Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas street music

Dorchester's Durnovaria band were providing Christmas shoppers with some cheerful and seasonal music this weekend.

They were asking for donations towards the Mayor's fund which is at present raising money for a project that is supported by the Dorset Wildlife Trust.  The Mayor, Peter Mann explained to me that  the project's aim is to plant a grass free lawn in the Borough Gardens. This is where the Durnovaria Band often perform during the summer months. Many residents value the gardens which provide a versatile green space in the centre of Dorchester. 

There were other musical genres performing in town today! 

I was interested to see the 'Hurdy Gurdy' being played. 

Thank you to everyone who has taken an interest in reading my blog, I am rarely short of subjects to write about in the very friendly and historical town of Dorchester. I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Car parks and Christmas lunch

Most of Dorchester's car parks have  recently been fitted with new ticket machines. The existing ones were old and were frequently malfunctioning.

To obtain a ticket, you first need to enter your car registration number.

Dorchester has both long and short stay car parks. Fairfield car park in this photograph has both, but you need to use the corresponding ticket machine for short stay.

The ticket machine in the lower corner of the covered short stay parking area is where you can purchase a short stay ticket. 

This weekend my family came to visit Dorchester and we had booked a table at Zizzi restaurant in Brewery Square. 

We enjoyed a 3 course Christmas lunch, which was suitable for all the ages of our party. The service and the food was excellent! 

Parking on Sundays is free!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Going Digital

I attended a two day workshop held at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester this week.

It was a gloomy morning yesterday and I was able to walk to the centre from my home.  I never tire of West Walks which runs beside the Borough Gardens. Most of the leaves have fallen now but it still has an elegant feel walking beneath the tall trees. 

The Dorford Centre is opposite an existing part of the original Roman town wall.

Here is the QR code that is printed on the sign next to the wall if you are interested in finding out more!

I was pleased to have a free place on the WSX Enterpise Business Women Go Digital course. 
I was really excited to see the diverse range of business ideas and met some really forward thinking women!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Remembering Dorchester's fallen.

The poppies are looking a bit wet this year, but the recently cleaned war memorial on the corner of South Street and South walks in Dorchester, is a reminder to the residents and visitors to the town,  of the sacrifices made by our brave service men and women.

The memorial was unveiled in 1921.

Here is a link to the Dorset Life Magazine that gives more details about it's history.

 Near the memorial is a garden of remembrance, where there are 2 benches that are a reflective place to sit for a while, once the rain has stopped!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

A very purple day

I attended evensong last night at St Peter's Church in Dorchester. The Church was lit with purple lighting to highlight the start of Pancreatic Awareness Month. I have adjusted this photograph, it was not quite as purple as this! There were a team of volunteers in the church who were helping to raise awareness of a local support group called 'Pan Pals Dorset'.

Earlier in the day I had visited a shop in Poundbury Dorchester, called Purple Penguins! 

This exciting jewellery shop sells affordable pieces, as some of the items are made of bronze and then coated with silver! 
I treated myself to a shiny new pair of earrings! 

Here is a link to the Purple Penguins Facebook Page if you want to find out where it is! 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Dorchester is glowing this half-term!

I was on ambassador duty on Saturday welcoming and helping people in Dorchester, representing the Dorchester BID.  The town was very busy and there were lots of visitors.

Some had come to watch Dorchester football team playing Bristol Rovers in an FA cup match. 

I spoke to many people who were re-visiting the town as they had enjoyed  it so much on previous occasions. Some were here for a school re-union, and I was asked directions several times to the Tutankhamun Exhibition and the Dinosaur Museum! 

Many of the shops and businesses have spent time decorating their windows with a Halloween theme! How beautiful some of them look!

Dorchester had a real glow about it on Saturday, even though the skies were grey, the cheerful atmosphere and the warmth could still be felt.

 Unfortunately Dorchester didn't win the football match, but I spoke to many of the away team's fans who were very complimentary about the town.

Friday, 17 October 2014

A bit too wet for ghosts.

I have seen the signs for the Dorchester Ghost walk advertised but have never done it, as I had always considered it a tourist attraction rather than an activity for a resident. However when I work as an ambassador for the town I often get asked to recommend different types of activities for our diverse range of visitors.
Last evening I had arranged to meet a group of friends from Weymouth who had booked the tour which runs weekly on a Thursday Evening at 8pm. I thought that by experiencing the walk I would be able to speak more knowledgeably about it.

I arrived in good time in torrential rain, and thought that perhaps the walk would be cancelled. We met Chris, our guide, and our group of 20 or so gathered in the Kings Arms Hotel where the walk began.

Chris collected our £6 fee in his hat, he was a jovial character and assessed the age range of the group,  to ensure his jokes were suitable!

I apologise for the lack of photographs in this post, but getting an electronic device out in the heavy rain was difficult. The rain however did not affect Chris's enthusiasum for his ghostly tales!

We sheltered in various covered places in the town, whilst Chris recounted tales 
which were a blend of historical facts and fiction.

I did not complete the walk, I left the group at the Roman Town House. My friends however, carried on to the prison. Dorchester Prison is now closed and is a potential site for redevelopment in the town.

Chris took the rest of the group into the disused prison. The security guards then appeared with torches and escorted them off the premises! My friends were all very amused!

I have learnt where the most haunted house in Dorchester is, but I can't tell you as you might want to do the walk yourself? Can I recommend though that you pick a drier evening!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Passion in Dorchester

I went to see the premiere performance of 'Passion' yesterday evening which was presented by the AsOne Theatre Company and was held at the Corn Exchange. I was keen to see the show as I met Jane McKell the artistic director many years ago when I was in a show with her in Weymouth.

The play was based on true stories of soldiers and their families and cleverly combined World War 1 memories with more recent conflicts.

I enjoyed the music that was performed in the play, which was gently woven in to the dialogue.

The play is now on tour and the dates of the future performances are listed on the AsOne Theatre Company web site.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Duke's progress

Living close to a developing area I am able to see the progress of Dorchester's Brewery Square area. Twice this week I have been approached by groups of students from local schools who are studying the area for geography projects. Both groups were interested in finding out about what effect the development is having on the town.
During the past few weeks, work has started on the former Pullman Court, which is a large building next to the development. This has been purchased by Dukes Auctioneers. 

The building has been empty for several years and is now going to be transformed into modern new auction rooms and an art gallery. 
Having seen the transformation of the Brewhouse & Kitchen this year, it is exciting to see another business flourish.

The Duke family history is extensive and the original auctioneering business was formed for agricultural and livestock sales.
The business link with Henry Duke and Son is now only the name and there is no family connection to the current business. 

The current salesroom is opposite Carluccio's and Vivo Lounge. The new auction house is due to open in 2015.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Spending time in Dorchester looking for clocks!

I have been looking for clocks today in Dorchester with my eldest daughter. Visitors will see these beautiful clocks in locations around the town. We picked up a leaflet from the Tourist Information Centre in Trinity Street.

The new Dorchester BID project is called 'Hidden Language, Hidden Trails' and 2 of the 6 trails are currently in place.

We started with the 'Food & Drink Trail' and a map on our leaflet showed us where to find the first clock.

The clocks all show a word that written in the Dorset Dialect, taken from the words written by William Barnes. These words can be translated by looking on the Dorchester BID web site, where there is a glossary.

We also investigated the digital 'app' that has been created for use on a smartphone. This worked well and we were able to scan the clocks and were linked directly to the glossary!

So my daughter and I are now learning another language! 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A spicy start to September

When I first began blogging back in January I started writing about cookery.

 I had recently bought a pressure cooker and I decided to record my recipes. This all became a bit tedious as I had to keep washing my hands to take photographs of what I had cooked and spoiled the enjoyment of one of my creative hobbies. 

I could not have imagined that my blog about Dorchester could have turned out to be so diverse and so rewarding to write. 
It is really great when people tell me that they enjoy reading it. I thank you all for supporting me. I have learnt so much about Dorchester's history.

I did not write a post at the weekend as I was visiting the County Show which is held in Dorchester at the beginning of September. 

I had a great time but was too weary to write anything! 
Here are a few pictures though! 

This week I have been enjoying getting back into a bit of cookery! I have been experimenting with Indian cooking.  This may have been inspired by the lovely 'Crab Bhaji' cooked by Dorset Shellfish,  that I had for my lunch at the show! 

There is a wonderful shop in Princes Street, that has been trading for many years called 'Down to Earth'. Here you can buy most of the spices you need for indian cookery in small amounts. I also shop for spices at Helen's Famous Wholefood stall at the market on a Wednesday.

Princes Street is a little bit forgotten sometimes for shopping,  but at the other end is a lovely Jewellery shop called Jordan's Jewellers which is certainly worth a visit, especially when you are looking for a gift for someone special!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Poundbury Hillfort

Last evening I was lucky enough to spend some time outdoors! I joined a group for a walk to Poundbury Hillfort.
It always amazes me that within 10 mins of my home in central Dorchester I can find myself in beautiful countryside.
Looking out over the River Frome, the picturesque views and the historical landscape gave me a feeling of contentment.

I was also experimenting with a new navigational aid. I have downloaded the Ordnance Survey App' to my i-phone.

The application is free, the maps are sold in sections for £1.99 each, so you can just purchase the area you need. Once downloaded it will  help you plan a route or record the route you have travelled.
I need to practice using it a bit more, but I think it will be useful. 
We explored the Bronze Age site and also the Roman aqueduct which used to provide water to the town of Dorchester, formally known as Durnovaria! The water was directed to the town from the village of Frampton, where there was a dam in the river. 

The water was used in Dorchester to supply the public baths and other properties in the town. There is a fountain in Princes Street which marks it's location. 
The earlier Roman baths were in Icen way.

I also learned from our excellent local guide that the area was used in World War 1 as a Prisoner of War Camp.
I was just happy to be outside in the fresh air with my daughter and some good company, but it certainly was a thought provoking evening!