by the roots of the tree, sadly neither of us noticed at the time whether the tree was still alive.

The winter storms have created this wild landscape (above).  It  almost matched the colours and shapes of this graffiti on a World War 2 bunker we discovered close by.

Many boats sailed past as we walked along the shore. The container ship was huge. I wouldn't have wanted to be in that tiny rowing boat! The oil refinery on the opposite bank created an unusual back drop.

After our walk by the water we headed towards this beautiful building amongst the trees. We discovered it was a hospital chapel, and all that remained of a huge military hospital that once stood on this site. Unfortunately the visitor centre inside was shut so I was unable to learn very much more about it until we returned home.

One of my favourite ladybird books was the story of Florence Nightingale (the founder of modern nursing.) She was a remarkable lady and realised that patients needed fresh air, light, nourishing food, peace and quiet to help them heal. She is still remembered on the anniversary of her birthday on 12th May each year when nurses celebrate International Nursing Day.

The horrendous conditions in the military hospitals in Crimea in 1854 resulted in the construction of a huge military hospital in England. This site was chosen because of it's close proximity to the sea - where wounded troops could be transported from the ships bringing them home. The hospital was a quarter of a mile long, had 138 wards and around 1,000 beds. The hospital was planned and built while Florence Nightingale was still nursing in the Crimea. When she returned she was unhappy with the way the building was designed, but it was too late to make many major changes. Her main criticism was the lack of windows in the wards and the lack of ventilation and fresh air. Queen Victoria made many visits here, she was very supportive of the project and it was only a short boat ride away from her home, Osbourne House, on the Isle of Wight.
The hospital was extensively used in the First and Second World Wars. In the first World War the hospital expanded to accommodate 2,500 patients. It was finally closed in 1958. See here for more details and pictures of the hospital and park.

On a sunny day it was lovely to see so many families out together enjoying the extensive grounds having picnics and playing games of football and cricket, such a different scene to a century ago!

Sarah x
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